Welcome to PetForums

Join thousands of other pet owners and pet lovers on the UK's most popular and friendly pet community and discussion forum.

Sign Up

Do fish get used to each other quickly?

Discussion in 'Coldwater Aquarium Advice' started by LillyPop21, May 24, 2017.


  1. LillyPop21

    LillyPop21 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    May 24, 2017
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have just set up my tank and I put 2 variatus playts in it this morning as the pet shop said to add new fish in pairs.
    I have been told to add a couple of new fish every 3 days so that means I will be adding 2 more on Sunday (I'm busy Saturday) and then 2 more on Wednesday and then maybe 2 more on Saturday.. will the fish be comfortable with so many new additions?
    Also, not all of the fish will be the same type however I will be buying the same type in pairs.
     
  2. magpie

    magpie PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2009
    Messages:
    2,527
    Likes Received:
    3,518
    When you say you've just set the tank up, can I ask how long you had it running before adding the fish today and what you did to cycle it? What size is the tank?

    Personally I think adding fish every three days is too much too soon, you'll need to give the filter bacteria time to catch up with each new addition. I'd say leave it at least a week or two before adding more, though that depends very much on what your water parameters are like. Are you testing the water at all?
     
  3. LillyPop21

    LillyPop21 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    May 24, 2017
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    I had the filter on since Sunday and I added safe start yesterday and I had my water tested by the pet shop twice so all is fine!

    I'm planning to take the water to get tested at the pet shop every 3 days too and then if it's not good I'll wait to get more fish.
     
  4. magpie

    magpie PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2009
    Messages:
    2,527
    Likes Received:
    3,518
    Ok, if the tank has only been running since Sunday then unfortunately it isn't cycled, it takes roughly 4-6 weeks to fully cycle a tank so that it's ready for fish. It sounds like you've had some bad advice from the shop. Your water will have tested as fine because there were no fish in there producing waste, now that you have fish they will be producing ammonia which is very toxic to them.

    I strongly advise against adding any more fish until the tank is completely cycled. I would also recommend buying your own liquid drop test kit (something like the API master kit) so that you can test at home as often as you need to (and you'll need to test often). If you must get the shop to test the water for you, ask them to write down the results, because sometimes one persons idea of 'fine' is actually not fine at all.

    You can still cycle the tank with the fish in, it just often takes longer than doing it fish-less because you have to try and keep the ammonia & nitrite levels low so as not to harm the fish. You will probably need to do a lot of water changes over the next few weeks!
     
    NaomiM likes this.
  5. NaomiM

    NaomiM Love my furry, feathered and finned family

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2012
    Messages:
    2,613
    Likes Received:
    2,698
    It's really worth investing in your own liquid test kit - the API freshwater master kit is the best value for money in the long run. Since you're doing a fish-in cycle, you should really be testing your water daily to nip problems in the bud before they can cause major issues to your fish. Also, in the long term, a water test should always be your first port of call when you suspect any problem.

    As has been said, don't add any more fish until your water tests are reading 0 for ammonia and nitrite on three consecutive days - which is likely to be a while off (as in several weeks or even months).

    Edit - cross-posted with magpie, but the advice is basically the same!
     
    magpie likes this.
  6. LillyPop21

    LillyPop21 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    May 24, 2017
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    Really? I don't want them to die.. can I add more fish when the water is okay then? Where do I buy a test kit? How many times should I change the water??
     
  7. NaomiM

    NaomiM Love my furry, feathered and finned family

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2012
    Messages:
    2,613
    Likes Received:
    2,698
    Online is cheapest - e.g. https://www.amazon.co.uk/API-Freshw...187&sr=8-1&keywords=api+master+kit+freshwater

    Any time the ammonia OR nitrite reading is over 0.25, you should be doing a water change to bring them down below that level. This will usually mean a 50% water change, maybe even more than once a day if the levels are really high - but with only two fish at present, hopefully it won't be that bad. How big is the tank?
     
    magpie likes this.
  8. LillyPop21

    LillyPop21 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    May 24, 2017
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've just ordered it! Is it easy to use? I'm going to have to get it tested at the pet shop every day until it comes then? It's 24 liters
     
  9. magpie

    magpie PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2009
    Messages:
    2,527
    Likes Received:
    3,518
    The API test kit is easy to use, just read the instructions and make sure to give the bottles a good shake before use (particularly the nitrate one).

    Honestly though, your tank is a bit too small for platies really, and most fish for that matter :( 24 litres is a nice size for a single male betta (siamese fighting fish), but not much else I'm afraid. It might be worth thinking about returning the platies and either getting a larger tank or getting a nice betta for the tank you have.
     
  10. LillyPop21

    LillyPop21 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    May 24, 2017
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    They said it was okay for 3 though..
     
  11. magpie

    magpie PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2009
    Messages:
    2,527
    Likes Received:
    3,518
    Pet shops are there to sell tanks and to sell fish, they are not experts and obviously they are not going to tell you that the tank they have just sold you is too small for fish. A quick look on google shows me that most decent fishkeeping websites recommend a minimum of 50-60 litres for platies. I have platies myself and I would not keep them in anything smaller than that, they are a good couple of inches long when fully grown and they need the space. It's up to you what you choose to believe.

    Platies also breed VERY easily, so I hope the shop gave you two males!
     
    NaomiM likes this.
  12. NaomiM

    NaomiM Love my furry, feathered and finned family

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2012
    Messages:
    2,613
    Likes Received:
    2,698
    Magpie's right, I'm afraid. I made a similar mistake myself when starting out (i.e. listening to bad advice from the pet shop) and ended up having to upgrade to a 70L tank. At the end of the day, the pet shops are trying to make a sale, and also the staff in many places receive poor training. Here are a couple of links to reputable websites that give much better info than the average pet shop staff member:
    http://www.seriouslyfish.com/ - this site has data sheets on pretty much every species. Search for "platy" and you'll see that the minimum recommended tank size is 60x30x30cm.
    http://aqadvisor.com/ - this online calculator is very handy as a guide to how many and what species of fish you can fit in your tank. Just enter your tank dimensions and the species you're interested in, and it will flag up potential problems such as overstocking, lack of swimming space and species compatibility.

    Sorry as I know it's not what you wanted to hear, but you come across as serious about wanting to do the right thing, so, as magpie says, you'd be best off either swapping the platys for a single betta, or getting a bigger tank (or both!)
     
  13. LillyPop21

    LillyPop21 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    May 24, 2017
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    According to that calculator my tank is only 68% stocked. It does say that it may not be suitable if my fish grow but I could always buy another tank if they do grow right?
     
  14. LinznMilly

    LinznMilly Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2011
    Messages:
    8,616
    Likes Received:
    8,978
    Don't add any more fish at all until the tank is fully cycled - that is, once ammonia and nitrite read 0ppm. Get some Seachem Prime and dose the tank with it. If you can get that today, I would, and i'd do a 50% water change with it. That will keep the toxic ammonia and nitrite away from the fish while the tank cycles. If your Platies are both male, they obviously won't breed, but if you have 1 female in there, she's likely pregnant and will stock your tank for you pretty quickly.

    I know most people will advise you to get the API kit, but having recently used the NT Labs kit, I'm an advocate for that instead (I'm assuming that you're in the UK). IMHO, it's simply better value for money, as it's as accurate as the API, it's still a liquid kit, it can be slightly cheaper than the API, but it also contains the often overlooked GH (General hardnes) and KH (Carbonate Hardness) tests, too, which, IMHO, are equally important - especially if you live in a softwater area. You can find out that info by checking your water company's website, but it'll only give you a ballpark idea.
     
  15. LillyPop21

    LillyPop21 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    May 24, 2017
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    F
    I have already ordered the API kit.. and there is tapsafe in my water :)
     
  16. LillyPop21

    LillyPop21 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    May 24, 2017
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm also getting the water tested at the pet shop today to see if anything is wrong.
     
  17. kittih

    kittih PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2014
    Messages:
    5,650
    Likes Received:
    8,344
    Cycling the tank ie growing sufficient bacteria in the filter to remove fish wastes can take 4 to 6 weeks. However in reality if you are trying to do so with fish present in the tank it can take much much longer. The difficulty is that the ammonia produced as part of that waste is very toxic to fish but is also the food that the bacteria need to live on to grow and multiply. Trying to grow these bacteria in the tank with fish also present is a huge balancing act. Remove all the ammonia with chemical treatments or very frequent large water changes and the bacteria have nothing to feed on to multiply. Allow some ammonia so that the bacteria can increase then your fish suffer the effects and even low levels whilst not obviously harmful can lead to poor health for the rest if their lives.

    You have several options:
    1) Return the fish to the shop
    2) Give the fish to fiends who have a fully cycled and mature tank
    3) Get some filter media (the sponge and pellets that go in a filter) from a friend with a mature tank and put it in your own filter to transplant a large amount of bacteria

    4) Do a fishless cycle in another container and use chemical treatments to ensure there is no ammonia in the tank where your fish are kept.

    For the latter option you need a large food safe container, your filter, some pure ammonia and an api master test kit. Google fishless cycle for the method or give us a shout here. In your fish tank you will need an airpump or another filter, some clean unused unwashed rinsed stockings, some api ammo chips. It is also good to get something like api ammo lock or some other liquid ammonia remover for a belts and braces approach.

    Fill the spare filter or the toe end of the stocking with ammo chips. Dangle the stocking below the water and place the air pump below so that the water and air flow it produces is directed towards the chips. Alternatively set the spare filter going. This will remove the ammonia the fish are producing. To ensure all ammonia is being removed it is also a good idea to dose with the ammonia remover according to the instructions. then do a 30% water change every fee days and feed sparingly.


    In the meantime do a a 50 % water change daily or anytime there is the slightest ammonia reading on your test kit. Feed the fish only a few flakes once every two days (they won't starve) whilst you are deciding what to do /getting things set up.

    You need a bigger tank if you want to keep tropicals so decide if this is the route you want to go down. Your baby fish will reach adult sizes in 6 months and platies are poop machines so it is better to get the bigger size tank sooner rather than later.

    The advantage of doing fishless cycling is that you don't have to add the fish in small amounts. The filter, if fishless cycling is done properly will be able to cope with the bioload of your fish from the start. That said it is good to put the various groups in bit by bit starting with the least territorial just so all the occupants get on OK.
     
  18. LinznMilly

    LinznMilly Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2011
    Messages:
    8,616
    Likes Received:
    8,978
    I have a bottle of Tapsafe, too, but unfortunately, while it will remove chlorine and heavy metals, it doesn't detoxify ammonia or nitrite, unlike prime.

    Fair enough about the test kit, though. :)

    Edit: using prime doesn't mean you get out of doing water changes - you still have to do them, but in between water changes, you can be sure, as long as ammonia and nitrite are below 1ppm, they're not harming the fish.
     
  19. LillyPop21

    LillyPop21 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    May 24, 2017
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    What does it do? Is it like safestart? I did put that in before the fish!!
     
  20. LinznMilly

    LinznMilly Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2011
    Messages:
    8,616
    Likes Received:
    8,978
    Tapsafe just dechloronates (removes) chlorine and heavy metals from the water, making it "safe" for the bacteria which grow in the filter, and also for the fish, as chlorine harms their gills.

    Safe Start adds beneficial bacteria to hopefully speed up the cycling process. Some people swear by it and says it cuts the cycling time to a matter of days. Others don't see any difference at all to the time it takes to cycle the filter.

    Prime does what Tapsafe does, except it also deals with chloramine, ammonia and nitrite.
     
    kittih likes this.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice