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Tips for a Newbie?

If you are new to the hobby.

Tips for a Newbie?

Postby kerplunk » Wed Apr 16, 2014 9:15 pm

Hello everyone ^.^ As you probably guessed from the subject, I am indeed new to this forum, and also fish keeping in general, and I want to provide my guys with the longest, healthiest life possible. And so, I'm looking for tips, and also feel not afraid to berate me if I'm doing something wrong, I need to learn.

My tank is a 10 gallon, longer than tall, with an Aqueon Quietflow filter for 1-10 gallons. I currently have one potted plant in there, but I do plan to get more once I get a proper light. I did have a heater in there, but I took it out recently because it was making the water too hot. My fish seem to be doing well without it, however. I do a 25% water change once a week, and I take my turkey baster to it whenever I see stuff building up together at the bottom. Also, I have river rocks in only one corner of the tank surrounding the plant, the rest is bare bottom so that its easier to feed my frogs.

And here's where it gets tricky, I'm not sure if I've made a wise decision with the species I've chosen, although they are compatible. 1 Male Crowntail Betta, 2 Mystery Snails (originally there was only one, but my friend had hers with goldfish and I'd read about that, his body was also in tatters, she hadn't seen him in days since he was hiding from them, so I rescued another), 2 African Dwarf Frogs, 2 Ghost Shrimp, and 3 Corydoras Catfish (An Albino, a Peppered, and Panda), a live Moss Ball, and some kind of small sword plant (The name started with an 'Anch' sound but my mind is drawing a blank). The Corys and the Shrimp are new, I just got them today, and thus far everyone seems to be getting along, my Betta is pretty docile. Originally I had the Betta, Frogs, and 1 snail in a 3 gallon, but I soon upgraded after I did my research and got the poor snail who had been kept with the goldfish. He's much smaller than my other one, about a third of the size, and his body is even smaller due to the fact that he was slowly being eaten alive :( he is moving around now and seems to be coming out of his shell (no pun intended) now that he isn't constantly being picked at. I am worried about him, though, is there anything I can do for him?

Also, I know zilch about plants, for the species I've got, any recommendations about what kind I should get? Is it absolutely necessary for me to have a heater? Has anyone else had these species all together in a successful tank? I've become increasingly worried about nitrate/ammonia levels as well, am I overstocked? I can't find a working calculator online. One of my African Dwarf frogs is overly interested in my shrimp, I've read that they will not eat ghost shrimp, but one of them is rather small... should I remove him until he gets bigger? The frog ignores the bigger one. And my Corys, did I make a mistake in getting different kinds? They are schooling fish and that's why I got three of them, but they don't seem to care for one another much, I'm thinking that perhaps it will take time for them to get to know one another. I think that they are different ages as well, theres smallie, mediumie, and largie. Of course this and any other tips at all would help me greatly, again I am new at this and I want to get it right.

That is all, and thank you kindly :3
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Re: Tips for a Newbie?

Postby POS_miniracer » Fri Apr 18, 2014 4:26 am

That's a lot of fish in not a lot of water. I'd say it was over stocked.

I've kept African dwarf frogs in the past and as far as I can remember they'd eat those ghost shrimp.

Although corys do like to be in group, I believe it's groups of their own kind.
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Re: Tips for a Newbie?

Postby kerplunk » Fri Apr 18, 2014 8:50 am

Thank you! This is my first fish tank, and I'm swimming in swells of misinformation and direct contradictions from one site to the next. It's good to hear from someone who actually knows what they are talking about, because the Pet Store people don't, not one bit! It's sad, but I'm a Noob to this thing, and even I know more about Bettas than these folks do! And don't even get me started on Wal-Mart, 75% of the Bettas there already had finrot, and that's the only thing I know how to spot so who knows what else they may have :( Nikola had fin rot when I got him but that AQ salt worked wonders, he was a Wal-Mart fish. I sort of feel like I rescued him from that (excuse my language) hell hole.

Hmm, well, I do plan on rehoming my original snail (I'd feel bad moving the little guy after all that he's already been through), since I've read that they have a heavy bioload, and that is the bigger one. I could move the Betta back to the 3 gallon by himself, but he does enjoy all the space he has in this one, and after a few days with the Corys, I have a suspicion that he thinks he is one as well! He plays 'tag' but only with the albino one. It's pretty great to watch! Do you think it is badly overstocked? Like if I kept up with my water changes and everything, could they still live life to the fullest? Maybe its wishful thinking, but they seem to be happy, everyone is very active and getting along.

As for the frogs and the ghost shrimp, I did research before getting them, and according to what I read they will only eat the ones that can fit in their mouth, and if they are hungry, and even then its supposedly rare. The one who was keeping a close eye on the little shrimp has also lost interest after they've been together a couple of days, but that could be the frozen bloodworm buffet they had earlier today keeping them full and lazy, or the fact that the shrimp is Houdini reincarnated. When you had your frogs, did you keep plants with them? And should I be feeding them just frozen bloodworms? I read somewhere that they should only be fed one thing exclusively, but thus far I've been alternating between the sinking tadpole pellets and frozen bloodworms since my Betta will overeat hugely if bloodworms went in the tank everyday. And I'm also confused about sand-is it or is it not okay for sand to be covering the bottom of the tank rather than gravel? Some places say its fine, and others say that the grains are too small and that the frogs will ingest it when trying to eat their food. I could see how this could happen, they are awful clumsy, the only reason I even consider it is because Corys do better with a finer substrate due to their barbels and rooting through to scavenge for food.

Speaking of the Corys, they seem to be getting along better now, after they've gotten used to one another. The Albino one (I call him Happy) is always trying to get everyone to swim with him, always swimming up and down the walls of the tank. The panda and he are best buddies, and Dr. Pepper, the littlest one, joins in every now and then, but for the most part stays hidden under his rock. They are such cute little guys, like synchronized swimmers on crack! And I don't like to play favorites, but I'm playing favorite with Happy, I never thought I'd see my Betta actually playing with another fish! Apparently his playfulness is contagious. But anyway. I'll keep watching them over the next several days, and if Dr. Pepper still isn't hanging out with the other two, I will take him back, as much as it saddens me to do so (and he's totally the cute one).

I realize that I've given you a huge block of text to read, and my apologies. I don't mean to dribble all over the forums, I suppose that I'm feeling a little bit like Happy XD
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Re: Tips for a Newbie?

Postby Graeme » Fri Apr 18, 2014 2:07 pm

Nothing wrong with a huge block of text! :-):

You have an interesting mix there. You might want to read up on the different species you have in the tank and decide on a temperature setting that would suit them. Then replace your dodgy heater with a reliable one. At least then you would be able to maintain a constant temperature and keep the tank more stable.

Got any pictures?

Regards

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Re: Tips for a Newbie?

Postby malakye » Fri Apr 18, 2014 7:28 pm

hi, if your frogs are true aquatic dwarf frogs then they will be fine, if however they are the clawed aquatic frogs they will eat your shrimp and before too long your fish. So determining what frogs you actually have is the first thing we need to establish. Can you provide a picture please.
Shrimp need algae pellets for food, the betta and frogs will eat blood worm. The cory do best with a granular food such as tetra prima granuals as they sink and make it easy for them to find the food, the shrimp will eat these too. Get a little flat dish for the frogs to feed from if your overly worried, it will make it easier for them to find the blood worm although I had frogs in my tank which had sand for years and the frogs were fine on it in all honesty though I just used to drop it infront of them.

For future reference though Cory are better in groups of 4 of their own kind, so 4 peppered or 4 albino for example as they are sociable fish.
As for stocking levels if you move on the snail and keep up with the water changes doing 20% a week you will be fine, your not actually that overstocked. Shrimp add nothing to the bio load of a tank but do not add anything more to the tank.
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Re: Tips for a Newbie?

Postby kerplunk » Sat Apr 19, 2014 8:17 am

Bahaha I have a slight tendency to rant at times, glad that no one is bothered by that :)

Yeah, I will definitely do that, I just can't for another week or two, hopefully they will be okay until then. It's usually 71ish inside of my house, and my room is always a bit more than that since I always have my heater going. The people I live with are coldblooded, I swear! Any reccomendations on what kind? Do the ones that you put under the gravel work better, or should I stick with the kind that you mount right in front of the water flow? And are airstones a good idea, since my Betta doesn't like much water flow?

I don't have any pictures as the only camera I have is my phone and the flash screws everything up, BUT I do have an equally bad quality video, if you can stomach to watch it lol, here it is: [Link invalid & removed]

If the link doesn't work, my apologies, as it is a facebook upload since I was having issues with youtube. It worked for me, but I'm not sure about other users. If it doesn't I'll keep toggling with youtube XD you can't see much detail but you can see the general layout of the tank. I'm kind of sad that you can't see how pretty Nikola really is :(

And Malakye, I'm 100% sure that these are the indeed dwarf and not their clawed cousins, those guys get huge! I will borrow a friends camera in a few days here to take some good pictures that are actually viewable.

I wasn't aware that the shrimp needed additional supplement. The petstore told me they were exclusively scavengers, same with the Corys, and I knew that seemed a little odd, after all, even snails need an algae wafer every now and then. Currently the only sinking pellets I have are the Thera + A Regular Formula, it is labeled as being good for all types of omnivore, herbivore, and carnivore tropical fish, are those okay or should I get something else? Are the shrimp omnivores? I could have sworn I saw one of them nibbling on a bright red bloodworm the other day. And I will most likely switch to sand at the bottom of the tank, then, since I want to eventually have no plastic and all live plants. As for the bowl to feed them, can I just use a saucer, like meant for in the kitchen? I mean I was worried about putting anything not meant for aquariums in there for fear of unwanted chemical release into the water, you know? I drop it in front of them currently, and they've learned to recognize that my hands mean food and they come up to it when I do, so it's probably moot, anyway, it would just be a bit easier to clean up after them if it was all in one place.

And yeah I kind of learned that tidbit after the fact unfortunately, but my Albino and Panda are pretty much inseparable now, and Dr. Pepper joins in with them every now and then. And it is usually the Albino one who instigates play with anyone, even my Betta. I read that it is possible for different kinds to still school, and for at least the Albino and Panda, that seems to have happened. I will of course keep the same kind in the future, however.

And that's a huge relief, because I have now found a good home for my snail and he will jump tank tomorrow. And might I ask, what do you mean by 'but they do not add anything more to the tank'?
Last edited by Barry on Sat Apr 19, 2014 12:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Removed invalid link
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Re: Tips for a Newbie?

Postby malakye » Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:50 pm

shrimp are scavengers and will eat most things but they still need "foods" the same as the cory do.
The food you mentioned is one I am not sure off but should be ok.
As for heater just avoid the really cheap brands and stay away from the ones that go under the substrate as they are not as reliable.
You can add an airstone the cory will appreciate it and will even play in the bubbles just make sure they are not bubbling too hard.

What I meant by not adding anything more to the tank is that because your stocking levels are pushing the limits do not add any more fish.
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