Newbie Looking For Advice

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Offline Redbelly

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Newbie looking for advice
« on: January 27, 2017, 08:53:50 PM »
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Evening all,

I havent kept fish for about 14 years but when i did I kept fish like angel fish, gouramis all the way through to piranha's (obviously not in the same tank) unfortunately when my children came my fish had to go, so 14 years later im keen to pick up from where i left off.
I have purchased a Fluval edge 23ltr tank just to start with, i have put sand in the bottom, added plants , applied appropriate chemicals before adding the water and then added some Guppies, job done. But im concerned they dont seem to be eating, ive seen a couple (out of 5) have a few nibbles from a few flakes but not what i was expecting and they don't seem to swim to the top of the tank to take the food which i always thought was the norm. I only put the fish in last Sunday so you do you think it could just be a bedding in period and i just need to give it time or should i be concerned ?

Any advice would be appreciated as im keen to get back into my childhood hooby.

Offline fcmf

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Re: Newbie looking for advice
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2017, 09:15:03 PM »
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Welcome, Redbelly :wave:

Fishkeeping has changed a lot in the intervening 14 years, especially as the internet was still in its early days back then and this has accelerated changes in thinking around various issues.

Firstly, these days, fishless cycling is usually advocated - although most shops haven't caught up with this yet. This involves a process of adding ammonia to simulate fish waste in order to prepare the filter to be able to process fish waste once the fish eventually arrive. It sounds as though you may have been given a bottled product which claims to accelerate this process and that fish can be added within a few days; unfortunately, the effectiveness of these products isn't really proven - they tend only to work if kept in very specific conditions from manufacture until use. Effectively, therefore - you're undertaking a fish-in cycle.
Therefore, I'd advise buying a liquid-based test kit to measure ammonia, nitrite and nitrates at the very least and aim to keep ammonia and nitrite at 0 and nitrates at 20 (or no more than 20 above your tap water reading). This may involve daily water changes in order to achieve this. Seachem Prime as your dechlorinator should help too - it helps detoxify ammonia, nitrite and high nitrates.

You may find these helpful for ensuring that you're able to give the fish what they need in line with their requirements such as food, tank size, water parameters, shoal size, etc.
http://www.thinkfish.co.uk/fish/guppy-male.html
http://www.thinkfish.co.uk/fish/guppy-female.html
http://www.seriouslyfish.com/species/poecilia-reticulata/

Hope this helps as a starter for ten.

Offline Redbelly

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Re: Newbie looking for advice
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2017, 09:40:41 PM »
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 :wave:
Evening fcmf,

Thank you for the warm welcoming and also thank you for the advice. I see things have moved on a lot and im more than willing to read up and do what is necessary to get my fish healthy. Just one question though, what has changed so much over the years to make this such a complex science, all my fish wre fit and well when i kept them many years ago, maybe the harshness of water or is the chemicals that now goes into water ?

Offline Sue

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Re: Newbie looking for advice
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2017, 10:03:34 PM »
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It's a combination of things.

The bacteria that process the ammonia made by the fish live in tiny numbers in our tap water, and they have to multiply so there are enough of them in our tanks. There is a school of thought that water companies have got better at killing bacteria so there aren't nearly as many in tap water as there used to be.

Fish are also getting weaker. Those that were around a couple of decades ago are either intensively inbred to get fancy colours/fin shapes (eg guppies) which perpetuates genetic flaws or they are bred in farms in conditions that leave a lot to be desired. Some breeders use any fish to breed from regardless of health; others keep them in poor conditions which needs the continual use of medication to stop them dying, then when they are sold on the medication stops and the fish succumb to anything they come into contact with. Neon tetras are a good example of this - they used to be regarded as hardy fish but these days they are anything but.

And of course there are now a lot more fish available, some of which are wild caught, and these fish can be more delicate requiring specific water conditions to thrive.

Offline Andy The Minion

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Re: Newbie looking for advice
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2017, 08:30:24 AM »
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Welcome @Redbelly
Like you I returned to fish keeping after a 20 year break and realised the 'error of my ways' There wasn't the The Internet then, goldfish were in round bowls and were generally thought by the public to have had a long and happy life if they got to their first birthday :(
Back then I knew enough to put two I inherited in a 15 gallon tank running an undergravel filter after they had been in a bowl for a year and was very pleased to see them double in size after 6 months. I didn't have water test kits, just vacuumed and changed water straight from the tap. At some point I added a filter as they got bigger and then a second but again I didn't know not to wash the foam in tap water.
The poor little blighters survived another two years but died a week after we went on holiday and asked a neighbour to feed them. I of course I had done a huge water change and given both filters a good clean because they had been over fed. So I killed them not the neighbour, and they were probably surviving rather than thriving up until that point. Those fish of course should probably have still been with us if they had lived their natural span......
So nothing has changed in those years - they died of ammonia poisoning but I didn't know it and ignorance is bliss. I am now aware and 'worried' about water quality even with massive filtration, proper water changes and water tests test kits and I still lose the occasional fish so I'm still learning.
Oh and by the way - enjoying fish keeping more than before - I hope it works for you as well.

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Newbie looking for advice
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2017, 09:10:28 AM »
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Hi there @Redbelly and welcome to the the forum.   :wave:

I've not returned to fishkeeping after a long break, I started as a total newbie just over a year ago. There is sooooooo much to test/monitor/learn, and I count myself very lucky to have found this forum. There is a lot of information available on the internet, and bearing in mind a lot of it can be contradictory, it is very helpful to find a group of people with such a lot of experience in such a wide range of topics.

Very pleased to read that you recognised that your fish did not appear to be behaving as you expected, and that you have made sure that you are finding a way to make them happy. The experienced people here will see you through a fish-in cycle with the minimun amount of fuss and stress for you any your aquatic housemates.

I'm a big fan of buying the largest tank that you can fit into the available space. Don't believe anyone who tells you that I've got a bit carried away with this fish malarky (  ;D ), but I would encourage you to read the links that fcmf supplied when considering the sort of environment that will make your gang as happy as possible post-cycle.

Best of luck, and please keep us updated on your progress.



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