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Old 05-06-2009, 06:59   #1
SouthernGal
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Fishtank people...I need your help again

I work with someone who keeps a 5 gallon tank on her desk at work. She has been going through some rough times recently and left her husband about a month ago. Her schedule has since become so busy (she missed a lot of work moving and relocating) that she just let the tank "go". She asked me yesterday if I could take care of it. It has a severe algae problem at the moment, but I suspect part of the issue is that she has it overstocked.

She has about 6 guppies, a beta, 2 dannios, and about 5 neons in there. How the hell they ever all lived I'll never know. My plan is to divide her fish immediately. The beta came out this morning and he's in a container on my desk. I also plan on taking the neons and dannios home to my 35 gallon.

I've scraped the walls of the tank (bad) and I'm waiting on the sediment to fall before I suction it up. My plan is to do daily water changes until the algae issue gets under control. I'm going to leave the light OFF on the tank too.

My question is--what about the Beta? Can he live in my tank with my tetras or will they nip him to death? I'm satisfied with leaving him where he is now (in a separate container) and at some point I'm going to give him back to her (but right now these fish are more than she can handle).

Suggestions? (where's Platz? I know he knows about this stuff).
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Old 05-06-2009, 07:05   #2
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Plecostomus. She needs a small one of these in the tank to keep down the algae.


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As far as the Beta, if he's been living with the other Tetras, he should be OK with yours unless yours are a more aggressive variety.
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Old 05-06-2009, 07:17   #3
SouthernGal
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zonny View Post
Plecostomus. She needs a small one of these in the tank to keep down the algae.


Woof Memorial Critter's Corner

As far as the Beta, if he's been living with the other Tetras, he should be OK with yours unless yours are a more aggressive variety.
I have one set of tetras that is a real piece of work. They are a PITA. I'm not even sure what kind they are, but they are disc-shaped. I see them chasing one another and some of the others in the tank and I'm just wondering how they'd take to the beta.

Rather than a pleco, I thought about moving my Chinese Algae Eater into her tank from mine since he is small (about 2 inches long). My pleco at home was one that was given to me by a friend when she moved and he's about 5 or 6 inches long...so he won't "go" into her 5-gallon very well I don't think. I could buy a new one I suppose. Does anyone know if the two fish "eat" at the same pace?
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Old 05-06-2009, 07:44   #4
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Another thought. You can buy dividers that just slide into your tank to make a separate "room" for the Beta.

But truthfully, he'll be just fine on your desk in a small bowl. I kept one in a 1 gallon bowl on my desk for a few years.

Edited to add: I just found this little tidbit of info: Pet stores sell fish tank dividers that are clear and perforated with many small holes. These dividers are useful for separating fish that might hurt each other. I have two problems with them: at a typical price of $10.00 each they are too expensive and the holes are so small that they will severely limit filtration. I looked around and found a cheaper option that doesn't block filter action.

How cheap? Would you believe $0.24 (24 cents)? Go to any craft store, fabric store, or the craft section in a variety store like Walmart and look for 10-inch by 12-inch clear plastic mesh sheets called Plastic Canvas. These are used for needle point pictures. The mesh is much more open than the tank dividers so water and debris can more easily circulate. The material cuts easily with a scissors.

The one down side to these sheets is that they are slightly buoyant. I attach a couple of plant weights to the bottom edge to help keep them vertical.

These sheets are also available in larges sizes.
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Old 05-06-2009, 08:14   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zonny View Post
Another thought. You can buy dividers that just slide into your tank to make a separate "room" for the Beta.

But truthfully, he'll be just fine on your desk in a small bowl. I kept one in a 1 gallon bowl on my desk for a few years.

Edited to add: I just found this little tidbit of info: Pet stores sell fish tank dividers that are clear and perforated with many small holes. These dividers are useful for separating fish that might hurt each other. I have two problems with them: at a typical price of $10.00 each they are too expensive and the holes are so small that they will severely limit filtration. I looked around and found a cheaper option that doesn't block filter action.

How cheap? Would you believe $0.24 (24 cents)? Go to any craft store, fabric store, or the craft section in a variety store like Walmart and look for 10-inch by 12-inch clear plastic mesh sheets called Plastic Canvas. These are used for needle point pictures. The mesh is much more open than the tank dividers so water and debris can more easily circulate. The material cuts easily with a scissors.

The one down side to these sheets is that they are slightly buoyant. I attach a couple of plant weights to the bottom edge to help keep them vertical.

These sheets are also available in larges sizes.
Somewhere in my closet at home I think I have a breeding divider. I'll have to see if I can find it. That might would work for the beta. Right now he's back in his original container (the size of a margarita glass) but at least he's not overwhelmed with tetras and guppies.

The tank has been cleaned and refilled. I can see the through the water now and to the other side, but it's not completely clear. I'm guessing that will take a few days.
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Old 05-06-2009, 12:20   #6
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Sorry, not Platz...

Chinese algae eaters haven't that useful for algae clean-up in my experience. The young ones eat algae, but the older ones don't seem to. Maybe get another pleco? You can never have too many fish, you know.

There's a product called "acurel" that'll help clear the algae. My understanding is that this stuff makes the free-floating one-celled algae clump together and sink to the bottom, where it can be eaten, vacuumed up, or caught in the filter. It's worked well for me in the past for tanks that are out-of-control.

+1 on keeping the beta in his own bowl. They seem to be happy that way, and other fish seem to think beta fins are a delicacy!

Hey, did you ever get a cannister filter for the tank at home? How's that working?
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Old 05-06-2009, 12:52   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zonny View Post
Plecostomus. She needs a small one of these in the tank to keep down the algae.


Woof Memorial Critter's Corner

As far as the Beta, if he's been living with the other Tetras, he should be OK with yours unless yours are a more aggressive variety.
Absolutely not these get huge.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SouthernGal View Post
I have one set of tetras that is a real piece of work. They are a PITA. I'm not even sure what kind they are, but they are disc-shaped. I see them chasing one another and some of the others in the tank and I'm just wondering how they'd take to the beta.

Rather than a pleco, I thought about moving my Chinese Algae Eater into her tank from mine since he is small (about 2 inches long). My pleco at home was one that was given to me by a friend when she moved and he's about 5 or 6 inches long...so he won't "go" into her 5-gallon very well I don't think. I could buy a new one I suppose. Does anyone know if the two fish "eat" at the same pace?
As said before no plecos they get huge and aggressive as do Chinese algae eaters they don't eat algae once mature.

Have a test kit?
Your plan for maintenance is a good one but start very slowly vacuuming a small part at a time little tanks are not going to enjoy drastic changes. If there is no heater keep a gallon of conditioned tap water nearby over night so that temps are very close on the refill. Java Fern would be a good small plant that filter nitrates slowly with little need for much light. I would slowly carefully change water for now leaving most fish where there at and avoid overfeeding or overdoing in a week the tank will look much better in a month the tank could be much better. Anything done in haste may shock fish days later.

PM any questions.

My 7 gallon Reef(Its what I do)

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Last edited by jjtroutbum; 05-06-2009 at 13:00..
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Old 05-06-2009, 13:08   #8
SouthernGal
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkbrucedvm View Post
Sorry, not Platz...

Chinese algae eaters haven't that useful for algae clean-up in my experience. The young ones eat algae, but the older ones don't seem to. Maybe get another pleco? You can never have too many fish, you know.

There's a product called "acurel" that'll help clear the algae. My understanding is that this stuff makes the free-floating one-celled algae clump together and sink to the bottom, where it can be eaten, vacuumed up, or caught in the filter. It's worked well for me in the past for tanks that are out-of-control.

+1 on keeping the beta in his own bowl. They seem to be happy that way, and other fish seem to think beta fins are a delicacy!

Hey, did you ever get a cannister filter for the tank at home? How's that working?

I'm going to check out my local place for that acurel stuff. I can tell things are starting to settle in the tank now, but there's still TOO many fish and I've got to move some of them elsewhere. I have already laid out water for use tomorrow although there's no way it will completely fill that tank up. Some of it will likely have to be filled with bottled water.

The beta has been dumped into an old candy jar we located here at work. He was in a cup but I was afraid he might jump out overnight. So, because the candy dish is smaller at the top than the bottom, it works well. He seems much happier now that he's not being picked on.

My tank at home is still going although I had a huge fiasco a few months ago--ich. It started with one fish I got and spread to everyone and killed over half my fish (which just broke my heart as some of them were years old). When everything was said & done, I had 6 left, including the pleco (given to me by a friend) and the striped Raphael catfish I "saved" from the plant tank at Petco over 1 and 1/2 years ago. It took me about a month and a half to get rid of the ich without using methylene blue or malachite green. I didn't want to use those since they stain the tank. I restocked this time with nothing but tetras of different types, but I'm going to get that canister filter one way or another. Even my father and I have discussed him taking on building me one as a "pet project".
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Old 05-06-2009, 13:16   #9
SouthernGal
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjtroutbum View Post
Absolutely not these get huge.



As said before no plecos they get huge and aggressive as do Chinese algae eaters they don't eat algae once mature.

Have a test kit?
Your plan for maintenance is a good one but start very slowly vacuuming a small part at a time little tanks are not going to enjoy drastic changes. If there is no heater keep a gallon of conditioned tap water nearby over night so that temps are very close on the refill. Java Fern would be a good small plant that filter nitrates slowly with little need for much light. I would slowly carefully change water for now leaving most fish where there at and avoid overfeeding or overdoing in a week the tank will look much better in a month the tank could be much better. Anything done in haste may shock fish days later.

PM any questions.

My 7 gallon Reef(Its what I do)

Woof Memorial Critter's Corner
I actually have two test kits. She was nice enough to give me her chemicals when she told me to please take her tank. I just think she was in over her head with too much to do and this divorce beating down on her.

I've already put my water out for tomorrow's partial change.

I will say this...I HATE these loud multi-colored rocks in this tank. I'm one of these who prefers natural-looking fish environments (mine at home is all natural colored rocks and real petrified wood).

Oh look at you. Expensive saltwater tank...right out of my price range! Everytime I go in the fish store I browse the saltwater section and froth at the mouth all the while knowing I'll never be able to afford it.
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Old 05-06-2009, 16:53   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SouthernGal View Post
I work with someone who keeps a 5 gallon tank on her desk at work. She has been going through some rough times recently and left her husband about a month ago. Her schedule has since become so busy (she missed a lot of work moving and relocating) that she just let the tank "go". She asked me yesterday if I could take care of it. It has a severe algae problem at the moment, but I suspect part of the issue is that she has it overstocked.

She has about 6 guppies, a beta, 2 dannios, and about 5 neons in there. How the hell they ever all lived I'll never know. My plan is to divide her fish immediately. The beta came out this morning and he's in a container on my desk. I also plan on taking the neons and dannios home to my 35 gallon.

I've scraped the walls of the tank (bad) and I'm waiting on the sediment to fall before I suction it up. My plan is to do daily water changes until the algae issue gets under control. I'm going to leave the light OFF on the tank too.
This all sounds good - one thing to really keep in mind is that by scrubbing off all the algae, it will now start rapidly decaying in the tank, so siphon as much of it out as possible and keep a very close eye on water parameters over the next several weeks. Often times tanks can appear to self maintain for quite some time, and when one starts doing water changes it disrupts the bacteria and changes water parameters. Eventually, this will be good, but in the short term it can be a rapid shock to the fish and you may experience some losses if you're not very careful. You may experience some losses, regardless.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SouthernGal View Post
My question is--what about the Beta? Can he live in my tank with my tetras or will they nip him to death? I'm satisfied with leaving him where he is now (in a separate container) and at some point I'm going to give him back to her (but right now these fish are more than she can handle).

Suggestions? (where's Platz? I know he knows about this stuff).
The betta will probably get nipped to death - I'd not risk it, but some people are successful with mixing them into community tanks. Generally you want to stay with more peaceful fish with bettas. Tetras are notorious fin nippers and overall harrassers of the fishy world, as it sounds like you know.

Definitely do not put a pleco in a 5 gallon tank. There is unfortunately no good species to keep in a 5 gallon that will do a good job on algae. The most common ones you'll see are as follows:

*Plecos - get WAY too big
*Chinese/siamese algae eaters - both get too big, the CAE's get too aggressive
*Ottocinclus - small, cute, good little eaters - but they need to be in large groups (6+) and are rather sensitive to water quality
*Snails can do a good job, but are asexual and as such even just one snail may quick turn into hundreds, so be careful there.
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Old 05-07-2009, 06:48   #11
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Well, this morning everyone is still alive. I put the beta in a tank by himself yesterday and this morning he'd started blowing a bubble nest, which is something I'd not seen him do in a long time. He seems content in his little "cage" type container and I'm going to find him some mosquito larvae this weekend so he can start eating LIVE food for a change.

The guppies are the only things I kept in the 5 gallon. There are 7 of them in there. I found the Acurel stuff and put some of it in there this morning and I'm waiting to see how well things go before I start another partial water change. I'm off work tomorrow (I'm doing 10 hour days) but will be in this area for a cosmetic procedure so I may drop by work to check and see how things are going and then determine whether or not to wait till Monday to change more water.

I took the dannios and the tetras home to my 35 gallon. It was pure hell catching those little suckers yesterday afternoon as they are quite fast and it's not easy in such a small tank. But they were all alive this morning and they located my pair of neons and are schooling with them. I can also tell that mine have been fed color enhancing food while her's haven't because you can tell mine from hers in the school.

Thanks for all the advice guys. I'm no "Fish Whisperer" but things seem to be going well so far.
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Old 05-11-2009, 07:18   #12
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A few of my home tank pics...

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Old 05-11-2009, 16:48   #13
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Good looking setup. It's nice not to see an overstocked tank. So many people overstock them that it just seems to be the norm.
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Old 05-12-2009, 05:56   #14
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Good looking setup. It's nice not to see an overstocked tank. So many people overstock them that it just seems to be the norm.
I don't think I could overstock it if I wanted to. Too expensive

Although if my friends keep giving me fish I don't know where I'm gonna put them all!
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