My feed

to access all these features

If you have a fish pond, fish tank or are seeking advice about keeping tropical fish, you can find advice on our Fish forum.


please help my overstocked tank

21 replies

rainbowrocks · 23/04/2016 23:00

I have made a huge mistake. 

A few months ago I got a fish tank for my DC from pets at home. We were told to use tap safe add it to the water and return after 3 days and our tank would be ready for the fish. 

We were told for the 25L tank we could have max of 5 fancy goldfish. We bought a small organda and took it home. Everything was going well so I thought so we went and bought another tiny organda a few weeks later this sort is a small one and apparently doesn't grow much bigger. 

Instead of buying any more fish we bought a couple of shrimps. 

Everything was going well. I was doing water changes every 3 days as I like the tank looking nice. Went away for the weekend and put some fish sticks in and came back to a dead shrimp. DC upset so her dad took her to get another. They came back with 2 shrimps and 2 Hong Kong plec. Overnight one of the Hong Kong plec died then the shrimp started dying. 

A friend who is knowledgeable said they thought something was wrong as I was having to clean the tank so often as the ornaments and glass were going green within 3 days. We spoke about tank maintenance and they mentioned gravel cleaning, I had not done it, was told I didn't need to clean the gravel water changes often were enough when buying all the kit. 

I bought a gravel cleaner and got a API water test kit and the results are shocking. PH is good but all the other reading are the highest. I took measures by doing 80% water changes have cleaned the gravel and have stopped feeding them. 

I am heartbroken, I'm a animal lover but yet have got this so so wrong. 

We are going out tomorrow and are looking at a aquarium at between 200-300L depending on the height of the tank. Will this be sufficient? 

Also I know it's best to cycle the tank but are we best to get it upto temp use tap safe and just put the fish in? I feel we are on borrowed time. 

Any suggestions welcome


OP posts:
TreeSparrow · 25/04/2016 11:46

Oh dear, what a mess. Pet shops are bloody awful with advice like this. It's maddening.

First of all, yes you're doing right by going for a 300 litre tank. Goldfish grow BIG.

Next, goldfish are cold-water species. Your "Hong Kong Plec" (it's not a pleco) is actually a Chinese Hillstream Loach. They're not compatible with goldfish and have completely different requirements. They are low range (20-24°C) tropical fish that need fast flowing, highly oxygenated water. I'd return them.

What species of shrimp did you buy?

Google "fish-in cycling" and follow the instructions carefully. It'll take weeks of large, daily water changes to keep your fish safe.

Also, well done for trying to fix the problem.

rainbowrocks · 25/04/2016 12:44

Just googled hill stream loach and yes that's what we have despite the card on the tank and name on my receipt. In p@h there water temp was 17oc where ours is 21-22.

The shrimp (one poor soul left) is a amano shrimp.

Been to the aquatics shops this weekend and unless I get a good quote on a custom made tank we are now looking at approx 175L - possibly 200.
300L is far too big for our space and it's been a hard enough job to convince husband to fork out for a larger unit. It wasn't until I showed him the tests he understood what a problem this is.

We are looking into a large external filter and oxygen pumps. Should this be a good move?

I am currently doing a daily 80% water change and cleaning the gravel and the fish are on a no food diet ATM. Although they did enjoy a pea each last night.

I have seen a improvement on the water test kit so I hope it's now moving in the correct direction.

So honest opinion please will 175L be sufficient for fancy goldfish. We bought them 2 weeks apart and the larger kind "medium" fancy has doubled in size. The "small" has not grown much at all.
If we get this aquarium we cannot upgrade again as its the only place we have for it.

OP posts:
TreeSparrow · 25/04/2016 19:01

Yes that sounds fine for fancy goldfish.

Amano shrimp are also tropical so that's not a good mix with goldfish. I'd return all the tropical species you have and don't heat the tank at all.

External filters, yes, aim for something that's rated for a tank at least TWICE the size of your tank. Eheim and Fluval are good brands. Goldfish are messy so go for the biggest you can afford. It's not uncommon for people to run two filters on the tank. That way you aren't in a crisis of one breaks down. If you have sufficient surface agitation you don't need a bubbler (they are very noisy anyway).

Good luck. Any other questions let me know

CharleyDavidson · 25/04/2016 19:09

Yes, you can keep a small number of fancy goldfish in that sized tank. I have a 240L and have 3 fancy goldfish, a small number of black widow tetra and some white cloud mountain minnows. The smaller fish don't make as much mess as the goldfish.
Shrimp are sensitive to water parameters, so I'm not surprised they have succumbed.

We bought a filter larger than the one we needed for our tank and it's working really well. I had all sorts of problems with fin rot and fungus with my 100L tank despite frequent water changes, but with the 240L, apart from one case of white spot that my lovely Black Moor brought with it, we've had no disease at all.

A fancy goldfish can live approx 20 years if treated well and can grow to about 30cm long and about the same height. They need a tank that will give them room to swim and turn even at full size.

rainbowrocks · 25/04/2016 21:04

We were looking at the fluval 306 filter and I've seen some good reviews on that, I'm assuming then going up a size will be best rather than the 206 for upto a 200L.

I'm so cross with p@h. The shrimp are excellent why are they selling them as cold water?

What's the options with the goldfish then? Another fancy not a huge one or some smaller fish to accompany them?

Also can someone advise on the 25L tank, plan is move the goldfish to bigger tank no news yet on quote so we may go up and get the 175L we saw this weekend,

Once the goldfish are in the new home how can we convert the tank to tropical as thinking about a betta as the tank is taller rather than wide so assuming our options are limited. Is there anything else that can go with the betta or is that the limit??

Thanks for you help

OP posts:
TreeSparrow · 25/04/2016 22:22

Yes you can get another fancy in the big tank.

I've had the Fluval 306. Good filter. I'm a big fan of the Eheim Classic range though. Very robust filters.

For the 25 litre, yes you can get a mini heater (be sure to get one with a thermostat so you can set the temperature - many of the small heaters come fixed). Sera is a good brand.

You can try red cherry shrimp in the 25 litre with a Betta, although some bettas will be territorial, they have unique personalities and some are grumpy, others are fine with tank mates. If you go for shrimp it's best to have the tank planted.

rainbowrocks · 26/04/2016 07:57

I will have a look at that filter thanks.

We are looking at putting a real plant in the 25L as we saw the betas asleep on the leaves at the garden centre it was fascinating to watch.

I did another 50% water change yesterday and there wasn't much muck in the gravel at all so It really improving.
The cleaning is so much easier as I bought two buckets so I can pre fill one and use the second to spyphon the dirty water into and it doesn't take long at all.
I was using a new kitchen jug and a 4L container and it was taking a hour.

Feeling a lot more confident about all this now.

OP posts:
TreeSparrow · 26/04/2016 22:51

An hour? Ouch. I used to get my maintenance done on my 350 litre tank in an hour (50% water change). You'll get quicker with the right tools. Grin

rainbowrocks · 27/04/2016 08:01

Wow that's very quick, can I ask what you use to put your water in?

I am using a 10L bucket now but the tap safe I use is 2caps per 2 L so I am getting through it rapidly I may need to look at a better brand.

I have seen the clear tubs that are upto 90L and I have wondered is that the way forward with a bigger tank?

I'm actually kicking myself as I've just noticed my shower has temp written on it above the bath taps I've been using, I could of just set the shower to 20oc instead of messing about with the thermometer.

OP posts:
TreeSparrow · 27/04/2016 10:44

I drained the tank using a large siphon out the window (into the drain) - 10-15 min. I took a jug of tank water to sink - I use this to check temperature against. Then filled buckets at the sink using the mixer tap, add a capful of Aquasafe, check temp with finger, and carry to tank and pour in. Repeat 10-15 times to refill tank. I had two buckets so whilst carrying one I'd got the other one filling.

rainbowrocks · 28/04/2016 12:13

What a difference a week makes!

After doing lots of water changes and gravel cleaning I've just done another water test. Tank about to have a water change but hasn't had one since Monday and the new water results are:

Ammonia - 0.25ppm
Nitrite - 1.0ppm
Nitrate - 20ppm
PH - 7.6

Last weeks readings were bottom of each chart!

OP posts:
TreeSparrow · 29/04/2016 03:51

That's great progress and your tank is cycling nicely. Well done. What a difference a little knowledge and skillful application of that knowledge makes!

You must post a photo of the tank soon. Smile

rainbowrocks · 29/04/2016 11:48

Thanks for all your help treesparrow!

I would like a honest opinion I've had tank quotes back.

Are spec was it needed to match the kitchen cabinets as its going in our kitchen / breakfast room as we have a spare wall but couldn't stick out too much as we have a breakfast bar with stools so still need to get past without knocking the tank with dinner plates.

Custom quote tank approx 200L
1m X 500mm X 40mm
Came in at £747

Tank we have seen is 900m X 40mm and is 176L and is £540

What would you choose? I'm thinking is 25L worth £200? But it will look amazing.

I'm so torn

OP posts:
TreeSparrow · 29/04/2016 17:44

I'm assuming you meant cm rather than mm. What's the custom tank made of (glass/acrylic?) and do you trust the merchant? What's the make of the other tank?

rainbowrocks · 29/04/2016 17:52

Yes cm I think.

Both the same. the manufacturer is seashell (Maidenhead aquatics) the Phoenix tank. I've seen a couple wrong colour for us in there store and they do look very sturdy tanks.

OP posts:
TreeSparrow · 30/04/2016 09:01

Difficult decision. If you can afford the extra and it will look amazing (as opposed to ok) I'd go for it.

rainbowrocks · 30/04/2016 09:25

I keep drifting between the two.

I have set up kitchen stools to the bigger size and placed them where the tank will be and we are going to keep them there for a day and see how we feel.

It's my decision and I'm worried when it gets here I'm going to get told it's too big you picked the wrong one.

Themeing has been picked and will be bought today.

I'm going to look at the costs of lights as its all mounting up now. If we get the bigger one it's going to be over £1k Shock

OP posts:
TreeSparrow · 30/04/2016 23:04

Yeah they're not cheap bought new. God, it'll look amazing though. And bigger tanks are actually easier to maintain as they are more stable. I'm excited for you!

rainbowrocks · 02/05/2016 13:33

Fishtank ordered. We went in to double check the measurements good job we did as the quotes we had were for 24inch doors not 30inch that we had seen and asked for. There was a lovely tank in there we wanted the same just in white gloss but the person didn't specify what the door height was. Have gone for the smaller in the end due to cost as it would take the price upto atleast £850. The length difference between both tanks were 8.5cm so really won't make much difference.

Would rather have a taller tank than longer as I wanted to mirror our kitchen cabinets as closely as possible!

Filter bought went for the fluval 306 external and LED lights. Happy with that as it should look really nice when it's in. Hopefully the wait should only be about 2 weeks.

OP posts:
rainbowrocks · 02/05/2016 14:14

Just done a water test on the 25L tank and the results are

Ammonia- 0.25ppm
Nitrite- 0.25ppm
Nitrate - 5.0ppm

I can't believe the difference now in just two weeks!

OP posts:
TreeSparrow · 03/05/2016 22:36

Sounds like you're making excellent progress. It's a lot to learn isn't it?

LED lights will look amazing. Great choice!

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.