Maintenance of ten gallon hand-me-down
I moved out of my mother's house and to another state three years ago. She agreed to take over the care of my 10 gallon tank. It is heavily planted with java fern and crypts.
When I left, it was stocked with three black skirt tetras. I have always kept a really low bioload on the tank because I wanted a lot of leeway regarding water changes. I didn't test the water on a regular basis, either.
About a year ago, my mom decided she was bored and wanted to add two sunset platys. I warned her that they were livebearers, but she didn't seem to mind.
Now she has fifteen platys and two black skirt tetras. They seem to have stopped breeding, for now. I heard that when livebearers are inbred, they become sterile after a few generations, so maybe that is what happened. Is this true?
The java fern is flourishing, and the algae is basically non-existent. The platys are constantly grazing the java fern. The crypts seem a little wimpy compared to what they were like when I left three years ago. I read that they can react badly to sudden changes in water quality.
I change the water when I visit, but I only visit a few times a year. Sometimes I don't go home for three months. Mom refuses to do water changes. She buys this stuff called Nitro-ban instead. I've never even heard of it. I have no idea if it's safe.
I haven't tested the water parameters because my kits are expired and it seems like a waste to buy a new water testing kit I'm only going to use once or twice. I know that I need to test the water, but the fish seem so happy and the java fern is really flourishing.
Even if I buy the kit and find out the nitrates are high, can I really do anything about it if I can't convince my mother to do water changes? Does this Nitro-ban stuff really help?