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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone,

So I recently bought a fluval spec V and unfortunately, following my LFS recommendations overstocked it. I was wondering if any of you had any recommendations on how to proceed, knowing that I won't be able to return or buy a bigger tank for another few months.

Here is how it is stocked:

-1 Betta (his name is Patrick)
-3 harlequin rasboras (black morph)
- 1 otoclincus

Water Stats:

Ammonia: 0.25ppm
Nitrite: 0.25-0.5 ppm
Nitrate: do not remember but was considered in the norms

In terms of plants:

- 2 Cryptocoryne x willisii
- dwarf hair grass carpet eventually
- (planning on adding on anubias or java fern to my log, not sure yet)

I change the water once a day 1.5 liters (out of 19) and 3 liters every other day. I leave the lights on for 10 hours a day (I know it's a lot) so that there is some algae growth so that my oto doesn't starve.

Other useful information would be:
- fish look healthy and are active
- Patrick (the betta) tore his fins or bit them when he was changed aquarium (from a 2.5 gallon)
- spec V has a very good biological filter, mechanical on is average.

Edit: The rasboras and the oto were added 5 days before the water test so my tank had it's bioload quadrupled at once. Not very smart, but I am extremely diligent with water changes.
 

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I would add to what you have.

Harlequin rasboras like groups of 6 or more. You could easily add another 6. Otoclincus also like groups you could add another 3.

Nice tank and you seem to be doing a great job of taking care of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hey ClearWater,

Thanks for your answer. So just to be clear, you recommend i add a few harlequin rasboras and otoclincus into the aquarium? Are you sure it won't be dangerously overstocked?

Thanks.

Diego
 

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Not certain exactly how large they make those tanks, but just eyeballing it (and comparing it to the betta), that's a large enough tank for a betta and a school of harlequins. Your oto would probably prefer more space to move, though, so I'd suggest getting rid of it at some point. No huge rush, your tank isn't overstocked. The ammonia/nitrite spike is due to the bio-load increase, it'll go away in a week or so when the bacteria adjust.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hello!

These are the dimensions of the fluval spec V:

52 X 19 X 29.5 CM (20.5 X 7.5 X 11.6 IN)

I will move my oto to my fluval edge 12 gallon once i get it.

What should I add to take care of algae? For now, I had one red cherry shrimp in there and my Betta killed it. So i don't know if that will work, maybe amano or ghost?

How many rasboras should I add? (these are harlequin rasboras not micro rasboras) They can grow to an inch and half.

thanks
 

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I have about 6 Harlequin Raspora's in a Fluval Edge (7 gallons). I'm sure others might say that's overstocked but it seems just right to me and water parameters are fine.

I've used Nerite snails for algae control in the past and while they have worked the females also leave unsightly eggs that stick to everything and never seem to disappear.

*Edit* To add to that, I would recommend returning the Oto. At least in my case I could never get them to thrive and frequently lost them until finally there were none. In my experience they won't subsist off of algae alone and will eventually wither. To add to this problem, many are wild caught, weak from travel, and won't take readily to prepared foods or, in my experience, fresh food. Perhaps your luck will be different but there are far too many stories of Oto's dropping off one at a time to make me feel like this was just a problem with my tank.
 

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I would NOT recommend ANY more fish at this time!
Finding ammonia indicates you are on a fine line with fish and adding more right now is not a good way to deal with the ammonia and nitrite. I would find the water changing needs to be upped a lot to rid the ammonia and nitrite quickly. What is currently apt to happen is the fish are being damaged and that can lead to shorter life for them. the frayed fins may really not be damage but early signs of poor water quality. The only acceptable ammonia and nitrite level is ZERO. I would assume with a new tank there was no discussion of the nitrogen cycle and getting the tank ready for fish?

First I would deal with the high pollution levels with something more like 50% water changes daily rather than the current 5-10%. At some point while you keep the water guality inline, the bacteria will catch up. Once the correct bacteria is online and processing the ammonia to nitrite and then the second set processing the nitrite to nitrate, you can feel okay to reduce the water changes and after a bit, then add more fish. The nitrate levels may be quite good right now as the bacteria is not processing much of the nitrite to make nitrate.

At this time, I do not see the tank as overstocked but under prepared which can give much the same results. Reducing feeding at this time can also help the pollution situation while things get under control. Fish are far less apt to starve than to die from the ammonia/nitrite damage. I think of it like us being in a room full of carbon monoxide and wondering about eating. Keeping them from dying is the main priority right now?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hey,

Thanks for your recommendations. I did cycle my tank before putting my fish. It was all prepared but as I said, I added a lot of fish at the same time causing the small spikes. I followed your recommendation and made a 50% water change. Also, I have reduced my feedings by quite a bit recently to make sure my fish don't poison themselves.

No, the priority is not to keep them from dying but to have them thrive in the tank.

As it seems that you are very knowledgable on the subject, what would you recommend going forward? #PlantedRich

Thank you kindly,
All the best
 

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Okay! I was afraid you might be one of many who had missed the nitrogen cycle completely. Sad to see but happens more than we like.
Since you do have more knowledge than I first thought, you are also in much better shape than I thought!
Just need to proceed with some care, perhaps? I would go with my first advise but not expect the damage I first thought. I'm a little surprised that the readings are showing as much ammonia and nitrite as measured but there are several things that could mean. Sometimes what seems like a small fish addition can be more than expected or it could be something as simple as the light we read the tests under. We all have to admit that our test kits are pretty low grade at the hobby level so wrong answers can come up.
But whatever, it is just a small hill to climb and try to keep the potential for any stress or damage down . I would suggest waiting to add more fish as the bacteria do need some time to catch up. Once they are fully up and working it is likely that you can add quite a number more fish. For now, I would up the amount of water changed. How much to change at a time can depend on how much pollution versus how well the new water matches the old. If we think of tanks and what happens in nature we can see that a steady stream might be better than one large change but most of us don't want to spend the whole day adding water! Just change more to get the readings as low as practical. Fish can stand "some" ammonia" but less is better.
Then when you get the levels down some, assuming it is there at all, the bacteria should be growing on all the surfaces in the tank and ready to breed/reproduce or whatever to meet the increased load much better. It takes time for tanks to fully establish but once they do, things go much quicker. I find NOT cleaning the filter and tank very much at first is better. The new bacteria seem "tender" and easier to degrade on new tanks. Later you can beat them up more and not see any harm.
Watch, test, wait and then add to the problem, perhaps. Right now there appears to be a small problem so I like to not add to that while working to relieve the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you so much for your answer. So what I'm going to do today is go get my water tested at the petshop and see how my levels are. I will post and let you know. I have to however buy at least on more harlequin rasbora because one jumped out of the tank while I was asleep. (They're sulking at the bottom in bad mood).

I also have an algae problem so I'm going to have to figure that out. Too much light? too much fert? too much co2? I don't know so i'll pop the tests and find the culprit.
 

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Most of the time tests are good. But then it does matter who is doing the testing at times. I sometimes find I go to the LFS and get the wrong answers on tests. It depends so much on how well they are trained and that is a matter of luck sometimes. You may get good info but then it may not be good at all so just keep in mind that it can happen.
My last run through with one of the local big company stores was so bad that it was funny. I had run out (expired) of test dope so I thought I could speed things along by getting the test done while buying the test kit. That made me fill a couple of the vials the API liquid test uses and take them to the store. I assumed they used the liquid tests, too. WRONG! The girl took the test tube, added a test strip and then took the next few minutes trying to figure how to get the test strip out of the tube as it fell in too far to reach.
Picture three employees trying to use every tool in reach to recover the strip to read the results while I'm standing there thinking about how I time the readings on test strips. After watching them stick pencils, nail files and other things in the test tube, I suggested they just dump it out as by that time I was not trusting the results anyway.
But they read the strip and told me my water was all good!

What did that old guy say? Something about test but verify?
 

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Your ammonia and nitrite readings are not sky high, and as you said, are responding to the new additions. If you have access to Seachem Prime or similar I would definitely dose that. Quite safe and effective even at larger doses. Then, I would slow down water changes so as not to remove too much N so that the bacteria don't starve and instead multiply to support a larger bio load.
 

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Oh and you're not overstocked especially if you continue adding some more plants. If you plan on keeping the light on for that long, I would add a bunch of floaters such as frogbit and salvinia minima which will filter the light into the tank (reducing algae) and eat up excess nutrients.

I'm able to overstock a 6 gallon with 8 chili rasboras, 5 CPD, 3 rocket killies, and 2 black bar Endlers. No ammonia, nitrite and nitrate at 5-20 ppm without a water change in 6 weeks. Granted I have floaters and lots of plants to do the heavy lifting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hey guys,

So I went to the pet store and I got my water tested. I had a 2ppm nitrite spike which freaked me out so I went into emergency mode. Changed 90% of the water even though it's not recommended because I imagine the only reason for that is that something was decaying in my tank and I couldn't see it.

I found out the reason for my unacceptable stats. There was decay in both my filter and gravel from my hairgrass, probably due to the algae. SO i took it all out replanted all my plants, didn't clean them just brushed off the algae to keep the bacteria.

I added my anubias, I'll send a picture when it's done.

Kind of annoyed by my extreme reaction because now I pretty much reset my tank ;(

Other than that, I'll get my water retested on Tuesday and on Friday to make sure it's all ok.

Will do 10% water changes starting Monday and see ow it goes. (I also augmented the flow of my filter so that the algae have less chance of finding a place)

If you have any thoughts about what I did, let me know (other than it being completely over the top).

Thanks

Diego
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I was wondering if you guys could help me on this. Once my tank stabilizes (I'm guessing in around 1.5-2 weeks,) and that the water tests come out fine, how many fish could I add knowing that now I have only one halfmoon betta, 2 harlequin rasboras and one oto.

I want to add some harlequins for sure because I feel like they're meant for something bigger but how many? this is the real question.
In terms of the Oto, I'd rather not add any since most have had bad experiences with these in small tanks.

Any recommendations in terms of additions, if I were to be adventurous and add something else than harlequins?

Thanks Guys.
 

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I was wondering if you guys could help me on this. Once my tank stabilizes (I'm guessing in around 1.5-2 weeks,) and that the water tests come out fine, how many fish could I add knowing that now I have only one halfmoon betta, 2 harlequin rasboras and one oto.



I want to add some harlequins for sure because I feel like they're meant for something bigger but how many? this is the real question.

In terms of the Oto, I'd rather not add any since most have had bad experiences with these in small tanks.



Any recommendations in terms of additions, if I were to be adventurous and add something else than harlequins?



Thanks Guys.


It sounds like you don't have access to a test kit. Unless the LFS is super close and convenient, it is probably a good idea to have one as you're starting out. The API freshwater master test kit on Amazon is decently priced.

It sounds like you found and removed a lot of dead plant matter hiding out in the filter which is good. Since it was newly planted, the DH likely did not die due to algae but to transplant shock where the plant sheds old growth while it adjusts to its new surroundings (happens to most plants).

In terms of stocking, I think someone has mentioned to trade in the oto. It likes to be in groups and your tank is on the smaller side. Any peaceful nano fish that stays under 1.5", ideally 1" would work well, like chili rasboras which I love. You can also consider Pygmy or dwarf Cory cats but they also like to be in groups so get 3-5.

I would add one species of fish at a time to not overload the nitrifying bacteria and have time to observe how they interact in the tank. How many you can add, as I mentioned earlier, will be heavily influenced by your cleaning regimen and what kind/quantity of plants you have.
 

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Sounds like you are moving in the right direction but need some minor adjusting. I like the advise above but differ on some points. I like the cories but whether to bother trading the oto or not is iffy to me. Is the value received worth the chase? I find there are many things more important to fish overall besides being in the correct numbers. So is it worth possibly disrupting the tank to catch and relieve the potential stress of one fish? I might watch the fish and see how he fits in before going to much trouble.
Then there is always room for differing opinions on test methods. I fully recognize that the liquid tests can be more accurate but I have some other thoughts as well.
In many cases, I find I will test if it is quick, easy and cheap with little doubt as to how I might screw up the results. Once fully trained and with practice, one can get more accurate readings with the liquid. But it is also super easy to get the wrong answer when first starting testing. Time involved, using correct shaking and timing the results can make the liquid less useful for a first time tester. In my case, I find I don't need fully accurate test results and we are only left with comparing colors so it is not really precise at best.
I go with keeping the liquid tests on the shelf but mostly using the Jungle (now Tetra) brand strips. I find the best price on them at Wal-mart but the main reason is that I will use them for quick and easy when I would not bother to use the liquid. For my use a poor test done well will certainly beat a higher quality test not done because of the hassle. Once I get past testing for ammonia, I go with the 5-in-1 strips for quick reports on whether things are the same or changing as that is all I need to know. Drifts and trends, not precise numbers?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I went to my LFS yesterday and it took me +/- 30 minutes to get there walking. Unfortunately, they don't take live stock back so I can't return them. Also, my oto looks pretty happy. He swims around, does his thing and when he feels lonely he swims with my harlequins. Do you think it's a good idea to add chilis with the harlequins? I was hoping I could add some harlequins so they're not completely alone. I'm also scared that if the fish are too small, Patrick (the betta) will get aggressive with them or try to eat them. I see he's ok with these so I'm pretty happy for now. @ibebian

I will check and search the internet to find a cheap test kit for my fish, even though liquid testing is pretty much simple chemistry and I see no complications in that. Do you have any recommendations on how to continue stocking it? @PlantedRich

I was thinking of adding 4 to 6 more harlequins and see how it goes from there. In terms of algae control, I need something that will keep my carpet clean, so maybe some shrimp, but for now Patrick is my limiting factor. (he killed my cherry and crystal red... went to LFS, asked for 2 cherries, got a CRS and RCS). He decapitates them. I was thinking maybe the bright colour bothered him. So once my aquarium plants start to cover the ground completely, I'll try to an Amano and see how it goes.

I would add one species of fish at a time to not overload the nitrifying bacteria and have time to observe how they interact in the tank. How many you can add, as I mentioned earlier, will be heavily influenced by your cleaning regimen and what kind/quantity of plants you have.
My cleaning regimen is intense, once a day to twice a day if necessary. Right now I have:

- 2 Cryptocoryne x willisii
- dwarf hair grass carpet eventually
- anubias nana (I bought it yesterday)

I'm thinking of adding other plants that have good filtration I just don't know what unfortunately. So to some extent my aquarium is decently planted. Any recommendations in terms of what to to add? @PlantedRich @ibebian
 
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