OK, so I went into fish keeping way too fast with almost no knowledge. I will give a short rundown of what happened in my tank.

I got a 5 gallon (19 liters) tank and a silver molly and a leopard longfin danio. I found out I need at least a 10 gallon (38 liters) so I got that both were Topfin Starter Kits. Decided I want more fish; so I got a neon tetra, gold dust molly and an Otocinclus catfish. I found out my danio was bullying my tetra, so I found out all the fish I had were very social creatures, so I got a zebra danio and a fish I thought was a tetra when it was actually a White Cloud Mountain minnow.

I overfed my fish and my tank became dirty, so I did a 25% water change. My catfish and gold dust molly died, so I removed them from the tank. I realized my mollies mated, so now I have 3 baby mollies. Found out about the ammonia spike and freaked out, and I bought a floating baby tank thing for the babies and a Tetra Whisperer Filter for the ammonia levels along with putting an absolute heck ton of conditioner and stabilizer and Stress Zyme. Ammonia levels still didn't go down, but my fish were acting normal. New filter arrives, so I put it in and took the old one out. I was freaking out, looking stuff up constantly this entire time and found out about the biological filter. Ammonia levels still didn't go down.

I added small amounts of salt to help because I saw it in a Youtube video. That still didn't work, so I decided: hey, let's put the old filter back, but keep the new one in two so now I have two filters. And I did a 50% water change, not 10 minutes ago from posting this.

My question is what the actual heck am I doing wrong? Help me please.

1 Answer 1


When things started to go wrong you did a few things right, like changing water and adding salt.

Keep on changing water every two days about 20-25% until you get the ammonia down, you need to stop feeding your fish until you get the ammonia and nitrite under control.

Keep on adding aquarium salt and water conditioner to the water, use a salt concentration of 0,3% as this is safe for your fish.

Be sure the water you add to your tank has the same temperature as your tank (you can fill water into containers and let it stand overnight to get rid of disolved gases and to let it warm a bit).

Vacuum the gravel to get rid of biological waste that might have acumulated, do not clean the filter until you can see that the waterflow from your filter is reduced.

When you clean the filter do not replace the sponges, use aquarium water to rinse and squeeze the sponges so you get out most of the waste.

Exept from this there is not a lot more you can do to help your fish survive.

Here is a good source for information about the nitrogen cycle https://www.fishlore.com/NitrogenCycle.htm it might be a little late to get this information now, but it is how to do it correctly.

  • 1
    Thank you so much, but what about the two filters? Should I take the new one out? Or should I keep The old filter? Or should I leave it how it is currently? Btw I'm using an API Ammonia test kit it has a vile where you fill to the line with aquarium water and use test solutions with the water to get the results. I also have a nitrate and nitrite test kit which is a tab you swirl in the water but they both read 0 when I test it.
    – Kyle
    Jun 26, 2020 at 13:08
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    my advice is to use both filters for now until your tank is cycled properly,when the ammonia starts to break down you will be able to measure nitrite and when the nitrite breaks down the end result is nitrate.you will only have to cycle your tank once unless you use antibiotics in your tank,if you do you are back to square one.so if you ever need to treat your fish use a separate tank to avoid problems in your main tank. Jun 26, 2020 at 13:18

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