Too many cycling fish

Jul 22, 2016
I need some advice on some "hearty" fish I recently purchased to aid in cycling of the tank:

I am in the process of setting up a 10 gallon tank.

I spend 2 weeks fishlessly cycling with some live plants.

Went to the pet store last Friday [two days prior to posting this] with a water sample just to confirm that everything was on schedule and doing just fine of my deadline of "fish after 1 month of cycling". The woman at the store (who admitted that aquariums weren't her area of expertise) said levels looked really good (good enough for fish) and recommended that I add some "hearty" fish to aid in the cycling process for my last 2 weeks.

She then bagged for me about 20 fish (I've been unable to identify them online, but I've attached a picture) and I accepted this recommendation without even questioning - maybe the summer heat is getting to me too because everything I've read online (and what I was told by the aquarium expert the previous time I'd been into the store) is that you only want 2-3 fish for cycling a tank. In addition, its my understanding that for a tank my size, I shouldn't keep more than about 5 (schooling) fish, so my hearty fish are producing way more waste than my filter was designed to handle.

I am not willing to purposely kill them or flush them (I'm fact I want to do everything I can to give them happy healthy lives), and I'm unable to make the financial investment of a second tank/bowl - do you think the pet store would take them back? Or do you have recommendations on how often I should clean/change the water to reduce the amount of waste their swimming in (with the understanding that I am still trying to build up bacteria levels for the fish I eventually want to get as pets).

I'm also "concerned" that these fish won't naturally perish in 2 weeks, which means I will have an overstocked tank of not-the-fish-I'm-looking-for. I know its not the worse problem to have to wait until them pass away (how long can they live, anyway?) but I'm so excited for my GloFish!



Superstar Fish
Jan 11, 2013
East Aurora, NY
Those look to be common goldfish, maybe some comets in there too. 20 of them in a 10g is insane as you've probably read by now. These are pond fish that need large tanks or ponds to thrive. 20 of them in 10g will produce lethal amounts of ammonia in no time in an uncycled tank.

How did you "fishlessly cycle" your 10g? Just adding dechlorinated water and plants does nothing. You have to add an ammonia source for a cycle to happen and it takes a month or better and lots of measuring/monitoring of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate with your API master test kit (which you'll need).

Likes: Mizzmary21
Jul 22, 2016
Thank you for your response!

I was instructed to fishlessly cycle by adding a small amount of food every other day. I was told that the food would decays and represent the waste of fish. It seems to work fine! My levels were really good.

I called the pet store - they are goldfish! Feeder Goldfish to be exact, which really surprises me as everything I've read suggests that goldfish are not good cycling fish. Also, the store was willing to take the fish back, so now I only have a healthy 3 fish tank.