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  1. #1

    Default Unintentional Bad Fish Mommy


    0 Not allowed!
    I recently bought myself a 10 gallon tank, asked what I thought were all the right questions, and sent myself into the downward spiral of being a bad fish mommy and unintentionally "killing" some of my fish in the process. :( I had the assistance of a friend who has had two goldfish for the past two years, and quickly learned that caring for tropical fish seems to be much more intense and now I'm trying to rectify things and keep the casualties to a minimum. I upgraded to a 37 gallon tank with a Penguin filter, 3 danios (glo-fish) and one corey catfish. I converted the 10 gal. tank to a filterless tank for my african dwarf frog, as the shop I got my fish from did not, in my opinion, provide me with adequate guidance to create an environment for happy and healthy fish. I have spent hours and hours scouring online to find the answers, and am hoping that I have hit a happy tank place but am looking for some insight. My water is naturally very hard and very alkaline...I was told by Petsmart that this is typical of all tanks in this area and the fish adjust. I also purchased the API master tester kit as my understanding of "cycling" did not occur until I went to Petsmart instead of the previous pet shop. The Ammonia in my tank has been 0-025ppm for about two weeks...and even with daily water changings (alternating 10% on day and 20% the next) I cannot seem to get my nitrites below 5.0ppm. I have been feeding the danios a very scant amount every morning and then proceed to change the water about 15 minutes later. After my water change I will drop half of an algae wafer into the tank for the catfish (usually every other day) to make sure he's fed. I luckily have not lost any more fish in the past week, but no matter how often I do water changes, I can't get the nitrite down below 5.0ppm. I had read online that using a gravel vac should only remove the food and not the bacteria, but now I'm reading that I shouldn't be vacuuming the gravel...won't that throw my Nitrates through the roof too? HELP!?! I don't want to be a bad fish mommy and I know I need to get my tank under control so I can get buddies for my catfish and danios for their mental health.

  2. #2

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    Default


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    Hello and welcome!

    It sounds like for the most part you're on the path to successful fishkeeping. I'd make a couple recommendations regarding your high nitrites -

    1. First, do a nitrite test on your tap water to make sure you're doing the test correctly and your test kit is working properly. That should read zero, of course - although some people may have nitrites in their tap water.
    2. Assume your readings are accurate, you need to be doing larger water changes. A 10% water change on a tank with 5ppm nitrites will still leave you with 4.5ppm. You need to be doing 50% or 75% water changes daily (or even a couple times a day) until you get your nitrite levels down to a healthier level.
    Last edited by Brhino; 04-15-2013 at 02:58 PM.
    300 gallon mega tank: sailfin pleco, clown loaches, silver dollars, roseline sharks, congo tetras, new world cichlids
    125 gallon office tank: Africian cichlids, synodontis catfih
    75 gallon community tank: bolivian rams, black skirt tetras, dwarf neon rainbowfish, corys, harlequin rasboras, otos, bristlenose and bulldog plecos, assassin snails, various shrimp
    60 gallon goldfish tank: fancy goldfish

  3. #3

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Thank you so much...I have already checked my tap water...I initially did that since the 10 gallon went through the roof. I feel horrible that I've basically had to move my fish from a super toxic tank, into a brand new one and cycle it with them in it, but my water quality in the 10 gallon was so horrible, the lady at Petsmart told me it would be safer to risk the shock than try to perform the large change that would be required for the 10 gallon. I've noticed that the few fish I have managed to keep alive seem to be doing better with the daily water changes and they actually are starting to check me out while I do the change instead of hiding. I was just scared to change more than 20% cause most people I've talked to has told me that big water changes are bad and stress out the fish. I originally was told to use Quick Start when changing the water...then told to use Stress Zyme...and then later read that using these bacteria can actually prolong the cycling process so I'm only using the water conditioner at this point. I purchased a bottle of Prime but have not added it as I wasn't sure whether that would actually stall the cycling.

    I'll give the large water change a try tomorrow morning and hope to get my fishies into a more happy place. I have to say, initially I thought "what have I got myself into?" but I really enjoy the fish and the frogs. The work is totally worth it, I just wish I would have read more before starting up my tank(s) instead of going by what I thought was reliable information.

  4. #4

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    Default


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    Quote Originally Posted by JennieO319 View Post
    Thank you so much...I have already checked my tap water...I initially did that since the 10 gallon went through the roof. I feel horrible that I've basically had to move my fish from a super toxic tank, into a brand new one and cycle it with them in it, but my water quality in the 10 gallon was so horrible, the lady at Petsmart told me it would be safer to risk the shock than try to perform the large change that would be required for the 10 gallon.

    IDK where people get the idea that large water changes are harmful to fish - in a new tank, it's important to keep your water parameters in a safe range during cycling - sometimes it's necessary to do a large change (meaning 50-75% at a time) if your ammonia goes too high or any other parameter is "off".- I've noticed that the few fish I have managed to keep alive seem to be doing better with the daily water changes and they actually are starting to check me out while I do the change instead of hiding.

    Fish benefit greatly from new water & become used to you putting your hand in the tank with the siphon.

    I was just scared to change more than 20% cause most people I've talked to has told me that big water changes are bad and stress out the fish.

    Again, that couldn't be further from the truth - when water becomes toxic or fish are showing signs of stress (like hiding, not eating, not looking well), the 1st thing advised is to change the water and check water parameters.

    I originally was told to use Quick Start when changing the water...then told to use Stress Zyme...and then later read that using these bacteria can actually prolong the cycling process so I'm only using the water conditioner at this point. I purchased a bottle of Prime but have not added it as I wasn't sure whether that would actually stall the cycling.

    Prime is always recommended here - it doesn't aid in cycling or harm it - cycling is the process of growing bacteria in your filter - ammonia is necessary for this but Prime can protect the fish from it.

    I'll give the large water change a try tomorrow morning and hope to get my fishies into a more happy place. I have to say, initially I thought "what have I got myself into?" but I really enjoy the fish and the frogs. The work is totally worth it, I just wish I would have read more before starting up my tank(s) instead of going by what I thought was reliable information.
    There ARE ways to stall the cycling process, but nothing you are doing is doing that - just don't touch your media - it stays put because that's where the bacteria are growing.

  5. #5

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    If the 10 gallon was so toxic, then you should have been doing 50% water changes every day until you got the ammonia and nitrite levels to a safe range.

    Cycling links are below in my signature.

  6. #6

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    Default


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    I used Tetra SafeStart when doing cycling with fish. It kept the Nitrite at 0 and the Ammonia at .25 the entire cycle, making it much easier on the fish. You might want to try this, and keep up the water testing daily for the next few weeks. SafeStart contains the correct beneficial bacteria to decrease the cycling time.

  7. #7

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    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Everyone has given you great advice. Please check out the sticky on cycling with fish that is in Lady Hobb's signature line. It will help give you some insight on how to get your tank cycled and the process that occurs during a cycle.

    In the meantime, here's your goal: while you are getting your tanks cycled, don't let your ammonia and or nitrites rise above .25. You keep it there by testing your water each morning and if it's above that, then you do a large water change. Every time you do a water change add enough water conditioner (dechlorinator) to treat the entire tank. Eventually you should be able to cut back to every other day or ever 3 days until you are finally reading 0 ammonia and nitrites. then you can cut back to weekly W/C of 50%.
    Do not touch your filter or filter media during this time. Try to avoid vacuuming also. You're building beneficial bacteria during the cycle process and that bacteria will eventually level out your ammonia and nitrites to 0. then all you have to worry about are nitrates and you want to keep them under 20ppm - again, you do this with weekly water changes, vacuming and not over feeding your fish.
    One additional note: after your cycle is completed (which could be weeks or months from now) do not replace any of your filter media - no matter what the instructions that came with the filter say. that media is where your BB lives. You don't want to throw it away. If it gets to the point where you feel it's too gunky, then simply rinse it gently in OLD TANK WATER (NEVER TAP WATER) and put it back in your filter. Many here have had the same media for years.

    Hope that helps
    30 g FW planted:corys, female ABNP, blue angel, harleys, zebra danios, rummies,
    15 g FW planted:2 male guppies, neons, pygmy corys, clown pleco, 4 types of shrimp, assassin snails
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  8. #8

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Thank you all so much for your input, I really appreciate it! I almost had a meltdown this morning when I came out into my living room to only the sounds of my bubble wand...the filter had become blocked by gravel sediment at some point during the night and I was afraid I was going to have to go get a new filter and start all over again! Luckily, my friend helped me pull it apart and get it working again. I set the filter and biowheel aside while doing this so as to not mess up the bacteria that was still in there. I changed out 20 gallons, waited about half an hour and tested the water...ammonia was 0.25ppm and the nitrites were down to 2.0ppm. All fish seem to be doing well, and I'm gonna go ahead and do another 20 gallons tomorrow morning to get it down further. Thank you all so much for helping me get my little buddies into a happier environment and I'll keep you posted on our progress.

  9. #9

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    Default


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    Nitrites are too high for sure. Don't wait until tomorrow. Change 75% - 80% of the water now to get that nitrite under .25.
    ~Manna
    120 gallon FW bowfront in progress

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by CrunchyLeaf View Post
    Nitrites are too high for sure. Don't wait until tomorrow. Change 75% - 80% of the water now to get that nitrite under .25.
    ++ to crunchyleaf! Nitrites are WAY too high. As I said in prior post get them down to .25.
    30 g FW planted:corys, female ABNP, blue angel, harleys, zebra danios, rummies,
    15 g FW planted:2 male guppies, neons, pygmy corys, clown pleco, 4 types of shrimp, assassin snails
    90 Gal Journal: http://bit.ly/1vC7gVX
    fishless cycling: http://bit.ly/1DARf3T
    fish in cycling: http://bit.ly/1ILvcfp

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