Help with a new tank
So, I have a relatively new tank (about 8 weeks old), and I'm experiencing some fish death. When I first got the tank up and running, I used some of the Dr. Tim's Aquatics bacteria in a bottle to help the tank get cycling, and began stocking. Here are the fish I stocked, in the order I stocked them (all species were introduced separately, roughly a week or two apart):
6 variatus platies (2 males, 4 females)
8 zebra danios
6 corydoras elegans
2 dwarf gourami (both male)
6 lemon tetras
These are in a 50 gallon aquarium with an AquaClear 110 filter (no carbon filtration). I keep the tank at 78.4 degrees fahrenheit. The tank is heavily planted; I don't use any fertilizer, but I do use Seachem Flourish Excel (a carbon supplement). I'm using conditioned tap water with a pH somewhere between 7.4 and 7.6 according to my API test kit. During the first few weeks of the tanks life, I tested once or twice daily for my cycling parameters, and never saw the ammonia rise above 0.25 ppm or the nitrite rise above 0 ppm. I have high nitrate levels out of the tap; I'll bring that up later in the thread. I do a 40% water change every week.
I feed twice daily, usually a small pinch of flake food and 4 or 5 shrimp pellets. I feed them freeze dried bloodworms about twice a week.
A few weeks ago, one of the corys died. I'm not sure why; all fish seemed healthy and active, then I found him dead, stuck to the filter intake. I gave the tank a couple weeks, during which I tested the water parameters daily (again, never saw any of the water parameters spike). I chalked the death up to random chance and added the lemon tetras about a week ago.
After a couple days, one of the tetras got sick. He swam around the tank in a spiral motion, and eventually ended upside down in the plants, dead. I removed him from the tank, tested water params (nitrite was high, about 5.0 ppm!) and performed a 50% water change, followed by another 50% water change the next day. Finally, earlier today I found a cory dead. I removed him, tested params (nitrite at 0.25 ppm), and did a 50% water change.
The biggest potential problem I can see is that, out of the tap, I have very high nitrate levels. I tested the tap water today and it shows nitrates somewhere between 40 and 80 ppm. Once in the tank, the nitrates drop a bit from the plants, but it's difficult to keep them low even with big weekly water changes. Any advice on what to do? I'm not positive my problem is related to my tap water quality, but it seems possible. I don't think I'm overfeeding, but I'm new at this; they consume the flakes very quickly, usually in about 30 seconds or so, but it takes them a while longer to eat up the shrimp pellets.
Well one problem you could have in the future is the two drawf gouramis, they will fight.. a lot...
I speak from experience and they probably will kill one another.
You could try a "nitrate hog" of a plant, Hygro Austofolia is one, so is hornwort. There are a few you can try. If you do have nitrates in the tap, don't do large water changes. Stick to 20-30% a week.
Other than the 2 gouramis I think the stock is ok. But i am still nervous about the method in which you cycled (would explain the cory death first)
Most people don't like the instant cycle chemicals... for now my thought would be find an easy plant that sucks up a lot of nitrates (some stem plants do well too)
: 75g: 9 Parva Rainbow, 2 Oto, 4 Platies, 10 Sterbai, 4 Calico BN Pleco
10g: RCS, 10 B. Brigittae; 10g: 4 Fp. Spoorenbergi, 7 C. Habroseus, Orchid Endlers; 10g: 4 Fp. Spoorenbergi, Species #2 Endlers,
Plants: 75: Various Crypts, J Fern, Alternanthera Reineckii, Temple Hygro, Moneywort, R. Indica
10s: Italian Vals, Java Fern; C. Parva, C Lutea, Dwarf Hairgrass, Subwassertang; C. Wendtii D. Sag
Plants for Sale
Do you shake the heck out of the nitrate bottle 2?....and shake the test tube for a minute after mixing?
10 Gallon: 8 Platys, 2 Guppies, Snails, some RCS, and plants
40 Gallon Breeder: 10 Rosy Tetras, 10 Red & Blue Colombian Tetras, 10 Marbled hatchets, 7 Pristella Tetras, 6 Sterbai Corys, 1 Ancistrus "Rio Tocantins", 2 Re-homed Platys, plants and DW
"Don't cry because it is over; smile because it happened" --- Theodor Seuss Geisel
Yeah, I shake the crap out of it.
in your thread you said you had nitrite of 5 ppm.
this says you are not cycled.
a lot of those bacteria in a bottle stuff is only a temorary cycle.
after a while the bacteria die off unless you keep adding more with your water changes.
what i would do is return the fish and restart. do a fishless cycle. there is a sticky on the beginer section. in the cycle sub-section.