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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Default My 55 Gallon Community


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    Hello everybody. After looking through a lot of the journals on here, I decided to start one myself. To the beginning we go.

    It all started in June of 2011, when my 29 gallon community tank was hit hard by culumnaris. In the span of just a few days, my whole aquarium was nearly wiped out. I still only have 3 out of the 15 fish remaining from this outbreak. I'm still not sure what I'm going to do with the little Glolight Tetras; I'm having a hard time trusting them.

    My old 29 g setup - My favorite Platy is showcased here


    Before the outbreak, I had been debating on upgrading to a 55g. Well, the disease pretty much made my decision for me, as I had to start fresh anyways with the 29g.

    I purchased the 55g tank, stand, hood, lights, rock, heater, and filter for only $390 from my LFS. The guy runs a small shop here, and he gives great deals on nearly everything. I did crunch some numbers and to purchase all of the items myself, I would have spent around $700 - I'll take $390!

    Here's the aquarium once I got it home and setup

    This was all back in June. I originally purchased 6 serpae tetra's to cycle the tank. They all quickly died (overnight) - still not sure why, there was zero ammonia present at that time. I did some research, and decided to move forward with a fishless cycle. Well, as my girlfriend tells everybody, I have almost zero patience sometimes and that's exactly what happened with the fishless cycle. After two weeks of just feeding the aquarium with ammonia, I broke down and purchased 6 harlequin rasboras. To my surprise, they handled the aquarium quite well and made it through the cycling process. As of 08/15, they were all alive and well and the tank was cycled with 0 for ammonia and nitrites and the nitrate level was around 30. I purchased 4 neon tetras from the same LFS.

    Aquarium around 08/08


    I created some more slate structures and added them with 2 amazon swords and some hornwart around 08/16


    At around 11 pm on 08/17, I found one of my rasboras dead. In the time it took me to grab a bucket and my net, another dropped. Over the course of the night, three more died. I did a 20% water change, and tested. Everything still seemed normal, no spikes in ammonia or nitrites, and nitrate was still around 30. As a precaution, I removed the extra slate structures I had just added.

  2. #2

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    The current aquarium - the right side


    The left side


    Group of neons


    Last remaining harlequin

  3. #3

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    Not sure what happened to the rasbora but you tried to cycle 55 gallon of water with only 6 rasbora. It would take almost forever to get a cycle with that much water with only 5 small fish. You don't want to go nuts but you still need enough fish to get a bit of ammonia going. I cycled my 29 with 14 glowlight tetra's and after it was cycled and two weeks had passed, I added a few more.

    Still wondering on those rasbora. Are you sure you added a water dechlorinator when you did a water change? Sure is odd they would all go so quickly like that.

    But if I was you, I'd get a few more fish to get a cycled started. You now only have 6 neons and 1 rasbora, right? Neons are somewhat sensitive and really not a great cycling fish. Also, get no bottom feeders. They need to go in a tank last after it's well cycled.

    And PLEASE......don't even think about ever paying $700 for a 55 gallon tank! You can get the whole kit at Walmarts for $155.

  4. #4

    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Hobbs
    Not sure what happened to the rasbora but you tried to cycle 55 gallon of water with only 6 rasbora. It would take almost forever to get a cycle with that much water with only 5 small fish. You don't want to go nuts but you still need enough fish to get a bit of ammonia going. I cycled my 29 with 14 glowlight tetra's and after it was cycled and two weeks had passed, I added a few more.

    Still wondering on those rasbora. Are you sure you added a water dechlorinator when you did a water change? Sure is odd they would all go so quickly like that.

    But if I was you, I'd get a few more fish to get a cycled started. You now only have 6 neons and 1 rasbora, right? Neons are somewhat sensitive and really not a great cycling fish. Also, get no bottom feeders. They need to go in a tank last after it's well cycled.

    And PLEASE......don't even think about ever paying $700 for a 55 gallon tank! You can get the whole kit at Walmarts for $155.
    I've been using prime to dechlorinate the tap water. As for the tank price, I think you overlooked the stand and rock being included in the final price of $390. The kits at walmart/petsmart don't include those items :).

    I ran out of time to fully go back and explain how this aquarium was cycled. When I did the fishless method, I was using a bottle of ACE hardware ammonia and test strips. A combonation of the innacurate test strips (plus being old) led me to believe that I needed to add more ammonia than i needed. So, instead of having only 4ppm ammonia, i was through the roof when i finally bought and used the API master kit. At this point, i had no fish in the aquarium. I did quite a few 50% water changes in hopes to bring the level down, which eventually did happen. After a few weeks, my impatience grew and i bought the 6 rasboras. The little guys, to my amazement, showed no signs of stress, even though the ammonia level was around 4ppm (zero nitrites and nitrates). I tested everyday, performed 20%-30% water changes every other day, fed them sparingly, and waited. I had to leave town on July 23rd, and at this point, i still had zero nitrites and nitrates, but the ammonia was holding steady at around the 4-5 ppm.

    During those two weeks while i was gone, i had somebody come to my house every other day just to feed the fish. I tested the aquarium when i got home on 08/08:

    Ammonia 0
    Nitrites 5 or higher
    Nitrates - Around 5

    The fish were still doing fine - schooling back and forth and eating well. A week later, the nitrites were gone, still zero ammonia, and the nitrates were high. I did a water change, and purchased the 4 neons. Everything was fine until 08/17.

    On 08/16, I added the three slate structures, including one "house" or "cave" that was built by gluing the slate pieces around two plastic containers. I also added the two amazon swords and the hornwart.

    08/17 - On that night, everything started. One by one, all of my harlequins died (the final one died last night 08/18).

    08/18 - Found two of the four neons dead and stuck to the filter intake. I believe the cause is Ick, probably introduced by one of the neons.

    I really need to look into getting a quarantine tank - I do have a 29 gallon just sitting there, but that's kind of a large quarantine tank, especially since I'm an apartment hunter.

  5. #5

    Join Date
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    On 08/16, I added the three slate structures, including one "house" or "cave" that was built by gluing the slate pieces around two plastic containers. I also added the two amazon swords and the hornwart.
    Is it real slate and did you boil it first?
    What "glue" did you use?

    What are your tank readings now?

  6. #6

    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkipW
    Is it real slate and did you boil it first?
    What "glue" did you use?

    What are your tank readings now?
    Yes, it's real slate. I did not boil before use, but I did let it sit in a bucket of conditioned tap water. I used GE Silicone for doors/windows (without the anti-fungus additive), which was recommended and widely used by others when doing the project.

    I have not tested yet this morning. I plan on testing shortly.

  7. #7

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    If your water tests OK, 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites, then I would pull the slate out. It looks great by the way.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by SkipW
    If your water tests OK, 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites, then I would pull the slate out. It looks great by the way.
    Thank you. I really like it, but I will take your advice and pull the remaining slate structures. I already pulled the three that I added this week, but perhaps the other ones are causing problems.

  9. #9

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    WOW, that tank looks EXACTLY like my 38g. Even down to plant placement and choice of decor.

  10. #10

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    I am sorry you are having problems getting your tank up and running, I would also remove the slate since that seems to be when your problems began. I would continue with the water changes because there is no subsitute for pristine water conditions. Because you have only small fish in a 55 gallon tank, it will be hard to maintain a cylce since they are not big waste producers they may not be able to hold your cycle. When you do add more fish, bigger fish, you will have more waste, you might actually see an ammonia spike, so make sure you continue testing your water regularly.

    Also this just came to mind, several years ago, upon finishing a water change and my aquarium had been stable for over a year, my fish began dying rapidly. I didn't know the cause and I lost my entire tank, because I had unanswered questions I took a sample of my water to the local hosiptal to have it tested as you would if you had well water, it turned out that the municipality where I lived at the time put pesticides in the water in October every year to kill any parasites. This is what caused my tank to crash.
    Karen
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