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  1. #1

    Default Questions about cycling/new aquarium from a newbie


    0 Not allowed!
    Hello,

    I actually just found this forum tonight and I'm anxious to get to know everyone and become involved, as I'd love to become an aquarium hobbyist. Unfortunately, the only experience I have with aquariums is my time as a child in my parent's house, when they had an aquarium, and even then, I don't remember everything involved, like cycling (which is very new to me).

    I've had my new 10gal. tank for about 10 days. I purchased the tank (which came with a startup kit) and set it up with the included filter (Top Fin Model 10 Power Filter), which had a Top Fin filter cartridge (3-way filtration: Mechanical, Chemical, Biological) and came with carbon stones (which were already added to the cartridge), and two small incandescent light bulbs.

    I also added about an inch of gravel, a Top Fin heater for 10gal tanks, 3 fake plants, 2 fake rock formations with gaps (that can be hid behind and swum through), a Tetra Whisper 10 Air Pump, and an Airstone rod (to create a wall of bubbles in the back).

    I kept everything running for about 2 days, which I read was recommended (and this was confirmed by PetSmart - the only fish store we have in the area) before adding fish. The temperature was/is ~78'F, the tested pH was about 7.0 (now it's between 6.5-7.0). As the tank was ready, I purchased my first fish.

    I bought two Long Fin Red Minor Tetra and one Blue Dwarf Guorami, brought them home, allowed them to acclimate to the water (while in their bag) for about 15min, then allowed them to enter the tank.

    Of course, this was before I read about cycling... I had read elsewhere that you shouldn't change anything in the tank, while the new fish are in, for about two weeks - and THEN you can cycle your tank. I've pretty much let it go and everything's been ok... except the water had become cloudy, due to (I'm guessing) the unfortunate excess in food waste that my fish are not eating. They'll eat, but not very much. I've overestimated how much they will eat, and I've added more than what's necessary, I'm sure... on several occasions. I've tried to cut back over the last week... but it's difficult to judge a "pinch" of food.=X

    Anyway, on the 8th day, I noticed one of my Tetras had a white spot on the back - it almost looks like his scales are raised a little bit. It doesn't look like ick, but certainly looks more like fungus. So, I went out and purchased Fungus Guard, after doing some internet researching of what it could be. I thought it might have been a bite from the other Tetra, but I've never really seen them go at it, and it does look like it could be fungus. So, I used the Fungus Guard yesterday. I'm supposed to wait another 4 days before adding another dose, and due to the carbon filter's nature, I had to remove the carbon, in order for the medication to remain in the tank.

    Now it's been 10 days, the Tetra with fungus still has the spot, the water is still a greenish color, and I'm wondering what the heck is going to happen... They all seem to be doing alright, besides the one spot on his side, but who knows for sure.

    Anyway, now you know where I stand at the moment. I apologize for the length of this post, but I do have a few questions, if you wouldn't mind helping me out:

    1. Will carbon filtration effect the cycling process? Now that I've taken the carbon out, should I replace it with something else, or leave the cartridge/filter media as-is?

    2. After 10 days, the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels have not changed. I have this circle ammonia test that you leave in the tank for several months. It's supposed to change colors as ammonia levels fluctuate. It has stayed the same (yellow/orange - which means safe/no ammonia) the entire time. How is this possible? I've tested the Nitrite, Nitrate and pH levels with the API 5 in 1 Test Strips, and the pH tests 6.5-7.0, and the Nitrites/Nitrates test about 0, as far as I can tell. How can this be, especially with all of the wasted food on the bottom and the 3 fish in the tank? I did remove the carbon on the 8th day... perhaps that has something to do with the delay? Perhaps the test strips aren't as effective as I thought? An employee of PetSmart said that's what they use... but who knows. Should I invest in something better?

    3. I'm not sure if the "fungus" is actually fungus... even though it does look like it could be a fungus (I'm not an expert, obviously). I suppose it's more of a preventative measure. If it is fungus, what do you think could have caused this? Do you think it had this, before being entered into the tank, or do you think my aquarium could have caused this? 8 days and already a problem? Yeesh... that's some bad mojo. I purchased some Aquarium Salt, as well... Perhaps this should be used instead?

    4. I've read elsewhere that a filter built for 10gal tanks could possibly not be large enough to be effective in 10gal tanks. I've noticed that not a lot of what should be sucking up into the filter actually is... like the food on the bottom of the tank (flakes). Should I upgrade my filter to something stronger?

    5. In addition to my carbon question, regarding cycling, how many times a week and how much water should be replaced? I've read so many different things around the internet, that it's all become a mish-mash of confusion. I've ready 10% bi-daily, 20% bi-daily, 20-30% bi-daily & 50% weekly, just 20-30% weekly, etc... Can you clarify what is correct? Also, should I have been doing this from day 1, instead of waiting two weeks, like was suggested on another site?

    I'm really sorry for all the questions and lengthy post... but reading more about all of this stuff has really made me think more about it, and has created more questions than has answered. I truly appreciate your help and I hope that with the knowledge I obtain, I'll be able to help others like myself. =]

    Thanks very much and I look forward to speaking with you all,

    Kevin
    Last edited by KevinVA; 03-03-2012 at 02:24 AM.

  2. #2

    Join Date
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    Why thank-you - Cliff The grammar crab has you in its grasp! D: - Trillianne Thanks for the clarification - Mith A few clown for the fellow SW clowns. :D - ILuvMyGoldBarb sorry about your angelfish - smaug 
    Many cultures donw through the ages have known that Ice cream is the perfect band-aid for all occasions. ~  Sorry for your loss. - 850R Here's some Christmass Cheer, Happy Holidays Sheamurai - Cliff merry xmas, keep good care of him - genocidex Beer! The perfect gift for any occasion - Merry Chrismas! - 850R I'm glad your here and a active forum member - Cliff 
    penguin for a friend XD - genocidex Thanks for the help with that spammer !!! - Cliff Thank you for the kind words - Cliff Merry Christmas - Cliff To help you re-stock the tank - Cliff 
    Discus and Beer! - Sandz To Discus Days!!! - JudiJetson For very clear advice! - houdini56 Happy Holidays! - Rue Happy Easter! - Slaphppy7 

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    1. Will carbon filtration effect the cycling process? Now that I've taken the carbon out, should I replace it with something else, or leave the cartridge/filter media as-is?
    Carbon won't affect cycling much, all it does is remove meds and some toxins from the water. As BB grows on the filter media, so long as some ammonia is getting thru the filter cycling is tanking place. Not a lot of us run carbon here tho, I don't run it in any of my FW tanks, only in my SW tank as the corals can wage chemical warfare on each other at times. I would use up what cartridges you have, but not buy any replacements and go with a sponge and floss.

    2. After 10 days, the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels have not changed. I have this circle ammonia test that you leave in the tank for several months. It's supposed to change colors as ammonia levels fluctuate. It has stayed the same (yellow/orange - which means safe/no ammonia) the entire time. How is this possible? I've tested the Nitrite, Nitrate and pH levels with the API 5 in 1 Test Strips, and the pH tests 6.5-7.0, and the Nitrites/Nitrates test about 0, as far as I can tell. How can this be, especially with all of the wasted food on the bottom and the 3 fish in the tank? I did remove the carbon on the 8th day... perhaps that has something to do with the delay? Perhaps the test strips aren't as effective as I thought? An employee of PetSmart said that's what they use... but who knows. Should I invest in something better?
    In a word, yes. Liquid test kits are available and are more sensitive than strips or the tag. 3 fish isn't a lot for a 10gal, so it is possible that the ammonia levels haven't reached detectable elvels yet, but I doubt it. If your fish aren't eating well, likely water quality has something to do with it. You should vacuum the food off the gravel, even if your cycling its not really a good idea to leave it there.

    3. I'm not sure if the "fungus" is actually fungus... even though it does look like it could be a fungus (I'm not an expert, obviously). I suppose it's more of a preventative measure. If it is fungus, what do you think could have caused this? Do you think it had this, before being entered into the tank, or do you think my aquarium could have caused this? 8 days and already a problem? Yeesh... that's some bad mojo. I purchased some Aquarium Salt, as well... Perhaps this should be used instead?
    I think poor water quality is the culprit. I recommend you do a water change, at least a third of the tank. After testing the water with a liquid test kit, you'll have a better idea about your water. Are you using water conditioner?

    4. I've read elsewhere that a filter built for 10gal tanks could possibly not be large enough to be effective in 10gal tanks. I've noticed that not a lot of what should be sucking up into the filter actually is... like the food on the bottom of the tank (flakes). Should I upgrade my filter to something stronger?
    Most folks here will recommend you get a filter for double your tank volume. It depends on how much you plan on putting in your tank. The more stock you have, the more filtration you need. If you aren't going to be adding any more than the three fish you have, likely the current filter will do just fine.

    5. In addition to my carbon question, regarding cycling, how many times a week and how much water should be replaced? I've read so many different things around the internet, that it's all become a mish-mash of confusion. I've ready 10% bi-daily, 20% bi-daily, 20-30% bi-daily & 50% weekly, just 20-30% weekly, etc... Can you clarify what is correct? Also, should I have been doing this from day 1, instead of waiting two weeks, like was suggested on another site?
    Your water maintenance schedule depends on the rate of water pollution. If you are cycling a tank, you may need to replace 70% of the water daily in order to keep the levels in the non-fatal range. If you have a heavily planted tank with only a few fish, you may only need to do bi-weekly or even monthly 20% water changes. Completely depends on what you have. I change out 50% of water weekly on all my tanks except the reef, which is far more sensitive to fluctuations.


    Welcome to AC! That was a heck of a first post!
    20gal long planted community

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Thanks!!! - steeler58 Happy Mother's Day! - Slaphppy7 For 7,000 posts!! - steeler58 Thanks for the rep!! - steeler58 For working with new fish keepers! Outstanding this month. - Taurus 
    Just Because - Surfdog A round for the fallen this Memorial Day weekend. - Compass I had no cup, so I put it on a bun... - Slaphppy7 You are amazing! So smart and giving. - SeaLady Can't give you any more rep, but well said! - steeler58 
    Thank again!! You seem to enjoy your coffee. - steeler58 Thanks for the rep!! - Compass this doesnt look like pie... not the right kind.. - Sandz for providing solid guidance to others - RiversGirl Thanks for the rep! :) - Compass 
    cheers - Fishhook Using up my winnings on my friends! - Compass No Message - Fishhook beeeeeeeer! - Sandz Bottoms up! (even though you don't drink, lol) - Slaphppy7 

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    1. Carbon will not affect the cycle process, but if you don't have any media in your filter there is nothing for the bacteria to grow on and that will severely slow down the cycle. You could cut the bag open take out the carbon and stuff the bag with some biomedia and put that in the filter.
    2.I have never used the in tank ammonia things but I hear they aren't all that great. I suggest getting a quality liquid testing set like API freshwater master kit and I hear Hagan also makes a quality testing kit.
    3. Could be fungus, ich looks like your fish has salt grains on it, fungus is larger patches and usually a bit fuzzy looking. A picture would be very helpful here if possible. It's probably caused by the stress of living in an uncycled tank.
    4. If your bioload from the fish is small a 10g filter will work fine. However, I suggest getting a larger filter, the more room to grow bacteria the better. Look for one that doesn't take cartridges like an Aquaclear 20, this way you don't ever have to worry about buying cartridges and the media will stay cycled.
    5. During cycling you need to change enough water to keep the ammonia present but not at toxic levels for your fish. Around .25ppm will work, this is why you need a quality testing kit. There is no text book answer when cycling a tank with fish on how much or how often to change water. You change it every time your readings are over .25ppm. This can be every few days, daily or more than once a day, depending on many different factors.

    Finally, do read this link, it will tell you how to properly cycle with fish.
    http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aqua...ad.php?t=36492
    When I go fishing I just place a sharp rock in the water and sit there waiting for all the dead fish to float to the top... Kingfisher
    Brutal honesty will be shown on this screen.
    I think my fish is adjusting well to the four gallon, He's laying on his side attempting to go to sleep on the bottom of the gravel.
    Tolerance is a great thing to have, so is the ability to shut up.

    I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you.


  4. #4

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Wow, quick responses and great info! Thanks, I really appreciate your help.

    Tomorrow, I'm going to buy the API liquid test kit. I saw them at the pet store, so I know exactly what I'm looking for. Hopefully that will add some clarity to the cycling process.

    I do plan on adding more fish, once it's safe to do so, so I think I'll upgrade my filter. I'll take a look at the Aquaclear 20, as I don't want to become dependent on carbon.

    Sheamurai, to answer your question I have purchased water conditioner, but haven't used it yet, because of the medication I added to the water. Would you suggest I stop using the medication and just go forward with the water changes and then add conditioner? Is fungus something that can clear up on its' own with better water quality?

    Oh, another question that I had... When replenishing the water in the tank, would you add water conditioner/dechlorinator to the new water, before adding it, or after adding it to the tank? Does it matter?

    Thanks again, you both have already been a great help.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    A little further from sanity
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    Awards Showcase

    Thanks!!! - steeler58 Happy Mother's Day! - Slaphppy7 For 7,000 posts!! - steeler58 Thanks for the rep!! - steeler58 For working with new fish keepers! Outstanding this month. - Taurus 
    Just Because - Surfdog A round for the fallen this Memorial Day weekend. - Compass I had no cup, so I put it on a bun... - Slaphppy7 You are amazing! So smart and giving. - SeaLady Can't give you any more rep, but well said! - steeler58 
    Thank again!! You seem to enjoy your coffee. - steeler58 Thanks for the rep!! - Compass this doesnt look like pie... not the right kind.. - Sandz for providing solid guidance to others - RiversGirl Thanks for the rep! :) - Compass 
    cheers - Fishhook Using up my winnings on my friends! - Compass No Message - Fishhook beeeeeeeer! - Sandz Bottoms up! (even though you don't drink, lol) - Slaphppy7 

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    If you have city water you need to always use conditioner to remove the chloramines. Add it before you put new water in the tank. If you are using buckets add enough to the bucket of water to de-chlorinate the water you are adding. If you don't add it the chloramines will kill the bacteria you are trying to grow.
    When I go fishing I just place a sharp rock in the water and sit there waiting for all the dead fish to float to the top... Kingfisher
    Brutal honesty will be shown on this screen.
    I think my fish is adjusting well to the four gallon, He's laying on his side attempting to go to sleep on the bottom of the gravel.
    Tolerance is a great thing to have, so is the ability to shut up.

    I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you.


  6. #6

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Ok, sounds good. Thanks again!

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
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    Awards Showcase

    Why thank-you - Cliff The grammar crab has you in its grasp! D: - Trillianne Thanks for the clarification - Mith A few clown for the fellow SW clowns. :D - ILuvMyGoldBarb sorry about your angelfish - smaug 
    Many cultures donw through the ages have known that Ice cream is the perfect band-aid for all occasions. ~  Sorry for your loss. - 850R Here's some Christmass Cheer, Happy Holidays Sheamurai - Cliff merry xmas, keep good care of him - genocidex Beer! The perfect gift for any occasion - Merry Chrismas! - 850R I'm glad your here and a active forum member - Cliff 
    penguin for a friend XD - genocidex Thanks for the help with that spammer !!! - Cliff Thank you for the kind words - Cliff Merry Christmas - Cliff To help you re-stock the tank - Cliff 
    Discus and Beer! - Sandz To Discus Days!!! - JudiJetson For very clear advice! - houdini56 Happy Holidays! - Rue Happy Easter! - Slaphppy7 

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Without a pic we (folks on AC) can't confirm your thought that its fungus, and it's not a good idea to dose when you don't know what you are treating. However, you are already doing treatments, and if you stop now and it IS fungus you would only allow the fungus to recover and become bigger and badder. So keep treating as per directions on the label. I only treat as a last resort, I'm a proponent of healthy environment = healthy fish. Usually if you reduce stress quickly enough (whatever may be causing it) fish recover without need for meds.

    If you have city water you can't NOT use conditioners, so keep that up.

    Even if not showing us problem fish, tank shots are also always appreciated!
    20gal long planted community

  8. #8

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    For the hang in test tag for ammonia, if it is a Seachem brand, it will only read unsafe levels of ammonia. Its meant to monitor ammonia in tanks that use a conditioner that eliminates chloramines.

    In simple english, this means the ammonia is converted to ammonium, safe for fish, yet there may be a whopping amount of ammonium in there. i.e. ammonia converted to ammonium. The Seachem tag will only read ammonia, not the ammonium, ammonium is relatively safe for fish, and will cycle your tank. Don't be surprised if the API ammonia test reads off the charts.

    Even still, though converted to the safer ammonium, if that is what it is, it will still case the havoc in your tank of poor conditions and you need to lower that down with water changes.

  9. #9

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    As one who had learned tons in the past few months the best advice I can give you water changes. They are so key. If your water is cloudy.... they can best remedy (you still should find out what the problem was in the first place - test kit) but water changes will keep your fish alive. In a 10 gallon I 50 % is good (in my opinion). Especially in new tanks so as to keep fish stress to a minimum. Never forget conditioner and a product like Bio Spira which is some live good bacteria is helpful as well.

    Good luck!

    PS - I was told only feed what the fish can eat in 30 seconds once per day.
    Allergic to all things furry.

  10. #10

    Default


    0 Not allowed!
    Hey guys, I was able to take a picture of the fish with the "fungus" on its' side. Hopefully you can tell that it's there from the pic, and possibly see what it is. I also included a picture of the tank.

    Please, if you see anything that you would adjust in there, let me know. From the images, you'll only be able to see the two Tetras, but I assure you there's a Gourami hiding in the back.

    Fish w/ ailment:


    Tank:

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