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29 Gallon Aquarium, Has not cycled in almost 4 months..So..

This is a discussion on 29 Gallon Aquarium, Has not cycled in almost 4 months..So.. within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> One suggestion, and a couple more questions, starting with the latter. What is the pH of the tap water? And the tank pH remains ...

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29 Gallon Aquarium, Has not cycled in almost 4 months..So..
Old 10-30-2012, 04:08 PM   #11
 
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One suggestion, and a couple more questions, starting with the latter. What is the pH of the tap water? And the tank pH remains in the low 6's, correct?

You are correct that the "ammonia" is ammonium in an acidic pH, and while this is not harmful to fish it is still worth knowing why it is present. Are you still adding the bacteria (Dr Tim's)?

The suggestion is to get some simple floating plants. These are easy to cultivate and their assimilation of the ammonia/ammonim cannot but help. Hornwort is said to be useful in such cases. I like the appearance of Water Sprite. Both are in the profiles.

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Old 10-30-2012, 07:40 PM   #12
 
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You really can't beat fast growing floating / stem plants for helping with this type of situation. You should give them a try.
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Old 10-30-2012, 09:57 PM   #13
 
i will try and encourage some floating plants... although i fought until the death with her about us getting live plants from day 1, she allowed me to put in a few, and for whatever reason they didnt fair to well, she doesnt like them, or the particles they leave in the water....

the tap is about 6.8-6.6 and the tank is around 6.4-6.8 i can't really judge it perfectly, as i even have trouble judging the difference in 0 ammonia and .25 ammonia with the master test kit most of the time.

byron, the ammonia isn't present in the tap water... so that option is out..

we used a bottle of stability when starting the tank.. i didn't see results, so we used another bottle.... finally i searched and read for hours on bottle bacteria, and figured i'd find a method that had be shown to work... so we bought dr. tims one and only, that was about a month and a half ago when we added dr tim's, nothing since then except prime has been used in our tank..

im just lost on how we can not have gained any BB by now.. even if the carpet incident wiped out the bacteria... fish survived... so i would think some bacteria would survive, especially in the substrate... and even if not, we should see some sort of progress more than a month since the incident as far as bacteria goes..

but we are still only seeing ammonia.
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Old 10-31-2012, 11:46 AM   #14
 
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Originally Posted by Rdb2013 View Post
i will try and encourage some floating plants... although i fought until the death with her about us getting live plants from day 1, she allowed me to put in a few, and for whatever reason they didnt fair to well, she doesnt like them, or the particles they leave in the water....

the tap is about 6.8-6.6 and the tank is around 6.4-6.8 i can't really judge it perfectly, as i even have trouble judging the difference in 0 ammonia and .25 ammonia with the master test kit most of the time.

byron, the ammonia isn't present in the tap water... so that option is out..

we used a bottle of stability when starting the tank.. i didn't see results, so we used another bottle.... finally i searched and read for hours on bottle bacteria, and figured i'd find a method that had be shown to work... so we bought dr. tims one and only, that was about a month and a half ago when we added dr tim's, nothing since then except prime has been used in our tank..

im just lost on how we can not have gained any BB by now.. even if the carpet incident wiped out the bacteria... fish survived... so i would think some bacteria would survive, especially in the substrate... and even if not, we should see some sort of progress more than a month since the incident as far as bacteria goes..

but we are still only seeing ammonia.
Fine. I would not add any products other than the conditioner at water changes. Some floating plants (Hornwort can fall apart as described, so Water Sprte or Brazilian Pennywort would be better). The pH is fine, o issues there; I was wondering if something was driving it down in the tank, but these numbers are normal. With Dr.Tim's you might not see nitrites but I would expect a show of nitrate. Prime does bind nitate too but I believe it still shows in the test. Perhaps the frequent water changes are simply keeping it low. I would go to one 50% water change a wee (the norm) and see what follows.

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Old 10-31-2012, 01:53 PM   #15
 
Well I don't know if you missed it Byron, when she came to visit this past weekend from Thursday - Sunday night there were no water changes and the nitrite and nitrate were 0. The ammonia was literally emerald green. So I would expect after a week the fish would die .. Well ammonium isn't harmful so I guess they wouldn't? If ammonium is what's present in ph below 7 ill tell her to go a week... I just don't want her to go a week of its harmful and end up with dead fish... Especially the angel. It's her prized possession, ill try to influence her to buy some floating plants.
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Old 10-31-2012, 03:16 PM   #16
 
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Originally Posted by Rdb2013 View Post
Well I don't know if you missed it Byron, when she came to visit this past weekend from Thursday - Sunday night there were no water changes and the nitrite and nitrate were 0. The ammonia was literally emerald green. So I would expect after a week the fish would die .. Well ammonium isn't harmful so I guess they wouldn't? If ammonium is what's present in ph below 7 ill tell her to go a week... I just don't want her to go a week of its harmful and end up with dead fish... Especially the angel. It's her prized possession, ill try to influence her to buy some floating plants.
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I just don't understand the ammonia being so high. Yes it is harmless in this case, but obviously one does want to find out the cause. I see AD was in this thread previously, maybe PM him to jump back in, he may think of something.
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:49 AM   #17
 
Okay, I got your PM and I just re-read the entire thread. It's clear your in a tough spot and it also seems clear that the carpet cleaning indirectly killed a lot of fish. I'm not sure why because most carpet cleaning is done simply with non-sudsing soap and extraction. Never the less, too much of a co-incidence.
Traces of whatever killed the fish (even after so many water changes) combined with the acidic pH may be killing and preventing the development of beneficial bacteria.

If I was you, at this point, I would start over and do a total tear down. Remove the fish to a 5g bucket with air stone. Drain and clean the tank well as well as the filters and washing/rinsing the substrate. Refill with fresh water of the appropriate temperature, treat with Prime and add a bacteria supplement like Dr. Tim's. Re-install the filter(s) with all new media. Remove some water from the 5g bucket w/fish as needed to create a drip line from the aquarium using an air line tubing siphon to acclimate the fish. Use a knot in the tubing to control the drip. Once acclimated, net the fish and transfer to the tank (we don't want the old water back in the tank!)

The above has ruled out any residual chemicals from the carpet cleaning mishap.
Now you need to monitor the fish and the water params.

IF similar conditions (e.g. high ammonia/ammonium) prevail with no sign of nitrites/nitrates, we might presume, as unlikely as it would seem, that the low acidic pH is the real culprit. I would then use Seachem Neutral Regulator to SLOWLY bring the pH to neutral. This would probably be a teaspoon (pre-mixed in a cup of tank water) every other day until neutral is achieved. (may take 3 doses or so). IMPORTANT that pH changes are done very gradually so stock can adjust.

CAUTION: The catch 22 here is that as pH comes up, ammonia/ammonium that was pretty much inert, may become toxic, so I would also treat with prime and/or water changes as required. Also, since the previous addition of bacteria supplement did not survive, more might be added once neutral pH is achieved in order to expedite the cycle process.

Notes:
1) I'm thinking we won't necessarily need to adjust for pH because it's typically not necessary and not something we'd choose to routinely do. However, in this case, it may be what's required to balance the system.
2) Talk the gal into floating plants. Plants will use the ammonia and thereby reduce the dependency on a larger beneficial bacteria colony to process the nitrogenous waste.
3) Don't be to religious about filter cleaning and if/when adding bacteria supplement, add directly to the filter if possible. Although BB will eventually be everywhere (especially substrate), starting fresh, the filter is a great place for the opportunistic bacteria to obtain food flowing by.
4) We would normally start (restart) an aquarium like this with less stock until it stabilized. I'm not sure what you feel your options are here?

Keep us posted.
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:47 PM   #18
 
I honestly appreciate your reply, and i guess a teardown is really the only way to find out if this is my water, or some carpet chemical leftover... i just dont see how it's possible to still have something in the tank, fliter, or water after almost 2 months... and my fish not be dead.

As far as giving away tank mates... at this point there are 2 cories, parting with one means parting with both, as they already need more, but until this is sorted we are not adding anything. an angel, who she will probably die before she ever lets go of, my two electric blue rams which were 44 dollars a piece at my LFS, the only one within 4 hours i found with them... so getting rid of them... would really leave a bad taste in my mouth, especially since they are such a good pair. so that leaves us with the 4..5 barbs, i forget how many she has in there, and the dwarf gourami... granted we could maybe find a home for these guys, but when looking at this bio load wise... how much are 4-5 little 1'' barbs, and a dwarf gourami going to add to the bio load of the already existing fish?

So i'm really not sure about our re-homing options, we don't have any family or friends with tanks, so its a LFS or nothing.

Breaking down the tank, is probably going to stress these little guys out... but it has to be done. I'll have to find time to go home one weekend and her her do it. I greatly appreciate the advice... it was great to get opinions and be helped through this odd issue.

In the next 2-3 weeks when i can get back to NC we will break the tank down, clean everything, replace media, etc. And i'll put the fish back in with an extra amount of Dr. Tim's to the filter. I'll see how the water reads and i'll probably add MORE dr. tim's after 3-4 days..why not?.. well she will.. if after 2-3 weeks, we are not seeing anything then it's more than likely the PH level... i can introduce her to PH adjustment... but we tried to use seachem to raise our ph to neutral before... we kept adding, testing, adding, testing... and it did nothing to our water, this was before we added fish. So we gave up. In the event none of this works... obviously it is something with our water.. or that tank. I'll rehome the fish and as cruel as it sounds, i'll leave one, or buy a feeder fish and let it stay in the tank alone without a water change for a week or 2 weeks, to let this "ammonia...ammonium" build up.. right now it hasn't killed fish, and i'd think if it tested emerald green, it would annihilate the fish...

So maybe it's just not harmful to fish... which makes me curious why i couldnt just let it be.. but then again, i'm not willing to find out if it's harmful to our fish.. i'd rather take the harder approaches than risk them.

Thanks again for all the help.
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Old 11-01-2012, 09:20 PM   #19
 
Perhaps in addition to Neutral Regulator, you also needed Alkaline Regulator? I confess I'm not really an expert on water harness/pH having only adjusted DI and rain water for aquarium use. So, if we get to the point where acidity is the prime suspect, perhaps we'll need more research and/or another product/approach to get a more neutral pH?
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Old 11-01-2012, 09:30 PM   #20
 
I'm far from an expert with water adjustments... i've always followed along with the fish can adjust to your water train... and i'ts worked out well with slow acclimation and fish naturally from the same ph.

Anyways, thanks for the help, i'll post in this thread next time i make it to NC, hopefully next weekend since we have a 4 day weekend for veterans day, and update then.
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