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A confused beginner need your help!!!

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A confused beginner need your help!!!
Old 01-26-2009, 01:12 PM   #11
 
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With the ammonia that high, you have to do at least a 50% water change if not more. I've already done 75% to my cycled tank without any problems. But get that ammonia down as soon as you can. As for gravel vacuuming, you shouldn't have to do that with a tank that's only 1 month old. But it's up to you. Unless you are overfeeding, you can wait 2-3 months to vacuum. But you won't hurt the bacteria if you do.
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Old 01-26-2009, 01:40 PM   #12
 
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Having just an undergravel filter I would avoid doing any gravel vacs until the cycle is complete OR do a small area each week. With a UGF the gravel is your filter and is where the majority of the bacteria live. When you have other filters such as HOB or canisters the bacteria prefer to colonize in the filter because of the higher oxygen content due to the flow of the water through the filter. Although the bacteria will colonize throughout every surface in the tank the majority will be in the filter.

I agree also about the larger water changes. I, like Twistermom, do weekly 30% changes and the fish love it. One thing to check though is the Ph from your tap compared to your tank. If there is a huge difference then that may be a concern. My tap water and tank PH are the same so I've never had to worry about that.
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Old 01-26-2009, 05:00 PM   #13
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1077 View Post
Were it me, I would purchase the API freswater master kit if you don'y already have one. The test kits that use strips are not all that accurate. I would stop using salts in the aquarium. I would not vaccum the gravel and would continue to feed fish sparingly maybe once a day. For right now,, I would change 10 percent of the water and wait 24 hours and test for ammonia again. Do try and get the API test kit. Watch the fish closely. If they appear stressed (swimming near the surface, rapid gill movement) perform another 10 percent water change. Have no expierience with the water conditioner you are using but I would look for water conditioner such as PRIME which is what many or most use or AMQUEL+ which is another good product. One of these is all you should need in the aquarium. No stress this, cycle that, or ammolock. Some of these products may alter water tests and some in my view are useless. Don't add anymore fish, don't overfeed , don't clean anything in the tank. Your tank is still going through nitrogen cycle or maturing. Too much food or over cleaning the tank and or gravel at this point will only cause trouble. I would also return the shark. They get way too large for most aquariums.Remember,,, If fish look stressed ,,change 10 percent of the water . if after 24 hours or sooner if fish still display stress,, perform another water change. ALWAYS add water conditioner to the new water BEFORE it goes in the aquarium. Don't stress about cloudy water it will clear on it's own once the tank has completed the nitrogen cycle and assuming you do not overfeed the fish. DO get the API freshwater master kit if you can or take a sample of water from your tank to fish store and ask them to test it. If they use strips the results could be false . Might be a good thing to call them or other stores until you find one that uses test that requires drops of liquid. Post your results soon as you get em and we can go from there. In the meantime DON"T add any chemicals other than dechlorinator or water conditioner and try and find some PRIME or AMQUEL+.
I dont mean to give you more conflicting opinions, but tend to agree w/ 1077. Loose all the additives but the dechlorinator. I cant not believe lfs would sell set first timer w/ just UGF, Most lfs will try to add more items to sell. Although can be done, requires patiences and little know-how w/ just UGF. Lots of oldtimers that i learn good amount of knowledge/technique about fish keeping/breeding, used to use just UGF. Have done it myself once gained enough knowledges and know-how.

Do have some questions before i go on.
Your pH is on slightly alkaline. Can you test your tap water for pH to see if your tap is as high. As 1077 mentioned that equilibrium b/n toxic Ammonia (NH3) and non toxic Ammonium ion (NH4+) is pH dependent. As pH goes acidic, more of NH4+ than NH3. I do agree Amoonia is toxic but must understand this concept before doing massive changes. Such massive changes can disturb whatever bio-actvities it took this long to established which in return cause delay in cycling process which in turn will cause unnecessary stress on your livestocks and YOU. I have learned that small and more frequent water changes are way to keep the stablillity of the water. Idea is to keep the water stablized.

Usually tank that is 33 days old should have gone thru first stage, NH3 oxidized to Nitrite (NO2) and be in middle of NO2 spike or decreasing process, NO2 is oxidized to Nitrate (NO3).

I do not know the test log since starting the tank. If you have the record of all the testing it will help to undertand the situation better thus better opinions can be given. Also Since nitrate is registered, I am also wondering that by adding so much additives, you may be getting false/distorted reading on NH3. As 1077 has said, bottles which can help add beneficial bacteria might be the source of sudden NH3 increase.
I do not know Amquel+ but I do know that Ammolock and Amquel used to say on the bottle that w/ these product, you must use NH3 test kit which has 2 reagents (Salicylate Method). W/ Nh3 test kit that has 1 reagent will not give you correct reading.

Taking all these possibilities, dont want to to any massive disturbances to the system such as 50% partial water changes (pwc), gravel vacuuming at this time. Do the test for next few days and post the reading.

Do consider acquiring canister filter if tank is well againt the wall.I am sure you can run intake and return tubing if utilize each back corners. Sooner the better.

Summary:
1. Post the record of all the testing w/ dates if available
2. Post the reading of tap water.
3. If NH is present/increasing after few small pwc (20-25% ea for few days) w/o using additives (zyme, cycle, etc), consider dropping the pH slightly on new water being added to drop pH in the tank slightly UNLESS you have fish requiring high pH.

For all I know, your tank may have gone thru cycling process but being disturbed/geting false reading due to massive changes/additives, respectively.

Hope this helped rather than confuse you.
**Dont worry about cloudiness at this point (I call this new tank syndrome) which will go way w/ time. Massive changes can also add to cloudiness.

Last edited by cerianthus; 01-26-2009 at 05:03 PM..
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Old 01-26-2009, 06:27 PM   #14
 
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Do a 25% water change now and continue w/ weekly ones unless your ammonia climbs to .50-.75. Do not add ammo-lock as in the long run, it won't help your tank.

Look into buying a python syphon.
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Old 01-26-2009, 09:35 PM   #15
 
Thankyou everyone for your replys, Ok so first thing is, i did a 10% water change last night and this morning the fish seem alot happier and a little of the cloudiness has cleared. Here are the readings from this morning coutesy of the API master kit.

PH 7.3
Ammonia 1.9
Nitrite 0.0
Nitrate 1.0

As for the history of the tank see below.
I am getting the general impression that people think water changes are the best way to solve this problem. Thats good ill continue to do 10% daily and keep you all posted with my results.

Does anyone think i should be trying to bring down the PH to reduce the ammonia potency?

Oh and my tap water Ph tested at 7.2

Levels As At 4/1/09
PH 7.4
Ammonia 0.60
Nitrite 0.0
Nitrate 0.5 (Trace)

Levels As At 6/1/09
PH 7.1
Ammonia 0.85
Nitrite 0.0
Nitrate 0.1 (Trace)

Levels As At 8/1/09
PH 7.1
Ammonia 0.90
Nitrite 0.0
Nitrate 2.0

Levels As At 17/1/09
PH 7.2
Ammonia 1.8
Nitrite 0.0
Nitrate 0.0

Levels As At 21/1/09 Spoke to Mentone Aquarium and they said to start feeding the fish once every 2 days.
PH 7.2
Ammonia 1.9
Nitrite 0.0
Nitrate 0.0

Levels As At 22/1/09 Added 9 capfulls of cycle concentrate (By NUTRAFIN) to try and help tank cycle faster.
Nutrafin Cycle 237mL - The Aquarium Shop Australia See Nutrafin here.
PH 7.3
Ammonia 1.9
Nitrite 0.0
Nitrate 1.0

Levels As At 24/1/09
PH 7.3
Ammonia 1.9
Nitrite 0.0
Nitrate 1.0

Levels As At 27/1/09Did a 10% water change 12 hours before this reading was done.
PH 7.3
Ammonia 1.9
Nitrite 0.0
Nitrate 1.0

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Old 01-27-2009, 03:56 AM   #16
 
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I would not mess with the Ph There is not that much difference to be concerned with. My concern is that the water conditioner you are using attacks and detoxifys chlorine and breaks the chloramine bond with ammonia but is relying on biological bacteria to detoxify the ammonia and it's possible that there is not enough bacteria(good kind) to process this ammonia. You must get a dechlorinator that detoxify;s ammonia, chlorine,and chloramines such as PRIME or AMQUEL+ the old regular Amquel will not help. I would continue with 10 MAYBE 20 percent water changes but do try and get dechlorinator such as the two mentioned. My fear is that until you do so ,,the water changes will have little affect . This is why some dechlorinators are not suited for new or cycling tanks . They do not render the ammonia into less toxic ammonium but rather rely as stated on biological filter or bacteria to do it. You got surprisingly good advice on feeding the fish. They will be fine with once every two days feeding until your tank is back under control. Any uneaten food falls to the bottom and only contributes to ammonia development as it begins to rot. As mentioned,, IF you see a bunch of rotting or decaying food on the bottom of the tank you are feeding too much. I would hold off on vaccuming the gravel UNLESS you see a bunch of gunk on the bottom (rotting food ,fish poop) .IF this is visible then lightly vaccuming the surface only.a small area once a week and a different area each time, will help but I would NOT go digging around in the gravel with the vaccum or ,,beneficial bacteria that you need could be destroyed as well and thus make it much harder to get your tank back under control. If you don't see any decaying gunk on the bottom ,(and I didn't see any in photo) then I would not disturb it. Keep us posted.
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Old 01-27-2009, 07:18 AM   #17
 
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I agree with 1077 here, do not monkey with your pH. It's great as is and moving it around will only add one more thing stressing your fish. Then you'll have to change it back. Just leave it alone. Personally I use Prime for my dechlorinator and I've been very happy with it.
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Old 01-27-2009, 06:26 PM   #18
 
Ok so if i was to use the dechlorinator you guys are referring to should i treat the tank to its full volume now or just the new water im putting in on my 10% water changes.

Todays values are

Levels As At 28/1/09
PH 7.2
Ammonia 1.9
Nitrite 0.0
Nitrate 3.0

A couple of questions for those using The API Master Test Kit. When you hold the test tube up against the card do you press the tube firmly against the card or hold it slightly away. The reason i ask is the shade of colour changes a little in either position. As little as a 1/4" gap changes the readings a bit. At the moment i am holding the tubes firmly against the card.

I was also wondering how my Nitrate reading can be climbing when there has never been any presence of Nitrite? Doesnt this contradict the cycling process?
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Old 01-27-2009, 06:35 PM   #19
 
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Only need to add dechlorinator when doing the water changes.

Check your tap water. Some people have nitrates in their tap water.

Matching color with card??? Good question!!! lol. Some of the colors on the card look the same to me. The lighting in the room also changes the color of the water in the test tube. I just make a good guess.
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Old 01-27-2009, 06:55 PM   #20
 
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If you are using a bucket to add water to your tank only treat for the volume in the bucket before you add the water to your tank. If you're using a Python add the dechlorinator to your tank for the volume of the tank and then fill with the Python.

Regarding reading the API test, hold the test tube against the white area of the card (not away from it).
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