Darting fish and water chemistry problems - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 8 Old 08-01-2014, 09:48 AM Thread Starter
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Darting fish and water chemistry problems

I did a 40% water change last night after not doing a water change for a month. I also changed the filter cartridges, but left the sponges in the filter. Generally I do water changes every two weeks. I also vacuumed my gravel for the first time ever, and turned up some blackened gravel, which, when vacuumed, gave off the smell of rotten eggs. I suspect it may have been anaerobic bacteria that I turned up. Now my tetras are darting around the tank, in particular chasing one tetra. Are they ill?

My water chemistry is also worrying. I have .5 ppm ammonia, and 0 nitrites and nitrates, so the tank seems uncycled again. There is also 1 ppm ammonia in my tap water.

1. Is there anything I can do to remove the ammonia from the tap water?
2. Would it help or hurt to do another water change at this point, and how much should I do?
3. How should I deal with the anaerobic bacteria in the gravel, if that's what it is?
4. I also have a bottle of Safe Start that I used to speed up my cycle the first time. Would it help the tank re-cycle quickly if I add that, and would that help my fish's symptoms?

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post #2 of 8 Old 08-01-2014, 11:05 AM
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Nothing really takes ammonia out of tap water (that i know of). But seachem prime will detoxify it. There is no such thing as to many water changes, i would do some more and see if that helps. You also never want to really change filter pads. Only wash them in aquarium water. Replace them when they are falling apart. I hate the tetra, aqueon, and all those ones that are very thin and have carbon in them. Those are sort of a waste of money and fall apart much easier. The best thing IME is blue white filter pad and a carbon bag, lasts forever. I personally never had a problem with AB. Also with gravel you usually dont get it. Also how long has the tank been setup? Cuz with gravel you are supposed to vacuum it every week. That could be the smell, all that crap in there. Also what type of tetras are they?
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post #3 of 8 Old 08-01-2014, 11:44 AM Thread Starter
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My concern with prime is that it only detoxifies it for 48 hours, and if the biological filter isn't working, then that ammonia will come back. The tank has been set up for six months, but I heard you weren't supposed to vacuum the gravel if you had plants. As far as why there is anaerobic bacteria, I'm not totally sure, but the gravel is pretty deep (about three inches), so maybe I need to take some out.
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post #4 of 8 Old 08-01-2014, 11:48 AM
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3 inches isnt that deep. What plants do you have? What size tank? What fish? Are the plants growing? Do you have a lot of them?
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post #5 of 8 Old 08-01-2014, 11:51 AM Thread Starter
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I have about 15 java ferns. Some of them have died, but the population overall has grown, and the littler ones keep growing. The tank is 30 gallons.
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post #6 of 8 Old 08-01-2014, 12:02 PM
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Those plants do nothing with the substrate, so there is nothing feeding on the crap. What tetras are they?
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post #7 of 8 Old 08-03-2014, 01:33 PM
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Yes, Prime only "binds" ammonia for a day or so, then releases the ammonia back into the system. That's better than having toxic free ammonia all the timer. Just 1-drop/gal/day is enough to keep ammonia up tp 1.0ppm bound and safe. (Seachem recommends 2-drops every other day, This seems to me to risk exposure to free ammonia.) Above 0.50ppm a 50% wc might be in order.
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post #8 of 8 Old 08-04-2014, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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The tetras are black-skirt tetras. My concern was mostly that it was pretty hard to get the java ferns to actually root themselves in the gravel, and I have to start over when I vacuum it.

Hallyx: So should I be adding prime every day, or will that prevent the tank from cycling again?
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