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Hello! Looking for new tank setup critique, plus a couple of questions

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Hello! Looking for new tank setup critique, plus a couple of questions
Old 02-26-2010, 07:47 PM   #81
 
I'll post the actual numbers from my log over the last 2 weeks, in case it helps clear anything up. Most of the time, I test around 7pm, unless noted below...

2/14/2010 6.8
2/15/2010 6.6
2/16/2010 6.6
2/17/2010 6.6
2/18/2010 6.4 - Test just prior to 20% WC
2/19/2010 6.8
2/20/2010 7.4 - Test immediately following 35% WC
2/21/2010 6.0 - Late test (~11pm)
2/22/2010 6.6
2/23/2010 6.8
2/24/2010 6.6
2/25/2010 6.6
2/26/2010 6.4

If there's any more info I can provide, let me know and I'll do my best... I'm still confused about the result on 2/21, but I did the test 2x that night because I didn't believe the results the first time.
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Old 02-27-2010, 10:33 AM   #82
 
Hmmm... lights just came on, and the water is looking cloudy. Bacteria bloom, maybe? Ammonia still around 4, no NO2/NO3 being detected yet... Should I maybe put off the WC until tomorrow and see where this goes?
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Old 02-27-2010, 01:18 PM   #83
 
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I would stick to the plan; nothing except pwc once a week. I still believe the tank simply has to settle. Re the cloudy water, if the fish are not showing signs of discomfort, I would stick to the plan.

The pH numbers are not a problem; the one jump to 7.4 is the only thing that stands out, but as the tank matures I suspect the increase with a pwc will lessen.
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Old 02-27-2010, 07:03 PM   #84
 
Ok, sticking to the plan... did ~35% water change a couple of hours ago. (Agian, I was shooting for a bit more, but didn't quite make it...)

Water is still cloudy, maybe even worse than it was, but the fish don't seem to care... (BTW, I tried to take the pics you asked for in the other thread, but the water is so cloudy it's not worth posting the pics...Ill try again in the morning if it clears up a bit.)

Post-WC #'s:
pH - 7.4
Ammonia - 1ppm
NO2/NO3 - both 0
kH - 3
gH - 11

I was testing each bucket before it went back in the tank for ammonia. I had to use alot of ths StessCoat+ that I was conditioning the water with to get rid of the ammonia (~3 capfulls / 30ml per 3 gallon bucket), but every bucket tested 0 before going in the tank. My bottle of StressCoat is almost empty, so maybe I'll try Prime for my next WC...
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Old 02-28-2010, 10:19 AM   #85
 
Hmm... some good/bad this morning. The water is still very cloudy. Can't see the back of the tank cloudy...

The 3 Flame Tetras I can see swimming around are white and appear to be gasping. There's one laying dead on the gravel that I can see, along with one of the Ghost Shrimp (whose body turned blue?). I'll get them out in a minute... there are at least 2 Tetras unaccounted for, and I'll need to take a better head-count of the rest of the guys (if I can see anything....).

The Zebras, Cories, and the Betta seem OK...so far. At least the ones I can see.

On the plus side, I'm seeing Nitrite at .5ppm, and Nitrate at 5ppm this morning, so it seems like my bio-filter finally kicked in. Ammonia is back up around 4ppm, though, but pH has dropped to 6.6.

In my quick Google search, I saw that a bacteria bloom can use available O2 in the water, so I've cranked up the aerator a bit to try and make sure there's enough O2 for the fish. The 3 Tetras I can see look like they may be getting some of thier color back since I did this a few minutes ago...
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Old 02-28-2010, 11:43 AM   #86
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LMychajluk View Post
Hmm... some good/bad this morning. The water is still very cloudy. Can't see the back of the tank cloudy...

The 3 Flame Tetras I can see swimming around are white and appear to be gasping. There's one laying dead on the gravel that I can see, along with one of the Ghost Shrimp (whose body turned blue?). I'll get them out in a minute... there are at least 2 Tetras unaccounted for, and I'll need to take a better head-count of the rest of the guys (if I can see anything....).

The Zebras, Cories, and the Betta seem OK...so far. At least the ones I can see.

On the plus side, I'm seeing Nitrite at .5ppm, and Nitrate at 5ppm this morning, so it seems like my bio-filter finally kicked in. Ammonia is back up around 4ppm, though, but pH has dropped to 6.6.

In my quick Google search, I saw that a bacteria bloom can use available O2 in the water, so I've cranked up the aerator a bit to try and make sure there's enough O2 for the fish. The 3 Tetras I can see look like they may be getting some of thier color back since I did this a few minutes ago...
Your description of the tetras suggests nitrite or pH problems. If nitrite, using Prime (which detoxifies nitrite) should help. A pwc would also help, using Prime, but then we haveanother pH fluctuation to manage. The pH for this species is acidic to slightly basic up to 7.8 so I wouldn't suspect the high or low pH if stable to be the issue, but the fluctuation. I certainly agree on the aerator under these conditions.

By the way, I think I saw something earlier about excessive use of the ammonia detox stuff. I would be careful, these are chemicals and should not be overdosed. This could also be an issue for the tetra, they are highly sensitive to chemical substances of any sort. With any of these products including water conditioners, only use the recommended dose, notwithstanding their claim that it can't be overdosed; it can.
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Old 02-28-2010, 12:13 PM   #87
 
The Tetras seem to be doing much better now, and got alot of thier color back. I can't see enough in the tank to find that dead tetra (it floated off while I was scooping up the shrimp). Hopefully the tank will clear up a bit later so I can recover it. The remaining 5 are all still alive, so I only lost the one. Between turning up the aerator and the lights coming on at ~11am (just prior to my last post), I think there's more O2 for the fish. I've even turned the aerator back down, because I didn't want to cause a pH jump by forcing too much of the CO2 out of the water, but I'm going to leave it on until the water clears (usually, it shuts off during most of the day).

Since you mentioned Nitrite problems, I should note that there seems to be what could be brown algae on the roots of the bannana plants that I didn't notice before. Doesn't elevated Nitrite lead to algae growth? I don't see this anywhere else in the tank, but like I said, it's kind of hard to see right now...

Yes, I did mention 'overdosing' on the StressCoat to get the ammonia out of the tap water. So, if I'm understanding you, I should stick to the recommended dosages of conditioner, even if that means addiing water that still has ammonia? Now that I'm starting to see NO2 and know that I have bacteria that can process that ammonia in the tank, I'm not so worried about doing that. I'm going to pick up some Prime this afternoon, though, in case I need to do a WC when I get home later this evening.

I'm going to leave it for awhile and see what happens. I'll test everything again later this evening, and maybe plan on a WC if anything is looking dangerously high...
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Old 02-28-2010, 12:53 PM   #88
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LMychajluk View Post
The Tetras seem to be doing much better now, and got alot of thier color back. I can't see enough in the tank to find that dead tetra (it floated off while I was scooping up the shrimp). Hopefully the tank will clear up a bit later so I can recover it. The remaining 5 are all still alive, so I only lost the one. Between turning up the aerator and the lights coming on at ~11am (just prior to my last post), I think there's more O2 for the fish. I've even turned the aerator back down, because I didn't want to cause a pH jump by forcing too much of the CO2 out of the water, but I'm going to leave it on until the water clears (usually, it shuts off during most of the day).

Since you mentioned Nitrite problems, I should note that there seems to be what could be brown algae on the roots of the bannana plants that I didn't notice before. Doesn't elevated Nitrite lead to algae growth? I don't see this anywhere else in the tank, but like I said, it's kind of hard to see right now...

Yes, I did mention 'overdosing' on the StressCoat to get the ammonia out of the tap water. So, if I'm understanding you, I should stick to the recommended dosages of conditioner, even if that means addiing water that still has ammonia? Now that I'm starting to see NO2 and know that I have bacteria that can process that ammonia in the tank, I'm not so worried about doing that. I'm going to pick up some Prime this afternoon, though, in case I need to do a WC when I get home later this evening.

I'm going to leave it for awhile and see what happens. I'll test everything again later this evening, and maybe plan on a WC if anything is looking dangerously high...
Sounds good. Nitrite doesn't cause algae, you were probably thinking opf nitrate, but that is only partially true. Light in excess of what the plants need to balance the nutrients is what causes algae to get excess (normal algae is natural). However, brown algae almost always occurs in new tanks during the first 2-3 months. Don't worry about it, you can use your fingers to remove it from plant leaves, and scrape it off the glass. it will dissipate as the tank settles and matures.
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Old 02-28-2010, 07:46 PM   #89
 
Well, got home about an hour ago, and the cloudiness wasn't any better. The Tetras were looking real pale again, and I probably won't have time to do maintenance again until tomorrow night, so I decided to do a WC.

The before #'s:
pH 6.4
Ammonia 4+
Nitrite ~1ppm
Nitrate ~10ppm

I picked up some Prime today and used it instead of the StressCoat as a conditioner. Interestingly, the front label says "Removes Chlorine, Chloromine, and Ammonia", but the fine print description says "Prime removes Chlorine, Chloromine, and Ammonia. Prime converts ammonia into a safe, non-toxic form that is readily removed by the tank's biofilter." I take it it's converting the ammonia to ammonium, but is that the same as 'removing' ammonia? <Rhetorical question> The treated tap water still tested positive for ammonia at ~.5ppm. But, since Prime is 2 drops / gal vs. the .5-1ml of StressCoat per gallon, it seems more economical...

After the WC, I was at least able to see enough to recover the dead Tetra. Everyone else still seems to be acting 'normal', even though I still can't see well enough to get an accurate headcount.

The #'s after ~35% WC (circulating for ~1/2hr):
ph 6.8 (was expecting a bit higher...)
Ammonia 4ppm (was expecting lower...)
Nitrite .25ppm
Nitrate 5ppm

Going to leave the aerator turned up 24/7 until this clears up. The Corys and Betta can at least gulp air, but the other residents (inmates?) don't have that luxury...

Today actually marks the end of the 4th week since I added fish to the tank and (in theory) started my cycle. Since I've read that bacteria development usually takes from 4-6 weeks, I think I'm right on schedule. But, I didn't realize keeping fish would be so stressful....
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Old 03-01-2010, 03:58 AM   #90
 
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It's not so stressful once the tank's established, I promise!

I have experienced fish dying from (presumably) lack of O2 in established tanks with sudden bacterial blooms. I think aeration is key, though water changes would also certainly help (but then again I'm sort of wandering into the middle of the conversation here so I'm not sure what that means for your tank specifically since there might be reasons for you not to aerate or do water changes).
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