HELP! I need a medic!
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HELP! I need a medic!

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HELP! I need a medic!
Old 08-27-2011, 09:29 PM   #1
 
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HELP! I need a medic!

Hi all! I need help as I am a hobbyist rejoining the fish keeping realm! Also new here, so thanks!

Specs: I have a 10 gallon FW tank with danios, gouramis, and dwarf puffer.

I have dual filtration utilizing a aquaclear 30, and a tetra kit filtration system.

3 live mounted plants, a few ornaments, (2) 15 W lights in hood, moss ball, and just gravel (no substrate)

I've been cycling my tank w/fish exactly a week +/- 2 days today.

Levels of ammonia continued to rise daily, and generally hovered around .25 to at most .50, with 0 nitrates, 0 nitrites, PH approx 7.4....(All done via API kit) thought that was part of the cycle. Did not do any water changes except ADD for evaporation. Of course, I included few drops of aqua safe, and left alone. All has been steady....

Well just as of the afternoon I see these levels:
PH: 7.4
Ammonia: 2.0
Nitrite: .25
Nitrate: 0

I kind of freaked a bit, did a 20-25% water change, realistically probably 15% with evaporation.... and in the water change added PRIME, with few drops of aqua safe (tetra).

I also substituted nitrifying bacteria with Tetra safe start (Bio-spira)... to kind of put back what I took out.

Knowing that the bacteria is more prone to attach itself to surfaces and not really free flowing, I thought it must be best to do what I did.

I am concerned however, as I feel I may have just messed up the cycle or what not, but some say that the ammonia would have turned into ammonium and still effective for bacteria. I took reading this evening....

PH: 8.0
Ammonia: 2.0
Nitrite: 0 <----went to "0" ( I hear that Prime could have converted it)
Nitrate: 0 (Was slightly elevated a few hours ago to 5.0 ppm now "0", I assume due to the conversion)

Most of the fish seem relatively active, except the puffers seem at times to be very sedated. Sometimes laying on the bed. At times I can see one float across the tank just checking things out.

I am pretty sure I did not necessarily hurt the bacteria, and that the ammonia readings could possibly be artificially elevated and /or the Nitrite could be off?

What can I do? I see the PH has risen as well, is this all just part of the continuing cycle?


Either way I would like some advise from some experienced folks out there...
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Old 08-28-2011, 01:04 AM   #2
 
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Hello and welcome to TFK. Your tank is going through the cycling process and the numbers that you are seeing is to be expected. With using Prime it will take the ammonia that is in the tank and convert it to ammonium, it also will detoxify nitrites. Most test kits and the API master test kit will read both forms of ammonia and ammonium as one thing. The reading that you got this evening after the water change and using Prime would actually be ammonium. While going through the cycle with fish I would be checking the water parameters every couple of days. When ammonia and nitrites are reading at .25 or above you will want to perform a water change of 40-50%. If you have not already checked your tap water for ammonia I would do so.

With Tetra Safestart I have used it on two of my tanks. From my experience and along with information that I have found about the product, there will be a reading of ammonia in the tank. From Tetra they say it will take about two weeks for the tank to go through the cycling process. During this time they suggest that you do not do any water changes. From my own personal experience on my first tank I followed what was advised, I had ammonia readings during the entire two weeks. At the end of the 2 weeks I had started to get nitrite readings. Within a couple of days I was having nitrate readings that had been registering, and at the end of the two weeks my nitrates where very high. On the second tank that I used tetra safestart on I used a slightly different method and did more frequent water changes during the two week period, changing my water when my ammonia went above .25 and also when I started getting nitrite readings. Also with the second tank I was getting nitrate readings within a couple of days. Under my aquarium information on my 50 gallon and my convict tank I have my parameters recorded during the time I was using tetra safestart. If you want feel free to look at those for reference. If you would like I can see if I can find the information that I had found about tetra safestart and the additional information they had given on this particular product. They say not to do water changes during the first two weeks, but with my two different experiences I found that doing water changes did not seem to make the product less effective, and my parameters stayed within more acceptable ranges with the water changes.

Also for additonal reading I would suggest checking out the following article that has been written by Byron here. It explains about bacteria in the aquarium and will give you a better understanding of the cycling process and what is going on in your tank http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...91/#post757735
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Old 08-29-2011, 11:32 AM   #3
 
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Thanks for the helpful information! I dropped the safe start in about Friday. I also did a water change, about 20-25%. So far with nothing else done to the tank....

My levels today are:

Ph: 8.0
Ammo: Solid 2.0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
Temp: 79.5
I started a bubble wand, and added another live plant for aeration.

I am about to proceed and do a 15% water change today possibly, I think to try and drop the ammo levels at least to below 1.0. Although I hear a lot of folks advising not to do water changes to help the process along...

Fish seem Ok. Just fed now prior to water change...and they ate...as well as the puffers...there is one puffer that is slightly thin does not eat much...and usually hovers around the top of the tank....I wonder if this is just personality.

How frequently should I do changes?

ALSO

Should I use prime or just aqua safe for water changes? It seems that prime may make things hard to read, and possibly take away ammo? I am unsure...
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Old 08-29-2011, 12:38 PM   #4
 
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For the water changes I would recommend doing at least 40% of the water in the tank, any time that your ammonia or nitrites are above .25. I would go ahead and use just the Prime as your water conditioner and also to neutralize the ammonia in the tank.With Prime just remember that it turns the ammonia into ammonium and works for about 2-3 days. After that if there is ammonium in the tank it will convert back to ammonia, especially with your ph being above 7. Some people think that doing water changes while cycling the tank slows down the process. With my experience especially when using tetra safestart I found that there was no difference in the amount of time for my tank to cycle when I waited on the water changes and when I did water changes more often. The big difference that I did see was when doing frequent water changes my ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels all stayed on the low side until I was through the cycle. The more water that you take out and replace with fresh the more diluted the ammonia/ammonium will become in the tank.

I haven't had experience with puffers myself but from had I have seen they are very messy eaters. With that once the tank has been cycled I would be doing water changes of 50% weekly. For the behavior of the one puffer I am not sure, it is possible that it could be from the high ammonia level in the tank right now. I would definitly work on getting the ammonia levels down and see how he starts to act. Does he seem to be gasping at the surface like he is not getting enough oxygen? How do his gills look?
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Old 08-29-2011, 12:46 PM   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BarbH View Post
For the water changes I would recommend doing at least 40% of the water in the tank, any time that your ammonia or nitrites are above .25. I would go ahead and use just the Prime as your water conditioner and also to neutralize the ammonia in the tank.With Prime just remember that it turns the ammonia into ammonium and works for about 2-3 days. After that if there is ammonium in the tank it will convert back to ammonia, especially with your ph being above 7. Some people think that doing water changes while cycling the tank slows down the process. With my experience especially when using tetra safestart I found that there was no difference in the amount of time for my tank to cycle when I waited on the water changes and when I did water changes more often. The big difference that I did see was when doing frequent water changes my ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels all stayed on the low side until I was through the cycle. The more water that you take out and replace with fresh the more diluted the ammonia/ammonium will become in the tank.

I haven't had experience with puffers myself but from had I have seen they are very messy eaters. With that once the tank has been cycled I would be doing water changes of 50% weekly. For the behavior of the one puffer I am not sure, it is possible that it could be from the high ammonia level in the tank right now. I would definitly work on getting the ammonia levels down and see how he starts to act. Does he seem to be gasping at the surface like he is not getting enough oxygen? How do his gills look?
Excellent. Will follow. Should I add prime to the tank or to the water changes or both? I dont know if one is better than the other...

Well I am mistaken! There are two puffers kind of hanging out. The puffers seems to be just loving to stay mid to high tank. About 2-3" below water line not really gasping, just swimming around. I read somewhere that they usually like calm water, but they love these bubbles it seems. I also may have a bit of current due to double filtration and the bigger is a aqua clear 30 it seems to be great filter as it has the pull out cartridges... the gills BTW look fine on all the fish. Maybe since I did a change a few days ago (only added Prime to the water being changed) it neutralized and I am reading high levels of ammonium? Again, I dont know if it would be more beneficial to add to the tank directly.

Also how did you know you finished cycling while using prime? Would it not artificially inflate ammo levels or nitrite?

Thanks for the help! I appreciate it, really. Good to see another Michigander.

Last edited by Puffer911; 08-29-2011 at 01:03 PM..
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Old 08-29-2011, 01:05 PM   #6
 
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It is possible that you are still reading ammonium. Just keep up with the water changes and using Prime will help, especially with the ammonia/ammonium as high as it is. Good that the fish don't seem to be gasping and that the gills don't look red, which are signs of ammonia posioning.

By the way what part of Michigan are you from?
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Old 08-29-2011, 01:08 PM   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BarbH View Post
It is possible that you are still reading ammonium. Just keep up with the water changes and using Prime will help, especially with the ammonia/ammonium as high as it is. Good that the fish don't seem to be gasping and that the gills don't look red, which are signs of ammonia posioning.

By the way what part of Michigan are you from?
Sorry was thinking of questions to ask....and maybe thought you did not see them in time:

How did you know you finished cycling while using prime? Would it not artificially inflate ammo levels or nitrite?

Would you add it to the tank directly, or water being changed in, or both?

I am from Ypsilanti, about 6 miles SW of Ann Arbor. You?
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Old 08-29-2011, 01:15 PM   #8
 
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I'm in Howell about 45 minutes north from you. Spent some time down in Ypsi when I was taking classes at EMU.
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Old 08-29-2011, 01:19 PM   #9
 
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I'm in Howell about 45 minutes north from you. Spent some time down in Ypsi when I was taking classes at EMU.
Yep been there a few times. Mostly on business. EMU is a good small campus. Ypsilanti is like the dark side of Ann arbor at times. I dont mind it. Quaint and not too busy.
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Old 08-29-2011, 01:22 PM   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Puffer911 View Post
Sorry was thinking of questions to ask....and maybe thought you did not see them in time:

How did you know you finished cycling while using prime? Would it not artificially inflate ammo levels or nitrite?

Would you add it to the tank directly, or water being changed in, or both?

I am from Ypsilanti, about 6 miles SW of Ann Arbor. You?

With using Prime you will know when you have finished cycling when your ammonia and nitrites are reading 0 and you have a nitrates reading.

For how to put the Prime in you can either add it directly to the tank and than add your water, or you can add it to the new water and than pour in. Either way will work.
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