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New fish owner seeks advice on tank set up!

This is a discussion on New fish owner seeks advice on tank set up! within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> I think it'd be a good idea to get everything laid out as it is, in order to see where I should go from ...

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New fish owner seeks advice on tank set up!
Old 05-10-2009, 06:56 PM   #41
 
steveh's Avatar
 
I think it'd be a good idea to get everything laid out as it is, in order to see where I should go from here:


Tank: 15 gallon, glass
Type: freshwater
Light: 1 x 15watt (was on 12+ hours/day until this weekend, now down to 8-10 max)
Substrate: 30lbs of "medium"-sized natural rock (from fish store)
Pumps: Marineland Emperor 280 & Hagen Elite Mini Underwater Filter (for aeration)
Date started: 4/4/09 (~5 weeks)

Fish: 1 x Black Moor Goldfish (approx 1.5-2")


Plants: Hygrophila difformis


Current tank pH: 6.4
Current tank Ammonia: ~.5ppm or less
Current tank Nitrite: 3-5ppm or more
Current tank Nitrate: not tested

Tap water pH: 7.2


Current feeding cycle: 5 days a week, once a day (fish pellets, fish flakes, and peas rotated)

Current chemical treatment:
- 1 x double dose of Amquel+ per day to try to keep the nitrite down
- 1 treatment of "pH stable" about 4-5 days ago
- 1 x dosage of "pH UP" to try to up the pH a bit
- about 1 x tablespoon of aquarium salt (to try to help with the Nitrite levels)


Other information:

Up until this week, I was changing 30% of the water daily in order to combat the Ammonia and then Nitrite in the system. I was told by two people at the local fish store (not Petco) that I was likely stalling the cycle by doing so many changes, and thus I've ceased changing the water, with the exception of 2 10% changes in the last 3 days in order to get rid of the brown algae and small white worms that had developed, and to clean out poop/obvious debris.


That said, how should I proceed hence-forth? I'm starting to get the sense that I should likely just let things work themselves out and stop trying to adjust things with chemicals. I will say that I have yet to change either of the filters: should I replace them or clean them out? Or should I wait until the tank is stable to do so?

Thanks everyone for your advice thus-far! Whether or not things are proceeding as we all would have liked them to, I have learned a lot about taking care of fish, and currently have what seems like a relatively happy Black Moor that swims around happily, eats whatever I give her, and plays around in her tank whenever we come into the room!
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Old 05-10-2009, 07:31 PM   #42
 
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In keeping with the advice from 1077 and Pasfur and codlong, don't add any chemicals to the tank; adjust/condition the water before it goes in at the partial water changes, but not in the tank with the fish.

Re the water changes, I myself do not think a partial water change will affect the cycling as the store may be suggesting, as long as it is just a water change. Do not vacuum the substrate (OK to go over it to pick up excess mulm if you think it is excessive but not into the gravel to agitate it). Do not touch the filter until the tank is cycled (consistent daily ammonia and nitrite readings of "0" for several consecutive days will indicate when the tank is cycled), and then only rinse the media in tank water or declorinated tap water.

I would let the pH go where it may until the cycling is complete, then look for the cause (if the ph is still dropping significantly).

In all things with fish, stability is important.
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Old 05-28-2009, 04:28 PM   #43
 
Since nitrites are present, you're in the second phase of the cycle so that's good. The ammonia levels should go to zero quickly. The nitrite phase takes a lot longer, as the bacteria that process nitrites reproduce slower than the ammonia ones. When you start seeing nitrates showing up, you know the second population is growing.

I would stick with your partial water changes, 25% every day or so. Actually even gravel vaccuuming won't hurt. The bacteria you are growing secrete a "sticky glue" and really anchor themselves to whatever they are growing on -- the substrate, filter, driftwood etc. They will stay in the gravel and the detris will come out. As for stalling the cycle, it won't. It will slow it down just because you'll be removing nitrites which are a source of food for them, but you're trying to keep your fish alive too.
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