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New tank, big mistakes

This is a discussion on New tank, big mistakes within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> +1 on the Prime. I've also used Seachem Stability to help cycle smaller tanks with success. I also agree that constant testing and water ...

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New tank, big mistakes
Old 04-07-2011, 05:51 AM   #11
 
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+1 on the Prime. I've also used Seachem Stability to help cycle smaller tanks with success.

I also agree that constant testing and water changes will be your best bet for the fish but might slow up your cycling process a little.

Good luck.
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Old 04-07-2011, 07:51 AM   #12
 
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The live plants will help reduce the stress on the fish because they will take up the ammonium. So more live plants are good! Especially fast growing stem plants.
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Old 04-07-2011, 11:48 AM   #13
 
I am going to buy another plant today from Big Al's when I ask if they can give me some filter media or gravel to help cycle my tank.
How do I use Prime during cycling? I use it strictly for water conditioner. I read the bottle but it says nothing about detoxifing ammonia, only detoxifing nitrates.
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Old 04-07-2011, 05:25 PM   #14
 
So I went to Big Al's and asked if they could give me some gravel or filter media but the guy said he wasn't comfortable with it because they have SO many fish coming in there all the time that it's impossible to know if anything is contaminated. Which is understandable. So I bought the cories some sinking pellets and they love them.

But that got me thinking:
Wouldn't the plants I bought from Big Al's have some good bacteria on it that could help the tank cycle quick?

I found a snail on one of my plants too. It was really small and brown but I got it out. There is also some clear gooey blob things with white dots inside on one of my plants. Snail eggs? I tried getting it off but there is still some in there.
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Old 04-07-2011, 05:29 PM   #15
 
And also, I just did some tests and ammonia is 0 but the nitrite test had some colour but it was VERY faint. So I judged it to be about 0.05ppm. And the nitrates were very faint too, below 5ppm which is the lowest my test goes to so it was about 2ppm.

Comments/Suggestions? I am very new to this.
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Old 04-07-2011, 06:35 PM   #16
 
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Good Job! Yes sounds like snail eggs... try to get as much off as possible... That's the trouble with plants.
Silly how the plants come in Big Als water and so do the fish so why not a bit of gravel. Am I wrong everyone? Too risky?
Cycling can take up to 4-8 weeks... you only set the tank up last week? The plants will help immensely but I'm not sure how fast it will cut the time down. The fish are in so you are just going to carry on being very aware of your levels until mid May, which will put you at 6 weeks... ish.
Doesn't it change the whole experience at the LFS now that you know what you are talking about??!! (This is where the addiction sets in... You will be craiglisting and Kijiji-ing bigger tanks before you know it. lol)
There is a thread in here called.... "you know you are addicted when...." a funny read!!
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Old 04-07-2011, 07:13 PM   #17
 
Lol, I was addicted before starting up this new tank.
I started with one betta, then about a year later I got another one and 2 weeks after that I got another one. Then I got them all bigger tanks and everything they could possibly have to make them happy. Then I wanted a bigger tank with different fish, which I have now but I need to slow down haha.
Can you tell I was never allowed a dog growing up? haha
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Old 04-19-2011, 11:56 AM   #18
 
I just thought I'd post an update on my tank:
I started adding Seachem's Stability exactly one week ago today. As of today Ammonia is at 0ppm, Nirtites are at 0.7ppm and Nitrates are at 15ppm. The pH is at 7.8 and has been all along.
All fish are doing well but one Platy passed away sometime Saturday night. I think it was nitrite poisoning because her gills were brown and she was struggling to breathe and lying at the bottom of the tank. All the other fish are doing great and my panda cories have survived thus far. I am using a triple dose of Prime to detoxify the nitrites but I am going to lower that dose. I was also doing 50% water changes everyday when the nitrite got really high (like 1.6ppm).
Looks like my tank is almost cycled! :)
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Old 04-19-2011, 12:39 PM   #19
 
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Several issues in this thread, i will try to answer from my experience/research.

First, Prime is a water conditioner and should only be used as such, i.e., when changing water use it for the amount of water being changed. Prime detoxifies ammonia, nitrite and nitrate; these functions work for about 24 hours, after which, if there is still ammonia/nitrite beyond the capability of the bacteria and live plants, it will be toxic. However, read on before jumping to conclusions.

Prime detoxifies ammonia by changing it to the relatively harmless ammonium. Test kits read ammonium as "ammonia," and bacteria use ammonia/ammonium. Live plants need ammonium, so they will grab a lot of it. Prime detoxifies nitrite by binding it somehow, I do not fully understand the chemistry but that is not important.

I said Prime is effective for about 24 hours. By then, the idea is that the bacteria/plants will have things under control. However, in new tanks it takes time to establish a workable bacteria colony, and the more fish and the smaller the water volume, the riskier this is because more ammonia (and then nitrite) is being produced than the bacteria can handle so soon, and in a small volume of water it becomes more highly concentrated. Thus, if you do a water change with Prime, you are fine for a day. If the next day you find ammonia or nitrite above .25, do a 50% water change with Prime. Keep doing this until ammonia and nitrite are zero. Nitrates are somewhat irrelevant through this period, but when ammonia and nitrite both rise and then fall back to zero you will likely see nitrates, although with live plants they may be minimal.

Bacteria supplements and seeding: Never use gravel from a fish store. "Stuff" can live in the gravel that you do not want in your tanks--pathogens, bacteria, disease, whatever. While some of these may also arrive with fish and plants, or anything else like rock or wood out of a fish tank, there is more likely to be more of this "stuff" in the gravel. There are two bacterial supplements that are safe and they do work. Seachem's Stability [you mentioned this, good one] and Tetra's SafeStart. These are 100% live bacteria. "Cycle" is different, I'm not saying it might not work, but I know the other two do and they are safe.

Snails are your best friend in an aquarium. They perform cleanup that you could never fully match. Be glad they are there. [I'm talking about the small snails, like pond, bladder and Malaysian Livebearing.]

The dead platy: From your description, and the cycling issue, this fish probably died of nitrite poisoning. Nitrite gets in the bloodstream and becomes methemoglobin which turns the blood brownish, as you mentioned at the gills where blood is closest to the surface/water. Methemoglobin renders the blood unable to carry oxygen and the fish cannot get oxygen so it literally suffocates. Fish may appear to "survive" cycling, but in almost all cases internal damage is done, and down the road other health issues may arise, or the fish may (often) die prematurely, "for no reason" externally. The poisoning by ammonia or nitrite is the cause. Nothing can be done now. We all live and learn from our mistakes.

Hope this has helped to explain things, feel free to ask questions. We are all here to help each other, and we never stop learning.

Byron.
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Old 04-19-2011, 03:56 PM   #20
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron View Post
Several issues in this thread, i will try to answer from my experience/research.

First, Prime is a water conditioner and should only be used as such, i.e., when changing water use it for the amount of water being changed. Prime detoxifies ammonia, nitrite and nitrate; these functions work for about 24 hours, after which, if there is still ammonia/nitrite beyond the capability of the bacteria and live plants, it will be toxic. However, read on before jumping to conclusions.

Prime detoxifies ammonia by changing it to the relatively harmless ammonium. Test kits read ammonium as "ammonia," and bacteria use ammonia/ammonium. Live plants need ammonium, so they will grab a lot of it. Prime detoxifies nitrite by binding it somehow, I do not fully understand the chemistry but that is not important.

I said Prime is effective for about 24 hours. By then, the idea is that the bacteria/plants will have things under control. However, in new tanks it takes time to establish a workable bacteria colony, and the more fish and the smaller the water volume, the riskier this is because more ammonia (and then nitrite) is being produced than the bacteria can handle so soon, and in a small volume of water it becomes more highly concentrated. Thus, if you do a water change with Prime, you are fine for a day. If the next day you find ammonia or nitrite above .25, do a 50% water change with Prime. Keep doing this until ammonia and nitrite are zero. Nitrates are somewhat irrelevant through this period, but when ammonia and nitrite both rise and then fall back to zero you will likely see nitrates, although with live plants they may be minimal.

I spoke to someone at Seachem and they told me to use the Prime every 24-48 hours during cycling. I am doing this to help my fish, even though it isn't much at least it helps. I do plenty of water changes but if I do so many to keep nitrite at 0.25ppm or less, my theory is that the beneficial bacteria will never have a chance to multiply to get rid of the nitrite, which is why I'm using the Prime to reduce the toxicity. I also put an extra air stone in the tank because I've read that the Prime can reduce the oxygen levels.

Bacteria supplements and seeding: Never use gravel from a fish store. "Stuff" can live in the gravel that you do not want in your tanks--pathogens, bacteria, disease, whatever. While some of these may also arrive with fish and plants, or anything else like rock or wood out of a fish tank, there is more likely to be more of this "stuff" in the gravel. There are two bacterial supplements that are safe and they do work. Seachem's Stability [you mentioned this, good one] and Tetra's SafeStart. These are 100% live bacteria. "Cycle" is different, I'm not saying it might not work, but I know the other two do and they are safe.

When I went to the fish store to ask for some gravel the guy there informed me why it wasn't a good idea to do that, which I totally agree with. They wouldn't give anything to anybody to help seed their tank because they think it is too risky. I was just told by some members on here to try and get some but I'm glad I didn't succeed.

Snails are your best friend in an aquarium. They perform cleanup that you could never fully match. Be glad they are there. [I'm talking about the small snails, like pond, bladder and Malaysian Livebearing.]

I know they are a good thing, but in two days I've found about 15 or so. I took out about 10 of them because I don't really want a huge swarm of snails on my aquarium glass. Do they eat the live plants though?


The dead platy: From your description, and the cycling issue, this fish probably died of nitrite poisoning. Nitrite gets in the bloodstream and becomes methemoglobin which turns the blood brownish, as you mentioned at the gills where blood is closest to the surface/water. Methemoglobin renders the blood unable to carry oxygen and the fish cannot get oxygen so it literally suffocates. Fish may appear to "survive" cycling, but in almost all cases internal damage is done, and down the road other health issues may arise, or the fish may (often) die prematurely, "for no reason" externally. The poisoning by ammonia or nitrite is the cause. Nothing can be done now. We all live and learn from our mistakes.

I am aware of all this and knew it was bound to happen once I read about the nitrogen cycle. I feel bad that it was my fault but it's all a learning experience and I definitely won't do it again. They need to educate employees more at Petsmart and think more about the welfare of the fish and not the money, but then again I'm the fool for buying the fish without researching very much. My friend works at Petsmart and told me they can't tell a customer not to buy a certain fish, even if it is not compatible with the fish in their aquarium or if it's way too big for their aquarium.

Hope this has helped to explain things, feel free to ask questions. We are all here to help each other, and we never stop learning.

Byron.
Thanks for the information! It is all helpful and better to read it from an experienced person.
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