New to this and wondering a few things... - Page 2 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #11 of 22 Old 06-01-2014, 03:46 AM
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Not that it's related but I had painted gravel (black and white) in my first tank and I couldn't get rid of ammonia. I changed the gravel to river rocks and no more ammonia. Not say this is at all your case but it could happen.

pH value is not as important as stability. I keep angels in higher pH than they traditionally like. I drip acclimate all fish to my tank. This process takes 1-2 hours but I haven't had any fish die from acclimation stress. FWIW.

It sill confuses me how you have a readable amount of ammonia with plants. That's usually what they consume first.
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post #12 of 22 Old 06-03-2014, 09:24 AM Thread Starter
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Interesting to hear about the painted gravel....I wonder if that's to blame.... might look into that a bit more.

I went back to the lfs. These guys are pretty cool fish hobbiests, not just pet salesmen - although I still don't 100% trust anyone who sells anything

After 5 weeks, I have loads of algae growth, so they recommended some Panda Garra - so now I have 2 of these cute chaps as well, added a couple of days ago. The lfs know that my set up is pretty immature - and from what I read, no-one really knows too much about Panda Garra, but they live in pretty changeable water in nature - from fast flowing steams to stagnant puddles in the dry season. They also tested a sample of my water today. No nitrites; ammonia and nitrates "low" (in their words).

The ammonia has obviously gone up with the addition of 50% more fish, so now I am expecting to see a mini cycle. We will see.

lfs basicaly said, keep doing what I'm doing, and from what I've described about my fish behaviour, it sounds like the tank's ok. They did also say to have patience, and not to expect the tank to be mature for months yet.

The Panda Garra seem happy enough, and they have decimated my algae population!!!
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post #13 of 22 Old 06-06-2014, 06:10 AM Thread Starter
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Tested my water last night and I got:

Ammonia: 0.5
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 50

So - the nitrate IS going up. The Nitrite really does seem to have zeroed, but the ammonia is still going up slowly but steadily.

What does this suggest?
I am thinking, there is a bit of a cycle going but not enough for the bioload.
I am about to do a pwc.

Any ideas on how I can get the cycle better established? I don't know anywhere I can get mature filter media, or I'd be doing that. I'm skeptical of using anything purchased (eg bacteria) unless anyone can give a definitive recommendation of something that works.

(If nothing else, I am about to set up another tank and try the fishless cycle again - this time with experience of what I am trying to achieve - and maybe I'll end up with the new tank cycled properly before this one is, and then I can use media from that one to help this one out).

The fish are still not showing any signs of distress, and the Panda Garas are making themselves at home - one has moved into one of the little caves I bought, and goes to bed at 9pm, like clockwork!
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post #14 of 22 Old 06-06-2014, 10:01 AM
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I can't see how you have ammonia and no nitrite. Does you source water have ammonia? If not then take a container with your source water and some of your gravel in it. Give it about 24 hours and test ammonia. It just may be your gravel leeching into your water. I can't think of anything else.
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post #15 of 22 Old 06-12-2014, 04:39 PM Thread Starter
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sprmankalel - thanks for the ideas about how to get to the bottom of this. I've done lots of testing of various things over the last few days to try and figure it out.

The upshot:
- my tap-water straight form the tap reads 0 ammonia.
- water left in a mini-setup pot next to the tank (that has never been anywhere near the fish) read 0 yesterday, and is now reading about 0.5!
- the water in my tank is reading just over 0.5 and hasn't changed in days.
- water taken out of the tank and kept in a separated pot of water, read EXACTLY the same colour as water directly from the tank even after 48hrs.

In the attached pic left to right (colours are interesting for comparrison, but the photo is *not* colour accurate):
Nitrite test - reads 0 nitrite
Tank water test - reads somewhere slightly above 0.5 not as high as 1ppm ammonia.
24hrs old, non tank water - reading pretty much exactly 0.5 ammonia
fresh tap water - reads 0 ammonia

So. I conclude, that the issue is not completely within the tank, and the gravel could well be to blame. The tank itself is remaining pretty stable and the ammonia is not going up from the 0.5, but I can't shift it below that no matter what I do.
Not sure what to do next though.
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post #16 of 22 Old 06-12-2014, 07:58 PM
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What is in this setup-pot you speak of?
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post #17 of 22 Old 06-16-2014, 06:12 PM Thread Starter
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Hi, the set-up pot was just a mini version of the tank in a jam-jar, using gravel from the tank (but no heater, filter, etc). I've disposed of it was interesting to see what the different water containers did over a coupe of days. Thanks for the idea.

Anyway - update: I have 0 ammonia! and somewhere between 0.5 -1 nitrite
So now I am really scared that the nitrite is going to kill my lovely fish - at least I now know what happening: it's starting to cycle. I can't believe how long this has taken. Its the best part of 2 months, it seems to me the plants (and algae?) had been keeping the equilibrium (even during my poor attempt to fishless cycle). Until I got the panda gara, who ate all the algae and added to the bio-load.

One of my Platys isn't faring so well now. Poor thing. She's hanging in there, sometimes I think she is doing really bad, then a bit later she seems ok again. But this morning she was looking really hollow and I thought she was a gonner.

On the other hand, I did see one of my fry this evening though - about 2cms long and definitely too big to get eaten now. The ammonia obviously didn't harm it, but I am sooo worried how it will do knowing that nitrite is even more toxic.

Any idea how long it takes for the nitrite to be neutralised? I read the bacteria takes longer to grow. I'm not sure my nerves (or the fish) will cope with this for another 2 months.

If I could turn back time, I make sure the tank was better prepared!

I have set up another tank now. I am thinking of just leaving it for now, in case of emergencies, so I could transfer a casualty if needed. Although, the other side of me would like to get it cycled as soon as possible. I have a bottle of ammonia and decent test kit at the ready I've also ordered some Prime.
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post #18 of 22 Old 06-20-2014, 11:36 AM Thread Starter
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if anyone is still following this thread...another update.

Little fry (who got named "up" by my teenage son) has been seen on a daily basis 5 days running now. I make her 6 weeks old - she seems to have slightly different colouring to the one I think is mum [dad is unknown] I am looking forward to seeing how she turns out....hoping 'she' is a girl too, I'm guessing its actually too early to know for sure. She's joining in when I'm feeding, although she's not plucked up the courage to join the frenzy right on the surface yet. Yesterday I also had a confirmed, simultaneous sighting of another, smaller fry. I think this other one is from the 2nd 'litter' I had, which would make it 3 weeks old.

The panda gara are both a tiny bit lethargic but still looking ok. You can read that as, they are now swimming about just as much as a platy, rather than being the total lunatics they were before the nitrite hit. It could also just be that they are getting more settled in the tank, I was told they calm down after a while, but I'm being realistic - I know the tank is not in the state I would have wanted it to be.

The poorly platy is still alive, and although not perfect, she is looking slightly better. She's feeding well, and not looking as skinny.

The nitrite seems to be coming down already. I make it .25 today, and I've not touched the tank in 2 days. Fingers crossed, I'm nearly there.
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post #19 of 22 Old 06-20-2014, 04:17 PM
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Sounds like all is good. It usually takes less time for nitrIte to come down than ammonia. Keep doing what you're doing. Just remember that your tank will tank another few months to stabilize. So I would be careful with adding new fish or deep cleanings.
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post #20 of 22 Old 06-20-2014, 04:53 PM
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Try to google "API nitrite test color chart". You will see how many shades are printed, depending on the quality of ink in each batch.
Look at your nitrates color chart. What's the difference between 10 and 20 ppm or between 40 and 80 ppm? That means that a sample could have a reading of more than 20 ppm but less than 160 ppm. How accurate is that?
Don't stress yourself unless you see something obvious.
For me, that is a zero nitrite reading
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cycling , fry , platys

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