Newbie Tank Setup Questions
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Newbie Tank Setup Questions

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Newbie Tank Setup Questions
Old 06-11-2011, 09:11 PM   #1
 
Newbie Tank Setup Questions

Hello Everyone,
Thanks in advance for any insight you can provide. I'm new to the hobby and thought I read up enough to get thingst started with a new tank but ran into some issues early on. Here are the tank parameters:
- 10 gallon tank
- Added Tetra Aqua Safe Start to safely move cycle along
- Added 4 Glofish Danios to tank

I added the Safe Start on Saturday and added the fish on Sunday. By Tuesday one fish dropped to the bottom of the tank and was breathing heavy. I assumed it was an ammonia spike because I saw that the water was cloudy the day before. I changed about 1 gallon of water and hoped for the best. Then on Wednesday two more fish were showing the same symptoms so I changed 2 gallons of water. Then on Thursday I lost the last fish. Unfortunately, I didn't have a test kit until Thursday and when I checked the ammonia it showed negligible readings. I was surprised by this because I don't see what else could have caused relatively hardy fish to die so quickly. Another thing I found out with the tester is that my water's pH was 5.5. I acclimated the fish and they didn't die quickly so I assume it wasn't shock related but am not sure. I will start using pH up to bring the pH in line. I'm not moving forward with a fishless cycle by adding in food every day and will check the ammonia in another day or so. Please let me know if you have any feedback or suggestions. I would like to cycle and then add fish some time in July.

Thanks.
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Old 06-12-2011, 01:25 AM   #2
 
First of all drop all chemicals you add other than water conditioner. Your pH up will not work. Use seashells or calcium stone rocks as it is the easiest to take out and put in. you can also use crushed corals, seashell but these are harder to take out once you added in. Stay away from chemicals!!!1 other than water conditioners! !!! .... natural is the way to go. If you dont want to start a tank with a fishless cycle then i would recommend guppies. as they are cheap and interesting to watch. they also are very hardy, even through much pH changes and salinity changes.
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Old 06-12-2011, 12:23 PM   #3
 
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Welcome to TFK forum, glad you joined us.

We need more information before we can jump into new fish.

First, your tap water. What is the pH and hardness? The hardness you can find out from the water supply folkis, many now have a website with water quality/data posted. Hardness is crucial as pH is usually related, and attempts to adjust pH must bear the hardness in mind. I certainly agree not to use chemicals, they often will not work due to the hardness issue, as I can explain more once we have numbers.

When we know the hardness and pH of the tap water we can also discuss suitable fish. A 10g is not a lot of space, and fish like danio require swimming room and are not the best for a 10g. There are many others we can look into. And we can discuss the cycling in more detail.

How did you acclimate the fish?

Byron.
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Old 06-12-2011, 09:36 PM   #4
 
Thanks for the replies. I will definitely look into alternative pH adjusters. I checked my tap water but think I'm going to buy a liquid ammonia and pH test kit because it said my tap water pH was 5.5 and the water was soft, but those are the numbers I have for now.

I acclimated the danios by floating the bag for 30 minutes and letting small amounts of water in every 10 minutes. They were fine for the first two days, so I believe acclimation wasn't the issue. It seems like ammonia poisoning but the tester, which might not be reliable the strip kind, showed and still shows no ammonia. I've been adding a good amount of flakes into the take to keep the fishless cycle but show no ammonia at all. Hopefully, the new test kit is more helpful.

I'm surprised to hear about the Danios because the research I did showed a 10g would be suitable for a small school of them.

Thanks again.
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Old 06-13-2011, 10:27 AM   #5
 
With 4 Danio's in a 10g tank, I don't believe you would see an ammonia spike in two days. Your answer lies elsewhere. Also, I'm no expert, but I think forcing pH is a mistake as you'll have a potentially harmful pH shift with every water change. Might better select fish that will do well in your existing pH, than attempt adjustments.
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Old 06-13-2011, 12:11 PM   #6
 
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What test kit did you use? If you buy another, get the API liquid test kit. They have a Master combo with pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. That is all you need.

Check with your water supply people for the tap water hardness and pH. We really need to know this. A pH of 5-6 in an aquarium needs to be confirmed as to source/cause. When I know the tap water parameters I can explain this better.

If the tank pH is really 5.5, there will be no poisoning from ammonia. In acidic water, ammonia changes to ammonium which is relatively harmless. Nitrite can still be an issue though, and it is very toxic.

Please do not consider "alternate pH adjusters" until we know the hardness, and what fish you intend keeping. Most of these chemicals will not work. It is all connected to hardness. Your tap water may very well be perfect for the fish you want.

Byron.
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Old 06-13-2011, 02:50 PM   #7
 
Hmm...will the bacteria that normally converts ammonia to nitrites, also convert ammonium to nitrites or do we have a cycle inhibitor in acidic waters??
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Old 06-13-2011, 03:44 PM   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AbbeysDad View Post
Hmm...will the bacteria that normally converts ammonia to nitrites, also convert ammonium to nitrites or do we have a cycle inhibitor in acidic waters??
Nitrosomonas bacteria will assimilate ammonia and ammonium, whichever is available, so no change there. However, there is a slow-down in lower pH. Sources vary somewhat as to how this works. Some say at pH 6.4 the nitrosomonas bacteria cannot multiply, and at pH 6 they will not survive but actually die off. Other sources indicate they go into hibernation mode, a sort of suspended animation, at pH 6 or lower. I am still working through this in my research. But one thing is obvious, everyone agrees they slow down in acidic water and at some point cease to multiply and function.

The good side of this is that with no nitrite occurring (due to inactive bacteria), the fish will be spared nitrite poisoning. And the ammonium is not harmful. All this makes sense when you consider that soft water fish occur in waters with very acidic pH and they are all thriving. Of course, there is a much greater ratio of fish to water volume in these natural habitats. But for years I have maintained tanks of fish in pH 5 water and I have not been aware of issues with ammonia or nitrite.

Byron.
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Old 06-15-2011, 09:31 AM   #9
 
Thanks for directing me to API great test kit. My pH is 7.6 not 5.5. Still looking into alkalinity. My other issue is that I've been adding fishfood to cycle every day and have no ammonia or nitrite. When i had the fish i did see a bacteria bloom so it may be cycling. Will check nitrate next. The fishfood method should work right?

What other fish do you recommend for a 10g?
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Old 06-15-2011, 06:38 PM   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soboman View Post
Thanks for directing me to API great test kit. My pH is 7.6 not 5.5. Still looking into alkalinity. My other issue is that I've been adding fishfood to cycle every day and have no ammonia or nitrite. When i had the fish i did see a bacteria bloom so it may be cycling. Will check nitrate next. The fishfood method should work right?

What other fish do you recommend for a 10g?
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There is not much space in a 10g, and danio are fast swimmers that should be in a larger group and have more room, a 15g or 20g long would be better. But aside from that, some bottom fish, a trio of corys would be fine. There are many "dwarf" spcies that would be well suited to a 10g, with several groups for more interest, but the danio (glofish) are an obstacle.
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