Is it normal to have a second die-off of bacteria?
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Is it normal to have a second die-off of bacteria?

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Is it normal to have a second die-off of bacteria?
Old 10-26-2009, 09:48 PM   #1
 
Question Is it normal to have a second die-off of bacteria?

When I started cycling the tank there was an initial die-off of the bacteria in the tank resulting in the water becoming cloudy. That cleared very nicely and the water has been clean and healthy until yesterday where I had a second spike in ammonia and the water is back to cloudy. This seems to have happened over yesterday and today. Is this normal? Should I be leaving it to cycle through or actively try to fix it? I have performed two water changes since (1 yesterday of 1/3 and 1 today of 1/2) and the nitrite, nitrate levels are 0, and pH is at 6.4.
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Old 10-27-2009, 02:02 AM   #2
 
Sorry, pH is 6.6. Also, my pleco whose colour I have been concerned with previously, is now turning a greyish on his sides. Initially his spots started to fade and then they came back. Now the grey. Any ideas of what could be going on? I am currently setting up an independent tank for him to see if that improves anything.
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Old 10-27-2009, 03:31 AM   #3
 
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Usually ,once the good bacteria that is in large part found in the filter begins to develop,, it can't be desroyed unless it is removed or cleaned with tapwater which contains chlorine or chloramines. Always best to leave the filter material, pads,sponges,cartridges etc alone for the first month to allow the bacteria to colonize. Bacterial blooms (good thing) are most often what clouds the water during the first couple weeks to a month,maybe more. other causes for cloudy water are algae blooms and or decaying food or fish waste laying on the bottom of the tank. Could also be a sign of not enough filtration (too small) in which case a larger filter placed in the tank and allowed to run along with the smaller one,, until it too can develop a bacterial colony can help both with water quality and also fishes well being by providing more capability to remove that which is suspended in the water .
Moving fish from tank to tank is not only stressful for the fish, but is a very good way to spread possible bacterial pathogens or parasites to several tanks.
Ammonia,and nitrites must be zero all day, every day. We can do this by feeding sparingly, and through water changes using a dechlorinator such as PRIME,or AMQUEL+ that will detoxify ammonia and nitrites allowing the bacteria in the filter to develop without being overwhelmed by too much organics (food,poop) to process. Must also stock the tank slowly and keep numbers of fish in porportion to the size of the tank. If none of your other fish are showing signs of distress,, I would leave them be and simply cut back on feed and number of times fed each day and continue to monitor the water not only for nitrites ,but ammonia as well taking care to use a dechlorinator such as the two mentioned. I might also consider adding additional filter as mentioned and after a month of both filters running and no more fish added,, I would remove the original smaller filter, and start a quarantine tank with it . This will reduce introducing diseases to your main tank or display tank considerably.
The pleco you have may also appreciate a small airstone added to the tank and possibly some driftwood depending on the species. Vegetable matter in the way of cucumber,romain lettuce,zucchinni,spinach leaves as well as alage wafers is appreciated(needed) by most .
I would as mentioned,stay on top of testing and water changes (not too cold or hot) and resist the urge to use ANY chemicals or medications and see if things don't improve. Hope some of this helps.

Last edited by 1077; 10-27-2009 at 03:34 AM..
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Old 10-28-2009, 03:54 AM   #4
 
Thank you for your suggestions. I have purchased some PRIME and I hope it works. Ammonia levels are a little high in my 29G tank but seem to be a-okay in my 20G. There are trace amounts of chloramines in my tap water. I have created a pleco haven for my pleco and hope everything is okay with him. He seems to be the most physically affected by the cycling process. Hopefully I will come up with ideal tank-mates for him (South American, non-territorial or at least will leave him alone).
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Old 10-28-2009, 05:55 PM   #5
 
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Just to ease your mind, as I concur with 1077's advice, at a pH of 6.6 ammonia basically converts to ammonium and this is harmless to the fish. Your test kit will still read "ammonia" since most of them read ammonia/ammonium as ammonia. Prime and similar conditioners actually detoxify ammonia by converting it to ammonium, same thing. So, your fish are not going to be directly affected by the ammonium.

However, there is still the question why. As 1077 said, ammonia and nitrite in an established aquarium should always be zero, and usually only appears when something happens to overload or affect the biological equilibrium (nitrification cycle). The bacteria multiply as the ammonia/nitrite increases, so it takes a considerable increase to trigger a mini-cycle. At the same time, it is also possible that this is just a continuation of the initial cycling, some little "blurp" so to speak. I can't remember how long this tank has been set up, but this is a possibility.

Are you testing for nitrite? A rise in nitrite would be more serious, and regular partial water changes can reduce nitrite. The lower the pH, the less effective the nitrification bacteria, so having a sudden spike in nitrite could have a more troublesome effect on the fish. As I mentioned, ammonia/ammonium at an acidic pH is not going to be harmful, but needs to be monitored.

Byron.
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Old 10-28-2009, 08:17 PM   #6
 
The tank has been cycling for just over 4weeks now. Some variation in ammonia, pH, etc. was expected but this is a real spike. The nitrite and nitrate levels have always been 0 and the pH has been consistant at 6.6. My worry is that although there was a spike after adding fish, that went down and as been fine until the other day where it jumped up to 1ppm.

I have transfered the pleco into his own tank now and he seems a-okay with the change. I am keeping an eye on the tank to watch for any weird changes. Not that I'm yet able to identify weird from normal so I'm sure I'll be posting some more questions soon enough, lol.
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Old 10-28-2009, 08:44 PM   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SophieThomas View Post
The tank has been cycling for just over 4weeks now. Some variation in ammonia, pH, etc. was expected but this is a real spike. The nitrite and nitrate levels have always been 0 and the pH has been consistant at 6.6. My worry is that although there was a spike after adding fish, that went down and as been fine until the other day where it jumped up to 1ppm.

I have transfered the pleco into his own tank now and he seems a-okay with the change. I am keeping an eye on the tank to watch for any weird changes. Not that I'm yet able to identify weird from normal so I'm sure I'll be posting some more questions soon enough, lol.
If I'm understanding correctly, this is a new tank set up 4 weeks ago, and nitrite has been zero during this period. The tank is still cycling. If this is correct, then adding more fish has added tothe ammonia before the initial cycle worked through, and may explain the cloudiness.

There are still fish in this tank, after you removed the pleco? Are there live plants?

Byron.
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Old 10-29-2009, 12:45 AM   #8
 
There is no live plants but a few tetras and danios. They have been there since the beginning and have always, despite changes in ammonia levels, been very happy and energetic. Despite the fish being happy I don't want to simply dismiss the ammonia spike. I have been told several things in regards to the cloudiness. The two main explinations have been that it is bacterial death due to there being no ammonia during the initial stages of cycling (which may have been true for the first week but then we added a few fish) and the second being that it is a bacterial bloom in response to high food source. Both explinations sound reasonable due to the changes in ammonia with the introduction of fish.

When I set up the tank for the pleco I put the pump on an established tank for a while and that tank seems great.
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Old 10-29-2009, 11:43 AM   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SophieThomas View Post
There is no live plants but a few tetras and danios. They have been there since the beginning and have always, despite changes in ammonia levels, been very happy and energetic. Despite the fish being happy I don't want to simply dismiss the ammonia spike. I have been told several things in regards to the cloudiness. The two main explinations have been that it is bacterial death due to there being no ammonia during the initial stages of cycling (which may have been true for the first week but then we added a few fish) and the second being that it is a bacterial bloom in response to high food source. Both explinations sound reasonable due to the changes in ammonia with the introduction of fish.

When I set up the tank for the pleco I put the pump on an established tank for a while and that tank seems great.
I agree with the explanations, both are related to the nitrification cycle and establishment of the biological system, and as I said not unusual. And in your slightly acidic pH the fish will not be stressed by the higher "ammonia" readings because the ammonia is ammonium and that is basically non-toxic to fish and plants, unlike true ammonia. The nitrite when it spikes is different though.

Keep monitoring esp the nitrite, and if it rises do daily pwc to dilute it for the few days until it drops back to zero.

Byron.
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Old 10-31-2009, 10:34 PM   #10
 
The nitrite has never gone up in the tank. I have been monitoring the stats quite closely and ammonia is the only problem. I am considering taking a sample of my tank water into school with me and doing some additional tests as it moves along through it's cycling period. In fact I might do that on Monday
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