03-12-2010, 05:01 PM
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We all make mistakes what is important is that you are asking for help....
Do you have a master test kit to test your water prams for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH...if not you really need to get one as this will help you in the start up and the long term health of the tank.
How much and how often on your water changes and when was the last one
Any additives used, if so, what kind, how much, what for
Filtration, airstone, live or fake plants used
Do you understand the nitrogen cycle
Depending on what your nitrate reading is will help you decide how much water you can safely change, if it is 20ppm or less I would start making 50% daily water changes and if it is over 30ppm I would make 10% for 2 days, then 20% for 2 days, 30% for 2 days then 50% for 2 days but only vacuum the substrate one time in 7 days, give your filter media a good swish in old tank water with one of the 30% pwc. Make sure the water temp is within a couple of degrees of old and new water and use a dechlorinator with all new water added if you are on city water supply.
Then test your water daily and any reading of ammonia or nitrite 0.25ppm or greater make a 50% water change and keep your nitrates 5-10ppm during the cycling process.
Once cycled make 50% weekly water changes with substrate vacuum.
The nitrifying bacteria needed to cycle the tank are sticky and adhere to everything in the tank, like the walls, decoration, plants both real and fake and in the top layer of the substrate and the filter media...very little are in the water column itself so water change will not affect the cycling process and they will save your fish, however, do not vacuum more than one time a week, or over clean the filter media or use tap water as this can kill the NB and you will have a mini cycle.
Find out the name of the fish you don't know.... but at this point you need to get your water quality better and the tank cycled