Ugh! Tank of Troubles - old filter quit - new filter not seeded - Page 2 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #11 of 17 Old 03-09-2010, 08:59 AM Thread Starter
Thanks guys!

One of the big problems is that my tap water measures 0.25 ppm of ammonia, so when I did water changes in the past, the ammonia readings would rise then fall the next day - which is what alerted me to this problem in the first place, when the readings did not fall. I have never had any readings of nitrate or nitrite on any of my tanks - ever.

Of course I use a water conditioner (Amquel+ and NovAqua+) but even my experiment of testing treated tap water (not added to the tank) there were still readings of ammonia, so I don't know how I can say what's been "converted to ammonium" and what is still poison "ammonia".

I still think there is something else going on with the tank, either bacterial or a parasite - I don't know if "skinny disease" is contageous since I'm sure that's what the clown loach died of and now the male molly is sick and thin this morning.

The fish aren't congregating up near the top either, which I thought was a sign that there was too much ammonia in the tank. they all prefer to hide on the bottom.

I don't know if not treating anything and just doing the daily water changes is going to be enough either, or if I should treat them, or even what to treat them with. I guess that I'm bad that way that when there are many options before me and I can't make a choice - I tend to chose to do nothing until a clear choice presents itself. Nothing seems clear right now.
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post #12 of 17 Old 03-09-2010, 08:18 PM Thread Starter
Just took my readings today - and guess what?

Ammonia is 0 - yes - I even took it twice!

What could that possibly mean? Ammonia spike?

Nitrite and Nitrate are also 0 - which they have always been
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post #13 of 17 Old 03-10-2010, 04:00 AM
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Are you sure you're doing the nitrite and especially nitrate tests correctly? It seems unlikely that your ammonia would just disappear like that without leaving some nitrate in the tank. For both you have to wait five minutes for the color to show up and for the nitrate test especially, you really have to shake the crap out of the test tube (I would say for a good two minutes) to get a good reading.

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post #14 of 17 Old 03-10-2010, 08:26 AM
So true, especially with the nitrate reagent, that stuff tends to settle and it need a good bang on the table and shaken until your arm hurts and then change arms and shake some more...

And to remind are talking about the API master kit or a liq test kit right?

And how odd that your ammonia from the tap didn't show up either and that bites when you start off with ammonia, I have read that a product called "Prime" is the best one to use as a conditioner when you have ammonia in your tap water, it will make your test show ammonia but it is ammonium and not harmful to fish.
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post #15 of 17 Old 03-10-2010, 09:25 PM Thread Starter

I use the API liquid test kit. I do shake the test tubes after adding the test liquid - but I don't "shake the crap" out of them - I have never noticed any settling like the test liquid is viscous and settles on the bottom

(I would hope all those college years in chemistry (including a bio-chem degree) taught me how to mix a test tube! *wink* *grin*)

Since the tank (established for over 1.5 years) was transferred to my home - I have NEVER read any nitrites or nitrates - well there were times the nitrates were not quite 0 but NOT 5ppm either.

I tested the tank again this morning and again tonight - they are still at 0's across the board - you might say the ammonia is not quite zero, but it's definitely NOT 0.25ppm. I have not done a water change since MONDAY.

I only use Amquel+ and NovAqua+ I did switch to NovAqua+ from API Stress Coat+ I figured that using products from the same brand might eliminate any adverse chemical reactions. I also threw out any food containers that I didn't buy in case they were considered spoiled. Just using precautions here.

I have only lost two fish so far but they were acting "funny" before the issue with the filter. I think one (or both) of the fish might have had "skinny disease" or "wasting disease" and the male molly is looking thinner - so I might have exposed my whole tank to something rather pestiferous. The two I lost came from the same pet store bought at the same time and kept in the same tank at the store. The mollies are from the same store but a different tank.

The last thought I had was that the people I bought the tank from didn't do much as far as upkeep - there was a lot of algae on the lights, crusty salt condensation, the air tubes were clogged and they had NEVER even rinsed the biomedia on the HOB filter (it was so clogged it hardly ran). All the fish had fin rot to a degree and the tank came with a bucketful of pharmaceuticals. One of the big chain fish store people said to me that I "mess" with my tank too much - including water changes - he said I should only do a pwc (10-15%) every 6 weeks. So who knows maybe all the "issues" I have been having with the tank is because I do the water changes, check my equipment, and generally try to care about the fish.

hmmm... I really just don't know what to do or think at the moment.

But I really do appreciate all and any thoughts/comments/observations you guys have. You all have been so friendly here.

Last edited by PaperclipGirl; 03-10-2010 at 09:30 PM.
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post #16 of 17 Old 03-10-2010, 10:33 PM Thread Starter
Oh - I should add that I do each test one at a time with a timer - so it takes me a little over 15 minutes to test all the parameters (pH doesn't require the 5 minute wait time).

The LFS posed to me that the reason I don't see nitAtes in my tank is because of all the water changes I do.
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post #17 of 17 Old 03-11-2010, 03:24 AM
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I mean, water changes definitely keep nitrates down, which is probably the main reason for doing them (in a non-planted tank, anyway).

But, theoretically, 1 ppm ammonia should get converted to 1 ppm nitrite and then 1 ppm nitrate, so if the tank is fully cycled and has no method of nitrate removal (i.e. plants) or some other means of removing ammonia from the water without resulting in nitrate (again...plants) then you should get a nitrate reading if you have an ammonia reading and then the ammonia goes away, during which period no water change was done. That's why I asked about doing the tests in the first place, since it's just baffling for ammonia to disappear in a non-planted tank without leaving nitrate behind.

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