Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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asimmons 05-30-2012 08:14 PM

PLEASE Help with Nitrite & Nitrate

We purchased a 20 gallon starter kit tank at a local pet store. Also purchased two Tiger oscars, Four Tiger Barbs and two sucker fish. None of the numbskulls at the store bothered telling us about the breakin period for the tank. Amonia was out the roof and PH was extremely low. Lost all of the TIger barbs and almost lost my Oscars. Went to an aquarium "specialist" and purchased more filters, Prime and Marine Buffer. also did a 50/50. the shock dang near cost me my oscars again. to the point of floating on their sides at the top of the water gasping and no fin movement. two days later purchased a bigger, better filtration system and the amonia level is in the safe zone according to the Tetra Test strips i purchased. fish are a 1000 times more active and back to themselves. More we have this very cloudy (white) water and the Nitrite and Nitrate are in the "Danger" zone according to the Tetra Test strips. Any suggestions?

Reefing Madness 05-30-2012 08:33 PM

Yup. Take the fish back and let the tank cycle for its normal 6 week period. Those fish are way to big for a 20g tank. No matter how many filters you put on that tank, the Nitrogen Cycle happens on its own.

Tazman 05-30-2012 09:45 PM

Agreed, the tank is totally unsuitable for ANY Oscars, they need at bare minimum a 75g tank as they get big quickly!.

You would be better off getting a liquid test kit as well, the strips are unreliable and can give false results. Many people use the API Master kit, it would also be beneficial to purchase a Carbonate and General Hardness test kit as well. This will allow you to determine your tap water and as such be able to know what fish are suitable for it, which for a tank that small is not very much, am sorry to say.

JimBinSC 05-31-2012 07:47 AM

Sorry to hear of your experience. Reefing madness and Tazman are right on, as usual. Many of the folks (not all) at the large chain petstores don't know much about fish, they want to sell stuff and make you happy when you leave with loads of shiny new stuff. I tried to ask someone at my Petsmart a question about fish and she said "I don't know, I'm a dog groomer, I'm just helping out over here". So it pays to do alot of research before starting a tank.

Your white water is most likely caused by the bacterial bloom. Bacteria starters that may come with the starter kits will cause it. It will clear up in a few weeks, most here don't recommend using the "clarifiers" you can buy at the store. I tried one and it didn't seem to work anyways.

Research, test the water, and stock slowly.

Petesusan 08-02-2012 08:02 PM

If you buy a bio pallet reacter it will go down my was at 80ppm a month ago today it is at 25ppm ,bio pallet reactor eat nitrate & phosphate

rhymon78 08-07-2012 07:54 AM

Oh wow what a horror story. You must get those oscars out, unless planning on a 120gallon 6 foot upgrade to your tank within 6 months... They are not beginner fish. Beautiful, yes, but far too demanding for a first timer IMO. They grow so huge, and you will be totally limited to what you can out in your tank with them, basically large aggressive cichlids and other large fish, not good. You can dose with prime in an emergency to lower nitrite/nitrate levels, but only lasts for 24/36hours. You really want this stuff to be happening so as to cycle your tank, so inhibiting it is probably a bad thing, so removing your fish is the best option, like others have said, let the tank cycle, read up on the Internet about this, then restock slowly with compatible fish. Forget those poor oscars, return them ASAP!

Sorry this has happened but it's up to us who keep fish to research before getting into the hobby. Good luck and all the best

1077 08-07-2012 08:16 AM

I agree with other's regarding the fish you have chosen.
Regarding your pH,,, I would not use buffer that would raise this, for with low pH,,, ammonia is far less toxic to fish than with higher pH.
Unless your pH is below 6.0 ,or higher than 8.0, it's best not to mess with those powder's or potion's which raise or lower pH for it may very well will result in fluctuating pH number's which are stressful to fish = sick fish.
Stable pH number is far better for fishes. Many fishes can adapt within reason to most water produced from the tap which is prolly what the fish store uses as well. ;-)

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