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asimmons 05-30-2012 08:25 PM

Nitrate & Nitrite are Kicking my Booty
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?

asimmons 05-30-2012 09:14 PM

im starting to wonder if I have too many fish for this sized aquarium.... any input?

CinBos 05-30-2012 09:29 PM

Starting off, yes you did have too many fish. The 20 gal will be way too small for even 1 oscar. You shld return the fish if
Possible and let the tank properly cycle. Prime is good to declorinate, but the the supplemental bacteria is useless. I would retun the oscars for their sake, the water is damaging their gills, and one if not both will pass in time. Also go out and purchase a more stable test kit, the master kits at petco and petsmart are perfect! There is no safe zone with ammonia, there shld be no ammonia present in the tank.

If i were you, I would return the oscars and algae eater (plecos or algae eater?). I would cycle thetank and the slowly add fish back in. If you have any questions about cycling, there are great stickies at the top of this section explaining the process and good tips and tricks to speedy it up.
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asimmons 05-30-2012 10:02 PM

I actually just did a 50/50 on the tank. I also tested the water I used to refill the tank prior to putting it into the tank and all the levels were good. no amonia, no nitrite or nitrate, chlorine, etc... i really hate to get rid of these oscars. I had them when I was growing up.... kind of a childhood memory if u will. these are the fish I have. Two tigar oscars, two plecos and two tiger barbs. Can you recommend a tank size for these fish? We are in an apartment so I can to stay under a certain tank size before pet deposits, etc are required.

Tazman 05-30-2012 10:12 PM

75g minimum for 2 Oscar, bigger if you have more fish as well.

CinBos 05-30-2012 10:13 PM

Thats hard honestly, because a min for just 2 oscars to co-habitate is a 125 gal. The plecos will get fairly large. Regradless a 20 gal is way to small for the fish you have. Also, the water may have no readings, possibly R/o water? But the tank will still need beneficial bacteria to break down the ammonia to nitrite and then nitrite to nitrates. Read up in the cycling process, itll help, promise!
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asimmons 05-30-2012 10:15 PM

thats what I just started searching craigslist for hah. a 75g tank

Olympia 05-30-2012 10:20 PM

If you love the oscars, yes 75 gallons minimum, I really hope that's in your range. 125 is pretty ideal, but sometimes situations aren't perfect. You have some time if you are vigilant with the smaller tank, but only a month or two at best.
My advice is to return the plecos, and the barbs (a grown Oscar may eat a barb). And focus on your oscars. We'll do our best to get you guys through this.
If the parameters are good the cloudy water in itself isn't too big of a deal. I believe it's just a generally harmless bacteria.
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asimmons 05-30-2012 10:26 PM

CinBos: That was the first thing i read when i registered with the forum. I am pretty tired of blowing money of fish store "recommendations". I figured a forums populated by aquarium/fish owners and lovers would be a better source. And yes I know everyone has their own opinions and list od remedies that works for them. I really appreciate all of you guys input. Luckily we have had the tank for about 6 weeks and the oscars have been fine thus far. The tank is doing much much better now. Unfortunately, the store wont take the fish back. Gotta love PetSmart...... If those little guys made it thrrough the amonia storm I put them throw two weeks ago, I think they will be ok till I get a 75 or larger tank...... i hope....

Makes it even harder that my feeding time is when i get home from work and I do it everyday with my daughter..... Gotta find some way to make this work and not hurt these fish.

Tazman 05-30-2012 10:43 PM

Daily monitoring of the water parameters and not overfeeding them.

If you dont have one already get yourself a liquid test kit, API Master being a well used and respected one. It would also be beneficial to purchase a test kit for Carbonate and General Hardness.

The time for the larger tank is going to come very soon if the Oscars are fed the right diet.

It will also be imperative that you have good filtration with either the current tank or the new one. With the new one, look at getting a canister filter perhaps.

We are here to help as much as we can.

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