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gracietank1974 01-20-2013 09:47 AM

HELP!! Newbie with 29 gallon tank

I have a new 30 gallon tank that has been setup for about 3 weeks (Dec. 28th) and has fish for about 2 weeks (Jan 2nd). We have 2 Guorami, 2 Dalmation Molly, 2 Female Swordtails, 1 male Swordtails, 1 Tetra, 3 dwarf frogs.

I've been having petsmart check the water analysis weekly and it had all been great with low ammonia, nitrite and nitrates. However, in the past 2 days the nitRITE has been very high with levels of 10 and Nitrate level of 40!! I've been really stressing about this and hoping I havn't done too much too fast with adding fish and am going to loose them all.
Thus far we have only lost 1 Tetra.....

I've been reading that I need to get a water test kit (not the strip kind, but fluid) and need to start doing 50% water changes daily until the levels come down.

Should I stop feeding the fish? We've been feeding twice a day and possibly some overfeeding has occurred.

Any other suggestions are much appreciated.

twocents 01-20-2013 10:02 AM

There may well be some additives you can put in (others are more experienced at that as I don't use them). Yes, get a liquid test kit, the API master kit is good, gives me good results, and the water changes also help. Test your tap water as well. This will give you an idea on what is actually coming out of the tap. And contact your water agency for their test results. That will show just what is in the water as well. This way you can also assess, or get a good idea, of any differences in water from their end to yours. Some here have had the odd circumstance of ammonia straight from the tap. 'For some tests on water from the tap, it has to be outgassed to get rid of co-2'. Someone else here on the forum brought that up. Oh well, I'm 59 and losing brain cells left and right.

For myself, the nitrates straight from the tap are 10ppm in summer and spike to 20 during the winter.

Good learning experience here: new tank, start with only a couple of fish like platys to begin the cycling process.
These types of spikes, I think, do happen on occasion. While your stocking level is ok for a cycled tank, I think it is a bit overcrowded for a beginning tank.
Good luck.

Nilet699 01-20-2013 10:23 AM

With nitrites at 10 you are at a 'critical level' right now. Along with getting the API master test kit your mail concern right now should be on lowering these to 0. You can start off with 50% daily water changes, perhaps even 2 if you can manage AM and PM ones.
The other thing you can do is throw in live plants. Quite literally at your levels. Floating plants like anarchist, duckweed, water sprite, cabomba are great plants to help you bring your levels down super fast. If it was my tank I'd plant a bunch of cabomba and float lots of water sprite.
Next you can look at your feeding....are you over feeding etc? Only food that can be consumed in around 2-3 mins should be added and you don't want lots falling to the bottom creating decaying waste.
Once again If it was my tank I'd stop feeding them now. Or at least cut it down 50%, again to try and manage your waste levels.

With your water changes I'd suggest using seachem prime as it will bind up the nitrites for 48 hours making them non toxic and I'd perhaps even consider using some bacteria in a bottle to help give your system a boost.

I'm no expert.....this is merely what I would consider in th same situation.

With nitrites at 10 I would suggest that your tank is still cycling and they will soon start to be converted to nitrates, but soon is a non definitive timeline.

Also- what were your readings before this at the shop? Specific numbers would help please.

gracietank1974 01-20-2013 11:41 AM

The levels of Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate were at 0, 10 and 20 on 1/15 and ph of 7.8.
The levels of Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate were at 0, 10 and 40 on 1/19 and ph of 7.8.
I just tested all 3 and got readings of 0, 5+ and somewhere between 5-10.

I've yet to do a water change but DID change my filter media. I am using the Marineland 150 filter.
I bought some of the Prime and will be using that as well as doing a 40-50%S water change daily to get this under control.

I also plan on getting some Water Sprite to float at the top.....

Thanks again in advance for any/all suggestions.

Nilet699 01-20-2013 12:08 PM

When you say changed filter media... what exactly do you mean..... and why did yo change it?

gracietank1974 01-20-2013 12:29 PM

I just changed the filter cartridge. Just changed it to try to help the water clarity.....It had a lot of gunk floating around in it.

Marineland Rite-Size B Cartridge for Penguin 125 & 150

gracietank1974 01-20-2013 01:58 PM

What's the harm of switching the filter cartridge out? Was this a big mistake??
Posted via Mobile Device

jentralala 01-20-2013 01:59 PM

I wouldn't change that too often, that has a lot of your beneficial bacteria on it, you need that, especially right now. In fact I don't think filter cartridges are supposed to ever be changed, just rinsed in tank water.

Another note on clarity - cloudy water is not bad. You will most likely experience cloudy water for awhile, this is a bacterial bloom. It's a good thing. It's your beneficial bacteria (the kind that converts ammonia to nitrite, from nitrite to nitrate) colonizing and taking care of the fish waste.

Also +1 on what everyone else has said. Lots and lots of water changes, and lots and lots of fast growing plants. Your fish are in danger.

jentralala 01-20-2013 02:03 PM

Another note - I don't know if you have decorations in the tank or driftwood or rocks, but don't wash them. These also have bacteria colonizing on them. Later on after your tank has settled you can take them out and wash them, but best not to right now.

Also, do you have a gravel vacuum? Sounds like you may have some fish food decaying in your substrate, a gravel vac would help to suck all that gunk out. It's like $10 at walmart.

jentralala 01-20-2013 02:04 PM

And I agree with Nile. I would stop feeding them, you're just adding ammonia to the problem. Feed once, a tiny bit, every 3 or 4 days. The fish will not starve, they can go over a week without food.

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