Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Cja313 01-20-2013 11:27 AM

New Fish Swimming around erratically
55 Gallon 8.0 ammonia <0.2 Nitrites =0.4 Nitrates 5ppm water temp 78 degrees

i added 4 yellow labs, 3 zebras and 2 Salosi (all juvenile) today after acculimating them. bought them from a person on CL. I expected them to all swim and hide, which they did for a minute or two but now they are all kinda following each other swimming up and down back and forth corners of the tank and the sides, ...seems erratic. are they trying to escape, something wrong with the water? or is this how they explore? or are they just wishing they were back in their other home? LOL...somebody clue me in if this is normal or not

the tank was up and running for 4 wasnt quite cycled but Im willing to do 3-5 water changes a week till it is cycled (1-2 weeks).....

Byron 01-20-2013 06:26 PM

Accepting that the tank is not cycled as you suggest, you need to be doing daily 50% water changes. Ammonia as low as .2 does harm fish, permanently, even if they live through it initially. Similarly nitrite if above zero is causing harm.

Using a water conditioner such as Seachem's Prime or Aquarium Solutions Ultimate is highly recommended during cycling; both detoxify ammonia and nitrite by binding them somehow, making them non-toxic for 24-48 hours though they will still both show in tests. Daily water changes using one of these products until ammonia and nitrite are zero for consecutive days is about the only way to protect your fish from the harmful effects of either toxin.

That aside, some swimming faster than normal for the species is to be expected in a new environment, caused by the stress of netting, transport, and the new surroundings. But I would not put down any erratic behaviour to this, when ammonia or nitrite are above zero.

How were you cycling this tank during the 4 weeks?


Cja313 01-21-2013 08:17 AM

Byron, I used ammonia from cycle seemed to progress as normal, ammonia levels soon dropped to 0, but nitrites spiked for a while well over the 5.0 that the API MAster Freshwaterkit reads...after a few 50% water changes got it in the level of 3.0. then over the next week or so it dropped to 1.0....this process took about 4 weeks, and I admit it wasnt fully cycled, but I was going to use live plants as a means of helping remove nitrite and nitrate untill the cycle completed (which Im guessing was only going to be another week or so....

Cja313 01-21-2013 08:26 AM

I just added the fish yesterday, and I used Prime (1 cap full for 50 gallons.....I'd say with rockwork and sand I have about 45 gallons of water in my 55 gal tank) Daily water changes should be how much? 25%? 50%?

Cja313 01-21-2013 09:08 AM

*****BTW just tested tap water again by putting some in a small jar shaking it for a while and let it sit for 15-16 hours......hoping this was enough to degas it. i have 0.5 PPM of Ammonia in my tap....which is what I was afraid of. Good news is my tank shows 0.0 ppm. So I know theres enough bacteria in my filter that can convert the ammonia into nitrite. but my Nitrites are very high...4.0-5.0. Im doing a 50% water change as I type this. Replacing with 5 gallons of tap that has been sitting for 20 hours and the rest will be tap water. I will dose with Prime. I will do 50% water changes daily until I can get Nitrites down to zero. Please advise if theres something else I should do??

squishylittlefishies 01-21-2013 10:38 AM

The swimming behavior sounds normal to me. When I add new fish, they always spend the first day swimmingup and down in a corner. It's like they don't quite realise they're out of the bag yet, so they limint their swimming space. Eventually they figure it out though, and swim around like normal happy fish. If your nitrates and stuff are goingup it's probably because you added too many fish all at once. it is reccomended to only put in 3 fish at a time so it doesn't mess up your water quality. I'd say do 10%or more daily water changes for a week, then test the warer again.

Cja313 01-21-2013 01:08 PM

Whats strange is when I turned the both filters and the water circulator off to do the water change, naturally the fish sought shelter, the rocks etc. they were calm, a little skittish. But they seemed relax during the water change. as soon as I turn the filters back on and the water circulator back on, within 2-3 minutes they started swimming around more like before. maybe the water flow/circulator is new to them they seem to swim up into it and kinda ride the flow a bit, but not sure, or maybe they could be looking for food? Im going to feed them tonight, wanted to give them 24 hours at least to get used to their environment before even feeding them. The swimming behavior seems somewhat toned down as I watch them now. Maybe Im just over analyzing this and they are just getting used to their environment. Its only been a little over 24 hours.

Byron 01-21-2013 02:06 PM

On the tap water ammonia, that is worth knowing but should not be a problem. When everything is settled down, water changes should be weekly using a conditioner that does detoxify ammonia as well as chlorine/chloramine. This deals with the initial influx, after which plants and bacteria will handle it. However, with sufficient live plants, I might not bother with this. I would want to do an experiment if it were me, measuring ammonia in the tank just prior to the weekly water change, then immediately after (say half an hour), and if ammonia is zero before but above zero after, do another ammonia test in a couple hours, and then another, etc, to see how long it tests. If it is gone within a few hours, not a problem. If not, then use a conditioner that detoxifies ammonia. Prime will do this, but Prime also messes with nitrite and nitrate, and to me that is not necessary. Thedre are other conditioners that stop at ammonia.

On the nitrite now, if using Prime, do alternate day water changes of half the tank until nitrite is zero. Keep us posted. I frankly do not understand what is going on in some of the threads with nitrite rising. And of course, keep close eye on the fish, looking for signs of nitrite issues:
Fish gasp for breath at the water surface

Fish hang near water outlets

Fish is listless

Tan or brown gills

Rapid gill movement
Obviously increased respiration will be present when fish are swimming actively, so don't just deem this alone as nitrite trouble. And there is always the possibility that the test is somehow inaccurate.


Tazman 01-21-2013 06:10 PM

With regards to the cycle and water changes, the information given is spot on.

I would not be too concerned about the cichlid behavior either, they can take some time to get used to their new tank, I had a 180g tank and 25 fish all crowded into one corner for about a week, they literally never moved. Tank was fully cycled, fish were just wary, after a week or so they all started moving around and claiming territories for themselves.

Cja313 01-22-2013 09:32 AM

I took my tap water to the LFS and of course they use strips, which seem less accurate. they showed my ammonia in my tap was also somewhere between 0 and 0.5 ppm. Since I did about a 50 % water change yesterday, I will wait and do another one tomorrow.

I'll also test ammonia prior to the change, and then do test for ammonia an hour, 4 hours, 8 hours, 12 hours, etc to get an idea of how fast the bacteria can convert the ammonia to nitrites.

I dont notice any flapping of the gills, just the mouths open and shut open and shut, not sure if this is normal fish behavior or not to be honest. They seem to have gotton some color back esp the Salousi which lost its black stripping and some of the blue color since adding them to the tank.

They seem to frequent the water ciruclator, I think because they water current is new to them, and or maybe its insticnt to swim upstream to escape? I did notice two of the yellow labs last night after I fed the fish for the first time, seemed to behave more normally less swimming around randomly, more picking at stuff on the rocks, etc.

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