Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Bethaliz 08-27-2008 08:25 PM

Trouble in Paradise? Help
So it's been 3 weeks since I got the 10 gallon. And I still don't have any nitrite or Nitrates readings at all, none, 0, zip. You get the point. And it's been 3 weeks. We started with Molly (the gold molly) and Snow (the Silver Molly that the woman at petsmart told me to get to speed things up) and a Snail (who is alive! yeah! that the petsmart woman said I needed).

I've been doing my water changes, everything seemed to be going well (not changing the filter till we're cycled, as per instructions). Then a week ago or so for no reason out of the blue Molly died. One minute she was simming happily eating with Snow and the next she plumitted to the floor dead as a dead can be. I left her for a bit, thinking she was stunned (I mean fish don't just keel over instantly like that do, they?) but she didn't move, definately dead, so she's gone. I put Berry (the tetra) in the 10 gallon, as we're still not getting any readings.

Instead of getting rid of the 2 gallon, I got a betta. Dispite a little tattered fins (that you can't see in thos little dishes they sell them in) she's going great. a nice colourful addition.

So, my question, quandry, why am I not getting any readings? Shouldn't I be getting something by now? I have a home for the Molly, so I can do some less messy fish, once we're cycled. But well, 3 weeks..........shouldn't I at least be getting some nitrite readings at this point? That's my major question. As an aside.......and ideas why Molly went from happily snacking one minute to the grim reaper the next?

sinadyan 08-27-2008 08:32 PM

Have you tested for ammonia? Ammonia may be the reason your fish suddenly died. I am no expert, and am sure others will be able to help you further

Bethaliz 08-27-2008 08:44 PM

No, the test kit I have does everything but ammonia. And the store doesn't carry ones that do them all. It was $20 for this one that does everything and another $15 for just the ammonia. The woman at the store, said, if I'm doing regular changes, it shouldn't matter. That I'll know I'm in buiness when i start getting nitrite readings, which I'm still not. The few times I've had the water in to be tested it was like 0.03ppm ? I change about 1/5th of the water every week. And this was 2 days after a water change. I was crushed. Molly hung in there for so long.

Bethaliz 08-27-2008 08:46 PM

O - and if Molly died because of high ammonia, then wouldn't after another week, shouldn't I start to see nitrite readings? Even really low ones?

iamntbatman 08-27-2008 10:28 PM

Not necessarily. I'm in the process of cycling a 29g tank right now, and my ammonia spiked within a day or two, and sat there, off the charts, for three weeks before nitrite started to show up and the ammonia started to drop.

Without that ammonia test kit, it's really hard to tell if your 20% weekly water changes are doing enough to keep the ammonia under control. Is that $15 ammonia test you were talking about some sort of test strips? I wouldn't spend the $15, either.

Here's a liquid ammonia test kit that will get you 130 tests for $6.

Here's the master test kit that will let you test for ammonia, pH, nitrite, nitrate, and high-range pH for $16:

Little-Fizz 08-28-2008 05:47 AM

Awww sorry to hear about Molly!!!

Maybe your tester is defective? You should take some water to your lfs and have them test it... Don't let them tell you its fine. Make sure they tell you how much of what you've got in there.

Good luck!

1077 08-28-2008 09:09 AM

Ammonia test is a must have. It is the only way you can tell when ammonia levels are approaching lethal levels. What dechlorinator are you using? Are you treating the water before you add it to the tank or after? always treat the new water before you add it. Sure you can wait for nitrites to appear but if ammonia level becomes lethal then fish will die. This next part will no doubt raise some eyebrows but here goes. You started with two fish and are now down to one. The amount of ammonia (fish poo) produced by one fish could prolong the maturing process. The beneficial bacteria needed for tank to cycle or mature develops in proportion to ammonia being produced. After three weeks there is no doubt some bacteria developing which is good. It will be for the most part on the filter cartridge, sponge etc. It is good that you have not replaced or cleaned it. I would not vaccum the bottom for bacteria grows on the gravel as well. Feed your fish once a day only what it can eat in approx. one minute. IF you aquire a test for ammonia and water changes are performed to keep levels at safe range then you could add no more than two small fish such as pristella or bloodfin tetras. Contnue to feed once per day sparingly. Your tank has been running for three weeks . The addition of two small fish will not create any large ammonia spikes. Do not add any more fish for ten days. This will allow the beneficial bacteria to contnue to develop slowly. Your tank is maturing ,it has to that is the way nature works. After another ten days you could add one larger fish say maybe a gourami . At this time your tank should be showing nitrates which indicates enough bacteria has developed to process the waste from your fish and weekly water changes will be all that is needed rather than the frquent changes you are performing at present. In my opinion the one fish you have is what is prolonging the cycle but I stress that Two SMALL fish are all that I would add. And you must have an ammonia test to know when levels are lethal. Also you must not overfeed or that will cause ammonia to spike. If you do as I have suggested You will succeed. If you add too many fish or too large of fish you won't. If you are feeding the one molly two or three times a day then more ammonia is being produced than bacteria can process. That is why ammonia test is imperative. You will not be able to add ANY fish until the level of ammonia is known and yes, ammonia can build to the point that fish die suddenly But if you keep up with water changes and use a good dechlorinator then what I have suggested will work. If you deviate however I can offer no promises. GOOD LUCK and keep us informed..

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