Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Maccar 01-26-2009 04:04 AM

A confused beginner need your help!!!
Hello all, I purchased a 4ft tank on 23/12/08 and set it up the same day, the guy at the shop told me to come in the next day and stock up with fish!!!! Being new to the hobby i thought it was great i could get going straight away. I stocked the aquarium with 15 fish straight away. Now im sure you all know whats happened now. My tank is now 33 days old and im struggling to get it cycled. I havent done any water changes yet and the only thing i have added is two full treatments of Cycle which doesnt seem to have done anything. Of course when i set the tank up i used Aqua Plus water conditioner and Showmaster Water conditioner salts as advised by the shop. I have lost two guppys since but the other fish seem ok. I suspect however that they will not last much longer in the current conditions. The reason im writing this is because i have done alot of reading in the past few days about what to do and everywhere has a different conflicting answers. The only thing i have changed is im feeding the fish much more sparringly. Ok so what im asking is what would you experienced aquarists do now. Water changes, Ammo Lock, Stress Zyme, Vacume Gravel? Any advice would be muchly appreciated.

Here are my current stats.

Fish As At 24/1/09
5 Neon Tetras
2 Guppys (2 males)
1 Silver Shark
2 Balloon Molly
1 Pearl Gourami
2 Bronze Catfish

Levels As At 24/1/09
PH 7.3
Ammonia 1.9
Nitrite 0.0
Nitrate 1.0

The ammonia has just gradually climbed up to the level its at now. And the water seems to be getting more cloudy.

My setup is.

4 foot tank.
Hood and lights. (Only running the lights for about 2 hours a day)
Undergravel filter.
4 riser tubes on filter. (These had carbon cartridges on them but i was told to take them off so i did about two weeks ago)

The riser tubes are just under the top off the water and the air pump running them is on low.

onefish2fish 01-26-2009 04:41 AM

welcome to the forum.
small water changes daily are your best bet, if you can return the fish to the store of purchase (even if you can get store credit for a later date)

1077 01-26-2009 04:46 AM

Were it me, I would purchase the API freswater master kit if you don'y already have one. The test kits that use strips are not all that accurate. I would stop using salts in the aquarium. I would not vaccum the gravel and would continue to feed fish sparingly maybe once a day. For right now,, I would change 10 percent of the water and wait 24 hours and test for ammonia again. Do try and get the API test kit. Watch the fish closely. If they appear stressed (swimming near the surface, rapid gill movement) perform another 10 percent water change. Have no expierience with the water conditioner you are using but I would look for water conditioner such as PRIME which is what many or most use or AMQUEL+ which is another good product. One of these is all you should need in the aquarium. No stress this, cycle that, or ammolock. Some of these products may alter water tests and some in my view are useless. Don't add anymore fish, don't overfeed , don't clean anything in the tank. Your tank is still going through nitrogen cycle or maturing. Too much food or over cleaning the tank and or gravel at this point will only cause trouble. I would also return the shark. They get way too large for most aquariums.Remember,,, If fish look stressed ,,change 10 percent of the water . if after 24 hours or sooner if fish still display stress,, perform another water change. ALWAYS add water conditioner to the new water BEFORE it goes in the aquarium. Don't stress about cloudy water it will clear on it's own once the tank has completed the nitrogen cycle and assuming you do not overfeed the fish. DO get the API freshwater master kit if you can or take a sample of water from your tank to fish store and ask them to test it. If they use strips the results could be false . Might be a good thing to call them or other stores until you find one that uses test that requires drops of liquid. Post your results soon as you get em and we can go from there. In the meantime DON"T add any chemicals other than dechlorinator or water conditioner and try and find some PRIME or AMQUEL+.;-)

Maccar 01-26-2009 04:57 AM

Thanks for your quick reply's. I already do have the API master kit your refering to and the results i have are from it. I will return the shark, im very unhappy with the shop as not only did they misadvise me to stock the aquarium straight away but they also told me the shark is a good fish to have in there! But as you have made me aware and i have also read it recently that they grow to big for a 4ft tank. Ill do the 10% water change tonight and post results tomorrow.

Tyyrlym 01-26-2009 06:53 AM

With an ammonia level of 1.9ppm you need to do more aggressive water changes. At that level you need to consider 50% changes once a day with dechlorinated water until the ammonia level is below 0.25ppm. At that point smaller water changes are advisable.

1077 01-26-2009 07:15 AM

If ammonia levels are accurate then fish are stressed as it is. Large water changes that suddenly change the conductivity and consequently the osmoregulation of fish will in my view,, only further stress the fish and could lead to osmotic shock. I would always suggest small frequent water changes over large ones for that reason.As stated,, Water changes of 10 percent may be needed more frequently if fish still appear stressed. A good dechlorinator along with not overfeeding will also help tons.

Tyyrlym 01-26-2009 08:02 AM

A 10% water change is not going to do much about high ammonia levels and while it will be a shock to the fish, in the long term I'd be more worried about the effects of sitting in the high ammonia levels for that long. It'll take 20 water changes to get the ammonia down to something resembling acceptable for fish-in-cycling. Even doing two or three a day you're looking at more than a week to get the ammonia levels down and that's assuming no additional ammonia production which is certainly not going to be the case. A 50% water change will take 3 water changes to get things down to an acceptable level assuming no additional ammonia production. Even at once a day you're down good and low in less than a half the time as doing 10% changes three times a day. If that's too aggressive 25% changes can get you down below 0.25ppm in 8 water changes.

I agree that it'll be a bit of a shock, at least the first water change at 50%, but in the long run I think it's more important to get the ammonia down immediately to a level it can be maintained at with less aggressive water changes than it is to avoid shocking them but leave them in very high ammonia water for an extended period.

Twistersmom 01-26-2009 08:19 AM

More conflicting information for you! I agree with Tyyrlyn. If it where my tank, I would set my goal at keeping ammonia at .25ppm or under. Sometime you are going to have a nitrite build up, want to keep that at or under .25 ppm as well. I would keep using salt till the cycle is complete. I believe it can help protect the fish from high nitrites. I also believe 25% and 50% water changes are a lot easyer on the fish, then living in water with toxic levels. I would also clean the gravel during water changes, having an underground filter, all your fish waste is collecting at the bottom.
From personal experience, I find alot of my fish enjoy large water changes. (sometimes even encouraging mating behavior) It is even reccomended to do a 50% water change for some of the fish I keep. My normal schedule (after cycling) is a 25% water change every week. (add new water same temperature as tank water)
Good luck to you!
Unfortunately most fish store are more interested in a profit than the health of fish.

1077 01-26-2009 09:08 AM

I shall hope that if OP decides to go for large water change of 50 percent that ammonia levels will drop significantly. I shall also hope the Ph of the new water is lower than that in the tank so as not to make ammonia even more toxic. If i did opt for larger water change initially I would then perform smaller more frequent ones from that point on for reasons already stated. If I decided to vaccum the gravel I would hopeI did not vaccum to the ponit that I destroyed too much beneficial bacteria for it gathers here as well as the filter, and all is needed in maturing or cycling tank. If I decided to continue with adding salt, I would do so with the knowledge that salt does not evaporate or dissipate in the aquarium and can only be removed from the aquarium through water changes using water that contains no salt and that salt content over time, could get to dangerous levels for freshwater fish. In any event,, the water changes will only be as helpful as the dechlorinator being used. Some address ammonia, chlorine and chloramines and the two mentioned earlier would be the ones I;-) would use ..

Twistersmom 01-26-2009 09:51 AM

I dont think Maccar has a filter the other than the ugf. I think using a hang on filter along with the ugf could be beneficial. It looks like it may be hard to add one though, the way your top is made, and it looks like the tank is seated againt the wall.

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