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PaperclipGirl 03-06-2010 08:40 AM

Ugh! Tank of Troubles - old filter quit - new filter not seeded
Two weeks ago I bought another filter for my 55 gallon tank because I though the HOB filter was dying. So I set them up and ran both filters together. The plan was to run them together for at least one month.

Two days ago the HOB filter up and died.

For the last two days I've been measuring readings the same as before when I had both filters running. Zero's across the board.

This morning - not so good.

Ammonia is at 0.5
Nitrite is 0
Nitrate is 0

Since I'm leaving the house in a few minutes for a trip to the "big city" and will be there most of the day, I just added some Amquel to the tank.

As soon as I get home I will do another water change.

So my question is - am I going to be doing water changes daily now while the new filter finishes cycling?

Also, I have been having issues with sick and/or strange behavior in my fish over the last week (post in fish disease). So I'm assuming with all the water changes, treating them for anything will be out of the question (I added no medication since last water change since the medication didn't seem to be doing anything).

The fish I want to keep most are the Oto cats (and clown fish are my brother's if they live). I don't know if I can do this without killing the lot.

Please give me advice if you can


Oldfishlady 03-06-2010 10:45 AM

Do you have live plants, if not, you may not be cycled since you don't have a nitrate reading, how long has the tank been set up? What type of testing product are you using, also what is your pH?
Water changes IMO/E are the best medication and the best first line defense against any problems in aquariums.
Daily of at least 50% but only vacuum one time a week, the good bacteria are sticky and adhere to everything in the tank and in the upper layer of the substrate and filter media, very little is in the water column itself. Only swish the filter media in old tank water if the water flow has slowed.

PaperclipGirl 03-06-2010 05:17 PM

I was considering live plants to help with cycling. I am going to have to read the section about plants. I looked at the plants at the fish store and elected not to get anything because

1. I have hard water
2. my pH is 8

I didn't want to spend $15+ per plant only to find out they wont live in hard water. I want to do my research first. I did buy a book on aquarium plants.

One fish store guy recommended Tropical Science Nitromax to cycle my tank faster - in addition to daily water changes.

The other fish store recommended getting loose filter media that removes ammonia.

My tank is new to me, but was running for over 1 and 1/2 years prior to me buying it. The new filter has only been running two weeks (Ehiem Ecco 2236)

What scares me most is that I am overstocked at the moment (or will be when the fish grow).

Oh-well.... wish me luck I guess.

Angel079 03-06-2010 05:52 PM

Have you taken ANY material out of your broken HOB and added it to the Eheim at all?

For as long as you have Ammonia like this (unless you have ammonia coming from your tap water) and you say having Oto's in that tank you have got to do large water exchanged if need be every day to keep this Ammonia low until you get it to 0. Having 0 NO readings you tank is doing a total new cycle there IMO.

For the plants and you water and $:
1) Order here; awesome quality plants and super fair prices and they have a 25% off right now going on
2) Plants that will do well in your water and grow fairly quick: Hygrophilia, Pennywort, Rotala and these are also 'easier' plants.
Only thing you really need for plants: a good light that is full spectrum and rated around 6500 Kelvin; if you have florescent tubes you'd want something that equals about 0.8-1 watt per gallon, so for example over a 55g tank anything from 30-50watts will do.

Hope this helps ya a little :-D

Oldfishlady 03-06-2010 06:04 PM

IMO most of that stuff that is sold to cycle tanks are nothing more than "snake oil" and a waste of money, many years ago there was a product called "bio spria" (spelling) but it was taken off the market and it would cut the cycling process by half.
Most plant will do just fine in hard water, my water is liquid rock, pH 8.8, GH/KH 300 and my plants do fine, however, time, soil, driftwood has brought my number down some pH7.8 on most tanks, there are some plants that need soft water but they usually need CO2 too and higher lights.

Most important is finding real aquatic plants for your aquarium and some that are sold are not intended for life underwater, find a fish club in your area and go to one of the meetings and buy plants from them, they usually have lots to sell cheap and adjusted to your local water. Look in the back of any aquarium magazine for a list of local clubs.
Seeding the tank with established healthy filter media or substrate is a great way to jump start the process.
Overstocked and poorly stocked will be a headache in the long term, more water changes with increase percent and frequency can help

PaperclipGirl 03-06-2010 11:21 PM

Thanks guy (or gals!). I think there are some saltwater clubs in the state, but I'm unsure of freshwater. I didn't buy anything because I know those stores were just trying to sell me stuff.

I found a smaller "freshwater only" fish store that was tucked away in a shopping center on the edge of town. I was impressed with this one store becaues he carried a lot of cichlids and mbunas. I asked why there were so many, and the owner stated that it was because the local water was pH 8.5 (higher than mine even!) and he wanted only to sell fish that would live in the high pH and the owners would be happy and not have to mess with the pH a lot. He breeds most of the fish himself. He seemed quite nice, knowledgable, and sympathetic without making me feel too much like a fool. He didn't however have any live plants. While he doesn't accept fish for trade, he does allow people to post available fish on a bulliton board.

The other "chain" store did have plants, but like I said I didn't know what to buy (as I didn't have time to read up this morning) and elected not to. The worker there wanted to sell me crystals to put in my new filter to remove the ammonia. Considering he had a "pet groomer" shirt on, I figured fish were not his specialty. And at the price of my canister filter, I really didn't want to put anything in it that might ruin it.

As far as the old media goes - 1/2 of it is in my 20 gal tank and it didn't take there, so I'm currently cyclying that one too with 4 goldfish in it. It is easier to maintain tho because it is barebottom. I change the water everyday.

I started to wonder if there was something going on with the filter long before it quit. Maybe why my fish were having so many new and varied problems this last couple of weeks. So I did elect not to keep the old media. It may not have been a wise choice, I know. I figure water changes and close monitoring will get me through this and maybe the fish will be happier with daily water changes too.

I bought lights a while ago, knowing that I will eventually be adding plants to the tank, so I just have to get the plants.

Going to order from the website now - since I wont be going to the "big city" now for another couple of weeks. Sometimes I hate small towns - not always - but sometimes!

Austin 03-06-2010 11:26 PM

So far my plants are doing ok and I have hard water too and a PH of about 8.

If you still have the chance take the old filter media from the filter and stuff it in the new filter in a place where the water runs through.

PaperclipGirl 03-08-2010 11:44 PM

Lost two fish today =( One male mickeymouse platy and one "super skinny" clown fish.

I think the male lyretail molly is next, since he is hanging near the floor and not chasing the girls like normal.
The marble angelfish is leaning to one side as he swims...

I checked the parameters before today's water change and the ammonia dropped from 0.5 to 0.25, so that's good right? I'll test again in the morning.

Looks like I'm in for a ride of "Learning the Hard Way"

Oldfishlady 03-09-2010 12:07 AM

For the sake of the fish and the long term damage that ammonia burns can cause, IMO/E when you have any reading of ammonia 0.25ppm and higher make water changes, but do not vacuum the substrate or touch the filter media, you want to keep the NB intact to help with cycling process.

Romad 03-09-2010 06:15 AM

Good luck Paperclipgirl. I hope it works out for you.

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