The uncyclable tank - a novel...
I was wondering if it's possible for me to do a day-by-day reporting of the water on my tank, by listing the values and the actions I take, so that I can follow your suggestions.
It seems I haven't been able to make this work, and now I really want to take the best and safest route for my fish, since they've been stressed out by the mini cycles that keep happening because of my previous ignorance (not that I know much more now, but at least now I know I was doing all the wrong things).
I have a 10 gallon tank, 4 male guppies, 5 female guppies, three baby guppies (Jack (maybe 5 weeks old, my favorite :)), Jr (about 3 weeks), and Little (about 2 weeks old))
Then I have two clown loaches. They're still small, I know they'll get bigger, but I didn't know this when I got them. I didn't know much. Like I was telling the store manager yesterday at the fish shop when she asked me: have you even read a book? How are you doing all this? I anwered: I don't know. I just wanted a goldfish. This all started with a goldfish and a bowl, and I don't even know how it got so big so fast. Then she smiled and sold me more stuff.
Before you tell me I am overcrowded, I know. I've been told already, but at this point what can I do? I didn't know. I actually thought I had a lot more room for guppies in there. At the fish store the tanks are packed with guppies, so that starts you off with the wrong impression (wow, I can have 40 guppies in there).
I have two filters running, a box filter (with fiber and carbon), and a new AquaClear 30 (with foam, carbon, and some rocks in a net). I am waiting for the new filter to catch up and then I'll probably get rid of the old one.
On top of it all, there is ich in the tank, and I have the temp. at 81 F. and I am dropping in about 3 tablespoons of aquarium salt twice a day. Even though the sick girl (spotty) is looking better, and I haven't seen any other fish sick anymore. Another girl (yellow) has lost her colors, and I am a bit worried she might be the next one catching ich.
I just did a 50-60% water change like Blue suggested, and put some stress coat in there.
My levels now are:
pH=6 (it hasn't raised, not even with the powder from the store)
General Hardness=0 (does this mean I have soft water?)
Nitrate=between 40 and 80, so I would say 60.
I also tested the tap water and it has no nitrates nor nitrites, just to make sure.
So my water levels are still pretty bad.
What should my next step be?
Thank you for listening.
Nitrites at 5?:shock: Surely, it's lower than one, no?:( What test kit were you using? GH and KH at zero is unstable and will cause pH swings.
The nitrites levels on the container are 0 0.5 1 3 5 and 10 and my reading is 5.
I should have made my recommendations clearer.:blueworry: Liquid test kits are more preferable than test strips. Test strips do not always give accurate results unfortunately.
Is it really bad? The guppies are swimming around ok, the poor things are probably used to the bad water by now...
Ammonia and nitrites should be zero. Both are quite toxic to the fish. Nitrates should be maintained below 40 ppm. More than 40 ppm can result to stunting of fish's growth. pH needs to be increase to more than 7 considering guppies thrive in hard, alkaline waters. GH and KH should be increased to stabilize the water chemistry preventing pH swings which can harm and kill your fish.
Before you do anything with your pH, GH and KH, try to test with API liquid test kit so you'll get the actual results.:)
Good luck, Elisa.:)
Ok, one thing right away, only add the salt once! It does not evaporate and you only have to add more after a water change. Only add it again when you do a water change and then only the amount recommended for the amount changed, not the total tank size. The fish's color could be lost because of salt stress.
Ich is treated at 86-88 degrees. I don't like the method because it takes too long and I don't have heaters I can adjust slow enough to bring up the temp over a week or so. I have also seen very mixed results with the use of the heat treatment. Salt can work but again I have had not success using it. These are first option to try asuming you catch the ich soon enough that the fish aren't already sick and weak. If the fish are already stressed then I will use Coppersafe or Maracyn in the future so I don't lose 2/3rds of my fish.
As for the test strips, don't trust them. They always showed I had nitrites and my nitrates were always over 40ppm. When I switched to liquid I checked them against each other at the same time and nitrites were 0 and nitrates were under 20.
Don't worry about your mistakes from the past. We are here to help you make the right ones in the future. We all make our mistakes and this is the place to learn from them and prevent future ones.
I will keep up with the salt treatment for two weeks, only putting more when I do water changes, how's that sound?
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