Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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precilla1013 09-15-2010 10:06 AM

need assistance with water chemistry
We've inhereted a 55 gallon tank with two 10 year old fish (silver dollar & kissing gourami). As it was my mother in laws who enjoyed watching these fish with my 3 year old son, I am determined to keep these fish going for my son now that grandma is gone.
First off, I don't believe this tank was ever maintained on a regular basis as I have seen it quite dirty on some visits. I don't even think the water was checked on a regular basis.
We didn't have much time to plan the tank transport so I drained 25% of the existing water into fish bags and discarded another 25% of the tank water. The fish were transported directly in the tank and we started setting it back up same day of move.
I followed directions from a family member who had been the one maintaining the tank and prior to the move we removed and changed a very thick and dirty filter. I don't believe the tank had been cleaned in some time as the filter case was thick with green algae and slime and the remaining tank water was very grey and dirty upon arriving at new home.
The bagged water was added to tank and the water level was maintained using temperature controlled tap water over a 4 hour period. The gravel had been very dirty and all debris has settled into and onto the gravel.
It has been 4 days since the move and I have been doing daily water checks as the ammonia and nitrate levels have been in the harmful stage. We've added stress coat, stress zyme and Ammo-carb with no change in both levels. The water is very clear now but there is a film of debris still on the gravel.
As I am a beginner, I am unsure what should be done. I was told to wait a few days and then clean the gravel but after reading up on the topic I am not sure this is the proper thing to do. With the filter already replaced I think to clean the gravel now would remove too much debris.
Any assistance would be appreciated as the last thing I need is to lose these two beautiful fish.

redchigh 09-15-2010 10:25 AM

What is the exact number for the ammonia and nitrate?
Is the nitrite at safe levels?

If you have a good water conditioner, I would do a 50% water change, and do a 25% water change every time you detect harmful levels of ammonia.

I would cut down on the feeding (to what they can consume in 2 minutes) once a day.

A minor question, why are you scared of removing debris?

The detritus breaking down in the substrate is probably what is releasing the ammonia...

If you are willing to invest in a lighting fixture (or a new bulb) then some live plants may be beneficial...
(They assimilate ammonia as a nutrient)

PRichs87 09-15-2010 10:30 AM


Originally Posted by redchigh (Post 471857)
What is the exact number for the ammonia and nitrate?
Is the nitrite at safe levels?

There is no such thing as "safe nitrite"

Keep it at as low as possible, if it gets over 5 your fish might die.

redchigh 09-15-2010 10:43 AM

Ah yes, slip of the fingers..

I meant What is the exact number for the ammonia and nitrite?
Is the nitrate at safe levels?

1077 09-15-2010 10:59 AM

Would perform 50 percent water change today and again tommorrow.
Would not trust ammonia readings when using ammo- carb, ammo -lock, these products can sometimes offer false positive readings.
Would vaccum one half the surface of gravel lightly and the other half next week.
Would clean filter material in old aquarium water and feed once a day for a while only what you actually see the fish eat in one or two minutes.
Would use water conditioner such as PRIME or Amquel+ which will help detoxify ammonia and nitrites .

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