What did I do wrong in the beginning?
I hate to start a new thread on cycling but I didn't want to hijack someone else's thread. I read the sticky on cycling but have a question on what happened to my tank.
I started a 29 gallon tank, added Topfin Bacteria Supplement and the water got cloudy so I waited and waited. Finally I put 4 Neon Tetras in it. The water started to clear but was still "hazy" so I did water changes of 1.5 Gallons every other day or so. Then I did a 2 gallon change and the tank went downhill, the water clouded up pretty bad, the fish started going belly up. Petsmart tested the water today and said the ammonia level was off the scale high. I thought I was doing the right thing by changing the water but did I change too much water in too short of a time? To change the water I used tap water in an empty milk jug, put the Topfin water conditioner in it and waited a few hours for it to reach room temp before adding it to the tank. The only filter I have is an UGF with an Aquaclear 20 powerhead (which was the topic of another discussion). Thanks for your help.
I've had fresh and saltwater aquariums before and I've never had fish die off like this in the beginning. This is the first time I've used the bacteria supplement so my first impression is not a good one.
Welcome to the forum. :-)
Others will likely comment, but first we'll need more information:
1) Do you know any of the water parameters? If so, please post them. I'd highly recommend purchasing the API Master test kit for freshwater tanks. It tests all the core water parameters, no more trips to Petsmart/Petco.
2) Give us a timeline, how many days/weeks/months for each event?
3) lose the bacteria supplement. Does minimal, if any, good and the "shortcut" it encourages will bite you in the behind (already did? :-()
4) Personally, if I'm going to do a water change, I do 10%+. If one of my tanks is having water quality issues, I start doing daily 15-20%+, depending on if it's my 10, 29 or 55). One or two gallons a day is not going to have a huge impact on your tank if somethings really out-of-whack (that's only about 36% over the course of a week @ 1.5g/day). I have, in an emergency, done 50%+ changes for several days in a row.
5) what happened to the fish? Alive, dead, signs of illness? More info please so we can help you sort it out! "Mass-produced" fish present some potential disease issues. That could also be a factor.
6) Ummm, what is the tank water temp and how are you measuring? Is everything is @ room temp? If so, what's the room temp?
7) Without starting another discussion on the vices and virtues of UGF's, your filter is fine :-). I have a canister, a sponge and an UGF (in different tanks) - they all work well, depends on what's being stocked in the tank!
Did I forget anything?... :-?
Hey JimBinSC. Deep breath!! I know you are anxious!! ok. you read the "how to cycle your tank"? When you say you waited and waited... how long? Cycling a tank can take up to 6-8 weeks. No you did not do too many water changes. That is how we lower bad/high numbers in our Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate. Did you test the water temperatures and make sure they were equal when adding each bucket full?
Did you add de-chlorinator to each bucket full? I am not familiar with that Topfin product. You need to be using a de-chlor product. Can you read the label and tell us if it does infact do that as well? Otherwise the chlorine would have killed the fish. You also mentioned "room temperature"... is the tank room temperature? how warm is the room and the tank?
1) I don't know any of the parameters. I have an API master test kit on order plus other test kits on order already. Should be here tomorrow.
2) For a timeline: I set up the tank on June 10th. Added bacteria on the 11th. Added 4 tetras on the Wednesday following, (15th, I guess) , one tetra was dead the next morning so I count that to a bad fish. Having no test kits and not wanting to spend $32 locally for one, I started to do small water changes this past weekend. I think I did the last change on Monday maybe, and soon after noticed the water hazing up and the fish acting differently (not schooling, rapid breathing, etc) and then Wednesday morning (today) one tetra was dead and another died this afternoon so I have one left. My wife had the water tested and transferred the fish to a smaller tank. The one that is still alive is the one I thought was going to die since its color is washed out and it was harassed by the other two.
3) lose the bacteria supplement. !Check!
4) Good advice on water changes. Thanks. I didn't have a test kit yet to measure.
6) Water temp is around 78-80. Room temp is 78.
7) I may add a submersible filter or something quiet after I get this sorted out and pick the permanent fish. I picked the tetras because I figured my daughter would like them.
The water conditioner says it reduces chlorine, chloramine, and heavy metals and I used 1 ml per gallon of water. The guy at petsmart said we needed a Tap Water Dechlorinator which looks like it does the same thing as a conditioner, except it doesn't enhance the stress coat.
Ok first off... the cycling process takes a month or 2... 5 days and it hasn't even begun really.
Neon tetra are very delicate and must have very stable and safe conditions, thus horrible choices for the cycling process. I did the same thing sadly.
If you haven't read this thread yet, http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...m-cycle-38617/ I would suggest doing so. Since all the fish are already out of the tank why not do the fishless method to prevent any other deaths.
When you say your wife transferred the lone tetra to a smaller tank, is this smaller tank cycled?
If so,,then you could borrow some filter material from the filter of the cycled smaller tank and place this material in the toe section of a pair of ladies nylon along with maybe a half cup of gravel from the smaller cycled tank ,and leave it for minimum of three weeks in the 29 gallon.
Assuming the smaller tank is cycled,,then bacteria (nitrifying) found on /in material mentioned,,will help your 29 gallon tank mature a bit faster.
I am not a fan of bacterial supplement's ,they do not in my view work consistently.(I'm being nice)
If your tapwater containes chloramines, then you will need a water conditioner/dechlorinator such as PRIME which will detoxify the ammonia portion of chloramines .
Many conditioners that advertise that they addresss chloramines only addresss the chlorine from chloramines but leave the ammonia for nitrifying bacteria to deal with.(Chloramines are Chlorine/ammonia) this is ok in established tanks, but in new tanks holding fish,,it is best to use a conditioner such as PRIME or AMQUEL + at least until a healthy biological filter is established.
Is also wise to feed fish sparingly perhaps once every other day a tiny amount when cycling with fish.
Excess food,too many hands feeding fish,too many fish, will make keeping ammonia levels in check more difficult = more water changes.
Four or five tetra's in 29 gallon tank with afore mentioned every other day small feedings should not cause off the scale ammonia levels.
My guess is the water conditioner was not addressing ammonia ,hence my suggestion for PRIME or AMQUEL+.
Just picking up on that high ammonia. When your test kit arrives, check your tap water for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate individually. Any of these can be present in tap water, sometimes quite high levels, so it is good to know this or remove the possibility, whichever. I would not expect serious ammonia from 4 neons in a 29g.
Without a test kit for a new tank, you are somewhat stumbling in the dark, but that will change when your API arrives. If ammonia or nitrite are higher than .25 do an immediate partial water change of half the tank. Use a good conditioner; the one you have is fine unless you have ammonia or nitrite in the tap water.
In future when having water tested in the store, ask them for the number no matter what test it is; "high" or "normal" can mean different things to different people.
And welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum. Great to have you with us.
+1 on Byron's comments, I didn't even consider the source water as a potential ammonia/nitrite/nitrate source. If you are in the Greenville-Spartanburg area of SC (from your username?), your water is fine.
7) Regarding adding another filter type to the tank, you certainly could add one eventually, but my 29 has only an UGF run with an air pump & uplift tubes in both back corners. It's doing quite well. The UGF has the virtue of being really inexpensive and easy to maintain (just do a gravel vacuum during water changes to keep the filter bed clear).
If you get some tough fish (just a few) to cycle the tank you'll be happier!
Danios work well (you can also try the Glofish version for the kids). Regular Danios are cheap and Petsmart has Glofish on sale for 3.99 ea right now. BUT - check the source water parameters first. If water is ok, then do a big tank water change (50%), after dechlorinating of course,let the temp stabilize, check the parameters, and then introduce just a few tougher fish to cycle the tank. You can certainly do a fishless cycle, but my kids (and me, I confess) are not that patient! I want to see something in a tank ASAP after setting it up!
Others here can recommend good species for cycling a tank.
FYI - Be prepared for possible diseases from the "big box" fish stores and don't panic when it happens.
I'll get some different fish next week.
My tap water tests 0 for ammonia, 5ppm Nitrate, 0.25 nitrite. After reading the posts this morning I changed probably 20 gallons of water (if I did the math right, I had about 8 gallons left in the tank) with tap water treated with Topfin Tap Water Dechlorinator. Tests showed Nitrate 0, Nitrite 0.25, Ammonia 0.5, pH 7.6,GH 3, KH 2, O2 7 after the big water change. I am wondering if the conditioner is releasing the ammonia.
I changed another 8 gallons with distilled water this time and Ammonia is now 0.25.
One other thing: Could the resin decorations be affecting it? I have a resin rock cave and some some pink princess things, all made by top fin so I assume they are safe, for decoration
I guess I just need to be patient and do lots of research.
Thanks again for all your help.
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