1. Size of aquarium (# of gallons) - 30
2. Is your aquarium setup freshwater or brackish water? Fresh
3. How long the aquarium has been set up? About 2 weeks
4. What fish and how many are in the aquarium (species are important to know) - Mollies (I think - they were rescues...) 4 white, 7 black
5. Are there live plants in the aquarium? no, but I'd like some (especially if that would help)
6. What temperature is the tank water currently? 73-75
7. What make/model filter are you using? Penguin Power Sponge Filter
8. Are you using a CO2 unit? no
9. Does your aquarium receive natural sunlight at any given part of the day? not direct
10. When did you perform your last water exchange, and how much water was changed? 2 days ago, 5 gallons
11. How often do you perform water changes? once - twice a week
12. How often and what foods do you feed your fish? Nutrafin Max Complete Flake Food, 3x per day
13. What type of lighting are you using and how long is it kept on? florescent 8am - 9 or 10pm
14. What specific concerns bring you here at this time? High level of Ammonia - other levels are hig, but not as bad
15. What are your water parameters? Test your pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. I haven't had a chance to test yet this morning, but yesterday, I go pH = 8.2, Ammonia = 1.0 :shock:, Nitrite/nitrate = 0.2
16. What test kit are you using and is it liquid or test strips? liquid, Red Sea Fresh Lab
17. When was the last time you bought a fish and how did they behave while in the pet store tank? I got 13 fish from a banquet about two weeks ago (they were part of the table center pieces). The first night they were cramed in abot 10 gallons. The next day I set up this tank for them.
I've lost two of the original 13 (both the white ones). I think they are mollies, its what thiey look like, but I could be wrong. Per petstore people, the tank has Freshwater conditioning salt in it. I was running a heater (Hydor Theo Heater 50W), but it wouldn't turn off (temp got to about 79 when the thermastat was set to 72...).
My main concern is that I lost two fish to what appeared to be swim bladder failure. Thats what prompted the testing of the water.
I know I need to just keep changing out water, but is there anything else I can do to bring down the ammonia level? Would plants help? I've had fish tanks for years (though never this big - except for the pond) and I've never had this sort of problem before.
So the tank has definitely not cycled then. This is why you are seeing ammonia. Also, you don't need to feed them more than once a day. You gave a nitrate/nitrate reading of .2. Are they really both .2 or are you confusing them as the same thing? They are very different. I suggest you do 30% water changes as long as there is ammonia, daily. Once your cycle is complete it should be ok to relax on the water changes.
Please read about the cycle here: http://www.fishforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=3738.
I recommend you cut down on feeding to once every 2 or 3 days and perform water chages as already suggested. One your tank has cycles and you have no amonia or nitrate, and a level of nitrate < 40ppm then feed once a day only, and skip a day once a week.
My mistake, this test kit doesn't test for nitrates, so the .2 is only for nitrites.
Also, they always look hungry and will readily eat any food you give them. Any thoughts?
Fish always want food and will always eat. That doesn't mean they should or they need to. This type of fish is fine if you feed it one a day-or-two. With nitrites and ammonia this high please make sure you do large water changes daily until they are both 0!! This stuff is toxic to the fishies!
My thoguhts on them always looking hungry? : They are fish and fish do this. Fish are oppertunistic eaters and will eat whenever possible. They will eat themselves to death if given the oppertunity. In the wild the oppertunity to eat doesn;t come round so often so their food intake is reglated by this. In captivity it's up to us to make sure they don't overeat otherwise the fish will become unhealthy, just like we do if we eat too much, and will produce much mroe easte and therefore causing amonia readings to rocket.
Feed once a day as much as they can eat in 2-3 minutes, no more. If you have put in too much food and there's still some left after 2-3 minutes, remove it. I also personally think it's a good diea to skip feeding one day a week.
Then fishey diet and water changes it is.
Any thoughts on plants, or should those wait?
Plants helpt o "clean" the water. But for now I would concentrate on your current issue! Add plants when things have settled! (Unless mollies eat plants? I dunno much about them!)
Mollies won't eat the plants.
You can add plants anytime IMHO. They consume some nitrates but in tjis instance the cycle is not complete so I'm not sure how much of a difference they would make. In a fully cycles tank plants can be helpful, but should not be a substitute for frequent water changes and good filteration.
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