QT care uncertainties - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 10 Old 04-19-2009, 11:22 AM Thread Starter
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Unhappy QT care uncertainties

OK, my fish-loving girlfriend has gone on a university trip for four days and put me in charge of feeding her fish. The main tank is FOWLR, and houses a couple of snails and a mandarinfish. All good there.

The QT is approximately 60 litres, and is currently housing a bicolour angel and a neon wrasse. I was left with instructions on how to feed it and a rough schedule of when to waterchange (half every two days). Using a mixture of pellets (a very small amount covering the tip of my finger, think a circle 4mm in diameter), mysis (a small squirt) and algae, I fed them at lunch. About an hour later, I scooped out most of the visible food left in the QT. I did the same at dinner time.

Come 11pm, it is bedtime for the fish so I cover up the QT with towels. Then I start stressing about the water. Did I need to change it today? Can it wait? I decided no, and tested the ammonia with the helpfully unreliable testing kit she possesses. She uses it more as an indication of ammonia rather than getting the exact amount as it is not reliable. I checked it, and it seemed to be quite high. Freaking, I did about a 1/3 water change, tested again, no difference, so I did another 1/3rd water change. I tested again, saw it hadn't changed, got frustrated at the testing kit, so I covered it back up and turned the room's lights off.

I'm really just paranoid about killing my girlfriend's new fish while she is away. The ammonia test kit is unreliable, and I've done two 1/3rd water changes approximately. Is the best thing just for me to leave it well alone until I feed them again? I feel like I've done what I should have in the circumstance, although my experience is mainly gleaned from watching my girlfriend. I'm also worried that my water changes and testing might have considerably stressed the fish, or maybe I didn't get enough ammonia out...

Maybe I just need some affirmation, but a bit of expert advice wouldn't go astray. Sorry for sounding terribly green at this, the last time I had to look after her fish she had other ones in the established tank and so I just needed to worry about feeding. Any comments are welcome.

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post #2 of 10 Old 04-19-2009, 11:27 AM
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I agree that the water changes probably stressed the fish, especially a fish as sensitive as a BiColor Angel. The Q Tank should have an established biological filter for ammonia and nitrite processing. You need to buy an accurate test kit to properly solve this issue. We need to know the results for ammonia, nitrite, pH, and alkalinity. None of these tests will do us any good unless we know all 4.
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post #3 of 10 Old 04-19-2009, 11:28 AM Thread Starter
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Given that it is 2:40am, should I go find the test results now or should I wait until morning?

Also, the filter on the tank is quite inadequate, is acknowledged as such, and thus fairly large water changes are conducted every 1-2 days.
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post #4 of 10 Old 04-19-2009, 12:54 PM Thread Starter
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OK, I snuck a look in with a torch and to my eternal surprise the bicolour angel had come out of its pot! Wow!

They seem to like whatever is above the filter. I have no idea what sort of filter it is, but it sits in the water with a protruding spray bar that is supposed to hang above the water. They like sitting on top of the "box" so to speak, but still actually in the water. Earlier, I also noticed the wrasse pushing its mouth out of the water. In response to this, I guessed that there might have not been enough oxygenation and raised the spray bar a bit higher.

I will do the full battery of tests in the morning, and will post back. Thanks for the comment, Pasfur. :)
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post #5 of 10 Old 04-19-2009, 01:39 PM
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IMO your feeding to much. i personally feed every 3 days unless its a food demanding fish.

welcome to the forum.
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post #6 of 10 Old 04-19-2009, 06:49 PM Thread Starter
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OK, awake. The two fish are still alive. They're both hiding, as they have been since they were purchased.

Water tests. Please bear in mind I'm red-green colourblind, so they are most definitely the closest according to what I see.

pH - between 7.8 and 8.0.
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - Between 0 and 5. It didn't appear to change colour, and the difference between the two is quite easy for me to mistake to be honest.
Ammonia - 0.25

That's all the tests I have. Guess I'll do salinity just to be sure. Came out as 1.012. She likes hyposalinity in the QT.

Thoughts? Comments?
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post #7 of 10 Old 04-19-2009, 09:49 PM
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what is your water source? test that for ammonia.
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post #8 of 10 Old 04-19-2009, 11:36 PM Thread Starter
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Water is lamentably straight from the tap, though it is treated with Prime before it goes into anything. I did another water change on the QT and there is still ammonia... sitting on about 0.25.

Ammonia on the tap water... apparently the test kit is only for saltwater, thus I cannot give a positive test.
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post #9 of 10 Old 04-20-2009, 01:46 AM
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make the saltwater the way you normally do and test it for ammonia. you do know that tap water contains all sorts of things you dont want to put into your water.. phosphates, nitrates, ammonia, copper, all sorts. i suggest RO/DI water and premixing your salt atleast 24 hours in advance with a powerhead, heater and seperate container then checking the salinity with a refractometer. i got one off ebay cheap.
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post #10 of 10 Old 04-20-2009, 01:55 AM Thread Starter
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I was aware. I was under the impression that treating the water with Prime before it entering the tank dealt with, at the least, phosphates, chlorine and ammonia. Next time I water change I'll check the ammonia level in the bucket.

Last edited by gildenlow; 04-20-2009 at 01:57 AM.
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