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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I got a 75g aquarium as a birthday present from my fiance. I've had a few fish before, but this was way beyond my experience level. It's filtered with a Penn-Plax Cascade 1500.

I started the aquarium with Quick Start at the advice of the Petsmart associate (I know...), and we went to the fish store and stocked it with the following:

6 large angelfish
6 zebra danios
6 cory cats
8 platies
2 gouramis
1 rainbow shark
and 1 bristlenosed pleco

All was fine for about a week, then I noticed the water was getting cloudy and the fish were hanging out at the bottom of the tank. I'm sure I don't have to tell you all how much I've done incorrectly to this point, so when I tested the water, the ammonia was high- about 4ppm. This was almost a week ago. I've been changing about 30% of the water every other day, but the ammonia continues to rise. It hit 8ppm overnight and I had my first casualty, one of the angelfish. The water is constantly cloudy. Since the ammonia spike, I've purchased Ammo-Lock and also Zeolite filter media to try to combat the ammonia.

I need serious advice about how much water I should/could be changing, and how often? Is there anything else I can do to get the situation under control? The other angelfish are looking a little lethargic and unstable.

I also have my previous tank (30) which has been up and running with no fish for 2 weeks since I moved it's inhabitants into the new tank). Should I move some of the fish into the smaller tank??

I'm already quite attached to these fish and hate seeing them suffer.
Hope this doesn't turn into a very sad and expensive lesson.

I should also note that tonight I did a 50% water change, but my ammonia level is still 4ppm.
 

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Good morning. Yes, your biggest mistake was overstocking the tank before it was ready. So to keep these fish alive you are going to need to do a few things. First, what kind of test kits are you using and do you have one each,PH, Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate? If not then get those, and get them in the liquid form{aka titration kits} API makes good kits. Test strips are not good as they are inaccurate.
If your ammonia is still at 4 ppm, do an 80% water change today and retest. You can add Seachem Prime too, even overdose a bit to help bring that down. You should have a large bottle of Prime to dechlorinate the water, and have on hand for spikes that are high. The next result you want in your cycle is a reading for Nitrite. Keep in mind this is even more dangerous to the fish.
What is your PH? Do you have an additional airpump with airstone? Is the filter making movement at the surface of the water?
Do as many water changes as needed to keep the parameters at a reasonable level until the tank is done cycling. After that you mostly monitor Nitrate and change your water to keep them under 20 PPM.{do the other tests periodically}
 

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Moving some fish to the other tank will help ease the load on the new tank. Monitor and keep that water changed as well. FEED SPARINGLY right now, and avoid any fresh foods and bloodworms for now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for your reply :)

I'm testing with an API freshwater kit.

I've temporarily moved the 5 remaining angels into the 30g tank. They are a little cramped, I'm sure, but they're looking much better. I will keep a close eye on that tank to make sure the levels don't spike with the new fish.

The water in the 75g was less cloudy than I expected this morning. Not sure if the reduction of fish helped slow the buildup or what. 80% water change? Do I take the fish out for that? Or should I leave them in?

Also, I don't have Prime, and haven't been able to find it locally, so I will order some. I do have API Stress Coat Plus and Ammo-Lock. I usually treat the water with Stress Coat when I do a water change. Will either/both of these products work until I can get the Prime delivered?
 

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I know that around here you can find Prime at any Petco or petsmart and i think i might have seen it at walmart. Is the 30 gallon established and cycled already?

I am kinda surprised that the pet store over there didn't ask you if the tank you were moving them to was cycled already. I get my fish from my local petco and when i first tried to get 3 fish the lady there was questioning me about if my tank was established already, how big the tank was, how long ago i added my last fish and so forth.

Also I don't think she would have let me get that many fish, She is the main fish person at that petco and is a long time fish keeper her self so she cares about the fish more then the store making money that can be why.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The 30g is established. It had fish in it for about 2 years. I moved the fish from it into the new tank, but left the 30g intact and running. It's been fishless for about 2 weeks.
 

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Keep a close eye on the 30. I would have rather seen you move another type of fish since you say the angels are "large".
But two weeks fishless may have changed the parameters. Check and make sure all parameters are ok in the 30.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Moved some plants into the new tank when I set it up.

Moved the angels into the 30 because they looked the worst. The others don't seem nearly as lethargic or unbalanced as the angels were looking, so I moved them.

30g tank tests:

Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrates: 0

Will keep a very close eye on the angels/water condition. I can rearrange fish once the ammonia level comes down in the big tank.

Learning as I go here, so I appreciate your help! :)
 

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Yup I am learning also only started with fish like 2 months ago, and the people on this site are SUCH a HUGE help.

OMG just realized something, its Saturday.

ITS WATER CHANGE DAY!!
 

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Yes, leave fish in there. Make sure you match the temperature as much as possible and use dechlorinator. During cycle, at the nitrite stage try to avoid such a large water change because you remove the nitites necessary for Nitrobacter bacteria to develop. Also, I would move into new tank any rocks, decorations, some (not all) filter media from the old tank, to try to "seed" it and speed up the cycle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So I did about a 70% water change tonight. Did a 50% last night.

Tank water is clearer than it's been in almost a week. Fish are moving around more than before. Ammonia is down to 2ppm (from 4). Nitrite and Nitrate are still 0. Seems like I'm finally on the right road to recovery.

Haven't been feeding them. Is it ok to feed them a little, or will I send my ammonia soaring again?

Also, the angel tank is still testing 0 Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate for now. :)
 

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Ok, sounds good. Try adding some Prime today to cinch that ammonia a bit more. If the tank with the angels has 0 nitrates you lost the cycle there as I suspected. Keep a very close eye on it. It might just be a mini cycle, in which case the process will happen quickly. You can feed them sparingly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
If the angel tank has an ammonia spike, should I move the angels back into the 75g or try to ride out the cycle? The fish in both tanks are looking MUCH better.

Don't have Prime. I ordered some yesterday, so it should be here Tuesday. I do have API Ammo-Lock, will that work for now?
 

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I think that your 30g is a better choice for the angels. Lack of nitrates could indicate loss of cycle but it could also be the plants using nitrates since ammonia is not there. Even a mini-cycle is better than a full cycle with 8ppm ammonia.
Changing water too much, too often, while good in an emergency, will only delay the cycle. Nitrosomonas need ammonia and Nitrobacter need nitites in order to grow and multiply.
A fish going thru a cycle, even if it survives, it is not expected to live its full lifespan. The gills are burnt, eyes are cloudy, sometimes the fins will grow deformed (in Angelfish, the dorsal fin will bent backward)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Did another 50% water change tonight in the 75g. Ammonia is at 2ppm, nitrite still at 0.
How often and how big of water changes should I be doing?

How long before I should expect nitrites to start showing up? Tank has had fish in it for 2 weeks.
 

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At 2 weeks you should see ammonia level going down without a water change. Did you check your tap water, make sure there is no ammonia or chloramines in it?
 

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Yup, any day now you should see ammonia drop to 0. Takes nitrite about the same length of time to drop, sometimes a few days shorter.

When doing a fish in cycle, your concern should not be about delaying the completion of the cycle, but rather the health of the fish. Any time the ammonia gets over 0.25-0.5 ppm you should be doing a water change to drop it down. Yes that may make the cycle take a little longer to complete, but isn't the health of your fish worth it?

I would only be feeding a pinch of food a couple times a week until the cycle completes.
 

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I would add a full large bottle of Tetra Safe Start to the 75. It's actually a good product but I have found overdosing is necessary. I add a whole small bottle to 10g tanks.
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