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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had 3 small clown loaches in my 29 gallon tank. I added 11 Neon Tetras and the Loaches killed 3 in 24 hours. I returned the Loaches and got 2 new Neons for a total of 10. The 10 Neons are now fighting with each other and 5 have been killed. There are at least 2 really aggressive ones. One is really fat and bigger than the rest. Any ideas why this is happening? I keep reading i need to add more but I had 10. That should've been plenty right? My tank is cycling, but i doubt this has anything to do with it.
 

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Cycling does indeed have to do with it, as I'll explain.

Shoaling fish like all tetra need to be in a group, as you clearly know. Part of the reason for this is the hierarchy the fish will establish within the group. This manifests itself differently depending upon the species, but it is an inherent need of the species. When the fish are settled, and free of stress, there will usually be no significant physical damage with most species [some are different, like Serpae Tetra who will fin nip regardless]. But when the fish is under stress, this changes, and usually for the worst.

Ammonia or nitrite above zero is very stressful. The higher either level is, the more stress. There is also internal damage being done, and this adds more stress. Keeping the fish in too small a group can cause this too, as can too small a tank space, just so you know and to complete the picture.

Fish have few ways of dealing with stress. Sometimes they become weak and waste away, refusing to eat. But more often they take the opposite approach, and increase aggression. It is their only way of fighting back their frustration.

I certainly wouldn't add more fish until this settles down. Meanwhile, make sure ammonia and nitrite are at zero by doing daily water changes using a conditioner that detoxifies both, such as Prime or Ultimate. Are there live plants? Not only do neons and most tetra need the shelter of plants, and floating plants especially; these also help with the cycling.

Byron.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Byron. I have been doing about 20% water changes every day and my ammonia is at 0.25 ppm. Nitrite is 0. I do have live plants. About 12 of them. Only one floater, a water sprite. I have a couple hornwart which supply plenty of hiding also, plus I have a few decorations perfect for hiding. I will just keep the fish i have in there until it is finished cycling i guess. My worry is they will kill each other and then i will not have any fish to continue cycling.
 

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FWIW - the clown loaches likely did not killing your neons - they are more likely to be consuming the neons after they have succumbed (to the toxic water conditions).
Neons are not hardy fish, so adding them while cycling the tank is really just flushing your $$$ down the toilet. If possible, I would suggest returning all the fish and proceeding with a fishless cycle - then stocking your tank.
 

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Where can I buy Ammonia? Or is there a product i can buy from the pet store?
No, please stop here. You do not want to change horses in midstream.:shock:

While it is true about the cycling, it is occurring or the fish would all be dead not from aggression but sheer poisoning by ammonia and nitrite. Let's continue with what is started, and build on that when it is settled.

Aside from this, with live plants...and the floating you mentioned are ideal for this...it is possible to "cycle" without affecting the first fish. I've set up dozens of tanks from scratch with fish in them on day one and never had "cycling" issues just by using live plants.

We'll have to go into more detail on what you actually did from day 1 to see where things went wrong. I assume the clown loaches are gone now?

Byron.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yes the loaches have been gone since 24 hours after the first Neon stocking. The Neons have been alone for 5 days. Please advise how I continue to cycle with these fish, as I would prefer this method.
 

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Yes the loaches have been gone since 24 hours after the first Neon stocking. The Neons have been alone for 5 days. Please advise how I continue to cycle with these fish, as I would prefer this method.
Daily partial water changes of half the tank. Use a good conditioner, in this situation one that detoxifies ammonia and nitrite is wise. Prime does this, as does Ultimate. Do some vacuuming of the substrate in open areas when you water change.

This should get things stabilized with the plants. What to do with the mean fish I'm not sure. I suppose let nature take its course.:|

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I will get some Prime. Do I add it in with the water in the bucket before i put it into the tank or do I just change 15 gallons and then put enough Prime for 29 gallons? After the first use, I would assume in the bucket (new water) only. Is this correct? Also, after "nature takes its course", what do I do to keep the ammonia up to complete the cycle?( I want glass catfish, cherry barbs and Neon Tetras by the way). Stock new fish?
 

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You don't want the Ammonia above 0 in a tank with fish in all honesty.
That's why others have suggested the daily water changes and adding a conditioner that detoxifies it. I would stick to that but would also suggest adding more plants. They do amazing job of filting out the ammonia as its a food source. Floating plants such as your water sprite and fast growing plants are what will do best here. Through really more plants in general. Your tank will still cycle but just in the background undetected by test and harmless to fish.

As for the amount of Prime to use I wouldn't use more then the volume of the tank at first until the ammonia is gone then back down to just the volume of water add back to the tank during the water change. You can just add it to the tank then add the new water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks a lot. I will do bigger water changes daily and use Prime. My only worry is if the fish kill each other. How do I continue to get an ammonia supply without fish?
 

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I will get some Prime. Do I add it in with the water in the bucket before i put it into the tank or do I just change 15 gallons and then put enough Prime for 29 gallons? After the first use, I would assume in the bucket (new water) only. Is this correct? Also, after "nature takes its course", what do I do to keep the ammonia up to complete the cycle?( I want glass catfish, cherry barbs and Neon Tetras by the way). Stock new fish?
Boredomb has answered some of this, and I concur. As you are using buckets for the water change (as opposed to a Python connected to the tap to refill) I would add the Prime to the bucket of water.

The plants handle ammonia (and there is no nitrite) as B said.

Wait until everything is settled before acquiring any new fish. Once the tank water is settled, it may be necessary to do something about the neons. One thing you do not want is a nasty aggressive couple of fish when adding something as sensitive as Glass Catfish, they will be shredded.

Byron.
 

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The fish might settle down once the stress factors are gone such as the ammonia. If they all die we can help you deal with that if it comes to it. I think through they will be alright if you follow the suggestion provided.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
OK. I will do 50% water changes nightly (using Prime) and monitor the Neons and do this until I get a 0 reading of Ammonia. I will remove any Neons that are injured and most likely start with a fresh batch when the tank is settled. Thanks for the advice. I will update this thread if I need more advice.
 

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I will get some Prime. Do I add it in with the water in the bucket before i put it into the tank or do I just change 15 gallons and then put enough Prime for 29 gallons? After the first use, I would assume in the bucket (new water) only. Is this correct? Also, after "nature takes its course", what do I do to keep the ammonia up to complete the cycle?( I want glass catfish, cherry barbs and Neon Tetras by the way). Stock new fish?
If you are bucketing it then you can add the Prime to the bucket based on the bucket volume. You can also add it to the tank and use the tank volume, either way works.

You don't need to add ammonia, that's what the fish do for you. I am not certain if you have enough plants to soak up ammonia from a lot of fish but if you are lightly stocking initially, 10 fish in a 29 gallon is good, then you should be fine. Don't add any more fish for a few weeks to let everything get settled more.

The cycle happens even though the plants may be circumventing the need for it, I did it that way, plants, 12 fish, no cycle in a couple of days. I did see some nitrite after adding too many fish at another point but it was a quick spike as the cycle still happens albeit on a much smaller scale.

I started with Cherry barbs and had no issues. I wasn't doing daily changes, just daily testing and weekly changes.

I can't address the aggressive neon issue.

Jeff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
So I may have discovered the problem. I tested my tap water and the ammonia was 0.50 ppm. Basically my tap has ammonia. I was using water conditioner but I bought prime last night. There are 2 survivors and they are getting along fine now. Every ammonia test I've done for the last 2 weeks has been 0.50 ppm. Do I need to buy bottled water for water changes?? The last 2 days I am seeing nitrate. I haven't measured any nitrite since I started the cycle 2 weeks ago. Any thoughts??
 

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Test for nitrites, just so you know, it only takes a moment.

In order to see what is happening with the ammonia, test the tank at different times after your water change. immediately after if you read 0.5ppm that is expected, the Prime will have this detoxified so it is harmless but still shows on the test. Test again a few hours later and again later or right before your next change if you are still doing them daily. You should see the ammonia drop fairly soon after adding the new water as the plants and/or biologicals soak it up. This just lets you know what is going on and you don't need to keep doing.

If you haven't checked for nitrites in two weeks and your ammonia levels have always been 0.5 and you are seeing nitrates now I think that perhaps the issue may also have been a nitrite spike, albeit small, everything adds up.

Jeff.
 

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I agree. And Trav, what is the pH of your tank water and tap water? IThis too has a bearing on ammonia/ammonium. Remember to shake tap water vigorously for a few minutes before testing.

Just so you see the light at the end, the .5 ammonia in the tap is unfortunately but not trouble if it is handled correctly. A conditioner that detoxifies ammonia at the weekly [when things are normal with weekly water changes] water change will deal with the initial influx of ammonia, and by the time it becomes ineffective in a day or two the plants and bacteria will have deal with it.

Byron.
 
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