Tropical Fish Keeping banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've been keeping fish for 6 years now, so i like to think i'm somewhere around "intermediate" when it comes to issues with tanks. This is my first post to one of these forums, so please bear with me, as i need to be as descriptive as possible here...

I was required to move, and also out-grew my 29G setup, and therefore bought a 55-gallon and set it up in my new apartment about a week before moving out of the old one. this 55 gallon tank was used. i thought, "perfect, no cycling needed". i thought i'd give the awful tap water (chloramine/ammonia mix instead of free chlorine in the new water) a chance to get settled into my new Filstar XP3 and since i had all the ornaments, gravel, and hang-on filter from this guy's tank, + 7 days before adding new fish, i figured i was in good shape. daily testing of water parameters yielded low ammonia (from the tap water, or so i thought), 0 nitrite, 10 nitrate. (using API freshwater liquid test kit).

I dropped the new fish into my tank the day i moved in, and everything was fine, until 1 week after move in. ammonia hit 1-2ppm and nitrite at .25. testing today (1 week later) ammonia is at 0ppm and nitrite is so purple i cant tell if its 2.0 or 5.0ppm, but either way its entirely too high. the fish are visibly stressed. so, in desperation, i un-hooked my XP-2 filter from my 29 Gallon tank (currently empty of water...for 2 days now, and added it to the xp3, hoping that the bacteria from my XP-2 hasn't been destroyed from spending 2 days drying out. I also added half of the gravel from my 29 gallon tank (this never fully dried) into the new 55 gallon setup.

I never expected the tank to re-cycle. i thought there was more than enough beneficial bacteria in the tank, but apparently I was wrong. To make matters worse, there is now a rapidly developing case of Ich, (which i know can happen when fish are stressed out, their immune systems dont function as well). Here are my questions:

1. The amount of water flow is a LOT right now using both filters on a single 55 gallon tank, but i feel incorporating an established filter (assuming the bacteria hasn't all died off) is worth the increased flow. thoughts?
2. I have a 12X (36 watt) TurboTwist sterilizer and i'm debating whether or not to hook it up. My immediate thought is, any lag that this could cause to the re-cycle of the tank could be outweighed by the effects on UV killing the Ich while it is in the tomont stage. thoughts?
3. i know the UV wont eradicate the ich by itself. However, since the tank is cycling, and the fish are already stressed enough, i'm very hesitant to add medication to the tank unless given direction to do so by an expert.
4. do i just perform daily 25% water changes despite the tank being mid-cycle? turn on the UV-filter? how long will it take before i know whether or not the added filter & gravel are helping the Cycle? considering nitrite levels generally continue to grow before converting to nitrate, i find this very difficult to tell if its helping. do i CONSIDER treating the tank for Ich right now with something like malachite green? my gut says no.
5. In hind-sight I know i've made a couple huge mistakes here (letting my old filter dry-out), but please go easy on me, its been a hectic few weeks.
6. despite having extremely hard water, i've seen the PH steadily drop from 7.4 (tap- 2 weeks ago) to 6.6 (today). since my buffer is extremely high, how concerned should i be by this? my last tank took 6 months for the PH to drop to 6.6.
7. i found out today that the guy who sold me the tank was "nice" enough to take all his ornaments out and clean them in diluted bleach. awesome.

Thanks to everyone for your advice in advance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
840 Posts
congrats

Nice to hear that you got a 55, lots better than 29. Soumds like your thank was just starting to cycle. First you need ammonia. Then bacteria that process ammonia can colonize and comvert it into nitrite. Nitrite is just as harmful to fish as ammonia, maybe more so. After nitrite is being produced, a second type of bacteria can colonize. This second type converts it into nitrate which is much less hazardous than ammonia or nitrite, but still harmful. The final stage would be if you have plants, they use nitrate as fertilizer for growth and respiration. You'll still need to change water to prevent accumulation of toxins.
So... according to your test results I would say that first stage bacteria are present and are converting ammonia into nitrite, but nitrite consuming bacteria have not yet colonized to produce any nitrate. Youneed nitrites to grow the bacteria colony that will stabilize your tank so your not in bad shape, just need to be very, very, very, very patient. When you start to read nitrate you'll know your getting there. Your tank is not cycled if it is not producing nitrate. I
I hope this helps you good luck with your fish!
Ps. I've waited as long as 6 weeks for a full cycle
P.P.S in my humble opinion the best thing you can do for your fish is to keep changing water. Remember, its not the water that has to age and cycle , its the tank and filter
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,201 Posts
Raise the temp to at least 86 degrees for 2 weeks to cure ich.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
it sounds to me like you are indeed cycling. first i want to point out that letting things dry out will almost always kill Bactria so you can not count on them being alive at this point. since you gravel never fully dried out you may get lucky there and some would survive and this will help speed up the cycle. the best thing you can do now is to do 10-25% water change daily to keep your nitrite levels down(this will slow down cycling of the tank though) a second option is there is chems that are out there to detoxify nitrite and ammonia but i personally do not like to use chems but i have in the past and the one i recommend is Seachem stability.(follow directions on bottle). as for your ick porblem again i do not recommend chems for this but you can use them but it may not be a good idea this is why meds stress fish and yours are already stressed that could be very bad and could cause death. second reason you must remove your carbon filter during treatment this could be bad in the middle of a cycle because the carbon filter is helping control ammonia nitrite ect. thats in your tank now. my suggestion would be to raise your water temp up to 83 degrees slowly and treat the ick with salt. i think the ratio is one tsp per gallon of water. the temp increase will speed up the life cycle of the ick and cause the white spots to burst releasing the ick into the water where it can be killed and the salt and heat will take care of the rest. if the ick dose not find a host (another fish to attach too) within 3 days it will die. that being said you will need to continue this treatment till the all fish have been spot free for 3 days. this is important salt never evaporates form water so you will need to only add more salt if you remove water. i.e. your daily 10-25% water changes to control your nitrites.

hope this was helpful best of luck

p.s. i would leave both filters on there and running for now until your tank is done cycling. as for your ph im not so good my self with ph stuff but i would have to say if your taps ph is where you want it to be the water changes should help. but im not sure how you would keep it up beyond that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
UV sterilizer

thanks for the advice! if you were me, would you turn on the UV sterilizer to assist the ich problem? i just dont want to subject my fish to elevated nitrite levels any longer than absolutely required at this point. my concern with water changes is that the tap water in this area is at .5-.7ppm ammonia (i know, awful situation), and i don't want to prolong unnecessary exposure to ammonia, but i feel i have no other alternative. I just invested $180 in the 36W UV sterilizer and really cant afford a R/O filter at the moment to remedy my tap water problem. thanks again!

also, i have a variety of fish (can you see my aquarium stock on my profile?) and i've chosen 77 degrees because it is the only temperature that is in the ideal range for all my stock. if the ideal range for some of my stock is, say, 72-79, and i raise the temp to 84, how much additional stress are we talking about if i do this for 2 weeks?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,201 Posts
as for your ick porblem again i do not recommend chems for this but you can use them but it may not be a good idea this is why meds stress fish and yours are already stressed that could be very bad and could cause death.

second reason you must remove your carbon filter during treatment this could be bad in the middle of a cycle because the carbon filter is helping control ammonia nitrite ect.
Any treatment you administer is stressful, whether it's meds, heat, or salt.

Carbon does not help control ammonia or nitrite.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
sorry did not see on your original post that you had one. thought i have never use one i do hear many good things about them and they do kill ick only if its free floating in the water. so since you do have one i would use it. but you would still need to make sure that all fish have no visible sign of ick on them for at least 3 days. now to what i previously had told you to do the raised temp is to speed up the life cycle of the ick making getting rid of it be a quicker process. and the salt will kill it free floating in the water because it can not survive the salty conditions. Your uv should kill it once it enters the water and if you slowly raise the temp up i would say to 82-83 degrees it would speed up getting ride of your ick and as long as you are very carfull and raise the temp up over a few days your fish should be able to handle those water temps in the tropical areas water temps do occasionally go that high.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,201 Posts
You can raise the temp in an evening, not in a few days. The heater can only raise the temp so fast, and in my experience (treating with JUST heat - 2 weeks at 88) one can set the heater to the desired temp and it will SLOWLY get there at a rate of 1-2 degrees an hour. A word of caution - until you are familiar with your particular heater, always monitor it. Sometimes the thermometer is not calibrated correctly and the temp of the water and the temp you set it to will be different. Sometimes heaters come broken out of the box.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
840 Posts
Lots of live plants can help with ammonia, but always treat tapwater to remove/neutralize harmful additives/contaminants
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
3,247 Posts
NOTE FROM MODERATOR.

I have merged this thread as there was a duplicate in another section.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
PH crashed. 2 fish dead

I've lost my African Knife Fish and my Silver Dollar (two of my favorites) and i'm so upset with myself i cant think clearly.

Its been a few days now and I followed the advice to condition the tap water (using Amquel plus) and did 20% water changes every other day. I've been re-testing the water a couple times a day. good news is the nitrate levels continue to rise, so i know the cycling process has been occuring. Nitrites went down from 2-3ppm to .25-.5ppm a day after the first water change, and only 24 hours after my original post. From what i understand about the nitrogen cycle, this rapid decline in nitrites is concerning to me, due to these reasons:

1. The PH crashed to 6.0 (it doesnt read lower than that on my test kit, so it could have been lower)

2. I'm aware that the PH crash could cause the nitrosonomas that was producing the nitrite to die/hibernate. if the bacteria was set back by the tap water/water change (remember, high ammonia and chloramines in my tap water, and I have no RO filter), i'm not sure how to remedy that. I did add a ton of gravel from my retired tank since it still had water in it (tap water, I wasn't able to move the established water during the move to my new apartment). i realize that this could have helped, but based on what i understand about chemistry, i believe there's no way it sped up the cycle that quickly. the PH crash came after the Nitrites dropped/nitrates rised. the tap water used during the water change raised ammonia back up to .25ppm

3. ammonia levels and nitrite levels have not changed since this massive fluctuation a few days ago (i think it was 4 days ago). the only thing i did was a 25% water change, added amquel, and turned on the UV filter.

I realize this is not a solution, but because of the low PH i added 1 tsp baking soda. Ph returned (a few hours later) to about 6.5, and as i expected, the following day it was back to 6.2 or 6.0. I'm very against altering the tank conditions/chemistry during a cycle for obvious reasons, but with a PH that low and with fish in the tank i had to do something immediately. right now its reading 6.6, and i HATE making rapid changes to water but these guys are visibly stressed. by the looks of it my COry Catfish is next.

ICH UPDATE:

I raised the temperature to 88 degrees 2 days ago (very slowly, from 77 degrees, over a 24 hour period). as expected, the ich looked worse before starting to look better. the UV filter i'm sure is helping along with the high temp. i am not using salt. I will keep the temp at 88 for 11 more days before dropping it back down.

I'm sure that my fish are dying due to the following stressors/reasons:
1. Ich
2. extremely high nitrites for a few days
3. temperature well outside their ideal range
4. the PH crash

i know the PH can drop as nitrates rise, but considering this tank was setup only 3 weeks ago, and has been stocked for only 2 of them, why is the nitrate reading at 40-60ppm? if this helps, here are the levels over time:

day 1 (tap water):
ph = 7.4
ammonia: .5-.7 ppm (due to ammonia in tap water)
nitrite = 0 ppm
nitrate = 5-10 ppm

day 8
ph = 6.8
ammonia: 1.5ppm
nitrite: .25ppm
nitrate: 10ppm

day 14
ph = 6.8
ammonia: 0ppm
nitrite: 4ppm
nitrate: 20ppm
(20% water change after reading)

day 15
ph = 6.7
ammonia: 0ppm
nitrite: 4 ppm
nitrate: 20ppm
(20 % water changed after this reading. nitrites seemed unchanged after water change, ph was slightly higher (because tap water ph is 7.4)

day 16
ph 6.0 (or lower)
ammonia: .25ppm
nitrite: .25-.5ppm
nitrate: not checked

day 20 (today)
ph 6.6 (after 1tsp baking soda on day 18 and another this morning)
ammonia: .25ppm
nitrite: .25-.5ppm
nitrate: somewhere between 40-80 PPM, cant tell which color it is

NOTE: I re-dosed amquel based on 55 gallons, even though i only changed 20% of the water. i fear this was a mistake, as it can contribute to low oxygen levels and ph crashes, but i only mention this because i really dont feel like i overdosed them, but i'm not adding any other chemicals so i fear it is the only variable that can cause this problem (that i had control over)

so, in short:
1. my favorite fish are stressed and dying, but others look fine.
2. the ich is resolving, which is good
3. the PH is insanely unstable and i need to know what i should do to keep it stable during the rest of the cycling
4. since ammonia isnt being removed by nitrosonomas anymore i fear the PH crash/water changes messed up the cycle.
5. Nitrites are not moving unless i change the water. i know it takes time, and .25 is way better than 4, but why did it stop at .25 if it dropped so much in one night after i added the gravel? why did the PH crash promply after that, and how do i stabalize it in the middle of the tank cycle without killing more fish? i fear it is simply a "wait, wait, wait" and just watch at this point. i dont want to change the water anymore because i know the first 20% change messed up the cycle pretty bad.

I know theres alot here and i'm all over the place, but if you are an expert on water chemistry, particularly PH, i'd love to hear your thoughts. i've even considered paying someone with 20 years more experience to consult on my tank and give in-person advice. craigslist maybe? lol
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,201 Posts
Your fish are likely dying from the nitrites. It takes a while for fish to die of ich, and I don't think the temp is killing them - I've administered the treatment to over 50 species, including the ones you have, and have yet to find a species that could not handle it. Spots should be gone by 5 days.

I'm trying to recall what else was said to which I wanted to respond. Gonna have to do some editing.

Oh yeah - water changes have no impact on the cycle.

Declining nitrites are not a bad thing - you want them to drop to 0.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top