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Old 08-17-2017, 09:33 PM   #1
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Mistakes Were Made

Use the loo and grab a drink, as this might wind up being a long read.

After being out of the fish game for a bit, I was able to convince the girlfriend to let me set up a tank in our new house, however, she capped me at 20 gallons. A little lame, but I figured after awhile she'd give into the idea of having a larger tank and then I can slowly take over the house.

So, once I had her semi-blessing, two weeks ago we headed to both PetSmart and Petco and pieced together a setup. Petco was having their dollar per gallon sale, so we grabbed the tank there. Wasn't super sure what I wanted to do for a filter, so I grabbed an AquaClear 30 with plans to possibly change it later down the road. Grabbed a hood and light from PetSmart along with some Prime, Flourish and Stability from Seachem.

I got the tank set up that night and headed back to Petco the next morning to pick up a few small plants just to get things started.

Now here's where mistakes began to be made.

The girlfriend is a little impatient and wanted fish swimming in the tank right away. I figured this wasn't my first rodeo and I could handle a fish-in cycle, so we went and picked up a few platys -- and incidentally, a molly -- from PetSmart on Monday. That was my first mistake.

While I hadn't picked up a test kit yet, it was on my list and I thought I had at least a couple of days before I needed to worry about it. That was my second mistake.

Friday night after work, I ran to store the store, grabbed the API FW test kit and a few other things. I had waited a little longer than I wanted to and I had already planned on doing a water change that night, but when I tested the water, I was in for a little bit of a shock.

I had been dosing the tank with Stability every day, so I was hoping that would help speed up the initial stages of cycling the tank, but I didn't plan for how fast it would actually move things along. While the ammonia levels were almost 0, the nitrites were through the freaking roof. I immediately did a large water change and dosed with extra prime. The battle was on.

I did another water change Saturday and Sunday, each time also dosing with extra Prime just to help. Then starting Monday, I started testing in the morning before I left for work, on lunch and then when I got home before I would then do another water change.

The fish seemed fine for the most part, however, there were a couple that occasionally had clamped fins and would hide away, but mostly they always came back around, especially when it was feeding time (I was feeding every other day and just enough for them to eat instantly).

So, all week I kept testing the water and also doing water changes. I was getting seeing nitrates during testing so I know the nitrites were being converted, but they would still climb by the end of each day to about 1ppm or a little higher. Water changes were working well to get the levels back down and I was hoping the Prime would help during the day while the levels climbed before another water change.

This morning before work, I turned on the tank light a few minutes early to feed the fish and do a head count (I was always expecting the worst). All the fish were accounted for, but, unfortunately, I noticed one of them was showing signs of ich -- and then another. I guess when it rain, it pours.

I immediately turned the heater up a little bit and slowly increased the temperature up to 84 through the course of the day. Tonight I tested the water and did another water change. I finally went with sand for a substrate, so it's a little hard to vacuum, but I made sure to at least move the siphon around the tank. Nitrites had managed to build back up again, but I do believe they were a little lower than in the past, so hopefully things are moving somewhat in the right direction.

One of the little guys isn't doing so hot, but I'm not giving up hope yet. Regardless of the tank cycle, I'll have to keep up the water change regiment for a couple of weeks to hopefully eliminate the ich.

Wish me luck and we'll see how it goes!

tl;dr Bought a new tank, thought I could hand a fish-in cycle, but now I'm battling high nitrites and a case of ich.
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Old 08-17-2017, 10:01 PM   #2
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Hang in there Noah. Good luck.
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Old 08-19-2017, 01:34 PM   #3
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Well, I lost one of the fish today. It was the one I was worried about, but he was always kind of off from the other fish, so there may have been something else going on with him that was compounded by the crappy water situation.

The other fish seem to be doing fine. In fact, there is only one that seems a little lethargic at times, while the rest seem as happy as can be. I'm second guessing my ich diagnosis, but I also know how the symptoms can seem to disappear when your acting on it, so I'll keep the temp up and stay with the water changes.

I used up the last of my Stability last night after I did a water change. I'm keeping an eye on my nitrite levels, but I might try just dosing with Prime today and do a water change tomorrow. I'm wondering if Stability wasn't as effective because I was dosing in the morning and doing a water change at night. I know Stability contains spores instead of live bacteria, so perhaps I wasn't giving them enough time to take up a home in the tank. I don't know -- maybe I'll change my mind and just do the water change. Maybe Stability isn't all that great. Of course, it sure did seem to jump start things as far as eating away at the ammonia anyway.

I'll keep this updated. Nice to have for my own record as well.
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Old 08-20-2017, 11:32 AM   #4
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Oh, boy!

When I tested nitrites yesterday morning, they were somewhere between .5 and 1ppm. I ended up dosing with Prime and kept checking the nitrites every few hours. To my surprise, but early after noon they were down to under .5 and then to about .25 by early evening. Last night before I went to bed I could tell they were under .25. This morning, 0ppm!

I'm going to do a water change shortly as I'm still thinking there may be some ich in the tank, but checking levels after that will really tell me if the cycle is coming along.

Progress, my friends. Progress.
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Old 08-20-2017, 01:16 PM   #5
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Sounds like you're on the right track only loosing one fish during a fish in cycle isn't bad especially when the fish is from a large chain store where quality is overlooked often
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Old 08-20-2017, 01:32 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Noah0504 View Post
...then I can slowly take over the house.
My plan, too.
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Old 08-20-2017, 01:38 PM   #7
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Sounds like you're on the right track only loosing one fish during a fish in cycle isn't bad especially when the fish is from a large chain store where quality is overlooked often
I really need to set up a quarantine tank. Hard to convince the GF it's not just another aquarium in the house. Might try to go to Petco today and grab a 10 gallon while they're still on sale. She'll just have to deal with it!
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Old 08-20-2017, 02:38 PM   #8
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Well, I did a water change a few hours ago. My tap water contains .25ppm nitrites and after doing a test a few minutes ago, I'm already back down to 0ppm. Looks like I'm cycled or almost completely cycled.
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Old 08-25-2017, 11:45 AM   #9
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Well, I'd like to report all seems well. I had been doing a water change every other day and all signs of possible ich have been gone for a few days. Started to slowly change the temperature back down last night.

Tank seems to be fully cycled. No ammonia or nitrites since this past weekend. I'm still going to keep and eye on it for the next week just to be sure.

No more fish have been lost and they all seem to be doing very well. Pretty happy as things could have been much worse!
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