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Old 05-13-2018, 10:42 PM   #1
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Please HelpóIím Truly At A Loss

Towards the end of March, I decided I was tired of my gravel in my 75g and changed it to black sand, which I thought was beautiful. However, it has caused me a nightmare in my four-year+ established tank. Let me explain.

My process changing the substrate: I drained old tank water into two large totes; then I removed the fish and placed them inside along with the decorations; I removed the gravel and added sand; then replaced the old tank water in the tank, along with the fish; capped it off with new water; added my usual conditioner; and added Melafix as a precaution.

Prior to beginning this, a few weeks before, I added an extra filter pad in my filter to obtain bacteria and stuck a dozen or so bioballs into the substrate for the same purpose. After changing the substrate, I put the bioballs into the sand.

Soon after, I began testing the water, and ammonia stayed pretty low, but still not at zero where I needed it. Every weekend I performed water changes per usual.

Soon after THAT, one my silver dollars got a fungus that went away on its own. It now appears healthy. Another fish got ich, which I treated, and then, appearing healthy, it soon died.

Iíve since lost two more fish, and itís been way longer than I thought recycling would take. Iíve continued my weekly water changes (of about 50%), used Melafix fairly regularly, and cleaned my filter pads once, removing the extra one last week. Still my ammonia sits at roughly .25ppm. I test with an API Liquid Master Test Kit.

Iím truly at a loss on what to do. Iíve had these fish for years, and it has broke my heart to lose any of them. I donít want to lose any more.

Remaining fish: 3 silver dollars, 1 parrot cichlid, 1 Senegal bichir, and 1 ropefish. All appear healthy, but Iím afraid at any moment it could take a turn for the worse.

How can I bring my ammonia down? What should I do to protect my remaining fish?
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Old 05-13-2018, 11:41 PM   #2
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Are you testing for nitrite?
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Old 05-13-2018, 11:51 PM   #3
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Are you testing for nitrite?


Testing tonight, nitrites stand at somewhere between .25 and .5ppm.

I was contemplating buying bacteria in a bottle, such as Tetra SafeStart, but Iíve never used it before on any of my tanks and am afraid of causing more harm than good.
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Old 05-14-2018, 02:53 PM   #4
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Iíve tried a few bacteria-in-a-bottle systems and none worked. I ended up following the advice I got on this sub to order a seeded filter from AngelsPlus.com. They arenít expensive and cycled the tanks quickly. (Iím military and move often. I just start over with seeded media once Iím settled in. So Iíve done this lots.)
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Old 05-14-2018, 05:32 PM   #5
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Testing tonight, nitrites stand at somewhere between .25 and .5ppm.

I was contemplating buying bacteria in a bottle, such as Tetra SafeStart, but Iíve never used it before on any of my tanks and am afraid of causing more harm than good.
The best thing you can do is just keep testing and do your water changes as needed. You have fish in they will cycle it. Just keep in eye on them and your testing. It shouldn't take long. Basically like a mini cycle.
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Old 05-15-2018, 12:33 AM   #6
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I’m wondering if the Melafix is slowing down the growth of your bacterial colony. It’s supposedly a mild antibiotic. I’d keep up with the water changes, cut back on the feedings or feeding amount by about half for a couple weeks, and maybe go lighter or pass on the Melafix until the ammonia reading are fine then start bumping the feedings back to where you used to have it. I’ve used the bottled bacteria before, can’t prove if it worked or didn’t work, didn’t seem to hurt though.
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Old 05-15-2018, 02:55 AM   #7
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You said your water conditioner, which is what? I hope it's prime if not get some as it not only detoxifies ammonia into Ammonium which will show up in a test but it's not toxic , renders nitrite and nitrate non toxic and binds heavy metals for 48 hours, I would do a partial water change every other day, did you make sure the sand you got was okay to use in the tank?
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Old 05-16-2018, 09:44 PM   #8
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Please HelpóIím Truly At A Loss

Thanks for all the replies. Ammonia seems slightly lower than it usually is, but my eyes are bad and that may be wishful thinking.

My water condition actually isnít usually Prime, as I live in the middle of nowhere and itís hard to get, but Iím getting some tomorrow.

I figure Iíll start doing 25-40% daily water changes, dosing with Prime, adding bacteria from the bottle, and feeding little to none.
Havenít dosed Melafix in a while.

I have a ten gallon as well thatís been established for 2+ years. It only has one filter pad, though. Any way I can steal some bacteria from it? I was thinking I could maybe take the pad out, swish it around in the filter of the 75g, and then return it to the 10. Could that work?

[Edit] If Iím going about this wrong, please let me know. I figure the water changes and Prime should continue to buy me some time and keep the fish less stressed while the bacteria grow.

But why is it taking so long? Iíve cycled several tanks, had plenty of mini cycles, and never experienced one that lasted so long. Iím truly at a loss.
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Old 05-17-2018, 12:08 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by superpeytonm View Post
Thanks for all the replies. Ammonia seems slightly lower than it usually is, but my eyes are bad and that may be wishful thinking.

My water condition actually isnít usually Prime, as I live in the middle of nowhere and itís hard to get, but Iím getting some tomorrow.

I figure Iíll start doing 25-40% daily water changes, dosing with Prime, adding bacteria from the bottle, and feeding little to none.
Havenít dosed Melafix in a while.

I have a ten gallon as well thatís been established for 2+ years. It only has one filter pad, though. Any way I can steal some bacteria from it? I was thinking I could maybe take the pad out, swish it around in the filter of the 75g, and then return it to the 10. Could that work?

[Edit] If Iím going about this wrong, please let me know. I figure the water changes and Prime should continue to buy me some time and keep the fish less stressed while the bacteria grow.

But why is it taking so long? Iíve cycled several tanks, had plenty of mini cycles, and never experienced one that lasted so long. Iím truly at a loss.
Wirth prime you won't need to do a water change every day as that will only slow down the process, it locks everything for 48 hours, prime is the best and can be acquired on Amazon if you have the ability to order from there, there's such a thing as over cleaning a tank, I would get the prime, do a 20-30% dose prime to the buckets before you add the water to the tank, and just relax for a day check levels in between days, remember you will still see a reading on the ammonia test with prime but it's ammonium which is what prime converts ammonia into.

Stop Using melafix as it's just an anticeptic and gas been reported to have I'll effects on fish themselves.

What filter do you have on the 75 gallon?
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Old 05-17-2018, 12:21 AM   #10
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Yes! Dunk the cartridge from the 10g filter real good into the back of your 75g filter. If you wanta put your newer filter back on, take your cartridges out of the old filter (used) and put them in the new filter. Just swap them. The new filter has to go through the cycling process. I'd dunk the 10g filter pad in both every few days.
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