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Old 08-15-2003, 05:17 PM   #1
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Ammonia problems?

I set up a 46g saltwater tank 3 weeks ago. There is currently about 40 to 50 pounds of live rock in the tank. I also have a Cascade 700 canister filter.
After a few days I introduced a couple damsels and a few mollies and attempted to allow the tank to cycle. A couple of days ago (2 1/2 weeks after the first ounce of saltwater was added) the ammonia and nitrite levels read zero. Out of inexperience, I decided to introduce a tang to the tank. Not surprisingly, (after reading many of these posts and other sites) all fish, besides the mollies, died. The ammonia level read only about .25 to .5 at that time, however, I've now been told that the simple introduction of a tang this early will release enough ammonia to wipe everything out. It has been about 4 days since this happened and the only fish in the tank that are surviving are 3 mollies who constantly gasp at the surface of the water. The ammonia level, however, has been increasing. I've also read that after a week, there should be no ammonia whatsoever in the tank. It has been three weeks. I decided to do a 20% water change yesterday. Today, the ammonia level is around 2 - 3 ppm (a mid to dark green on my test kit and a bit higher than it was before the water change). Would it be wise to send these mollies over to my nephews guppy tank and try to let my tank cycle out the already existing ammonia? Also, I've tried ammo-lock once but am apprehensive to continue using it. What do you think?
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Old 08-15-2003, 06:36 PM   #2
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Ammonia problems?

8/15/2003 glmclell - duplicate post merged
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Old 08-15-2003, 11:59 PM   #3
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In my opinion, there are better ways to cycle your tank besides using live fish to do it. If, however, you choose to use a fish, ONE is plenty. Your tank is not that large and you have huge amounts of ammonia sources with what you put in there.

You need to get the mollies out and let the tank finish its cycle without the fish, the ammonia is already there. Do not change the water after the fish are gone, and ammo lock is just prolonging your cycle, as is the water changes. Let nature take its course and in a month or so, add fish slowly, one at a time.
Also, no tang is suited for a 46 gallon. Please reconsider your choice of fish and while your tank is cycling, take the opportunity to read up on some of your possible choices.
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Old 08-16-2003, 12:55 AM   #4
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Re: Ammonia problems?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MOR C 42
Would it be wise to send these mollies over to my nephews guppy tank and try to let my tank cycle out the already existing ammonia? Also, I've tried ammo-lock once but am apprehensive to continue using it. What do you think?
Sorry for the losses!!

Moving the mollies would be a good idea but a better idea would be to the LFS and soon. The mollies are now SW acclimated and would need to be re-acclimated back to FW. This is not an overnight task. If you have a spare rubbermaid bin and such that would serve as a temp tank, you could slowly re-acclimate them back to fresh and then send them to your nephews.

Once that's done you can let the tank cycle natuarlly. The start of the cycle is not always immediate and really depends on what the "fuel" source is. It is always recommended to wait until the NH3 and NO2 levels are zero before adding any animals. Until you see an increase and subsequent decrease in both, the tank has not properly cycled and cannot support animals safely.

Cheers
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Old 08-16-2003, 01:22 AM   #5
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I should also add that a new tank cannot support that number of animals that soon, it must rather be allowed to grow and accomidate the animal load. Each time a fish is added to the tank, the bacteria population must grow with it. The correct amount of bacteria is not always present. When the tank is ready, only add one fish at a time. After all new additions are poperly >>quarantined<< and the >>acclimated<< to the new tank, then the next fish can be aquired and it then goes through the same steps. This will allow enough time between additions for the tank to properly stabalize to each new "load" as well as ensuring not to introduce pathogens or parasites.

I would also suggest skipping fish like tangs and other large growing types unless you have a rather long 46gal tank, 48" length is the minimum. They will in fact do much better in a 75+ gal tank for a healthier existance.

Cheers
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Old 08-16-2003, 06:47 PM   #6
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I took the mollies out of the tank. The ammonia level is around 3 and I also noticed the ph is about 7.8. I'll just let the tank cycle for a month or so. However, am I just waiting for the ammonia and nitrite level to read zero? How long after they read zero do I add new fish? Also, for my 46g tank, what kind of fish and how many do you recommend to put in the tank first?

Thanks a lot for the quick responses!
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Old 08-16-2003, 07:55 PM   #7
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I would start bumping up the ph if you have live rock.
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Old 08-16-2003, 09:39 PM   #8
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Good to hear about the mollies

If you start QTing the first fish when the tank has no detectable ammonia and the nitrites are on the way down, some 4 weeks later both the tank and the now properly QT'd first fish should be ready to go.

Stocking suggestions are many and choices still very high for a 46 gal tank. I would just steer clear of large growing fish. >>Here<< is a decent site that includes some species info as well as loose info on care/aggression ratings. I would suggest putting together a sort of wish list and post it once you've decided and I'm sure the members of AA would gladly offer some further assistance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by astride13
I would start bumping up the ph if you have live rock.
In a newly cycling tank, this is really nothing to be greatly concerned with. The decay and die off produced will greatly increase the natural acids and the CO2 levels in the tank. Adjusting them at this point would really be putting the cart before the horse. If this is uncured "raw" LR, then you could employ some small water changes to control the levels a bit better and preserve as much life as possible. If pre-cured LR, I would leave well enough alone as the ph will come back up as the cycle progresses.

Cheers
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