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Old 12-31-2008, 12:16 AM   #1
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A real head scratcher - In need of some help

I bought an 8 gallon tank from the pet store, going on their advice, I put in some fluorite for live plants, filled it up and added some seachem prime to treat the water and some stress zyme beneficial bacteria (as well as another does on the 7th day), I left this to cycle overnight, and had me come back the next day for some hardy fish to start the cycle. I got 5 goldfish (to be returned once the cycle was done), as well as 3 live plants since they said I may have an algae bloom once the cycle is complete, and the plants would help stop this, I also added some of their tank water from their goldfish tank (another move I now doubt). I started doing daily tests expecting an ammonia spike, and so far these are my results:

12/21/08 temp 26 C, PH 6.8, ammonia 0
12/22/08 temp 26 C, PH 6.6, ammonia trace
12/23/08 temp 26 C, PH 6.8, ammonia .15
12/24/08 temp 26/5, PH 7.0, ammonia .15
12/25/08 temp 26, PH 6.8, ammonia .2
12/26/08 temp 26.5, PH 7.0 ammonia .2
12/30/08 temp 26.5, PH7.1 ammonia .15 nitrites .1

from the 26th to the 30th I was away for a bit, and I have come home to a tank with quite a bit of algae growth on the plants, as well as 2 missing goldfish with no signs of bodies, I would do a nitrate test, but I do not have one yet, I was not expecting to need it for a few weeks. I know I made some wrong steps, especially listening to the pet shop, but can anyone tell me what is going wrong in my tank and get me on the right track? Since all they can recommend is spending more money on additives, and I no longer trust them and now found the wonder of the internet, although maybe a bit to late for my little friends
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Old 12-31-2008, 02:28 AM   #2
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What test kit are you using, the ammonia seems rather low for 5 goldfish, esp. after 2 died.

What size goldfish they sold you?? For an 8 gal, 1 small fantail is all you need to do fishy cycling. <Fishless cycling is far better .... and even if you do fishy cycling, a smaller, less waste producing fish like a zebra danio would have been better than the gold fish.>

Anyway, the only ways I can explain your test results are:
1. inaccurate test
2. you have a salicylate (SW/FW) ammonia test & you have use enough Prime to bind most of the ammonia. <0.2 of FREE ammonia is actually toxic ... if that is actually what you are measuring.>
3. You have enough plants to use up the ammonia, or there are enough nitrifying bacteria on the plants to actually cycle your tank. <But that still don't explain the missing (presumed dead) fish.>

For start, make sure your test results are accurate. Since you are seeing some nitrites, you might have missed the ammonia spike for whatever reason. I would get the nitrate test & do one as a base line. I wouldn't add any more additives (esp. to deal with the algae .... it is good in this case, as the algae is removing some of the nitrogenous wastes .... deal with the algae after your tank is cycled.)
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80 gal FW with 30 gal DIY wet/dry/sump.
9 fancy golds, 1 hillstream loaches, 1 rubber-lip pleco (C. thomasi), 3 SAEs, small school of white cloud minnows, planted.
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Old 12-31-2008, 12:22 PM   #3
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I am using the red sea freshwater master test kit, and the goldfish are all around 3/4" I now know I did not do the cycle correctly, or the most humane way, I feel horrible for that I did probly overdose the prime, it was hard to dose accurately for 8 gallons as one capful treated 50 gallons.

So should I try a new freshwater test kit as well as pick up a nitrate kit? and I think I found one of the casualties as well, or what was left are goldfish cannibals by any chance? Should I do a water change? as I have not done one yet.

Thank you for your help.
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Old 12-31-2008, 03:07 PM   #4
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50% water change for sure. Make sure to match temperature and dechlorinate.

Prime is OK up to 5x dose as far as fish go but it will probably mess with your test results.

Don't know how a master kit wouldn't have nitrate-- that's very strange. Here we generally recommend the API Master Freshwater kit, which comes with ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH... but the Red Sea kit is probably fine, you just need to get the nitrate test.
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Old 12-31-2008, 04:25 PM   #5
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well, it looks like a trip to the pet shop is in order, and a water change then, hopefully it gets things straightened out a bit. A couple other things I noticed that may be at fault is my timer seems to be screwed up, it got stuck, so the light could have very well been on for 3 days straight. My plants also seem to be dying.
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Old 12-31-2008, 06:59 PM   #6
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The Red sea FW ammonia test measures total ammonia (it is labeled NH3/NH4), so it is surprising to see such low numbers .... an overdose of Prime might have screwed up the result, or you just missed the peak at day 7/8. <BTW, to dose Prime in small system, I use a 1cc syringe, or you can try a 1/8 teaspoon measure .... that is the amount for 6 gal of water.>

Goldfish will eat the dead ones, so it is not unusual to not see any body, esp. for the really small fish.

I agree with doing the pwc on spec. No harm in that ... most it would do is slow the cycle down some.

What light do you have, & what plants? Not having enough light for the chosen plants is the #1 cause of plant dying (a close #2 - poor specimens from the lfs ... as they usu. don't have enough light). Unfortunately, having the lights on 24/7 don't compensate for the low light level. Plants need a dark period to use the sugars from photosysthesis for growth & they will die from constant light. I would trim off any obviously dead bits as that would just pollute the water. Most plants will bounce back once conditions become favorable as long as the roots/rhyzomes are intact.
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80 gal FW with 30 gal DIY wet/dry/sump.
9 fancy golds, 1 hillstream loaches, 1 rubber-lip pleco (C. thomasi), 3 SAEs, small school of white cloud minnows, planted.
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