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Old 10-28-2013, 06:46 AM   #1
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Fishy Update and Question

So after my post on Friday my male molly wasnt looking great. I whizzed down to my LFS (Pets at Home) and had them test the water. He said I had high ammonia levels and that there wasnt anything I could do or buy to help. Saturday, we went over to another store of the same chain and bought a sucking loach along with some ammonia remover. I did a 10% water change and in went Mr Loach and my DH said why dont we put the P@H water in too. So we put that in and added the requisite amount of ammonia remover and to my delight, my male molly is no longer stationary other than breathing, he is swimming around, fins extended and looking happy and eating too

I am now curious.... Question 1. I have been doing 10% water changes daily, adding in the ammonia remover and I have added some stress zyme and stress coat too. Now that the fish seemed to have settled, and seem content, how often/to what degree would you change the water? Also the water had gone slightly cloudy, is this a bacteria bloom?

Final question..., the sukcing loach (aka chinese algae eater) keeps chasing the male molly and sucking his side. I'm a bit annoyed at the store as they didnt warn me when I bought him that it might do this. Any suggestions?

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Old 10-28-2013, 07:16 AM   #2
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I'm pretty new to this so I'm gonna leave the water change to someone with more knowledge (I'm doing about 20% each week). It sounds like your newcomer is eating the mollies slime coat which is not good for it, so I'd separate them and probably return the new guy. Again, I'm new to this so I could be totally wrong here!

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Old 10-28-2013, 11:58 AM   #3
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About the ammonia:

It sounds as though you have not cycled your tank yet. Cycling a tank means growing beneficial bacteria in the filter, that converts the fish waste (ammonia) into less harmful substances. In a cycled tank there is no ammonia as the bacteria converts it so quickly it wont harm the fish.

That beneficial bacteria - also called BB around here - takes a while to grow so if you already have fish, you will need to take out some of the water in your tank and replace it with clean water to lower the ammonia levels and make the fish more comfortable.

You can read more about it here:

I just learned about cycling but I already have fish. What now?! - Aquarium Advice

Problem is: if you add ammonia remover to the water (or the filter) it only solves the ammonia problem temporarily. Because you are removing the ammonia artificially, the bacteria that needs to eat that bacteria wont grow so your tank will take much longer to get to a point where there is enough bacteria to keep the water safe for your fish.

You have a choice - you can do a fish-in cycle as explained in the article above, or you can find a new home for your fish and do a fish-less cycle with the empty tank. The second is a lot less stressful for both you and the fish but I'm biased as I've only ever done fish-less cycles! Other forum members will disagree with me
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Old 10-28-2013, 12:01 PM   #4
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And chinese algae eaters have a TERRIBLE reputation. They hurt other fish by sucking onto them as you've seen. You might want to take that bad boy back to the shop.
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Old 10-28-2013, 02:38 PM   #5
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Hi. Do you have any other fish than the male Molly and the algae eater? How big is your tank?

I would stop using the ammonia remover. As masha quite rightly says. This is not actually an ammonia remover but a blocker. When the dechlorinator breaks the chloramine bond of ammonia and chlorine your chemical goes one step further and reduces ammonia to its non toxic form of ammonium. This added to your daily water change of 10% would explain why your Molly's condition has improved.

The problem with this chemical is that you have to re-dose every 48 hours to tackle any fresh build up of ammonia. According to the producer of ammolock ammonia is locked up until it is processed by the biological filter so according to them, the bacteria colony is not affected. The problem is that if the colony is still working, the nontoxic ammonia will still be converted In to nitrite and the problem resumes.

Like masha says. This is a temporary fix for and emergency or for tap water that naturally has high ammonia (established tanks).

It's also worth noting that ammonia test kits will still show ammonia readings even though ammonia is locked out so it may be even more confusing if you take another batch of water to your LFS to test again.

1) but API master test kit (freshwater)
2) cease use of product
3) remove enough water until ammonia reaches 0ppm on test kit.
4) do not add any more fish
5) monitor water parameters daily changing water when necessary
6) feed lightly once a day skipping a day every couple of days
7) continue to test water until you are cycled (read cycling link)
8) be patient

Future stocking should be done slowly I.e low number of fish weeks In Between.

The good news is your tank had begun its cycle with the bloom.
Good luck and let us know how you get on!
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Old 10-29-2013, 04:42 PM   #6
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I agree with Masha and Caliban. You are not cycled, so you shouldn't add any more fish until you are. Also, you shouldn't think "I'll do an x percent water change daily/weekly". It should be "I'll do water changes until my water is at 0-.25 ppm ammonia and nitrite, and <30 ppm nitrates". So first, buy a good test kit (the one Caliban recommended is best bought online, [amazon, ebay, etc.] as it is much cheaper), then test your water and do water changes until you get the listed parameters. Although the ammonia "remover" is a good temporary switch, the fish is just in better, less bad, water, not good water. Plus, you can't dose that forever, so you need to cycle.

Siamese Algae Eaters (that is their common name, not sucking loach, and you can call them SAEs) are notorious for being aggressive at times. Furthermore, they grow pretty long, I think 6 inches, and need a pretty large tank, I would say at least 30-40 gallons to really be happy. Also, they eat algae, so you need some of that in your tank (or at least get algae wafers). They eat your molly's slime coat because they don't have any food. You can also blanch a cucumber or zucchini slice for about a minute in a bowl with a bit of water in the microwave, weigh it down, and drop it in the tank, skin and all.

Hope this helps!

~ Alex
20 Gallon Shell Dweller Tank
"Stay fishy my friends."
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