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Old 04-11-2009, 01:02 PM   #1
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More Cichlid problems

I have a 55 that has been going since Christmas. I had 1 pleco, 2 Firemouths, 2 Jack Dempseys, 2 Jewels and 3 pictus cats. I lost a pictus when my ammonia went high just last month. Since then I've been doing 25% water changes every day up until I lost my other 2 pictus last week. Now I'm doing 50% changes and using ammo-lock by API along with a water conditioner. The water conditioner I was using turned out to have live bacteria in it, using a bacteria suppliment started this whole problem weeks ago. I was using aqua safe by tetra. Big friggin' mistake! Now I've lost my Firemouths and my Jacks and Jewels are looking sick. What can I do? I have 2 power filters rated for 60 gallon tanks, and undergravel and 2 power heads going. I have been doing gravel cleaning when I do the water changes. I've gone down to feeding a few pellets every other day. What am I missing?
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Old 04-11-2009, 07:21 PM   #2
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To answer you problems... We are going to need some more info.

When did you start the tank?

Did you cycle the tank before adding fish?

How did you add your fish? (by date) (when and what fish)

Do you have a water test kid?
If not, get the liquid API test kit. (not strips)
It will test for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates.
Then post your readings.

Good luck.
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Old 04-11-2009, 09:26 PM   #3
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I started it the day after Christmas. It was a present from my boyfriend and his family.

I let it run for a week before adding fish. Then I added a dozen rosy red's. I did 25% water changes every week. Then I added the pleco. Waited a week and a half before adding the 2 Jewels. Another week then added a pictus. He ate the rosy reds. Continuing the weekly water changes, I added the other 2 pictus at the end of January. The 2 firemouths in Feb, the 2 Jacks in March. I have done my API water test, I have the test stirps. Everything was going good until I starting using the bacteria suppliment, then my ammonia spiked. I have been doing water changes no more than a day apart since. Then I found the water conditioner I was using also had bacteria, so that explained why nothing was righting itself. I went back to using the water conditioner I use on my other tanks. I just did a 90% change using only the water conditioner and a bit of stress coat, no ammo-lock. My Jack's don't have the white film on their eyes now, neither does the pleco. I hope this means I'm saving them. I'm really upset that I lost my guys. I think I learned my lesson with bacteria suppliments unless it's a brand new tank, not one that's running for a bit. I had even used some of the water in my other tanks that had the suppliment in it and they spiked but were easy to control. Except my 20 with my Bettas. That's an issue for another discussion group.

Do you think I could add my aquarium salt again on the next water change?
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Old 04-11-2009, 10:20 PM   #4
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Sorry for your losses. Welcome to AA!

Keep using the API tests they are more reliable. Don't bother with the ammo lock, it is temporary and can give false ammonia readings. What temp are you keeping the tank at? Are you matching the water temp when you do water changes?

I would keep doing daily water changes and make sure you have an airstone in the tank.

IMO those bottles of live bacteria do not contain enough live bacteria to do any good. Live bacteria would not harm your tank though.

You don't need the stress coat either. Just the water changes and dechlorinator. With a pleco in the tank, I would not add aquarium salt.
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Old 04-12-2009, 12:53 AM   #5
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Thank you for the welcome and advice. I'm hoping the water change today will get everything back the way it should be.

Everyone is looking more like they did before the crisis, I just hope it didn't stress them to the point they won't recover. I was worried doing all the water changes might stress them as well, but I know they need the fresh,clean water. I'll do another one before bed tomorrow and keep hoping for the best.

I have to agree with you about the bacterial suppliments, I no longer trust them and have even mentioned the problems I've had to my LFS. I even went so far as to call the customer service line and complain. I know it will not go anywhere, but I felt a bit better telling them their products suck.

I use the API strips for all my tanks and I did notice on the bottle of ammo-lock it said it would give false readings, but I could smell it in the tank water so I knew it was an issue.

I have a bendable bubble wand that I just put in there. I know circulation and filtration isn't much of a problem. I installed the new filter earlier this week so now the both are running with ammo-carb medium. My UGF has ammo-carb heads too. I use all the same things for the other tanks, but they cleared up a lot quicker. I think that had something to do with using the AquaSafe conditioner with bacteria. Never again! I dumped all that stuff down the drain.

I'll keep my post up to date with what's going on with the cichlids. Hopefully by the end of the month I will have it level again and can replace my poor pictus one at a time.
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Old 04-12-2009, 12:59 AM   #6
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Ammo-carb is also something to avoid during a cycle, since it takes out ammonia from the water that'd be feeding the bacteria. Do water changes to keep ammonia/nitrites down until the cycle completes. Also people tend to avoid UGF's because it just traps the gunk down there, and can cause ammonia spikes eventually.
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Old 04-12-2009, 01:32 AM   #7
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Good luck with the fish. I hope they keep doing well.

I thought you meant the API liquid test. I would recommend you get the liquid test as soon as you are able. The test strips are notoriously inaccurate.

www.bigalsonline.com has the master kit for cheap.
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Old 04-12-2009, 03:28 PM   #8
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I just did another 50% change with the water at 75 degrees, which is what I keep the tank at since it's a warm room. Nothing reading on the strips yet. I don't know if I can use my liquid test right now because I had been treating with the ammo-lock. Do ya'll think that bacterial suppliment I was using sent the tank into another cycle? I suppose it's highly probable.

My pleco is responding better today, he nibbled one of his algae wafers. My Jack's have their color back but are still hiding and my Jewels are looking questionable. I took out my ammo-carb filter bags from the power filters and have the straight carb filter bags running now. I also took out the UGF ammo-carb heads and replaced them with straight carbon. I know most people don't like UGF's but I use them to help with the currents and with cichlids I was told many years ago they are good to have.

***Crosses my fingers that everyone pulls through***

Thanks for the advice all.
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Old 04-15-2009, 02:04 PM   #9
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My tank did this when I first set it up. I ended up just leaving the tank alone for 3 days without adding anything to the water and it cleared itself out. I think mine was also caused by some API bacterial suppliment so it is now in the trash
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