Hiya, I set up my 6 Gallon aquarium with t5 light, internal filter and pump, thermometer and artificial plants, arch and gravel. After a few days I bought 1 Zebra Danio which seemed in good health, and one apparently easy to grow live plant.
The first day I introduced the Danio aka "Spike" to the tank was sunday about 12 noon. I observed that his gills were maybe a little red, possible a little pinched belly. I thought maybe ammonia burning or something. I new that this might happen so I didn't change the water or do anything as I don't think changing water would be a good idea when trying to cycle a tank. He seemed very happy swimming against the current and learning his new surroundings. He stayed around the top at night when light went out for a while but it seemed like normal Danio behaviour.
However, the plant I introduced didn't seem to be doing well where I put it and parts of it was dying. So I moved it away from the strong current and took out the floating dead parts. By Tuesday 12 noon Spike was hiding either under the filter a bit lifeless opening and closing his mouth, or at the surface in the corners of the tank doing the same thing.
This was worrying me so I took out the plant and its dead bits which all smelt pretty bad. I did receive my test strip kit tuesday (today) however I only just realised it didn't have ammonia reading on it. Anyway, this is what it read in the tank when the plant was in it:
Nitrate: 0-10 mg
Hardness: about 15d
Carbonate Hardness: 16d (which I realise is high?)
Ph: about 7.6-8
I realise without ammonia reading it might be hard to help me. I am going to purchase a kit for this.
After I took the plant out I did about a 10% water change. Even though I had planned not to during cycling, but I did not intend of having a dying plant in the tank too. I also turned out the light and Spike isn't hiding in the corners looking limp and like he's gasping anymore. He's not his normal self which I guess is bad water quality due to cycling and me messing with his tank a bit. However, whenever I put the light on he goes back to the corner at the surface and does the same.
I don't know why he's doing that, or whether my 10% water change has helped or hindered. Also, how has the smelly sludgy plant changed my cycle?
Spike doesnt physically look bad and swims around with the light off.
Please help me, I really want to help my little guy.