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Old 07-11-2013, 04:04 PM   #21
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Thanks to everyone for the feedback, advice, etc. I have more of a sense that it is an ongoing learning process.

I hope to try out a lot of different possibilities, hopefully build a really beautiful thriving ecosystem. But I wanted to say 'thank you'.

MCor - those are very different color scales. I have a single one that looks like your all-in-one kit does. But based on a 50% WC, the color changed to an orange, so could be that it's dropping from 40 to 20, or from 20 to 10, depending on how I read the chart (but it's really bizarre, since the color is such a serious red, I would have thought I was looking at 80+).

River - I am assuming that it is mostly for the fish (the air stone), but that it potentially helps the plants by giving them plenty of O2 during their respiration cycle.
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Size: 55g Filtration: Whisper 60HOB, Fluval 306 Lighting: buildmyled 48" LED (6500K). CO2: CO2 injection. Fauna: 2 otto cats, 2 cherry barbs, 4 phantom tetras, 4 amano shrimp, 1 red tail shark, 6 lampeyes, 10 red + 10 black crystal shrimp, 2 apple snails, 7 checkered barbs, 2 bushy nose plecos
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Old 07-11-2013, 10:13 PM   #22
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Pretty good news: Today the nitrates are down into Orange territory w/o any more WC. I added the java moss and the shrimp, and Duckweed "lesser" (I'm guessing that's what it is, based on this and so far, so good! Everything's looking pretty happy.
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Size: 55g Filtration: Whisper 60HOB, Fluval 306 Lighting: buildmyled 48" LED (6500K). CO2: CO2 injection. Fauna: 2 otto cats, 2 cherry barbs, 4 phantom tetras, 4 amano shrimp, 1 red tail shark, 6 lampeyes, 10 red + 10 black crystal shrimp, 2 apple snails, 7 checkered barbs, 2 bushy nose plecos
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Old 07-17-2013, 06:11 PM   #23
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Now I have a sick phantom tetra (ick?), nitrates are still in the orange range so haven't come down further (they even went back up to red for a time), and I tried to add 8 neon tetras... 3 of which have died (one basically died just being transferred to my house from the LFS - he must have either been ill already or injured in the process). But since then - two more died (they're very young neon's - I was concerned something could be eating them).

Anyway, struggling to figure out why the nitrates are staying high, and worried about doing WC because I don't want to stress the fish, and wondering what's best now that one of the Phantom Tetras possibly has ick?

Maybe I should go grab a phosphor test?
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Size: 55g Filtration: Whisper 60HOB, Fluval 306 Lighting: buildmyled 48" LED (6500K). CO2: CO2 injection. Fauna: 2 otto cats, 2 cherry barbs, 4 phantom tetras, 4 amano shrimp, 1 red tail shark, 6 lampeyes, 10 red + 10 black crystal shrimp, 2 apple snails, 7 checkered barbs, 2 bushy nose plecos
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Old 07-18-2013, 12:18 AM   #24
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Don't worry about the fish getting stressed from a water change. It won't bother them much. The high nitrates however will bother them.

How did you acclimate the neons?

As for the phosphate test, I wouldn't worry about it. That isn't going to cause problems with fish but instead will cause algae growth.
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Old 07-18-2013, 12:37 AM   #25
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I simply let them acclimate in their own bag immersed in my tank for about 30min, then let them into the tank.

The one neon immediately sank to the bottom and looked like he wouldn't live an hour. But I figured nothing wrong with letting him try, so I left him in. The other neon's seemed quite happy, so I figured it was just an unfortunate injury during catching at the LFS or somehow during transport (or prior to being caught in the first place).

UPDATE: although it's still possible that there is an ICK issue (I really cannot tell for certain), the one Phatom tetra's white is a fungal infection (at least, on watching it for longer and seeing it better it's just too big, and too fluffy to be ICK, looks like fungal infections I've seen in the past).

Which all makes me think that the water quality is still leaving something to be desired.

I'm looking at getting a canister filter (maybe an Ehiem 3 pro 350/450, or maybe a fluvial 306/406), which should hugely increase the filtration on the water.
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Old 07-18-2013, 12:42 AM   #26
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With a fungal infection I would recommend either a methylene blue or salt bath asap.
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Old 07-18-2013, 08:05 AM   #27
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Thanks for the feedback.

I have Maracyn (Erythromycin), which indicates that it can be used to treat fungal infections.

One of the images I posted yesterday (in another thread) had an image of something white and similar to a spider web - a largish patch of it clinging to a plant's leaf (Like a spider web would). I wonder if that was a bit of fungus just free in the tank? My pics are terrible, but here are two of the phantom tetra with what appears to me to be fungus on his mouth.

At any rate, what is methylene blue?
Or where can I get instructions on what is involved / how-to do a salt-bath?
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Old 07-18-2013, 11:16 AM   #28
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Take a look at pictures of cotton mouth and see if that's what it looks like.

Methylene blue is a cell dye that tends to kill fungus and some bacteria. It can be found for about $4 at a fish store, it can be hard to find sometimes though. A word of warning if you use methylene blue, it will stain EVERYTHING it touches and your hands will look like you were digging around in a porta potty It's very very effective though.
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Old 07-18-2013, 12:32 PM   #29
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Thanks. I'll keep an eye on it to see if it is cotton mouth. In general, I haven't noticed anything else looking sick about that fish. He/she's a bit aggressive - so having an injury on face isn't that surprising... but cotton mouth sounds bad.

I'll get the meds today!
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