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Old 02-20-2014, 10:13 PM   #1
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Restoring Ammonia Nitrate levels, Stressed Fish

Hi all,

I had 2 fancy goldfish that were given to me 3 years ago. I have a 30 gallon tank I was doing a 20% water change every other week. I have 2 filters an eheim canister and a power one just to provide cascading movement in the water, everything was fine. I recently moved and a relative was taking care of the fish (for 3 months). 5 days ago one of the fish died. When I did the water change (after agitating the water) the water was black and left an oil slick at the top of the water. I have been taking care of fish for over 25 years and I have never seen anything like it. I did a 75% water change, changed all the filters in the eheim and the power filter. After completing the water change the water still remained very dark so I did another 50% water change. The surviving fish looked frail and I wanted to keep an eye on it and try to determine what happened (as he already has swim bladder). Unbeknownst to me the person taking care of the fish bought another fancy goldfish 12 hours after the water change. Monday I came by to look at the new fish and low and behold there were eggs at the bottom of the tank.

All the eggs hatched today and Iím not sure how to tackle both issues.

I messed up bigtime because it looks like I sent my tank into a new cylce. My tank has a white bloom, and the ammonia level is about 7.0 (My tap water is 0) Iíve treated the tank with Prime but I keep reading everywhere I should be doing a daily water change from 10-30%. Wouldnít that (in my case) further remove the bio matter that I want? Iím also feeding every other day.
I wasnít going to vacuum the gravel as I would remove everything from the tank.

As for the babies...
I removed the fry into another tank(5 gallon). The unfertilized eggs (in the 30 gallon) are starting to get white mold and I think I should vacuum the gravel now.
I have so many things going on if anyone could shed some light as what I can do to save my fish and take care of the fry I would really appreciate it.

pH 6.4, High Range pH 7.4, Ammonia 7.0, Nitrite (NO2) 1.0, Nitrate (NO3) 20

Thank You!

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Old 02-20-2014, 11:26 PM   #2
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Restoring Ammonia Nitrate levels, Stressed Fish

From what I'm reading I would say 20% water change every other week for goldfish is not enough and if you changed filters, did you use the same media from the old filters or new media? If you changed all the media, you're basically stating a cycle from scratch.
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Old 02-21-2014, 12:27 AM   #3
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Iíve been told 20% every other week wasnít enough but I did it that way for 3 years with virtual no problems, my readings were always good or within proper range. I believe itís the 2 filters plus addition of live plants sometimes (Iím eyeballing maybe it was 30%) I only had a problem when someone else took care of them.
Instead of taking water out, they just kept adding water to the tank. The power filter was also turned off because it was "too noisy" and the fish were overfed.
Yes, I agree its definitely starting from scratch but I'm still not 100% on how to correct it.
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Old 02-21-2014, 01:14 AM   #4
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Iíve been told 20% every other week wasnít enough but I did it that way for 3 years with virtual no problems, my readings were always good or within proper range. I believe itís the 2 filters plus addition of live plants sometimes (Iím eyeballing maybe it was 30%) I only had a problem when someone else took care of them.
Instead of taking water out, they just kept adding water to the tank. The power filter was also turned off because it was "too noisy" and the fish were overfed.
Yes, I agree its definitely starting from scratch but I'm still not 100% on how to correct it.
Wow, lots can go wrong in a few months!

I agree with you - vacuum substrate again thoroughly to pick up more sludge and the rotten eggs.

Change the water 75% every day to keep the ammonia down. 7 PPM is really high. You are going through a cycle again but it should right itself soon since the rest of the tank is established. Some will say that 75% is too extreme; I change 75% of my water every other day since I have discus.

I would feed lighting every 2 days until the tank has righted itself.

The baby fish need to have the water changed every day since it has no bio filter. Feed only what they can eat then vacuum out the rest every feeding. If you do this, you won't need to change out the water since you are vacuuming so often and replacing the water you take out.

If you don't have time for the babies, give them up to a pet store or friends who know how to look after fish.
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Old 02-21-2014, 02:05 AM   #5
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I agree with Beryllla. I would actually do 75% wcs a few times over the course of a day until you can bring the ammonia and nitrite under .25ppm then continue to do them daily until the tank stabilizes. All white or fungused eggs need to be removed as soon as possible as they are contributing to the ammonia issue. Once stabilized, I would stick to 75% wcs weekly to bi-weekly. I do 75-100% wcs a few times a week on my goldfish tanks.

Is your ph normally this low? 6.4 is extremely acidic for goldfish and borderline too low for your good bacteria to function optimally. The only benefit to this right now is that your extreme ammonia levels are less toxic.

Now for the fry. You can purchase frozen baby brine shrimp (not regular brine shrimp) from most aquatic stores. There are also liquid fry mixes that you can use in addition to the bbs. Live bbs are the best for the first 2-3 weeks generally but it will be difficult to grow these on short notice. The fry will cling to the glass for about the first 24-48hrs. Once free swimming, they need to be fed. Fry need to be fed 6-8x a day and their water should be changed daily. if you plan on keeping them (and depending on number), they will need an upgrade as soon as possible. Please ask any questions!
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Old 02-21-2014, 02:26 AM   #6
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Wow that is bad care but I guess they weren't to know. I suspect that both pumps were switched off. If there is no surface agitation you can get a biofilm on the surface of the water which may explain the oily stuff on top.

This makes gas transfer difficult. I suspect that co2 risen in the tank which drove your ph down slowing down your bacteria colony and ammonia has risen quickly but not being converted as efficiently if at all. Otherwise with an ammonia level of 7 you would expect a huge nitrate reading if the biological filter was fully functional.

As for rectification. You have already received the best advice.

Sorry and good luck.
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Old 02-26-2014, 12:02 AM   #7
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Thank you everyone for your advice! I vacuumed the gravel, did a 75% water change for 2 days, followed by a 50%, then 30% everyday after. I used prime for each water change and Iím happy to say that it worked and my Ammonia level are 0! Everything is within range except the pH level.
I thought it would return to normal with the water changes but it hasnít. I used half the dosage of a pH stabilizer but I probably should have asked here first since Iím not too familiar using it.

The surviving fish looks pretty stressed, color loss and blood streaking in its tail. Today he developed 2 white bumps on its head. Iím pretty sure its Ich. I donít want to treat the tank with chemicals but I have to stabilize the pH and treat the Ich. I will keep you updated and any extra info is always welcomed thanks again

Oh and the fry are doing well, they are on a diet of egg yolks, and powdered food. I clean the tank every other day with a turkey baster. I ordered the brine shrimp kit will receive it by next Tuesday.

pH 6.6, Ammonia 0, Nitrite (NO2) 0, Nitrate (NO3) 5.0ppm
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Old 02-26-2014, 12:58 AM   #8
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Have you checked your tap ph recently? If not, test it straight from the tap then set out a container of tap water with an airstone or bubbler. If you don't have an extra source of aeration, just give the water a good stir when ever you remember to help release dissolved gasses. Test the ph in around 24hrs. Let us know what the results read and we can go from there! Do you by chance have tests for gh and kh? If not, not a big deal but we may need look further into your ph issues and getting these tested for your tap and tank (a decent lfs can do this) will be the next step.

Do you know what type of fancy you have or can you post a pic of what you are seeing (spots on head)? I am not positive that you are dealing with ich.

Keep up the good work with the fry and make sure you stay on top of their wcs as egg yolk can create quite a few issues with water quality. How many do you have (if you dont mind me asking)?Please ask any questions!
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Old 02-26-2014, 12:48 PM   #9
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Goldfish are the most polluant fishs... They need more than 20% WC weekly. To bring down nitrogen levels, you must do big water changes with clean water.
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Old 02-26-2014, 11:47 PM   #10
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Thanks for the homework

Ok so straight from the tap the pH is 6.6. 24hrs later pH is 7.0.
Here is the photo, They were 2 Veiltails but you know better than I. I will post a better quality photo. It definitely spread a bit since yesterday, heís not doing very well. There is no heater in the tank, temp is always 73 degrees. The ammonia is a little up today (0.0 yesterday .25 today). Iím still feeding every other day and doing water changes with Prime. The water quality was so poor I really believe his low immunity helped it contract Ich.

He also has a swim bladder disorder since the day he was given to me; I tried curing it but I was told since he was otherwise healthy and not responding to treatment it was probably congenial. Heís struggling a bit more now to eat so I turn the power filter off for 5 minutes so its easier for him to get.
I donít have gh/kh but I can purchase it.

I have about 60-80 fry. They seem to be doing great,I lost 6 since they hatched.
Thanks again for helping me to save this fish

pH 6.6, Ammonia 0.25ppm, Nitrite 0.0, Nitrate 5.0ppm
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Old 02-27-2014, 12:04 AM   #11
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Thanks for the homework

Ok so straight from the tap the pH is 6.6. 24hrs later pH is 7.0.
Here is the photo, They were 2 Veiltails but you know better than I. I will post a better quality photo. It definitely spread a bit since yesterday, heís not doing very well. There is no heater in the tank, temp is always 73 degrees. The ammonia is a little up today (0.0 yesterday .25 today). Iím still feeding every other day and doing water changes with Prime. The water quality was so poor I really believe his low immunity helped it contract Ich.

He also has a swim bladder disorder since the day he was given to me; I tried curing it but I was told since he was otherwise healthy and not responding to treatment it was probably congenial. Heís struggling a bit more now to eat so I turn the power filter off for 5 minutes so its easier for him to get.
I donít have gh/kh but I can purchase it.

I have about 60-80 fry. They seem to be doing great,I lost 6 since they hatched.
Thanks again for helping me to save this fish

pH 6.6, Ammonia 0.25ppm, Nitrite 0.0, Nitrate 5.0ppm
Keep up with the daily water changes to keep the ammonia down. Use Prime/Safe to lower the ammonia.
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Old 02-27-2014, 01:40 AM   #12
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Thanks!

Ok, your ph will need a bit of stabilizing (likely buffering) to make things a bit more comfortable. Nothing drastic and nothing urgent yet but something simple such as adding some aragonite or crushed coral in a mesh bag to your filter may be sufficient.

Now, for the spots. They do not appear to be ich (too large) and are actually in too perfect of a line. Is this the only place you see these spots? Can you possibly post a side view picture of this fish (entire fish)?
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Old 02-28-2014, 02:00 PM   #13
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I'm responding from the app on my phone, doesn't seem to support emails

I have some unused Aragonite from a saltwater tank I had; I put about ĺ of a cup in a stocking. Iíll keep checking the pH hopefully it will stay in proper range, thanks. You are so right, I saw photos of Ich and these white spots are just too big and itís only on the head. For a couple of days Iíve notice white particles in the water, since Iíve been doing daily water changes I thought it was debris. Yesterday I noticed lots more and especially these tiny white lines (about 1mm in length) floating around. I turned off both pumps to see if they moved on their own and within 10 minutes saw these worms slowly inching up on the glass. Iím still feeding every other day a minimal amount of food so there is definitely no overfeeding. Iím not sure if the ďwormsĒ are harmful, but both fish are definitely flashing. I examined both fish, gills arenít red, and nothing is visibly attached to bodies. Neither fish are gasping for air but the new fish is starting to lose some color and has a small white bump at the side. The surviving fish now has a bit of fin rot; I havenít noticed the new fish nipping his tail so Iíll assume itís solely from the water quality. I have no idea whatís happening with my tank now. Iíve removed the carbon from the filters because I want to start medicating today.
Iím thinking fungus? Bacteria? I hope itís not velvet. Would you recommend an all in one treatment?
Could the new fish have brought this organism in, or it something that was always there? Iíve never had this is any of my tanks. I know I had water quality issues but all this new stuff happened after the new fish was purchased and immediately laid eggs. Iíve been doing a lot of research so this will not happen again. Thank you so much for lending your advice to me!
http://s59.photobucket.com/user/envyofny/media/e6824dc5-ec06-409a-9d4f-e93f5f185a27.jpg.html

pH 6.8, Ammonia 0.0, Nitrite 0.0, Nitrate Between 0.0 and 5.0 ppm
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