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Old 07-18-2006, 07:59 PM   #1
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Some lessons learned in the past 3 months....

1.) Get a GOOD test kit. Don't rely on strips or the LFS to tell you your water quality. Get a GOOD test kit. Learn it. Love it.


2.) IF YOU HAVE CATS...DON'T PARK THE TANK ANYWHERE NEAR THE CAT BOXES. The ammonia is attracted to the water and WILL get in there and kill your fish. GUARENTEED. It took me 3 months and a few dead fish to figure this out.

Unfortunately, i think it is more risky to move my 29gal tank or my litter boxes at this point. To help alleviate some of the airborne ammonia, I placed two shallow, wide water bowls right next to the litter boxes. I change the water every time I change the litter. hopefully this will absorb some of the harmful ammonia.

3.) OMG READ. Read until your eyes are blurry. Read about the fish you want, the nitrogen cycle, everything you can

4.) avoid chemicals wherever possible. try to control problems with water changes, temp changes (ich), etc. Control what you can naturally.

5.) LISTEN TO VET OWNERS.

6.) Don't start doing water changes if you haven't done any in a very long time. My friend had a tank (40 gal) and didn't do water changes for like a year. Just topped off. One day he got spunky and decided to do a 25% change. The ammonium changed to ammonia with the pH change of the water and boom....15 mins later, completely dead tank.

Not sure what to do if you neglect your tank other than slap your hands. Just get in the habit of doing changes from the get go. And stay in the habit.


These are just the things I have learned so far. Hope it helps someone else.
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Old 07-18-2006, 08:39 PM   #2
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Very interesting!

I totally agree with 1, 3 and 4

I had no idea about #2! Has this been verified?

I am confused by number 5.

I do not agree with #6. Perhaps start off very slowly with the water changes, but continuing to neglect a tank is not an option in my book.
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Old 07-18-2006, 08:45 PM   #3
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5.) veteren fish owners.

6.) i shamed him for neglecting his tank.
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Old 07-18-2006, 11:39 PM   #4
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5. - OH!!!! lol

6. Good, but did you also teach him the proper way?
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Old 07-19-2006, 03:48 AM   #5
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Great Tips!

2. That's really interesting I had no idea - You may just be the inventor of a new type of fishless cycle!

6. Interesting as well, I guess you would just to start at 5% per week and slowly increase this weekly to give the filter time to keep up! Or maybe the best way would be to put the fish straight into brand new water- It won't be good for them by maybe the best you can do?!?
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Old 07-19-2006, 08:10 AM   #6
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lmw -- he gave the tank to me. i just haven't set it up yet. he decided not to do fish anymore.
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Old 07-19-2006, 08:52 PM   #7
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A very good list. Wish I'd learned all this in my first 3 months.
2 - very interesting. Does baking soda absorb ammonia? I know it gets rid of the urine smell when you mix it into the litter, so maybe that would help. I'd like to see a controlled study on this
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Old 07-19-2006, 10:49 PM   #8
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#2 had me scratching my head.

I would suggest using a clumping litter and cleaning the litterbox daily. Otherwise you must be able to smell the litterbox when you walk into your home.

I have a tank right by my litterbox and I do not have this problem. This sounds suspect to me.
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Old 07-19-2006, 11:26 PM   #9
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I don't believe baking soda will absorb much ammonia. Something with a low ph, like clay litter will absorb ammonia better. Baking soda has a high ph so it doesn't absorb as much. Correct me if I'm wrong anybody.
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Old 07-19-2006, 11:37 PM   #10
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Number 6 is old tank syndrome. If the tank was neglected you end up with just a few hardy fish that have slowly acclimated to filth so you can't add anything new to the tank or it will die. However a neglected tank can be cleaned with water changes everyday drawn out over a few days so the pH doesn't change so drastically all at once.
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Old 07-20-2006, 02:57 AM   #11
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# 2 is new to me. I have a hard time believing that enough is airborne from the cat box to affect the parameters of the tank. Are you sure your tank was not fully cycled and that is why there was amonia showing in the water? However, I have never heard of this in my life so I am not saying you are wrong.
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Old 07-24-2006, 12:18 PM   #12
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I took a cup of filterd water and tested it for amonia, which tested zero, and then placed it 'in' the cats litter box for several hours, making sure the cat didnt disturb it or knock it over. I then re-tested it and the result was zero amonia. I will leave it in over night and test again.
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Old 07-24-2006, 01:03 PM   #13
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Interesting experient tim1348 .... I'm very interested in the results. I'm assuming the cat is actually still using the litter box witht he cup of water in it ?
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Old 07-24-2006, 01:10 PM   #14
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amonia

Dont you think that was because you placed it in the liter box? Why dont you try the same thing and put the cup on top of the fish tank?
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Old 07-24-2006, 02:37 PM   #15
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It's pretty much a common sense issue. If your litterbox has a strong ammonia smell, then it is releasing ammonia into the atmosphere. If it's in the air near the fish tank, then it can enter the water the same way the oxygen gets in. However, I imagine you would have to really let the litterbox get into a pretty bad state for there to be enough ammonia transferring to the tank to get measureable PPM levels.
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Old 07-24-2006, 03:04 PM   #16
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for the record, i don't let me kitties poop in stinky boxes =).


but i do have 3 cats. I clean the boxes morning and evening (exhausting to keep up with all my pets).
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Old 07-25-2006, 09:15 AM   #17
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The results of the test this morning were positive, almost .50 using aquarium pharmecuticals ammonia test kit. another 5 gal tank i set up yesterday tested between .25 and .50 in the same room this morning, but might be inaccurate because of a sick fish I have in it, but I am going to move the tank anyways to be safe. BTW, the litter box is always kept clean, and the 5 gal hospital tank I setup yesterday tested zero ammonia at the time I set it up.
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Old 07-25-2006, 10:14 AM   #18
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Tim1348 - thanks for posting the results. I did expect the test to be somewhat positive, but .5 is higher than I expected. Do you still have the cup in the litter box ? I wonder how high the ammonia would get or if it would just keep rising indefinitely.
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Old 07-25-2006, 11:43 AM   #19
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thanks tim for making sure i am not crazy =)
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Old 07-25-2006, 03:29 PM   #20
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Yw Jo and Fishy. No, I removed the cup, but I would bet the level would keep rising if it was left in there. It was a fun experiment tho and I learned something valuable. Happy fish keeping to all!!
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