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Old 06-13-2011, 07:37 AM   #1
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Disaster!!!

after weeks of being overly cautious, it seems i either stocked my tank too early (which i dont think i did) or putting petstore water into my tank caused my nitrate level to go waaayyyyy off the chart. im going to do a water change to try to save what fish are barely hanging on. .
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Old 06-13-2011, 07:40 AM   #2
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how high is your nitrate? Mine has spiked before, well above the highest reading of 160ppm. Fish can tollerate nitrate much more than ammonia or nitrite. If your fish are dying, I highly doubt it's the nitrate unless it's been that high for a while.
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Old 06-13-2011, 07:55 AM   #3
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Do pwc to get the nitrate down to about 20 ppm. Also I wouldn't recommend mixing the store water with your water at all
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Old 06-13-2011, 08:03 AM   #4
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i tested the all of the chemicals right before i walked out the door to go to the petsore...ammonia and nitrites were both zero. the nitrates were 5-10. after the disaster started i tested again and the nitrates were 160 or more....the ph was also waaayyyy higher than before i added the fish. the only thing i could come up with is that the store water totally messed up my numbers. but the fish were all active and happy in the store. i made sure to stand and watch them before purchasing. so i have no idea what happened...ill start with the water change and go from there, but i made sure to wait even after i thought the tank was properly cycled.
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Old 06-13-2011, 10:42 AM   #5
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I'm really sorry to hear about your fish :-(. I've been following your cycle, and I know you did everything right. The fact that ammo and no2 are at 0 shows that it's not a problem with your bio-filter and there has to be another cause.

How did you acclimate the fish? Since the store water got into the tank, were they added directly in or did you slowly add tank water into the bag?

Are there any pH adjusting chemicals or any other additives you've been using?

Did you definitely use a water conditioner when you did your last big pwc before adding fish?

Did you turn your heater back down from the high range that it's set at during a fishless cycle?

Had you been testing no3 yourself (other than kids or wife doing it)? I think you said you were using an API Master Kit, are you certain you were testing right? Shaking the #2 solution for 30 seconds, entire tube for 1 minute?

I know your tank had actually cycled some time ago, had you been adding 4ppm per day or just 1ppm up until the day before you added fish? Also, what brand of ammonia were you using? Are you 100% certain it was pure?

Were there any signs the fish were in distress (gasping at surface, etc...)?

Sorry for all the questions :-(. Just want to help get to the bottom of this.
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Old 06-13-2011, 11:56 AM   #6
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I'd have to agree with Rookie that the no3 didn't do anything to your fish. I rescued/rehomed a fish that was living in no3 of 160+ for maybe a year and it's doing great the last time I heard from the new owner. If the pH had a wild swing, that can effect fish IMO.

Putting LFS tank water into your tank isn't something I recommend, but proper acclimation is. Drip acclimation with a gallon or so of tank water over an hours time, then float it to adjust temp is the best way to introduce new fish to your tank.
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Old 06-13-2011, 12:11 PM   #7
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No way a bit of water from the LFS raised you nitrates to 160 from ten. I would imagine that one of the tests was wrong. I agree that something else was at work here.
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Old 06-13-2011, 12:20 PM   #8
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ok here goes...i think my first problem was that i didnt do the big water change at the end, i figured that since my nitrates 5-10 i didnt need to, but i guess that was wrong. the only chemicals that i put into the tank are aqueon water conditioner and API algaefix. my heater is and was always set at 80, i also have a thermometer in the tank and it says that im at 80 degrees spot on. i always conduct the tests myself but i ask my wife and 3 daughters ages 17,12, 9 to help me read them, i always read it myself and ask them to confirm or deny what i see. yes the tank cycled right after memorial day and i continued to dose it up to 4ppm everyday. the last dosing was saturday at 1pm and by yesterday at 12pm it was back to zero. i waited about an hr, tested everything again and went to petsmart. i used ace brand ammonia, it passed the shake test and it was highly recommended by person after person allover the net so i went with that. i put the fish bag into the tag for as long as i could leave it in there before the cichlids started going after each other. they were nice and calm on the ride home but after about five mins of the bag being in the tank they sprung to life after fifteen mins or so i set them free into the tank but simply cutting the bag open..so yes i got the store water into my tank but i made sure to stand and watch the fish at the store before asking to purchase them and they were all active and healthy. so i figure the water was fine there. i have all cichlid substrate which is just small shells and texas holey rock for deco. i also purchased an ancient ruins deco from petsmart on saturday but made sure to rinse it thoroughly in the shower with warm water before adding it. yes the fish seemed to be going to the surface for air and coming back down after i put them into the tank. i figured that was from lack of oxygen so i ran to petco and got an airpump but it didnt help. I JUST CHANGED 2O GALLONS OF WATER AND THE AURATUS AND PLECO ARE UP AND RUNNING AROUND THE TANK AGAIN. THE JEWEL CICHLID IS STILL SITTING ON THE BOTTOM ALIVE BUT JUST SITTING THERE. the chemicals are as follows ph is reading 7.4 on the high range test and 7.6 on the normal ph test, so figure its between 7.4-7.6, ammonia is 0 the nitrite is 0 nitrate is 5-20 i cant tell the diff. i will test it again at 2 when my wife comes home from work.
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Old 06-13-2011, 12:27 PM   #9
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rich311k i tested this tank 2-3 times every evening for a month. i agree one test could have been done wrong. but not that many, that often. as far as i can tell i messed up by not acclimating properly and i didnt do the huge water change at the end.
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Old 06-13-2011, 12:33 PM   #10
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I've got to think the problem lies in the acclimation. I'm not sure where PetSmart keeps their tanks pH level (I'd guess around 7?), but without being properly acclimated to the new water, it was probably pH shock that did them in. Slight changes can be detrimental, I've actually heard that changes greater than .3 per day can be deadly. If PetSmart had their pH at 7, and they were suddenly dropped into water around 7.6-7.8...that's the cause IMO.

I also agree that the no3 is not responsible, but I think you had false reading previously. If you had been adding 4ppm for days without doing a pwc...I can't imagine the 5-10 reading was correct. I think the 160 has been the accurate reading since the last time you did a pwc.

You should look into drip acclimating. Most people view it as unnecessary for freshwater fish, but I do it every time for every fish I add. I actually find it's the easier method for me, and it's always better safe than sorry.

Sorry again about your fish
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Old 06-13-2011, 12:35 PM   #11
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So, are you saying that you meant 5-20ppm was off the chart? That's a very acceptable number.

How long have these fish been in the tank? How big is the tank? Fish dying from poor acclimation happens quickly, not a few days afterwards... so, that will determine a lot.
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Old 06-13-2011, 12:40 PM   #12
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ok..eco i will go with that. so can u give a quick how to on acclimation? i now figure that simply floating the bag and cutting it open doesnt work. needless to say i will be having a 2-3 fish tank for awhile to see how it goes. thanks.
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Old 06-13-2011, 12:49 PM   #13
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Here's a link to a good article, IMO, on how drip acclimation works. Easy!

DIY Drip acclimation - Aquarium Forum
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Old 06-13-2011, 12:56 PM   #14
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The link is the right idea...I do it and all I really need is airline tubing instead of a valve. I just posted this a couple days ago, so excuse the copying and pasting.

- Float bag for ~15 mins (probably unnecessary)
- Place fish and bag water in a clean pitcher (also the pitcher goes inside bucket to catch overflow)
- Use air line tubing and start a syphon from the tank, then use a clamp or tie a couple knots in the tubing so there's a slow but steady drip, drip, drip, maybe around 1 drip per second.
- Go watch TV for a while
- Let the pitcher fill, dump out half the water than repeat
- More TV
- Once the pitcher fills the second time, I net the fish (pitcher comes in handy) and place him in the tank
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Old 06-13-2011, 01:19 PM   #15
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thanks again
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Old 06-13-2011, 01:21 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcurlacher54
thanks again
Better luck in the future . You made a great home for your fish, and every experience good or bad will help you become a better fish keeper
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Old 06-13-2011, 01:36 PM   #17
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rookie the reading was after i did a water change this morning...the fish all died after only a few hrs in the tank yesterday. theres only a pleco and a auratus cichlid left that are doing really well and a jewel cichlid thats just sitting on the bottom. but it seems acclimation may have been the problem.
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