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Old 02-23-2004, 10:10 AM   #1
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help. I started a tank wrong.. got it fixed and then botched

the whole thing again

I learned about cycling AFTER I put the fish in my little six gallon tank.

So I raced to local fish store, actually they raced to me.. anyone in NY go to Petqua they are cool folks.. anyway they gave me some dirty filter floss and within days and a few water changes, the ammo was down to zero and so were nitrites.

a week later, I figured the tank was fine, and got rid of their old filter floss thinking my sponge filter was now full of bacteria.

The ammonia spiked to .75. I threw in some bio spira (I had ordered it before and then didn't need it) .. and did a water change. Ammonia, which had gone down to .5 with water change was again .75 next day.

I went back to Petqua for more dirty filter.. did another water change... but every morning the ammonia is back to .75 after being .5 with each water change.

I am using Prime to declorinate the water. Could that be giving me false high readings? Or is the ammo really that high.

also. the first time I had high ammo readings, the fish looked frantic. But the last few days, the fish look great, despite the high readings. Is the prime protecting them?

I can add more bio spira, but it seems a waste since it hasn't helped.

what more can i do.

tank has four columbian tetras, 2 zebras, 2 dwarf corrys and is planted, but nothing is dead or rotting.
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Old 02-23-2004, 10:20 AM   #2
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I'm from the 'hood, but don't know Petqua. Where is this? In Manhattan?

I do not know about Prime. However, what kind of ammonia tester do you have? Strips are no good, and the liquid tester with Nessler reagent are not as well. Use the salicylate-based testers (e.g., Aquarium Pharmaceuticals for 130 tests not the 70 tests kit).

Prime will not protect your fishes against ammonia, no. Unless it is a product that not only dechlorinates, but also eliminates (actually binds) ammonia.

Foget about bio-spira. Let your filter cycle. This is not done in 1 week but in at least 3 weeks. So keep it there. There needs to be a nitrite peak, so have a test handy.

Maybe you are overfeeding them. Try to restrain the amount to 1-2 minutes feeding time. If there is things left, vacuum it. And be patient.

Good luck
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Old 02-23-2004, 10:27 AM   #3
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answers :

petqua is on 98th and broadway. go downstairs. it is an amazing place

Prime declorinates and ammolocks.. i was using it as a declorinator. but I think it may give false high readings.

Giving them feedings of about 30 seconds with nothing to fall to the ground.

the ammonia tester is the aquarium pharma for 130 tests.
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Old 02-23-2004, 10:29 AM   #4
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A product that "ammo locks" sometimes will give you a fales reading. I'd get a different declorinator.
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Old 02-23-2004, 10:34 AM   #5
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Do a water change before the biospira. Chances are you just end up removing it fromt eh water before it does any good.

Nitrites have to stay below 0.25 ppm. But ammonia can climb a bit higher without hurting the fish too much. If it were my tank I would do daily water changes and tests for the next week and then see if you can go longer between ammonia spikes. If not then I would start to question what was going on with the test kit.

But yes, ammonia can climb high quite quickly in a small tank like you have.
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Old 02-23-2004, 10:37 AM   #6
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ahah! I always looked for the 98th one and never found it! I'll go there when I come back from Europe.
Use some other dechlorinator which "simply" does its work on chlorine and chloramine. No ammo-lock thingy as justmy2cents mentioned. Since you use the 130 test from AP, Petqua will *not* give a false reading.

Now: the Petqua product is not good since it will prevent you from cycling your tank. The cycling part is painful if you already have fishes (they may die), but is a necessary thing. As I mentioned before, the cycle is longer than 1 week. A typical high reading of ammonia lasts a week until it eventually drops, and the nitrite peak comes up for another week. After 3 weeks, your tank should have cycled. However, in this time, it is better not to do too frequent and strong water changes. I'd say 15% max every week at most. After that, it is better and safe to make more frequent or strong water changes (especially after the water has cycled).

I think you are in the normal process of cycling your tank. You did not mention how big it is, however, you already have quite a large number of fishes. From your profile, I read 6US gallons. This is small for four columbian tetras, 2 zebras, 2 dwarf corrys. The only thing I am not sure is what is a zebra (for you). Is this a zebra loach or a zebra danios, or a zebra barb? Hope it is danios. THe rest is not good for 6Gal.
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Old 02-23-2004, 10:38 AM   #7
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even if prime creates false high reaidng

the ammonia wouldn't be going higher 24 hours later.. unless the tank was still spiking. I'd have teh same false high.

Help
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Old 02-23-2004, 10:42 AM   #8
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danios for the zebras... Bio spira put in AFTER water change

why no changes to help the fish while teh ammonia is spiking? I've been doing 25% a day to try to save the little guys.
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Old 02-23-2004, 10:45 AM   #9
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the ammonia will need to go as high as it needs to go for the amount of food and the number of fishes you have. If you change water, you certainly will remove ammonia, but after feeding, the fishes will poo and pee and well, ammonia will come back. If it goes way high (and that's 3-5ppm), then you can consider making certain water changes. The more you change water in the cycling period, the longer the cycling will be. There is no way out. Bio-spira may be a solution, but some say it works, some say it does not...

What about these zebras?
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Old 02-23-2004, 10:54 AM   #10
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Keep doing the water changes. Having extra high ammonia levels won't make the cycle go that much faster. The bacteria can only consume so much ammonia at a time. The ammount you have a reading for is the amount the bacteria can't handle.

Do the water changes to keep the levels low if you need to but never let them climb above 1 ppm with live fish in the tank. It is just cruel and damaging to them otherwise and the damage caused will be life long.
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Old 02-23-2004, 10:58 AM   #11
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to be sure I am well understood: assume that your fishes produce 1 arbitrary unit of ammonia per day (it does not mean 1ppm, it is an arbitrary unit). After 1 day, you have 1 unit, after 2 days, 2 units, 3 days, 3 units, etc. Now, the bacteria transforming ammonia to nitrite is growing, but only slowly. So say you started at 0 bacterial unit, and it grows, say 0.1 unit per day and removes only 0.1 ammonia unit per day:

day 0: 0 ammonia, 0bacteria
day 1: 0.9 ammonia, 0.1 bacteria
day 2: 1.8 ammonia, 0.2 bacteria
etc.

Eventually the bacterial colony "catches" up (since actually the bacteria increase multiplicatively) and will reduce the amount of ammonia.

If you remove ammonia after day 1, say you get 0.4 your bacterial colony will be large enough for the amount you "leave" in the tank, however, as soon as you stop being so effective in water changes, the amount of ammonia produced by fishes/food will be too large for your small bacterial colony and the cycle continues. So it is generally best to have the bacterial colony grow to the fullest extent it can for the tank surface and amount of fishes and food given.

Hope this helps.
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Old 02-23-2004, 11:02 AM   #12
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To be sure: I never said that having extra high ammonia will make the cycle faster. However, as explained in my previous post, removing too much ammonia will slow your cycle. I also said that if the levels are too high, you can reduce the amount of ammonia.

Maybe tkos and I will not agree though
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Old 02-23-2004, 11:52 AM   #13
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I can say right now after adding Bio-Spira to an established tank which had suddenly lost part of the nitrite fixing bacteria and adding 30% more bio-load at the same time I am in day 4 and still seeing moderate ammonia levels equivalent to what I would have expected if I had only added the fish without the Bio-Spira. Other posts here give evidence to support that bio-spira will take longer to go into effect when you have an established aquarium. Since your tank is only 6 Gallons why not buy a 20Gallon tank and then toss in the Bio-Spira and transport all of the fish into the new tank. The fish will be happier with the bigger tank and a new tank will probably allow the bio-spira to be more effective/quicker. Then you can use the 6 gallon as a hospital/QT tank.
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Old 02-23-2004, 12:05 PM   #14
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The problem is our little test kits are not accurate enough to measure all the ammonia. Even it it reads 0 there is probably some free ammonia int he tank. Also it measures the ammonia not used by the bacteria, not the total amount produced. So the bacteria have already consumed a lot of the ammonia but cannot handle the remaining amount.

If you have 1ppm of extra ammonia or 4 ppm of extra ammonia the bacteria can still only multiply at a given rate so the excess can't be used up fast enough. The difference in cycle speed is going to be a non issue and the fact that the fish will survive with little to no damage if the ammonia is kept low seems like an even better reason to do daily water changes or to use the biospira.
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