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Old 12-09-2004, 02:49 AM   #1
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Help.. Unexpected cycling problem..

Hi... new here... I need some help if there is any...
My goldfish was recently showing signs of stress as it was quickly outgrowing it's bowl, so when a friend of mine offered me his old 5 gal. I jumped on it... got it all set up, waited 24 hours and then put my fish in it. Testing everyday, the Ammonias climbed then dropped to zero, all was good... then, at this point, my 10 year old son, with his own money and so proud of himself, got me a pleco... Now we are (of course) to the point when the nitrites are starting to climb. Now... I know what my goldfish can stand, but I know nothing about this pleco and I don't want to kill it (not at this time of year... panicking Mom here) Is there anything I can do???
Current tank readings are Ammonia 0, Nitrite .25, Nitrate 10, PH 7.2
(yes I did get a heater for it. Tank is at 78 degrees)
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Old 12-09-2004, 07:16 AM   #2
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Do you know what sort of plec it is?

Generally plecs grow too large and produce too much waste to be in a 5gal. Depending on the species of plec it is it may not tolerate the cycling process. A fish that produces lots of waste is going to make the ammonia and nitrite spikes higher and nastier. Do you have any other larger tanks you could put the plec in?

You'll soon find the goldfish will be unhappy in a 5g tank too.

It was lovely of your son to buy you a fish but tell him not to do it again without some guidance!!
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Old 12-09-2004, 10:38 AM   #3
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His Dad has a 55 gal. he has agreed to put it in once he gets into a house (in a mobile home right now... it's to heavy) I just gotta keep it alive.
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Old 12-09-2004, 12:29 PM   #4
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some ideas to tide your fish over till the big move ....
1. do LOTS of water changes, maybe 30% once or twice a day, aim to keep the nitrite to less than 0.1. BTW, since the nitrate is coming up, you might be near the end of initial cycling & it might not take too many water changes to keep your levels incheck.
2. get a 10-20 gal rubber maid tub - make sure it is sturdy & CLEAN (preferable new, no risk of chemicals) - and use that as your temperary aquarium. Move everything from the 5 into the tub (that way, you move all your biobugs too) ... hope that your filter is up to the task (or you might have to get a 2nd filter). You won't be able to see your fish in a rubbermaid tub, but you'll have bigger water volume & more stable conditions for the fishies until the move. .... Of course, you can always get a 20 gal aquarium .... the goldfish will eventually need that much space as it grow.
3. get some used filter media from the 55 (assuming that it is healthy & running) & seed your 5, that would speed up the cycling.
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Old 12-10-2004, 02:05 AM   #5
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you could also just pick up a 10 gallon aquarium at walmart for 10 dolars and do pretty much the same think as the tupperware solution, or just move one fish into it...

also try an ammonia reducing pellet thingies that you put in your filter-- cutting the ammonia early could help reduce the problem
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Old 12-10-2004, 10:02 AM   #6
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Thank you for your advice. Went home from work yesterday fully prepared to take action. Started by tested my tank again (had already done so in the morning with no change) and... the nitrites had zeroed out??? Decided to leave it alone... fed my fish (peas for the goldy and a small algae wafer for the pleco) waited and tested again this morning... Ammonias 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrates 20, PH 7.0 (that drop I don't understand) I guess I was panicking needlessly??? I do have one question though... Before I had even posted here, the only thing I could think to do was add another air stone, believing that the bacterias needed could use more oxogen to help boost it's growth (hoping it would quicken the process)... Now I can't help but wonder, did that actually help??? And what about now. Should I just leave it in there. I am sure it's not hurting anything but is it needed?
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Old 12-10-2004, 12:59 PM   #7
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Congratulations! You've just sucessfully completed the initial cycling!

Once the cycle is started, you don't have to worry as much about ammonia & nitrites. You can now settle back & do as much water change as needed to keep the nitrates below 20.

Depending on how big the goldy & the Pleco is, this might be a once or twice a week 25% change, or it might be more often in such a small setup.

Regarding the pH .... The starting pH of 7.2 (I assume that is your tap water pH?) would indicate relatively soft water (always assuming you havn't added any other pH or KH altering compound). Soft water has low buffering capacity (ie low KH), so as the buffer is used up, the pH will drop, sometimes drastically.

Actually, a drop of 0.2 is not that drastic, and if you are using the test strips (or even the drops), 0.2 is pretty much within the range of error for these tests. I personally, can't tell the colours that accurately on the test, so I would say my pH is +/- 0.4

To maintain stable pH is important, and for that you need adaquate KH. You can replenish the buffers with regular partial water changes. Some people also add crushed coral / oyster shells / limestones to their tank to raise the KH (this also increases the pH). Goldies like the pH in the high 7's, so this is one route you can consider in the future. But for starts, if water changes will do the trick, I'd just stick with that.

I don't konw if the airstone actually helped, I guess it depends on what the O2 level is to start with. If it was adaquate to start with, adding another will not make any diffferent (you can't increase O2 more that 20% - room air level - with airstones). But it is not doing any harm, so you can leave it in, or not.
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Old 12-10-2004, 02:51 PM   #8
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Congratulations!!! The hard part is over. I would highly recommend that you do 15% water changes twice a week because of the goldie and pleco.

Those 2 together in a 5 gallon is a lot of waste. Feed your pleco some sinking algae wafers and some zuchinni too.
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Old 12-11-2004, 11:51 AM   #9
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[center:af010e1080] Welcome to AA, spiritseeker!! [/center:af010e1080]
The hard part is over for now. That goldfish will enjoy a larger lliving space to allow for more growth and a longer life span. Goldies can live fro many, many years, given the proper conditions. A great place to look for a tank is a Penny Saver-type paper. I would lower the temp of the tank to 75, which is the high end for the goldie and the lower end for the pleco.
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Old 12-11-2004, 12:20 PM   #10
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Update... Sadness that makes no sense. Just tested the tank again. Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 10 (I did do a small water change... aged declorinated water) PH 7.1... (temp is lower... closer to 75) The pleco died anyway??? My big consern last night was feeding it... while there are minor amounts of algea in the tank. I didn't think it was enough. Put in a small algea waffer but... my goldfish likes them too, and doesn't share well. The Lady I have been talking to at the pet store had told me that they would both nibble on it but that the goldfish couldn't eat it fast enough and not to worry... So I don't know. Now I am left with nothing but a nice hole in my hood, made to add the heater that I no longer need (I have no intentions of trying that again (I am well aware that my tank is to small) and one very sad little boy... I still have my old 2 gal. bowl with and underground filter sitting in a closet at my sisters house collecting dust... I am thinking for Christmas I will pull it out and set it up for him... any suggestins on what could live (and be happy) in it?
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Old 12-12-2004, 07:04 PM   #11
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So sorry about the pleco. Don't be too hard on yourself, however. A lot of times, fish form the store are weak or sick to start & even with the best care at home, can't take the shock of the move.

About the 2 gal, about the only thing that would be happy in such a small space is a betta. I suppose you could try a couple of small fish (like zebra danios or white cloud mountain minnows - bonus, white clouds won't need a heater). However, keeping anything other than a betta in a 2 gal is dicey & requires good water maintanance skills. I am not sure you want to chance that with a small boy.

I am sure others in the forum will have more to add.
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Old 12-12-2004, 07:28 PM   #12
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A DISCUS!!! No...just kidding. A betta would be my best suggestion, but one dwarf gourami might be alright in a tank by himself as well.
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