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Old 01-30-2011, 10:37 AM   #1
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How not to start out ( following LFS advice)

Hi all,

I've joined AA as I have just bought a 110L tall tank last week second hand and it had an API FW test kit with it.

I tested my water and headed for the LFS with the results and they said that the ph was a bit high (8.0) and I should use 7.2 buffer. I said that I was interested in tiger barbs and they had some small ones <1" and 110Ls is ideal for 12 - 15 tiger barbs.

Next they said that the tank needs to breed bacteria to process the fish waste and they recommend nutrafin cycle. They said to only start with 6 fish and collect the rest in 2 weeks.

So now on day two, I have a tank with ph 7.2, 22C, dosed with cycle and 6 assorted tiger barbs.

Last night and today I've been reading this forum and found that I've done it all wrong.

I need some good advice on how to not only keep this lil fishes alive but also less stressed.

Also how will the buffer affect the water?

Thanks for any help

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Old 01-30-2011, 10:40 AM   #2
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Keep checking your water, your going to have to do pwc every couple of days If your tank is still in the process of cycling.

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Old 01-30-2011, 10:49 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Luna112
Keep checking your water, your going to have to do pwc every couple of days If your tank is still in the process of cycling.

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Having read a little on google I now believe that nutrafin cycle is causing a "mini cycle" as some have called it. NH3 is between 0 - 0.25, NO2 is 0, NO3 is between 5 - 10.

Still a lil worried about the buffer, am I better using buffer to keep the water at 7.2 or should I have left it at 8.0?

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Old 01-30-2011, 10:56 AM   #4
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What you are going through seems to be the norm in this industry.
Your going to have to supply members here your water chemistry readings.
From your Master Test Kit.

Ammonia ? Nitrites ? Nitrates ?

Here is a link to someone who just had the same problem.
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums/f12/cloudy-water-after-wc-138834.html
Tiger barb information:

Scientific name: Puntius tetrazona
Common name: [COLOR=black !important][COLOR=black !important]Tiger[/COLOR][/COLOR] barb, Sumatra barb
Max. size: 7.0 cm / 2.8 inches
pH range: 6.0 – 8.0
dH range: 5 - 19
Temperature range: 20 – 26C / 68 – 79F



You need to start partial water changes to get that ammonia level down.
Probally around 30%.

I'd say leave the ph alone right now. You have already used the buffer (Yes)

Your going to have alot of work ahead of you. But your in good hands here with members willing to get you through it. Hang on because other members will be here to help.
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Old 01-30-2011, 11:07 AM   #5
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The tank does need to grow bacteria to process the fish waste. Basically, to break it down and make it easy to understand- If you're testing using the API kit, you will see the fish waste register as ammonia. Once some good bacteria starts to grow and break down the ammonia, you will get a NitrIte reading. As more good bacteria begins to grow, the nitrItes will be converted into NitrAtes. Any reading over .25ppm of Ammonia and NitrItes can start to stress your fish. NitrAtes are not as harmful to your fish and any reading under 20 is ideal while up to <40ppm is acceptable. Once you consistantly get 0ppm readings for Ammonia and NitrIte, then you know your cycle has been completed/the tank water is now safe for more fish. The best way to get through the cycling is to test your water/ do daily partial water changes. Anytime you add fresh water to the tank, it will help your ammonia and nitrite levels to go down.

As far as your PH is concerned, many fish will do fine under a wide range of PH as long as they acclimated slowly and the PH stays steady. Using chemicals to lower the pH is not really recommended- the chemicals could do more harm than good. IMO, If your tap water test shows a high pH, rather than continuously adding products to change my water, I would instead do research...find fish that will do ok in a higher PH and then acclimate them well once you purchase them. In your case, you may want to do the drip method of acclimation. African Cichlids like a higher PH. I think many tetras and barbs will do ok. Mollies, Platys, and Guppies should do fine. You might also try a more natural approach by adding a small piece of aquarium driftwood to you tank as that may help lower the pH. (Also in the future if you decided to turn your aquarium into a planted aquarium with CO2 input- This can lower the PH as well.)
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Old 01-30-2011, 11:18 AM   #6
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Ok. So now I'm already in this situation on cycling with fish (6 tiger barbs) and already using Cycle as per the instructions on the bottle (3 day course), and the buffer is already in the water. Is it best to add water with the buffer when I do pwc or should I just use aqua+ and let the ph rise again back to 8.0 over time?

Thanks again for the advice, I wish the LFS were as knowledgeable as forum help!

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Old 01-30-2011, 12:29 PM   #7
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Just leave your water be. Only use a de-chlorinator. It'll work itself out (pH wise).
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Old 01-30-2011, 01:25 PM   #8
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+1 in just use tap water plus de-chlorinator and leave the ph find their own level.
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Old 01-30-2011, 01:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pvtdgrif View Post
Ok. So now I'm already in this situation on cycling with fish (6 tiger barbs) and already using Cycle as per the instructions on the bottle (3 day course), and the buffer is already in the water. Is it best to add water with the buffer when I do pwc or should I just use aqua+ and let the ph rise again back to 8.0 over time?

Thanks again for the advice, I wish the LFS were as knowledgeable as forum help!

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When I strated, I followed my LFS bad advice too and it got me in a pretty bad situation where I lost one of my fish, then I found this forum and it is the best! Now on to bussiness.

Here are a couple of threads I like to recommend:
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums...ow-116287.html
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums...lls-67468.html

I agree with the previous posts that right now the cycling is more the issue than the pH but I'll go into the pH because the rest has already been addressed.

Now on to the pH:
-With pH it is more important that it is stable than that it is a specific value, avoiding extremes of course and certain fish, like discus, do have very specific requirements. That being said fish will adapt. This site gives a pH range of 6 to 8 for TBs Tiger Barb
So a pH of 8 would have been fine IMO (I have TBs but my pH is 7.6)
-The problem with messing with the pH in your tank is that if you make it significantly different from your tap water ( more than 0.2 units, pH is on a log scale so a difference of 1 unit means it is actually 10 times) then you have to adjust the pH of the water going in everytime you do a PWC. So since you will be doing a lot of PWCs (possibly daily) check your tap water pH.
- Important: if your tap water is significantly different (say pH = 8) just leaving it be using aqua+ like you said would not cause the pH to rise back to 8 over time, the change would not be gradual! Without going too much into chemistry (I can if you want just let me know) buffers work by neutralizing either acid or base that is added to keep the pH at a certain value. So, if your tank pH is buffered at 7.2 and you are adding water of pH = 8 you are essentially adding base and as you add more and more the buffer will be exhausted and reach its "breaking point" at that point you will have a pH swing - it will be sudden, not gradual and could shock your fish.

So what now? Test your tap water for pH, for pHs up to 7.6 I would let it be, for anything higher than that, for now, add some buffer to adjust for pH prior to putting the water in your tank.

As for how to get your tank back to the pH before you added buffer, I have never done that and can't really help you with this from experience (hopefully someone else will come along who can) but if it were my fish this is the way I would do it (I would start a thread in this forum first) (again - I am going with theory here, not experience). Once your tank is cycled:
Essentially do a 100% PWC and re-acclimate your fish
-Move the fish to a bucket with tank water
-Remove all the remaining tank water and buffer
-Fill tank with tap water ( + dechlorinator)
-Re-acclimate fish with drip method - the bigger the pH difference the slower and more carefully you need to go here
-Reintroduce fish to new tank.

Hope this helps
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Old 01-30-2011, 06:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XimeD

When I strated, I followed my LFS bad advice too and it got me in a pretty bad situation where I lost one of my fish, then I found this forum and it is the best!
I'm starting to think there should be laws against LFS behaving like this... Maybe it should come under negligent cruelty to animals??

Quote:
Originally Posted by XimeD
Here are a couple of threads I like to recommend:
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums...ow-116287.html
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums...lls-67468.html

I agree with the previous posts that right now the cycling is more the issue than the pH but I'll go into the pH because the rest has already been addressed.
Subscribed to the above, I will get through that little lot ASAP. concentrating on the cycling. Any idea if the Nutrafin Cycle is doing anything?

Quote:
Originally Posted by XimeD
- Important: if your tap water is significantly different (say pH = 8 ) just leaving it be using aqua+ like you said would not cause the pH to rise back to 8 over time, the change would not be gradual! Without going too much into chemistry (I can if you want just let me know) buffers work by neutralizing either acid or base that is added to keep the pH at a certain value. So, if your tank pH is buffered at 7.2 and you are adding water of pH = 8 you are essentially adding base and as you add more and more the buffer will be exhausted and reach its "breaking point" at that point you will have a pH swing - it will be sudden, not gradual and could shock your fish.
Not good then!

Quote:
Originally Posted by XimeD
So what now? Test your tap water for pH, for pHs up to 7.6 I would let it be, for anything higher than that, for now, add some buffer to adjust for pH prior to putting the water in your tank.
so I've just tested my tap water with 2 liquid test kits a Tetra kit and the high PH test from the API master test kit - both came back as 8.0 :-(
I guess that's another thing the LFS stiffed me with...

Quote:
Originally Posted by XimeD
As for how to get your tank back to the pH before you added buffer, I have never done that and can't really help you with this from experience (hopefully someone else will come along who can) but if it were my fish this is the way I would do it (I would start a thread in this forum first) (again - I am going with theory here, not experience). Once your tank is cycled:
Essentially do a 100% PWC and re-acclimate your fish
-Move the fish to a bucket with tank water
-Remove all the remaining tank water and buffer
-Fill tank with tap water ( + dechlorinator)
-Re-acclimate fish with drip method - the bigger the pH difference the slower and more carefully you need to go here
-Reintroduce fish to new tank.

Hope this helps
Well the fix theory sounds like it makes sense to me!
As XimeD said above this is good in theory, but has anyone else had to do a PH swing 0.8 with a cycled and populated tank?

Thanks very much XimeD for taking time to put together such a detailed response, your help is much appreciated. As is everybody's help - I can see lots of ppl have been screwed over by LFS staff.

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Old 01-30-2011, 07:34 PM   #11
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The ph for tiger barbs is 7.0. You should make sure that the water your doing your water changes is 7.0

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Old 01-30-2011, 08:17 PM   #12
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Quote:
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The ph for tiger barbs is 7.0. You should make sure that the water your doing your water changes is 7.0

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That is not true at all. The ideal PH range for Tiger barbs is anywhere from 6.0 to 8.0. As long as their PH is in or near that range and stays consistant, they will be fine. At a PH of 8, the original poster's water should be ok for the barbs...there is absolutely no reason to play with PH if you don't absolutely need to.
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Old 01-30-2011, 11:26 PM   #13
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As everyone is saying, forget about the pH. Unless you have an extreme pH, or very sensitive fish, worrying about pH is not worth the headache. Your fish will adapt just fine. Don't use the buffer from now on, as most products on the market don't even work, or at best cause pH swings.

If it's only been two days, the first thing I would do is go return the tiger barbs you bought. You will have a much easier time with the cycle, and save your fish from harm. Second, I would go read http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums...es-103339.html Once you have your tank properly cycled, you will be ready to add your barbs again.

Also, those cycling products tend not to work, so you might as well return that too.

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Old 01-31-2011, 01:56 AM   #14
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The LFS also recommended nutrafin cycle when i started, it did nothing for me, I still have it lying around and taking up space lol. Back then I tried others and microbelift special blend + nite-out II helped A LITTLE, but still not worth the money IMO.

IMO "bacteria in a bottle" product are hit or miss at best (depending on whether the bottle you happened to pick actually had live bacteria in it), completely useless at worst (I haven't ever heard of them actually harming fish).

Returning the barbs to the store will definately mean less work for you, fishless cycling requires muuuch fewer PWCs (if any). It will also solve the pH issue, as you can just toss the buffer, do a 100% WC (just realized that 100% PWC doesn't make sense lol) and go from there.

IMO it might or might not be better for the fish depending on:
- How the store acclimates them back to their tanks
-Who buys them from there
If this is one of the big chain stores it might be better for your fish to keep them (assuming that you have enough time to do the needed PWCs to keep ammonia and nitrites below 0.25ppm). There is another thread on the general discussion forum about the amount of dead fish in the tanks at the big chain stores, so I guess it depends on the branch. Just figured I would play devil's advocate and throw that out there, it is not that I disagree with returning them to the store just trying to think what would be best for the fish.
IDK it seems to me like they have found a good home with you since you are willing to learn about keeping them healthy and happy.

Kudos!
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Old 01-31-2011, 10:58 AM   #15
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Great post, Ximena...couldn't have said it better!
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Old 01-31-2011, 11:10 AM   #16
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im going to upset a few here now but... i was also advised the nutrafin cycle by my LFS and although the majority will advise against it I cycled my tank with 4 cherry barbs within 2 weeks levels all normal ammonia 0 nitrites 0 nitrates 0.5
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Old 01-31-2011, 11:36 AM   #17
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im going to upset a few here now but... i was also advised the nutrafin cycle by my LFS and although the majority will advise against it I cycled my tank with 4 cherry barbs within 2 weeks levels all normal ammonia 0 nitrites 0 nitrates 0.5

With no ammonia or nitrite spikes?

Sometimes the bacteria supplements do help. I won't dispute that. I think how well they work often depends on several different things including just how much of the bacteria is still alive in the bottle purchased, how well the user follows directions, and just how large the bioload in the tank is. I've used SafeStart three times with varying results. IMO, the only thing they hurt is your pocketbook, so if you have the $ and want to try them, then give it a shot.
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Old 01-31-2011, 02:57 PM   #18
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im going to upset a few here now but... i was also advised the nutrafin cycle by my LFS and although the majority will advise against it I cycled my tank with 4 cherry barbs within 2 weeks levels all normal ammonia 0 nitrites 0 nitrates 0.5
Not upsetting at all, I am glad to hear it worked for you

Like you, some people have had great success with such products. I am of the opinion that it depends on what the shipping conditions were like for the product to get to the store, how long the bottle has been sitting on the shelf, etc, etc - basically whether the bacteria in the bottle is still alive to seed your tank or not. Using media from an establised filter is foolproof in the sense that one knows for sure there is live bacteria there but not always possible, the first tank one starts is always the hardest lol, after that MTS sets in and seeding is not a problem

Edit: I just realized I pretty much repeated everything coleallensmom said lol I should read before I post
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Old 01-31-2011, 07:34 PM   #19
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So I've finished the course of cycle, as I'd already started using it I decided it can't do any harm. Anyway, what it has done is keep the NH2 and NO3 levels down! Here are the day 3 results:

NH3 0.25
NO2 0
NO3 10 - 15

So I'm planning a PWC for tomorrow. I have had 20% water in buckets with conditioner in for 24 hour trying to warm it enough, but it doesn't seem warm enough to the touch. I've read that using warm tap water is bad due to lower o2 but which is worse? What is the secret about PWC and temperature?

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Old 01-31-2011, 08:23 PM   #20
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So I've finished the course of cycle, as I'd already started using it I decided it can't do any harm. Anyway, what it has done is keep the NH2 and NO3 levels down! Here are the day 3 results:

NH3 0.25
NO2 0
NO3 10 - 15

So I'm planning a PWC for tomorrow. I have had 20% water in buckets with conditioner in for 24 hour trying to warm it enough, but it doesn't seem warm enough to the touch. I've read that using warm tap water is bad due to lower o2 but which is worse? What is the secret about PWC and temperature?

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As a rule, the solubility of GASES in water decreases as temperature increases (for solids, solubility increases with temp). So, yes it is true that water at a higher temperature will have a lower oxygen content, however this applies to both your tank water as well as your tap water. (We could further argue about the air/water interface available in your tank being bigger than that in pipes but honestly, I think that would be splitting hairs)

If the fish in your tank are ok and not gasping, this means the oxygen content in your tank water is sufficient and your tap water, which will be at the same temperature, will have enough oxygen too. If you are still concerned about oxygen content you can add an air pump and airstone.

Sudden changes in temperature (and most parameters) can shock your fish and should be avoided. So to answer your question: you should go ahead and add hot tap water to your buckets, matching the temperature of water going in should take precedence over the O2 content concerns.
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