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Old 12-16-2020, 04:32 PM   #1
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Ich Treatment Destroyed my Cycle. Need advice.

I decided to pick up this new hobby during lockdown and telework, and was finally up and running. I did a fish-in cycle with two dwarf gouramis in a twenty gallon planted tank. It went through a very normal cycle and was firmly established after a month or so (I am using the master liquid kit, not strips). I added four balloon mollies next, and the cycle maintained itself for two weeks after that. However, one of the mollies snuck ich into the tank. It got out of control, so I used API Ich Cure, which cured the parasites as advertised. However, between the medicine and having to change the filter after treatment, my cycle went kaput.

I changed filters three weeks ago. Within a few days, my ammonia rapidly spiked from 0 ppm to 4.0 ppm. I did a large water change, and the next day it was down to between 1.0 and 2.0. My nitrites have remained at zero, and my nitrates have remained low but present. The tap water ph here is usually around 7.4. I have been using API Quick Start and Prime with water changes since Iíve started. Ammonia has never gotten to sky high levels again, but it has been hovering between 1.0 and 2.0 for the better part of three weeks.

A complicating factor Iíve had is that my tap water (Northern Virginia) registers a noticeable amount of ammonia. It has been at 1.0 ppm ammonia (today itís at 0.5 ppm, it was at 0 when I started this new hobby two months ago), so even with total water changes it wonít solve the issue. I condition with Prime to make sure it is detoxifying the ammonia in the tap water for a bit. But my bio filter is not finally out-processing the ammonia. I donít know if thereís some chemistry trick going on with the Prime and chloramine I donít understand, or what. Iím confused that nitrites have remained zero this whole time, but Iíve been getting some nitrates even between the big water changes and my plants growing healthily; so thereís some processing going on. I have a separate Betta tank that registers zero, so itís not a faulty test kit. I have been vacuuming sections of the gravel at a time so as to limit disturbing the bacteria. Iíve cut back feeding to once a day for awhile now.

I have a large piece of drift wood thatís releasing some tannins into the tank, but Iíve never read that that would cause any issue, and the color is not noticeable in the test tubes to throw off the results.

Should I just keep being patient and changing water when the tank ammonia gets above the tap ammonia levels? Is this a false positive from the chemical interaction? The fish were lethargic and unhealthy immediately after the treatment, but now are social, active, and voracious at feeding time. The plan was to top things off with a small school of cories, but I donít want to do that until this is under control. Any advice would be appreciated.

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Old 12-16-2020, 06:16 PM   #2
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You are starting over since you changed out your filter media. Must cycle the filter again.
Here is information on ick that you should read.
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Old 12-17-2020, 01:08 AM   #3
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I agree with the person above. I believe you must've restarted your cycle by removing your main source of BB (beneficial bacteria).

For now, the best thing you do can do is 50% water changes EVERYDAY. Until the ammonia and nitrites reach 0.25ppm (which then you can choose to do water changes everyday or every other day). But it musn't go beyond 0.25ppm. When ammonia or nitrite reaches 0.50ppm or above, do a 50% water change that day.

Since you didn't completely clean out the aquarium, let's hope your BB can multiply a bit faster than starting from zero. However, BBs can't really multiply when there's a high amount of ammonia.

In other words, you should do 50% water changes everyday for now and check regularly on how your fish are doing. I'm not an expert, but I overloaded my tank just recently (but only got up to as .50ppm ammonia/nitrite). Doing the 50% water changes definitely helped with keeping the ammonia/nitrites down. Try not to feed your fish as much, feed only every other day; and only feed a little bit per meal.

Just curious, how big is the tank? And what kind of corys are you planning to get?
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Old 12-17-2020, 07:45 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishwonder View Post
You are starting over since you changed out your filter media. Must cycle the filter again.
Here is information on ick that you should read.
I've learned exactly what this article says about treating ich over the years. Plus 1 on this. It's spot on ime
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Old 12-17-2020, 10:18 AM   #5
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I tested both aquarium and tap for ammonia this morning, and they’re identical 1.0 ppm. Would a water change even be beneficial if that’s the case?

It’s 20 gallons. I’m not settled on a type. The store always has different kinds when I visit.
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Old 12-17-2020, 10:32 AM   #6
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Suggest you click here to learn more about Aquarium cycling.

Since you have fish click here to continue with your Fish in Cycling.

Changing 50% of the water will reduce your ammonia by 50%. But you have ammonia in your water... so... you are going to need better biofiltration to oxidize your ammonia.
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Old 12-17-2020, 01:07 PM   #7
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Once your tank is cycled,, it should be able to take down 1ppm of ammonia instantly. I'm not entirely sure, but Seachem Prime should help with handling ammonia (it detoxifies it and makes ammonia less harmful). Hopefully that helps, but I suggest doing water changes. But maybe once you dip below 1ppm (like .50ppm of ammonia), then you should wait 2-3 days until water changing again (or as soon as ammonia reaches 1ppm). I'm not an expert, but I would do this. I suggest going to FishLore as there's a really good person who's VERY knowledgable about the nitrogen cycle.
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