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Old 10-07-2006, 05:59 PM   #1
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Intermediate owner with a question I can't seem to find...

A direct answer to.
Let me start by giving a brief history on my fish tank and me. Shortly before the new year 12/31/05 I bought a 20gallon tank w/everything I need. About 8/06 every fish I put in the tank just dies. So something tells that there is something seriously wrong. So I completely redo the tank. I remove all the gravel, wipe the thing clean, get new gravel, and properly clean my toys. Now about 2 weeks later I fill the thing up with water and run the filter for exactly one week. Exactly a week later after I first ran the tank I bought 3 different community fish (did not make note of the kinds). 2 weeks later one of 3 dies, hanging down the bottom, looking like he is gasping for breath Before, during, and after I was this time monitoring for everything: PH, Nitrate, Nitrite, and Ammonia. During his departure PH 7.0, Nitrate and Nitrite at 0, but Ammonia at .25, and later .50. I then was about to pour in something that is supposed to get rid of the ammonia, but during so I get advice about changing the water instead. So I hold off on the ammonia stuff, and take out half of the water. Now life is good all the numbers I gave earlier hold and Ammonia is back to 0. Now a week later, which is today (actually less than a week) my Ammonia is back to .25.
Now I have questions, is this bad, should I change the water again, should I use chemicals??? I just not sure of myself at this point. I enjoy the fish, but I don't want to be the killer of the fish by doing the wrong thing. Please help.
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Old 10-07-2006, 06:09 PM   #2
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First of all, when you redid everything, you did too much. You are going to have to cycle again. This is probably going to take a while as well, since you cleaned everything off and ut new gravel in.

As for the heavy breathing, sounds very much like ammonia poisoning. You will need to do PWC's daily, if not, then every other day, til the tank fully cycles. This could take 4-6 weeks, unless there's still some remaining bacteria in the tank, which may kick in and make it shorter.

As for chemicals, the only chemical I recommend you adding to the tank through the process is Prime when doing the water changes. And do the changes often, daily if you can. Just 20% daily will be enough, since your ammonia hasn't skyrocketed yet. And do not add any more fish til you are cycled. Then only add 2-3 fish per week til your are stocked after that.

Also, it's hard to overdose Prime. If you see the fish breathing heavily, do an extra PWC and add more Prime, a double dose for the tank. This will neutralize any ammonia and nitrite that may be affecting the fish, and still make it available for the biofilter to cycle.
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Old 10-07-2006, 06:25 PM   #3
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I'll just agree with wolf.You are going to have to cycle the tank again so its producing only nitrates.

Keep the ammonia and nitrites (when you get em) below .5 with water changes.Be sure to temp match the new water and dechlorinate each time.Expect to have to do quite a few changes over the next few weeks.

Be careful not to overfeed,only what can be eaten in a minute or two once a day,because both fish waste and uneaten food will drive the ammonia higher faster.

As wolf mentioned,if your lucky,some of your benificial bacteria survived the breakdown of the tank and you cycle will come about more quickly then 6 weeks.

Test the water every day until the only thing you test positve for is nitrates.

Good luck and welcome to AA.
keep us posted
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Old 10-07-2006, 06:45 PM   #4
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Thanks so much guys. I just need clarification on a few things:

1. You said the only chemical you suggest is Prime. Can you give me a brand or more on that? Prime is a bit vague.

2. You said till it's fully cycled. How do you really know when is that? I really need specifics, for this in particular I am so unsure of myself.

3. You said cycle the tank till it produces Nitrates. Isn't Nitrate supposed to stay at "0"?

4. "Be sure to temp match the new water and dechlorinate each time." Problem, I found carrying a bucket of water to cumbersome, so I found this excellent tool where I attach the hose to the faucet and by using a slight adjustment I either siphon the water, or change the water with a turn of the knob. The temperature I have been feeling out and adjusting by feel. Is this bad?

Can't wait till this is all clarified, and I will feel a weight off my shoulders. I am so glad I found this forum.
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Old 10-07-2006, 07:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iman74
Thanks so much guys. I just need clarification on a few things:

1. You said the only chemical you suggest is Prime. Can you give me a brand or more on that? Prime is a bit vague.

2. You said till it's fully cycled. How do you really know when is that? I really need specifics, for this in particular I am so unsure of myself.

3. You said cycle the tank till it produces Nitrates. Isn't Nitrate supposed to stay at "0"?

4. "Be sure to temp match the new water and dechlorinate each time." Problem, I found carrying a bucket of water to cumbersome, so I found this excellent tool where I attach the hose to the faucet and by using a slight adjustment I either siphon the water, or change the water with a turn of the knob. The temperature I have been feeling out and adjusting by feel. Is this bad?

Can't wait till this is all clarified, and I will feel a weight off my shoulders. I am so glad I found this forum.
1. http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Produc...al&Np=1&N=2004

2. read this: http://www.aquariumadvice.com/articl...q=2&fldAuto=21

3. see 2. above

4. Not bad at all, most of us with larger tanks do the same.
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Old 10-07-2006, 07:34 PM   #6
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It's Seachem Prime. Comes in a reddish colored bottle. It's a dechlor, but also neutralizes ammonia and nitrite, and unlike other dechlors, Prime still makes it available to the biofilter so it doesn't slow the cycle time down.

http://www.bigalsonline.com/BigAlsUS...chemprime500ml

Nitrates is supposed to rise. It's the end product, which is far less toxic to the fish. Ammonia and Nitrite are supposed to go to 0ppm, but nitrates will continue to rise, which is the reason for water changes. The bacteria will convert the ammonia into nitrite, then another bacteria converts the harmful nitrite into nitrate. The only way to reduce nitrates is 2 ways, PWC's, or heavily planted tanks. The plants will use the nitrates. But you still need to do PWC's to replentish the nutrients the plants need that it strips from the water. Many people will say to do your PWC's to keep your nitrates under 40ppm, but many of us in here prefer 20ppm or less in non-planted tanks.

I also temp match just by feel. It always gets me to within a degree or 2, which isn't bad at all.
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Old 10-08-2006, 09:27 AM   #7
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I just want to say I appreciate getting clear cut answers. Every book, every site, said a little here and there but left so many questions. You guys answered them all in a clear concise manner. Thanks!
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