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Old 07-24-2022, 11:17 PM   #1
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Need advice pushing through accidentally cycling new tank with fish in it

I will give you guys the full story so hopefully in the end you guys don't think I'm a complete fool . A year ago our kids won 3 common goldfish at the county fair. I knew there had to be more to it than just putting them into a tank and we all live happily ever after, assuming an inevitable end of heartbreak for the kids. I already have a lot of very time intensive hobbies and wasn't willing to take on the lead role of fish-keeping at that time. I let the kids/wife keep them as long as they took care of it.

I'm not going to lie, for almost a year I refused to have anything to do with it. The wife and kids lost 2 of the fish in the first tank within a month. It was just some crappy 2.5 gallon tank with a bubbler. After those losses the wife picked up another cheap 5 gallon tank with a not so good filter. It was enough for that tough fish to survive this long although I'm sure very stressed. At some point she even added a white Fantail to the mix. Eventually those 2 lil bastards drew my heart in by going to the front of the tank and begging me for food every time I entered the living room. I started feeding them and finally got attached a couple weeks ago.

With my heart finally in it I rushed to the pet store and ignorantly bought a frameless 10 gallon tank and another fish (Black Moor). This was only about 7-8 days ago. A day later my research progressed rapidly. I ordered a 44 gallon Landen Framless (36x18x18) and two AquaClear 50s along with a bubbler I had already bought. All the equipment for the new setup should arrive within the next 1-2 days.

I do understand 44 gallons is going to be pushing it for 3 goldfish, especially with 1 common involved as they mature. I do have to work within my limitations of space and did the best I can do to correct as much of this situation I can at this time.

The real issue I currently face is that when we bought the 10 gallon tank I had no clue what we were doing. I bought all new stuff for it and didn't transfer anything. The only thing I transferred was about 3.5-4 gallons of water to the new 10 gallon tank. I believe we brought in some good bacteria that got stirred up from the water transfer which I think helped, but obviously still a long way from a complete cycle.

I bought the API Master test kit as well as SeaChem Prime. I started testing the water as soon as I got my kit a couple days ago. I currently sit at .5ppm ammonia and .25 nitrate as of today which is improved from yesterday. I took a Nitrate test yesterday and showed 30ppm. I've changed out 50% yesterday and 50% more today. I will continue to do so 7 days a week if thats what it takes to keep them alive during this cycle. The first 2 days of the new tank I thought for sure they were going to die. I had no idea about de-chlorinating the water. Luckily, I seemed to have acted fast enough picking up treatment and they recovered from that quickly. They have been pretty solid since then but the 1 common developed blood spots around his fins. Luckily that day is when I received my test kit and started realizing I need to change out a lot of water. I believe it to be from the ammonia and am hoping the issue is improved. His stress levels seemed to have went down considerably following the back-to-back water change. He actually seems to be back to 100% minus still having the spot on his gills. I suspect there is a chance considering I even improved the correct issue that could recover in a couple days or so.

Any advice on what else I can do to get them to survive this would be highly appreciated. Somehow these things turned into me loving them like dogs in a very short period. So I really want to do everything I can going forward to do the best I can to make up for what we put them through.

I am also wondering if I should just transfer them to the new tank right away once I get it setup. I figured I would transfer 100% of the water, some of the decor, etc and pretty much be in the same situation anyways. That way it will help my Fantail settle down after introducing the new fish. It is really odd, he never nipped the common before. They were like best friends, never would be further than an inch of each other unless feeding, they just got along so well. Once introducing the Black Moor, the Fantail, which is smaller/slower than the common, picks on the common nipping him frequently. The common just takes it, even though he is clearly the stronger fish. The Black Moor introduced very smooth. The other fish don't bite him and he seems very happy. As far as I can tell, The Common and Black Moor are both males, The Fantail I'm not so sure on but suspect female. If that is the case, it makes even less sense to me.

Sorry for the long post fellas! Just wanted to give the full picture of where I'm at here. Hopefully you guys can respect that I am atleast trying my best to make things right!

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Old 07-25-2022, 03:10 AM   #2
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Once your new tank arrives, your choice is to either keep your fish in a 10g uncycled tank or move them to a 44g uncycled tank. They will do better in the 44g for a couple of reasons.

- Even if your 10g has a little bit of cycle going, it will be easier to maintain safe water parameters in the larger volume of water.
- Longer term it will be better to get your goldfish in the larger volume of water because damage to a fishes growth happens when fish are young. Getting them into more water, with plenty of water changes, will reduce the amount of growth inhibiting hormones your fish will release, they are less likely to grow stunted, and more likely to get to get to adult size and live a full lifespan.

You have to cycle the 44g at some point. Unless you plan on doing a fishless cycle for a couple of months alongside your smaller tank, may as well get it out of the way.

Ill post a fish in cycle process which might help, although it looks like you understand whats going on.

As for your effected goldfish. This might be a reason to keep your 10g going for a couple of weeks. Can you quarantine your fish in there while moving the other 2 to the larger tank? A couple of big water changes every day to keep water pristine, along with not being harrassed by the other fish will give your fish the best chance of recovery. If secondary infections set in, better to medicate in a QT rather than your main display tank.
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Old 07-25-2022, 03:11 AM   #3
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To cycle a tank you need to grow denitrifying bacteria to consume ammonia and nitrite that your tank produces. The bacteria needs an ammonia source to grow colonies sufficient in size to consume all the ammonia and resultant nitrite and turn it into nitrate which typically you remove through your regular water changes.

A fish in cycle uses fish waste as an ammonia source and regular water changes are undertaken to ensure that water parameters are maintained at relatively non toxic levels.

Set up your tank. Make sure everything is running smoothly. Make sure you have used a water conditioner product with any tap water you have put in your tank. Seachem Prime is a water conditioner that will also detoxify some ammonia for a day or two, so is a good choice for a water conditioner while cycling a tank with fish.

You should have a test kit. Preferably a liquid test kit. It should test for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.

In ideal circumstances you should be starting a fishless cycle with a low bioload (number of fish). 1 small fish per 10 gallons/40 litres is a good number of fish, but this can be tweaked a little for fish that are social and don’t do well on their own. Ideally a hardy type of fish. You may have fully stocked (or overstocked) your tank before you knew about cycling. In these circumstances, if its not possible to return fish, you will have to make the best of it.

If you haven’t already done so, add your fish. Acclimate them to the water in your tank before doing so.

Feed lightly to start with. Daily as much as is eaten in 2 minutes, or as much as is eaten in 3 minutes every 2 days. You can increase to full feedings if you are confident your parameters aren’t getting too elevated too quickly and water changes don’t become a daily thing.

Start to regularly test the water for ammonia and nitrite. At least daily. Depending on your bioload you could start to see ammonia quite quickly. Nitrite will likely take a little longer to appear.

Your target should be to keep ammonia + nitrite combined no higher than 0.5ppm by changing water whenever your water parameters exceed this target. 0.5ppm combined is a level of waste that is sufficient for your cycle to establish but relatively safe for your fish.

If you see 0.5ppm ammonia and 0.0ppm nitrite (0.5ppm combined) then leave things be. If you see 0.5ppm ammonia and 0.25ppm nitrite (0.75ppm combined) then change 1/3 of the water. If you see 0.25ppm ammonia and 0.75ppm nitrite (1.0ppm combined) then change 1/2 the water. If water parameters get worse than these levels it may require multiple daily 50% water changes to maintain safe water conditions. This is more likely to happen with a fully stocked tank.

Remember to add water conditioner whenever you put tap water in the tank.

Over time the frequency of water changes and amount you need to change to maintain your ammonia + nitrite combined target will reduce. You can also start testing for nitrate and should see this rising. If you are finding the ammonia and nitrite in your tests are consistently low, and you aren’t already fully stocked, you can add a few more fish. It may take a few weeks to get to this point.

Once you add a few more fish, continue to regularly test the water and continue to change water if you exceed the 0.5ppm combined ammonia + nitrite target. With added bioload the frequency of water changes and amount you need to change may increase again until your cycle has caught up. Again once you are consistently seeing low ammonia and nitrite you can add some more fish. Rinse and repeat with testing, water changes, and adding fish when safe to do so until you are fully stocked.

You can then cut back on water changes to control nitrate only. Typically you want to keep nitrate no higher than 40ppm, but I would recommend changing some water every 2 weeks even if your water test says you don’t need to.

A fish in cycle from an empty tank to fully stocked can take several months.

A good way to speed up this process would be to put a small amount of filter media from an established filter into your filter, or get a sponge from an established filter and squeeze it into your tank water. Perhaps you have a friend who keeps fish who could let you have some? This will seed your filter with the bacteria you are trying to grow and speed up the process.

Another option is bottled bacteria like Dr Tims One + Only or Tetra Safestart. These products wont instantly cycle a tank as they claim but in a similar manner to adding established filter media they can seed your filter with the bacteria you are trying to grow to establish your cycle. These products are hit and miss as to whether they work at all, but are an option if established filter media isnt obtainable and may speed up the process from several months to several weeks.
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Old 07-25-2022, 06:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aiken Drum View Post
Once your new tank arrives, your choice is to either keep your fish in a 10g uncycled tank or move them to a 44g uncycled tank. They will do better in the 44g for a couple of reasons.

- Even if your 10g has a little bit of cycle going, it will be easier to maintain safe water parameters in the larger volume of water.
- Longer term it will be better to get your goldfish in the larger volume of water because damage to a fishes growth happens when fish are young. Getting them into more water, with plenty of water changes, will reduce the amount of growth inhibiting hormones your fish will release, they are less likely to grow stunted, and more likely to get to get to adult size and live a full lifespan.

You have to cycle the 44g at some point. Unless you plan on doing a fishless cycle for a couple of months alongside your smaller tank, may as well get it out of the way.

Ill post a fish in cycle process which might help, although it looks like you understand whats going on.

As for your effected goldfish. This might be a reason to keep your 10g going for a couple of weeks. Can you quarantine your fish in there while moving the other 2 to the larger tank? A couple of big water changes every day to keep water pristine, along with not being harrassed by the other fish will give your fish the best chance of recovery. If secondary infections set in, better to medicate in a QT rather than your main display tank.
That is kind of what I was thinking as far as transferring to the new tank goes. But it makes me feel a lot more confident about it hearing from someone that has experience. So that is what I will do as soon as I get the tank setup.

That is a good idea to keep the 10 gallon running for a medical tank. I was definitely planning on atleast keeping it stored in case of an emergency (broken tank or something), but I definitely have a spot I can keep a small tank like that setup and running. I'm assuming it wouldn't hurt to possibly run some easy freshwater plants in the medical tank? Obviously I can understand that less might be better in a tank for that purpose. But as long as I keep it monitored I wouldn't imagine a few plants would likely be a risk to my sanitary emergency conditions. Obviously if something was off and a fish needed to go in, I would be willing to scrap the plants and make the water changes needed to correct it. But I haven't done much research yet on plants so I suppose it is possible they could give off something bad that I may not detect and hurt the fish?

So I guess with the hurt fish, for the time being I will just keep a close eye. It is not getting worse but the blood looking spot hasn't improved (visually) yet. He seems to be doing rather fine though. So I will now start researching antibiotics and other medications for the quarantine tank. Hopefully I won't need them but will be prepared if I do. Once the new tank is setup and I get the 10 gallon under control for medical purposes. I'll add him to that tank if needed and be prepared for additional steps. But I'm still likely a few days out from that being a possibility.

I made another 50% water change for 3rd day in a row. My ammonia levels have only marginally improved if at all in comparison to test results right after the yesterdays change. I'll give it a few hours to let things settle and I will make another 50% water change in desperate attempt to gain ground on these levels. Once I make the 2nd change today I'll take readings on everything.

Thank you for your help!
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