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Old 05-02-2017, 12:02 AM   #1
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Dwarf gourami and others, ph crash and unstoppable ammonia

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This is a 29g high stocked with 3 platys (original stock), 6 neon tetras, 3 black skirt hi fin tetras, and what I assume are 4 male dwarf gourami. I'm running a top fin filter that came with the tank along with a marineland 20g biowheel (new, with old media). a diy power head filter and an airstone diy sponge filter with media from lfs. I have driftwood and dhg in here and have been trying to balance the water parameters for 3 months now.

The gourami were sitting at the bottom for a few days, then after a pwc they all floated to the top and huddled in one corner with almost no will to move or eat, the black skirt tetras are too quick to grab food. The gouramis have clamped fins half the time, and the platys now seem to be acting lethergic, a few resting on the bottom.

Any personal experiences/ suggestions?

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Old 05-02-2017, 12:06 AM   #2
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Old 05-02-2017, 01:27 AM   #3
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Your tank is still cycling, and I bet the ammonia is causing the odd behavior. I'd be doing lots of partial water changes, and at least a 75% water change right away, since that looks like .5ppm ammonia.
What is the result of the "regular" pH test? From the photo it looks like the "high pH" test reads 7.4 but that is the lowest the high pH test can read so it may actually be lower. If the pH is very low it could be stalling/killing off beneficial bacteria.
Male dwarf gouramis will fight with each other, so once you have the tank completely cycled and they feel better I think you will have problems with that. I would keep only one.
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Old 05-02-2017, 01:46 AM   #4
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Sorry that is the low on reg ph, had trouble with settings on camera. I've looked into coral, and have used baking soda before. Been doing partial water changes 3 or 4 times a week until nh3 levels hit 0, then I added 2 extra gourami on a whim. I have another 29g im about to cycle for a school of barbs, but I'm not sure how to distribute the fish exactly. I will plan/plant to create seperate territories for the males, can I add a few females to curb aggression?
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Old 05-02-2017, 01:48 AM   #5
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It seems like the bacteria is fighting to catch up, the nh3 levels read between .25 and 1 ppm
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Old 05-02-2017, 01:50 AM   #6
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Oh! If your pH is 6 or lower that is probably why you are having trouble with the cycle, because the beneficial bacteria are having trouble growing. Maybe you already knew that. You tried crushed coral and calcium? Maybe you need to use remineralized RO water?
Edit: adding female dwarf gouramis may not curb aggression because a paired off couple might be even more aggressive to everyone else
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Old 05-02-2017, 06:22 PM   #7
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I went hard last night and dosed the tank with baking soda. In about 18 hours it brought the ph up to 7.6...yikes. I know this is horrible for the fish but it seemed like they were dying either way.
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Old 05-02-2017, 10:55 PM   #8
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Water changes will help you. for now I would leave the ph alone get to neutral and focus on the cycle. if you have another established aquarium you can "spike" it with some of the filter media water (brown water) from that if not, purchase some quick start or something similar to it to kick start your nitrogen cycle. get your ph down first by doing 10-15% water changes. In the past I have floated Pothos in the tank and it helps a lot. until you have some nitrifiying bacteria well established the ammonia is not going to break down. Also ammo lock works good in a pinch I dont like to advocate chemicals but this will help you. It will be fine
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Old 05-03-2017, 06:50 AM   #9
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Another good set of stuff that can help is seachem prime and stability. I use them even in setup aquarium and they haven't let me down yet.

Prime will detoxify the ammonia so it won't kill your fish but it will still show up on the readings so you have to keep an eye out.

Stability is also a bacteria kickstarter that can help you keep the cycling going. Super simple dosing too. Water changes as stated above are also your best friend in an ammonia spike problem.

You may want to test your source water for the pH problem as well.
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