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Old 04-05-2021, 03:04 PM   #1
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new tank with glofish tetra not doing well =(

Hi all,

My daughter received a new 10 gallon tank with 5 glofish tetra fish yesterday for her birthday from a well meaning and responsible but perhaps oblivious aunt. I don't know much about keeping fish either but have been reading up like crazy in the last 24 hours or so. 4/5 of the fish seem to be doing fine, but one has gone very motionless, lying on top of the aquarium decorations. If I prod it, it can move but will go still after a short while and just drifts back down. Its poor gills flutter rapidly in bursts.

I asked the aunt about how this was all setup, and she had taken some advice from the pet store guy and rinsed tank, gravel, decorations with warm water and no soap. She included a bottle of API Quick Start and Searchem Prime that she was sold along with the tank, and said she had put in the prescribed amounts. She also floated the bag in the water for 20 minutes, poured some water from the tank in for 5 minutes and then put the fish into the tank. The fish have been in tank about 36 hours now.

All of this SOUNDS ok to me as a novice, except that I understand that this tank should have been keep for weeks with water cycled to build up good bacteria.

I bought an API water test kit to see how everything is doing. It's a little subjective, but ammonia test looks totally yellow to me, i.e. 0 ppm. MAYBE the next level at .25 ppm but I really don't think so. Nitrate and Nitrite are clearly 0. pH is 7.6. Temperature is 78 degrees.

I put some more Prime and Quick Start in, hopefully no harm in that. I am thinking to do a 25% water change, but not sure what else to do at this point. Is there anything I can do to save our new little friend?

Thank you for reading!
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Old 04-05-2021, 03:22 PM   #2
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Is is possible the fish is simply overfed? I know my daughter fed them this morning and not clear to me how much she put in. I know only that when I looked, there were some flakes sinking/swirling around that the fish didn't seem interested in eating, so I think it's possible it could have been a lot. Hoping there is something to do for this little guy, even if it's doing nothing at all but fasting.
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Old 04-05-2021, 03:41 PM   #3
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Since you are probably stuck with the fish, looks like you are doing a fish in cycle.

Test water daily, your target should be keeping ammonia + nitrite combined below 0.5ppm. If it gets to 0.5ppm combined do a 25% water change, if it gets up to 1ppm do 50% or a couple of 30% changes a few hours apart.

Feed lightly while it is cycling. As much as they eat in 1 minute daily, or as much as they eat in 2 minutes every other day. When cycled they should eat as much as they finish in 2 minutes daily.

Products like quick start might speed up the cycle process, but might not do anything. They are a little hit and miss. So, except it to take a few months for the cycle to establish and be able to deal with waste on its own.

Make sure that your tank has plenty of surface agitation to oxygenate the water, if your filter doesn't do this, maybe get an airstone.

There are lots of things that could be wrong with your fish, could have been sick before you got it, might be an acclaimatising issue. Just moving is stressful. Glofish arent the hardiest of fish. Clean water is probably most beneficial you could do, so a water change wont hurt, although your parameters are currently pretty clean.

Some good articles here on starting out.

https://www.aquariumadvice.com/forum...d.php?t=154837
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Old 04-11-2021, 09:57 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aiken Drum View Post
Since you are probably stuck with the fish, looks like you are doing a fish in cycle.

Test water daily, your target should be keeping ammonia + nitrite combined below 0.5ppm. If it gets to 0.5ppm combined do a 25% water change, if it gets up to 1ppm do 50% or a couple of 30% changes a few hours apart.

Feed lightly while it is cycling. As much as they eat in 1 minute daily, or as much as they eat in 2 minutes every other day. When cycled they should eat as much as they finish in 2 minutes daily.

Products like quick start might speed up the cycle process, but might not do anything. They are a little hit and miss. So, except it to take a few months for the cycle to establish and be able to deal with waste on its own.

Make sure that your tank has plenty of surface agitation to oxygenate the water, if your filter doesn't do this, maybe get an airstone.

There are lots of things that could be wrong with your fish, could have been sick before you got it, might be an acclaimatising issue. Just moving is stressful. Glofish arent the hardiest of fish. Clean water is probably most beneficial you could do, so a water change wont hurt, although your parameters are currently pretty clean.

Some good articles here on starting out.

https://www.aquariumadvice.com/forum...d.php?t=154837

Thanks very much for the advice and expert input. Unfortunately, the poor sick fish passed that same day. I replaced it and all 5 seem to be doing well so far; that one fish was the only loss. I've been testing a bit sporadically, but doing 30% changes daily. Today I tested again and there are still no detectable levels of anything -- ammonia, nitrites or nitrates. Last water change was 14 hours ago. I've still been supplementing with Prime and Quick Start every water change.

Is it common to not have any detectable levels of anything after a week..? Am I being too aggressive with the water changes?
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Old 04-11-2021, 10:12 AM   #5
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If you are changing water daily then its entirely possible that you arent seeing anything in your water tests as you are removing waste before it has chance to build to detectable levels. Thats good because it means your water is safe and the fish will stay healthy (yay!). On the other hand, without any waste, there is nothing to feed the beneficial bacteria responsible for your cycle and you will forever be doing daily water changes (boo!).

Its about finding a middle ground.

Doing sufficient water changes to maintain ammonia + nitrite combined below 0.5ppm you are keeping the water relatively safe for fish but with enough waste product to get your cycle started. Eventually you will see ammonia and nitrite staying at 0ppm and your nitrate will be rising and you will be cycled. You can then cut back on water changes to simply control nitrate, typically keeping it below 40ppm.

Cut back on your water changes, only do them if you see ammonia + nitrite at the levels mentioned. If you continue seeing with 0ppm levels without the water changes then great news, you are cycled.
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Old 04-12-2021, 12:31 PM   #6
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If you are changing water daily then its entirely possible that you arent seeing anything in your water tests as you are removing waste before it has chance to build to detectable levels. Thats good because it means your water is safe and the fish will stay healthy (yay!). On the other hand, without any waste, there is nothing to feed the beneficial bacteria responsible for your cycle and you will forever be doing daily water changes (boo!).

Its about finding a middle ground.

Doing sufficient water changes to maintain ammonia + nitrite combined below 0.5ppm you are keeping the water relatively safe for fish but with enough waste product to get your cycle started. Eventually you will see ammonia and nitrite staying at 0ppm and your nitrate will be rising and you will be cycled. You can then cut back on water changes to simply control nitrate, typically keeping it below 40ppm.

Cut back on your water changes, only do them if you see ammonia + nitrite at the levels mentioned. If you continue seeing with 0ppm levels without the water changes then great news, you are cycled.
It's good to know there is such a thing as going overboard with the water changes. I will be more diligent with the testing and scale back.

I really appreciate the concrete metrics on how to tell when things are happening. Thank you again!!
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Old 04-18-2021, 05:38 PM   #7
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Haven't done any water changes at all in 8 days. Still treating with Prime and Quick Start daily. The ammonia levels look to be either 0 or .25ppm. Nitrites and nitrates clearly zero.

All 5 of the gang are hanging out, seeming healthy and no losses.

Is this all normal? Seems like quite slow going
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Old 04-18-2021, 06:15 PM   #8
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I would make sure that you are doing your nitrate test properly. Assuming you are using API liquid test, youve got to really shake the heck out of bottle #2.

I would be expecting to see nitrate, but most importantly your water is safe if you arent seeing ammonia or nitrite and it sounds like your fish are happy and healthy. I would change a small amount of water weekly regardless of what your tests show. Say 20%.

Do you have any live plants in the tank? Perhaps thats where your nitrate is going.

If you have been doing the light feedings, you can try increasing to full feedings, ie daily as much as is eaten in 2 minutes. See if anything shows up if you stop dosing prime and quick start daily. You don't want to be dosing those daily for ever more. Just add prime when you do a water change, and if you have any left quick start with a water change. Continue to monitor water parameters regularly for a little while longer.

Good job so far.
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Old 04-19-2021, 05:42 PM   #9
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I would make sure that you are doing your nitrate test properly. Assuming you are using API liquid test, youve got to really shake the heck out of bottle #2.

I would be expecting to see nitrate, but most importantly your water is safe if you arent seeing ammonia or nitrite and it sounds like your fish are happy and healthy. I would change a small amount of water weekly regardless of what your tests show. Say 20%.

Do you have any live plants in the tank? Perhaps thats where your nitrate is going.

If you have been doing the light feedings, you can try increasing to full feedings, ie daily as much as is eaten in 2 minutes. See if anything shows up if you stop dosing prime and quick start daily. You don't want to be dosing those daily for ever more. Just add prime when you do a water change, and if you have any left quick start with a water change. Continue to monitor water parameters regularly for a little while longer.

Good job so far.
I'm really puzzled. Confirmed, I am using the API test. I put in the 10 drops of #1, shake it up, then put the tube to the side, shake up the #2 bottle for the full 30 seconds, like shake it so i can hear it swishing inside, and add the 10 drops of that, and then shake the tube for the full 60 seconds and let it sit for 5 minutes, and it's just a plain pure yellow. I don't have any plants either, it's all artificial.

The water had become cloudy around day 2, but I was doing a lot of water changes and it cleared up. Just within the last day or two it has become cloudy again, which I figure is a good sign of bacterial growth.

My understanding is that the Prime is not supposed to affect the API ammonia test, i.e. the water is still safe even if ammonia shows high level since it is bound by the Prime chemicals for the 24-48 hours. Is that right?

I will do a 20% water change tonight regardless
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Old 04-20-2021, 03:51 AM   #10
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It is a little confusing. You would expect in a system that produces ammonia to see either ammonia, nitrite or nitrate depending on how far along your cycle is.

Some things to consider though.

- The key thing is your ammonia and nitrite arent elevated and it is these that are harmful to your fish.
- It could be that you do have waste products, but with low bioloads, low feeding etc they are just too low for your tests to read.
- Your test kit isnt all that accurate. Its a home test kit, not laboratory testing. Its a useful guide to spotting issues. It can help you make decisions, especially when you dont have experience. But just because your test comes out with a particular result, that doesnt mean thats a confirmed water parameter. All sorts of things of things in the water can skew a reading. Some of the tests dont even test for what it says it does on the bottle.
- You really need to shake bottle #2 on the nitrate. Like maybe even banging it on the countertop. The shaking should bring out a residue into the liquid that you can see in the drops. Having said that i just got a new nitrate test and i dont see any residue and it works just fine. You could have a faulty test. Some fish stores do tests, some even do it for free. You might consider taking a water sample and asking them to double check your results.
- Your fishes health and behaviour is the best indicator of health and well being.

Edit: Prime shouldnt stop your ammonia test working. Also dont rely on prime to make ammonia safe.
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Old 04-23-2021, 09:51 AM   #11
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Thanks very much for continuing to hold my hand throughout this process.

I am becoming concerned about another one of our little guys. Our blue tetra has always been shy. He continues to hide separately in the corner of the tank, in a small covered area. Rarely, i.e. less than once a day, we will see him come out on his own. We let him alone, except during feeding, we'll tap the glass and make him come out, during which time he will eat. If we don't do that, i don't think he will eat.

I thought he just needed to acclimate, but now I am reading that this may not be a good sign. I *think* he might have a slight curve his spine. All of his fins are mobile and functioning. Is there any preemptive action I should take?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aiken Drum View Post
It is a little confusing. You would expect in a system that produces ammonia to see either ammonia, nitrite or nitrate depending on how far along your cycle is.

Some things to consider though.

- The key thing is your ammonia and nitrite arent elevated and it is these that are harmful to your fish.
- It could be that you do have waste products, but with low bioloads, low feeding etc they are just too low for your tests to read.
- Your test kit isnt all that accurate. Its a home test kit, not laboratory testing. Its a useful guide to spotting issues. It can help you make decisions, especially when you dont have experience. But just because your test comes out with a particular result, that doesnt mean thats a confirmed water parameter. All sorts of things of things in the water can skew a reading. Some of the tests dont even test for what it says it does on the bottle.
- You really need to shake bottle #2 on the nitrate. Like maybe even banging it on the countertop. The shaking should bring out a residue into the liquid that you can see in the drops. Having said that i just got a new nitrate test and i dont see any residue and it works just fine. You could have a faulty test. Some fish stores do tests, some even do it for free. You might consider taking a water sample and asking them to double check your results.
- Your fishes health and behaviour is the best indicator of health and well being.

Edit: Prime shouldnt stop your ammonia test working. Also dont rely on prime to make ammonia safe.
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Old 04-23-2021, 10:29 AM   #12
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Curved spines could be lot of things. Fish nervousness also. Not really my area of expertise.

Tetras are social fish and they like to be in groups. 5 fish isnt a big enough group. But, your tank isnt really big enough to support higher numbers. Thats the issue with too small tanks.

It might seem counter intuituve, but increasing hiding spots might encourage your fish to come out more, as they have the comfort of knowing a hiding space is nearby if needed.

Curved spines could be old age (not likely in your case), issues with genetics/inbreeding (this is most likely in your case), bacterial infection, tuberculosis, or some other issue.

Are you sure the glofish are a tetra variety and not danio variety? Curved spines are common in danios, and glofish danios even more so. Is the fish suffering? Hopefully someone with better knowledge of fish illness diagnosis and treatment will see chip in. A picture will help if possible.
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Old 04-23-2021, 12:28 PM   #13
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I dont know if this is helpful at all but they are the best pictures I could manage. Also a shot of the tank as whole so you can see what i'm working with. There are lots of hiding places -- my daughter went a little bonkers at the store on a followup visit but i thought the end result was actually not bad
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Old 04-23-2021, 12:42 PM   #14
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Also since i'm posting pictures, here's the lastest water test -- ammonia, nitrite and nitrate tests. I've done one 20% water change in about 10 days, 4 days ago. Kind of scarily low maintenance..! I really, really shook the heck out of the nitrate test bottles. I thought i could see some precipitate.
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Old 04-23-2021, 01:46 PM   #15
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I have to say it. Wow!!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by ninjajim4 View Post
I dont know if this is helpful at all but they are the best pictures I could manage. Also a shot of the tank as whole so you can see what i'm working with. There are lots of hiding places -- my daughter went a little bonkers at the store on a followup visit but i thought the end result was actually not bad
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Old 05-06-2021, 04:44 PM   #16
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Just a small update that's more of a non-update, fortunately in a good way.

Our little blue fish has come out and joined the others a few days ago, and not gone into hiding again since. I can only guess he needed a little extra time to acclimate, or perhaps even was sickly and has since improved.

I've just about given up on the water tests. I don't know if this is a bad kit or we've cycled and maybe just the nitrate test is bad or what... I can't seem to detect much of anything in our water. Haven't used any water additives at all in well over a week and the gang is doing fine. I guess I'm just sticking with the weekly 20% changes and calling it a day!
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