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Old 01-17-2021, 09:41 PM   #1
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New here! Appreciate advice!

Hello everyone!

I just wanted to start off by saying I am learning SO much from reading these forums, so I am seeking some advice for a beginner!

Some background:
I have always wanted a fish tank. I recently purchased the Fluval 32.5 gallon flex kit. I have all my beginner supplies (substrates, plants/decor, filter media, light, etc.) and I got the tank set up. The first mistake I can now identify I made, was that when I read I should rinse everything before using, I rinsed the filter and media in tap water (not the dechlorinated water)

After filling my tank with water, I added Dechlorinator. I have been doing a lot of research from forums, YouTube, Aquariums for Dummies about cycling a new tank. After about a day or so, I added a liquid bacteria starter. About two days after this, I had cloudy water which I assume is a bacteria bloom.

With all the research I did, I presumed this was a good sign (I now see after reading these forums that this may not be a good sign- that this is the bad type of bacteria). I texted my water frequently and ran my tank without fish for a week.

After a week (so, two days ago) I decided I wanted to add some fish to assist with the tank cycle. I went to a local, very large, dedicated aquarium store. I also brought a water sample and they tested to determine that all of my parameters are good (ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 5). At the advice of the staff, I purchased four tetras- two bloodfins and two black neons.

I followed all of the steps to acclimate the fish- acclimating them over the span of 1.5 hours before they were fully released into the tank. Everyone appeared happy, although this morning (like 18 hours after introduced into the tank) the two bloodfins were dead. I removed them ASAP, brought them to the store with a separate water sample for testing. All the water parameters were the same. I then purchased two leopard danios as the employees i talked to said they are hearty and would likely survive any new tank even though my water parameters are ideal. Now, tonight, one of the black neons is dead and the last of the tetras seems like he is on his way out. I just now texted the water again- ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 5.

A few things:
1. I am reading now about the bacterial bloom and I donít think I had enough surface agitation to compensate for this, so I am wondering if the fish died from slow oxygen depletion. Is this likely given the timing of their deaths?
Further info: I have since Increased the surface agitation as much as I possibly can, and removed the tank lid with attached light completely to increase any surface air I can get
2. Even with my above water testing, could it be possible that my tank never cycled to begin with? I am not seeing signs that it is starting to have an ammonia spike...but would you anticipate this to happen soon?
3. Any additional advice you have is helpful and extremely welcomed. What should my next steps be?

Thank you!!!
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Old 01-17-2021, 10:28 PM   #2
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Please don't listen to any fish stores. They now have made a profit on your misfortune. Cycling a new filter/tank will take 3-8 weeks.

Click here to learn about Aquarium Cycling.
Click here to learn how New Tank Syndrome has hit you.

Sorry.
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Old 01-17-2021, 10:44 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply and the two articles, I found those to be very helpful! I wish I had read these sooner. Sometimes, you may think you have done a lot of research, but it wasn’t the RIGHT research.

Now, my delimma is this: what do I do with the two danios I currently have in my tank? Do I just keep my fingers crossed and hope they survive this cycle process? If they don’t survive, can I go back to the initial fishless cycle process and let it process the water that has already built up some bacteria and ammonia?
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Old 01-18-2021, 09:09 AM   #4
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You have a few options. First, I would return the fish to the store and tell them what happened and why you are returning. This would be the most humane way. Then you may start a fishless cycle. If you have to keep the fish keep just follow the Fish in Cycle. Yes there is some bacteria so leave your water and filter alone.

Fishless Cycle is here
Fish In Cycle is here.

Good luck!
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Old 01-18-2021, 08:24 PM   #5
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I would say you added too many fish too fast and had an ammonia spike but your water parameters are good it wasnt ammonia poisoning that killed your fish if your testing it at zero, 5 parts nitrate is not a problem, people that keep planted tanks try for 39 ppm nitrate. It doesnt sound like oxygen depletion is a problem either if it was all your fish would show some signs like gasping for air at the top of the tank. If your setting up a new tank rinsing things in chlorinated water isnt a problem if you put a dechlorinator in the tank before the fish go in.


In the future if you rinse your filter do it in the dirty tank water as the water parameters are the same and it wont hurt your beneficial bacteria. The bottled bacteria is meant to used when you add fish, that bacteria needs something to feed on like fish poop. You are supposed to add the bacteria and a fish or 2 and add fish and feed more over time. Is there any chance anything else got in the tank? like did you wash anything with soap maybe a chemical on your hands when you reached in the tank or something from the air like air freshener?


Is your temp solid sometimes setting up a new tank it takes a few days of adjustment to get it the right temp or you need a bigger heater because your house it too cold, tetras dont do well with fluctuating temperatures... Is it possible you have a disease do you see anything on the fish or has their appearance changed? I would say leave the danios, dont feed them much and wait a few weeks before adding anything. Back before the bacteria hit the market we would get danios or mollies to cycle a tank, just put them in as they are tough enough to live through the ammonia spike. however it seems there is some problem in your tank and something needs to be addressed before it kills the fish, if you cant think of anything else i would put the fish in a bag of its tank water take everything out of the tank and rinse, scrub and thoroughly clean everything with chlorinated water then put the tank back together fill it, add dechlorinator and beneficial bacteria, let the bag sit in the water for a while and net the fish out of the bag so you dont get any of your old water in the tank, dont feed them very much and just keep testing your water.
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Old 01-19-2021, 10:37 PM   #6
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Thank you for the suggestions everyone! Unfortunately when I woke up this morning one of the Danios had died. I immediately tested the water, and my ammonia was somewhere between 0 and .5ppm (difficult to discern the color on the strip, but it appeared to be closer to 0).

After reading the two articles from Fishwonder (thank you, this was the most informative thing I have read), I am wondering if I have some other chemical in my water that is causing the fish death (thanks for the suggestion of this Stevebait). This morning, the water has returned to be completely clear, so I think the aeration and the bacteria bloom has improved.

Thank you for the suggestion on cleaning the tank. I think I may do this. Do you think placing the remaining danio in a bag with the current water, would save this danio or would it further stress him? He already seems fragile, and I am unsure if that is because he is the only remaining fish or if he is slowly dying as well. He has almost lived 20 hours longer than the other danio...
I don’t have a hospital or quarantine tank. I am at a dilemma to see whether or not this danio pulls through and the tank further stabilizes with time/patience, or if I should try to take the danio out (which I don’t feel very confident in his ability to survive that at this point) and clean the tank.

Regardless, I am unsure if this remaining danio will survive. If that is the unfortunate case, I plan on cleaning everything and starting over with a fishless cycle.
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Old 01-20-2021, 03:26 PM   #7
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New here! Appreciate advice!

OP: I assume that there are individuals who've earned the right to be listened to in your life? The same holds true for stores or other commercial endeavors. Once an entity has earned your trust, why not listen? Also, there are posters here who can easily explain the nitrogen cycle in detail and with brevity. I hope at least one of them has responded already.
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Old 01-20-2021, 05:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Overfilter View Post
I'm not surprised that this patronizing twaddle made it into the discussion. OP: I assume that there are individuals who've earned the right to be listened to in your life? The same holds true for stores or other commercial endeavors. Once an entity has earned your trust, why not listen? Also, there are posters here who can easily explain the nitrogen cycle in detail and with brevity. I hope at least one of them has responded already and without the same tired links being offered up, again.

Just block/ignore them if it bothers you. Though Iím not sure if this only works for pmís
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Old 01-20-2021, 05:11 PM   #9
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Well, the time has come that I will be emptying the tank and cleaning everything before I start a re-cycle process (completely fishless this time). Given the prolonged death of all the fish despite little-no ammonia, I want to eliminate the possibility that it was some disease causing all the death and put my best foot forward for the next time. I also plan, when the time comes, to refill the tank with aquarium water instead of dechlorinated tap water as there was some suspicion of a chemical in my tap water causing the fish death.

My (new) question is this: how can I disinfect the biological media? As I stated above, I mistakenly rinsed it with plain tap water. When disinfecting the biological media, if I wash it in the same bleach/water mixture as I wash everything else, would that make it resistant to bacteria recolonization during the next cycle? I tried to research this, but I was unable to find anything to answer this specific question.

For additional info: I currently use two of the fluval foam filter blocks each with the carbon inserts and the Fluval Biomax ceramic rings. Iím worried that the porous nature of these biomax rings will absorb the bleach and not allow future bacteria colonization.
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Old 01-20-2021, 05:17 PM   #10
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Just block/ignore them if it bothers you. Though Iím not sure if this only works for pmís
I didnít take any offense! Iím open to any comment, as Iím so new to this! Open to every learning opportunity possible!
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Old 01-20-2021, 05:26 PM   #11
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Mr. Overfilter-

Do you have any opinions on my above question about sterilizing the biomaterial?
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Old 01-20-2021, 05:36 PM   #12
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Thank you for the suggestions everyone! Unfortunately when I woke up this morning one of the Danios had died. I immediately tested the water, and my ammonia was somewhere between 0 and .5ppm (difficult to discern the color on the strip, but it appeared to be closer to 0). .


Are you using cardboard test strips or a solution / vial test kit as you mention a Ďstripí?

I found here (not tested for several years) that the test strips will under read and that for both pool and tank, a solution/vial test kit is best.

Tetras Iíve found are not hardy (at all really) for cycling a tank however Iím kind of surprised a few fish in that volume are having issues. Verifying ammonia and ph would be my first step and I think as mentioned above - checking no soap or any sprays or chemicals in tank.

What water conditioner are you using?
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Old 01-20-2021, 05:50 PM   #13
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Mr. Overfilter-

Do you have any opinions on my above question about sterilizing the biomaterial?
If you're speaking of hard (ceramic) media the easiest thing to do would be to replace it. If your preference is reuse the media you have, I'd put it on a cookie sheet (clean) at 350 for a few hours. Check it every now and then to see how the media is responding. Once it's been HOT for a good while, let it cool then toss it in a bowl with distilled for a rinse. Of course some of this procedure requires direct knowledge of the media in question which I didn't look up.
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Old 01-20-2021, 06:45 PM   #14
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I didnít take any offense! Iím open to any comment, as Iím so new to this! Open to every learning opportunity possible!

Oh I know you didnít.
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Old 01-20-2021, 08:58 PM   #15
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Thank you! That is super helpful! Iíll further consider just replacing it, but I didnít think about baking it!
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Old 01-20-2021, 09:04 PM   #16
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Are you using cardboard test strips or a solution / vial test kit as you mention a Ďstripí?

I found here (not tested for several years) that the test strips will under read and that for both pool and tank, a solution/vial test kit is best.

Tetras Iíve found are not hardy (at all really) for cycling a tank however Iím kind of surprised a few fish in that volume are having issues. Verifying ammonia and ph would be my first step and I think as mentioned above - checking no soap or any sprays or chemicals in tank.

What water conditioner are you using?
Oh wow, I didnít realize that! I was using the test strips, as they didnít have any solution/vial kits available (out of stock) at my local aquarium store, but I will check out Amazon. At the aquarium store, I took my water sample to them and they tested with both a strip and verified it with a solution and it was both 0.5.

As far as the fish go, I was kind of surprised that tetras were recommended at first, but when the first two died I replaced them with the danios- and itís my understanding that these would mostly live through a tank cycle. Therefore, I am wondering if I came into contact with some other soap or sprays within the tank. I was using the API Tap Water conditioner.
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Old 01-21-2021, 12:27 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by BrookeAlexis View Post
Oh wow, I didnít realize that! I was using the test strips, as they didnít have any solution/vial kits available (out of stock) at my local aquarium store, but I will check out Amazon. At the aquarium store, I took my water sample to them and they tested with both a strip and verified it with a solution and it was both 0.5.

As far as the fish go, I was kind of surprised that tetras were recommended at first, but when the first two died I replaced them with the danios- and itís my understanding that these would mostly live through a tank cycle. Therefore, I am wondering if I came into contact with some other soap or sprays within the tank. I was using the API Tap Water conditioner.
In general, many ways of beginning keeping a tank, and running a tank which work.

People have what works for them and share that.

I would be suspect with the fish store (advice) which sold you the 2+2 fish. These type fish are group fish usually recommended as 6 per group minimum. As a view of caution when using their advice!

Make sure you rinse the under side of the rim of the tank as well, try new media to be sure all is well.

RE: gravel and tank
If you use plain bleach, no fragrances or additives to boost it or whatever kinds of stuff like gel bleach, they add. Rinse several times and if it is convenient sit out side for a day in sunlight. It will degrade after about 24 hours anyway with tap water in it, and end up as mainly water, salt and oxygen. A quick rinse after that, and I would think everything was fine.

For gravel it is recommended to leave to soak over night in tap water and Prime water conditioner. But extra rinsing is fine too. I personally would rinse very well several times and then soak over night.

Also can check back tot he fish store and see if they had/ have die off of those fish they sold you. They could have been sick.

Select fish which are not in a tank with other sickly looking fish. Active, not hiding in the corners, gasping at the surface, breathing fast, clamped fins, walk away! Hope it works out on the second round.
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Old 01-21-2021, 12:54 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by BrookeAlexis View Post
Oh wow, I didnít realize that! I was using the test strips, as they didnít have any solution/vial kits available (out of stock) at my local aquarium store, but I will check out Amazon. At the aquarium store, I took my water sample to them and they tested with both a strip and verified it with a solution and it was both 0.5.

As far as the fish go, I was kind of surprised that tetras were recommended at first, but when the first two died I replaced them with the danios- and itís my understanding that these would mostly live through a tank cycle. Therefore, I am wondering if I came into contact with some other soap or sprays within the tank. I was using the API Tap Water conditioner.
Would definitely pick up your own test kit for sure as it will help. I rarely test anymore but there if needed. Worth a think on soaps also (good idea) - there was one thread that had all fish killed and was traced back to a piece of rubber hose used from shed (either insect spray on or the rubber itself), But yeah, ammonia spike, young and small fish and new tank can do it all by itself. I forgot the water conditioner once and main tank with plants was fine, small tank was complete wipe-out.
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