50% Water Change Parameters, After Catfish Died Of Ammonia Burns Important

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by AWhetsel, Jun 24, 2018.

  1. AWhetselNew MemberMember

    1 week old 10 gallon tank

    2 plattys, Gaurami, 2 guppys, 1 red eye tetra, 2 spotted gobys

    I have been researching and studying as much as I can to have a successful tank and be a responsible owner. Still on the learning curve and frustrated with the recent events.

    Catfish were being lethargic, closed gills, amd occasionally running to the top of the water. Which were all signs of high ammonia that i missed due to being new. Unfortunately both of my cory catfish have died within the last 24 hours.

    I have been testing my tank 2 times a day with the 5 in 1 strips, I have a ammonia test attached to the tank and have been watching my water like a hawk.

    Currently here are my water conditions after a 50% water change:

    Water temp is 81, i normally keep the water at 78 it is a little high from the water change.
    Gh is 60-120
    Kh is 80-120
    Ph is 7.5
    No2 is0.5 - 1.0
    No3 is 0-20

    To prevent more fish from dieing here are the chemicals i use in the pictures. I added all of these to the 50% water change.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated! 20180624_062429.jpg20180624_062341.jpg20180624_062103.jpg20180624_062047.jpg
  2. jdhef

    jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    Welcome to FishLore!

    I'm sorry to have to tell you that you have several problems. But first a question. Are you aware of the nitrogen cycle? (<--click words for article explaining it). This is the most important concept to fully understand when keeping fish.

    Okay, now on to your problems:

    The first problem is that your fish are in an uncycled tank. Any amount of ammonia and/or nitrite is highly toxic to fish, so you need to get that tank cycled in such a way that the fish aren't killed. I'll talk about this a little later.

    The second problem is that test strips are notorious for being inacuurate. I highly recommend you invest in an API Master Test Kit for Freshwater. It is very accurate, and let's be honest, if you can't trust your test results, why bother testing?

    The third problem is that your stocking is not good. You are overstocked and have the following issues also. Gourami's should be in a larger tank. Red eyed Tetra's are a schooling fish and should be in groups of at least 5or 6. I'm not familiar with the requirements for the spotted goby's, so I don't know if they require a bigger tank or are a schooling fish. Hopefully someone who knows will come along and add some insight.

    The forth problem isn't so much a problem but...both AquaSafe and Stress Coat are water conditioners. You really don't need both, and depending on how you intend to cycle the tank both my be a bad choice. There is not need for Easy Balance. I'm not a believer in aquarium salt, but that's just my preference, but it really is not required. Also, salt should not be used with scaleless fish since it irritates the fishes skin. But I do not know if goby's are scaled or scaleless.

    Okay, now lets move on to giving you some solutions. You probably should rehome all of the fish other than the Platys and Guppys. Now you need to really focus on cycling that tank. If this doesn't make sense now, it should after you've read up on the nitrogen cycle if you are not aware of it.

    Since you already have Stabilty, you may choose to purchase a water conditioner made by the same company (SeaChem) called Prime. What's great about Prime and what makes it different than other water conditioners is that a standard dose of Prime has the ability to detox up to 1ppm of ammonia and/or nitrite for 24 hours. So as long as you keep your ammonia+nitrite < at all times your fish will be safe from toxin exposure. So what you'd want to due is test your water every 24 hours. If ammonia+nitrite < 1ppm just add enough Prime directly to the tank to treat the entire tank volume. If ammonia+nitrite is > or = to1ppm, perform a 50% water change using enough Prime to treat the entire tank volume. Stability is a bacteria additive that helps speed up the cycling process. So you would just use this according to the instructions on the bottle. Cycling this way will take several weeks (maybe 3-6 weeks).

    Your other option would be to use a product called Tetra SafeStart+ (TSS+). This is also a bacteria additive. With TSS+ you add a bottle of it to the tank and do nothing but lightly feed your fish for the next 14 days (no water changes, no adding chemicals...nothing). Then on day 14 test your water and if all worked well your cycled.

    To use the TSS+ here is what you really need to due:
    Reduce your stocking down to the platys and guppys (at most).
    Due a large water change (or even several back to back water changes) to get ammonia and/or nitrites as low as possible.
    Wait 24 hours (very important since the use of a water conditioner less than 24 hours before adding TSS+ can cause it to fail)
    Pour in entire, well shaken, appropriate sized bottle of TSS+
    Do nothing but lightly feed for 14 days
    On day 14 test.

    Sorry for such a long post, but there are a lot of issues needing to be addressed. Feel free to ask any additional questions you may have.

    Best of luck.
  3. OP

    AWhetselNew MemberMember

    Thank you for taking the time to reply and help me correct the mistakes I have made, its greatly appreciated. I have realized after research that i have rushed this tank along and have made numerous mistakes. My plan here is to follow your advice and correct my mistakes.

    I am aware of the nitrogen cycle and have done some reading on it to where i understand where it all comes from, but not enough research to know when or if my tank is cycling. I went out and bought a Everything you need to know about tropical fish and freshwater aquarium book this morning and will be reading that to get on top of my knowledge.

    I have a local store that will take in all of my fish, I will be returning them this evening to save any more fish from going belly up.

    I'm going to hit the reset button here, and start over and do this the right way.

    I'm going to empty the tank, rinse everything off and put new water back into it so it can be retreated with only the right chemicals and cycled correctly.

    I will be going to the store to buy the Master Test kit like you recommended, I will also buy whatever chemicals you suggest I need to start up the tank to get it cycled correctly.

    Could you provide a list of start up chemicals and anything you think I may need?

    Thank you again, I appreciate the effort and the time you are taking to help me. My goal here is to do this 100% correct so I can enjoy the fish worry free and not have to walk downstairs and expect someone to be belly up every morning.
  4. emmysjj

    emmysjjWell Known MemberMember

    @jdhef great advice! :)
    You can either use Tetra safestart, Seachem Stability, or used filter media (which I personally reccomend). You will also need an ammonia source. I use Dr, Tim’s Pure Ammonia from Drs. Foster and Smith. You can also find pure ammonia at hardware stores.

    As for cycling, you need to have 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites, and some nitrAtes. You will first have an ammonia spike (when you dose ammonia). Then, a nitrite spike because the bacteria is converting. You are not yet cycled. When all your ammonia and nitrites are gone, and you have some nitrates, you are cycled.

    I have 2 ten gallons, so if you want stocking ideas, let us know (and tell us if you are looking for a typical stocking or something a little less common).

    Also, respect for rehoming your fish to start over. I’ve seen so many people on here that are really stuborn and continue to live with their terrible stocking. So, thank you :)
  5. jdhef

    jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    Don't feel bad, almost everyone starts off on the wrong foot...myself included.

    Basically the cycling process begins as soon as ammonia becomes present in the water column. This ammonia can be from fish in that water (which constantly produce ammonia) or ammonia you add directly into the water if cycling fishless. Then after several weeks of having ammonia in the water, a bacteria colony will start to grow in your filter media. Ammonia is the food source for this bacteria, so the ammonia will start consuming the ammonia in the water, but it then releases nitrites in the water as a waste product. At some point your ammonia consuming bacteria colony will become large enough to consume all of the ammonia the fish produce (or you are adding to the tank if cycling fishless).

    But since all that ammonia is being "converted" into nitrites, your nitrite levels start to rise. But after several weeks of having nitrites in the water, a second bacteria will grow in your filter media that then consumes nitrites and releases nitrates. At some point your nitrite consuming bacteria colony will grow large enough to consume all of the nitrite that the ammonia converting bacteria is releasing.

    You'll know your colonies of both bacteria are large enough when you have 0ppm ammonia and 0ppm nitrites and some nitrates. At this point the tank is cycled (we say the tank, but technically it's the filter that cycles).

    But since fish produce a constant supply of ammonia, which get converted into a constant supply of nitrites, which gets converted into a constant supply of nitrates, your nitrate level start climbing and climbing. But they should be kept under 20ppm if at all possible (and under 40ppm for sure). So you control your nitrates by doing weekly partial water changes.

    Now as far as getting your tank cycled you need to make some choices. Do you want to cycle with fish? Or would you prefer to cycle fishless? Once you have chosen, lets us know and we can give you some further options on how to get the tank cycled.

    You really don't need any chemicals (other than pure ammonia if you want to perform a fishless cycle) and a water conditioner. And you may want to also use a bacteria additive to speed things up. But that's not really a chemical, it's just bacteria in a bottle.
  6. Kay 240Valued MemberMember

    Just wondering if you could do a partial water change and use the conditions in your tank to continue the nitrogen cycle and not have to add ammonia or fish food for a while. Don't take my word that's this is a good idea. I cleaned my first tank thoroughly too.

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