A Cautionary Tale, or How I Learned I'm an Idiot

MrFancyFish

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Fishlore members, and especially those that are just getting into this hobby or even those wise old hats that may be setting up a new tank, if you would all be so kind as to indulge me for a moment I would love to spin thee a yarn. The following is based on a true story ( based on meaning it literally just happened to me). There is a moral, nay, a lesson to be learned here so stick around. Even if this is old news to you, you could definitely get satisfaction in snickering to yourself while thinking what a freaking noob like the jerk that you are. Ok anyways here it is-

My girlfriend and I are goldfish people. It's easy to understand why when you see a cute water pig jiggling around and realize that these are easily the MOST ADORABLE THINGS ON THE PLANET. Being as this is true Other goldfish people would understand the overwhelming need to aquire what seems like every adorable goldfish that's living within 30 sq miles of you. So anyways one 10 gallon tank turned into 2 10 gallon tanks which somehow metamorphized into a 55 gallon while we were sleeping thru what I can only assume is alchemy. This may seem like plenty to most people but those people would be WRONG. So enter a "side" 30 gallon. For any one still with me heres where it gets interesting - as an aside whenever you start a new tank what do you do? Pull some media from the other "established" tanks and voila your new tank is magically cylced. So far so good. One month goes by with a new fish being added a week. At the beginning I treated the first fish with meds so there was no carbon in my filter. Then when the meds were done me being who I am I reason why not put a GRIP of carbon in there. Three weeks go by test results are fantastic I figure I'm all good . Then Im like hey carbon is good , purigen is better right? Out goes the carbon in goes the purigen. Then about a week ago I run a routine test and my nirites are thru the roof!! Where did this come from? I spend days freaking out, methylene blue bathing the fish, throwing enough salt in the tank I could grow reefs, using prime like it was holy water. The whole time I couldn't figure out what happened I thought my cycle was done.

Well today while randomly reading some stuff online about stuff I come across the following sentence - " nine times out of ten aerobic nitrifying bacteria if given the choice will choose carbon as a surface to colonize." This sentence literally reached thru the phone and punched me in the face. I just threw away probably like 3/4 of my biofilter for no other reason than cause I could. Wow.

So here's the moral of the story- please understand what it took me months to truely appreciate. The nitrogen cycle is a dynamic process. We love to think in terms of absolutes, especially in this hobby where all these companies trying to turn a buck do us NO FAVORS. There are very very few absolutes in fishkeeping. That's actually part of the Appel and charm of the hobby. There's a hundred ways to do the same thing. Picking something up by yourself can be exhilirating. But especially with regards to vital processes like "the nitrogen cycle " which we aquarists took a complex biological process and cut and pasted it into a few anecdotes and assume we are microbiologists. Just the simple thing of having a whole bed of carbon available to a newly establishing biofilter to colonize and then just tossing the whole thing just cause " you gotta change the carbon bro". I'm not even sure I can summarize what I'm trying to say in a sentence except please be aware these are literally the very processes of life itself, something that is beyond even the best minds humans have to offer. Respect that and you will go a long way towards providing the best for and subsequently getting to enjoy the very fish that are the reason we are all here to begin with. Especially if those fish happen to be the cutest chubbiest most wiggly butted goldfish ever.

PS - the fish are fine. They wanted to say hi ;)
 

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Maryellen

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MrFancyFish said:
Fishlore members, and especially those that are just getting into this hobby or even those wise old hats that may be setting up a new tank, if you would all be so kind as to indulge me for a moment I would love to spin thee a yarn. The following is based on a true story ( based on meaning it literally just happened to me). There is a moral, nay, a lesson to be learned here so stick around. Even if this is old news to you, you could definitely get satisfaction in snickering to yourself while thinking what a freaking noob like the jerk that you are. Ok anyways here it is-

My girlfriend and I are goldfish people. It's easy to understand why when you see a cute water pig jiggling around and realize that these are easily the MOST ADORABLE THINGS ON THE PLANET. Being as this is true Other goldfish people would understand the overwhelming need to aquire what seems like every adorable goldfish that's living within 30 sq miles of you. So anyways one 10 gallon tank turned into 2 10 gallon tanks which somehow metamorphized into a 55 gallon while we were sleeping thru what I can only assume is alchemy. This may seem like plenty to most people but those people would be WRONG. So enter a "side" 30 gallon. For any one still with me heres where it gets interesting - as an aside whenever you start a new tank what do you do? Pull some media from the other "established" tanks and voila your new tank is magically cylced. So far so good. One month goes by with a new fish being added a week. At the beginning I treated the first fish with meds so there was no carbon in my filter. Then when the meds were done me being who I am I reason why not put a GRIP of carbon in there. Three weeks go by test results are fantastic I figure I'm all good . Then Im like hey carbon is good , purigen is better right? Out goes the carbon in goes the purigen. Then about a week ago I run a routine test and holy **** my nirites are thru the **** roof!! Where the **** did this come from? I spend days freaking out, methylene blue bathing the fish, throwing enough salt in the tank I could grow reefs, using prime like it was holy water. The whole time I couldn't figure out what the **** happened I thought my cycle was done.

Well today while randomly reading some stuff online about stuff I come across the following sentence - " nine times out of ten aerobic nitrifying bacteria if given the choice will choose carbon as a surface to colonize." This sentence literally reached thru the phone and punched me in the face. I just threw away probably like 3/4 of my biofilter for no other reason than cause I could. Wow.

So here's the moral of the story- please understand what it took me months to truely appreciate. The nitrogen cycle is a dynamic process. We love to think in terms of absolutes, especially in this hobby where all these companies trying to turn a buck do us NO FAVORS. There are very very few absolutes in fishkeeping. That's actually part of the Appel and charm of the hobby. There's a hundred ways to do the same thing. Picking something up by yourself can be exhilirating. But especially with regards to vital processes like "the nitrogen cycle " which we aquarists took a complex biological process and cut and pasted it into a few anecdotes and assume we are microbiologists. Just the simple thing of having a whole bed of carbon available to a newly establishing biofilter to colonize and then just tossing the whole **** thing just cause " you gotta change the carbon bro". I'm not even sure I can summarize what I'm trying to say in a sentence except please be aware these are literally the very processes of life itself, something that is beyond even the best minds humans have to offer. Respect that and you will go a long way towards providing the best for and subsequently getting to enjoy the very fish that are the reason we are all here to begin with. Especially if those fish happen to be the cutest chubbiest most wiggly butted goldfish ever.
I love reading articles on here like this. Your post was very entertaining to read by the way. Thanks for sharing your experiences, even if they’re not so good.
 

stephpartin

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348
MrFancyFish said:
Fishlore members, and especially those that are just getting into this hobby or even those wise old hats that may be setting up a new tank, if you would all be so kind as to indulge me for a moment I would love to spin thee a yarn. The following is based on a true story ( based on meaning it literally just happened to me). There is a moral, nay, a lesson to be learned here so stick around. Even if this is old news to you, you could definitely get satisfaction in snickering to yourself while thinking what a freaking noob like the jerk that you are. Ok anyways here it is-

My girlfriend and I are goldfish people. It's easy to understand why when you see a cute water pig jiggling around and realize that these are easily the MOST ADORABLE THINGS ON THE PLANET. Being as this is true Other goldfish people would understand the overwhelming need to aquire what seems like every adorable goldfish that's living within 30 sq miles of you. So anyways one 10 gallon tank turned into 2 10 gallon tanks which somehow metamorphized into a 55 gallon while we were sleeping thru what I can only assume is alchemy. This may seem like plenty to most people but those people would be WRONG. So enter a "side" 30 gallon. For any one still with me heres where it gets interesting - as an aside whenever you start a new tank what do you do? Pull some media from the other "established" tanks and voila your new tank is magically cylced. So far so good. One month goes by with a new fish being added a week. At the beginning I treated the first fish with meds so there was no carbon in my filter. Then when the meds were done me being who I am I reason why not put a GRIP of carbon in there. Three weeks go by test results are fantastic I figure I'm all good . Then Im like hey carbon is good , purigen is better right? Out goes the carbon in goes the purigen. Then about a week ago I run a routine test and my nirites are thru the roof!! Where did this come from? I spend days freaking out, methylene blue bathing the fish, throwing enough salt in the tank I could grow reefs, using prime like it was holy water. The whole time I couldn't figure out what happened I thought my cycle was done.

Well today while randomly reading some stuff online about stuff I come across the following sentence - " nine times out of ten aerobic nitrifying bacteria if given the choice will choose carbon as a surface to colonize." This sentence literally reached thru the phone and punched me in the face. I just threw away probably like 3/4 of my biofilter for no other reason than cause I could. Wow.

So here's the moral of the story- please understand what it took me months to truely appreciate. The nitrogen cycle is a dynamic process. We love to think in terms of absolutes, especially in this hobby where all these companies trying to turn a buck do us NO FAVORS. There are very very few absolutes in fishkeeping. That's actually part of the Appel and charm of the hobby. There's a hundred ways to do the same thing. Picking something up by yourself can be exhilirating. But especially with regards to vital processes like "the nitrogen cycle " which we aquarists took a complex biological process and cut and pasted it into a few anecdotes and assume we are microbiologists. Just the simple thing of having a whole bed of carbon available to a newly establishing biofilter to colonize and then just tossing the whole thing just cause " you gotta change the carbon bro". I'm not even sure I can summarize what I'm trying to say in a sentence except please be aware these are literally the very processes of life itself, something that is beyond even the best minds humans have to offer. Respect that and you will go a long way towards providing the best for and subsequently getting to enjoy the very fish that are the reason we are all here to begin with. Especially if those fish happen to be the cutest chubbiest most wiggly butted goldfish ever.

PS - the fish are fine. They wanted to say hi ;)
Omg I literally just did the exact same thing. I cycled my tank and I had sick fish so when the meds were done I put some carbon in the wrong place in the filter so it absorbed most of my BB. I didn't know this and took the carbon out and up goes the nitrites and bye bye to my BB. I was going to post this on this forum because like you i wanted everyone to know what not to do. Thank you for sharing this. So how did you get your nitrites down besides doing a water change?
 

jkkgron2

Well Known
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3,500
MrFancyFish said:
Fishlore members, and especially those that are just getting into this hobby or even those wise old hats that may be setting up a new tank, if you would all be so kind as to indulge me for a moment I would love to spin thee a yarn. The following is based on a true story ( based on meaning it literally just happened to me). There is a moral, nay, a lesson to be learned here so stick around. Even if this is old news to you, you could definitely get satisfaction in snickering to yourself while thinking what a freaking noob like the jerk that you are. Ok anyways here it is-

My girlfriend and I are goldfish people. It's easy to understand why when you see a cute water pig jiggling around and realize that these are easily the MOST ADORABLE THINGS ON THE PLANET. Being as this is true Other goldfish people would understand the overwhelming need to aquire what seems like every adorable goldfish that's living within 30 sq miles of you. So anyways one 10 gallon tank turned into 2 10 gallon tanks which somehow metamorphized into a 55 gallon while we were sleeping thru what I can only assume is alchemy. This may seem like plenty to most people but those people would be WRONG. So enter a "side" 30 gallon. For any one still with me heres where it gets interesting - as an aside whenever you start a new tank what do you do? Pull some media from the other "established" tanks and voila your new tank is magically cylced. So far so good. One month goes by with a new fish being added a week. At the beginning I treated the first fish with meds so there was no carbon in my filter. Then when the meds were done me being who I am I reason why not put a GRIP of carbon in there. Three weeks go by test results are fantastic I figure I'm all good . Then Im like hey carbon is good , purigen is better right? Out goes the carbon in goes the purigen. Then about a week ago I run a routine test and my nirites are thru the roof!! Where did this come from? I spend days freaking out, methylene blue bathing the fish, throwing enough salt in the tank I could grow reefs, using prime like it was holy water. The whole time I couldn't figure out what happened I thought my cycle was done.

Well today while randomly reading some stuff online about stuff I come across the following sentence - " nine times out of ten aerobic nitrifying bacteria if given the choice will choose carbon as a surface to colonize." This sentence literally reached thru the phone and punched me in the face. I just threw away probably like 3/4 of my biofilter for no other reason than cause I could. Wow.

So here's the moral of the story- please understand what it took me months to truely appreciate. The nitrogen cycle is a dynamic process. We love to think in terms of absolutes, especially in this hobby where all these companies trying to turn a buck do us NO FAVORS. There are very very few absolutes in fishkeeping. That's actually part of the Appel and charm of the hobby. There's a hundred ways to do the same thing. Picking something up by yourself can be exhilirating. But especially with regards to vital processes like "the nitrogen cycle " which we aquarists took a complex biological process and cut and pasted it into a few anecdotes and assume we are microbiologists. Just the simple thing of having a whole bed of carbon available to a newly establishing biofilter to colonize and then just tossing the whole thing just cause " you gotta change the carbon bro". I'm not even sure I can summarize what I'm trying to say in a sentence except please be aware these are literally the very processes of life itself, something that is beyond even the best minds humans have to offer. Respect that and you will go a long way towards providing the best for and subsequently getting to enjoy the very fish that are the reason we are all here to begin with. Especially if those fish happen to be the cutest chubbiest most wiggly butted goldfish ever.

PS - the fish are fine. They wanted to say hi ;)
And that’s the reason why I keep putting off changing cartridges on my 55. I’m waaay overdue to change the carbon but until I can get the stocking a bit lighter I’m pretty sure I’ll end up hurting some of my fish if I remove it right now. Thanks for sharing your experience. Knowing your fish are perfectly fine did make me feel a bit less worried.
 

86 ssinit

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Ok carbon is still useless. Yes some bb will grow on it but much more will grow on sponge. So add a sponge to your filter. Take the cartridge and remove the poly part and add it before the water hits the sponge. Run the filter like this for a month. Now remove the carbon and add matrix or bio-home. Both of these have much more surface area than carbon and with the sponge can be rinsed with every water change (or every other). Now your never replacing cartridges or carbon anymore. The extra money can be saved for other aquarium needs :).
Carbons only use is to remove odor and maybe clear up the water. Oh and to remove meds.
 
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MrFancyFish

MrFancyFish

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thanks for the reply man but I actually have it taken care of. I'm running a canister on the tank in question and have plenty of sponge in it. Not to mention I have another 55 gallon which is duel canistered which I borrowed said sponges from. Before you mention it yes I'm aware 2 canister filters on a 55 is a bit overkill, but lest I remind you that these are goldfish I'm talking about and I have seven of them in there. Granted 3 are juveniles but ya.....plus I like the redundancy. Really The point of the story other than to make you guys laugh a little is to point out how much we really don't know when we think we know all there is to know, you know? But ya thanks for the reply guys I'm glad you got a kick out of it.

Steph- ya that's pretty much it really. Water changes, prime, salt, methylene blue, and time. I took some silk plants from the other tank and put it in the offending one, plus I had to temporarily relocate my crown pearlscale to the other tank because she is a spoiled spoiled thing who wouldn't hear no for an answer. I'm sure the live plants would have also helped had they not been anarchis. Apparently goldfish find anarchis very delicious. Woops.
 

stephpartin

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MrFancyFish said:
thanks for the reply man but I actually have it taken care of. I'm running a canister on the tank in question and have plenty of sponge in it. Not to mention I have another 55 gallon which is duel canistered which I borrowed said sponges from. Before you mention it yes I'm aware 2 canister filters on a 55 is a bit overkill, but lest I remind you that these are goldfish I'm talking about and I have seven of them in there. Granted 3 are juveniles but ya.....plus I like the redundancy. Really The point of the story other than to make you guys laugh a little is to point out how much we really don't know when we think we know all there is to know, you know? But ya thanks for the reply guys I'm glad you got a kick out of it.

Steph- ya that's pretty much it really. Water changes, prime, salt, methylene blue, and time. I took some silk plants from the other tank and put it in the offending one, plus I had to temporarily relocate my crown pearlscale to the other tank because she is a spoiled spoiled thing who wouldn't hear no for an answer. I'm sure the live plants would have also helped had they not been anarchis. Apparently goldfish find anarchis very delicious. Woops.
Hi I was wondering why do I need the methylene? This is what it says on the precaution label.
CAUTIONS:
This product should not be used in recirculation systems that utilize biological filtration. Methylene Blue will interfere with the normal biological processes of nitrifying filter bacteria. Methylene Blue can also interfere with normal plant growth.

I have a recirculation system so I will have to use an alternative solution. Thanks
 

MsFancyFish

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Darn I’m sorry it’s taken so long to reply to you steph. This is the OP btw just on my gfs account. I had to have exceeded the allowed amount of abbreviations in the previous sentence. Anyways to answer your question the reason nitrites are so toxic to fish is because of what it does to their blood. It takes hemoglobin, which is very capable of being a blood carrier and replaces it with metholglobin, which is the very incapable of doing the that. So what happens is that the fishes bright red oxygenated blood begins to deoxygenate and turn brown. Hence the other name of nitrite poisoning- brown blood disease. The fish essentially suffocates slowly and painfully regardless of the amount of dissolved oxygen in their water. Pretty terrible.

What MB does is essentially reverse this process. I would love to give you the science behind how it does this but it’s honestly beyond me. But it absolutely helps. Honestly tho there’s so much more that it does aside from this. It’s a great disinfectant for fish with wounds, it can help with parasitic problems, it oxygenates the blood, it does wonders for fungal infections and in fact I’ve cleared up a number of them on my fish with this alone, and if you ever want to raise fry it’s great for keeping fungus off the eggs. It’s also great to put a drop or two in the bag any time fish are sent long distances. Every time I bring home a new fish they get a MB bath before they go in the QT. It is great for nitrate/nitrite poising and helps a lot with ammonia burn. Finally it is one of the few things that can help with swim bladder. Ditto for anchor worms, tho that’s more in combination with other things. It’s honestly something every fish keeper should have at all times.

It is however pretty hard on nitrifying bacteria, so NEVER put it in your main tank. I always use it as a bath, so there’s no need to run a filter while dosing it. I just run an air stone and that’s it. A bath for 30 minutes maybe once a day depending on the problem is all it should take. You could even do a dip at like 5 or 10x the dosage for maybe 10-30 seconds. It’s kind of hard to overdose but that doI ant mean go crazy.

Anyways hopefully I’ve cleared some things up for you I wish I responded to this sooner. Good luck
 

fishnovice33

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I run Purigen instead of carbon in all my canisters. However, during the cycling stages and until bacteria is established I do NOT use it and keep the carbon. Purigen slows the establishment of cycling in my experience.

All tanks, water, equipment, owners and fish are different, lots of trail and error and dialing tanks is required even for those experienced. It’s why I love the hobby so much. It’s impossible to know everything about all aquariums fish, plants, water types etc etc.

Things change all the time. Not a goldfish person myself, too dirty for my OCD but I have grown out some beautiful goldfish in my past. Don’t sweat the learning curves and enjoy the hobby whatever you do. I use to breed and try and perfect everything but lost the joy of just owning tanks. Ironically not only am I happier as a casual keeper, I learn more too.
 

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