Am I doing this right?

RayRay

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Hey, I'm brand new to this forum and to fish keeping. I've had my tank for about two weeks now, it was a gift from my bf. Already from lurking around and reading a bunch of stuff I know I've started out on the wrong foot by putting fish in it, so I'm trying my best to make it right.

My first problem is I have the Red Sea Fresh Lab deluxe and I've read that its results can be questionable. My LFS said that my ammonia was a little high (last saturday) on their paper test strip but I've been checking my ammonia everyday with my kit (liquid) and it continuously comes out 0. I also can't seem to get any color to come out of my hardness test (the water stays clear). Not to mention it doesn't come with a nitrate test. My bf bought the kit for me (for $60. ouch) and wants to take it back but lost the receipt. So is it trash? Should I search down an API kit instead? Or is it okay and I should just get a nitrate tester?

My second question is I've been doing 10-20% water changes daily and treating with Aqueon Water Conditioner. Is this product decent? It does say it neutralizes ammonia and nitrites, would this hurt or help my cycle? Should I get something different?

Now that we know better, we're planning on upgrading to a bigger tank asap because of my weather loach and because the bf wants pictus cats (plus it would be nice if my loachy could have some friends) and switching the 10 gallon to a quarantine tank. But that depends on if the boy's Uncle still has his old 80 gallon laying around somewhere. If not we're going to have to scour craigslist. Would the 80 gallon be too big for a beginner, do you think?

So yeah, I'm trying to do my best and doing a ton of research to keep my fish happy and healthy. I've already lost three green tiger barbs because of my mistakes but my danios and loach are active and healthy looking for now. Any advice would be appreciated. Sorry for all the questions and the super long post.
 

Elodea

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80 gallon too big? Nope. Bigger the better, I'd say that a 10 gallon would be harder to maintain than a 75 gallon. Just my 2 cents.

I would suggest Prime instead of Aqueon to neutralize ammonia; Prime locks ammonia for 24 hours.

Red Sea should be fine, but it's recommended that you still get a Nitrate test. It's better to test the water for yourself, because the accuracy of test strips is questionable.

Also, I assume you know how to cycle a tank? Please read the link in my signature if you don't.

Oh, and welcome to Fishlore!
 

jetajockey

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you need to be able to liquid- test for nitrite and nitrate, it might be cheaper to buy a whole api kit but if you can get those individual tests cheap enough then go for it. And slight correction on the Prime, it claims to detox for 48hrs, but otherwise I agree with everything elodea has said above. Good luck.
 

ryanr

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Actually, just a quck correction on both replies.

Prime will detoxify ammonia and nitrites for 24 hours

As far as ammonia goes, anything higher than 0ppm (zero) is too high.

I'm with elodea, the bigger the better. In fact, for a beginner, bigger is probably easier.

The more water you have, the easier it is to keep stable (parameters, temperature). The only 'problem' persay of bigger tanks is that there is more water to change
 
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RayRay

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Thanks you guys, I appreciate it. We'll be calling his uncle tomorrow to see if we can get the 80 gallon. If not, I have my eye on a 55 gallon on craigslist. I'll also see if I can track down some Prime and a nitrate test tomorrow.
 

jetajockey

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Actually, just a quck correction on both replies.

Prime will detoxify ammonia and nitrites for 24 hours

As far as ammonia goes, anything higher than 0ppm (zero) is too high.

I'm with elodea, the bigger the better. In fact, for a beginner, bigger is probably easier.

The more water you have, the easier it is to keep stable (parameters, temperature). The only 'problem' persay of bigger tanks is that there is more water to change
I was basing the 48 hours timeframe on what is given by their customer support techs in their forum rather than their FAQ.



Tech Support AN said:
Your other option would be to use Prime to treat the water prior to putting it in the tank, but keep in mind that it only detoxifies ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate for a 48 hour period and needs a good biological filter to consume it. I hope that this information proves helpful to you and if you have additional questions please let us know.


http://www.seachem.com/support/forums/archive/index.php/t-3518.html
Tech Support EH said:
09-03-2009, 09:35
One dose of Prime can work to detoxify an ammonia level of 0.8mg/L. Of course, you will want to continue dosing it regularly, as it only works for up to 48 hours. As you know, there are many reasons to perform regular water changes, with ammonia being just one. We of course would recommend still performing regular water changes!
ammo-lock also claims to have a 48 hour detox period. But I reckon if you are doing a daily WC then it really doesnt matter lol.
 

ryanr

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hmmm, interesting... Maybe we're all paranoid fish keepers, and go 24hrs at a time....

You'd think Seachem could it right (but that's a different argument)...

Anyway, for what it's worth, I work on 24hrs..
 
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