Chemical Levels After Fish Transfer Help

  1. KirkyTurkey Member Member

    So I bought a whole setup from a buddy of mine, 110 gallon. I understand the nitrogen cycle and I had some little guys from the fish store to help start up the process.

    The friend that I bought the setup from had things come up and needed to bring all of his fish to my tank (still new so dont know all of them, but lots of cichlids, a python eel, ropefish, few plecos, highfins, and a few other random guys) but also brought his filter, so combined with mine I have enough filtration going on for 250 gallons in this 110 gallon tank. He expected not to have any detrimental effects with the chemicals if we used his gravel and his filter. Yesterday, my ammonia was 1.25ppm, nitrite 20ppm and nitrate 40ppm, pH 7.8. This morning my ammonia was 0.25ppm, nitrite 40ppm, nitrate 10ppm and pH 6.8. I added some malawi buffer to increase the pH, but was not sure if my chemicals were reacting in the way they should, as I am only familiar with what they will do in a natural cycling process. Any tips or thoughts on if this is good or bad response, or ideas on how the fish will fare over the next week or two would be very appreciated.
     
  2. Caitlin86 Well Known Member Member

    Those levels r extremely toxic..as are the PH swings. You r gonna hafta do large water changes to get the toxicity down..matching temp and pH. I also recommend purchasing Prime and Stability by Seachem. Prime is a dechlorinator with the added benefit of detoxifying ammonia nitrite and nitrate at 1ppm for 24hours while Stability is ur bottled bacteria designed to use with Prime.
     

  3. matsungit Well Known Member Member

    As expected you had some spikes in your cycle. Hope you didn't lose any fish. Your filtration seems coping very well. The pH dropped because of the nitrogen cycle trying to keep up due to the sudden increase in bio load. For now don't worry too much about correcting pH, just make sure KH stays above 4dKH. It's more important to keep the water parameters stable, and make to sure ammonia and nitrite goes away. Just do some water changes to keep it up a bit, but not too much that you shock the fishes. Good luck!
     
  4. KirkyTurkey Member Member

    Thank you guys! I didn't lose any fish thankfully, I corrected the pH, did a 25% change, and it helped out definitely. I need to get something to measure my KH, I haven't heard of needing to do this yet, whoops!
     

  5. bopsalot Well Known Member Member

    Hi there! Please re-test the water. I think you may have made a mistake with the nitrite levels. You say they were 20ppm, then 40ppm? I hope you meant 2ppm and 4ppm? 20-40 ppm nitrite is highly lethal, and even 2-4 ppm is courting disaster with many species. Different fish have different tolerance levels for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. You are well into the toxic range at 2ppm nitrite. I personally do not tolerate any nitrite at all in my tanks, but in a cycling tank, it is hardly practical to keep water parameters perfect. Ammonia and nitrite are very stressful for fish, even lethal at high concentrations, it makes them very sick and vulnerable to diseases and parasites found in all fish tanks, that usually they can deal with naturally when healthy.

    My advice is to do multiple aggressive water changes of 50%, maybe even more. Multiple water changes will remove/dilute toxic ammonia and toxic nitrite, until the cycle catches up. The benefits far far far outweigh the risk of "stressing" the fish with too much fresh, clean, dechlorinated water. I'd aim to keep ammonia less than 0.5ppm, nitrites less than 0.5ppm. Test often, and replace water based on these guidelines. I hope this is practical for you, I realize it's a lot of work in a 100+ gallon tank, but those animals are 100% dependent on you to create a stable environment for them.

    Good luck, I hope this helps!
     
  6. KirkyTurkey Member Member

    @bopsalot thank you for catching me on this! I definitely made a mistake, I'll just update you on what's happened with it in the past few days.

    I did a 25% water change the first day, added in some anti Ick juices, and retested my water the morning after (this morning)

    pH was 7.6, ammonia 0.25, nitrite 0.25, and nitrate was high at 80ppm still

    I plant to do another water change tonight and recheck my chemicals in the morning, so far I haven't lost any fish. I do not mind the workload on the big tank in the slightest, it is great mental stimulation that I truly enjoy learning to maintain.

    Thanks again!
     
  7. bopsalot Well Known Member Member

    Ah, good. Those numbers sound much better. The high nitrates likely indicate that you may want to increase the size/frequency of your normal water change schedule. Under 20ppm is great, under 40ppm is acceptable to some...

    Ammonia and nitrites at 0.25ppm indicate a cycle bump, likely caused by all the added stock. Just keep a close eye on that, and it will likely resolve itself shortly as the bio filter adjusts to the increased bioload. Good luck!
     

  8. KirkyTurkey Member Member

    image.jpg Mind you this is only my 2nd water change since I've gotten the tank, my plan was to do 25% every two weeks, once my chemicals have stabilized. Otherwise I will continue doing water changes as necessary to keep my numbers under control. I hope to see these guys happy! I definitely jumped right into the deep end with this tank but I'm already overwhelmingly obsessed with the hobby haha