Deadly Water Change. Im Done.

Iamonslaughtt

Member
Almost 2 weeks in with Tetra Safe Start and my ammonia is sky high (almost 8.0) which would have rendered the bacteria useless. Decided to do a 75% water change out of fear for my 6 tiger barbs. After pre treating water and matching the temp best I could, they are all currently dying one by one. I thought water changes were good. Ive heard of water shock or ph shock but how does anyone change their water ever without death? I'm unbelievably disheartened after all this. Just might hang up the towel. I didnt want to take fish lives in this hobby. I wanted to care for them.
 

Mary765

Member
A 75% water change is very drastic even for a healthy tank.

75% of 8ppm ammonia (presuming your tap water is near 0) is a sudden change of 6ppm ammonia instantly!! Definitely enough to shock your fish.

Don't give up though, with the tiger barbs gone you can tear down your tank and build it back up again to be healthy and happy with our help
 

A. Rozhin

Member
They probably died from the ammonia, and the water change was too late. 8 ppm is like the surface of Venus.
 
  • Thread Starter

Iamonslaughtt

Member
I appreciate the encouragement. Guess ill go back to trying a fishless ammonia cycle. In the future, how do I minimize stress during water changes? For a task that's pretty much required weekly, I'm very sketched out by it now.
 

DaleM

Member
Letting your tank get to 8ppm ammonia is the issue, anything over 0.25 is a concern without something like prime. It would be like swimming in acid for the poor fish. Start over again and never let ammonia get that out of hand. Use prime and do water changes every time ammonia reaches 1ppm or better still, do a fishless cycle
 

A. Rozhin

Member
Iamonslaughtt said:
I appreciate the encouragement. Guess ill go back to trying a fishless ammonia cycle. In the future, how do I minimize stress during water changes? For a task that's pretty much required weekly, I'm very sketched out by it now.
If you are cycled, you won't need to change that much. Maybe 25% at most. I've never had a die-off because of water change. Keep your temp the same and you'll be ok. Use the same water source everytime.
 

Galathiel

Member
Once your tank is cycled, there won't BE any appreciable ammonia at any given time. Bacteria will convert your ammonia and nitrites and your water change just reduces nitrates in the water. A regimen of at least 30 percent weekly with a partial vacuuming each time will keep your tank healthy. I routinely change 30-50 percent weekly on my tanks, and 60-80 percent weekly on my goldfish tank.
 
  • Thread Starter

Iamonslaughtt

Member
I would never have let the ammonia get that high on my own, Tetra Safe Start directions instruct to not mess with the water for two weeks at least. Finally after reading another post on here I realized that those ammonia levels werent letting the TSS do its job in the first place. Was 6 tiger barbs too much for a 30 gallon tank? Something seemed to be driving the ammonia up like crazy. I was feeding once a day and small doses at that.
 

A. Rozhin

Member
Fishless is the way!
 

DaleM

Member
Iamonslaughtt said:
I would never have let the ammonia get that high on my own, Tetra Safe Start directions instruct to not mess with the water for two weeks at least. Finally after reading another post on here I realized that those ammonia levels werent letting the TSS do its job in the first place. Was 6 tiger barbs too much for a 30 gallon tank? Something seemed to be driving the ammonia up like crazy. I was feeding once a day and small doses at that.
It's about the minumum size for a school of tiger barbs. What are your dimensions? Tigers are also quite aggressive fish and don't always play nice with other fish, especially in a smaller tank. So by starting again you can choose a more placid species and therefore not limit your options as much with tank mates
 

stang7606

Member
Do you still have any tigers left? I went through a similar thing last year when I first set up and trying to use TSS. By recommendations here, I switched to Prime and Stability and was successful in not losing any more.
 
  • Thread Starter

Iamonslaughtt

Member
stang7606 said:
Do you still have any tigers left? I went through a similar thing last year when I first set up and trying to use TSS. By recommendations here, I switched to Prime and Stability and was successful in not losing any more.
No unfortunately the last one just passed. They were doing surprisingly well given their water conditions. Ironic how me trying to help ended up being their demise...lol. I have read about stability and prime, although I'm going the fishless route 100% from now on. I feel way too bad about my little barbarians.
 

A. Rozhin

Member
I don't think it was your help of the water change that killed them. That's like someone falling off of a building then dying in the ambulance. They don't say, "Well, putting him on the stretcher killed him..." It was the damage that came before the help. 8ppm ammonia is not just bad water quality, it's literally pure poison. Fish feel .25 ppm. So 8 ppm is off the charts.

Don't blame yourself, regardless. I'm really sorry about your barbs.
 

oldsalt777

Member
Iamonslaughtt said:
Almost 2 weeks in with Tetra Safe Start and my ammonia is sky high (almost 8.0) which would have rendered the bacteria useless. Decided to do a 75% water change out of fear for my 6 tiger barbs. After pre treating water and matching the temp best I could, they are all currently dying one by one. I thought water changes were good. Ive heard of water shock or ph shock but how does anyone change their water ever without death? I'm unbelievably disheartened after all this. Just might hang up the towel. I didnt want to take fish lives in this hobby. I wanted to care for them.
lam...

Just follow this procedure and you'll be up with the best fish keepers in no time at all:

Preferably you’ve selected at least a 30 gallon tank to start. Once the tank is set up and running, add some individual stems of a floating plant like Hornwort, Water sprite and/or Anacharis. Let the tank run for 3 or 4 days to steady the water chemistry. Add 3 to 4 small to medium sized fish for every 10 gallons of water you want to cycle. Guppies, Platys, Sword tails, Danios, Rasboras and White Cloud minnows will easily tolerate the process. Feed the fish just a little every couple of days, they don’t need much during the cycling period. The dissolving fish waste () combines with oxygen from the outside air and begins to grow the bacteria colony. Test the water daily for traces of ammonia and . If you have a positive test, remove a quarter (25 percent) of the tank water and replace it with tap water treated with an additive that removes chlorine and chloramine and detoxifies the three forms of nitrogen. Don’t remove more water, you’ll starve the bacteria and slow the process. Test every day and remove and replace the water when needed. When several daily tests show no traces of ammonia or nitrite, the tank is cycled. Once cycled, in a month or so, you change out half or more of the tank water every few days to maintain good water conditions.

Have fun!

Old
 

A. Rozhin

Member
oldsalt777 said:
lam...

Just follow this procedure and you'll be up with the best fish keepers in no time at all:

Preferably you’ve selected at least a 30 gallon tank to start.
Tanks size is TOTAL preference. If 30 gallons is your preference, great. People have all sorts of reasons for wanting or needing smaller tanks. It's frustrating that "bigger is better" is felt by many to separate the "real" fish keepers from the less accomplished. So to be "up with the best fish keepers of all time," you do not need a 30 gallon tank.

...and what if those aren't the fish he wants. He had tiger barbs, and you've given him swordtails and minnows.

...50 percent water changes every few DAYS, after it's cycled? As regular upkeep?

OP, do a fishless cycle and get the fish you want, and just do a water test every week, and 25 percent water change.
 

DaleM

Member
A. Rozhin said:
Tanks size is TOTAL preference. If 30 gallons is your preference, great. People have all sorts of reasons for wanting or needing smaller tanks. It's frustrating that "bigger is better" is felt by many to separate the "real" fish keepers from the less accomplished. So to be "up with the best fish keepers of all time," you do not need a 30 gallon tank.

...and what if those aren't the fish he wants. He had tiger barbs, and you've given him swordtails and minnows.

...50 percent water changes every few DAYS, after it's cycled? As regular upkeep?

OP, do a fishless cycle and get the fish you want, and just do a water test every week, and 25 percent water change.
I think Old was referring to 30 gallons as that is the tank size of the OP.

I do 50% water change every week and no longer test my water as I knew through testing that I needed to do a 50% wc each week to keep parameters in check. A lot of the experienced fish keepers here recommend 50% wc a week as a minimum for a normal stocked tank
 

A. Rozhin

Member
DaleM said:
I think Old was referring to 30 gallons as that is the tank size of the OP.

I do 50% water change every week and no longer test my water as I knew through testing that I needed to do a 50% wc each week to keep parameters in check. A lot of the experienced fish keepers here recommend 50% wc a week as a minimum for a normal stocked tank
He said every few DAYS.

I still think 50% is excessive unless dosing plants with macros (EI). But, whatever to keep nitrates right. My tanks are heavily planted, and I'd never need a 50% WC
 

DaleM

Member
A. Rozhin said:
He said every few DAYS.

I still think 50% is excessive unless dosing plants with macros (EI). But, whatever to keep nitrates right. My tanks are heavily planted, and I'd never need a 50% WC
Oh definitely with a well planted tank you can do smaller water changes. Most people who start out don't have much in the way of live plants which is why I recommend 50%. Better too much than too little as water parameters can be a bit over the place in young tanks.

My water sprite/wisteria carked it, so I've just put some new plants in as the 50% water changes are starting to get tedious! Hopefully the sword, java fern, Hygrophila, banana lily and anubia can drop the nitrates back!
 

A. Rozhin

Member
DaleM said:
My water sprite/wisteria carked it, so I've just put some new plants in as the 50% water changes are starting to get tedious! Hopefully the sword, java fern, Hygrophila, banana lily and anubia can drop the nitrates back!
The swords are especially awesome for soaking up badness, and are so quick to replicate themselves. Once they start sending their runners out, you can be lazy and do slack WC like me.
 

DaleM

Member
A. Rozhin said:
The swords are especially awesome for soaking up badness, and are so quick to replicate themselves. Once they start sending their runners out, you can be lazy and do slack WC like me.
I'm looking forward to it already, haha!
 

oldsalt777

Member
A. Rozhin said:
Tanks size is TOTAL preference. If 30 gallons is your preference, great. People have all sorts of reasons for wanting or needing smaller tanks. It's frustrating that "bigger is better" is felt by many to separate the "real" fish keepers from the less accomplished. So to be "up with the best fish keepers of all time," you do not need a 30 gallon tank.

...and what if those aren't the fish he wants. He had tiger barbs, and you've given him swordtails and minnows.

...50 percent water changes every few DAYS, after it's cycled? As regular upkeep?

OP, do a fishless cycle and get the fish you want, and just do a water test every week, and 25 percent water change.
Hello A...

Small tanks are great, but not for a beginner. Save the small tanks for much later, when you understand the basics of tank management. As for fish, I provided not only hardy fish, which will easily survive the cycling process, but a variety of very pretty fish. What else could you want?

If the poster follows these steps, he or she will have no problems.

Pretty easy,

Old
 

ParrotCichlid

Member
DaleM said:
Oh definitely with a well planted tank you can do smaller water changes. Most people who start out don't have much in the way of live plants which is why I recommend 50%. Better too much than too little as water parameters can be a bit over the place in young tanks.

My water sprite/wisteria carked it, so I've just put some new plants in as the 50% water changes are starting to get tedious! Hopefully the sword, java fern, Hygrophila, banana lily and anubia can drop the nitrates back!
Or you could just buy/build a nitrate reactor

Quick, simple and effective.

oldsalt777 said:
Hello A...

Small tanks are great, but not for a beginner. Save the small tanks for much later, when you understand the basics of tank management. As for fish, I provided not only hardy fish, which will easily survive the cycling process, but a variety of very pretty fish. What else could you want?

If the poster follows these steps, he or she will have no problems.

Pretty easy,

Old
I have to disagree. When I started off I was a beginner with small tanks 5-15g. Never gone over 15 gallon for the first few months and not really an issue.

If you have a small tank put smaller fish in it. Simples
 

DaleM

Member
ParrotCichlid said:
Or you could just buy/build a nitrate reactor

Quick, simple and effective.
I need an explanation on this, you've pricked my ears up!
 

ParrotCichlid

Member
DaleM said:
I need an explanation on this, you've pricked my ears up!


Super simple, works on both freshwater and saltwater tanks and very effective at removing nitrates. A simple setup like this can remove a lot of nitrates each week.

Before anyone says, why can't I put the de-nitrate media into my standard aquarium filter without building a nitrate reactor? Well it doesn't work people. The de-nitrate product requires a flow rate of 200lph or less. If its more than that it doesn't remove nitrates very efficiently.
 

oldsalt777

Member
ParrotCichlid said:


Super simple, works on both freshwater and saltwater tanks and very effective at removing nitrates. A simple setup like this can remove a lot of nitrates each week.

Before anyone says, why can't I put the de-nitrate media into my standard aquarium filter without building a nitrate reactor? Well it doesn't work people. The de-nitrate product requires a flow rate of 200lph or less. If its more than that it doesn't remove nitrates very efficiently.
If your goal is to remove nitrates from the tank water, simply immerse the roots of the Chinese evergreen in the tank. This plant will reduce the nitrates in a few weeks to around 20 ppm or even a bit lower depending on the size of the plant and the tank.

Old
 

Gone

Member
I've heard of people using the bacteria starter, and sometimes it's effective, and other times it seems that they can't get their tanks cycled no matter what they do.

I cycled 20 aquariums, mostly 10G's, the same way, and never had any issues.

I got a couple of cheap goldfish from the local fish store. I'd set up the tank with hoods, heaters, and filters, and let them run for a couple days. Then I'd add the goldfish. I did 20% water changes every other day. I tested (API Master Test Kit) and monitored the water. Ammonia would show up first, but would be diluted by the water changes ever other day. Then after a week or so nitrites would show up, slowly build, as ammonia slowly reduced. Then after a week or so, nitrates would show up, while nitrites dropped. After four to six weeks, I'd have zero ammonia, zero nitrites, and low nitrate readings.

It didn't bother the goldfish. When I took them back to the LFS, they were three times their original size and healthy as horses.

Again, sometimes the bacteria starter works, but half the time I see people pulling their hair out trying to get the cycle started. I'd do fishless or fish-in, frequent smaller water changes, and let nature take its course.
 

A. Rozhin

Member
ParrotCichlid said:
I have to disagree. When I started off I was a beginner with small tanks 5-15g. Never gone over 15 gallon for the first few months and not really an issue.

If you have a small tank put smaller fish in it. Simples
Yes! I started with 2 five gallons, then a ten. Much harder to cycle (fish in for one, fishless for 2), tiny margin for error, I learned on the fast track that way.

Fewer fish, smaller fish, carefully selected, which is why I also didn't go with the "lots of easy, colorful fish" criteria. I want more than colors, I want personalities. In a small tank, you have to be creative with stocking, also. And up your plant game. And add snails and make it a whole ecosystem in miniature.

That you can do that in five gallons. Thirty not necessary.
 

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