Help! Can't Get My Parameters Straightened Out.

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by William1201, Apr 7, 2017.

  1. William1201 New Member Member

    Hello all! First time poster month long lurker here.

    Sorry in advanced this is going to be a long post.

    I am having some continuing trouble with my 29g long tank. I've had it for a few months and have had multiple fish die for seemingly "no reason".

    Okay a little back story. I started this tank about 2 months ago and used "safe start" to get my cycle going. I was advised by the LFS that this was a good product to use and will help get some BB going to help my cycling go along. He sold me about 12 fish (4 tiger barbs, 4 cherry barbs, and 4 of something else I can't remember currently) and said expect to loose some which I was skeptical about.

    Well we lost about 4 and all seemed well with the tank. I was advised to wait 2 weeks and to bring a water sample in when I'm ready to get some more fish. We did and the water checked out fine according to the shopkeeper. He then sold us 2 Bala sharks, 2 rainbow sharks, and an iredescent shark.

    Soon after problems arose. The first round of fish we got slowly began to die. Until I was left with nothing but 2 cherry barbs and 1 rainbow shark and the iredescent shark. Then came ich we began using the ich treatment and it only took the I. Shark but then the cherry barbs suddenly died (from a cause other than ich I believe) I was left with only the rainbow shark.

    I had my water tested by the LFS and they said there was some nitrite and my tank had gone through a mini cycle. So I upped my frequency with the water changes doing about 33% a week. Rather than 50% bi weekly. All seemed well so we got 4 more tiger barbs the next week and the water tested perfectly.

    Within three days I was down to 1 tiger barbs and the rainbow shark.

    I finally pulled together the cash to buy an API test kit and have been doing the tests myself for the last two days note that I have been doing 25% water changes every other day since my tiger barbs died.

    Last night I tested and had .5-1.0 ppm ammonia, .25-.5 ppm nitrite and between 20 - 40 nitrate. Sorry for the inaccuracy I did it late in not the best lighting.

    After seeing my water test this bad I figured I needed to do something quick and immediately did a 50% water change. Following this I tested and got A(.5) NO2 (.25) and NO3 (20).

    At this point I'm stuck I need help. I though maybe some plant life would help or perhaps I need more filtration but I'm really at a loss at this point.

    TL;DR read the last three paragraphs my water levels are bad and my tank had previously cycled completely.

  2. Tanks and Plants Well Known Member Member

    Have you been de-chlorinating your water before adding it in to your tank? Your fish are probably dying because of the ammonia and you need to recycle your tank.

    So it starts with the first question I asked. I just asked thst because you never mentioned any type of dechlorinator, like Prime.

  3. AngelTheGypsy Fishlore VIP Member

    Have you tested your tap water?

    Your LFS is giving you poor advice sadly all too common. The rainbow shark will outgrow your tank so I would return it, and give them a good tongue lashing!

    I would get another bottle of TSS (it is a good product) and focus on getting your tank cycle back in check.

    On moving forward, what would you like to do with your tank? There are many knowledgeable and helpful people on this forum who will be happy to help you get there!

    And I started just about where you are now!

  4. William1201 New Member Member

    Oh yes my apologies I started to get so worried about the length of my post I began to leave stuff out. I am using "Aqua Safe" by tetra before I add any water to the tank.
  5. Lorekeeper Well Known Member Member

    Definitely test your water, and dechlorinate.

    You probably ran into issues when you added so many fish at once. You can add fish right after using TSS, however, you should only add 1-2 at a time. The tank probably never truly cycled.

    You also added fish that probably had a bioload that was too heavy even for a fully cycled 29g. I think the rainbow shark needs a pretty huge tank, if I'm not mistaken. So do the bala and incandescent sharks.
  6. William1201 New Member Member

    I was going to because my tanks pH was 8.2 on my first test and I didn't realize that the fish just need consistent pH levels not a specific magic pH. After snooping around on the forums I learned that if I was going to test the water it would take 24hr for the chlorine to evaporate out and I wasn't sure if I should test it straight from tap, or wait 24 hours, or do both.
  7. William1201 New Member Member

    I read afterwards that the rainbow shark really should be in a 55g and the iredescent in a 300g (surprised emoji) I made the LFS give me credit for everything I had living still.
  8. Lorekeeper Well Known Member Member

    Most water Companies don't use chorine anymore, they use Chloramine, which doesn't evaporate.

    Just get a container of water, add some dechlorinator into it, and then test the tap water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.
  9. William1201 New Member Member

    Okay. I will report back with my findings.
  10. Tanks and Plants Well Known Member Member

    If you can get more Tetra safe start and add that to your tank to help boost your biological filtration and hopefully jump start it. Also you would need to do daily water changes to keep thst ammonia down. That is the number #1 killer in new tanks, because the Bio load is too big.
    Also the LFS sold you fish thst will outgrow your tank and that need a bigger tank. I totally agree with lorekeeper and those 3 fish will be too big for your tank and will need a bigger tank.

    Doing about 20-30% daily water changes should keep the ammonia down. Or if you don't have much fish left maybe it might be cheaper and better in the long run to take the fish back to your LFS and so you can concentrate on just trying to cycle your tank.
  11. AngelTheGypsy Fishlore VIP Member

    So does that mean you have removed all fish?
  12. William1201 New Member Member

    No I have 4 black skirt tetras who appear to be doing fine. No redness around gills, No gasping, No really apparent signs of stress. I'm panicking right now that this water is not safe for them though. I don't want to put fish through this. I would have stopped purchasing them and let my tank finish cycling if I had known it wasn't completely cycled
  13. AngelTheGypsy Fishlore VIP Member

    okay, start by doing water changes to get your ammonia to zero. I suggest you grab a bottle of Seachem Prime, as it will help to keep elevated levels of ammonia and nitrite safe for your fish as you cycle your tank. Also get another bottle of TSS.

    After you have ammonia to zero, and you have used prime to condition your water, wait 24 hours. Then add the entire bottle of TSS, or TSS+ if you can get that. Then wait 2 weeks. feed sparingly, no testing, no water changes. after those 2 weeks, test your water and do a 50% water change. I'm sure this is the same procedure you followed before, but when you introduced so many new fish at once, the Bacteria colony could not handle the load, and that resulted in the ammonia and nitrite spike. When you test after the 2 weeks, you should have 0 ammonia, zero nitrite, and some Nitrate. You want to do sufficient water changes to keep your nitrate under 20 ppm.

    At this point you may add new fish, but not too many at once, maybe 2-3 at a time, less is better. Leave about 2 weeks in between additions to allow your bacteria colony to catch up to the new bioload. And at that point, members here can assist you in choosing fish that will be compatible to your current stock.

    You can also do a fish in cycle with seachem prime and seachem stability, and it will allow you to test and do water changes as needed. However I have found it to take longer and be more stressful because of the constant attention needed. If you do it this way, follow this formula:

    test your water. if ammonia PLUS nitrite are below 1ppm (combined), dose prime and stability for the entire volume of your tank (in your case it would be 2.9mL prime and 2.5 capful of stability) and test again in 24 hours.

    if ammonia and nitrite are over 1ppm, do a 50% water change and dose prime and stability for the volume of the tank. test again in 24 hours.

    repeat these steps until your test results are 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and some nitrate. Do water changes to keep nitrate below 20 ppm.

    at this point, you may add fish in the same manner as stated above.
  14. William1201 New Member Member

    Results are in: Amm (1.0) Nitrite (.25) Nitrate (0)

    Almost exactly what my tank is reading except the tank has nitrates
  15. AngelTheGypsy Fishlore VIP Member

    okay, a water change will not get your ammonia/nitrite down. I would definitely invest in prime. I have ammonia in my tap as well. I
  16. William1201 New Member Member

    Okay should I use that in place of the Aqua Safe? And should I still get the TSS, and will I ever have zero ammonia and nitrites? Or will they be present and just not harmful
  17. Lorekeeper Well Known Member Member

    Yes, use Prime in place of AquaSafe.

    Get the TSS or the TSS+.

    You will have 0 Ammonia and 0 Nitrites, when your tank is cycled.
  18. AngelTheGypsy Fishlore VIP Member

    Yes you will get to 0 ammonia and nitrite. Use the prime instead of aquasafe, and get the TSS. Every time you do a water change you will be adding ammonia, but the prime will make it safe for your fish until the bacteria converts it. You will do the water changes to get nitrates down.