Help! - (stupid) Newbie panic! 55 Gallon Tank 

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blaen99

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Today, I noticed -severe- algae on my tank. I cleaned off the sides, and as I am about to head to bed, noticed more algae had grown already (!!) on the sides between this morning and tonight.

Bubbles have a tendency to not pop with any reliable quickness, which didn't bother me at first, but I remembered reading something that bubbles not popping can indicate a problem in the aquarium's balance.

So far, of fish stocking...

Zebra Danio's: 5 purchased, 1 died
Neon Tetra's: 8 purchased, 6 died
Ghost Shrimp: 4 purchased, 2 died
Albino Cories: 5 purchased, 3 died

Now, to some extent I know that this is due to the crappy LFS quality. LFS, they have dead fish just sitting there in tanks, it's not the best place and one I won't be supporting with my money in the future - in my defense, however, we all make noob mistakes.

Originally, I dosed the tank with Tetra Safestart, which recommended I not go super low on the initial stocking. Untill very recently, the ammonia reading ran between 0 and 0.25ppm on my testing kit, with no nitrites, and 0-5ppm nitrates.

However, one day I saw the ammonia reading suddenly hit between 0.5ppm and 1.0 - which caused me to panic, and go out and buy AmQuel+. I dosed the tank with AmQuel+ last thursday.

As of today, the readings were 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrite, and 5ppm Nitrate.

ph read 8.2 when I first put the tank together ( crappy local water) but as I slowly replaced the original tap water with RO prior to putting the fish in, it reduced it to 7.8. Right now, the ph is at about 7.6 or so.

I do small water changes (~10%) every other day with either RO or 6.8ph spring water from the store, as well as vacuum the gravel at the same time.

When I first started, I most definitely overfed the fish and wasn't completely anal about cleaning out the old food (Read: I didn't do any, because of the cories).

Should I be panicking over the algae, the bubbles refusing to pop, and the fish deaths? Is this merely a combination of "new tank syndrome" and very shoddy LFS quality? What can I do to find out anything that I can address on the tank?
 

BritJo

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I'm not really sure on the bubble thing, but your tank parameters are good. It sounds like the tank is cycled if not close to it. The fish death could be due to ammonia levels rising. How long did you leave the safe start in before you started doing water changes? W/ safe start you need to put the bottle in then leave the tank for 7 to 10 days before testing the water or anything. TSS can give you crazy readings while it is cycling the tank, and if you change the water before it's finished cycling you just wasted 10 bucks on TSS yanno?

As for algae, in a 55 gal you could get a pleco to help you out w/ that. I constantly fight w/ algae in my tank as well and I just keep cleaning it off lol.
 

Nick G

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HI Blaen, Neon Tetras can be tricky to introduce to an aquarium, and tend to do better in tanks that have been up and running for 3-6 months, so it's not too surprising that you lost a few. Danio's and Corys are fairly hardy though, and if your tank is cycled properly then it's a bit weird that you should lose so many fish. I wouldn't mess with the ph too much if I were you, as a sudden change in ph can cause fish deaths. Most fish will adjust to the ph of the local water as long as it's not too extreme. As for the algae, is your tank exposed to direct sunlight? This can cause algae to grow very quickly.
 

Tigerfishy

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That's right, with the Safestart, I whacked in the whole bottle, and bam, a week later, hello cycle!!

It should have worked, but it relies on you doing no water changes for the 7-10 days it takes to work (weall recommend using the whole bottle here as there's no way of telling how much bacteria you're adding if you split the bottle).

Algae blooms can be caused by too much light during the day, overfeeding (usual cause!)... I get them too sometimes, they appear within the week between my tank cleans, but just a light 'dusting' that can be easily removed. Try a combo of less light during the day, and feeding less. Fish need less food than we think and my community gets fed only once a day.
 
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blaen99

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I waited 8 days to change the water from using TSS.

I'm going to definitely reduce feeding then, and reduce the hours I have the tank lighted - the tank is only lit by indirect sunlight.
 

Craig-D

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Based on the readings, the tank appears cycled. The problem I see is with the pH fluctuating so much. It's not recommended to allow that to happen. Whatever pH your water source naturually tends to have is the one you should stick with. Most fish can always adapt to a pH outside their natural habitat, within reason of course. The 8.2 pH is very high for teh fish you are stocking with. There are some tropical fish that like water so akaline though, so you might wish to research those.

Your fish losses are massive - 12 right after puting them in. That's too many to blame on a "crappy LFS". You've got some serious issues with your water. I'd recommend finding it before adding more fish. My gut feeling is it's the fluctuating pH.

As for the algae, excessive growth is caused by either too much light or too many phosphates in the water from overfeeding. You have to back down on one or both. The next thing that can happen to you is green water from excessive free floating algae growth from these same factors. I had this problem too. The cause for mine was that my lighting is far too powerful for a non-planted tank. My solution was a UV sterilizer, which cleared it up in 4 days. But that is only a cure for free floating algae. It will do nothing for algae already attached to something.
 

phishyitis

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The problem with TSS is that your going 7-10 days with no water changes,subjecting your fish to massive amounts of ammonia and nitrates.The fish that survive these extreme water conditions will have lasting effects and short life spans.My opinion is if you made the mistake of a fish in cycle you pay the price with daily water changes with prime.Suck it up and do what's best for your remaining fish.I don't buy fish from a tank that has dead fish in it.Don't blame the LFS for something they have no control over.
 

Jaysee

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phishyitis said:
The problem with TSS is that your going 7-10 days with no water changes,subjecting your fish to massive amounts of ammonia and nitrates.The fish that survive these extreme water conditions will have lasting effects and short life spans.My opinion is if you made the mistake of a fish in cycle you pay the price with daily water changes with prime.Suck it up and do what's best for your remaining fish.I don't buy fish from a tank that has dead fish in it.Don't blame the LFS for something they have no control over.
I don't think that's how it works - about the TSS. I think it's supposed to work before the levels get that extreme.

On the other hand, I agree - if you want to cycle with fish you need to do the work. It's harder on the fish than on you, for sure.
 

phishyitis

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How is it not going to get that extreme when your loaded with fish and have no established bacteria colony and over feeding.Sure tss is a bacteria colony but it is not going to establish it self automatically and will take time to adjust to the huge bioload and extra food.Any way you look at it the levels will be high for too long of a period before the system rights itself.
 

Jaysee

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phishyitis said:
How is it not going to get that extreme when your loaded with fish and have no established bacteria colony and over feeding.Sure tss is a bacteria colony but it is not going to establish it self automatically and will take time to adjust to the huge bioload and extra food.Any way you look at it the levels will be high for too long of a period before the system rights itself.
I've actually not used it so I cannot comment on what makes it not work, but surely common sense would (or should) dictate that the tank not be fully stocked all at once.
 
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blaen99

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Jaysee said:
I've actually not used it so I cannot comment on what makes it not work, but surely common sense would (or should) dictate that the tank not be fully stocked all at once.
I'd think it should be pretty obvious a 55-gallon tank is nowhere near fully stocked with the above list of fish ><
 

Jaysee

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blaen99 said:
I'd think it should be pretty obvious a 55-gallon tank is nowhere near fully stocked with the above list of fish ><
What I said wasn't a comment on your stocking, but on the post I quoted.

I agree, you're no where near fully stocked.
 
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blaen99

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Jaysee said:
What I said wasn't a comment on your stocking, but on the post I quoted.

I agree, you're no where near fully stocked.
Ohh, my bad ><

Anyways, tested water again.

0ppm ammonia, 0ppm nitrite, ~5ppm nitrate.

However, now my plants are not looking so good. I have another cory that is looking iffy, and I have a zebra danio that has completely disappeared somehow...

What can I test/do to address this? Do I just leave the tank be and do nothing? I last changed water 2 days ago.

I've drastically cut the amount of food fed, and figured out a way to encertain the cories get some food as a start, I'm also decreasing the amount of time I have it lighted. Anything else I can do?
 

jetajockey

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phishyitis said:
The problem with TSS is that your going 7-10 days with no water changes,subjecting your fish to massive amounts of ammonia and nitrates.The fish that survive these extreme water conditions will have lasting effects and short life spans.My opinion is if you made the mistake of a fish in cycle you pay the price with daily water changes with prime.Suck it up and do what's best for your remaining fish.I don't buy fish from a tank that has dead fish in it.Don't blame the LFS for something they have no control over.
This is true, if the tank is heavily stocked or overfed then the ammonia and nitrite levels will get way up there. Most people here recommend NOT testing while during the week period of using TSS, but personally I think not testing may lead to the premature death of the fish in the tank. TSS doesn't give you faulty test results, that's just a conjectural myth. Even the TSS reps say to test the water after 48 hours and if the ammonia or nitrites get too high (2.0 for them) to do a water change and redose TSS.
 

jetajockey

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Tigerfishy said:
It should have worked, but it relies on you doing no water changes for the 7-10 days it takes to work (weall recommend using the whole bottle here as there's no way of telling how much bacteria you're adding if you split the bottle).
Hello Tigerfishy,

The tetra rep I spoke to on the phone said that it was okay to split the bottle as long as you shake it up well. Honestly I think it's just a marketing ploy to get people to use more of the product, how many other products ask for an overdose rather than giving specific dosing amounts? If the liquid is shaken well it should have a fairly even distribution in the bottle, we are talking about millions of bacteria. Just trying to give a different view on the subject, take care!
 
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jdhef

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I would still add the entire bottle. It is far better to have some bacteria die off due to not enough ammonia, than overwhelm too little bateria with too much ammonia. It's cheap insurance for the health of the fish.
 

BritJo

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jetajockey said:
This is true, if the tank is heavily stocked or overfed then the ammonia and nitrite levels will get way up there. Most people here recommend NOT testing while during the week period of using TSS, but personally I think not testing may lead to the premature death of the fish in the tank. TSS doesn't give you faulty test results, that's just a conjectural myth. Even the TSS reps say to test the water after 48 hours and if the ammonia or nitrites get too high (2.0 for them) to do a water change and redose TSS.
I think Tetra needs to get all of their people on board w/ this then, because hte Tetra rep I spoke to said it will give you crazy results and to not test for at least a week. Go figure. Either way, if TSS is working correctly your ammonia should never reach toxic levels unless you are overfeeding or over stocked I suppose. I dunno, I've had great luck w/ this product.
 

jerilovesfrogs

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the tss ppl told me I could add my whole stocking list at the same time, i'djust have to be careful and test if I thought the fish were stressed.

of course I didn't do it all at once, and it was fine. it was also fine in two other aquariums. so I think tss is pretty good. can't complain
 

phishyitis

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My point about TSS wasn't that it doesn't work or it is a bad product,it was that he had a massive fish die off(18 fish 12 dead).Those fish didn't die from 0 ammonia,0 nitrite,5nitrate.If you have 18 fish and no bacterial colony it is over stocked.If you use TSS from the beginning cool,but that wasn't the case.
 
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blaen99

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phishyitis said:
My point about TSS wasn't that it doesn't work or it is a bad product,it was that he had a massive fish die off(18 fish 12 dead).Those fish didn't die from 0 ammonia,0 nitrite,5nitrate.If you have 18 fish and no bacterial colony it is over stocked.If you use TSS from the beginning cool,but that wasn't the case.
I specified that I used TSS from the beginning in the OP.
 
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