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sjrose77

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Hi,

I am new here and I need help. I am getting conflicting information about tank cleaning. I have a 10 gallon tank with 3 platys a betta and a small pleco. It is about 3 weeks old. Ammonia levels are now safe. I do not have the money to buy a master test kit right now, so I don't know the other readings. Temperature is 80 right now because of ick. I have an aquatech filter that hangs off the back. I also put a sponge in along with the cartridge so that when I have to get rid of the old cartridge I will still have something in there with the beneficial bacteria. I did not know about the nitrogen cycle until recently and had really high ammonia that killed some of my fish. On another site almost everyone recommended doing daily water changes to get the ammonia down. I have been doing this by vacuuming the gravel. Today at the fish store, the guy told me that I should not be doing this that I am taking out most of my good bacteria. I am really really confused now. My ammonia has gone down since doing the water changes and the fish seem much happier. I am also currently treating the fish for ick and fin rot on the betta. It was suggested I turn the temp up to 86 but the fish did not tolerate that. Using Mardel coppersafe and Mardel Maricyn. I do know that if I change the water I need to replace the meds. Soooo...to change the water or not to change, that is the question. Thanks so much!
 

kayeleven

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Because you have fish, it is important to keep ammonia and nitrite as low as possible, "0" if you can do it. There are only two ways to do this.
1) have an established tank (you don't so let's move on)
2) Water changes.

Beneficial Bacteria (BB) grows everywhere, in the gravel on your filter on the little decorations in the tank and on the glass.
By doing a water change and gravel vac you may remove some of them, but most will survive the ordeal.
The other benefit to water changes is that it is easier for your fish to get better if they are not stressed by poor water conditions.

I'd say keep doing 25% water changes until you have zero ammonia and nitrite. Then cut back to weekly changes.
It isn't too much of an issue that you don't have a test kit, just take water samples to your LFS to have them test it. Be sure to ask what the actual levels are, don't believe them if they say the levels are "safe", safe and zero are different.
 

xwarroir

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I would say: Definitely do not do daily water changes. That takes all the beneficial bacteria and such out of the water. You should change it once a week. I do that. It keeps my fish happy and healthy.
 

kayeleven

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xwarroir said:
I would say: Definitely do not do daily water changes. That takes all the beneficial bacteria and such out of the water. You should change it once a week. I do that. It keeps my fish happy and healthy.
well there you have it. More conflicting advise.

The reason I recommend daily changes is because your fish are sick, and it makes sense to me to try to minimize stress from other things (like ammonia and nitrite).
Keep an eye on the thread, more people will comment and you should get a better consensus as to what to do.
 

pinksprklmonkey

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xwarroir said:
I would say: Definitely do not do daily water changes. That takes all the beneficial bacteria and such out of the water. You should change it once a week. I do that. It keeps my fish happy and healthy.
I respectfully disagree. Beneficial Bacteria is not free floating, therefore water changes are absolutely fine. The only problem that arises occasionally is if you change your filter media all at once (sponge, carbon, ect), or you over vacuum your gravel. Water changes are fine, and keep your fish healthy.

If you can, since you are still cycling, I would say get Prime water conditioner. It will detox any ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate in your tank for 24 hours before you can do your next water change. Under normal cycling circumstances I would say the 50% daily water changes are appropriate, but since you have ICH it will have to be a little different while you are treating it.

Many on this board disagree on how to treat ICH, but I will tell you how I got rid of it in my tank.

I turned my heater up to 84-85 degrees. This speeds up the life cycle of the ICH. If your fish seem stressed maybe keep it just at 84, however the closest to 85 the better.

I used the medication Rid-ICH and it worked like a charm. The treatment, if I can remember correctly, is for 5 days. You take out your carbon from your filter (if you don't it will take the medicine out of the water).You add the dose (it will say it on the bottle), leave it till the next day, do a 25% water change, and then repeat until the treatment is through.

After my last treatment I did a 75% water change and thoroughly vacuumed everything in the tank to make sure to get any left over spores. Just to be safe, I kept the temperature up for another week. I haven't had ICH since. I would discontinue the medicine you have before you start this. Rid-ICH is pretty easy to get. I got mine at a LFS but I know Petsmart and Petco sell it, and maybe even Walmart.

I'm sorry to say but you may lose a couple fish, by the time I realized I had ICH a few of my fish were beyond saving, but most survived.

If you need any more help just ask! I hope this helped you some.
 

sirdarksol

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Welcome to Fishlore!
You've learned early on that fish store employees don't necessarily know what they're talking about. ;D As was said above, nitrifying bacteria don't live in the water column. They grow on stuff. Small, daily water changes will help keep ammonia levels down, and won't damage the cycle much. Too much cleaning of the filter media, gravel, and decor can get rid of the nitrifying bacteria, however.

Anyway, another example of the competence (or lack thereof) of fish store employees is the presence of your pleco. A good employee will ask you what size aquarium you have, and if you say anything smaller than a 50 gallon, will help you make a different decision. Sadly, most pet store employees will just let you buy one, and won't tell you that they grow to be 2' long and produce as much waste as a fish four times their size.
My suggestion would be to return the pleco to the pet store. Personally, I would also return the platies. When I'm stocking a 10 gallon, I usually just go with a single betta or similar-sized, loner fish.
Getting the pleco out of there will help destress the fish a lot. Further thinning the stock in the tank will help more.
 

Meenu

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Welcome to fishlore! I agree that BB is not freefloating, and the daily water changes will keep your fish safer as you cycle. I encourage you to do them.
 
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sjrose77

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Okay, so when I do the water changes should I vacuum the gravel at all or just take out the water? Yes I found out that I should not have a pleco after I got him. I probably will take him back to the store, but doubt they will take him since he has ick. Maybe if I get rid of the ick they will take him. I also was better off with the one betta, my problems started when I added the rest, but what's done is done. These are my son's fish and I am not willing to give up the platys. I do want to get a separate smaller tank for the betta eventually, but money is an issue for me. I am going to continue the treatment I am on it seems to be working, they are much more active now. They did not tolerate any temp above 82 very well. Thank you all so much for your quick responses! I will be waiting to hear about the water changes. I guess I just assumed that vacuuming the gravel was synonymous with water changes.

Thanks, Sarah
 

jerilovesfrogs

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welcome! i'd say no to the vacs for now. there is no enough in there to vacuum since the tank is so new. give the BB a chance to adhere without disturbing it. just do small daily changes with the water cond called prime. it detoxes ammonia/nitrite for 24hrs.

unfortunately you really should not have the platies in with a betta. he could likely turn on them and harm them. or they could nip him as well. probably explaining this to your son is the best, most responsible thing. youre the adult, they are actually "your" fish.....even though he may like them a lot. getting a separate, 5 gallon tank for the betta would solve the prob though.

and yes to ditching the pleco. hopefully when he's better that is. or just explain to the store they are morons and sold you fish you should never have had in a 10 gallon. lol
 
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sjrose77

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Thanks so much for the quick response. Honestly I have to admit the betta was happier alone. There is one platy that bullies another one, but then I got the third platy and the bully and it are in love. Now the bully doesn't care about the other one. I was hoping to get one that would help the less dominant one gang up on the bully. Ah, the intricacies of fish keeping. Yes, they really are my fish I just used my son as an excuse to get a tank again lol that is terrible. I am determined to get it right. I have had dreams almost every night about fish since I was 14 and I am now 32 I can still remember the first one. I had a bad feeling about this last fish place when I saw some fish with hearts painted or tattooed on them as well as other painted fish, I hate that. However, all we have around here are two speciality fish stores, petsmart, petco, and wal mart. Most of the chains have pretty unhealthy fish.

Thanks again, Sarah
 

Aquarist

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Welcome to Fish Lore SJRose77,

I hope you enjoy the site!

Ken
 

claudicles

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Wow, you are having a tough run of it. I don't think anyone has mentioned this yet but your gravel vacs are important when you have ick in the tank as the spores can seed into the gravel and reinfect the tank after you have done treating it.
 
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sjrose77

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Well I guess it is a catch 22. Vacuum the gravel and get rid of the ich, but also get rid of the beneficial bacteria, or don't vacuum keep the beneficial bacteria and keep the ich. Am I cursed when it comes to fish keeping? I know so many people that never think about a thing when starting and maintaining their tanks and never have a problem, but I always have lots of problems.
 

Meenu

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Naw, you aren't cursed. Fishkeeping just requires lots of patience, mainly because it can be frustrating to get into and tries our patience.

To get rid of the ich, you really need to do the gravel vacs, in my opinion. I would worry mostly with the immediate ich issue first, and then worry about finishing the cycle. I would raise the temp to 84, do daily water changes with Prime conditioner, and vacuum the gravel at least every other day, if I were you.
 

used2bN2horsesLOL

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Meenu said:
Naw, you aren't cursed. Fishkeeping just requires lots of patience, mainly because it can be frustrating to get into and tries our patience.

To get rid of the ich, you really need to do the gravel vacs, in my opinion. I would worry mostly with the immediate ich issue first, and then worry about finishing the cycle. I would raise the temp to 84, do daily water changes with Prime conditioner, and vacuum the gravel at least every other day, if I were you.
I concur. The ich is a bigger threat to welfare than any slight delay in cycling. Another posted said this and the instructions on the medication do too but be sure you have taken out the carbon or it's going to suck the medicine right out of the water.

And it's true, those bacteria live everywhere and the colonies can double in size in 24 hours.
 

Meenu

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used2bN2horsesLOL said:
I concur. The ich is a bigger threat to welfare than any slight delay in cycling. Another posted said this and the instructions on the medication do too but be sure you have taken out the carbon or it's going to suck the medicine right out of the water.

And it's true, those bacteria live everywhere and the colonies can double in size in 24 hours.
I missed the part where you are medicating, sjrose. Sorry about that. If you wish to medicate, then follow the instructions for the meds, and disregard what I said. Or you can treat your tank with the above-mentioned method. Sorry about that!! :-[

Here's a link that may help you: https://www.fishlore.com/Articles/CuringIch.htm
 

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Generally, bacteria in the gravel is a fractional population compared to those huge colonies in the filter media. Vacuuming the gravel is a must, it may disturb the bacteria populations there, but you have an entire reserve in the filter, so the cycle will be more or less of stable.
 

jerilovesfrogs

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Elodea said:
Generally, bacteria in the gravel is a fractional population compared to those huge colonies in the filter media. Vacuuming the gravel is a must, it may disturb the bacteria populations there, but you have an entire reserve in the filter, so the cycle will be more or less of stable.
i personally only told her not to (before i knew about the ick) vacuum b/c she's still cycling. i've always been under the impression to not do much when cycling, except daily h2o changes with fish in. but she doesn't have a stable cycle right now....that's why i said no to vacs. but of course now, she'd want to cos of the ick.
 
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sjrose77

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I did vacuum it and did a 50% water change, added back the meds I needed to. Now the water looks cloudy, I hate that. This is an expensive hobby! There is always something else I need or want...but I love it! The salt looking white spots are gone from the fish. I am still concerned about the betta, though, it appears to have fin rot which I am treating with the Maricyn...not sure if I am supposed to notice an improvement? It's not a horrible case but the fins are more ragged at the edges than when I got him and when he turns a certain way in the light they look kind of transparent and red. One of his long skinny fins that hangs off the belly has a tiny bit of white on the tip. I have 5 more days of the Maricyn though. The fish seem much healthier, not always scraping against rocks and stuff, and they are more playful. The betta just keeps swimming up and down frantically against the wall though. I do plan on getting him his own tank when I can.
 
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