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loveforangels

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Hi everyone, I'm new here, restarting the hobby. Had a tank years ago but after losing a long time fav fw angel, I gave it up. My story though isn't ideal, so please don't place judgement on me. I was at another forum & people were quite honestly very rude. I don't have time for rude, sorry.

First, I adopted/rescued these fish & this situation. And so far, it has been going great, fish are lively, healthy & all was going good until I lowered the temp in my water. After I lowered the temp, it seems all heck broke lose. Why the need for the high temp, the fish seemed to be doing better in the higher temps than the lower temps.

Here's what we've got
As for equipment
45 gal (36.5"x24"-tallx12")
Heavily artificially planted
AC 70 Filter running at 70 capacity, with bio media, poly-fill water polisher & bio cubes
60 Tetra air pump with 7" horizontal curtain
200W AT submersible heater at 85 degrees
Several artificial plants, with a couple decorations, i.e ship wreck, rock with through & through wholes & castle
Gravel is natural color, rounded edge
SeaChem's Prime, ParaGuard & StressGuard (on occasion)

Fish in aquarium (please do not judge)
3 Juvenile FW Angels
2 Flame Gouramis
4 Ruby Rams
2 Diamond Tetra's
1 Turquoise Rainbow
1 F-Balloon Molly
1 Algae Eater
1 Tiny little Cat Fish (not sure exactly what he is but he's tiny)

All has been going great until yesterday, when I tested the water & my Nitrites where through the roof.. I immediately did a 50% water change... it didn't help! The fish don't seem the least bit effected by this, but I know it's not good & I don't want them suffering. I can not rehome, so I've gotta make due with what I've got. I will not euthanize the fish, sorry, can't do it!

Here's what I did a few days prior... I did lower the temp from 85 down to 80 & honestly, I'm pointing my problem towards that, aside from possibly cycling still or re-cycling as I've read huge temp changes can re-cycle a tank (mind you after the fact of already lowering temp)

Here are my parameters
Ammonia 0 ppm
PH 8.0 (do to having well water that is a bit harder but fish haven't had any issues with it)
Nitrite 5 or above ppm
Nitrate 20-30 ppm

Water that was in the tank was cycled, so I was told. But my parameters when testing from the beginning seemed to tell a different story. BUT... all the while, the fish have been doing great, haven't lost one yet until I lowered the temp, over a 24 hour period of course i.e 1 degree every 3 hours or so. After the temp came down, I found 1 fish, a M-Balloon Molly, dead All the other fish still seem to be doing great. BUT... this Nitrite issue has me freaked out!

Does anyone have any advise or do I just need to do more frequent water changes (was doing them at about 30% every 3 days)

As long as the Nitrites are around the 5 ppm, do I need to do more?
Do I need to rinse my media in a bucket of tank water (lightly squeeze)
I do wish to stay away from chemicals to reduce the Nitrites so I don't run into crashing my tank.

I appreciate any help you can offer me. Sorry for my long post... Hopefully someone here will be kinder & not jump down my throat with a situation that I honestly wasn't fully informed with from the beginning. Just wanted to rescue the fish, otherwise the gal was going to flush them, so she said & that's just inhumane!

Thanks again
 

Geoff

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Welcome to Fishlore! You'll find a lot of great people here who have tons of experience and knowledge to help you with just about anything.

I have a couple of questions. What do you use to test your water? Test strips or a liquid kit? Also, when you say the water that was in the tank was cycled, do you mean that when you set it up, you only used the old water? What about the filters? Were the filter media from the previous set-up, or did you buy all new?

I would guess your fish problems are stemming from the nitrite spike. 5ppm is very high! If you only used water from a cycled tank (and not filter media), you are probably not cycled right now, since beneficial bacteria reside on surfaces (i.e. filter/media, substrate, etc) and not in the water itself.

Hang in there, we're all here to help!
 
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loveforangels

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Pongo77 said:
Welcome to Fishlore! You'll find a lot of great people here who have tons of experience and knowledge to help you with just about anything.

I have a couple of questions. What do you use to test your water? Test strips or a liquid kit? Also, when you say the water that was in the tank was cycled, do you mean that when you set it up, you only used the old water? What about the filters? Were the filter media from the previous set-up, or did you buy all new?

I would guess your fish problems are stemming from the nitrite spike. 5ppm is very high! If you only used water from a cycled tank (and not filter media), you are probably not cycled right now, since beneficial bacteria reside on surfaces (i.e. filter/media, substrate, etc) and not in the water itself.

Hang in there, we're all here to help!


Thank you so much for the warm welcome!

To answer your questions

What do you use to test your water?
I use API's FW Master Test Kit (Liquid Test Kit)

Also, when you say the water that was in the tank was cycled, do you mean that when you set it up, you only used the old water?
The gal I rescued these fish from told me the tank had been cycled but I did take the, what she claimed to be established media from the filter she had, placed it in the new filter I had purchased along with the new media so it could help boost the new media in the filter. I did purchase new gravel because I didn't prefer the gravel she was using & it was kind of stained/looked dirty, per say. She took the water from her tank (35 gal) and put it in 5 gal buckets. I then transferred it to my new tank and added remaining water along with some Prime, ParaGaurd & Stress-Guard, just to be safe (Per Live Aquaria's advice) So far, that has worked & all has gone well... until I lowered the water temp.

What would your recommendation be to help lower, naturally, the Nitrite level? My Nitrates & Ammon are ok.

Thank you again
 
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loveforangels

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Quick question... and I welcome your kind opinion

Although I know my tank may be over stocked... as long as I keep all of them, am I going to run into major probs? I've tried re-homing, asked the LFS if they'd take any of them & they say no. I can't kill them, partially why I grew a heavy heart for them when the gal said she was going to flush them (how awful)!

And just so everyone is aware, I do appreciate your advice. I hope I haven't come off as though I do care to hear what you have to say. I do care & I do welcome, polite & courteous advice/opinions


Someone please, advise me on how to get my Nitrites down or is my tank in the second stage of cycling &/or was I possibly mislead in the info I was given prior to taking this on? I just want to make as sure as possible, these fish aren't being harmed. Again, THANK YoU!
 

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Welcome to FL!!!

Hmmmm... if the tank was indeed cycled, then your method of adding the seeded media was great, so long as the media didn't dry out before being placed in your filter. It could be that you are experiencing a mini cycle. Moving things around (filter media, substrate etc.) can cause a slight decrease in your beneficial bacteria (BB) sending you through a mini cycle. Keep up on those water changes! In the mean time you can dose extra Prime to help with your nitrites.
 
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loveforangels

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Hi LisaAnne, Thank you!

I placed the media in one of the 5 gal buckets so it stayed within the tank water.
I have had this tank set up since May 17th (I forgot to mention that)

I think I have to agree with you... it does seem that it's possibly gone into a mini cycle. I've dosed with Prime as recommend on Prime's labeling with Nitrite spikes & it's not working

Should I consider rinsing (lightly squeezing) the media from my filter in some siphoned tank water? I just did that about 2 weeks ago but maybe I need to do so again?
 

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loveforangels said:
Should I consider rinsing (lightly squeezing) the media from my filter in some siphoned tank water? I just did that about 2 weeks ago but maybe I need to do so again?
I wouldn't touch the filter media at this point. If you are going through a mini cycle you don't want to risk losing any more of your BB. I'd leave it be and let the BB catch up to your bio load. If you're dosing Prime according to the bottles recommendation for a nitrite emergency and it isn't working, then more frequent water changes will be your best bet, IMO. Vacuum your gravel thoroughly when you do water changes, and be careful not to overfeed your fish. Minimizing waste should help a great deal. A mini cycle may prove to be more difficult with an overstocked tank but, not impossible. However, it will need to be watched carefully.

It is great that you have decided to rescue these fish!
 
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loveforangels

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LisaAnne said:
I wouldn't touch the filter media at this point. If you are going through a mini cycle you don't want to risk losing any more of your BB. I'd leave it be and let the BB catch up to your bio load. If you're dosing Prime according to the bottles recommendation for a nitrite emergency and it isn't working, then more frequent water changes will be your best bet, IMO. Vacuum your gravel thoroughly when you do water changes, and be careful not to overfeed your fish. Minimizing waste should help a great deal. A mini cycle may prove to be more difficult with an overstocked tank but, not impossible. However, it will need to be watched carefully.

It is great that you have decided to rescue these fish!
Ok, thank you LisaAnne.... I am going to just do more regular water changes, 30% daily - is that too much? I will leave the media alone. I can't believe the fish are not all wacky with the Nitrites so high! They seem so hungry, but I'm only feeding them once a day only a pinch. Hard to explain but about a 1/4-1/2 tsp per day of flaked food & once a week, I give them Thera A+ (to keep them free of internal parasites) being I didn't know how well they were cared for previously & judging by the gal's gravel, I had concerns.

Thank you again for your help, kindness & advice
 

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First of all welcome to FL!

Even though it sounds like you did everything right in terms of filter media to keep the BB, you probably lost a bunch of BB when you replaced the gravel, so that might explain this mini cycle. Are you adding Prime every 24 hours ? It should help with the ammonia and nitrites until the tank has re-cycled. You can add it even on the days that you aren't doing a water change.

Also, while the tank is transitioning and your fish are more susceptible due to the water conditions, I would recommend just feeding the Thera A+ and not using the flake food. It's a higher quality food that they can digest more of so there is less waste being produced. Also, as you mentioned it is good for their health and that's what's really important, especially as they fight off the effects of the nitrites.

It sounds like those fish are lucky that you rescued them. Good luck!
 

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Do you test your water at least 24 hours after adding the Prime? I you test within 24 hours, the presence of Prime may skew your readings.

Also, I wouldn't think lowering your temperature would have done anything bad, especially since you did it gradually. Maybe it was just a coincidence? But I could be wrong, so maybe someone else can shed some light on that.
 
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loveforangels

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Thank you for the warm welcome!

Ok... here's what I've done - I did a rather large water change (and I know that's not always a good idea, but the nitrites were scaring me & some of the fish, especially the Turquoise Rainbow, looked very pale - yikes) I did about a 65-70% water change, I did, after being messaged, very gently, give one squeeze to my sponge media, same to my water polisher media & lightly swooshed my bio cubes in the water I siphoned from the tank. I also took out some of the artificial plants & one decoration (rock) I was told there should be plenty of good bacteria & that little bit should not hurt. Being I already did a water change using the emergency dose of Prime & my nitrites were still through the roof, I was advised to take that extra step but carefully, not vigorously.

First of all welcome to FL!

Even though it sounds like you did everything right in terms of filter media to keep the BB, you probably lost a bunch of BB when you replaced the gravel, so that might explain this mini cycle. Are you adding Prime every 24 hours ? It should help with the ammonia and nitrites until the tank has re-cycled. You can add it even on the days that you aren't doing a water change.

Also, while the tank is transitioning and your fish are more susceptible due to the water conditions, I would recommend just feeding the Thera A+ and not using the flake food. It's a higher quality food that they can digest more of so there is less waste being produced. Also, as you mentioned it is good for their health and that's what's really important, especially as they fight off the effects of the nitrites.

It sounds like those fish are lucky that you rescued them. Good luck!
I honestly wasn't aware I could use Prime like that without a water change. Thanks I will do that. I will also stop the flake food. They actually love the Thera A+ better anyway, so that works. I'm honestly not a fan of flake food due to the mess it can make. The also get Algae wafers for their veggie source; they go nuts over those lol




Do you test your water at least 24 hours after adding the Prime? I you test within 24 hours, the presence of Prime may skew your readings.
As for testing my water, yes, I wait 24 hrs after (but this time, I have been advised, with my nitrites so high - lethal really, to check my water in 12 hrs & again in 24 hrs.

I did the water change & added 2 1/2 cap fulls of Prime & nothing else. After about 30 minutes of that water change, the Turquoise Rainbow has his color back & the Ruby Rams have a lot more red in their fins! I'm crossing my fingers I've got this under control.

Again, Thank you all so much! This forum is surely proven to be a much nicer place! I appreciate that! I'll keep ya posted
 
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loveforangels

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Good morning!

Ok.... testing results

First test result
Ammo 0
Nitrite 1.0-2.0 ppm (color in between )
Nitrate 2.0 ppm

Second test result
Ammo 0
Nitrite 5.0 ppm
Nitrate 5.0 ppm


After adding Prime to bring Nitrites down
I understand it was mentioned adding Prime then testing shortly after (30 mins.) may mess with my testing results - correct me if I'm wrong ok... I feel I need to test after adding to see if the Prime brought down the Nitrites so this is why I'm testing after adding the Prime


After Prime addition - 30 min duration after adding
(3 times normal dose to lower Nitrites per instructions)
Ammo 0
Nitrite 0.25 ppm
Nitrate 5.0 ppm

The big question for you guys
Do I want at least a trace amount of Nitrites to allow the (what I feel has turned into a mini cycle/re-cycle) good bacteria to do it's thing? If not, please let me know.

x & Hope you all have a great day!


Thought I'd share my tank with you all I love being back into the hobby & I love that all those little fish seem to feel comfortable in their new home. Every time I walk by the tank, they come to the front to greet me... I just think that's awesome! Yes, I take very good care of them even tho they're only fish.

mytank.png
 

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Sorry, I just saw this. From what I understand, using Prime just detoxifies the ammonia and nitrites in the water so that it doesn't harm your fish. It doesn't delay or stop the cycling process from happening.
 
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loveforangels

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Hi again

Well, it's been a little over a week & I am just stumped. My parameters again as of this morning prior to a 30% water change

Ammo 0 (shows up 0 every time I test so this is good)
Nitrite 5 ppm
Nitrate 20 ppm
High Ph range 8.0



My question... I'm curious when my nitrites are going to level out. I've been doing water changes at 30% every other day with gravel vac each time. The fish all seem to be doing good, all eating, lively, honestly seem unaffected by the higher nitrites. I am still using Prime with each water change at 2 times the normal dosage. Along with approx 12 hrs after a water change, dosing again with 2 cap fulls (2 times the norm dose) to help keep the nitrites down, but am I just prolonging what ever is going on (questionable mini re-cycle). Your thoughts, if any? Tia
 
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