I'm Burning Myself Out! Please Help!

bak61866

New Member
Messages
7
Reaction score
9
Points
3
Experience
1 year
Hi Everyone,

Thanks for reading my very lengthy post and I truly appreciate any advice you can offer. I wanted to put as much info. as possible to help with replies.

It seems I've fallen victim to the category of "new & anxious"... so of course I didn't wait long enough for my tank to cycle because I really didn't know better and I didn't even know what "cycling" meant! omg! Thanks to all the people at the Pet Store who don't even ask when they sell you fish!! But the bottom line is, it's my fault for not doing more research beforehand.

I thought a week of running my 75 gallon bare-bottom and 30 gallon bare-bottom freshwater tropical aquariums was long enough! Was I WRONG!! So I added fish... and more fish.... and more fish.

I've had the tank since OCTOBER 2017 and I still have to do water changes DAILY to keep my Ammonia level down. With each water change I add bottled bacteria (Seachem Stability or Tetra Safe Start, or both), Prime (not too much.. I did too much once and killed some of my fish in the 75, now I'm afraid to use it), Stress Coat and a little API Salt (since my guys are semi-brackish).. now I've been adding a little Equalibrium also to get my water harder for the type of fish I have. I just ordered crushed coral which I will add instead (I'll put it in media bags on each end of tank). I also put some gravel in media bags hoping it will give more places for bacteria to grow.

I love the bare bottom tanks and I don't want to go to substrate tanks. I have more live plants in the tanks now than what is shown in my youtube video. I have two AquaClear 110 filters on my 75 gallon and two AquaClear 50 filters on my 30 gallon breeder size tank. I also have several Ultra Quiet air stones in both tanks. I started the 30 gallon in NOVEMBER 2017 and I'm having the same issue.

When I do the test strip (6 in 1), everything is in the safe zone except my water hardness and acidity, which I'm working on and I have my PH at the right level (bottled test kit).

BUT.... the Ammonia is my HUGE PROBLEM and I'm losing my mind!!! I use the bottled testing kit (not test strips) and I cannot stay at zero without doing the daily water changes. Recently I tried feeding every other day, but it didn't seem to help and honestly, my fish were not happy and I was not happy withholding from them... I even lost a few fish (in the 75 gal.) during that trial. I feed once a day and guilty as charged, I probably slightly overfeed (5 to 8 minute consumption) because I want to make sure everyone gets something.

I was doing almost a 50% water change for quite sometime and I was getting away with doing them every other day, but then I thought it was too much because bacteria never has a chance to grow and it's also a lot for the fish to deal with, so I'm doing 25-30% daily water changes ... if I miss a day, then my ammonia goes to .50 and I have to do a larger water change to get it back to zero. I do the water change just before I feed and the fish seem to know it's the prelude to getting fed, lol. Only one of my Mollies (in the 75) seems bothered and needs to adjust a little each time, but the other Mollies and other fish handle the water changes fine.

My tanks are stocked, I have the amount of inches I'm allowed for the tank, honestly, I might be slightly over. I don't want to give up any of my fish.... I love them all and as long as I do the water changes everyday, everyone stays healthy. There is plenty of decorations, etc. to keep them all happy and living in harmony.... my 75 gallon tank is ALL MALES... and my 30 gallon is ALL FEMALES... no hanky-panky in my tanks, lol!

But this is INSANE!! I think of ALL THE TIME I've invested in water changes that I could be doing other things... and Spring is here and my Garden awaits!

PLEASE tell me... will my tanks ever Cycle enough so I don't have to do daily water changes? I love this new hobby that I'm enjoying so much (other than the daily water changes).

Thanks again for reading my LONG message and I look forward to your replies!
Here is my 75 gallon on youtube:
A lot of the fish are in the front of the tank in the video because they always come to the front when they see me... but trust me, they have plenty of room in this large tank! I sit and watch them and they never seem too crowded... there's probably 2% sporadic, mild aggression in the all male tank.. that's pretty good harmony! The 110 Filters are strong and create some patches of current, which makes some of the fish look like they're on a roller-coaster when they go through it! lol! Specifically just to the left of the center front of the tank. All my girls in the 30 gallon get along great!

Bobbi
 

Jenoli42

Well Known Member
Messages
1,348
Reaction score
830
Points
98
Experience
4 years
phew! hi! welcome to fish lore.

we're gonna need all your exact parameters. ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH & temp.

also your FULL stocking list (how many of each species of fish)

observations:

stop using both prime & stress coat. pick 1 conditioner & dose as per the bottle.

don't use stability and TSS. again, pick one. if you choose stability, you can double the dose but you may want to wait until we figure out what's causing your ammonia. I suspect you're over stocked given the 1 inch per gallon is rubbish.

can you please test your tap water straight outta the tap for ammonia?

we'll help you figure this out so your fish are safe & you're able to enjoy them.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #3

bak61866

New Member
Messages
7
Reaction score
9
Points
3
Experience
1 year
Thank you Jenoli42!! I'll get all the exact parameters and fish count tomorrow. It's after 3am and I should be in bed! lol! I do know that my tap water is fine, I tested it more than once and that's why I have to get my soft water a bit harder. Thanks so much for your reply and I'll be in touch tomorrow (later today).
 

Fishie_Mom

New Member
Messages
7
Reaction score
2
Points
1
Experience
3 years
My guess is that you have a higher than normal chlorine or chloramine level in your tap water. So it is killing off your good bacteria. It is really really hard to overdose on Prime. You would literally have to dump an entire bottle of Prime into the 75 gallon before you had a problem. So I would guess that it was coincidental that your fish died because of it. You also have an overstocked tank. So a combination of both is what is causing your problems.

Now using Prime and Stresscoat is double dosing already. I would stop the Stresscoat and stick with Prime. Your dose of Prime for a 75 gallon is 7.5ml. I would double your dose. So you want 15ml of Prime every 24 hours until you don’t see ammonia in your tank. It will protect everyone. This is perfectly safe to do, and is recommended by Seachem as the correct dosing for increased chloramine levels. I would probably switch to using Seachem Safe for cost. It is the concentrated powdered form of Prime. Works exactly the same and is half the price.

You should follow this formula also to maintain your cycle. I would use Seachem Stability also, not TSS.

Ammonia + Nitrites = less than 1ppm. Add double dose Prime, and Stability. Recheck parameters in 24 hours.

Ammonia + Nitrites = 1ppm or greater, do 50% water change, add double dose Prime & Stability. Recheck parameters in 24hrs.

Continue until Ammonia is 0.

Prime detoxifies ammonia, nitrites & nitrates up to 1ppm. So you don’t need to do a water change until you reach 1ppm. You are changing the water too often. This will also prevent you from cycling. You gotta let your tank get a little dirty.

Now here is some tough love. Your tanks are over stocked. You love your fish, then you need to take care of them properly. Meaning not exposing them to ammonia everyday, because you can’t let them go. That is putting your need for them, over their well being. You must rehome some fish.

You also need to upgrade your filtration. Minimum gallons per hour for your 75g you need, especially for your stocking, is 750 gallons per hour (for hob filtration). I know you are running 2-AC110 which gets you to 1000 gph. I just don’t think it is efficient enough for your stocking. Without a doubt I would switch to a canister filter. Canisters just do a better job when you have high waste producing fish, and an overstocked tank. I would get a canister that has a rate of 500gph or more. I would probably do an FX-4 for your needs. You need to pack it with media. Lots of sponges and ceramic media. To grow as much bacteria as possible.

You need to make some tough decisions, but remember the proper needs of your animals must come before your wants.
 

johnbetta

Well Known Member
Messages
713
Reaction score
213
Points
78
Experience
More than 10 years
with your mollies they can live in fresh water or brackish even full sea water but need to know water conditions a ph rangeing from 7,5 to 8 is fine for them hard water is better for them what are u feeding them your ammonia can be caused by over feeding the rule for feeding fish is no more than they can eat in 5 minutes your live plants cant handel salt
 

Corrie Williamson

Valued Member
Messages
364
Reaction score
112
Points
78
Experience
1 year
I had very similar issues when I started fish keeping and it turns out our water sucks. Our tap water has so much chloramine in it that prime can't handle detoxifying it. I ended up using a Brita on tap water filter to fill the water jugs and then let it sit for 24 hours as well. Also the chemicals in your tap water will change from season to season and after heavy rains. Our town increases the chemical levels after rainy days to help purify the excess ground water that swaps into the water purification system. I always avoid doing water changes for a few days after a heavy rain.

I agree you should upgrade your filtration system. I don't know much about canister filters as I can't use them in my setup and had to resort to internal filters. There is a great forum on here that talks about aquarium equipment that you may find helpful.

The other question I have, is if you are changing your water every 24 hours when are you testing the water parameters? Prime is known to cause false ammonia readings for 24 hours after use if you are using the api master test kit. You have to wait a minimum of 24 hours after dosing with prime before testing your water.
 

pugletfan

Well Known Member
Messages
640
Reaction score
139
Points
63
Experience
5 to 10 years
I would recommend you get an API Freshwater Master Test Kit and use it to test your water, instead of test strips. Test strips are not accurate. The Master Test Kit is very accurate and will last a very long time.

Your tank is gorgeous, by the way!! Such colorful fish! Welcome to Fishlore!!
 

GuppyDazzle

Well Known Member
Messages
1,048
Reaction score
927
Points
148
Experience
More than 10 years
I pull my hair out at these kinds of posts, and I'm bald so that makes it even worse.

I'm not a chemical engineer. All I know is how often I see people trying to use bottled bacteria who can't understand why their tanks won't cycle. The advice is dump this in, dump that in, wait a while, dump the other thing in, and do a 75% water change, and you'll be all set. The more time goes on the more I'm convinced that bottled bacteria doesn't work like it's supposed to.

I've cycled 25 tanks in my life. I used fish in, 25% water changes every other day, no bottled bacteria, nothing added other than using Prime to condition the water I added back in. Simple as that. I kept an eye on the water parameters, but never had a spike in ammonia or nitrites. Total cycle time was five to six weeks. This follows the KISS method, lets nature take its course, and doesn't rely on some kind of magic potion to speed up the cycle.

I'd recommend putting the bottled bacteria away. Do a 50% water change. Keep an eye on your water readings. Do a 25% water change every other day, and do water testing on the days you're not doing water changes. If your ammonia is still a problem, cut way back on feeding. Let nature take its course and you'll quickly see trends going in the right direction.
 

Mom2some

Well Known Member
Messages
2,139
Reaction score
626
Points
128
Experience
1 year
Welcome to Fishlore! Glad you found us.
Another vote here for retesting your source water mine has fluctuated over the past 2 years between 0 and 4 units (!) of ammonia as measured on the API Master Test Kit.
Please start by trying the formula mentioned above (water changes is ammonia + nitrites > or =1.0) to dictate your water changes for 2-4 weeks and see what happens.
I think the idea of a stronger filter is a good one, but if you do that please don’t discard your old filters - you will want to run them simultaneously for at least a month.
 

Goldiemom

Well Known Member
Messages
3,024
Reaction score
2,049
Points
158
Experience
More than 10 years
I'm not going to give any advice as it sounds like you have plenty above and all sounds good. I do want to compliment you on your tank though. I love the bare bottom with what you have put in. I may go that route in my goldie tank since they are so messy. Great job and welcome to FL!
 
Toggle Sidebar

Aquarium Calculator

Follow FishLore!





Top Bottom