Is This Normal?


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I just bought him yesterday, & he’s been pretty playful. But the past few hours he’s been under the heater resting or he goes like this with his head down against the gravel & his tail up? Is that normal?

I don’t know what the nitrogen cycle is & I don’t have a water testing kit. But I can see that those are very important so I’m going to get the kit & read up on what a cycle is.


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4 years
Welcome! it sounds like you're on the right track - the most likely thing that's happening is your ammonia levels are going up as your beautiful fish poos.

here's a simplified version of the cycle so you understand:

put simply, your fish poo. that poo breaks down into ammonia which is toxic to fish. imagine breathing your own poo.

one type of bacteria eat the ammonia. those bacteria then poo and create nitrite. nitrite is also very toxic to fish.

a second type of bacteria (nitrobacter) start growing. these guys grow more slowly but they eat nitrite. when nitrobacter poo, they produce nitrate. nitrate is less toxic & perfectly safe for fish until it gets higher than 20-40 ppm. you remove nitrates when you do weekly water changes. most of us keep nitrates below 20ppm.

I hope that makes sense?

getting seachem prime will keep your fish safe as long as the levels of ammonia plus nitrite combined add up to less than 1ppm. (edit: example. ammonia at .5 + nitrite .25 = .75 total toxins = safe with prime)

when your levels are higher, you need to do partial water changes (usually daily) to remove the toxins back down to a safer level. you do this until your bacteria grow and can do it themselves.

the way you test your levels is test kits like the API freshwater master test kit.

if you can't afford the testing kit and the prime, then you can simply get the testing kit and do daily partial water changes.
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