Just Started A New Tank

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by bubbles1104, Sep 3, 2018.

  1. bubbles1104New MemberMember

    I just started up a new 46 gallon tank. I set it up and let it run for about a week, then put in AquaSafe. 24 hrs later I used a bottle of safestart (for a 100 gallon tank). Since I didn't get to put fish in for another 3 days I added another, same size bottle of safestart and seven small fish; (1 dwarf gourami, 1 green lantern platy, 1 sunburst platy, a black mollie, a dalmation mollie and one 2.5 inch pictus catfish, and 1 cory catfish). Three days, and two dead fish (the cory and the dalmatian mollie) later my ammonia level is about .15ppm, no nitrite but the nitrate is around 15ppm. I have a pH of roughly 7.6, with slightly hard water. Are those levels within speck and I just got an already doomed fish from Petsmart or am I doing something wrong. I haven't had an aquarium in years and back then, I bought fish, threw them in and tested for pH once a week. My son had a tank with this hard water, with one overfed siamese algae eater (who wouldn't eat algae), never tested the water and that fish lasted about 10 year until a week long power outage in the winter. Any advice will be appreciated. Thanks.

  2. BottomDwellerFishlore VIPMember

    Welcome to fishlore!
    The problem is your tank isn't cycled. You need an ammonia source for cycling. While it was sitting for a week it wasn't doing anything.

  3. PlecodreamsValued MemberMember

    The cory catfish was probably very stressed without a school, that may be a reason it passed

  4. LunaSkyValued MemberMember

    Oh man, so much wrong! I’m sorry to say it.

    It takes a good month or more to cycle a tank. Adding things like safe start (IMO) is a waste of money. It still takes time to cycle a tank. Your ammonia is WAY too high. It should ALWAYS read O unless it’s going through a cycle. It means your tank isn’t cycled at all.

    You added way too many fish to start. Mollies and dwarf gouramis are not “small”. Neon tetras, are small. You should have started with one molly. Wait a week to see how he does, the add another.

    Take all the fish back and wait for the tank to cycle. You have new tank syndrome.
  5. bubbles1104New MemberMember

    I understand that the tank is not yet cycled. I have been doing ammonia tests every morning (3 days so far), but I am curious why the nitrate levels are up before the nitrite levels even appeared. The mollie appeared fine, constantly following the other mollie around, they swore they were both males when I bought them. He was good this morning, ate and when I got home he was dead.

    I know the ammonia in an established tank should be at 0ppm, but doesn't it need to start going up before it can go down. Is .15ppm really that much. That is only the first mark on the ammonia test kit?
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 3, 2018
  6. BottomDwellerFishlore VIPMember

    Have you tested your tap water for nitrates? I have 80ppm nitrates in my tap water so nitrates would show up in my tanks without them being cycled.

    What test kit are you using?
  7. LunaSkyValued MemberMember

    Yes, it’s too high. And yes, it has to go up, before it can go down during the cycling process. It’s only started.
  8. bubbles1104New MemberMember

    Yes I tested the tap water (well water) before I even filled the tank. The ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels were all at 0ppm. I used the API freshwater master kit to test, and double checked the nitrate/nitrite level with API test strips.
  9. BottomDwellerFishlore VIPMember

    There is a chance that some of the tetra safe start bacteria is still alive. It coukd be converting small amounts of ammonia into nitrate. But there isn't enough to cope with all of the ammonia.
  10. bubbles1104New MemberMember

    Should I add a third bottle suited for a 100 gallon tank. How high should I expect the ammonia levels to go? According to the instructions in the test kit nitrates under 40ppm are ok.

    Honestly, this dwarf gourami could fit in a teaspoon. He/she can't be more than 1 inch.

    Why would the bacteria not have survived? I added the first bottle about 48+ hours before the fish and then another bottle when I put the fish in.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 3, 2018
  11. BottomDwellerFishlore VIPMember

    Try to keep ammonia levels as low as possible.
    40ppm nitrates is a bit high for most fish. Hardy fish like platies will be able to cope with it bit nitrates below 20ppm is better.
  12. bubbles1104New MemberMember

    I have fed them very small amounts three times in three days. It was gone in less than 2 minutes. Do you think I should do a partial water change and then add another bottle of bacteria or just add more bacteria? Or is there something else I should do?
  13. DownPatNew MemberMember

    You are partially cycled due to your tap having 0 nitrates and you are getting nitrate readings in your tank. The amount of ammonia you have isn't that much but it could be causing your problems. I would suggest doing daily water changes and monitoring the ammonia. You probably just added too many fish at one time. When using bottled bacteria you may never see nitrite readings because they are being converted to nitrate before there is enough to show up on the test

    Maybe another bottle of TSS would help you move it along also but, it needs some time to get established.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2018
  14. bubbles1104New MemberMember

    Can I do a water change with the TSS? I thought it said to wait at least two weeks. I could do small water changes and add more TSS.
  15. DownPatNew MemberMember

    Well I've never done a fish in cycle so someone correct me if I'm wrong but, I would think getting rid of the ammonia is the most important thing with fish in it. Whether you spend more money on TSS or not, the cycle will develop but now you will need to constantly monitor the ammonia. The bottle you added right before you put the fish in should be on your filter media growing now so a water change won't affect them that much. I just dont think there is enough bacteria for your bio load at it's current state

    My personal opinion would be to do 25-50 percent water changes daily and if you have money for another bottle of TSS dump it in.

    Also something I forgot to mention, adding prime is suppossed to detoxify the ammonia so it's less harmful to fish bit the BB should still be able to get to it
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 4, 2018
  16. bubbles1104New MemberMember

    Everything I read said you cant use Prime with the SafeStart or anything that neutralizes the ammonia as it will kill the BB. I just did a 25% water change and will test the water again tomorrow. I added some aquasafe to the water that I just put in to help neutralize the minerals and add some "slime coat". I will see where we are tomorrow. Thanks everyone for the help.
  17. bubbles1104New MemberMember

    I did a 25% water change last night. Tonight ammonia back to 0ppm. I will recheck each day and continue with partial water changes until I can get consistant 0ppm. Thanks
  18. BarchValued MemberMember

    There's nothing much you can do about it now, just do daily water changes of about 25% until the tanks fully cycled and it levels out.
  19. Hunter1Well Known MemberMember

    So my opinion will differ from those you already got.

    Nobody knows why your fish died.

    .15ppm ammonia or nitrites won’t kill your fish that quick.

    1 Cory was a bad idea but that’s behind us. And i’m not sure how you acclimated them?

    I cycled a 36 with 5 zebra danios and a bottle of TetraSafeStart poured into the filter, where beneficial bacteria grows.

    If I was in your position I would do a large water change, 75-80%. Wait 24 hours and add TetraSafeStart directly into your filter. Don’t test or do a water change for 14 days.

    After that you should be cycled. Test ammonia and nitrites for a while, or if you add fish. But test nitrates regularly. Schedule water changes based on how long it takes for nitrates to raise above 40ppm.

    I know many say keep them below 20ppm but in my 7 tanks, 150+ fish, I do 50% water changes when nitrates get to 40ppm. My losses have been 4 fish in 6 months and 2 were when I was on vacation and fasted them for 9 days.

    I do back to back (2 days in a row, 50% water changes) to reset my nitrates about every 6 weeks.

    Good luck.
  20. bubbles1104New MemberMember

    It turns out the cory was missing a piece of his tail when I got him. I didn't notice that until after he was in my tank. The mollie was seemingly fine in the morning and dead by the afternoon. As for the safestart I didn't realize you should pour it right into the filter...it doesn't say on the bottle. I will continue with water changes and test just so I have an idea of what is going on. Thanks all
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 5, 2018

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