Newbie Badly needing help

  1. m

    missPenguin New Member Member

    Hi Guys,

    I'm new to the forum and new to fish keeping and I appologise in advance because I'm quite certain this question has been asked many times before.

    I have 126 litre fluval duo deep 800 tank which has been set up for just over 7 weeks. Approximately 1 month ago I bought 4 platys from my lfs as I was advised that they were hardy little fish who would help the cycle of the tank because they produced bacterias in thier gut. I did at this point not know ANYTHING about fishless cycling.

    After treating successfully fin rot, all seemed fine and my tank seemed to be going through the ammonia phase with ammonia peaking at no more than 0.50ppm [API test kit]. It seemed to drop for a couple of days and the nitrites kicked in, reading 0.25. I wasn't unduly worried but continued doing daliy water changes [10-15%],

    What I am worried about is my nitrite still. It has been at 0.5ppm for over 8 days now [that's 15 days in total of nitrite being detected in the tanks] and I am getting worried about my poor little platys. The Nitrite doesn't seem to be dropping AT ALL and I am still reading 0.25ppm Ammonia. Nitrate has been  at 5ppm for the last 10days[previously reading 0]

    I have salt in the tank, maximum filtration and airation, daily water changes but I am wandering is there ANYTHING else I can be doing?

    Please help and many many thanks for any answers.
  2. E

    EmpPleco Well Known Member Member

    First of all, it sounds to me like your tank is not fully cycled yet, and has not yet grew enough beneficial bacteria to turn all of your ammonia into nitrites and then nitrites into nitrates (by the way, what is your testing for nitrate?). As you can see, it does have some, but not enough at this point to handle the bioload in your tank. As .50 is bad, but is not nearly as bad as some tanks that get cycled (some ammonia and nitrites reach up to 8 ppm while cycling :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:), I would continue to daily daily water changes, but this time do like 25% to 30% daily.

    Also, do not mess with the filter media (cleaning it, replacing filters cartridges, etc) or the gravel (unless you are cleaning up extra fish food that has laid on the bottom, or fish waste that you can visibly see). The filter media and gravel are the two main places that collect such beneficial bacteria.

    Also, try to cut down feeding (if you already haven't) to one or two SMALL times a day. Only a small amount of food that is definately completely gone in 2 minutes.

    Hope this helps.. Keep us updated! :) :D
  3. OP

    missPenguin New Member Member

    That does help massively, thanks.

    I have cut down feeding already, I am feeing once a day [previously it had been every other day] and the only other update I can give is that I have just added some stress zyme which I previously haven't been bothering to use as I have been told on numerous occassions that it is a gimmick and doesn't work, but as you can see I'm getting desperate now.

    I have been testing for nitrate, it's the only thing that comforts me at the moment because it's 5pmm which means there must be some bacteria in the tank as nitrate has always been zero and it is zero from my tap water as well. Incidently, my tap water also tested at 0 for ammonia and nitrites, though interestingly enough, the ph of my tap water is 7.4 and the tank is 7.2.

    I'll keep my fingers crossed in the mean time and continue doing as you have suggested. 
  4. E

    EmpPleco Well Known Member Member

    I think what happens (although I may be wrong) is that once water has been sitting out of the tap for sometime, it releases hydrogen ions, combines with the air, and forms something like carbonic acid, which would ultimately lower your pH.

    Anywho-- The nitrate testing at 5 (which is really good), is also a sign of lack of enough beneficial bacteria. During a tank that is cycling, once the beneficial bacteria starts forming, your nitrites and ammonia should lower, and the nitrates should raise way up (like 20-40 ppm) (temporarily) and spike. Then, once your bacteria further establishes itself, all of these numbers will lower again..

    Just be Patient, it definately takes some time, and keep up the daily water changes (again, I would raise the percentages on these - it's pretty vital during cycling to do this as it helps to ensure the health of your fish)

    You should soon see very wonderful results and in turn, very healthy fish ;)