Nitrites going down! woo hoo

  • #1
Ok, so my nitrites are going down. I was at the fish store yesterday, and the guy said that the nitrites would probably be high for only a week or so. I checked yesterday and they were down from 2.0ppm to 1.0ppm! Today, they are down to .50ppm! Ammonia still at 0ppm, so all is looking good.

The bad news is that my black skirts seem to be reaching the end of their rope with this whole cycling process. They are looking very listless today. They have the occasional spurt of energy, but besides that, they just sort of hover in one spot most of the day. I'm worried that they won't hold on and turn back around to their former fun & happy selves. What did I do wrong? I've done everything so particularly this time around, I've absolutely obsessed over these little swimmers. Do some fish just not handle the cycling very well? Danios were recommended to me as first fish, but the fish store was out of them when I was there, so the guy said these black skirts would do well also.

One thing was that I added Stress Coat today, instead of Aqua Plus (which was what I was using before) with my water change. I'm so leery of all these chemicals, and it seems whenever I add something new or different, things go from bad to worse.

Needing some encouragement and advice here........ do you think they'll make it? If they don't :'( must I start again from scratch with this aquarium, a whole 'nother cycling process?
  • #2
Just hang in there! If they don't make it, you are not the first fish person to lose your fish. Chalk it up as a learning experience, so you have better luck next time. But they are still kicking, so keep your fingers crossed! It looks like your cycle is almost done! When the nitrites are at zero, and you have nitrates, your tank is cycled!

If your fish don't make it, get some clear ammonia. It can't have any detergents or additives in it. Continue to feed your tank with the clear ammonia, adding enough to put your reading to 4 or 5 ppm. Once you add the ammonia at that level, and your ammonia and nitrite levels go down to 0 and you only have nitrates, do like a 50% water change, and add all the fish you will have in that tank at the same time. If your tank is cycled, and you are not ready to add your fish, continue to feed your tank with the ammonia until time to add them.
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  • #3
Gunnie, if my cycle finishes and my current fish don't make it, couldn't I just add more fish right away?

Why would I be adding ammonia? How much ammonia would I add each day? HOw many days should it take to get my ammonia readings to 4-5ppm? (I have a 10 gallon) WOuld I be doing water changes to get the ammonia & nitrites down? If so, how often?
And so I could add all my fish at once?

Hopefully I won't need to know any of this, cause my two guys are going to MAKE IT! Thanks for the great information though, I never would have had a clue about any of this. Which, of course, is why I'm here.
  • #4
I'm dooped here, too :'( It seems the fish I cycled with are the only ones that are surviving in my tank! Also-my nitrates were high today (everything else was OK), so I did a 25% water change. I am still confused...will new fish ever survive in my tank? Also-how will I ever know when I got it right? I test...I do partial water changes...this time, I didn't vac the stuff off the bottom...I am leaving my filters alone....can anyone help me? I am not thinking so at this point. I help others...when I have my own issues (I am hoping to trip upon the answers, I guess). But-if anyone has any ideas...I'm all ears! Also-is it possible to add too many condtioners, etc.? See, when I started-every new store I went to, offered me a good produtc, but now, I'm so confused what I am adding & don't need to! (outta breath). Can someone just say "OK-add this...this and this...If you want a list of what I add, I can do that...that'd probably help I'll do it t'morrow.
  • #5
Swimfan, if your fish don't make it, I wouldn't add any more fish to your tank until the tank is completely cycled. Even if you are only a week away, you don't want to subject new fish to high nitrites right from the beginning. That will cause you problems later on if they get sick. What you do is add ammonia a few drops at a time, wait a few minutes to allow it to get mixed up in your tank water, and then test your ammonia. Keep doing this until your ammonia level is 4 or 5 ppm. And make sure you are only adding ammonia if there are no fish in the tank! You are doing this to continue to feed the good bacteria in your tank until you are ready to put more fish in it. The good bacteria (I call them bio bugs) can only survive maybe 24 hours without food, so you are just keeping them alive until the fish can take over, and in your case, it would be to finish the cycling process. If you have to complete the cycle with ammonia because your fish died, with those high ammonia levels you are causing, it your ammonia goes back to zero within 24 hours, you will be able to add all the fish you want in that tank right away and together. Make sure though before you add the fish, that you do a massive water change (at least 50%) before adding these fish. Your nitrates will be sky high before the water change, and you don't want to subject your new fish to that. If your tetras do survive, and your tank gets cycled, you will only be able to slowly add more fish to the tank, because your bio bugs population is not as high because it's only got the ammonia your 2 fish provide to live on, and the excess bio bugs will die off from starvation. When you do it "artificially" with the clear ammonia, you cause the bio bugs to reproduce at a much higher pace because there is more ammonia available.

Fishfan, check all your water parameters. I don't know how long your tank has been set up, but it may be that you have , which could happen to anyone. When you gravel vac, do you also go under the decorations? I learned the hard way to do this at least once a month. A lot of experienced folks recommend that each time you do maintenance, just gravel vac half of the tank including under the decorations. You may also have to start doing this every week instead of every 2 weeks. My goal is every week, and this way, my tanks never look like they need cleaning. I know it sounds like a lot, but fish swim in their own toilet, and they will sure appreciate the fresh water as often as you can change it out! A friend at my husband's job says I am obsessed when I do this schedule. He only cleans his tank every 6 months! I'm sure his fish get a ph shock every time he cleans the tank! I truly wonder how they survive! As far as water conditioners go, I prefer the basic ones that only treat chloramines, chlorine, and heavy metals. I don't like to add extra stuff to my tank that isn't needed. I think when I first started in this hobby, I was using something that had aloe vera in it, and my filters would get so gunked up with this "snotty" looking substance that I would have to change out my filter pads or clean them every couple of days because the water wouldn't flow through. I was very quickly getting tired of the hobby and the work required. Now that I use regular conditioner with no extras, I rarely do filter cleaning, and usually only rinse off the stuff stuck to the intake tube. I like the hobby much, much more these days. I recommend Start Right by Jungle which is readily available at Wal-Mart, and Aqua Plus by Hagan (I think) is a good one also. Also check the conditioners for ammonia reducers. You don't want to use these unless you have an ammonia problem. HTH!
  • #6
My tank is months old and I did cycle with fish (but I didn't know at the time that's what I was doing). I found this forum a little too late, but my original fish are fine as well as a few I've added since. I do weekly or every other week partial water changes-according to my test levels. I just think I'm adding too much chemicals. I'll omit some of it next time and see how that is. I just can't seem to get it stable-if there is such a thing ??? I just feel confused, but yet, if they're alive, I must be doing something right?! :-\
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  • #7
My tank has been set up for about 4 weeks, with fish in it for about 3wks.

I'll read the link on Old Tank Syndrome later today, thanks for the link! Since the nitrites have been so high as part of the cycling process, I've been doing between 25-50% water change every day (usually closer to 25%) to make the water more bearable for the guys (or gals?). Under normal circumstances, I will be doing a partial water change once a week. I thoroughly vacuum the gravel every single time I do a water change - is this wrong?

And your post was very helpful! Thank you so much for explaining the artificial ammonia process. If I need to go there, I'll be referring to your post again!

I was just about to do a water change and then test my parameters. Please let me know what I should be doing about vacuuming the gravel. Thanks again!

Oh and FishFan, it sounds like you are doing great! I think part of the reason all of this is so confusing is the conflicting information (which I mostly get from the folks at the fish stores ~ sigh). Hang in there and keep posting because I"m learning a lot from you too!
  • #8
Don't mess with the gravel. Just hover over it a bit to pick up stuff sitting on top. You don't want to disturb the bio bugs any more than you have to right now until you have enough to have your tank cycled. You won't need to know about old tank syndrome until long after your tank is established. That was directed toward fishfan who is trying to figure out why new fish don't survive in her tank. There is another situation call "New Tank Syndrome" which is what you are experiencing right now. We have all been in your situation, so don't feel you are the only one that added fish to a new uncycled tank. Just hang in there, and hopefully all this worry will be over with within the next week!
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  • #9
Well my levels are all holding steady at the moment:

ammonia 0ppm
nitrites .50ppm
nitrates 0ppm

hopefully we'll see a little bit of a change by tomorrow or the next day. my guys had a rough day yesterday, but they are both in substantially better spirits today. hoping this is a sign of better things go come. just an update, will check back tomorrow. oh, should I do my water tests before or after partial water change?
  • #10
Only do water changes when needed if the nitrites or ammonia (God forbid) get to high levels. Once your tank is cycled, then you can get on a routine with the water changes! You are doing great! Your fishies might just make it okay! Good job!
  • #11
FishFan, I don't really think there is such thing as perfectly stable when it comes to aquariums. In the wild, temp and water conditions are constantly fluctuating. All you really need is one water conditioner to detoxify the tap water. No offense, but I think all the books that say that this fish needs these conditions and that fish needs those conditions is starting to make fish keepers a bit paranoid. Chances are, the fish were bred/kept at the pet store in water similar to yours, and the sudden change into "perfect" water is actually what's killing them. As long as your pH isn't way off the charts, and you don't have a very specialized species, don't bother trying to change it. The only other thing you could be adding is a bit of salt, depending on your fish. What kinds of fish do you have, and what chemicals are you adding to the water? Also, have you ever thought that it could be the fish? Maybe the new fish are unhealthy when you buy them.

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