Stagnant Parameters and Poisoned Inverts

bcsay720

Member
Tank

What is the water volume of the tank? 10g
How long has the tank been running? 7-8 weeks
Does it have a filter? Yes
Does it have a heater? Yes
What is the water temperature? 78 F
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.)
1 mystery snail
2 ghost shrimp

Maintenance
How often do you change the water? So often right now! I'd like to do once a week, but it has been once-twice a day for a week now
How much of the water do you change? 25-30%
What do you use to treat your water? API Extra Strength Water Conditioner, API Stress Coat
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? Vacuum substrate

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? I tried!
What do you use to test the water? API Master Test Kit
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.

Ammonia: 1 ppm
Nitrite: 2 ppm
Nitrate: 5 ppm
pH: 7.2

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish? N/A at the moment. I got an algae bloom last week that they're loving, plus I'm trying not to further upset the parameters
How much do you feed your fish? N/A
What brand of food do you feed your fish? N/A
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? N/A

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this fish? Mystery Snail: 1 week. Ghost Shrimp: 5 weeks
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? Last night/this morning
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? Gasping (?) snail, shrimp are beginning to turn brown
Have you started any treatment for the illness? Just SO many water changes
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? No
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? Travelling to the top of my tank more. Other than that, they are very active and still eating.

Explain your emergency situation in detail. (Please give a clear explanation of what is going on, include details from the beginning of the illness leading up to now)

I have a strong feeling the inverts all have nitrite poisoning since I poorly cycled my tank (it's my first time with a big tank, and, despite the extensive research I've done, I still messed it up). It's a shame, but I'm not too upset. I'm more annoyed that my water parameters won't go down. I feel like I've read every article about accidental fish-in cycles and have scoured this forum about bringing down nitrites, but nothing helps. I know that my tank is going through it's REAL cycle now, but everywhere I have looked says that frequent water changes should help to keep ammonia and nitrite below 1 ppm, but all they've done is use up my time and my products. I think my animals may be past saving, but I'd love to know your advice on what to do about my water parameters. I've also included a photo of my snail to see if it's gasping or just being stupid.
Thanks for your help!
 

Sauceboat

Member
First off, 1 mystery snail and 2 ghost shrimp in a ten gallon usually don’t produce that much ammonia especially if you’re not feeding. Have you tested your tap water’s parameters? I know some tap water has ammonia in it and with all the water changes you say you are doing, it’s possible the water changes are just adding ammonia to the water. And second, your snail’s behavior is normal. It’s common for snails to hang around the top of the tank sometimes and sometimes go above the water line. How long has he been there? There may be an issue if its been a while, but generally I don’t see an issue.
 
  • Thread Starter

bcsay720

Member
Yes, you see why I'm so annoyed. I just ran a test on my tap water.

Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 0 ppm
pH: 7.6

Not sure what's happening.

Glad my snail is just being normal. I know they're pretty hardy, but I didn't want to put him through this much. I've only had him a little less than a week. He hasn't been up there since I took that picture of him. I think he's trying to snail along the top of the water and doesn't realize he can't do that yet.

Thanks for your help!
 
  • Thread Starter

bcsay720

Member
I did have 4 (3 now) tetras in there before the snail, but they're in a hospital tank now for fungus that I'm pretty sure they brought with them from the pet store. They only spiked the ammonia and nitrite to .25 ppm after putting them in, so I'm not sure why the snail is trying to crash the tank.
 

mattgirl

Member
This is going to sound counterproductive and is not my usual recommendation but I would slack off in the water changes. With just one snail and a couple of shrimp in this tank this much ammonia should not be being produced.

Put the 2 water conditioners you are using right now on the back of the shelf and get a bottle of Prime. You can use the other two once you get this tank balanced. I would only use one or the other though instead of both at the same time.

As long as the ammonia and nitrites don't go higher than they are right now go at least a week before you do another water change. This is something else I seldom recommend but I am going to tell you to add a dose of Prime every other day during the week you go without doing a water change. When you do the water change, change out no less than 50% of the water. At the end of the week we will see if we need to change anything we are doing.
 
  • Thread Starter

bcsay720

Member
Thank you so much for your advice. Parameters are even worse now, with ammonia at 2 ppm and nitrite around 4 ppm, but the snail and the shrimp are all still eating and behaving normally, so I'll let it go and get some Prime tomorrow.
 

mattgirl

Member
bcsay720 said:
Thank you so much for your advice. Parameters are even worse now, with ammonia at 2 ppm and nitrite around 4 ppm, but the snail and the shrimp are all still eating and behaving normally, so I'll let it go and get some Prime tomorrow.
ouch, disregard my previous advice about the water changes since ammonia and nitrites have doubled. Please do get the prime. Once you do, change out 75% of the water. Don't do it more than once a day though. Give the bacteria a chance start doing its job.

Run the ammonia and nitrite test each day to determine if a water change needs to be done that day. If you are still seeing numbers like this do another 75% water change. I would really like to see all zero's but if you can keep them down to less than half of what you are seeing right now and have prime to detox what's left after the water change I think we can get your shrimp and snail through this.

Be sure you add the prime and temp match the fresh water before pouring in in the tank.
 
  • Thread Starter

bcsay720

Member
Thanks. Just excessively annoyed since I can't figure out what the problem is. I'll pick up the Prime on my way home from work tomorrow. Would've done it tonight, but I'm a teacher and conferences have been all night. I really appreciate the help
 

mattgirl

Member
Hopefully we will be able to get to the bottom of this and get this thing on track.
 
  • Thread Starter

bcsay720

Member
Update:

Ammonia was down to .25 ppm when I got home from work today, but nitrite was quite literally off the charts. I did pick up Prime today, so I did a 60-70% water change (hard to estimate) after that first test. Just tested again, about 2 hours since finishing the change, and here are the new parameters:


Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrite: .50 ppm
Nitrate: 5 ppm
pH: 7.2

My snail is definitely more lethargic today and went in his shell during the water change for the first time I got him last week, so I think the nitrite started getting to him. The shrimp are still doing great, even though they go back and forth between being brown and not. I took out two of my plants, as well, that were beginning to be in questionable health. I want to get the tank back on track soon, because 2 of my 3 tetras in the hospital tank surprisingly made a full recovery from their fungus, and I'd like to add them back in soon.

Thanks again for your help. I'll do what you said above and test the water every day. I'll add the prime every other day to the tank and only do a change if the levels get back into poisonous range.
 

mattgirl

Member
bcsay720 said:
Update:

Ammonia was down to .25 ppm when I got home from work today, but nitrite was quite literally off the charts. I did pick up Prime today, so I did a 60-70% water change (hard to estimate) after that first test. Just tested again, about 2 hours since finishing the change, and here are the new parameters:


Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrite: .50 ppm
Nitrate: 5 ppm
pH: 7.2

My snail is definitely more lethargic today and went in his shell during the water change for the first time I got him last week, so I think the nitrite started getting to him. The shrimp are still doing great, even though they go back and forth between being brown and not. I took out two of my plants, as well, that were beginning to be in questionable health. I want to get the tank back on track soon, because 2 of my 3 tetras in the hospital tank surprisingly made a full recovery from their fungus, and I'd like to add them back in soon.

Thanks again for your help. I'll do what you said above and test the water every day. I'll add the prime every other day to the tank and only do a change if the levels get back into poisonous range.
Hopefully your snail is just resting. Snails seem to go a mile a minute for a while and when they finally decide to rest they do it for quite a while. Please keep me updated. I really do care.
 
  • Thread Starter

bcsay720

Member
Paramaters haven't changed since yesterday, which is great! The snail ate a quarter of an algae pellet I dropped in completely and seems to still be napping off his poisoning. Hoping the levels will start dropping soon now that I can let the tank run again for a bit without a water change. I know it's still not ideal for the animals, but the shrimp seem invincible at this point.
 
  • Thread Starter

bcsay720

Member
My snail finally started showing normal behavior again yesterday! He's been "missing" for the last 2 hours, but he discovered yesterday that he can go inside of a fake rock decoration I have, so he's probably taking a snooze. I'm very glad he's back to normal.

I was pretty excited yesterday, too, because I did not need to do a water change. The nitrite finally started to drop! It was at .25ppm, which was down from the day before, so I decided to leave it alone.

HOWEVER, this morning, the nitrite was back up to 1 ppm, so I did a 50% water change, and it seems to be between .50ppm and 1ppm still. The ammonia is at 0, which is great. I know the nitrite-eating bacteria take longer to develop, but I just want to put my healed tetras back in the main tank and can't yet. Hopefully the Prime will help to the protect the snail and shrimp in this spike, but I am feeling rather annoyed again.
 

mattgirl

Member
bcsay720 said:
My snail finally started showing normal behavior again yesterday! He's been "missing" for the last 2 hours, but he discovered yesterday that he can go inside of a fake rock decoration I have, so he's probably taking a snooze. I'm very glad he's back to normal.

I was pretty excited yesterday, too, because I did not need to do a water change. The nitrite finally started to drop! It was at .25ppm, which was down from the day before, so I decided to leave it alone.

HOWEVER, this morning, the nitrite was back up to 1 ppm, so I did a 50% water change, and it seems to be between .50ppm and 1ppm still. The ammonia is at 0, which is great. I know the nitrite-eating bacteria take longer to develop, but I just want to put my healed tetras back in the main tank and can't yet. Hopefully the Prime will help to the protect the snail and shrimp in this spike, but I am feeling rather annoyed again.
I am happy to hear that your snail is doing well. I have a hard time doing a head count on my rabbit snails. They like to completely bury themselves in the sand. Fortunately they don't all look the same so when some come out and others go back down I am able to tell all are alive and well. I just never see all of them at the same time.

I know this is a frustrating time. As hard as it is we just have to accept that is is going to take time and patience to get over this nitrite hump. Are your nitrates rising?
 
  • Thread Starter

bcsay720

Member
Nope! Nitrates are fine. I'm glad all my animals are healthy now. That's the most important thing.
 

mattgirl

Member
bcsay720 said:
Nope! Nitrates are fine. I'm glad all my animals are healthy now. That's the most important thing.
I am happy for them too

The nitrates should gradually rise. Most of us never grow the bacteria that will remove them so as they rise we lower them by doing water changes. Some folks say keep them below 20. Others say 40 is fine. I don't stress over the actual number. As long as I see orange in my test tube I consider the nitrates low enough.

If you aren't seeing nitrates yet you should start seeing them soon. They are the poop ammonia and nitrite eating bacteria leave behind. The most important numbers are 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and a pH at least 7. For snails a bit higher pH would probably be better though.
 
  • Thread Starter

bcsay720

Member
Thanks! I do have nitrates. They're about 10 ppm. They just haven't changed in over a week.
 

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