20 Gallon Tank Talk me down from a bad decision

Matt11711

Member
Hi, my local petco just got in some Celestial Pearl Danios, but my tank isn't fully cycled yet. My ammonia is at 0 but I have high nitrites. I really want the CPDs and was going to order them online, but they are right here in front of me. I'm thinking (kind of halfheartedly) of doing a large water change, getting my nitrites down, and then buying them before someone else can. Then I would be transitioning to a fish in cycle and be doing daily water changes and tests and such. This is a terrible idea, right?
 

AggressiveAquatics

Member
I mean.... you could do it your almost done. Just do a big water change before. But idk your call
 

SM1199

Member
Well, I would do it if I was you... But then again, I'm not always the best decision maker And I'm biased toward CPDs. I have some and I love them, and it took me over a year to find some in a store.

Realistically, CPDs have a super tiny bioload especially in an otherwise empty 20 gal, so if you do a large water change and get the nitrites as close to 0 as possible, then add the CPDs and don't dose any more ammonia and feed sparingly, you will be unlikely to see a large nitrite spike. Just keep an eye on it daily.
 
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Matt11711

Member
Alright well... I think tomorrow I'll go in and get them then! I'm really excited, hopefully they like the tank I have.
 

RayClem

Member
How high is your nitrite level exactly? Super high does not tell us.

How long has your tank been cycling?
Has the ammonia been at zero for several days in a row?
How many danios are you planning to add at one time?

If you are still adding ammonia to the tank, stop a couple of days before adding any fish. It would also be good to have a bottle of Seachem Prime handy in case the ammonia spikes.

Danios are typically hardy fish, so they should be OK as long as you can keep things from spiking too high.
 
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Matt11711

Member
RayClem said:
How high is your nitrite level exactly? Super high does not tell us.

How long has your tank been cycling?
Has the ammonia been at zero for several days in a row?
How many danios are you planning to add at one time?

If you are still adding ammonia to the tank, stop a couple of days before adding any fish. It would also be good to have a bottle of Seachem Prime handy in case the ammonia spikes.

Danios are typically hardy fish, so they should be OK as long as you can keep things from spiking too high.
Nitrites are above 5 ppm, my testing doesn't go beyond that. I'm going to do a 90% water change and re test. My tank has been at 0 ammonia for 6 days at least, and it's been cycling for about 3 weeks. I didn't keep good documentation of when I began because I was planning on just waiting as long as it took. I'm planning on adding 6 or 7, as I heard that's the minimum amount for them to be happy and I don't want to get into a situation where I get too few and then can't find any more to add.
Oh, and I also have a somewhat large amount of live plants in the tank as well as some young pond snails that hitch hiked. Here's a picture.
 

Dechi

Member
I would buy them and ask the store to keep them for me 1 week.
 

Leeman75

Member
I would be apprehensive to get them now. CPDs are pretty sensitive IME. They are not like larger danios like Zebra and Giant Danios and not nearly as hearty.

If it's a Petco, I would imagine that they probably get them in pretty regularly as most of those chain pet stores have a consistent stocking. You can ask them how often they get them in and maybe wait to be sure.

I do like Dechi's suggestion as an alternative, though the chain stores are probably less likely to do that than a LFS.
 
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Matt11711

Member
Leeman75 said:
I would be apprehensive to get them now. CPDs are pretty sensitive IME. They are not like larger danios like Zebra and Giant Danios and not nearly as hearty.

If it's a Petco, I would imagine that they probably get them in pretty regularly as most of those chain pet stores have a consistent stocking. You can ask them how often they get them in and maybe wait to be sure.

I do like Dechi's suggestion as an alternative, though the chain stores are probably less likely to do that than a LFS.
They had a sign that said "New! Galaxy rasboras!" So I'm worried they don't have a reliable stock yet. I'm not really sure; I work for a big box retailer (not a pet store) and there are some items we don't get for months after they sell out. I think I'm going to do my water change, see how low I can get the nitrites, and then go and ask them tomorrow about how often they get them in stock/if they will let me buy them and let them sit there (although I really doubt the second)
 

Leeman75

Member
Matt11711 said:
They had a sign that said "New! Galaxy rasboras!" So I'm worried they don't have a reliable stock yet. I'm not really sure; I work for a big box retailer (not a pet store) and there are some items we don't get for months after they sell out. I think I'm going to do my water change, see how low I can get the nitrites, and then go and ask them tomorrow about how often they get them in stock/if they will let me buy them and let them sit there (although I really doubt the second)
I totally get the angst over the decision. I searched every single LFS within probably 50-75 miles over the summer to try to find someone that had Keyhole Cichlids, which I had my heart set on. I finally found a place and they had just gotten them in the day before and they were tiny. I worried about stressing them out so soon after getting into the new tank, especially at their age...but I didn't want to wait and risk that someone would come and scoop them up before I could get back there the next weekend. I ended up waiting and gambled that they would still be there and it worked out for me. Now, 7 months later the 3 that I bought are doing fantastic in my hex tank and they are my favorite fish.
 

Fisch

Member
As you have a nice display tank, I would not drop fish from a nig box store in there without quarantine.
You are asking for trouble. But you could set up a second quarantine tank (like a plastic tote), with filter and airstone and heater and daily Prime conditioned water changes.
Keep the Danios in there with very clean water and do not interrupt the big tank at this time. You are pretty close to the completion of your cycle.
Coming from a big box store it is risky to put new fish into your big tank, only to destroy your new bb with any potential medication you may need to use. It is much more stress
 
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Matt11711

Member
Fisch said:
As you have a nice display tank, I would not drop fish from a nig box store in there without quarantine.
You are asking for trouble. But you could set up a second quarantine tank (like a plastic tote), with filter and airstone and heater and daily Prime conditioned water changes.
Keep the Danios in there with very clean water and do not interrupt the big tank at this time. You are pretty close to the completion of your cycle.
Coming from a big box store it is risky to put new fish into your big tank, only to destroy your new bb with any potential medication you may need to use. It is much more stress
Could you explain it a little more for me? I was going to quarantine for later additions to not endanger my tank once it had fish in it, but I thought it would be fine to put the first species in the main tank since there are no other fish that could get sick in it. I'll have to figure out a place for my quarantine tank where my cat won't be able to get to it.
Alright I was thinking about getting some type of sponge filter for my quarantine tank but if I'm putting fish in tomorrow I guess I'll need an internal filter like an aqueon quietflow. And then I can get a small heater and an air pump as well.
 

Fisch

Member
Matt11711 said:
Could you explain it a little more for me? I was going to quarantine for later additions to not endanger my tank once it had fish in it, but I thought it would be fine to put the first species in the main tank since there are no other fish that could get sick in it. I'll have to figure out a place for my quarantine tank where my cat won't be able to get to it.
You have a beautiful tank setup. New fish can carry disease and bring it into your new tank. As the tank is bigger, potential medication will be applied in bigger doses. And ich medication like Malachite green stains the silicone and decoration and rocks in your tank a lively green-turqoise.
Plastic totes are often used as cheap alternative. Make it cat proof by cutting small holes just for the heater and airstone tubing. As the tank is not cycled, daily water changes are a must to control ammonia and nitrites (beside Prime helping to detoxify small amounts).
The stress level by doing it is so much lower. You can watch the tote on a regular base, and observe the little guys in a controlled environment. And your big tank can complete the cycle and continue to build bb, getting ready without endangering the new little guys.
 
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Matt11711

Member
Fisch said:
You have a beautiful tank setup. New fish can carry disease and bring it into your new tank. As the tank is bigger, potential medication will be applied in bigger doses. And ich medication like Malachite green stains the silicone and decoration and rocks in your tank a lively green-turqoise.
Plastic totes are often used as cheap alternative. Make it cat proof by cutting small holes just for the heater and airstone tubing. As the tank is not cycled, daily water changes are a must to control ammonia and nitrites (beside Prime helping to detoxify small amounts).
The stress level by doing it is so much lower. You can watch the tote on a regular base, and observe the little guys in a controlled environment. And your big tank can complete the cycle and continue to build bb, getting ready without endangering the new little guys.
Alright you've convinced me, I actually gave an acrylic box that I picked up with intention originally for use as a tank and I know it holds water, so I'll probably use that as my QT tank.
 

Fisch

Member
Matt11711 said:
Alright you've convinced me, I actually gave an acrylic box that I picked up with intention originally for use as a tank and I know it holds water, so I'll probably use that as my QT tank.
Best of luck, keep us posted!!
 
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Matt11711

Member
Fisch said:
Best of luck, keep us posted!!
One quick question, can I use API amo lock instead of seachem prime? The store near me doesn't have it and I've already been using aqueon water conditioner to condition the water, so it looks like I'd just want an ammonia detoxifier.
 

BadhbhCatha

Member
Fisch said:
You have a beautiful tank setup. New fish can carry disease and bring it into your new tank. As the tank is bigger, potential medication will be applied in bigger doses. And ich medication like Malachite green stains the silicone and decoration and rocks in your tank a lively green-turqoise.
Plastic totes are often used as cheap alternative. Make it cat proof by cutting small holes just for the heater and airstone tubing. As the tank is not cycled, daily water changes are a must to control ammonia and nitrites (beside Prime helping to detoxify small amounts).
The stress level by doing it is so much lower. You can watch the tote on a regular base, and observe the little guys in a controlled environment. And your big tank can complete the cycle and continue to build bb, getting ready without endangering the new little guys.
Fisch is right! I just had to disassemble my primary tank today and put my snails and plants in a secondary tank, so I can treat for Ich with meds and salt. The Ich meds turned my driftwood and seals blue. Hopefully it will fade over time. Definitely do the tote quarantine or get a secondary tank to quarantine. You don’t want to lose your whole setup if you can avoid it.
 

Fisch

Member
Matt11711 said:
One quick question, can I use API amo lock instead of seachem prime? The store near me doesn't have it and I've already been using aqueon water conditioner to condition the water, so it looks like I'd just want an ammonia detoxifier.
I am not familiar with API ammo lock. Reading the detail it seems that ammo lock takes care of Ammonia, while Prime does the same plus dechlorinates + detoxifies the Nitrites as well (to a point). As you are not really at this point in the tote, you should be good. Prime is good to have in your pocket when you move them to the big tank and may overwhelm the bb.
 

Cherryshrimp420

Member
Mid cycle is the worst time to add fish. Ammonia and nitrite will be spiking which will cause the most damage to the fish.
 
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Matt11711

Member
I actually read the bottle on my aqueon water conditioner and it specifically mentions that it detoxifies ammonia, so I think I will just use that. I'll post an update in a couple days, hopefully it all goes well!
 

Cherryshrimp420

Member
Matt11711 said:
I actually read the bottle on my aqueon water conditioner and it specifically mentions that it detoxifies ammonia, so I think I will just use that. I'll post an update in a couple days, hopefully it all goes well!
No don't rely on that. There's no solid evidence that it works, and ammonia and nitrite are separate things that need to be detoxified.
 
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Matt11711

Member
Cherryshrimp420 said:
No don't rely on that. There's no solid evidence that it works, and ammonia and nitrite are separate things that need to be detoxified.
As opposed to the rock solid evidence that seachem prime detoxes ammonia and nitrites? Both say so on the package and as far as I can tell both claims have been backed up and contested by others. Since I'll be doing daily water changes in the QT tank I think it will probably be fine, right? Ammonia and nitrites should hardly be present at all.
 

Cherryshrimp420

Member
Matt11711 said:
As opposed to the rock solid evidence that seachem prime detoxes ammonia and nitrites? Both say so on the package and as far as I can tell both claims have been backed up and contested by others. Since I'll be doing daily water changes in the QT tank I think it will probably be fine, right? Ammonia and nitrites should hardly be present at all.
That's exactly the product that doesn't have solid evidence. If it does detoxify, it also needs to be able to detox the amount produced during a mid-cycling aquarium. But anyways your mind is definitely made up I won't waste time
 
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Matt11711

Member
Cherryshrimp420 said:
That's exactly the product that doesn't have solid evidence. If it does detoxify, it also needs to be able to detox the amount produced during a mid-cycling aquarium. But anyways your mind is definitely made up I won't waste time
Look, I'd be happy to listen if you had read the posts on this thread. I'm not going to put fish in water that has any ammonia or nitrites in it, but you keep mentioning that I need to detoxify my tank that won't have fish in it until it is cycled and has no ammonia or nitrites. Am I missing something here? I get that you want to be helpful but coming into the end of a conversation and giving advice about the wrong thing tends to be more confusing than helpful. When you add the fact that it's easy to misinterpret a forum post compared to a physical conversation, you can see my dilemma. I'll understand if you don't reply, but personally I won't trust either water conditioner to detoxify harmful levels of ammonia and nitrites.
 

Cherryshrimp420

Member
Matt11711 said:
Look, I'd be happy to listen if you had read the posts on this thread. I'm not going to put fish in water that has any ammonia or nitrites in it, but you keep mentioning that I need to detoxify my tank that won't have fish in it until it is cycled and has no ammonia or nitrites. Am I missing something here? I get that you want to be helpful but coming into the end of a conversation and giving advice about the wrong thing tends to be more confusing than helpful. When you add the fact that it's easy to misinterpret a forum post compared to a physical conversation, you can see my dilemma. I'll understand if you don't reply, but personally I won't trust either water conditioner to detoxify harmful levels of ammonia and nitrites.
I read them and like I said, you are in mid-cycle. Your nitrites are spiking and reaching 5ppm+. Nitrite is incredibly toxic to fish, even more so than ammonia. Whatever advice and products were recommended to you earlier are not miracle products and are not going to neutralize 5ppm+ of nitrites. They're water conditioners for treating tap water which has trace/barely detectable amounts. They're also for emergency spikes which is not the same as a cycling aquarium that has been intentionally fed ammonia for a prolonged period of time.
 
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Matt11711

Member
Cherryshrimp420 said:
I read them and like I said, you are in mid-cycle. Your nitrites are spiking and reaching 5ppm+. Nitrite is incredibly toxic to fish, even more so than ammonia. Whatever advice and products were recommended to you earlier are not miracle products and are not going to neutralize 5ppm+ of nitrites. They're water conditioners for treating tap water which has trace/barely detectable amounts. They're also for emergency spikes which is not the same as a cycling aquarium that has been intentionally fed ammonia for a prolonged period of time.
Just to put you at ease, yes you are correct my tank is mid cycle. I'd guess it will be done within 2 weeks, hopefully within one week. The discussion of ammonia neutralizers in this thread was never about putting fish in a main tank with 5 ppm of nitrites. The discussed options were 1: doing water changes before adding the fish to get the nitrites down, and then closely monitoring the nitrites once the fish were in and changing out water as necessary. Option 2 was: putting the CPDs in a quarantine tank and dosing with a water conditioner, while still doing daily water changes. Then once my tank is cycled I could add in the CPDs. For these applications I don't believe it matters if the conditioner detoxifies ammonia or nitrites, but I'm willing to be told otherwise. Additionally, I've seen very conflicting information about wether or not prime detoxifies ammonia and nitrites, and while there is less discussion about aqueon water conditioner it also seems conflicting.
 

Cherryshrimp420

Member
Matt11711 said:
Just to put you at ease, yes you are correct my tank is mid cycle. I'd guess it will be done within 2 weeks, hopefully within one week. The discussion of ammonia neutralizers in this thread was never about putting fish in a main tank with 5 ppm of nitrites. The discussed options were 1: doing water changes before adding the fish to get the nitrites down, and then closely monitoring the nitrites once the fish were in and changing out water as necessary. Option 2 was: putting the CPDs in a quarantine tank and dosing with a water conditioner, while still doing daily water changes. Then once my tank is cycled I could add in the CPDs. For these applications I don't believe it matters if the conditioner detoxifies ammonia or nitrites, but I'm willing to be told otherwise. Additionally, I've seen very conflicting information about wether or not prime detoxifies ammonia and nitrites, and while there is less discussion about aqueon water conditioner it also seems conflicting.
Both of these options are very bad. I will just say it here lol. People will get mad and disagree but this is my opinion.

Since I think you are deadset on the CPDs then I will offer a suggestion for the sake of their lives, which is to buy bottled nitrifying bacteria and jump start the cycle right away.
 
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Matt11711

Member
Cherryshrimp420 said:
Both of these options are very bad. I will just say it here lol. People will get mad and disagree but this is my opinion.

Since I think you are deadset on the CPDs then I will offer a suggestion for the sake of their lives, which is to buy bottled nitrifying bacteria and jump start the cycle right away.
I'm really not deadset, I wasn't going to do it unless people here suggested it. I was prepared to just be sad about not having them and waiting until they were in stock online and having to deal with shipping them. I am curious though, what makes it worse than a fish in cycle, which people regularly do, given that adequate water changes should remove toxin levels before they get too bad?
 

Cherryshrimp420

Member
Matt11711 said:
I'm really not deadset, I wasn't going to do it unless people here suggested it. I was prepared to just be sad about not having them and waiting until they were in stock online and having to deal with shipping them. I am curious though, what makes it worse than a fish in cycle, which people regularly do, given that adequate water changes should remove toxin levels before they get too bad?
The water change can only remove a proportion of the chemicals in the water column. A 90% water change will only remove 90% nitrites. The 10% left is still toxic.

But that's not the real issue, the real issue is that nitrite is continually being produced. Changing water does not stop that. As long as ammonia is added, nitrite will be produced. You can stop adding ammonia, but then you also slow the cycle.

A fish-in cycle is done with a very small number of fish. Like 1-2. In this method you feed very little and never let nitrite reach as high as 5ppm. With water changes you are hoping to remove enough toxins such that the fish survive while bacteria also has something to eat. This is a very fine line to tread on and can easily mess up which means you should be prepared to lose the fish you use for fish-in cycle.
 

Fisch

Member
Cherryshrimp420 said:
The water change can only remove a proportion of the chemicals in the water column. A 90% water change will only remove 90% nitrites. The 10% left is still toxic.

But that's not the real issue, the real issue is that nitrite is continually being produced. Changing water does not stop that. As long as ammonia is added, nitrite will be produced. You can stop adding ammonia, but then you also slow the cycle.

A fish-in cycle is done with a very small number of fish. Like 1-2. In this method you feed very little and never let nitrite reach as high as 5ppm. With water changes you are hoping to remove enough toxins such that the fish survive while bacteria also has something to eat. This is a very fine line to tread on and can easily mess up which means you should be prepared to lose the fish you use for fish-in cycle.
I can see your point...but also what do people do that are not prepared for a quarantine tank, e.g. me having to move 14 Neons from the display tank into an uncycled quarantine environment. Daily 50% waterchanges and parameter monitoring, Prime as my friend, and six weeks later they could be moved back. Luck? Maybe, but more likely diligent waterchanges and monitoring. Is it ideal? No. Is it impatience on the OP? Yes. But also understandable as these little guys are not easily available.
 

Cherryshrimp420

Member
Fisch said:
I can see your point...but also what do people do that are not prepared for a quarantine tank, e.g. me having to move 14 Neons from the display tank into an uncycled quarantine environment. Daily 50% waterchanges and parameter monitoring, Prime as my friend, and six weeks later they could be moved back. Luck? Maybe, but more likely diligent waterchanges and monitoring. Is it ideal? No. Is it impatience on the OP? Yes. But also understandable as these little guys are not easily available.
This case is different because you have the benefit of using cycled tank water in the new quarantine environment. There will be small amounts of BB as well as biofilm, microorganisms, temperature adjusted water and more being transferred over. A lot of these small things add up and can make the difference between making a fish sick or not.

This hobby is a long term commitment and there will be many many more encounters with rare, exotic species so I don't think the OP should worry all that much. If the fish is rare then there is even less reason to try some make-shift habitat like this
 

luluvontepes

Member
i cycled my 10gal with fish in. to be granted it was only 2 fish. i heavily planted my tank. in 4 months ive had 1 ammonia spike, no nitrite spikes, and my nitrates now sit at 10ppm. ive managed the same thing in a 3.5 gal betta tank with live plants. i firmly believe that if you are ever going to cycle a tank fish in, then you should make sure you have a live planted tank. ive done it synthetically, and ALWAYS lost a good chunk of my fish. maybe thats just my luck, but thats why we are all here. to hear each others stories so we can be better fish owners. and im not saying im perfect at this either. im currently waiting on a 5 gallon tank because i overstocked my 10 gallon tank. thankfully the plants have been eating up all the ammonia and co2, and its more of a crowding issue than a biological issue because i learned from here to always upgrade the filter size, and modify it with bio material. another thing that can help the fish in cycle is when you notice your levels going up you can run some charcoal in the filter for a few days and see if it helps, i just wouldnt use charcoal all the time imo. also, it is true that galaxy rasboras arent as hearty as say a cardinal tetra or guppy. but if you stay on top of the water, include lots of live plants, and make sure not to stress the fish out too much when doing water changes, you should be good. let us know what happens, and good luck
 
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Matt11711

Member
Well, I woke up this morning and tested the nitrites on my tank, and they were at 0! The levels in my partners 5 gallon were also 0, so they must have cycled over night! So we did water changes to get the nitrates down and now my nitrates are at about 5ppm, so we are off to the store to get our first fish now. Ive decided that since these are the first fish I will put them in the main tank and then if something happens I'll move them to quarantine since hopefully I'll have more time to set it up and get the proper filter.
 
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Matt11711

Member
Further update, got to the petco and there were 3 CPDs left in the tank, 2 of them dead. So good thing I didn't get those ones haha. Didn't look like any illness, just stress. I'll have to order them online I guess or just give up. I went to the mall lfs and got some nerites, and tomorrow I'll go back and get a clown pleco. Still need to figure out something else for this tank though. Thanks for the advice everyone!
 

SM1199

Member
Matt11711 said:
Further update, got to the petco and there were 3 CPDs left in the tank, 2 of them dead. So good thing I didn't get those ones haha. Didn't look like any illness, just stress. I'll have to order them online I guess or just give up. I went to the mall lfs and got some nerites, and tomorrow I'll go back and get a clown pleco. Still need to figure out something else for this tank though. Thanks for the advice everyone!
WCMMS are another small, beautiful community-friendly fish that are a bit easier to find than CPDs
 
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Matt11711

Member
SM1199 said:
WCMMS are another small, beautiful community-friendly fish that are a bit easier to find than CPDs
Does that stand for white cloud minnows? I thought those were cold water fish.
 

SM1199

Member
Matt11711 said:
Does that stand for white cloud minnows? I thought those were cold water fish.
Yes, and technically yes. So are CPDs depending on who you ask which is why I mentioned it - just in case you were running your tank without a heater. I keep my CPDs without a heater. If you end up keeping just one species of fish and you decide on WCMMs, you can just pull the heater - most inverts are completely fine without one.
 
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Matt11711

Member
SM1199 said:
Yes, and technically yes. So are CPDs depending on who you ask which is why I mentioned it - just in case you were running your tank without a heater. I keep my CPDs without a heater. If you end up keeping just one species of fish and you decide on WCMMs, you can just pull the heater - most inverts are completely fine without one.
Yeah I was looking at the CPD temp ranges and found it weird that a lot of places listed the range as like 72-80, and then some places said they wanted like 67-72. I'll look into them some more, thanks for the suggestion!
 

SM1199

Member
Matt11711 said:
Yeah I was looking at the CPD temp ranges and found it weird that a lot of places listed the range as like 72-80, and then some places said they wanted like 67-72. I'll look into them some more, thanks for the suggestion!
My guess is they're more adaptable than they're given credit for! I believe at one point I did have a heater in that tank and they were fine and happy. Right now it's in the upper 60s and they're fine and happy. Probably 65-80 comfortably.
 

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