The newbie didn't cycle her the nitrites are crazy high.

  • #1
Okay! Hey fishy peoples! This is my first thread post and I must say I am a very inexperienced fish keeper, just started my first tank at the beginning of this month, and everything has been just dandy, until a few days ago.

First off, here's what my tank is stocked with:

7 neon tetras
3 silver-tipped tetras
2 nerite snails
1 happy betta
1 dwarf clown plecos
and assorted easy-to-care for beginner plants

Recently, one of my neon tetras has been frantic and losing its color, at first I thought "oh no it's NTD!" so I took him out of the tank and put him in a very professional plastic cup.
However, he was one of my smaller ones, so of course he'd be more sensitive, right? This brings up the entire reason I'm posting this---
Just today, I picked up the API freshwater test kit and took some readings.

Ammonia-0 ppm
Nitrite-that pretty purple color between 2.0 ppm and 5.0 ppm.
Nitrate-10 ppm, which now after reading the thing on the nitrogen cycle, I understand it's not harmful, right?

Anyways. I guess my question I'm going to ask is, what can I do about my pathetic looking neon tetra?? Is there any way I can help him make it through? I'm already really attached to those little guys, I know, not good, seeing the situation I'm in.

I've used Prime and done a 50% water change, I've also added API stress zyme and stress coat, what else is there to do? Do I just wait it out and pray for the best?
Oh yeah, and I added a few granules of API aquarium salt, I would've added more, if I had not been concerned for my super pretty snails, they're the best.
Thanks in advance for anyone who replies to my newb-ish post.
  • #2
Post as clear a photo as you can. That may help us out.
I doubt plecos do well with salt. If I'm correct most catfish species don't. I wouldn't add any more.
That nitrite spike looks like a normal part of getting your tank cycled, but yes, it could easily be hurting a small neon. You said you did a water change...I suspect you can put him back in, but you will need to do daily water changes until your tank finishes cycling. My zebra danios used to get kind of crazy when my nitrites got too high, so that is probably the case. (Woohoo, mine are finally cycled!! No more daily changes!!)
Your pH is fine, just FYI. Nothing to worry about there.
The 50% change was a good step. I don't know about mixing stress zyme and stress coat. You might OD it that way. The prime was also good.

EDIT: I just got a look at your tank gallonage after reading the post after me. You are most absolutely overstocked for that size tank. It will be difficult to impossible to cycle with that many and packing them in so tight will stress them out. Definitely rehome the pleco and the probably the silver tetras....You might just want to go with, as he says, neons and snails or possibly your betta and snails.
  • #3
Welcome to Fishlore!

Daily 50% water changes with Prime will help to finish cycling the tank.

As for the tetra, what do you mean by "pathetic"?

Stocking wise, you're very overstocked. It will be harder to cycle this tank since the bio-load is very large. I would rehome the pleco, betta, silver tetras and just stick with the neons and the snails. You might even want to switch the neons out for something smaller. Like 6 microrasboras or 6 ember tetras.

EDIT: Nitrates are only harmful to fish when they are 40+ ppm. That being said, your 10 ppm will be perfectly okay for your fish.

Good luck!
  • #4
deff overstocked I would buy a bigger tank or take some fish back.

need to be doing DAILY water changes of 50% with prime to help with the nitrite. nitrite is very poisonous to fish I am surprised more fish haven't fallen ill.

you are close to a full cycle, so that's good

nitrate is fine, ph is fine.
  • #5
As for the tetra, what do you mean by "pathetic"?

I believe this is what she was meant:

Recently, one of my neon tetras has been frantic and losing its color, at first I thought "oh no it's NTD!" so I took him out of the tank and put him in a very professional plastic cup.
However, he was one of my smaller ones, so of course he'd be more sensitive, right?

On a side note, Stress Coat doesn't help you cycle your tank faster; it is just a water conditioner. In my experience, Stress Zyme has "beneficial bacteria" but I have not noticed it speeding up the cycling process. I have used SeaChem Stability in conjunction of SeaChem Prime to cycle my tank pretty quickly whereas some members of this forum would recommend Tetra SafeStart to accelerate the process (which I believe could be the better product based on some other discussion threads).
  • #6
Thread moved to Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle
Tigress Hill
  • #7
I see from your profile that your 9 gallon is very overstocked. I know I am about to repeat some things, but here goes:

-Your pleco requires a larger tank than what you currently have
-Your silver-tipped tetras NEED to be kept in schools of 6+
-Your tetras will nip at your betta's fins
-Plecos are catfish, and are not tolerant of salt
-Your nerite snails are fine with salt, as they naturally breed in brackish conditions

I would keep the neons and snails OR the betta and snails.

Just so you know, green neon tetras look almost exactly the same as regular neons, but are smaller. Maximum sizes- Neons=2 inches - Greens=1.5 inches
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
Wow! Thanks for all the quick replies! And thank you for the welcomes!
I'll put my neon tetra back in, being alone may be freaking him out too. Here's the photo-
It's far from what you would call a clear photo, but in all honesty, I tried. He doesn't look half as bad as he used to, there was a time when he was almost all white, he's improving, for sure! Think that's due to the Prime stuff I used today?
I'll continue with the water changes until I get a better reading for nitrite, hopefully my tank will be cycled very soon.
As for the being overstocked in my tank, all my other fish seem extremely happy, they're all colorful and healthy, and here comes the newbie quote that I'm sure you'll face palm upon reading. My LFS guy said that 12 fish was probably the max I could put in it, and, being me, I was like, "ok" and set my limit at exactly 12. He said something to the affect of "your tank will only support what it can handle, so if two of your fish die, that means that your tank limit is 10" . It's been a month and my fish are doing absolutely fantastic, except for the one tetra. So, you think my population will even out in my tank? I'd really rather not take any fish back to the pet store, seeing as they're really happy here. Not that I don't take your advice with a mentor-student matter, but I really would rather see how it works out, call it a newbie's learning experience for me, but I wanna keep it how it is.
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
Alright, I know I'm going against 4+ peoples' advice here, but I'm keeping my tank the way for now, my plecos will grow at Most four inches, so shouldn't it be fine?
And no more salt, gotcha. I mainly used it because I still had it from my tragic ordeal with my "betta in a bowl" experience. Good to know my snails won't be hurt. like I said in my previous post, I'm just gonna see how this thing plays out.
Forgot this:
fishhhhhhhhhhhh 250.jpg

My tetras are extremely peaceful (there's been no nipping thus far) and my betta surprisingly non-aggressive.
Tigress Hill
  • #10
Newbie luck. If you don't fix these issues NOW, you will have more later. Trust me on this one. Your betta and tetras may turn on each other at any time. At the very LEAST return the silver-tipped tetras. They will act strange in your insufficient number of them.
  • #11
Your pleco may be OK in size, but they do create a lot of waste, creating a probable strain on your bioload. Just something to consider.
Also, your tank is too small to keep both tetras and a betta, because once those hormones kick in bettas become very territorial and could murder your tetras in a space that small. I think she's right, you should at least return the silvertips.

Similar Aquarium Threads

  • Locked
  • Locked
Top Bottom