updates on cycling plus an absolute mystery

Discussion in 'Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle' started by neonblue1980, Jul 17, 2014.

  1. neonblue1980Valued MemberMember

    hi everyone! thought i'd check in with my recent updates.

    absolutely nothing has changed, lol. my levels have remained the same as always:

    three zebras for cycling

    ammonia 0.25
    nitrites 0
    nitrates 5-10.

    sigh. lol! it's been, what, about a month and a half now, i think. which isn't a very long time for cycling, but still. i'm really wondering why i haven't seen any changes yet.

    now...for another mystery...this is a good one..brace yourself...no making fun of me!

    i sat on the couch last night and admired my fish swimming all over the tank. all three danios were happily schooling along the waters, up and down, around the trees, in and out of the barnacle and castle, etc. no agitation, no signs of stress. i turned out the light canopy and went to work the night shift.

    i came home this morning at 8 am. went to admire the fish and get my equipment ready for my weekly water change.

    ...one of the danios is gone. and i'm talking GONE. he is seriously nowhere to be found.

    i dismantled the filter - not in there.

    i removed the barnacle, seashells and castle from the tank - gave them a good shake upside down, had a really good peek inside each one - not in there.

    not stuck to the light canopy.

    i gave the gravel a careful, gentle stirring throughout the tank and did not uncover him, supposing he got covered in gravel somehow...well, he's not there.

    the heater is just a simple submersible wand shaped device - nothing he could get stuck in.

    i searched the outside of the aquarium - the table it's sitting on, the surrounding floor area, under the table, etc. nowhere to be found.

    it is worth noting that i don't have much in the way of decorations in the tank, just smallish ones, so i didn't have much to search.

    so i proceeded with my weekly partial water change. about 25% or so using a 5 gallon bucket. as i vacuumed the gravel gently, i had another really good hard look around the bottom, beneath the gravel, in the corners of the tank, etc. i rustled up all of the gravel hoping to find him. nothing.

    he's the biggest danio, and he's very fast swimming, very powerful, seems to be the ring leader at times. so...it seems unlikely that the other two would randomly chase him down and eat him. my other two danios are just a small torpedo shape and there is nothing about their bodies to suggest they consumed a large quanity of food. their bodies are still slender, not distended at all. but even if they chased him down and killed him....where's the body? mind you, i really don't think they'd have been able to do that. he was considerably more robust.

    i left for work last night at 6 pm. returned this morning at 8 am. when i left, there was nothing to suggest that any fish was sick or sluggish. they seemed perfectly normal. is that a long enough period of time for the other danios to.....i don't know...hunt him down, kill him, break little pieces off to eat bite by bite...seems unlikely. they have the smallest little frigging mouths i've ever seen. if he died and wasn't eaten, how long would it take for him to decay? i'm assuming he wouldn't just totally disintegrate into nothing overnight.

    has anyone ever had a fish go missing? what were your theories? did you ever solve the puzzle?

    it's a sad day today - i really loved those fish - but on one hand i can't help but laugh a little...i mean...i lost a fish. he's long gone. i can't wrap my head around it!

    i asked my husband if maybe the fish died and he took him from the tank and won't tell me because he doesn't want to hurt me, lol, but he said no. i seriously have my doubts he'd do that, haha. i was just taking a shot in the dark.

    one theory i do have...and i mean, this is taking a real shot in the dark...is that perhaps my eyes were playing tricks on me last night and there were only two danios in the tank. perhaps i didn't notice for the last few days that a danio was missing. that seems unlikely because i lay back watching them quite a bit and i'm not an idiot, lol. but...perhaps. perhaps there were only two last night. perhaps the other one died the other day or something, and his body was at the top of the water, in the front of the tank, behind the lip of the canopy...know what i mean? a place where i wouldn't be able to see him unless i physically removed the entire canopy, which i haven't done lately until today. and then he decayed and disappeared, lol. i know that's a real long shot but i seriously have no idea what else to think!

    Last edited: Jul 17, 2014
  2. LyfeoffishingWell Known MemberMember

    Well first how often do you check your parameters? It may be possible that your tank cycled and you never noticed. When I fishless cycled I totally missed my nitrite stage never registered any nitrites what so ever.

    On to the missing fish I totally am in the same boat as you. I had 11 cardinal tetras as my first fish and night one 3 died and I seen the other 8 the next day another one died and I only seen 6. To this day (2 weeks later) I still can't find him at all. I somewhat figured he died and all my snails are him at night idk how quickly they could dispose of his body though but oh well my parameters are fine and the 6 are still going strong.
  3. neonblue1980Valued MemberMember

    that's pretty much my only theory right now - that he died - and the others ate him. but he really was significantly more robust than the others. they'd have to work at that body for DAYS in order to break it down. i would have noticed by now if that were the case. also, they have remained slender with no distention at all.

    my parameters have always been a mystery. i used nutrafin cycle, which has mixed reviews. since using it, the parameters have never once budged. according to MY kit anyway. i took water samples into a local pet store and she used a different kit than mine and achieved different results that showed my tank was seriously unsafe. but i've been testing with my api master kit every second day since i got the tank so...i don't see how i could be wrong. i got the hang of testing, read the instructions thoroughly, doing everything exact, kit not expired, etc.

    even if it were cycled though, i think i'm supposed to see 0 ammonia, right? not even 0.25?

    one theory of mine is that the three danios just didn't produce enough waste to jump start the cycle. but...who knows.

    if the nutrafin cycle product worked....it was a three day treatment...that might explain why i didn't see a nitrite spike, and would also explain why i now have a healthy dose of nitrates in the tank...without seeing nitrates to form the nitrates...if that makes any sense...still though the ammonia is 0.25, which throws me for a loop. my tap water has 0 ammonia.

    also, my tank water is lovely clear. nothing to suggest that there's a ton of ammonia and random bacteria screwing around with the water.

    losing 5 out of 6 fish...that's pretty sad! what do you suppose happened there?! do you think the pet shop gave you some unhealthy fish?

    oh, and another thing to add regarding my cycling which i always forget to tell you guys. i used some media from an established tank when i got started with my fish food cycling, before i switched to fish in. someone squeezed all the filter media gunk into a bag for me, i brought it home, and dumped 'er in my tank. perhaps this is why nitrates are present...would it like, bypass the nitrite stage or something...? but..why, then, would there still be ammonia in my tank? and the pet store kit parameters are showing the tank as unsafe. so....yes, another mystery.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 17, 2014
  4. LyfeoffishingWell Known MemberMember

    Well actually I don't know if it was the problem but when I started losing fish I lowered my aquaclear to the low setting and that's when they started to school and relax a bit. Also they are the first fish in my tank and have been told cardinals are not too hardy when starting a tank
  5. neonblue1980Valued MemberMember

    i did a 25% water change 8 hours ago. just tested params. for the first time ever I've got 0 ammonia. 0 nitrites. 5 nitrates
  6. neonblue1980Valued MemberMember

    false information above - i'm assuming the 0 ammonia was because i had done a recent water change. later that evening it went back to 0.25. it's the 22nd of july now, so it's been approximately 7 weeks since i set up the tank.


    ammonia 0.25
    nitrites 0
    nitrates 5-10

    as you can see, absolutely no changes yet.

    is this like...a stalled cycle, or something...? i know that a cycle can take months to complete, but you'd seriously think i'd have seen some action by now (with the exception of nitrates forming).
  7. WitchydesignWell Known MemberMember

    Have you tested your source water? It could be whats giving you the .25 ammonia?

    As for missing fish, do you have any other animals in the house? Like a dog that would eat up a little snack on the ground?
  8. DaniosRockValued MemberMember

    There has been discussion lately that many People on here are having the same issue with API Test kit reading .25 ammonia. It seems that the test kit chemicals give this false reading even when no ammonia is present. My tank has had 0 ammonia only once in 4 months and every other time it's .25. I don't worry about it any more.
  9. WitchydesignWell Known MemberMember

    Honestly i have two ammonia tests. A neighbor was having issues with ammonia and the leveles were not making sense considering her fish were happy as could be. I bought one from seachem that tests ammonia and ammonium seperately. Eased our minds :) so if i get a positive from the api, i double check it with the seachem test.
  10. neonblue1980Valued MemberMember

    our source water is good.

    we do have cats, but there's no chance the fish got out of the tank. i have all the holes in the top completely covered for that reason. like the extra space around the filter hole, heater hole, etc. totally covered up. i still haven't uncovered the mystery of the missing fish, lol. i have absolutely no idea what to think.

    as of today, my levels are STILL 0.25/0/5-10. at least i'm not getting any major fluctuations in anything. my fish are incredibly active.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2014

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice