Water Test Results

Amnagrla

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Okay!  I know I've said before... my fish died because I had too much ammonia in the water...  Petco told me.   I ordered the API Master test kit and you guys told me to post the results when I got them...

Here they are!

pH  8.2
Ammonia  2.0
Nitrite  0
Nitrate  0
                 
         
Looks like ammonia is high and pH is high.  They guy at the store said to add 1 tablespoon of aquarium salt per 5gal of water every time I do a water change.  Is there anything else I should do??  Are my fish going to die?  :'(  And does it even look like my tank has cycled at all??   Hmph.
 

Luniyn

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It looks like you are only at the beginning stages of the cycle. It's up to you if you want to use aquarium salt in the tank, but I wouldn't keep adding it per water change. It's the up and down of salt levels in the tank that help the fish, so do a few water changes to lower the level and then do a water change where you add more salt. If you add each water change you will end up with fairly high levels of salt because you will be doing a lot of water changes over the course of your cycle and not removing all of the salt with each water change.

In any event, yes your pH is high. Not to high for your fish to get used to, but at that level you have a lot of your ammonia as the toxic "free" ammonia. If you have your tank at 77oF, with that pH and a 2.0 level of total ammonia, you have 0.1654ppm of toxic ammonia in your tank. A level of 0.02ppm is bad for your fish so you would want to be lower then that during your cycle. Unfortunately, at your pH that would mean that you would have to keep the total ammonia in your tank no higher then 0.2ppm which is going to be next to impossible at this stage of the cycle. I would highly recommend you get an ammonia detoxifier like or . You still have to keep the ammonia levels as low as you can, but you will have some breathing room and your fish will have a much better chance.

Right now do a 50% water change to get the ammonia level down, and then see which of the above (or anything that says it will detoxify ammonia will work) your local pet store has (PetCo will most likely have Amquel+). Note that these products also detoxify chlorine, nitrite, and nitrate, so you do not need to use any other tap water conditioner if you get one of these I listed above. If you want to try without any chemicals, then you will probably need to do 25% water changes every 12 hours to keep the ammonia levels as low as possible. But even then there is a good chance you will lose more fish before you get to the next stage of the cycle. Also try feeding them only once per day and only enough for them to eat in about 1 minute. If they still look hungry... ignore it. The less food you feed, the less ammonia they will produce which will help keep the levels low. Good Luck!
 

tan.b

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well done luniyn! how on earth do you work out the exact amount of free ammonia etc! anyway, do exactly as luniyn suggests and the best of luck. cycling with fish is risky and a lot of hard work! do as many water changes as you can to keep the ammonia down. keep testing and post them here so we can help you manage the cycle effectively and keep fatalities to a minimum. do not add anymore fish, even if some die, do not replace them til you have zero ammonia and nitrite. what fish are in there at the moment?
tan
 
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Amnagrla

Amnagrla

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Thank you!  I will do a water change tonight when I get home from work, no salt, and tomorrow go and pick up the Amquel+.  I'm already feeding the fish once every two days per suggestion of the Petco guy.  It seems like every other time I go there I get someone who knows what they are talking about, but all the rest, it's some clueless highschooler.  So thanks so much!  I'll post an update later to let you know how it's going.

I started this tank 2 months ago. Didn't add any fish for 2 weeks (per Petco guy request). Added 3 platys. They all died in april. Before they died, I added 2 balloon mollies, they are still alive. I wouldn't have added fish so soon if the Petco guy didn't tell me to, you know? Now Einstein and Pinto (the mollies) are at risk here!

Why do you guys think it's been about 2 months and my tank is still at the beginning stages of the cycle?

One last question.  I have the temperature set to 78o...when I do a water change, I run the water and play with the hot and cold to try and reach around that by just guestimation.  Is this necessary?
 

COBettaCouple

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Amnagrla said:
I started this tank 2 months ago. Didn't add any fish for 2 weeks (per Petco guy request). Added 3 platys. They all died in april. Before they died, I added 2 balloon mollies, they are still alive. I wouldn't have added fish so soon if the Petco guy didn't tell me to, you know? Now Einstein and Pinto (the mollies) are at risk here!

Why do you guys think it's been about 2 months and my tank is still at the beginning stages of the cycle?

One last question. I have the temperature set to 78o...when I do a water change, I run the water and play with the hot and cold to try and reach around that by just guestimation. Is this necessary?
How long did your tank sit with no fish in it? If your tank had cycled, the cycle could be broken if a tank sits empty without any new ammonia source.

The closer you match your water temp the better, we do the same when we fill our water jugs to treat them.
 

Luniyn

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With the temp, on a 10 Gal tank, yeah it's best to get the water as close as possible so you don't end up changing the temp drastically in a matter of minutes (any change of any kind is stressful to fish, some more then others but still they like consistency). In a larger tank, doing a 20% water change doesn't make as much of a difference because unless you are adding boiling water (or ice water) the temp isn't going to move all that much. Also the more water you change the more you need to be close to the same temp. I.e. during that 50% water change it is much more important then during the 20% smaller changes.

As to why your tank hasn't cycled, it's hard to say. Some people cycle in a few weeks while others take months, just the nature of the beast. Also when you lost all of your fish, how long was the gap between the last fish dying (and being removed from the tank) and you adding the new fish? If it was too long then all of the ammonia in the tank would have been consumed by the good bacteria you had growing and when it ran out they would have all died off due to starvation. That could end up starting your cycle all over again. But there are a number of reasons why and it's hard to say without knowing every single in and out of what has happened with the tank and what it's levels were.

As to how to calculate the ammonia of toxic ammonia in the tank, it is a very long and complicated calculation that I go through that involves 3 hours of work using 4 calculators, 7 computers, 3 rocket scientists, 4 candy bars, a hydro-synthetic tachometer, a fishing pole, a torque calibrated seismograph, and a monkey named Steve. Then I just go to and use it's calculator ;D.
 
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Amnagrla

Amnagrla

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Let's see. I started with 3 fish. 1 died (jumped out of the tank) and I put 2 more in . So I had 4... one died, then another. There are 2 left. So there was never a point where there wasn't 2 fish in this tank.

Thanks for all the help!
 

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Others can confirm this, but I've always known it as a bad idea to use hot tap water as part of a change. Hot water has more heavy metals in the water than cold water does. You may be better off with just using plain cold water out the tap. Worst case is run the cold side for a little while to get stable temp. cold water coming out the tap.
 

sgould

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As to how to calculate the ammonia of toxic ammonia in the tank, it is a very long and complicated calculation that I go through that involves 3 hours of work using 4 calculators, 7 computers, 3 rocket scientists, 4 candy bars, a hydro-synthetic tachometer, a fishing pole, a torque calibrated seismograph, and a monkey named Steve.
 
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Amnagrla

Amnagrla

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Okay. I did a 25% water change tonight and tested again.

Nitrite 0 (same)
Nitrate 0 (same)
pH 8.2 (same)
Ammonia 1.0(was 2.0)


I also noticed that there is algae!! Two months I've had this thing and I haven't had any algae yet, so that's a good sign, right!? ;D
 

COBettaCouple

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Amnagrla said:
Okay. I did a 25% water change tonight and tested again.

Nitrite 0 (same)
Nitrate 0 (same)
pH 8.2 (same)
Ammonia 1.0(was 2.0)


I also noticed that there is algae!! Two months I've had this thing and I haven't had any algae yet, so that's a good sign, right!? ;D
Hmm.. we've started getting algae in 2 tanks lately also.. i'm not sure.. is it brown, perhaps diatoms?
 

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Amnagrla said:
I also noticed that there is algae!! Two months I've had this thing and I haven't had any algae yet, so that's a good sign, right!? ;D
off topic, but you're the most excited person i've seen about algae

gl on your cycling! there's plenty of help here as you can see
 
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Amnagrla

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Nope... algae is green. Well, I'm excited because I thought that means that the cycle is starting.. and I wanted to get an algae sucker guy but they told me not too until I got algae (of course I won't until my levels get better)...
 

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10 gal is a bit small for any algae eater. What kind were you thinking about? Remember to calculate your 1 " of expected adult size of fish per gallon of tank, so you don't overstock! You really do need to do 50% changes daily on water till your ammonia and nitrite are both 0 and nitrate starts going up.

The algae can just be a sign you have your tank in to much light. 10 hrs a day max, best in two sessions of 5 hrs each with 2 hours between. Algae is no ones friend. Good luck.

Land of the Midnight Sun 8)
 

tan.b

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WOW! this board has been busy since I was on here last night!
lunyn! you do amuse me!! there was I thinking you did have some complex maths going on!...not that you cheated!!! lol!
Amnagrla : good to hear your ammonia is coming down...your fish will be pleased! try to keep it below 1.0, lower if possible. above 1.0 and you are at high risk of fatalities.
algae I don't think is any sign of cycling. more a case of you having a lot of light and phosphates and nutrients in your tank which would occur simply by feeding you fish and doing water changes (fresh water carrying nutrients). you are right though best not get an algae eater unless you have algae as he'd get bored and hungry! oto's could be an option, but you are really limited with 10gal as that only gives you 10 inches worth of fish. see what you have at the end of your cycle (hopefully no more fatalities, but hard to say) and if you've space get an oto - the smallest algae eater I know of). I think they like tos school, but will be just as happy alone. anyone correct me if i'm wrong?!
keep up the good work and the water changes, your fish wil thank you for it! it will seem a doddle when you've cycled! keep posting your readings too!
tan
 

COBettaCouple

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Amnagrla said:
Nope... algae is green. Well, I'm excited because I thought that means that the cycle is starting.. and I wanted to get an algae sucker guy but they told me not too until I got algae (of course I won't until my levels get better)...
Do you have a quarantine tank for some otos (my recommendation for your algae)? Even 2 of them would be happy, but 3 would be better if you have room.
 
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Amnagrla

Amnagrla

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I know most algae eaters grow to be like 5" long so I was disappointed because I obviously don't want a tank with just one algae eater! But I went to the store about a month ago and saw these really little guys (could be the "oto" you're talking about). And they were SO cute just sucking on the tank... but the tag said they don't get any bigger than an inch! If he would be happier, I could definitely afford to add 2" of these little guys in my tank (when it's ready).. but I guess that's why my excitement for the algae. ;D

I'm off to the store to pick up the Prime and I will start doing 50% WC daily. Thanks so much!!


You know what I don't get?? How people can have a fish tank and not do/worry about half this stuff!? I TOTALLY had a 10gal tank when I was a kid full of guppies and little angelfish.. and I'm positive my parents didn't deal with any of this stuff.. My boyfriends dad has a 10gal tank with some sort of mini-shark in it.. he's at 5" now, he's all by himself in the tank... and his dad swears that "once the tank is established, don't touch the water!" So I'm pretty sure he hasn't done a waterchange in a year! There is waste down the bottom of the tank (yuck) and he said that every once in a while he will mix around the gravel and that way the "filter can get it". BUT his shark is thriving in this bad condition. He's 4 years old! It's just crazy...
 

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I think it just goes to show how tough fish really are, surviving through all that kind of stuff.

I think the only algae eaters you could really support in your tank would be something like an oto. but those little ones are full of personality (compared to larger algae eaters anyway )
 

vin

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As to how to calculate the ammonia of toxic ammonia in the tank, it is a very long and complicated calculation that I go through that involves 3 hours of work using 4 calculators, 7 computers, 3 rocket scientists, 4 candy bars, a hydro-synthetic tachometer, a fishing pole, a torque calibrated seismograph, and a monkey named Steve. Then I just go to this website and use it's calculator .
Try using Snickers Bars....That should bring you down to 2 candy bars.....Because Snickers satisfies..... ;D
 

tan.b

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Amnagrla said:
You know what I don't get??  How people can have a fish tank and not do/worry about half this stuff!?   I TOTALLY had a 10gal tank when I was a kid full of guppies and little angelfish..  and I'm positive my parents didn't deal with any of this stuff..   My boyfriends dad has a 10gal tank with some sort of mini-shark in it.. he's at 5" now, he's all by himself in the tank... and his dad swears that "once the tank is established, don't touch the water!"  So I'm pretty sure he hasn't done a waterchange in a year!  There is waste down the bottom of the tank (yuck) and he said that every once in a while he will mix around the gravel and that way the "filter can get it".  BUT his shark is thriving in this bad condition.  He's 4 years old!  It's just crazy...
I wonder this too!! my sis and my hubbys brother in law just got fish, got tank, put fish in tank and that was it! : I don't what their death rates are though :-\. my sis was baffled when I mentioned the words nitrogen cycle and water change! yet other friends who see my tanks think I need to empty each tank completely every week, wash the gravel, then replace water and fish etc! that would take days to do and the plants would be ruined not to mention the stress to the fish moving them about! - and the stress to me too! and are surprised when I say I just change 20% of the water every week and rinse out the filter every week. sometimes I miss a week on the filter in the understocked tanks ! I do believe though that a thorough understanding and proper care will lead to less disease and prolonged life expectancy and of course happier fish! tan
 

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