What is happening? Really need help!

Discussion in 'Aquarium Water' started by redgal, Dec 30, 2009.

  1. redgalValued MemberMember

    I was hoping to come on these forums after Christmas and share about my wonderful 3 new tanks but instead I'm really needing help. I will update my info soon ( haven't had chance yet) but here are the details:

    Tank 1 5g mini-bow for daughter, tetra whisper internal filter 2-10i, regular gravel, silk plants: male betta, 1 tiny otto, 1 apple snail ( orginally had two tiny ottos but one died). All get along great.

    Tank 2 5g glass, tetra hush 10 filter, eco-complete, driftwood and fake plants ( hoping to put real in soon): male betta, two very small peppered cories ( baby size). All co-habit very well.

    Tank 3 10g glass regular size: tetra hush 20 and tetra hush 5 filters, carib-sea instant aquarium moonligt sand for freshwater, driftwood, fake plants ( hoping real soon): 1 dwarf blue gourami, 4 small harlequin rasboras, 2 small peppered cories, 1 medium bronze cory. All seem happy.

    Heater in each of them. I don't see any signs of stress other than my one betta has fin rot - and came with it.

    I uses tetra safe start to supposedly cycle each tank. I set tank 1 up first and at the end of 7 days I tested the water and found .25 ammonia, 1 nitrites 0 nitrates and my dead otto :( and my betta's fin rot looking worse. I assumed the TSS did not work and began daily 50% water changes with Prime. I have done them now for four days and before today's water change the readings are: just under .25 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 0 nitrates. All fishes been fasted for 24 hours too.

    Edit: tank 1 ph is 6.4-7.4, tank 2 and 3 are 7-7.4

    On tanks 2 and 3 after two days of TSS, fish and no substrate, my substrates finally arrived and I added it to the tanks. Fish looked much happier. Then, 7 days with TSS I found both to have ammonia at 1ppm and 0 nitrites and 0 nitrates on both of them. Again, I assumed the TSS failed so I also began 50% water changes on both of them using prime. This is now the 3rd day of daily changes with prime and yet my aminia is still reading 1ppm and nitrites and nitrates. I know I overfed them for a while - I am new to feeding fish other then bettas and messed it up. I have fasted them for 24 hours now.

    I originally had snails in all tanks but pulled them out as I was seeing them poop a lot and they are in their own temp tank now.

    I have used TSS in the past with awesome results so I don't know what I did wrong. I feel like I suck at this and wondering whether just to return all the fish and sell my tanks. I tried so hard to get it all right...you know looked into everything carefully, got a great heater and substrate for them...ach! Now it looks like I am cycling with fish which is heartbreaking.

    I'm testing the water several times day and waking up at night to check on the fish - I'm totally stressed out. If anyone can tell me what is happening/where I went wrong and what I should do I'd really appreciate it. Shouldn't I be seeing a reduction in ammonia by now and some nitrates?

    I am using API master test kits.

    Thank you so much for any thoughts.

    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009
  2. ShawnieFishlore LegendMember

    that sounds like all 3 failed you :( im sorry for that
    can you test your ph? below 7 ph, would have starved the bacteria in the TSS
    can you test your tap water for ammonia ?
    and whats the lot #'s on your test kit bottles? maybe they are old kits?
    what size bottles did you buy for each tank? maybe it wasnt enough?

    not suggesting any of these are going on, just some questions to maybe help find the answers...seems all 3 bottles shouldnt have just failed unless maybe the TSS wasnt stored right..did you get all 3 bottles from the same place?

  3. LucyModeratorModerator Member

  4. redgalValued MemberMember

    Thanks Shawnie, yeah, I thought the TSS had failed too. I realize one bottle was out of date when I later went back and checked it and the other two were shipped to me in date but then I guess we have freezing weather here so maybe that did it. I've ordered some more too, but it might be useless now. I used 70ml on the 10g and 50ml in each 5g.

    My poor fish...I guess this is going to be hard on them for a long time now :(

    I should just continue with 50% water changes daily with prime until I see 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and some nitrates right? Where would you guess I am at in the cycle?
  5. LucyModeratorModerator Member

    If you're using prime with TSS, that could be the reason it failed.
  6. redgalValued MemberMember

    Thanks Lucy, yeah I read that awesome Q & A so I did not initially use Prime when I added TSS but just regular stress coat ( not the plus). But now of course I'm prime-ing like crazy. So, I did not use prime for 7 days after adding TSS like the article suggested.

    In the Q& A it does say that the ammonia and nitrites will be at 1ppm for a couple of weeks and not to do water changes for 2 weeks, but the ammonia is worrying me sick so I couldn;t sit back any longer...maybe it was working but just taking time.

    I think also I added too many fish at once, overfed them and I guess I am overstocked a bit, though I did check it on AqAdvisor thingy and my 10g is 100% now ( that's also why I took out the snails 'cos I figured at this point I need less bioload)
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009
  7. ShawnieFishlore LegendMember

    lucy gave a great link for you to go over to see if anything might apply to your situation ...I hope you can find something to explain it ...

    I do know you have to use an entire bottle on each tank...splitting it up isnt recommended by tetra as you dont know what parts of the bacteria are left in the unused portions and what has gone in the tank.....did you split up bottles or use an entire size on each tank?

    without nitrates, you are still at the beginning phase..but did you really bang that number 2 bottle on the nitrates ? it has to be smacked on a hard surface for a few to mix up those crystals..maybe you do have nitrates and didnt bang it hard enough? id test again to be sure.....

    yes daily water changes with prime are a must to keep the fin babies safe ....good thing is your dont have too large of tanks so it wont be a ton of work...but I do realize its awful loosing fish and I hope it gets better soon!!
  8. redgalValued MemberMember

    I used two separate 50ml bottles but only 60ml of one 100ml bottle in the 10g...had no idea i shouldn't break up a bottle... I think TSS should tsrat giving detailed printed instructions with their product and next time I'm cycling the proper way. Shoot!

    My poor fishes are paying the price, how awful to be at the start of the cycle for them, OMG :(

    Do you think in the first 7 days when I didn't test, I could have had nitrates and maybe was cycled?...okay maybe a long shot.

    I'll go and re-test the 'trates and another water change - I don't mind the work at all, all I'm worried about it my poor babies. I'd change it 5 times a day if needed!
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009
  9. ShawnieFishlore LegendMember

    test your tap water too for ammonia/nitrites....sending you a ton of goooood fishy cycle vibes!
  10. redgalValued MemberMember

    I don't know where I'd be without you guys! I was hoping you both would be around ;D

    Okay, tested our tap water and surprisingly it is awesome! zero ammonia, nitrites and chlorine/chloramine....guess there is one big advantage of where we live, although of course I will still use prime.

    Hubby and I are debating the nitrate test in all three tanks ( and the ammonia in tank 1). I think it's 0 but hubby thinks it's boderline 5.0 in tank 1 and say about 4.0 in the other two. Also in tank 1, held up the ammonia compared to tanks 2 and 3 and I'd say it was almost zero so, before today's change:

    Tank 1: ammonia almost 0, nitrates 5, nitrites 0 Ph 6.4 high range Ph 7.4 been running for 11 days with 4 days of daily water changes at 50%
    Tanks 2 and 3 reading exactly the same: ammonia 1, nitrates 4.0, nitrites 0, Ph 7 high range ph 7.4 been running for 8 days with 3 days of daily water changes of 50%

    What is your opinion on my stocking level?

    Thanks again, you rock! I feel a little bit better knowing you are here with your experience and expertise.

    Edit: also removed the carbon form all filters last night and put in some floss but did not rinse anything...just worried about carbon leaching back stuff. Also, I am not gravel vac'ing, just doing water and maybe the odd poop from sand.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009
  11. Jackie FrostValued MemberMember

    I know how you feel. My TSS failed too and this is my 3rd bottle!:mad: My fish and snails are also in it for the long diificult haul! I want to start the water changes with Prime, like you're doing, but when I did that for a month and a half with my goldfish Molly, I never got the ammonia less then 0.25 and the tank never did cycle. Molly ended up dying due to cycling stress. Now I'm not sure what to do. You know what they say about doing the exact same thing but expecting different results ...But that's the subject of another post. I didn't mean to get off topic. Good luck to you and be sure to post your results.;)
  12. ShawnieFishlore LegendMember

    your doing great!!!!!! and getting much closer....keep up the changes and congrats for both of you and your patience!!!!!!!!!!!

    stocking IMO ...
    tank 1 is fine if the betta is playing nice with the otto and snail...keep an eye on him though as that can change fast...
    tank 2...again same as tank 1
    tank 3....your cories are going to get large and i think will run out of space....and your dg will probably get more grumpy the older he gets from lack of territorial space he can take over....so watch that tank

    so overall, not too bad but the 10g is going to need an upgrade to a 20 very soon...(even bigger if you can find one )
  13. redgalValued MemberMember

    Thanks so much Shawnie...I'm already looking out for a bigger tank, (gee I have this MTS really bad!) as I think they would be happier. For now, the bettas are getting along great with their tank mates. I put the bettas in last and chose a 'docile' one of for each tank...so far, so good on that front but I'm keeping a careful eye out.

    Okay, my betta in tank 1 has fin rot, probably cycling stress :( . He looks great otherwise. I also just covered the intake filter with sponge as I've seen him get a bit caught up in it, decor is all soft. Also daily 50% water changes with prime, stress coat, vita chem and adding some garlic juice and hoping I can avoid medicating him. Not sure I understand why I have today's reading of: ammonia .25, nitrite 0 nitrate 0...feel like i have gone backwards on this one. :( ??? The only thing I can think of was that my heater wasn't working where i had placed it for a couple of days so after moving it and the water getting back to where it should be....I now have ammonia and no nitrates??? grrrrrrrrrrr

    Tank 2 - everyone looks good and today's readings are: ammonia 0 nitrite 5, nitrate 4-5, daily 50% water changes. This tank looks like it's beginning to cycle right? ???

    Tank 2 - everyone looks good...readings today were : ammonia 1, nitrite 0, nitrate 0 with 50% changes. So got no nitrates today...where'd they go????

    I banged that #2 bottle hard for 2 mins but still no nitrates

    Oh man, this is so stressful. I'm assuming the 50% changes are not too much?

    JF, sorry to hear about Molly, a month and a half of 50% changes with prime and she still died? That sucks.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2010
  14. ShawnieFishlore LegendMember

    you will go up and down while cycling with fish..every time you do a water change, it will happen and thats why it takes longer...but its best for the fish...:( DONT LOOSE FAITH!!!!!!!!!

    just keep up daily with water changes and your other additives..which are GREAT btw! especially the prime to keep them safe...

    dont medicate mr betta just yet....the daily changes with the prime, stress coat, and garlic will do wonders for him...the medication can kill any bacteria you are getting from the cycle process and you dont want to go backwards...

    when i cycled with fish, it took me 9 weeks..it wasnt fun but the daily changes are needed to keep them alive....

    maybe for your sanity, dont test for a few days? thats what i had to do or i was going nuts!!!!!!

    sometimes they will pass as fish that arent totally healthy to begin with , cant always handle the cycle process..ill be saying a ton of fishy prayers for you and yours!!!
  15. MeenuFishlore VIPMember

    Hi Red, I just wanted to say that I'm rooting for you. It took me 4 bottles of TSS to cycle my tank, but each time it didn't work, it was my own fault. I just also know how all the stress feels, and I am sorry you are going through it. *hug*
  16. redgalValued MemberMember

    Thanks again Shawnie, good to know I'm doing the right things and, okay, I'll try to resist the urge to test tomorrow....lol!!!

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