Wild And Crazy Water Chemistry

Centennial

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Okay, I need some experienced advice. I'm new to the forum, but not keeping fish.

I have a well cycled 100 gallon that held Oscars for 5 years until Mar (filtered with a Fluval 404, an FX4, and a Marineland P200 HOB). After sitting empty for 2 weeks, I started adding fish (5 Platys, 2 Mollies, 5 Rams, and BN pleco) over the course of another 2 weeks. Water chemistry was almost perfect, just a little light on GH. Then disaster struck; Ich. I raised the temp to 88 and started using Paraguard. I lost the mollies and 3 Rams but all seemed well.

Last Tuesday, I decided that I wanted to add Angels so, found the ones I wanted and bought a 10 gallon quarantine tank. Came home, used water, some decorations and the P200 from the 100 gallon to get it going and in the Angels went...all is good. Checked the chemistry and as expected, it was fine. On Wed, I noticed two different Platys flashing in the 100 but no spots.

So, I didn't want to treat the 100 gallon again and opted to move all of the fish to the 10g, treat all of them again with Paraguard, and let any theronts in the 100 gallon go hostless and die.

Today, I checked the chemistry in the 10 gallon after a 2gal water change and WHOA!!!
Nitrite 3ppm
Nitrate 60
Amonia .25ppm (liquid test)
GH 40
KH 60
PH 7.0

After all of that, here is where I need the help.
The cycled P200 should more than handle a 10 gallon even if overstocked with daily water changes (5 Platys, 2 Rams, 4 Angles (quarter sized) and a 2in BN Pleco). What is going on with the water chemistry/filter?

On a whim, I checked the now void of fish 100 gallon and while not as bad, it aint good.
Nitrite 3ppm (was zero a week ago)
Nitrate 40
Amonia Zero (dont understand how this is zero and NO2 is 3ppm)
GH 40
KH 30
PH 7.0

For the 10g, ill take another 2 gal out tonight. Is there a chance the Paraguard could be giving me skewed readings? Water in the 10 gallon is clear, fish don't act distressed (male Platy is still feisty).

Sorry it's long winded but history matters. I appreciate any help or shared similar experiences.
 

toosie

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Centennial said:
Okay, I need some experienced advice. I'm new to the forum, but not keeping fish.

I have a well cycled 100 gallon that held Oscars for 5 years until Mar (filtered with a Fluval 404, an FX4, and a Marineland P200 HOB). After sitting empty for 2 weeks, I started adding fish (5 Platys, 2 Mollies, 5 Rams, and BN pleco) over the course of another 2 weeks. Water chemistry was almost perfect, just a little light on GH. Then disaster struck; Ich. I raised the temp to 88 and started using Paraguard. I lost the mollies and 3 Rams but all seemed well.

Last Tuesday, I decided that I wanted to add Angels so, found the ones I wanted and bought a 10 gallon quarantine tank. Came home, used water, some decorations and the P200 from the 100 gallon to get it going and in the Angels went...all is good. Checked the chemistry and as expected, it was fine. On Wed, I noticed two different Platys flashing in the 100 but no spots.

So, I didn't want to treat the 100 gallon again and opted to move all of the fish to the 10g, treat all of them again with Paraguard, and let any theronts in the 100 gallon go hostless and die.

Today, I checked the chemistry in the 10 gallon after a 2gal water change and WHOA!!!
Nitrite 3ppm
Nitrate 60
Amonia .25ppm (liquid test)
GH 40
KH 60
PH 7.0

After all of that, here is where I need the help.
The cycled P200 should more than handle a 10 gallon even if overstocked with daily water changes (5 Platys, 2 Rams, 4 Angles (quarter sized) and a 2in BN Pleco). What is going on with the water chemistry/filter?

On a whim, I checked the now void of fish 100 gallon and while not as bad, it aint good.
Nitrite 3ppm (was zero a week ago)
Nitrate 40
Amonia Zero (dont understand how this is zero and NO2 is 3ppm)
GH 40
KH 30
PH 7.0

For the 10g, ill take another 2 gal out tonight. Is there a chance the Paraguard could be giving me skewed readings? Water in the 10 gallon is clear, fish don't act distressed (male Platy is still feisty).

Sorry it's long winded but history matters. I appreciate any help or shared similar experiences.
Some products can mess with beneficial bacteria...maybe Paraguard messes with the nitrite bacteria more than the ammonia bacteria?? I've never used it...only hypothysising, so hopefully others will chime in on that. It is strange that they both read the same amount of nitrites. Have you checked your tap water to make sure nothing has gone wonky with that? Seems unlikely but might be worth a test. And if it tests ok, I would perform a large water change.

Also...I know that heat treatment alone can be effective at getting rid of ich, but I would not use heat at the same time as a chemical because they can both affect oxygen levels which might account for your loss. With as much filtration as you have, I would like to think the 100 is well oxygenated, but it's possible the combination was still enough.

Sorry I'm not more help, but hopefully others have more to share with you.
 
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Centennial

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Thanks for the thoughts, I really do appreciate em. Paraguard is supposed to be safe for filters but I have no way of testing it at this point.
I did check the tap water on the 2nd change and it's zero for both Nitrites and Nitrates. Guess ill have to plan on 2 changes a day in the 10 until it all works out and just keep an eye on the 100 and hope it balances while it's empty.
Thanks again.
 

toosie

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Out of curiosity...why not add some paragard to some water in a bucket, at about the same rate as you have in your tanks, and then do a test on that? That would help determine if it is just some kind of chemical reaction or something else that would make zero sense to me. . But who knows!
 

Skavatar

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Centennial said:
The cycled P200 should more than handle a 10 gallon even if overstocked with daily water changes (5 Platys, 2 Rams, 4 Angles (quarter sized) and a 2in BN Pleco). What is going on with the water chemistry/filter?
No, it can not. It was 1 out of 3 filters in the larger tank. So it only has at most 1/3 of the beneficial bacteria that was handling the same bioload.
 
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Centennial

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Thanks Skavater,
I guess I was under the impression that the bacteria in a tank would eventually multiply and fill up all of the habitat that will hold them, not only in filters but on rocks, wood, decorations, etc. Kind of like mold in a bread bag, eventually it will cover everything.
 

Skavatar

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the bacteria do grow every where. but if you take something out you're losing a piece of the pie.

lets say each of your 3 filters has about 25% of the bacteria each, and the other stuff in your tank has about 25%. you took 1 of the filters and placed it in the QT, so it can only process 25% of the bioload. the other 2 filters plus the substrate/decor etc still has 75% of the bacteria.
 

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And all things considered equal, if bacteria can double in size in approximately every 20 hours, it has been replaced and back to 'normal' very quickly.
 
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Centennial

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Ah, go it. You are saying the percentage is in reference to the 100 gallon so the P200 is carrying, 25% of the load, more or less for the 100 gallon. The the P200 should be "full" or at capacity unto itself with respect to the bacteria. That is, it's holding all of the bacteria it can. The P200 is rated for a 50 gallon tank so if I move it to a 10g, there should be more than enough capacity to handle a slightly overstocked 10g. If my ammonia is up, there is enough food for the bacteria to survive.
 

toosie

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I believe what Skavatar is saying is that, the 100 g's beneficial bacteria developed to a degree that would handle the bioload in that tank...in other words, there is enough to keep up with the waste the fish produce, but it is divided up between all of your filter systems as well as on other surfaces in that tank. So taking out one piece of equipment...one filter...you can not expect there to be enough of a beneficial bacteria colony available in that filter to still be able to keep up with the bio load of the same amount of fish. Plus the ammonia is now all concentrated in 10 gallons instead of being diluted by 100 gallons, which provides bacteria less time to deal with ammonia concentrations than it would have in the 100, because concentrations would build up more quickly.

I had those same concerns, but what stumped me was the fact the same nitrite reading was being detected in both tanks.

I agree with Cichlidude about the colony growing quickly, so hopefully it will be big enough to handle the full bio load soon.

I do also question the decision to treat ich away from the main tank. I assume you still have the heat turned up on it. I just hope the fish won't get reinfected once transferred back.
 
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Centennial

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I see, low bioload in the 100 would mean low overall beneficial bacteria. So, the P200 was not "full" of beneficial bacteria and therefore, may not be able to handle the 10 gallon until the bacteria develop fully. Should know today or tomorrow if it can keep up. I hope so.
My reason for treating the Ich in a separate tank is to remove all of the hosts from the 100 gallon and let the theronts die off. That way, I know that the 100 gallon is Ich free for sure. The risk becomes reinfecting if I can't get rid of it in the 10g.

BTW, thanks everyone for your input. I do appreciate it.
 

toosie

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Centennial said:
I see, low bioload in the 100 would mean low overall beneficial bacteria. So, the P200 was not "full" of beneficial bacteria and therefore, may not be able to handle the 10 gallon until the bacteria develop fully. Should know today or tomorrow if it can keep up. I hope so.
Correct.

Centennial said:
My reason for treating the Ich in a separate tank is to remove all of the hosts from the 100 gallon and let the theronts die off. That way, I know that the 100 gallon is Ich free for sure. The risk becomes reinfecting if I can't get rid of it in the 10g.
Gotcha. I can't even remember the last time one of my tanks had ich. (Knock on wood). Pure dumb luck, I am sure. But I've always been told the main tank had to be treated. But I looked up your removal method, and that appears to work too, so I have learned something new today too. So thank you for that.

Centennial said:
BTW, thanks everyone for your input. I do appreciate it.
You're welcome.
 

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