Will This Kill My Fish?

Jed

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I was diagnosed with old tank syndrome on another thread. High ammonia low ph high nitrates no nitrite. I have gravel, plants, small driftwood, rocks in my 10 gal. 2 mollies two KuhlI loaches. I did the recommended big change, 60% one day and 30% the following two. Only raised ph a little and lowered others a little. I tried to deep clean my substrate but couldn’t get it all. So, I got some CaribSea supernaturals sand, if I did a 60% td and changed substrate completely would my tank cycle or be ok? (Rinsed my filter in aquarium water 48 hours ago and added my first diy media to topfin hob. Old filters still in there to spread bacteria) . I will put fish in small bucket for a few hours till it settles. PS I made beginner mistake and added these fish in the day I set up my aquarium a year ago and they all lived so there toughies.
 

ystrout

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I'm confused as to why you had any ammonia after a year. That's the first issue.

Yes, changing your gravel will kill off bacteria. It won't kill it all though as the majority of the bacteria lives in the filter. I'd expect a minI cycle. This happened to me once when I boiled my substrate in attempt to kill a snail infestation. These minI cycles typically don't lead to nitrite spikes though, just ammonia. My guess is because there will be a backlog of ammonia, the nitrite consuming bacteria grows at the same rate the first stage bacteria grows. This minI cycle is completely manageable though and shouldn't cause any issues as long as you're diligent about checking ammonia levels and detoxing it with Prime every day for a week or two.

If you don't want to change your substrate, an easier way to bring up PH is to put crushed coral (calcium carbonate) in the filter.
 
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Jed

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ystrout said:
I'm confused as to why you had any ammonia after a year. That's the first issue.

Yes, changing your gravel will kill off bacteria. It won't kill it all though as the majority of the bacteria lives in the filter. I'd expect a minI cycle. This happened to me once when I boiled my substrate in attempt to kill a snail infestation. These minI cycles typically don't lead to nitrite spikes though, just ammonia. My guess is because there will be a backlog of ammonia, the nitrite consuming bacteria grows at the same rate the first stage bacteria grows. This minI cycle is completely manageable though and should cause any issues as long as you're diligent about checking ammonia levels and detoxing it with Prime every day for a week or two.

If you don't want to change your substrate, an easier way to bring up PH is to put crushed coral (calcium carbonate) in the filter.
Over feeding, deep gravel substrate, and a bit of over confidence in my bacteria is what I believe. Someone told me that my nitrates went up after a lot of buildup, which lowered my ph, which below 6 prevents bb from transforming ammonia. So I’ll do a large water change and change my substrate. Leave the filter and add some Marineland aquarium bacteria. Which I’m hoping will solve problem with good maintenance. Sound good?
 

bizaliz3

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My first suggestion would be to stop starting so many new threads about your tank's issues. It would be so helpful if all the info was in one thread! I see you have made several threads about this tank and your issues with it...

Secondly, I personally don't understand "old tank syndrome". If a tank has been well maintained, it should never crash. For instance...When people say "new tank syndrome" I believe it is related to an uncycled tank. When I hear old tank syndrome, I believe it is a tank that wasn't well maintained over the years. I don't think there is such a thing as old tank or new tank syndromes. That is not a "diagnosis" in my opinion.

What is your ammonia and ph? You may have mentioned that in one of your other threads...which is why having one thread for one topic is beneficial. :) You don't want to have to keep repeating what people in your other threads suggested! Every time you start a new thread on the same topic, you are essentially starting over again.

I would like to know the actual readings you have of ammonia, nitrates and ph. Rather than "high" And "low".
 
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Jed

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bizaliz3 said:
My first suggestion would be to stop starting so many new threads about your tank's issues. It would be so helpful if all the info was in one thread! I see you have made several threads about this tank and your issues with it...

Secondly, I personally don't understand "old tank syndrome". If a tank has been well maintained, it should never crash. For instance...When people say "new tank syndrome" I believe it is related to an uncycled tank. When I hear old tank syndrome, I believe it is a tank that wasn't well maintained over the years. I don't think there is such a thing as old tank or new tank syndromes. That is not a "diagnosis" in my opinion.

What is your ammonia and ph? You may have mentioned that in one of your other threads...which is why having one thread for one topic is beneficial. You don't want to have to keep repeating what people in your other threads suggested! Every time you start a new thread on the same topic, you are essentially starting over again.

I would like to know the actual readings you have of ammonia, nitrates and ph. Rather than "high" And "low".
My apologies I’m new to threads and didn’t know if old ones were visible unless you searched. These are my readings as of right now ammonia 3 ppm, nitrite 0 ppm, nitrate 15ppm, ph 6.2. Before large changes it was below 6 ph, ammonia 8ppm or over, 0 nitrite, 80-160 ppm nitrate.
 

bizaliz3

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Jed said:
My apologies I’m new to threads and didn’t know if old ones were visible unless you searched. These are my readings as of right now ammonia 3 ppm, nitrite 0 ppm, nitrate 15ppm, ph 6.2. Before large changes it was below 6 ph, ammonia 8ppm or over, 0 nitrite, 80-160 ppm nitrate.
No apology necessary! I'm just trying to support you in getting the best advice which will require as much info as possible. So keeping it together benefits you greatly!!
 

ystrout

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Jed said:
Over feeding, deep gravel substrate, and a bit of over confidence in my bacteria is what I believe. Someone told me that my nitrates went up after a lot of buildup, which lowered my ph, which below 6 prevents bb from transforming ammonia. So I’ll do a large water change and change my substrate. Leave the filter and add some Marineland aquarium bacteria. Which I’m hoping will solve problem with good maintenance. Sound good?
Ahh. Yes, overfeeding will increase ammonia if a bunch of food is rotting on the bottom. Also make sure to squeeze out your filter media in a bucket of tank water every few weeks as a bunch of gunk builds up in there and rots. It sounds like you did this, but it needs to be done every couple weeks with HOB filters and every month on canister filters.

So if you change the substrate for something that will help with PH, just make sure to monitor your water parameters and take any safety actions that are necessary...

My understanding is that old tank syndrome is just when you do water changes that are too small and nitrate builds up over time, or you don't do water changes at all and just top offs, and the nitrate remains in the tanks.

Easy fix... A couple big water changes and then do bigger water changes going forward. Sounds like you're doing that already! Check your nitrate level ever month and make sure it never gets over 20 ppm.
 
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Jed

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Ok I’m going to do a 60% change today and change substrate entirely. I will follow up with daily 30% assuming I will have a minI cycle. And I’ll report back in a few days. Also I added bio rings and a sponge to my hob filter two days ago along with the old Petsmart carbon cartridge to add room for bb in there. I’ll remove that old one in a few days, I’m hoping my media will be better then topfins cartridges at supporting the cycle as well as the fact that with sand substrate no nitrates will build up. Hopefully this will help keep a cleaner tank! Btw, someone said removing the carbon from my filter will promote plant growth and with no adverse effects? Is this true? Is carbon junk unless you remove meds?
 

ystrout

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Jed said:
Ok I’m going to do a 60% change today and change substrate entirely. I will follow up with daily 30% assuming I will have a minI cycle. And I’ll report back in a few days. Also I added bio rings and a sponge to my hob filter two days ago along with the old Petsmart carbon cartridge to add room for bb in there. I’ll remove that old one in a few days, I’m hoping my media will be better then topfins cartridges at supporting the cycle as well as the fact that with sand substrate no nitrates will build up. Hopefully this will help keep a cleaner tank! Btw, someone said removing the carbon from my filter will promote plant growth and with no adverse effects? Is this true? Is carbon junk unless you remove meds?
So the only filter media you have right now with bacteria on it is the carbon media? If so, you'll have to wait a little longer than a few days to throw that away and rely on the bio rings and new sponge. That may also cause a minI cycle...

But yes, carbon isn't important for most people. I don't use it. It also only works for about 3 to 4 weeks and the becomes "clogged" and doesn't do anything anymore. So if it was old carbon, it probably wasn't doing anything and wasn't affecting plant growth.
 
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ystrout said:
So the only filter media you have right now with bacteria on it is the carbon media? If so, you'll have to wait a little longer than a few days to throw that away and rely on the bio rings and new sponge. That may also cause a minI cycle...

But yes, carbon isn't important for most people. I don't use it. It also only works for about 3 to 4 weeks and the becomes "clogged" and doesn't do anything anymore. So if it was old carbon, it probably wasn't doing anything and wasn't affecting plant growth.
This is it, that’s the set up, and that’s the old floss/carbon cartridge that has bb
 

bizaliz3

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ystrout said:
My understanding is that old tank syndrome is just when you do water changes that are too small and nitrate builds up over time, or you don't do water changes at all and just top offs, and the nitrate remains in the tanks.
Which is exactly why I hate that term "old tank syndrome". that is not a diagnosis! That is not a thing! All it is, is the result of a tank that was running for a long time without proper maintenance.

Calling it "old tank syndrome" implies that it is a thing that happens to ANY old tanks regardless of how the tank was maintained. It almost implies that it is unavoidable and it is just a NATURAL thing that happens to old tanks. And that just isn't true. It happens to old tanks that were not well maintained.

So...essentially, "old tank syndrome" means poor water quality. It is not a natural occurrence and can be avoided.


If you ask me...based on what I have seen so far on this thread...I don't think you have enough beneficial bacteria in your filter to keep up with the ammonia being produced. So the tank is not fully cycled. Which would be in line with a new tank issue and not an old tank issue. BUT I haven't taken the time to read your other threads. So I don't have all the info here.
 
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Jed

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bizaliz3 said:
Which is exactly why I hate that term "old tank syndrome". that is not a diagnosis! That is not a thing! All it is, is the result of a tank that was running for a long time without proper maintenance.

Calling it "old tank syndrome" implies that it is a thing that happens to ANY old tanks regardless of how the tank was maintained. It almost implies that it is unavoidable and it is just a NATURAL thing that happens to old tanks. And that just isn't true. It happens to old tanks that were not well maintained.

So...essentially, "old tank syndrome" means poor water quality. It is not a natural occurrence and can be avoided.


If you ask me...based on what I have seen so far on this thread...I don't think you have enough beneficial bacteria in your filter to keep up with the ammonia being produced. So the tank is not fully cycled. Which would be in line with a new tank issue and not an old tank issue.
The tanks been running for a year btw, used to have more fish too(gave away bc I didn’t like them cramped), and it kept up for 10-11 months with perfect parameters, I think/hope my problem was detritus build up in gravel. Never stirred it up deep bc I have plants(when I did the other day it was horrible, all of my changes which totaled 120% over four days still didn’t touch it. If it was the case though I hope my new set up will keep up better combined with the smaller build ups in sand
 

bizaliz3

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Jed said:
The tanks been running for a year btw, used to have more fish too(gave away bc I didn’t like them cramped), and it kept up for 10-11 months with perfect parameters, I think/hope my problem was detritus build up in gravel. Never stirred it up deep bc I have plants(when I did the other day it was horrible, all of my changes which totaled 120% over four days still didn’t touch it. If it was the case though I hope my new set up will keep up better combined with the smaller build ups in sand
I apologize by the way. I wasn't implying you poorly maintained your tank. I'm just pointing out that it is a water quality issue. Not a "syndrome". Lol
 
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bizaliz3 said:
I apologize by the way. I wasn't implying you poorly maintained your tank. I'm just pointing out that it is a water quality issue. Not a "syndrome". Lol
No your good I’ve seen that debate on my other threads, I just use the term because so far people understand what’s going on when I say it.
 

ystrout

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Jed said:
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This is it, that’s the set up, and that’s the old floss/carbon cartridge that has bb
If it all fits, I would leave it all in there. You can throw away the floss/carbon in a couple months. But during this transition, I wouldn't throw away any media with bacteria on it.
 
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ystrout said:
If it all fits, I would leave it all in there. You can throw away the floss/carbon in a couple months. But during this transition, I wouldn't throw away any media with bacteria on it.
Ok after it spreads I planned on adding another sponge to completely get rid of carbon unless I ever need it
 
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Jed

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So I changed it all yesterday. Yesterday the ph was 7 now it dropped back down to 6, ammonia still around 3 ppm, nitrites still 0 and nitrates dropped to like 5 ppm. What’s happening why won’t my high ph stay and why won’t the ammonia drop??? Should I do another 60% today??
 

ystrout

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I think I know what's going on.

First off, check the parameters of your tap water. Is there any nitrate or ammonia? If there's no nitrate you're probably not completely cycled, but you're partially cycled. That could be from changing the substrate. If you haven't done that yet, I don't know why you're not cycled since tank has been up a year. Either way, it's not FULLY cycled.

If there is 5 nitrate in the tap water, you're not cycled at all and somehow all your bacteria died. I don't think this is the case. I really don't. But if this is the case, you'll need to re-cycle the tank.

Here's what I think is happening:
You're getting ammonia because the tank isn't fully cycled. Now that you but more filter media in there, the bacteria colony will grow and you'll be fully cycled soon. But because your tank is partially cycled, it is consuming ammonia through the process we refer to as the cycle but also known as "nitrification". Nitrification lowers the PH of your water. The amount the PH is lowered depends on a few factors, primarily KH. The fact that your PH is dropping by 1 indicates to me that you have relatively low KH. You can fix this by increasing the KH by either using crushed coral, that substrate you were talking about, or even by using SeaChem alkaline buffer. Using alkaline buffer will allow you to get the PH and KH exactly where you want, but you'll have to use it every time you do water changes going forward.

I have very high PH tap water of about 8. But the PH in my tank is always around 7.5 to 7.6. It lowers because of nitrification, but it only drops a few PH because I have high KH of around 12 to 14.
 
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image.jpg Ya I’ll test the tap water and come back, I believe there was ammonia in it last time I tested too. I’m hoping I can even grow bacteria though because I thought I heard they won’t below 6.3 ph or something? I’ll see if any shops carry the coral near me.
 

ystrout

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Jed said:
image.jpg Ya I’ll test the tap water and come back, I believe there was ammonia in it last time I tested too. I’m hoping I can even grow bacteria though because I thought I heard they won’t below 6.3 ph or something? I’ll see if any shops carry the coral near me.
I've never heard that.

But if that is true, I'd consider just using SeaChem Alkaline buffer. Crushed coral will take some playing with since you don't know how much to use and it will take time to work.
 
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Yeah I’ll try that I’m going to the shops today, I’m gonna test the tap water as well and I’ll let ya know what I find.
 

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ystrout said:
I've never heard that.

But if that is true, I'd consider just using SeaChem Alkaline buffer. Crushed coral will take some playing with since you don't know how much to use and it will take time to work.
Crushed coral for buffering will work fine if you put enough in. You can't overdose your tank with it because it quits reacting when pH reaches a certain point, somewhere around 7.2. Recommendations I've seen say that if it's used directly in the filter; 1 cup per 30 gallons tank water (because of water flow directly over it) used as part of substrate or loosely placed in a mesh bag in the tank; 1 pound per 10 gallons of tank water.
 
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I’ll probably add coral and use the buffer just for now, I only have a ten gal tank so it shouldn’t take much.
 

Momgoose56

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Jed said:
I’ll probably add coral and use the buffer just for now, I only have a ten gal tank so it shouldn’t take much.
Take care using a liquid buffer. To much of a change too fast will kill your fish faster than a high ammonia level will.
 

ystrout

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Momgoose56 said:
Take care using a liquid buffer. To much of a change too fast will kill your fish faster than a high ammonia level will.
Agreed.

A couple options is to increase the KH with SeaChem's buffer for the water you use during each water change. Or if you want to dose the entire tank then dose the water during each water change, make sure to take all the fish out and acclimate them over a few hours using the drip acclimating method.
 

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