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Chemistry problem on a cycled tank

Discussion in 'Cycle your Tank' started by Jan Cavalieri, Jun 13, 2019.

  1. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fish Fanatic

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    When I first got my aquarium set up (with plants, very little artificial anything) I used ammonia to start the cycle. It took about 3 weeks but I got to a point where I had zero Amonia, Nitrites and Ntrates. PH of -7 and it looked great. First round of fish - the only thing I ever saw change was Nitrates = which to me is an indicator of a dirty tank so I did a 50% water change, adjusted the PH a little and all went back to normal. Well I got new fish last Friday. The only thing I changed was that I fed them more (I just doubled the number of fish weight in the tank since 2 of them are really large fish.) I also started growing fresh brine shrimp which I guess they all like ok - frankly none of them like any of the food variety I give them - feeding time is exciting for them but not very. They do seem to like the bloodworms and brine shrimp. My Cory's and Blue Gourmii's are bottom feeders - for them I send down some heavy wafers which they all fight over and it takes forever for them to eat them they are so hard, but they are always gone by the next feeding.

    If the food isn't gone after a couple of hours I siphon away most of any extra food. except the pellets because it can take them hours to break them up. (I'll do that until I get the hang of how much to feed them).Now that I have the new snails I have no algae problem - truly amazing- my tank always looks great.

    My first test on the tank was 5 days after getting the new fish - so Tuesday. I wasn't too surprised that they read a little high in every category. So on Wednesday I did a 50-60% water change. Before I even started, I used my siphon to get to all the gunk in the hard to reach places (the Python isn't very good at that). I used the Python to clean the rest of the gravel and removed, and then replace the water. About midway during replacement I poured in a mixture of all my chemicals - Prime, Stability, Pristine and Flourish (for the plants) Had to put in a little PHdown

    I tested the water after all that and before I fed them and got some really strange results: Amonia=0, Nitrites=5 ppm, Nitrates 40 ppm , PH 7.2 - I l know the Nitrite and Nitrate readings weren't that high BEFORE I changed the water. So what did I stir up? All fish are well and accounted for, so unless one of the snails died (how do you know when a snail dies? I can't even find them all) I don't know why these readings should be so high after a water change.

    I measured everything today and had slightly better results - no ammonia, nitrites=1 ppm and nitrates=20 ppm, PH 7.2. So it settled down some. I've added more prime, pristine and stability and will test more tomorrow.

    Has anybody else seen their numbers get higher AFTER a water change?
     
  2. Byron

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    We will need more data here...tank size (volume and dimensions), normal water chgange schedule (frequency and volume), total fish (species and numbers). A photo of the tank will answer about the plants (species and numbers). And how long has this tank been running.

    While waiting for the above, there are some observations that will help. First, never feed more than the fish actually require. Sinking foods (pellets, disks, tabs) will take longer to break down and that is fine, but upper level foods (flake, pellet) should never be sufficient that you need to siphon out the remnants; this is overfeeding. These foods should be gone within seconds.

    Second, test your source (tap) water on its own for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. It is important to ascertain if any of these are entering via the fresh water or are occurring solely within the tank.

    Third, you are adding too many chemicals, and these should never be added together because some may interact, but even if not, the fish are being suddenly exposed to these chemicals and this does affect them because every substance added to the water gets inside the fish. And some of these are dangerous at best.

    "Pristine" I don't know, but assume it is some form of water clarifier. Never use any of these, never. Prime is a dechlorinator/conditioner, though I personally would not use this product except in new tanks, as it does "too much" and this is never advisable. Stability is not needed once the tank is cycled. Flourish I assume is Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement for the Planted Aquarium to give it its full name, and this is a good liquid fertilizer but use it a day following the water change; Seachem told me directly that conditioners like Prime will detoxify the heavy metal nutrients (iron, copper, zinc, manganese) in Flourish.

    The "pH Down" should never be added to an aquarium with fish. The pH is part of a complex chemistry including the GH and KH. The pH should remain stable...each of my tanks has its own pH to some extent, but over the last ten years the pH of each tank has never varied more than a couple of decimal places from test to test. The tank will establish its stability with respect to water chemistry. And these pH chemicals are detrimental to fish, maybe plants, and the system.

    At the water change, only use the conditioner; I highly recommend API's Tap Water Conditioner because it is highly concentrated so you use very little (half what Prime requires which does make quite a difference to the system) and it only does what is necessary. Use the Flourish Comprehensive Suppplement the day following, but only as much as needed (plant growth will determine this, more is not better if not needed). Discontinue the other mentioned additives. All of these can affect water chemistry, as well as the fish.
     
  3. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fish Fanatic

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    "We will need more data here...tank size (volume and dimensions), normal water chgange schedule (frequency and volume), total fish (species and numbers). A photo of the tank will answer about the plants (species and numbers). And how long has this tank been running."

    Is that all? LOL First I'll say I have to disagree about adding these water treatments when there are fish in the tank. Not one bottle suggest you remove the fish from the tank and then add it - or never add it again; most are there to keep the water treated - Stability and Pristine reduce ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. Stability also supports your biofilter. Prime removes chlorine and adds bacteria,- I have to use it when putting new water in. I usually mix them in a pitcher of aquarium water and add them slowly and stir - just like a soup. I'm giving these at the lowest dose recommended. Haven't lost but one fish on day 1 of adding fish (it was a Zebra danio) Ph got up to 8 which is the top of what some of my fish tolerate - we have VERY high PH water here so a big water change is going to affect the ph in a big way; If it was just 7.2 or something low like that (as it usually is) I don't add PHdown.

    May 10th - got the aquarium 29 gal acrylic tank (30x12x18) with a crappy light fixture, I removed that and bought a long wide strip of full spectrum LED's set on a timer of 12 on 12 off. My filter is AquaClear - it has a sponge filter, a charcoal filter and biofilter of pourous ceramic donuts. Just rinsed out a very disgusting sponge today - covered in plant matter and black stuff put it back in until it's time to change it out July 10th. I've changed the charcoal filter once since I've had the aquarium since that what the AquaClear instructions say to do.

    May 11th - set it up - seeding it with fish food and ammonia. The substrate is black clay from seachem recommended for live plants - had to rinse each quarter of a bag about 10 times to get rid of all the dust and I had 3 bags (45lbs of substrate since I was doing all live plants). I proudly had no dirty water from the substrate. Planted the plants I had - an assorted set from Florida and some spikey things I just removed because they shed and kept clogging up my filter.

    May 12th-May 28th - took readings every day and it went through a logical tank cycle. The nitrates were very high around the 25th so on May 26th I did my first water change - it ended up a little bigger than planned (60%) because I was just figuring out the Python tool - and removed more water than intended. Added the appropriate Seachem chemicals nearly daily - for example Prime says to add a full dose the first day you set up your aquarium then 1/2 dose for 7 days after that, and then another full dose or half dose after a water change (they say you can't hurt anything by adding too much)

    May 29th: I had zero's on all readings so I got my first fish locally:
    4 long-finned zebra danios (one died that night so I have 3 now, may get a couple more since they school),
    5 cherry barbs,
    4 Cory's- Juliii . Started at about 3/4" and are now easily 1 1/2 inches. They love me :)
    Did my second water change (about 40%) around June 6th because I was expecting some fish and snails from Arizona in a couple of days and wanted a nice clean tank. No issues - all values zero after the water change before that the nitrates were just a little high but ammonia and nitrites had been zero.

    June 9th: received my new fish from Arizona and 12 snails that only reproduce in salt water so I didn't have to worry about a population explosion'.
    New fish:
    2 Powder Blue Gouramii's- a LOT bigger than expected and they were supposed to be dwarfs. About 3 inches.
    2 Red and Blue Gouramii's (although they look mostly orange and black to me - hope that changes). About 1 1/2 inches.
    6 Harlequin Raspdoras - tiny little fish
    Ordered about 3 or 4 new (and much healthier) plants - mostly small ones.
    12 Nerite snails that have been doing an awesome job on algae - have virtually none since I added them.

    June 11th - saw the high nitrites and nitrates and did a 50% water change only to end up with higher nitrites and nitrates (ammonia is zero). This is what makes NO SENSE to me.

    As far as overfeeding - As a newbie I didn't want anybody to starve and initially overfed, I was just getting the hang of how much to feed but since I got this 2nd batch of fish and the cory's have all doubled in size I'm not sure what or how much to give them - also just got a brine shrimp grower and it's that and blood worms that make a mess on the edges of the tank and that's what I siphon off after a couple of hours. They love these things but I'm putting in too much. Some feedings they eat everything, other feedings they don't. Everything else falls to the bottom - The Cory's bottom feed as do the Powder Blue Gouramii's and usually the sinking tablets are still actively being worked on after everybody else is done eating because they are so hard. They are always gone before the next feeding as is all the excess food that fell to the floor. Before the next feeding I siphon out the "caves" just out of curiosity to see if the excess flake food and micro pellets were hanging out there - but they are always clean of food waste - just have a lot of plant waste. So the cory's and gourmiis are eating the bottom food like crazy. So I just need to cut back on bloodworms and brine shrimp.

    I have about 15-20 plants of various sizes I just got through arranging them all to the edges to free up the center of the tank for my schooling fish. My first group of fish were SO confused when I got more fish they couldn't school properly but since I moved the plants and they all are used to the tank - the dani's in particular school beautifully when they aren't picking on the smallest one - which is why I want to get 2 more to distract them. I have 22 fish in a 29 gallon tank but with about 3 inches of substrate and 45 pounds of rocks for caves and such. I also have about 15-20 plants mostly around the edges. I think I'm a bit over crowded, especially since the Blue Gourmiis turned out so big (I really did order "dwarf")

    So my question was why - AFTER a water change are my nitrite and nitrate numbers UP. I've done nothing different than what I have been doing other than feeding the brine shrimp. Going to do another water change this weekend and see if that helps.

    Not able to send a picture right now - have sent 5 to my email account and not a single one has gone through yet. Plus I can wait for the fish to be awake in a few hours and take a new picture. Fish don't show up very well since most are very small. I don't know if you can tell plant species but there are a lot of tall plants on the back and one side and some short plants up front leaving the middle free for playing.
     
  4. Byron

    Byron Member

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    You are free to disagree but that means you have no idea of fish physiology. I already explained that every substance in the water gets inside the fish; water is continually entering the fish via osmosis through every cell, and into the bloodstream. Aside from the biological fact that this is detrimental, the combination makes it even more so. Every responsible knowledgeable aquarist will tell you not to add substances that are not essential.

    Prime does not add bacteria, and it does mess with the biology. Stability is not necessary if the tank is cycled; but ity is always possible you are disturbing the nitrifiers with all these chemicals. Adjusting pH with fish in the tank is very dangerous. You need to let the chemistry sort itself out so it will be stable, meaning the GH and pH. If for some reason adjustment is then needed, the only way to deal with pH safely is to adjust the GH and KH as the pH is part of this.

    You should not have any need to reduce ammonia, nitrite and nitrate...if you do, that means you have compromised the nitrification cycle.
     
  5. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fish Fanatic

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    Finally got your picture for you. Actually I have a masters degree in Physiological Psychology (basically the impact of physiology on animal behavior) . Now granted my physiology coursework only covered fish to a limited extent and I'm sure their body chemistry is somewhat different than mammals but I'm not completely ignorant. Acquarium-1.JPG
     
  6. Metalhead88

    Metalhead88 Fish Fanatic

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    That's a nice looking tank.

    What kind of test kit are you using? Maybe you are getting inaccurate readings. Some of those test strips are just flat out awful. I really can't explain why readings would be higher after a water change. Maybe test the water straight from the tap to see if something is coming out that way.

    Honestly, you can do without pristine and stability. A tank that is properly stocked and has adequate filtration does not need that stuff. I think those boxes are checked on your tank.

    Ph up or down should not be used. Fish will adapt to a wide range of ph. The most important thing about ph generally is keeping it stable. If you add chemicals for ph the ph will go up and down as it is added and loses its effect. That's pretty much the worst thing you can do when it comes to ph. A weekly water change schedule will normally maintain a stable ph.

    Prime is good stuff in my opinion. It is a solid and trusted water conditioner.
     
  7. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fish Fanatic

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    Thanks for comment about my aquarium I do seem to have to move plants around a lot.

    I'm using test drops. Before I put any fish in the tank all the elements were at 0 as they should be - the only problem was Ph - it was over what the kit measures - somewhere in the 9's and 10's. My daughter gets the same result on her tank. With some exceptions most freshwater fish can tolerate 6-8 in PH so I got it down to 7 where it hovers a couple decimal points everytime I measure it. If the water had started at 6 or 8 I wouldn't have bothered messing with PH at all.

    1. Ammonia, nitrites and nitrates are all zero in our natural city water. PH has been problematic for years.
    2. I've had the tank stable for several weeks before this started happening, I'd say my regular schedule has been to change the water 50% weekly. Once maybe just 30% I am using the Python with a 50 ft hose. It is a royal pain - I can turn up the water in my sink as high as it will go (and I have good water pressure) and I don't get strong enough suction out of it to remove debris - I usually fight quite a while positioning the hose before it will even remove water. I usually use a turkey baster thing to siphon out debris in the gravel and I use a algae sponge (made for acrylic tanks) to wipe down the sides. The snails have taken it off everywhere else but for some reason refuse or can't stick to the walls of the tank.
    3. Tested the tank today BEFORE the water change:
    Ammonia: 0 ppm
    Nitrites: 1.0 ppm
    Nitrates:20 ppm
    PH 7.4
    4. Did a very good cleaning. Removed very little food other than some blood worms from the last feeding and a ton of little scraps of plant - drives me nuts.
    5. Tested the water AFTER the water change:
    Ammonia: .50 ppm
    Nitrites: 5.0 ppm
    Nitrates::20 ppm
    PH: 8.8
    Only solutions I added was Prime as the water conditioner and PHdown -none of my fish can tolerate PH's above 8.0. I added prime (mixed it with 1/2 gallon of aquarium water as the Python was filling up the tank.). Oh and while I was emptying the damn Python hose and coiling it up I found 2 dead Long tailed Zebra Danio's - both were very alive before the water change - all I added was prime. I lost one when I first got the set (1st night), then lost 2 today - over a month later - now I have 1 left. who is swimming around aimlessly looking for his schoolmates. Very sad. Then I did the measurements and saw why he is so sad - looks like I've kicked off a new tank cycle. Finally I added PH down mixed first in a gallon of aquarium water and got the PH down to 7.6 from 8.9 - none of the fish seemed to notice or care. I kind of think I may have killed the Danio's - two off them constantly chase each other around at a million miles per hour and have gotten caught in the tube before (that rarely has suction due to the 50 ft hose I need) so they never got hurt but I wonder if they just ran into the side of the tube - they died right next to each other. I've ordered replacements for the Danios, so I'm going to pick up a little 5 gal aquarium just for my Danio's to race around in (I think they piss off the other fish because they are kamakaizi swimmers. ) and I already felt that this aquarium had too many schooling fish in the middle of the tank ( cherry barbs, Harlequin Rasdoras) - it would just make you dizzy trying to watch. Eventually I'll get a 45 gallon tank or something and use the 5 gal tank as a hospital tank.

    Anybody else have any explanation for the change in the water stats? That's 2 water changes in a row that have increased the numbers instead of reducing them. The ONLY other thing I can think of messing with the tank are the brine shrimp I've been cooking up everyday. The eggs are brown pin head size, they are red pin head size - I guess I always thought they'd be a little bigger - anyway - I rinse them off as directed (they are in saltwater) then dump them in the tank where they become almost microscopic as they fall to the floor of the tank. So I wonder if they are not getting eaten - they are just animal debris that I can't see to clean out? That's the only new thing I've done since the last two water changes.
     
  8. seangee

    seangee Member

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    Just a thought...
    Have you tried testing the pH of your tap water 24 hours after it comes out of the taps. The EPA recommends that drinking water has a pH no higher than 8.5 but this is not enforceable in the US. However many water companies do mess with the pH for various reasons (most common is corrosion in the pipes) and the pH comes back to its "normal" value within 24 hours.
     
  9. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fish Fanatic

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    That sounds like a great idea. My daughter is fighting the same problem. Found some old online reports for Topeka water and they state that the PH was 10.1 or something horrific like that. A more current report says 8.8. When I try to measure it - it's higher than what my kit will measure. Will try setting a bucket out overnight and testing. Thanks. But in the end if I'm getting 8.8 readings in my tank for fish that tolerate 6-8 ph - what do I do? I mean it doesn't really matter what my tap water is if the tank water PH jumps every time I do a water change. Plus I don't get the big deal - I have not killed a fish yet, I always dilute the solution with at least 1/2 gallon water. I don't do dramatic changes all at once. Should I be removing all the fish from the tank and then adjusting PH? I'd just be putting them in another tank with the same PH issues. Believe me I'd really rather not mess with any chemicals for the tank they are expensive and they do concern me that I might be stressing the fish. I'm just going by what several books I read said to do in certain circumstances and they all want "Better living through chemistry" and use every tonic there is.
     
  10. Byron

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    Solely on the pH and nitrate. The pH first.

    Please do not use pH adjusting chemicals. These are harming your fish, directly and indirectly. "Directly" is comparable to a person breathing in some toxic substance every day--this can go on for perhaps years, but eventually it is almost inevitable it will end in sickness/death. Your fish's physiology is being compromised with every drop of this chemical, and that leads me to the indirectly: the harder fish must work to maintain their normal physiological processes and their metabolism, the more it takes out of them, weakening them. A shorter lifespan is always the result because eventually the fish just wears out/gives up trying to fight all this. I can assure you that by using this chemical now, you are impacting your fish regardless of what pH they might need/prefer.

    To the pH itself...there is a reason the pH of the source water is at thee level it is, and you must ascertain this reason before you can begin to deal with it safely (if at all). What is the GH and KH of the source water (not tank water, just the water straight out of the tap)? And the pH of the tap water alone? Remember to out-gas the CO2 or the test may be inaccurate; this can be done by letting a glass of tap water sit 24 hours before testing for pH, or by very briskly agitating a sample for several minutes. Once you/we know the GH/KH/pH of thee source water, we will have a better idea how to proceed. It is possible the GH/KH are high, which is one issue, and if so you will never lower the pH permanently without dealing with the GH and KH first. Or if not, they may deliberately add something to raise the pH--this is common in areas with otherwise acidic water because that can corrode pipes. Seangee referred to this. You could check with your municipal water authority to see just what is added to the water (chlorine, chloramine?, soda ash to raise pH, or whatever else).

    Every aquarium once established will have a basically stable chemistry, and this is crucial for healthy fish. The more we interfere with the water chemistry, the more chance the chemistry will not stabalize long-term, and that means not only poor fish health but the risk of a major problem that the system would otherwise avoid.

    Nitrates at 20 ppm is high. As this occurs after the water change, it suggests nitrates may be in the source (tap) water. Test the tap water alone for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate, just to know what you are dealing with. If nitrates are present in thee tap water, that is one issue; if they are occurring solely within the tank, that is another (and much easier to deal with).
     
  11. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fish Fanatic

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    This afternoon I tested water I took from my tap yesterday. Zero's on everything. PH reading darker than the 8.8 value on the test kit, again, Topeka reports said that Topeka's water in some parts of the city were "9.9" Their current reports lists it as 9.4 average and in some parts of the city up to 9.9 . None of my fish can safely tolerate a PH higher than 8. PH reductions to somewhere in the 7's were done on these dates:5/27 (NO fish in the tank) and on 6/11 when it jumped to 8.8 after a 50% water change. My assumption was that the new PH value was due to the 50% water change - since that water came from our tap which we know has a pH way over 8.8.- KH could have also contributed but since I couldn't test it back then we will never know. On that same day (6/11) I also had major changes in Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates which had never been a problem except for an occasional Ammonia increase for 1 day, or an increase of Nitrates due to a dirty tank - that always went away after a water change. But this time Ammonia was between .25 and .50, Nitrites were steady at 1.0 and Nitrates at 50! Very unacceptable (oh PH was steady at 7.2) Did another water change on 6/16 as a last ditch hope that everything would go back to normal because I was getting new fish the next day. I also cleaned the filter (which was disgusting due to plant debris) and while everything dropped somewhat - there were still unacceptable. values after that Ammonia was .25, Nitrites were STILL 1.0 and Nitrates were at 20 ppm. PH is fine at either 7.2 or 7.4 depending on the day. I stopped using all solutions except Prime (only when I do a water change) . To me it looks like my tank has decided to cycle again - no idea why (new fish?) , but I'm just letting it go through it and testing daily since nothing is really budging. I may try another water change, I'm also getting a little tank to move the Zebra Danio's into to lower the number of fish in my main tank as well as get some stress out of there since they behave very differently than the other fish - unfortunately I'll have to let that tank cycle before I can move them, at least this time I'll have the GH/KH/PH kit.

    So once I do get the test kit for GH/KH/PH then I can measure those. I will need some guidance on how to lower PH safely because as you can see the range of PH in Topeka is very high and way over the safe values for my fish. Our water is very hard (190 ppm) but we appear to be about average in the nation regarding alkalinity at 96. Now does water hardness mean that each time I try to lower PH I can expect a "rebound" to occur even without a water change or will enough H ions be used up that it should stay fairly stable? And since I do water changes once per week - I'm adding water with a pH between 8.9 and 9.9 back into the aquarium it's kind of a losing battle regardless of hardness and alkalinity (I'm actually surprised it's remained relatively stable after most (but not all) of my water changes. So I need to find a safe slow way to alter PH in the tank. Your thoughts?

    It's interesting - the book I'm reading now on salt water aquariums goes into great detail about the relationship between pH and water hardness and alkalinity but gives absolutely no advice on how to safely adjust it - which is probably even more critical in a salt water tank than in a fresh water tank (don't worry - I've already talked myself out of a saltwater/reef tank - not only is the chemistry fussy but the fish are generally on the aggressive side and about half attack you or your corals or other invertebrates and - and many of those aren't too nice either LOL - while it's really interesting I don't want to make it my full-time job nor do I want to use that much of my retirement money to pay for it!) I'm also not convinced my 60 yr old wood floor could handle the weight of the sizes of tanks you need.

    Here is the info from the Topeka 2019 Water Quality Report:

    Chloramine: Observed 3.16 Range (2.83-3.25) ppm
    PH: Observed: 9.4 Range (8.9-9.9) pH Unit

    Total Alkalinity (as in CaCo3): Observed: 96 Range (47-138) ppm
    Total Hardness (as in CaCo3): Observed: 190 Range (110-282)ppm Is this helpful?

    Here is a link to the report: https://s3.amazonaws.com/cot-wp-uploads/wp-content/uploads/utilities/2019WaterQualityReport.pdf
    Thank you for all your help. I'm pretty compulsive about having everything done correctly - but the pH issues have been a puzzle - now with my tank seemingly cycling again I'm really stressed about it. The fish, however, seem more stressed by the zebra danio's than anything else - they are such suicidal swimmers it keeps most of my other fish off to the sides of the tank. Lucky for the Danio's they swim too fast for anybody to catch them. But I think reducing the number of high energy fish in the tank may settle everybody down - the rest of the fish are far more laid back. I love the little guys/gals myself - but not with my other fish. I just hate the thought of having to cycle a new tank before I can move them - they need to be moved now. What if I transferred about 3 or 4 gallons of water from my bigger tank into my little 5-6 gallon nano tank - even though the chemistry is off on my big tank - would it be better than putting the danio's into a situation where they are the ones cycling the tank? I really need to get them out of there soon. Or perhaps cutting my sponge filter in half and sticking that into the nano tank (supposedly there is plenty of room to add additional media to the filter) - then it would have a bunch of the bacteria it needs. Your thoughts? I really wish my big tank was in better shape. This sucks.
     
  12. Byron

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    I have myself gone into the chemistry (meaning my own previous research) only so far as I needed to in order to basically understand the issues regarding water chemistry in an aquarium. I am not a chemist, and this is indeed a complicated issue. When one deals with nature (natural processes) it is not easy to move things this way or that way because of the ramifications. Which is the main reason I tend to advise members asking about fish that it is much easier to select fish suited to your water.

    So with that background in mind, to your pH questions. The GH at 190 ppm [= 10 dGH] is not bad, and the KH (carbonate hardness or alkalinity) at 96 ppm [= 5 dKH] is substantial enough to provide some buffering of the pH [thus preventing it from fluctuating] but not insurmountable. But these numbers do tell us that any attempt you make to lower the pH will be countered naturally, and yes, that is why the pH 24 hours or so later is back where it was. There is only one method to lower pH here, and that is to dilute the GH and KH with some form of pure water. If for example you were to mix 50% tap water with 50% pure water [RO or distilled] you would end up with a GH of 5 dGH and the KH around 2.5 dKH. This would probably allow the pH to lower and not rebound, but this is where I leave things, as having never had this problem, I cannot say how successful this might or might not be long-term. But I can say that this is without question the only way to deal with lowering the pH.

    The pH does seem to be very high even given the much more suitable GH and KH. There may be other natural factors at work here. Water is the most solvent substance on this planet. Pure water, having a pH of 7.0, is the evaporated water when it condenses and falls as precipitation. But that is where pure water ends. Pure water with a pH of 7.0 exists no where in nature, anywhere on the earth. Because as soon as this pure water falls as rain/snow, it begins assimilating soluble substances it comes into contact with and it does this easily and rapidly. It can be minerals from the rocks, resulting in harder water to some degree, or it can be organics resulting in softer water. The pH will correspond, being basic (mineralization) or acidic (organics). CO2 also factors in, as this produces carbonic acid which lowers pH, but again the GH and KH may buffer. The point that we must all recognize is that this chemistry is very involved and any change we might make to one factor could have considerable ramifications because of the complexity. I learned this from an online marine biologist/microbiologist some years ago when she was helping me through a disease issue. Her repetitious advice: be very careful what substance you add to the water in an aquarium because there are usually consequences, and every one of the added substances is impacting fish regardless of what the substance may be.

    To your comment about fish stress from the danios...this is a very crucial factor in putting together a community aquarium. Sedate fish do not appreciate active fish in the tank, and they are being stressed by it, and at some point this can be sufficient stress to compromise the sedate fish. This can occur during the daylight, but it can also occur during darkness which can be even more debilitating; active loricariids and catfish will compromise the health of fish that want "rest" during darkness when they cannot see but can detect every movement from nocturnal fish. You are on the right track to correct this.
     
  13. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fish Fanatic

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    So do you think I should move some water from my current tank to partically fill the smaller tank, should I cut the sponge in half from the old tank to bring over the old bacteria - then use reverse osmosis or distilled water to fill the zebra tank the rest of the way - then place them in there tomorrow? I really feel like the sooner I can get them out the better the others will be especially since their water is screwed up. I can by some distilled or reverse osmosis water for my big tank and use that as part of the water change waters. Ph should continue to hold stable and hopefully I'll delute the impact of ammonia and nitrites and nitrates on the old tank residents as well.

    Sound like a plan? I figure it's better than thowing in one capful of prim into tapwater tonight the throw in the Danio's first thing tomorrow (as it instructs you to do on the box.

    Thanks again for your insights. I'll do some more research on PH and Water hardness before I ever change Ph with a fish in the tank. I still think it's safe (if not effective) to do this without fish in the tank
     
  14. Byron

    Byron Member

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    Obviously it is "safe" to fiddle with the chemistry (pH or whatever) with no fish in the tank, but it will not be effecftive unless you take into the equation all the factors involved, as I tried to explain.

    As for moving the danios...normally there is no benefit to using "old" water in a new tank but here you have a significant issue with different parameters that will shock the fish so using water from the existing tank to run the new smaller tank is probably wise. Remember this does absolutely nothing with respect to the "cycling" nitrifying bacteria; using the old water is merely a way to avoid pH/GH shock.

    As for the filter to deal with the "cycle," that's one way though not the one I would use. If you have live plants, floating especially, toss some of those in the new tank and the two zebra danio will be fine. You could as a precaution add some bacterial supplement like Tetyra's SafeStart.

    I'm not sure what "capful of prim" refers to.
     
  15. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fish Fanatic

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    Sorry "a capful of prime" = to eliminate the chorine and choramines. Well last night I bought a 29 gallon tank - hardly small like I had planned but the price was good. I need to get the Danio's out of their current tank because I believe they nipped the back and lower fin off of one of my new Gourami's - the little Danio's are supposed to be quite peaceful as are the Gourami's. Then I read the other day that the Danio's are known for occasionally fin nipping - and they just keep swarming around him - there is nothing more to bite off that's within their capabilities I think - but is he going to die from this or will the fins grow back? Makes me sick to look at him and he's so sedate now I almost thought he was dead. He's also obviously stressed by the constant swarm of Danio's. Sometimes of of his "buddies" sits with him but I don't get the feeling that most fish are particularly compassionate - I could be wrong.

    There is one Powder Blue Gourami that would get a lot more eating done if he stopped worrying about which other Gourami's might be eating - he just follows them around constantly and bangs them in the head if he thinks they are getting some food. Major bully - I have never read where they were the least bit aggressive. But I seriously doubt he bit the fins off of the other Gourami - there mouths are so tiny, actually smaller than the Danio's.

    So I'll work on setting up the tank tonight, add water from the old tank as well as a couple of plants - then fill it the rest of the way. Tomorrow I'll add the Danio's whether the tank is stable or not - they are supposedly hardly little fish so I guess if the tank cycles it will be with them in it.

    Oh - interestingly enough - the habitants of my first tank were from a list of "good fish for the beginner" where the author lists about 20 different groupings of fish that get along well with each other - well he was WRONG.
     

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