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I thought I knew what I was doing. I thought wrong.

Discussion in 'Tropical Fish Emergencies' started by STACY CURTIS, Dec 2, 2019.

  1. STACY CURTIS

    STACY CURTIS New Member

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    I've been in this hobby for approximately 2 years. I've gone through thousands of dollars of fish and tanks and plants and ornaments and meds, etc.

    I have 5 tanks:

    A 2.5 Top Fin split with 2 Koi bettas, one on each side (I know I know, but they are happy and better off than the cups that Petco/Petsmart have. My water levels are perfect)https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10157457084736609&set=pcb.10157457085331609&type=3&theater


    I have a 5 gallon quarantine tank (Marina Slim) , has no substrate, 1 log, a coconut cave and currently holds 4 babies I got for free from Petco (I don't know what they are yet)

    I have a 10 gallon planted tank (Marina Slim) with gravel, 2 guppies, 3 small platies, 1 muppy, 2 neon tetras, 1 betta, and 2 kuhli loaches (I get these from parents of students) https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10157457084906609&set=pcb.10157457085331609&type=3&theater

    I have a 20 gallon Marina Slim with an Aquaclear 50 Filter on it. It is a planted tank with 1 betta, 1 molly, 6 cory cats, 2 otos, and 5 small guppies. I recently lost a lot of fish due to columnaris....nasty disease.

    And finally, the crem' de la creme (did I spell that right?) my 55 gallon planted with 2 Aquaclear 70 filters. This tank is the United Nations of fish. I have a few of everything. Peacock gobies, bumblebee gobies. A Betta, a pea puffer, a few dwarf sparkling guaramis, a few otos, 2 plecos, a few cory cats, a few female guppies and a few female mollies. I used to have platys but they all died in a few days of each other which brings me to my reason for being here ..finally, right?

    My 55 had high Nitrates....I've changed almost 50% every time I've done a change once a week and the lowest I can get is 40, I bought Algone and placed that in the filter, no dice, so I got the 2nd filter and added it to the other side and now I have 0.25 of Nitrite!! Does each filter need to cycle? Is that why I suddenly have nitrItes? My 55 also has started to grow Black beard algae which I read was because of the big water changes I was throwing C02 out of wack. I don't have a C02 system set up in the tank. So I went on Amazon and bought the Seachem Excel that should arrive Wednesday to tackle the algae. For nitrites I read that I should add aquarium salt, but I also read that the salt is not good for cory cats. I've also read big water changes are okay and then I read to do numerous small ones. I can not find one definitive answer. I did a week ago add 2 rainbow sharks to the 55 which is also the time I added the second filter. And I added some more substrate, not sure if that has anything to do with my levels.

    So can anyone help me with the Nitrate problem and why I suddenly have Nitrites?

    Thanks for listening.
     
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  2. Back in the fold

    Back in the fold Fish Herder

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    I have thought I knew it all at various times and usually got educated. I see no problem at all with your divided 2 1/2. There are actually slots to provide three compartments and at the risk of drawing howls of fury from the Great TFF Forum I've done that and for extended periods of time. It's like you say, better than those Betta cups. There is a very famous picture of Orville Tutweilers Betta hatchery with row upon rows of quart jars with Bettas in them. It can be done with careful attention to a strict water changing regimen. ( I hear the howls reaching a crescendo) Another thing I do is put clean fresh water in brand new tanks with brand new filters and brand new gravel and I have no cycling, ammonia or nitrite/nitrate issues. I am not advocating lackadaisical aquarium practices just pointing out that sometimes simple works just fine. I have not answered your question but I hope you will see that the hobby needs no added complication. Let the howls begin. :) :) :)
     
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  3. Retired Viking

    Retired Viking Fish Fanatic

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    I always fell sorry for those Betta in the cup when I go to the pet store I agree using a divider and giving them more space is better than a cup. What type of substrate did you add is it different than what you had? As far as water changes are concerned. I opened that can of worms just a couple of days ago.;) Save yourself the trouble :-(and see my Happy Catfish post.
     
    #3 Retired Viking, Dec 2, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019
  4. STACY CURTIS

    STACY CURTIS New Member

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    I added Fluval Stratum for plants, just a few handfuls to cover roots. I had moved my bumblebee gobies last night to the 20 gallon because I didn’t want them to be affected and one was dead when I got home....I’m so frustrated. Everyone in the 55 is still alive. Perhaps I did more harm than good by moving the fellow.
     
  5. Retired Viking

    Retired Viking Fish Fanatic

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    Sorry for your loss, you did what you thought was best, sometimes that is all we can do. I just started having live plants myself so just a guess here but I would check the Fluval Stratum bag and see what it says about nitrite/nitrate or if there is a warning concerning fish.They are not good for fish but good for plants.I think that is what is giving you the high readings.
     
  6. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fishaholic
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    First of all your levels are NOT that bad. That high of NitrAtes isn't particularly good but it means your tank is dirty and you need to do a water change. Many of us on here advocate 50-75% water change weekly. If you do that once, then test the next day and the NitrAtes are still high then do it again. I don't think that few of water changes is going to upset the CO2 balance - usually we worry that a tank isn't oxygenated enough. That would sure oxygenate it. So when you did the water change did most or all of the NitrAtes go away? And that's when the NitrItes appeared at the miniscule level of .25? I've been fighting high ammonia and nitrite levels for 6 months after adding too many fish at one time and not having enough bacteria to cycle them. I would just give it a day or too.

    If you don't already have it purchase a bottle of Prime Water Conditioner This won't change the reading on your test indicator but it will make the Ammonia and Nitrite safe for the fish. It lasts about 48 hours and a couple of capfuls is all you should need. I'm betting in the next few days those Nitrites will convert to Nitrates and life will be good again. (Prime, for example converts available ammonia into harmless ammonium but your test kit will still read it as ammonia since the kits typically measure total ammonia. Same with Nitrites). Just be sure to add a capful of prime every couple of days you have Nitrites and don't sweat it. If you'd have seen some of my numbers you'd faint and all my fish survived. (I'm adding Tetra Safe Start after every water change to add more bacteria to my tank and ammonia levels are slowly going down - I never had much Nitrite problem because my ammonia wouldn't convert to nitrites - it's been a 6 month nightmare - but again no deaths because I religiously used prime and did weekly water changes)

    I don't know the serious toxicity level of Nitrites but it's no where near .25 ppm - that's like a rounding error. If you get a reading of 1 or 2 be concerned and again, add Prime and wait a couple of days. testing each day. If it doesn't go down then do another major water change.

    Sounds like you're an extra good fish parent - don't worry.

    Actually adding the substrate could actually have done it - some substrates do contain small amounts of "undesirable" chemicals - but unless the fish just pushed your tank over the top by pooping so much I doubt they are responsible for the nitrite level. The nitrate level just means dirty tank - change the water. It too can get to toxic levels but not nearly as easily as Ammonia and Nitrites.

    You were right not to add salt to an aquarium with Cory Cats - I've read that in multiple places.

    Has anybody else read where too many large water changes disrupts the CO2 balance in the tank? I'd be interested in hearing about that too.
     
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  7. STACY CURTIS

    STACY CURTIS New Member

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    Didn’t even think about that. I will look. Thank you.
     
  8. Retired Viking

    Retired Viking Fish Fanatic

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    I did a quick search on the web and did find some people complaining about nitrate levels and Fluval Stratum. Hope this helps https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfishforum/threads/nitrate-issues
     
    #8 Retired Viking, Dec 2, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019
  9. essjay

    essjay Moderator
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    Have you tested the nitrate level in your tap water? The tap water level is the lowest tank nitrate can be reduced to by water changes.


    Please don't add Flourish Excel to the tank. It's main ingredient is glutaraldehyde, a powerful disinfectant use in hospitals to clean surgical equipment. Just because something is sold for use in fish tanks doesn't mean it is good for fish.
    Excel can be used outside the tank to treat algae but it should be washed off before the plant/decor is put back.
     
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  10. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fishaholic
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    essjay - I had no idea that Flourish Excel was so toxic. I've been using it every 1-2 months since I first set up my tanks, the plants grow greener, faster and have fewer dead leaves, I've noticed no harm to the fish - what should I be looking for? And what is a good fertilizer alternative? I guess I'm struggling thinking that a company with a reputation such as Seachem would put such toxic ingredients into one of their products, just for the sake of the plants with potential damage to the fish. Where have you read about this? I realize EVERY chemical you add to your tank is going to be absorbed by the fish so people should certainly know more about Flourish and any other chemical treatment they add to their tanks. .
     
  11. STACY CURTIS

    STACY CURTIS New Member

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    What would I use instead of Excel for the black beard algae? It will not wipe off of my plants or decor?
     
  12. essjay

    essjay Moderator
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    If the object can be removed from the tank, you can treat it outside the tank then wash it before putting it back in the tank.

    The main way to deal with any type of algae is to work out what is causing it then rectify the cause, otherwise it will just come back. Algae is caused by an imbalance of several things. Lights - on too long or not long enough. Fertiliser - too much or too little. It is a case of trial end error till you find what it takes to stop the algae growing.





    Flourish Excel is not a fertiliser, it is a 'liquid CO2' product. The only fertiliser I use in my tanks is Seachem Flourish complete supplement for the planted tank. This supplies just about all the trace elements needed for plant growth. Decomposing organic matter, and fish respiration provides CO2. The ammonia made by the fish and decomposing organic matter provides nitrogen.
    I admit that I have only slow growing, low light plants except for water sprite as a floating plant (Java fern, anubias, bolbitis, bucephalandra) and they do fine without 'liquid CO2'.
     
  13. STACY CURTIS

    STACY CURTIS New Member

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    Well my Betta is on his way out. In fairness he’s had a large mass on his back for over a year so I can’t positively say it’s the tank.

    I added a capful of Prime to the 55.
    Could the flow from 2 70’s be too much?
    I just checked my water and I have ammonia at .5, Nitrite 0, and Nitrate 40. I added the prime after the check. I can’t do a water change today cause I had a breast biopsy this am and am on weight lifting restrictions (tmi- I apologize)
     
  14. STACY CURTIS

    STACY CURTIS New Member

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    I just don’t know what to do anymore. I thought the Excel would fix the algae, but now I’m hearing don’t put it in the tank. It’s on some of my plants and the reviews on Amazon say it works so I don’t know what to do.

    I need a place where I can get firm answers. Do any of those exist?

    Also for the water changes I read too much water at once would shock the fish and here they say 50- 70 which is A lot when you do it gallon by gallon and the sink is upstairs.
     
  15. Retired Viking

    Retired Viking Fish Fanatic

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    Have you tried a garden hose or one of those 50 foot hose that are made to clean aquariums? In warmer weather I use a garden hose. I still bucket in the winter too. I try not to put any chemicals in my tank and my plants are mostly plants you attach to rocks like Java Ferns or are weighted down and absorb what they need from the water like Jungle Vale.
     
    #15 Retired Viking, Dec 3, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019

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