New Tank, Cloudy, Fish Hanging At Please :( Pet of the Month
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Dec 16, 2006
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If I'd only found this board a day sooner and learned about fishless cycling!

I have new 28 gallon tank. We set it up and let it run for a week before we added fish and plants. Thought we were doing everything right! I tested with a 5-in-1 kit plus ammonia and everything was normal. When we originally added the water we added Start Right and ran it for a week.

Yesterday brought home a tiny brown pleco, 2 dwarf platies, 1 mickey mouse platy, 1 red flame platy, 1 dalmation molly, 1 black molly and 1 silver molly. Also got more gravel as we were told at Petsmart we didn't have enough. I rinsed it thoroughly before adding it. We planted a few new live plants that were in containers without water--just gel on the roots which we rinsed off well.

We added the fish (and not the water from Petsmart) and everything seemed OK. We fed the fish once at bedtime--they ate it in less than a minute. One dwarf platy appeared to be dying when I went to bed and indeed was dead this AM. I took him out as soon as I was sure. Initially thought stress was the culprit.

This AM the formerly crystal clear water was somewhat cloudy. I did some more reading online and decided I needed to add Stress Zyme to get some bacteria going. An hour later, the tank was so cloudy I couldn't read the thermo and still can't. :(

Now all the fish are mostly near the top. Not necessarily gasping for air, but hanging out there. The remaining three platies did this all the mollies and pleco are just starting but at least the mollies swim around a little.

Test results are:
Ammonia - 0
Nitrate - 0
Nitrite - 2 :(
Total Alkalinity - 210
pH - 8

I already added a pH corrector. And some AmQuel which is supposed to also help reduce nitrites.

What should I do next? I want to save these fish--I feel so bad for them. I worked so hard trying to do the right thing in set up so I wouldn't kill and tankful and I am just SOOO upset!

Tank stats:
28 gal
Topfin 30 filter
80 degrees
pump/bubble stone

Any advice appreciated--I still can go back to Petsmart and buy additives if needed. I just don't know where to start! Thanks!
Sadly you have added to many fish to soon, the ammonia and nitrite process will takes it toll on the fish.
Increase aeration in the tank if you can.
Read the pinned topic about cycling a tank.
I would try and take the pleco back to the lfs.
Then you can add salt to help the others.
But for now add a tablespoon of household salt to the tank.
Take some tank water stir in the salt till it dislolves and add to the tank.
The cloudiness is a bacterial bloom, a common cycling problem. should help explain.

This is a typical newbie problem, so don't kick yourself. Water changes will help bring down the nitrite levels, once the tank cycles the cloudiness should go away. Forget the pH corrector. Cycling tanks often have pH swings, any pH adjusting additive will just make this situation worse. It's something that isn't needed, and is sold too often by places like Petsmart. Much of their info, sadly, is questionable. The sooner you learn this the better.

As far as I know Amquel does nothing for nitrites. Prime is a better water conditioner, and will do something about the nitites. The best thing for now is daily 25% to 50% water changes. The least amount of aditives the better, it's a less is more situation. Fresh water with a good water conditioner is the way to go.
Thank you both!

Actually, I have Amquel Plus which does say it will help nitrates/nitrites. How well it works, I don't know.

I'll try the water changes and the salt...don't know if they'll take back the pleco. I want to set up an isolation/hospital tank but not sure now's the right time, LOL!
I did a 50% water chance last night and added the salt. The water is much, much clearer this AM. I haven't fed them again.

When should I resume feeding?

One of my mollies was in very bad shape last night. He seems to have improved a bit. Same for the remaing dwarf platy. The rest of the fish are acting relatively normal (at least from what I remember of having fish during childhood).

So, where do I go from here? Continue daily water changes?
Just give them a sprinkle of food tomorrow.
Good luck.

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