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What is going on with this tank

Discussion in 'Cycle your Tank' started by Jan Cavalieri, Oct 6, 2019.

  1. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fishaholic
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    It's Jan again - long story ahead, I know you love it:

    I recently purchased a new tank to break up a group of peaceful and aggressive Gourami's as well as most likely purchase a few new fish. So purchased a new 29 gal glass tank. It has a lovely heater I've been keeping at about 78 degrees, a AquaClear50 filter, Flourite Dark substrate (a Seachem product that is some type of clay and is meant to help you plant plants as well as not be so hard on bottom feeder's faces.

    I'm doing this with plain ammonia and a large handful or two of Flourite from anther tank that I'm nearly done with re-cycling (it has fish in it so it's taking FOREVER but thought the substrate might help.)

    I followed the instructions exactly as written from this forum on how to cycle with ammonia.
    The cycling numbers turned out to have me add 31 ml of ammonia - that put my ammonia level between 2 and 4 ppm (there is no "3" on the card so I can't follow the instructions exactly). I started this on September 20, 2019. So today was day 16 - a little early to be cycled, but perhaps not, given that I had all that extra substrate.

    If you recall my city has hard water and an average PH of around 10 (that's what they say - it's over what the test kit can measure). They also use ammonia at their water plant to breakdown the chlorine into chloramines - which presumably takes the chlorine taste out of the water. Unknown to their manager (or so he said) they are leaving approximately 1.0 to 1.5 ppm of ammonia in their water each day. He said they weren't supposed to and would "check into it". I still haven't heard back. I still plan to but I bet he just says the water fluctuates but they add standard amounts and can't help it if a little is left over. I'll just say I'm not really into drinking ammonia and I'm sure nobody else is either and it all won't change a thing.

    On day 8 I added the ammonia "snack" of 1/3 the normal amount of ammonia I had been adding - so about 9 mls. Next day was Amm 25, Nitrite=.5, next few days the water went back and forth between Amm=0 and Nit=.50 and Amm=.25 and Nit =0. Bacteria for ammonia and nitrates must have been having a party or something because it has not been a linear progression from Ammonia to Nitrite since the beginning.

    Interestingly I took the PH on Oct 3 - it was 8.8. Pretty normal for Topeka. But then the next day (Oct 4) I added a couple of drops of PH down - it obviously took way less than I even expected (they should water this stuff down) because the next day ph tested at 6.0 but today it read a perfect 6.8 so I will leave it alone for now. I want to keep my PH between 6.8 and 7.4 But I just added some boiled and soaked driftwood which may push it down again. Don't see any tannins in the water but it can be hard to tell.

    Thought I'd better take a reading on GH and KH : GH=12 drops (214.8ppm), KH=2 drops (it never turned blue, went straight to yellow (KH 2 or 35.8 ppm). But it didn't go to BRIGHT yellow (as the book describes until 4) = KH=4 and 71.6 ppm.

    So what has the tank done? On 10/4 I thought it might be cycled with Ammonia=0 and Nitrites=0. The instructions say it must be for 2 days in a row - so unfortunately on 10/5 it Amm=0 and Nitrites=.25. Then GET THIS on 10/6 it tests Ammonia=2.0 and Nitrites=.25. What the hell has happened - other than the driftwood there isn't any other place it can be getting ammonia??? So I guess it's not cycled and it's not time to add another full dose (per instructions it needs to have Ammonia at.25 or lower and Nitrite under 1.0. So I'll keep testing - it also gives me some more time to watch the PH and see if it goes down or up - just see how unstable everything is.

    Any advice - do you think this tank is about cycled, because my fish in the other tank really need to be pulled out of there I'm sure life is stressful. So far I was just going to remove the Peaceful Gourami's but I also have three CoryDora's , two Dojo Pleco's and two Lemon with blue eyes Bushnose Pleco's - all are peaceful fish and none have been attacked by the semi-aggressive Gourami's either so I'm thinking they can either leave or stay - on the other hand they may feel the stress even if it's not directed their way. I do rotate the Bushnose to different tanks to take care of the algae but the older they get the more lazy they have become so I just end up doing about half of it myself - they really prefer to clean the plants than to clean the glass walls and the algae attached to my expensive acrylic tank is harder than concrete so they don't do a great job either. I've actually scratched it with tools made for Acrylic tanks I pushed so hard on the walls.

    I had actually planned to order at least 2 more Dojo Loaches and maybe even 2 more Bushnose. The Dojo's are absolutely hysterical and contort their long snake bodies in the strangest ways you think they have to be dead. The thought of ever trying to catch them again and move them to another tank is pretty overwhelming I've never seen anything swim so fast. Plus there will only be like 5 or 6 fish (all semi-aggressive) and I don't feel like buying any more semi-aggressive fish I don't enjoy watching them even though I realize it's the reality of things. Oh well - I just want to get the damn tank cycled and see.

    Also - all sources say that most Tetra's do well with Gourami's and nearly every other peaceful fish - I want more of those stupid glo-fish (I just have pink) and have a crazy multicolored tank. So any issues with the Tetras and PEACEFUL Gourami's and other similar passive fish?

    Thanks in advance for reading the dissertation and for your help.
     
  2. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    I just LOL every time I see that :)

    Why are you cycling a new aquarium when you have established aquariums?
    Just take some of the filter media/ material from the other filters and put it in the new filter. Instant cycled tank.

    AquaClear HOB filters are ideal for this because they have lots of space and can hold 3 sponges. Grab 1 sponge from one filter and put it in the new filter. Done.

    -------------------------
    The pH is unlikely to be 10. Limestone only raises the pH to 8.5, so unless they are adding huge amounts of Sodium Bicarbonate or something else, it's unlikely to go above 8.5.

    Can you get the pH tested at a pet shop next time you are near one?

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    Ammonia does not break down the chlorine. It combines with chlorine to form chloramine, which lasts longer and continues to kill stuff in water for a lot longer than chlorine alone.


    Keep bugging the water company about the excess ammonia in the water. If they don't care, contact the government and health departments, and possibly even go to the press. It's amazing how quickly things get fixed when the press report the tap water is poisonous due to a bad water company overdosing chemicals.

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    Be careful when handling loaches. They have spines on the side of the face and can get caught in nets or stab you in the hand. If they do get caught in the net, just put the net in the tank and let them calm down, then they will retract the spines and should be able to swim out of the net.

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    Most tetras are fine with gouramis but the fin nipper tetras are not. Tetras they nip fins include black widow/ skirt , serpae, Beunos Aires and Columbian tetras.
     
  3. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fishaholic
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    Thanks for the advice on the Tetra's. I try to research each fish I purchase but sometimes there just isn't any information about them or the info is wrong. ie., my vicious Chinese algae eaters that I finally found on Wikipedia to "avoid at all costs".

    None of my other tanks are cycled. Only one (Tank A) is even close to being cycled and the other too tanks are still getting readings of ammonia of 4 ppm to 8 ppm and no Nitrites. Tank A was so close to being cycled, when a couple of days after a water change I suddenly had an ammonia reading of 4 ppm - so back to working on the cycling. I know there are some good bacteria in tank A so that's where I got the substrate from. I've just been having such bad luck keeping my other tanks in line I wanted to do this tank the "right way" so I would know I'd done everything I could possibly do. It's so frustrating - when I first cycled tank A and B they were just perfect then I added a few more fish and it all fell apart - even though the tanks are not overstocked. I've been fighting for almost 2 months to keep the ammonia at 2 ppm and under instead of 4 and 8 like they tend to read sometimes. So bottom line I don't trust the media even though I purposely bought all the same kind of filters for all my tanks so I could interchange media if necessary.

    On top of that, no matter what I do to tank B it is perpetually cloudy. I've tried water changes for 5 days in a row - the tank gets clear for a day or two then goes back to cloudy. I've tried Seachem's Clarity. It worked once beautifully but never again. The fish don't seem to mind but I like to know whose alive, who might be sick etc and you can't see through the clouds. That's the tank I'm unloading into the new tank because 1. I have some very aggressive Gourami's and I want to remove the peaceful ones 2. I hope to reduce the cloudy water. Oh I also bought some volcano/pumice like rocks that all the reviews swore got rid of their cloudy tanks in one day - well it's been 4 days and no change. I'm under feeding which unfortunately contributes to the fighting but I want to make sure that's not the cause of the clouds. There is not a piece of food left after an hour (most of these are hard pellets so they take a while to eat.) The flakes and bloodworms are gone in less than a minute. The pellets are really fought over but some fish have to wait until other fish break them down into small pieces before they can eat them but there is never a spot of food left.

    Tank C is a little 5 gallon affair with 5 Rasbora's in it - originally it also had the murderous danio but I moved him back to the big tank. This tank was never properly cycled - it was kind of an emergency situation and I fight daily ammonia readings that range from .25 to 8.0 and never any nitrites. Once I get the new tank cycled - IT will be the one to help my other tanks cycle.

    As far as ph 10 - that's actually the average PH quoted from our water quality report - not something I tested. Looking at older reports the Ph of our tap water has been that way for years. And yes the ammonia is used to break down the chlorine into chloramines. He said all cities are required to do this. He did admit there shouldn't be any ammonia left over and that I should start drinking bottled water!!!!! Just kind of admitting that our water quality is so bad. I do want to hear why there is ammonia left over after their little process - since he as much as admitted that is not what is supposed to happen. I am sensitive to the guy's issues - our water source is the Kansas River and it changes dramatically - especially this year when we've had so much rain so I'm sure they've had to re-calculate everything they put in the water to purify it. I've never seen it rain so much in Kansas in August and Sept - it's always been our drought months and we had storms several nights a week that entire time. In fact it's still raining at least once or twice a week.

    Does that explain my rationale? Is it a dissertation? (yes). Thanks for bothering to read if you can stay awake.
     
  4. Deanasue

    Deanasue Moderator
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    Jan, is the tank registering nitrates yet?
     
  5. essjay

    essjay Moderator
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    Just to pick out one tiny thing from your first post. The KH tester will never go bright yellow with low KH. One or two drops is too dilute to be bright. Ignore the word bright and just look at the blue/yellow colour change. My KH is 3, and I have never seen a bright yellow, just yellowish.
     
  6. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    If you are still struggling with ammonia in the other tanks, you have to be doing something that is causing it. It is either the filters or the food.

    Are you replacing filter media or just cleaning it and re-using it?

    Do you have power failures there?
    Maybe there are power failures and the filter is dying off.

    Is there a circuit breaker that might be tripping off or a loose plug or faulty power point switch?

    Have you tried a different type of food?
     
  7. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fishaholic
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    No power outages and I'm a homebody. Over feeding I'm slowly curing myself of - but damn these fish eat so fast it's really amazing. Plus there is always a food war in the cloudy tank so I've really tried lately not to overfeed to thinking that was the cause. Problem is that fights break out if there isn't excess food. They eat like crazy and there is rarely any thing left.

    Using the same media about 75% of the time (always using the same biomedia of course) but I sometimes toss the sponge and carbon and the anti-ammonia filter if one of them looks too gross - or with the sponge, is falling apart - but the sponges last the longest). When I clean the media about monthly I always clean it in a bucket of tank water. They still look gross to me but at least they aren't totally disgusting. Problem is the tank water smells so by rinsing it in tank water I'm not getting rid of the smell.

    Interestingly, every time I get a big cloudy problem with tank B my house literally reeks of aquarium smell. When I smell the water - it smells bad so I start on the water changes which keeps preventing it from fully cycling but I have to deal with the cloudiness and awful smell. Thinking that perhaps I had some dead fish that I couldn't see, about a month ago a friend helped me tear down the entire aquarium - we put the fish in a bucket with air stones, cleaned everything, including rinsing the nasty smelling substrate - and rinsing out the entire aquarium. That worked wonders for about 2 weeks and my ammonia levels were down to about .25 (but still no nitrites). Then the cloudiness just made a reappearance overnight and I've been fighting it ever since. No dead fish. No excess food except when they don't eat their algae pellet (which is rare) Thick amount of plants - all very healthy looking. I have to prune them back pretty regularly.
     
  8. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    If the tank smells bad, it's just about always caused by too much food rotting away in the substrate somewhere. Your fish might be grabbing the pellets and swimming off, then spitting them out.

    Try a different food and see if it helps.
     
  9. Back in the fold

    Back in the fold Fish Herder

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    If you would put some Zebra Danio's in there it would be perfect.
    :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
    Just jerking your chain. I know how much you love Zebes.
     
  10. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fishaholic
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    LMAO at the Zebra's - and I STILL haven't had the heart to kill him. I think the Rasdora's taught him some manners but he was a little hyper, even for them. So I moved him back to one of my big tanks. I should put him in with all my semi-aggressive Gourami's and let him see what aggression means when somebody is 6x bigger than you.

    Colin - I agree this looks like food contamination but it would take about 20 or so of those pellets to make it this cloudy. And it's a very powdery white cloudy not a grainy debris cloudy. I find missed pellets all the time in my other big tank and the water is crystal clear. There is a big mix of tiny and big fish so it's difficult to make sure everybody is getting food so I do tend to over feed that tank. This tank has fish ranging from 3 to 8 inches so they do eat a LOT so it could just be mountains of fish poop. I guess I'll find out when I split them up. Of course, one more tank to clean too.

    I'll try and get around to cleaning out the cloudy tank again tomorrow
     
  11. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fishaholic
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    Forgot to answer your other question about Nitrates - I haven't been measuring them yet, was going to measure my new Tank D starting this week. I rarely bother to measure them since to me they just tell me how dirty my tank is but I understand their significance when you're cycling.

    On the K measurement the water NEVER turns blue (if it gets on my finger though, my finger gets stained blue) - with one drop I get nothing, with 2 drops I get a slight yellow and by 4 drops I get a bright yellow - wasn't sure which one they were referring two so I included both. Until I noticed my blue finger I thought the stuff just wasn't working but the K value is so low I guess I never see the blue in the water before it turns yellow.
     
  12. essjay

    essjay Moderator
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    KH - try adding one drop, then removing the lid, placing the tube on something white and looking down into the tube. Because the depth is greater than the width of liquid it will show a stronger colour. It might show pale yellow or even very pale blue.
    If it shows very pale yellow, you have zero KH.
     
  13. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fishaholic
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    Thanks for the in on KH. I'll also answer the question about Nitrates - measured at .50 -so there is some stuff to clean before moving the fish in.

    Bought a new hood because some of the plants were dying even though there were a number of LED lights on top and it seemed fairly bright. So I did some researched and bought the brand's more upclass hood LOL. A few more LED's in an enclosed tube but they were smaller and dimmer than the original hood - the hood does fold up on one side and stay up - which is a feature most of us like but overall I am really pi**ed about paying for a hood that has worse lighting. There is an option for a second lamp so I guess I'll have to go purchase that - then hope that's enough light from enough directions to work. How much you want to bet I'll be buying a plant light on a clip and trying to find something to clip it too (I couldn't find a good place before for a plant light, which is why I bought the new hood). THIS COMPANY IS A MAJOR RIPOFF.
     

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