South American Cichlids • Tank Help - 55 Gallon

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Tank Help - 55 Gallon

Postby jbourke367 » Tue Dec 31, 2019 6:13 pm

Hi guys,
This is going to be a fairly long post. So I recently did made a silly mistake to a tank that has been running since 2012: I did a large water change then threw out both filters out the same time. I have a 55 gallon tank with a male jack dempsey, female jack demspey, and convict. These fish have grown up together since I first set the tank up in 2012 and all get along great for the most part. Recently, I began to notice my male JD "jack" was not being himself. He was hiding a lot and breathing very heavy. I will be the first to admit that over the last year or so I have not taken the best care of the tank. I always fed the fish but was not consistent with the water changes like I should be. I also noticed a large split in the crevice between his caudal fin and dorsal fin, a very painful looking split at that. I did a large water change, removed the activated carbon, and dosed the tank with melafix. I was medicating the tank for about a week or so. Shortly after I noticed what appeared to be a fungus on his body, he was still breathing heavy. I did another water change and then dosed the tank with PraziPro as I was wondering if the heavy breathing was due to gill flukes and poor water parameters. Another 2 weeks went by. His breathing seems a lot more normal now. However, he is still sitting on the bottom of the tank. He gets very excited when I get the food out but right after eating he returns to the bottom. I have been watching the tank like a mother hen the last few weeks since I threw out the filter cartridges that contained my biocyle (idiot).
My tank readings today are as follows:

Ammonia: 0.5 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 0 ppm
pH: 6.8

My nitrates were at 5.0 ppm yesterday before I did a 5 gallon water change. Today they are down to 0 ppm. I have been doing daily water changes of about 5-10 gallons to try and knock the ammonia levels down. The last few days they have been staying at 0.5 ppm. Is my cycle almost back? since my levels rose then came back to 0 ppm? Is it okay to do daily water changes of 5 gallons or so or is this causing too much stress to the fish? "Jack" is also very dark. He is a beautiful fish but he has compeltely lost of his his bright sparkles and is very dark. Where should I go from here? I am worried I'm going to lose him :(

What do you guys think? Sorry for the novel.
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Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2019 5:55 pm
Location: Boston

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Re: Tank Help - 55 Gallon

Postby ken31cay » Tue Dec 31, 2019 8:51 pm

jbourke367 wrote:I did a large water change then threw out both filters out the same time.


Did you throw out all the filter media or the actual filters?

My tank readings today are as follows:
Ammonia: 0.5 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 0 ppm
pH: 6.8


Ammonia is less toxic at lower pH, here's an example for Koi fish: http://www.blueridgekoi.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/pH-and-Ammonia.pdf

My nitrates were at 5.0 ppm yesterday before I did a 5 gallon water change. Today they are down to 0 ppm. I have been doing daily water changes of about 5-10 gallons to try and knock the ammonia levels down. The last few days they have been staying at 0.5 ppm. Is my cycle almost back? since my levels rose then came back to 0 ppm? Is it okay to do daily water changes of 5 gallons or so or is this causing too much stress to the fish? "Jack" is also very dark. He is a beautiful fish but he has compeltely lost of his his bright sparkles and is very dark. Where should I go from here? I am worried I'm going to lose him :(


If you're nitrates are continually rising and ammonia is dropping (aside from due to water changes) then the cycle is catching back up. Look at this article for more info: https://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/fishless_cycle.php

Since the bio filter mishap how often & what percentage water changes have you done? If I accidentally threw out all my bio media then I would immediately start doing ~50% daily water changes until my cycle caught back up - but only if I'd already been doing large weekly water changes or else the difference between my old tank water and new water could be too great and might easily kill the fish.

I hope your fish continue to recover.
450gal Frontosa (blue Zaire Moba) & haps
180gal school of Red Rainbowfish
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Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2018 12:19 pm
Location: Cayman Islands

Re: Tank Help - 55 Gallon

Postby jbourke367 » Wed Jan 01, 2020 4:09 pm

I am using an aqueon quietflow 75 filter. That is the only filter media in the tank. It holds two carbon filters. My tank levels were the same this morning. I did a 30% change about 5 hours ago to try and reduce some of the ammonia. Jack swims right up to the top and will usually swim right over if you sit in front of the glass. But he is still hanging out on the bottom. Is there anything else that I should be doing? Or should I just keep checking my levels and doing water changes until my levels finish cycling?
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Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2019 5:55 pm
Location: Boston

Re: Tank Help - 55 Gallon

Postby ken31cay » Wed Jan 01, 2020 4:36 pm

I would continue water changes while keeping an eye on ammonia levels. If you've had him since 2012 Jack is reaching near the end of his life span.
450gal Frontosa (blue Zaire Moba) & haps
180gal school of Red Rainbowfish
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Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2018 12:19 pm
Location: Cayman Islands

Re: Tank Help - 55 Gallon

Postby jbourke367 » Thu Jan 02, 2020 9:57 pm

I tested the water again today. My 30% water change yesterday knocked the ammonia down to 0.25 ppm

Parameters:
Ammonia 0.25 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 0-0.5 ppm (closer to 0ppm)
pH: 7.2

I have also posted a video. They are all breathing heavy as I just fed them some peas. I appears that Jacks face looks "weathered". It appears he did have HITH at one point. Does this scar? Can anyone tell from viewing the video is there obvious health issue that pops out at you?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wbAj1mEOWM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oz_K7w7vOvk
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Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2019 5:55 pm
Location: Boston

Re: Tank Help - 55 Gallon

Postby cyclonecichlids » Fri Jan 03, 2020 2:02 am

Add some Prime to the water until your cycle is complete. Also, many dechlorinators give a false reading of ammonia within the first day or two. You may not actually have high ammonia levels. All you can do is continue doing WC and keep dosing Prime.
Mbipia Lutea keeper / breeder in So Cal.
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Re: Tank Help - 55 Gallon

Postby jbourke367 » Tue Jan 07, 2020 7:12 pm

Are there any dither fish that might do well in my tank? My fish have always been a bit skiddish and am wondering if some dither fish would help to make them a bit more social. I have never fed them feeders which is probably a good thing since they might just eat any dither fish I got if I had.
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