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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've had my 125g tank going for about 3 weeks now and have been doing pretty regular water checks, but I wanted to run my specs by you all to see if I'm doing OK with my Tanganyika tank. I think some of the levels are elevated since the biological part of my filter hasn't fully cycled yet? My fish are doing wonderfully and are very perky, so I assume I'm not too far off. Although, if things are going the wrong way I sure would like to head it off as early as possible.

Here's the specs ...
kH - 10
gH - 8
dH - 14.6 (with my meter)
pH - 8.0 (both my test and meter matched, which is good eh!)
Ammonia - 2.0 ppm (I'm a little worried about this one)
Nitrite - 5.0 ppm (I'm most worried about this one)
Nitrate - 0 ppm

Any input, good or bad would be greatly appreciated !!! :) :fish:
 

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What you are doing is now frowned on by some as totally unworkable. On the other hand it is the way things were done for a thousand years so it must not be too bad. I also tell people that I've never successfully completed a fishless cycle. There are ways to manage it so that the fish suffer the least harm. One way is frequent water changing. I would do one now to get the ammonia and nitrite down. Twice a day might be good. At the same time cutting way back opn feeding to reduce the amount of waste will help, too. Fish will act hungry most any time they feel well enough. Don't let thewm fool you into thinking they are starving! They can go a week during shipping without starving. Just keep the ammonia and nitrite down as much as practical and go with it. Don't clean filters at all for some time as they are somewhat "fragile" when new. Some of that stuff you clean off will be beneficial bacteria you want to build up. Good luck and keep testing as that is the way to see where things are going.
 

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You’re right, the ammonia and nitrite readings aren’t good. Until the tank is fully cycled, do however many water changes it takes to keep the nitrite and ammonia under 1ppm. In between the water changes, use Prime or some other water conditioner to detoxify any remaining ammonia.

The good news is that you’re getting nitrite readings. So, the ammonia oxidizing bacteria has started to colonize the tank. It might take a few more weeks, but you are on your way to having a cycled tank.
 

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You need to do some research on 'cycling tanks', and ammonia and nitrite toxicity. The levels you're seeing could could long term damage to your fish, at best, and kill them at worst. You'll find info in the water chemstry section of the forum library. You should be very worried about both the ammonia and nitrite settings and following the advice given in previous posts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the input everyone!!! I know I was risking it after doing a ton of research on cycling tanks before you put fish in, but my LFS said I'd be ok ... I guess well see whether I should believe my LFS. I sure hope I don't hurt my precious fish.

I'll increase my water changes immediately!!! I've been doing 10% twice a week, but I'll try every day for a while until the rates come down, unless anyone thinks I should do more.

BTW, I've been using the ... http://www.aquariumguys.com/aqua-water-change-50ft.html ... but I have to hook it up to the sink (which mean chlorine ... BAD) so my LFS said keep it to 10% ... any ideas on how to get the chlorine out using the water changer? (without doing a whole-house filter?)

Thanks again and sorry for my ignorance !!! :)
 

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May be some confusion with the LFS. For getting the chlorine or chloramine out, use a product like Prime (my choice) or several other water conditioners that are made for that. There is some question about when to add it but it seems most agree that just adding it as the water is added or right after is good enough. If you add it to the tank when filling, add enough for the tank volume rather than the amount being added. It has to do with the conditioner reaching all the chemical to make it harmless. That is not a part of the cycle but just part of any new water added. For me upping the water change to even as much as 50% to get it down quicker would be good. While too much water may change PH, temperature or other things that "could" be bad for the fish, we know for sure that the ammonia IS bad. So what you are doing is something that might bother them some rather than what you have which will for sure be bad for them and might kill them. Kind of the lesser of two evils.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
PfunMo said:
May be some confusion with the LFS. For getting the chlorine or chloramine out, use a product like Prime (my choice) or several other water conditioners that are made for that. There is some question about when to add it but it seems most agree that just adding it as the water is added or right after is good enough. If you add it to the tank when filling, add enough for the tank volume rather than the amount being added. It has to do with the conditioner reaching all the chemical to make it harmless. That is not a part of the cycle but just part of any new water added. For me upping the water change to even as much as 50% to get it down quicker would be good. While too much water may change PH, temperature or other things that "could" be bad for the fish, we know for sure that the ammonia IS bad. So what you are doing is something that might bother them some rather than what you have which will for sure be bad for them and might kill them. Kind of the lesser of two evils.
Thanks for the guidance, especially on the Prime. I assumed you had to add it before you put the water in, and frankly I didn't have a tub big enough for that. I'll also cut down the feeding quite a bit, since I know I was overfeeding them and increase the water changes to up to 50% with the Prime or another water conditioner at the LFS. I'll also wait a few weeks until I do my next filter cleaning to make sure the good bacteria is built up better.

You guys are the best !!! Thanks again. :)
 

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olliesshop said:
Thanks for the guidance, especially on the Prime. I assumed you had to add it before you put the water in, and frankly I didn't have a tub big enough for that. I'll also cut down the feeding quite a bit, since I know I was overfeeding them and increase the water changes to up to 50% with the Prime or another water conditioner at the LFS. I'll also wait a few weeks until I do my next filter cleaning to make sure the good bacteria is built up better.

You guys are the best !!! Thanks again. :)
Sounds like you've got a good plan in place. Just test the tank water before and after the water changes and you'll get a good feel for how much will be necessary to keep the ammonia and nitrite in check.
 

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but my LFS said I'd be ok
It's never a good idea to add fish to an uncycled tank, as it's always an incredible risk and can damage the fish, if not kill them outright. In these situations, if the fish survive, then the idea gets passed on that it's ok to do this and doesn't harm the fish and all of the rest of us go to unecessary lengths to get tanks started. Ammonia and nitrite can damage fish. They may not die, but it can leave them in less than ideal condition and shorten their lifespans. Just because they survive this doesn't mean 'everything turned out ok'. Keep the feeding down, the water changes going strong, and keep detoxing that water. All you can do in this situation.

BTW, I've been using the ... http://www.aquariumguys.com/aqua-water-change-50ft.html ... but I have to hook it up to the sink (which mean chlorine ... BAD) so my LFS said keep it to 10% ... any ideas on how to get the chlorine out using the water changer? (without doing a whole-house filter?)
Your LFS has evidently never heard of dechlorinator. :roll:
 

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That's where I thought there much have been some kind of confusion. Surely there are not very many fish folks who don't know about dechlor???? I thought maybe it was one of those times when what one says is not what the other heard. Real communication is just a whole lot harder some times.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well, I just tested the Ammonia before and after a 10% water change this morning (I kept it at 10% for now until I get some water conditioner today) and the levels were down. I assume it's because I didn't feed them very much yesterday? Or maybe the filter's starting to kick in?

My Ammonia level before the change was down to 0.5 ppm and after the water change it went down to 0.25 ppm ... definitely in the right direction. I'll do a bigger water change later today after I get the water conditioner.

Thanks again for all the wonderful, knowledgeable advice !!! :)
 

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olliesshop said:
Thanks for the guidance, especially on the Prime. I assumed you had to add it before you put the water in, and frankly I didn't have a tub big enough for that.
If you can't condition the water before adding it, the recommended solution is to condition the water as you're adding it by putting in the dose as your hose from the tap is pouring water into the tank. The only difference is that with this method you need to add enough conditioner for water in the WHOLE tank not just the water you added. For example, if you added 50 gallons of water to a 100 gallon tank (I'm just using these numbers for simplicity), you would add enough conditioner for 100 gallons (2 capfuls of Prime instead of 1).

A question to others: in this circumstance would it have been a good idea to lower the temperature slightly to reduce ammonia toxicity (I'm thinking of the link http://www.dataguru.org/misc/aquarium/AmmoniaTox.html prov356 referenced in another thread)? Would it also be a good idea to add aquarium salt to prevent nitrite poisoning?
 

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zimmy said:
olliesshop said:
A question to others: in this circumstance would it have been a good idea to lower the temperature slightly to reduce ammonia toxicity (I'm thinking of the link http://www.dataguru.org/misc/aquarium/AmmoniaTox.html prov356 referenced in another thread)? Would it also be a good idea to add aquarium salt to prevent nitrite poisoning?
Both are plausible ideas. But you can get it under control and keep it under control with just water changes. And for me, the straightest path to the solution is the best one to take.
 

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I go for the simple route as well. When you start changing temperatures the changes are pretty hard to predict with many heaters and what we don't want to do is have fish that are stressed a bit by ammonia and then add to the stress with a sudden drop in temperature. When I've torn down heaters after they failed I've been amazed at some of the stuff I find. The machining on the screw end is really course, sometimes. Since the dial reading on most heaters is pretty much useless, once I get it where it works I leave be. The first priority should be get rid of the toxins. Water changes are the simple direct way.
 

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A question to others: in this circumstance would it have been a good idea to lower the temperature slightly to reduce ammonia toxicity (I'm thinking of the link http://www.dataguru.org/misc/aquarium/AmmoniaTox.html prov356 referenced in another thread)? Would it also be a good idea to add aquarium salt to prevent nitrite poisoning?
There's usually enough salt in the tank to detox nitrite as much as it's going to. I never advocate the addition of salt. The conditioners like Prime or Ammolock are the best options for dealing with the toxins.

I wouldn't drastically drop the temp because fiddling with heaters may do more harm than good, but I'd make sure it wasn't on the high end of the good range. Meaning, if it's 80 or or, drop it to 77-78. Personally, I'd leave it there then as cooler water holds more oxygen.

Well, I just tested the Ammonia before and after a 10% water change this morning (I kept it at 10% for now until I get some water conditioner today)
If you've got chloramine in your tap water, then even 10% charges aren't good. The chloramine is stable, more so than chloramine, that's why it's used in tap water. The chloramine can even kill off the bacteria that you're trying to build.

Your ammonia levels are down enough that I'd not do another water change until you got the conditioner, as you said, Even then, go for 25% changes once or more per day rather than a massive change. I've found that massive water changes can be disruptive to the bacteria you're trying to build. Be sure to keep testing to see make sure what you're doing is having the intended affect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Update ... I bought some Prime today and did a 20% water change this afternoon and the Ammonia is 0-0.25 ppm. I'll continue to do regular water changes, with the Prime, and hopefully things will work out all right.

Thanks again !!! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I'm perplexed, since I'm getting ammonia levels of about 0.5ppm, even after 2 months of cycling. I'm only feeding the fish 1 small pinch per day, plus some daphnia as a treat (BTW I have 8 small Neolamprologus Brichardi and two 4" long Plecos) . Also, on Sunday, put in ammonia remover "filter media" (from Fluval), new charcoal, and cleaned the filter at the same time. I'm wondering if I should stop feeding them for a few days to see if that brings my Ammonia levels down or whether the test kit is giving me false readings (although, I doubt it). Or maybe cleaning the filter on Sunday, with Clorine-free water, might have affected the levels.

Here's my current water specs:
kH - 7
gH - 7
dH - 14.6
pH - 7.9
Ammonia - 0.5
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 0
O2 - 12
CO2 - 2.64

Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Hi,

Coming in a little late, but here goes:

1) You need transient ammonia / ammonium to feed the nitrosomonas to get nitrites which feed the nitrobacter to get the benign-at low-level nitrates which are consumed by plants or diluted by water changes. Why did you put an ammonia absorber? It sounds like your tank hasn't yet cycled. If you have an emergency ammonia situation you should continue the WC's and the liberal use of Prime. Prime binds up the ammonia, but it is still available to the nitrosomas.

2) Also, why did you put charcoal in your filter? It has value only to remove medications, since due to clogging it has a useful life in an aquarium of only a few days.

3) Stop cleaning your filter. The biological filtration especially should be left alone until your tank has fully cycled as defined as zero ammonia and zero nitrite. Even when done properly, cycling a tank can take more than 6 weeks. Sorry to say, it seems that some of the actions you've taken have inhibited the process.

4) It sounds like you have a veritable chemical laboratory at your house. That's good. Me too. OTOH, please realize that your $10 aquarium hobby test kits - especially GH and NO3 - often give inaccurate and sometimes crazy-wrong, results. They need to be tested versus a standardized solution http://www.rexgrigg.com/diy-reactor.htm#kit (bottom of page) for an example. Otherwise, test kits should be used to indicate direction, like positive or negative. If your ammonia kit or nitrate kit show "positive" take action (BTW, these two kits, TG, tend to be more reliable).

You'll be relieved to learn that once your tank is up and running, you'll be able to back off on the WC's.
 
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