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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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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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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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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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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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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
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.

=> BTW, I have live plants which it sounds like might keep my NO3 low. And yes, maybe my tank hasn't fully cycled yet ... I really don't know. I'll continue the WC's with Prime.

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.

=> It sounds like I should take the charcoal out soon?

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.

=> I'm planning on cleaning my filter every 2 months (with dechlorinated water). Does that sound about right?

Thanks again for all the help !!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
prov356 said:
Did you check to see if there's chloramine in your tap water? If so, there's a very simple answer to this.

Also, on Sunday, put in ammonia remover "filter media" (from Fluval), new charcoal, and cleaned the filter at the same time.
Too much tinkering with the filter. Leave it alone for a while. Once you get past this, remove the ammonia remover and charcoal. No need for either.

It's easy enough to check your ammonia kit with a bottle of spring water or similar.

Regarding filter cleaning schedule, depends on the filter(s), fish load, feeding etc. There's no one-size-fits-all.
=> No, I don't know if there's any chloramine in the water. Can you recommend a test kit I could buy for this? In the meantime, I look to see if I can find one.

Also, I'll take out the ammonia remover and charcoal at the next filter change, right?

Good idea on checking the ammonia kit with the spring water ... I'll do that.

Thanks again for all the help and advice !!! :fish:
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
prov356 said:
Can you recommend a test kit I could buy for this?
It would be in your water quality report. You can always find these online. It appears you don't have chloramine, just chlorine, so can't blame that for the ammonia reading. I'd double check the test kit, and then leave the filter alone for 30 days or so. Then, yes, remove the items mentioned from the filter.

What type and how many filters do you have? If you only have one filter and have been adding, removing, and cleaning things, then that could account for the ammonia reading. More info would be helpful on filters and maintenance schedule up to this point.
I'll double-check the Ammonia test kit tonight to make sure and my local water quality. Also, I have a Rena Filstar XP3 Canister filter for my 125 gallon tank.

Thanks again !!! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
I just double-checked the test kit and it read about 0.125ppm for Ammonia (this was using our de-chlorinated/filtered tap water) that looks like it might be a little of the problem. I also ordered a Chlorine test kit. Looks like I need to wait some more for the tank to cycle and keep close tabs on the Ammonia.

Thanks again for all the help !!! :fish:
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
prov356 said:
Rena seriously over rates their canisters. It's rated at 350gph MAX. That means empty, no media, and probably little or no head height. Kind of deceiving, isn't it? :) When I had an XP4 rated at 450, I measured the actual and it was about 240gph, no more. Your XP3 may not even be getting 200gph. So you could be turning your tank over 1-2 times per hour. It may not be enough to keep the ammonia at 0. That could be your problem. They rate it for up to 175 gallon tank. That's ridiculous. I'd add a powerful HOB and get some turnover in that tank. Biofiltration doesn't need a lot of turnover, true, but I think 1-2 times per hour just may not be enough. Do you have any powerheads, etc or any other current going?
I don't have any powerhead, but I do have an air bubble strip/stone that creates a lot of circulation on the other end of the tank from the Rena's output tube. Do you think a Hang on Back filter would be better than buying a different/bigger Canister filter?

Thanks !!! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
It looks like I might have to get their biggest one the "EHEIM professionel 3" ... http://www.eheim.com/base/eheim/inhalte ... 27575_ehen ... which is rated for 1700 l per hour (449 gallons per hour). It looks like it runs about the same price of about $240. I sure like the looks of it better than the Fluval, which obviously is not the most important thing. I'll do a lot more research ... such Fun !!!

Thanks !!! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
I'm thinking my Ammonia might have spiked, since I haven't been able to spot a couple of my 8 Brichardi. I'm wondering if the dominant 5 fish have killed 1 or 2 of the fish. If this is indeed the case, and the fish have been killed (which I cannot find/see anymore), wouldn't that increase Ammonia?

Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
olliesshop said:
I'm thinking my Ammonia might have spiked, since I haven't been able to spot a couple of my 8 Brichardi. I'm wondering if the dominant 5 fish have killed 1 or 2 of the fish. If this is indeed the case, and the fish have been killed (which I cannot find/see anymore), wouldn't that increase Ammonia?

Thanks.
Well ... so much for that theory ... after 3 days of not being able to count all 8 I was able to find them all this morning. So we're back to the same old problem.

Thanks again for all the help/advice !!! :)
 
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