Cichlid Fish Forum banner
1 - 20 of 32 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
72 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a moron, as will soon be obvious, but will you guys please help me anyhow? I need to know do I fix my mistakes without making it any worse.

I'm a newbie and started with a 55 gal, cycled it, then stocked it...with incompatible fish! My LFS wouldn't take the fish back, so I bought a used 55 gal and a 29 gal. I couldn't move the larger tank myself and aggression levels were severely increasing due to the females producing (laying?) eggs. So, I set up the 29gal, cycled it and moved in 7 of my mbuna. When I found assistance, I moved in the 55gal...and this is where everything really fell apart!

Like an idiot, I tried to speed up the cycling process because due to stress half the fish in both tanks were showing early signs of ich, and bloat (for which I increased temperature, added salt and reduced feeding). Anyhow, I set up the new 55 with 50% old tank water, the secondary filters from both established tanks, and 5 cups of gravel from the old 55. I thought they were going to die if I didn't do something fast, so I only waited 10 days before I moved in the peacocks/haps and put the mbuna back in the original 55gal. I did not test the water those 10 days, which was stupid, but when I stocked it, it was reading Nitrites 0, Ammonia 0, Nitrates 5, Ph 8.2 according to my API test kit...so I thought I was safe.

2 days later the bigger problems began, when the OLD 55gal crashed. For some reason my Ph shot up from 8.2 to around 8.5 (in ONLY the old tank), ammonia spiked from 0 to 1, nitrates from 0 to 10, and nitrites from 0 to 0.5...I assumed everything but the pH was from taking off the second filter and ordered another filter online. I had been doing water changes every 5 days, but upped it to every 3 days until the new filter came. It's now been 2 weeks and I did a 50% water change yesterday (everything was slightly elevated again, but returned to 0 after the w.c.). Today, the ammonia is already back up to 0.25 but the rest remains at 0. Now, after being stocked 14 days, the NEW 55 gal tank is also crashing, which I think is because I killed some or most of the bacteria. (I won't bore you with all the details, but I did some incredibly stupid things!) After doing a 60% water change today the pH was 8.2, nitrites 0.5, ammonia 0.25 and nitrates ~30. So I added extra Prime and I will check it again after it has some time to circulate.

The fish in both tanks are stressed, the new tank more than the old, for obvious reasons. Today, I increased filtration by 250gph on the old tank (which will hopefully solve the problem), but I don't know what to do about the new one...I think it's probably cycling again and the fish are in such incredible distress, I feel absolutely horrible. I don't know if I should keep doing water changes, adjusting with Prime, increasing heat, adding salt, swaping filters or leaving it alone... :(
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,111 Posts
If you have fish in there already I would just keep doing the WC's to keep the reading down. It will still cycle like that but will take longer. Another suggestion that I would say is to check into Dr. Tims One and Only Nitrifiying Bacteria. I never used it but alot of people it works wonders and that would eliminate the whole cycling process that your going through. Just keep on top of the WC's until it arrives and then follow the directions on the bottle to instantly cycle the tank.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
72 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your input, I wasn't sure which would be harder on them. At least they all still have voracious appetites and I've managed not to kill any of them. I think the Prime might have reduced the toxic levels some. I have a new Red Sea nitrite test kit, that I used for the first time this afternoon and just realized that I misread it...now I'm really confused!

According to API 3 days ago nitrites were 0, after I swapped filters 2 days ago they started to spike, yesterday they rose to 0.25 and this morning they were off the charts. After the 60% water change this afternoon, I started double testing with the Red Sea kit. Before I added Prime, API read 5.0 but Red Sea was actually 0.5 (I transposed the numbers and thought they were the same). Now, after Prime, API still reads 5.0 and Red Sea has dropped to 0.2.

(The other API levels are ammonia <0.25, nitrates <5, pH 8.2) So the question now is, how fast can nitrites raise? Can test kits go bad?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
656 Posts
Keep up with the W/C's and prime, and stop feeding your fish every day. You should be feeding lightly about twice a week until your water situation is straightened out.

Now this second thing, about the tests, You are actually getting the same reading. API reads "total nitrite", while the red sea kit is reading "nitrite-nitrogen" so you wind up with two different numbers, but it is actually the same level in the tank.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
705 Posts
ya for all the work and money youve already obviously shelled out. id just go buy the bottle of active bacteria from like petsmart. typically they sell some tetra brand version. Safe start is wat its called. it may be expensive but its just simply add and done cycle over :p i highly reccomend getting some
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
72 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
shellies215 said:
You are actually getting the same reading. API reads "total nitrite", while the red sea kit is reading "nitrite-nitrogen" so you wind up with two different numbers, but it is actually the same level in the tank.
This makes no sense to me, and I was unable to find reference to it anywhere else. However, I'm not a chemist.

As for the other suggestions, I ordered Dr Tim's on Saturday and it arrived today (Monday). I'll let you know how it works for me!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
656 Posts
PortiaD said:
shellies215 said:
You are actually getting the same reading. API reads "total nitrite", while the red sea kit is reading "nitrite-nitrogen" so you wind up with two different numbers, but it is actually the same level in the tank.
This makes no sense to me, and I was unable to find reference to it anywhere else. However, I'm not a chemist.

As for the other suggestions, I ordered Dr Tim's on Saturday and it arrived today (Monday). I'll let you know how it works for me!
It's actually explained in the API instruction book. The tests are not testing for the same exact chemical compound. That is why you're getting different readings from the different tests.
 

·
Read Only
Joined
·
0 Posts
I just added enough of Dr. Tim's to my 75 gal to treat 90 gallons of water on Friday (says on the bottle you can't overdose. Stuff works great, maybe too great. What I can say is that my ammonia levels dropped like a rock within a day (3ppm down to pretty much 0). Only problem I'm having is the other bacteria (the ones that convert the nitrite to nitrate) don't seem to be there. My nitrites keep spiking, hitting 5ppm. I've done several water changes over the weekend to help keep the nitrites down (read somewhere, I think it was on Dr Tim's website that high levels of nitrite will kill the nitrite bacteria). Last night I did about a 50% water change, nitrites dropped down to .25ppm, about 3 hours later I tested again and they were back up to 2ppm. After the WC I did add a trace amount of ammonia to feed those bacteria, but what I can't understand is why my nitrites keep spiking so high. Any ideas?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
72 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
sboisvert,

Is your tank stocked and did you do a water change before adding the bacteria? After adding the bacteria how long did you wait before doing your first waterchange?

Through daily waterchanges and adding Prime, I'd gotten my new tank down to slightly above 0 readings, according to API (Ammonia <0.25, Nitrite <0.25, Nitrate 0) and Red Sea (Nitrite 0.2). Now it has only been 12 hours and there is no major change aside from a slight increase in nitrites according to API (from <0.25 to 0.25) and a slight decrease in nitrites according to Red Sea (from 0.2 to 0.1).

I am really starting to doubt the accuracy of my API nitrite test though, since half the time its results seem to be the opposite of what's expected and what Red Sea confirms. Even if API is reading "total nitrites" vs "nitrite nitrogen" its results have come back both higher and lower than Red Sea instead of being consistently one way or the other.
 

·
Read Only
Joined
·
0 Posts
PortiaD said:
sboisvert,

Is your tank stocked and did you do a water change before adding the bacteria? After adding the bacteria how long did you wait before doing your first waterchange?

Through daily waterchanges and adding Prime, I'd gotten my new tank down to slightly above 0 readings, according to API (Ammonia <0.25, Nitrite <0.25, Nitrate 0) and Red Sea (Nitrite 0.2). Now it has only been 12 hours and there is no major change aside from a slight increase in nitrites according to API (from <0.25 to 0.25) and a slight decrease in nitrites according to Red Sea (from 0.2 to 0.1).

I am really starting to doubt the accuracy of my API nitrite test though, since half the time its results seem to be the opposite of what's expected and what Red Sea confirms. Even if API is reading "total nitrites" vs "nitrite nitrogen" its results have come back both higher and lower than Red Sea instead of being consistently one way or the other.
Tank is not stocked. I did not do a water change before adding the bacteria. Added the bacteria around 6pm on Friday. I think it was Saturday afternoon when I started doing water changes. I've done several WC to keep the nitrite down to less the 5ppm. I did the water change Saturday after taking a water sample down to Jack's Aquarium and having them test it and confirming what I was getting on the API test kit (there were fairly close), but they were using the test strips at Jacks, I'm using the liquid kit.

The last two days, my ammonia levels drop to 0 within 24 hours easily. I've been putting about half a tablespoon in at night. Took me three tbs to get it up to 3ppm originally. What I found odd was last night have doing about 50% WC, I tested for nitrites and was down to about .25ppm, about 2 to 3 hours later it was all ready back up to somewhere between 2 and 3ppm (I did add ammonia after the WC).

What is Prime and what does it do?

Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
72 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Although you should probably wait for more experienced advice, I would be inclined to say that doing such a large water change so soon after adding the bacteria could either have starved or even removed many of them from the water. Although they start doing their job immediately, they can take several days to settle and actually colonize the tank and filters.

So perhaps you added enough bacteria, and they began the process of converting your ammonia to nitrite, but you didn't give them long enough to settle down, multiply and start converting the nitrite to nitrate before you did a large waterchange. So assuming the waterchange took out 50% of the bacteria, the remaining bacteria likely just need some time before you do any further waterchanges.
 

·
Read Only
Joined
·
0 Posts
PortiaD said:
Although you should probably wait for more experienced advice, I would be inclined to say that doing such a large water change so soon after adding the bacteria could either have starved or even removed many of them from the water. Although they start doing their job immediately, they can take several days to settle and actually colonize the tank and filters.

So perhaps you added enough bacteria, and they began the process of converting your ammonia to nitrite, but you didn't give them long enough to settle down, multiply and start converting the nitrite to nitrate before you did a large waterchange. So assuming the waterchange took out 50% of the bacteria, the remaining bacteria likely just need some time before you do any further waterchanges.
I was thinking that too, but I was going by Dr. Tim's Fishless Cycle guide http://www.drtimsaquatics.com/fishless/fishless.html and at the end he mentions that if either the ammonia or nitrite levels get above 5ppm do a water change to lower the concentration. Dunno you might be right though. Will give it a few more days and see what happens, my main concern was the high levels of nitrites.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
72 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
sboisvert said:
Just checked my nitrites and their down to .5ppm. Much better. Checked twice just to be sure. :)
Woo Hoo! Mine are either at 0 (as is everything else) or at 0.05...either way I'm happy too! :dancing:
 

·
Read Only
Joined
·
0 Posts
PortiaD said:
sboisvert said:
Just checked my nitrites and their down to .5ppm. Much better. Checked twice just to be sure. :)
Woo Hoo! Mine are either at 0 (as is everything else) or at 0.05...either way I'm happy too! :dancing:
Yay, added some more ammonia last night, watched the nitrites spike up to 2ppm last night and then checked again this morning and they were back down to .25ppm. Getting ready to order my fishies.... :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
72 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
sboisvert said:
Yay, added some more ammonia last night, watched the nitrites spike up to 2ppm last night and then checked again this morning and they were back down to .25ppm. Getting ready to order my fishies.... :)
To be safe you might want to wait until it can drop to 0 and remember not to add too many at once....what are you thinking of getting?
 
1 - 20 of 32 Posts
Top