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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-30-2017, 10:46 PM Thread Starter
 
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Stressing Out About New Aquarium

Hello everyone,

Two weeks ago today, I started a new 20 gallon freshwaterautolinker.com autolinking image aquarium. I got a Top Fin starter kit and everything else I needed. I was doing my research and decided I was going to start a fishless cycle. I added my water and the conditioner, waited 15 minutes then added the essential bacteria. A week later I unfortunately realized that I have forgotten to give the bacteria what they needed Ammonia. So I decided that the last visit to PetSmart wasn't good enough information wise. So I decided to head to my local Big Al's Aquarium for some professional advice on what to do next. The lady there told me that she thought that i wouldn't have a issue adding a few Zebra Danios now and doing a fish-in cycle. I grabbed 3 Zebra Danios, a Zebra Snail, a Moss Ball and another bottle of beneficial bacteria. I had done most of my research on fishless cycles and thought that the employee knew what she was talking about so I took her advice. The next couple days went by from what I thought fine. Although my snail still doesn't move at all. There was one Danio that bullied the other two and so we named him Bully. I read that Zebra Danios are more of a hierarchy where one rules them all. But I was scared that it was because there wasn't enough for these schooling fish. So I went out and got two more. The week went by great, I did a 20% water change once a few days after my fish settled in.

Here is where I am kicking myself in the butt. The lady at Big Al's told me it wasn't necessary to change 30-50% of the water everyday- every other day. Nor did she recommend me testing my water. I had been feeding them lightly once-twice a day. But yesterday something was off with one of my Danios. He was swimming around with the other and then not even 3 hours later... Laying on the gravel in the corner breathing rapidly. This really started to stress me out. After a few minutes of Googling. I decided I was going to do a quick 10% water change. As I was finish filing my bucket i noticed that he was now laying upside down and continuing to breath rapidly. I was absolutely shocked. Frantically I pull him out of the water and placed him in a glass bowl. Still on his side/back and still he was breathing rapidly. The 15 minutes it took me to let my conditioner to set in the new tap water. He unfortunately passed. I am so upset at myself and as I continued to read I realized I was making big mistakes.
1. Not testing my water everyday for Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates and pH.
2. Not PWC as often.

So today I got off work and went straight to PetSmart and got the API Master Testing Kit and another bucket.
My water came out
Ammonia: 0.25ppm (which was a lot lower than I thought it was going to be!)
Nitrite: 0.25ppm
Nitrate: 0ppm
pH: 7.6 ( Pretty high.)

After the test I did a 25% water change. and the results came out the same.
My questions are:

What can I do to make the the Ammonia and Nitrite go down? more water changes? more bacteria?
One of my fish is now just swimming in place at the top of the tank. He moves around sometimes then goes back to the same spot. Is he ok?
How to get my pH down without chemicals?
How do I get my tank ready to slowly add more fish? 0ppm Ammonia and 0ppm Nitrite?
How should I be feeding them now?

And please any advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated. I am stressing out so badly for my fish. I want them to be happy and healthy. Losing another fish would be heart breaking.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-01-2017, 08:36 AM
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Re: Stressing Out About New Aquarium

You are cycling. The only thing to bring those params down is more water changes, large ones. 50% daily since you have fish.

What conditioner do you use? Note that Prime will bind Ammonia, but it will still read that it is there. I also suggest you test your tap water so you know if you have any ammonia in there as well.

The snail may be dead, they are usually more sensitive to ammonia. I would pick him up and see if he moves any. If not, and if you are brave enough, give him a sniff. if he passed you do not need him in the tank rotting it up.

What kind of filter are you using? Since you have fish do not add any more of the bacteria, the fish poop will feed what is already there, and now you will have to go very slow with the process to ensure the health of the fish.

Your other fish sounds pretty stressed. He may recover, but this is why people now suggest the fishless cycling, because it causes undue stress to even hardy fish.

Also, welcome to the forum! I know it is very overwhelming, when you try and this happens. But take a deep breath and go steady one day at a time, and youll have a beautiful balanced setup before you know it.

"I've macrostoma tastes on a veiltail budget. "

If i drew it it'd look like a monkey eating a horsradish on the moon or something
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-01-2017, 09:27 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Stressing Out About New Aquarium

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Originally Posted by majerah1 View Post
You are cycling. The only thing to bring those params down is more water changes, large ones. 50% daily since you have fish.

What conditioner do you use? Note that Prime will bind Ammonia, but it will still read that it is there. I also suggest you test your tap water so you know if you have any ammonia in there as well.

The snail may be dead, they are usually more sensitive to ammonia. I would pick him up and see if he moves any. If not, and if you are brave enough, give him a sniff. if he passed you do not need him in the tank rotting it up.

What kind of filter are you using? Since you have fish do not add any more of the bacteria, the fish poop will feed what is already there, and now you will have to go very slow with the process to ensure the health of the fish.

Your other fish sounds pretty stressed. He may recover, but this is why people now suggest the fishless cycling, because it causes undue stress to even hardy fish.

Also, welcome to the forum! I know it is very overwhelming, when you try and this happens. But take a deep breath and go steady one day at a time, and youll have a beautiful balanced setup before you know it.
Thank you for getting back to me so quickly.
As of today I will be doing a 50% water change daily. My questions for that are:
How long will it take for my parameters to go down?
Should I be adding bacteria to the new water?

I use the Top Fin Water Conditioner. I will also test my tap water for ammonia. My questions for that are:
What if there is ammonia in my tap water?
How can i remove it?
Will my conditioner remove the ammonia?

Every time I pick him up to inspect him, he is alive. But as soon as I put him back into the tank he doesn't move a returns to his shell. I will check him again tonight.

My tank was a 20 G starter kit so the filter came with it, I think it is the Top Fin power filter.
My question for the bacteria is:
Why is ammonia still up if the bacteria are doing there job?
How long does it take for the bacteria to kick in?

I should have trusted my gut and continued fishless. But now that I have fish, How can i calm that one down? The others seem perfectly fine. I definitely want him to recover.

So when my tank is officially cycled my parameters should be? 0ppm ammonia, 0ppm nitrite? and what about Nitrate?
Since its been 2 weeks do i need to start my cycle over? Was it even started?

Thank you. I'm really nervous for my fish. I will take things slow and steady.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-01-2017, 09:52 AM
 
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Re: Stressing Out About New Aquarium

Welcome to the forum!

Should you start any other new tank see if you can obtain some filter media from someone else to seed your tank from day 1. This will avoid the heartache if something goes wrong and eliminated the long wait for a fishless cycle.

As your tank is cycling you have to do large water changes everyday, 50-75%. Once the tank is established you need to do a decent water change every week or so. I do a 50-60% water change weekly on a long time established tank. Once the tank is cycled get some plants in there to help with the maintenance as well.

Lastly, while there are some decent people in some chain pet stores, for the most part they know little and don't care to learn. Their job is to sell you products (often expensive) to maintain your tank. If you have a good local fish store start building a relationship with them and you'll learn fairly quick whether they are there to help you or sell you things.

Next time you purchase something expensive like the testing kit, check amazon. It's often cheaper and the chain pet store will often match the price.

Good luck!
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-01-2017, 10:54 AM
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Re: Stressing Out About New Aquarium

It depends, honestly on the tank. Some take longer than others but at least a couple weeks.

I am not familiar with the Top Fin conditioner, but I suggest Prime if you have ammonia in your tap, as it binds it making it safe. That will take care of it until the bacteria their job. Once established, the bacteria will work on the ammonia added quite rapidly.

Ammonia is still up now because the bacteria colony has not been established just yet. The bacteria in bottles is not very reliable usually, and it takes longer to work. The bacteria need a place to live, which is your filter pad and any decor in the tank. While some will be alive in the bottles, those are not the ones you really need, but will help until the filter does grow the right ones.

If the snail is still alive, he may be stressed, which is why he is not opening up. Once the water gets right he should be more active if he survives. Also being an algae eating snail, I am sure you do not have the buffet in there for him just yet. So you would need to either get some zuchinni, cut a small bit off, blanch it (Microwave it for a few seconds in dechlorinated tap water) or some algae wafers. otherwise he will starve.

Zero on ammonia and Nitrite, and you would want some rather low nitrates as well. Aim for around five or ten. The cycle has begun, since the fish were added at the latest. just keep up the water changes and it will happen. Slow and steady wins the race, remember? For your sick fish, if you wish you could QT but I do not see how that would help, as the QT would not be cycled either. Ammonia burns are easily seen by red gills. Heavy breathing at the surface is another indication. So just do a nice big water change, test daily, and he may recover.

"I've macrostoma tastes on a veiltail budget. "

If i drew it it'd look like a monkey eating a horsradish on the moon or something
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-01-2017, 11:04 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Stressing Out About New Aquarium

Quote:
Originally Posted by majerah1 View Post
It depends, honestly on the tank. Some take longer than others but at least a couple weeks.

I am not familiar with the Top Fin conditioner, but I suggest Prime if you have ammonia in your tap, as it binds it making it safe. That will take care of it until the bacteria their job. Once established, the bacteria will work on the ammonia added quite rapidly.

Ammonia is still up now because the bacteria colony has not been established just yet. The bacteria in bottles is not very reliable usually, and it takes longer to work. The bacteria need a place to live, which is your filter pad and any decor in the tank. While some will be alive in the bottles, those are not the ones you really need, but will help until the filter does grow the right ones.

If the snail is still alive, he may be stressed, which is why he is not opening up. Once the water gets right he should be more active if he survives. Also being an algae eating snail, I am sure you do not have the buffet in there for him just yet. So you would need to either get some zuchinni, cut a small bit off, blanch it (Microwave it for a few seconds in dechlorinated tap water) or some algae wafers. otherwise he will starve.

Zero on ammonia and Nitrite, and you would want some rather low nitrates as well. Aim for around five or ten. The cycle has begun, since the fish were added at the latest. just keep up the water changes and it will happen. Slow and steady wins the race, remember? For your sick fish, if you wish you could QT but I do not see how that would help, as the QT would not be cycled either. Ammonia burns are easily seen by red gills. Heavy breathing at the surface is another indication. So just do a nice big water change, test daily, and he may recover.
Thank you!

When you say that if there is Ammonia in the tap water to use "Prime" to get bind to it and make it safe. What brand should I be using? Is it just called Prime?
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-01-2017, 11:32 AM
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Re: Stressing Out About New Aquarium

Yes, it is Seachem Prime. It is one of the best water conditioners.

"I've macrostoma tastes on a veiltail budget. "

If i drew it it'd look like a monkey eating a horsradish on the moon or something
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