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Hey there guys, would like to introduce myself. My name is John, but everyone calls me Chief. Glad to be here. Did the 10 gallon with goldfish thing when I was little. Got re-interested when I was about 18, went tropical, but fairly beginner-ish. Then got re-interested again about 4 months ago. Would love a Saltwater tank, would love it to be a local species tank since I live right at the ocean, but my apartment does not allow for any tank that large(would want at least 55 gallon).

I have a question. Ok, so I had one of those cheap "all-in-one" 6 gallon set-ups. I have had bigger, but in my apartment space is pretty limited. I had originally started it up, gave it like 3 days to get started. Then I adjusted the Ph to 7, waited another week, then got 2 fancy guppies. Waited another week, and got 2 Danios. Waited another week, and got 2 more guppies. I waited another week for a little algae to build up, and got a small1.5" albino long-tail pleco. Tank ran great, had a few spots of algae, but did fairly little other than fed 2x a day, change the filter, and add water. Had it for about 3 months, didn't lose one fish, didn't have a single problem. One of my guppies got prego. Spit out a few(dont know how many, happened overnight) 3 were left by morning. Anyway story goes on and I ended up getting a long short dresser in my room instead of the tall thin. So I got a 20 gallon-tall tank. I ended up giving the guppy babies back to the store. Kept the males and gave back my females.

Started the 20 gallon tank and transferred these fish at the same rate as the first, just a few more guppies than before. I waited another week after like 3 fish per week, and bought 2 columbian(?) rams. Not the german blues. Also bought a blue dempsey. The blue dempsey only lasted maybe 4 days. He wouldn't eat anything. I tried everything, flake, pellet, veggie discs, baby brine, little tiny living bloodworms. NOTHING. Oh well, fish die, can't dwell on it. Running about another 2 weeks and noticed one of my danios was getting HUGE. Well apparently I had a male and a female(both looked exactly the same until the female started to swell). One good sign I am getting from this, is that my general theory is that if they are breeding, the water quality is pretty good. Will be bringing the female back, as I don't need any more babies. But in the last 5 or so days since about 2 days before she spewed her eggs, there is like white slimy stringy stuff all throughout the tank. It has attached itself to my plants and decorations, and not sure what it is. Is this a byproduct of the eggs? Is it some kind of slime coming off my fish? The water has also gotten a little cloudy. I don't think I am over-feeding. I have 8 male guppies, 3 just BARELY showing that they are male. The 2 rams, 2 danios, and the pleco. I am feeding about 1/4tsp of flake food, 2x a day. None of my fish have gotten sick whatsoever since I have had them, except for the blue dempsey.

Anybody have any insight? What's going on in my tank? I did notice this happening in the 6-gallon tank, but it did not seem as bad, especially since I had it for so long without it really happening much at all. What changed?
 

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Do you have a water test kit? Drop liquid tests are the best. What we need are Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate. Temperature would also be helpful. Anything is a guess without those numbers.

Also how many fish of each species are in the tank? How often do you do water changes and how much do you change?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I don't have an ammonia, nitrate, or nitrite tests, will get them today.

The water is 79 degrees. I did 1 water change the first week, about 25%, then another 25% right before I added the store-bought fish(2 *bolivian rams and the blue dempsey). All my water added to start the tank, and for changes has been bottled steem-distilled from the supermarket.

Tank has 8 guppies, 2 danios, 2 rams.

I will get back to you with ammonia, nitrate and nitrite when I test later.

Thanks for the response.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
forgot to add one thing. Not sure if it makes a difference, but easily could.

When I first turn on my light in the tank, all the fish are lethargic. The rams are kinda resting, not sideways or anything, just hovering on the bottom of the tank, and their colors don't look fantastic. The guppies are usually spread between the bottom and the top, but NONE in the middle. After about an hour with the light on, they are all colored up, swimming happily like they don't have a care in the world. Am I not giving them enough light?(usually about 10-12 hours)
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Nitrate-less than 20ppm
nitrite-.7ppm
GH-25ppm
chlorine-0
KH-60ppm
ph-7.0

Ammonia:6ppm

The ammonia is through the roof as I expected only a few minutes into the test. What is causing this? Nothing has sat more than 10 hours dead(work and sleep), and i dont think im feeding too much.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
just did all tests but ammonia on the small tank:
Nitrate:30ppm
nitrite:0ppm
GH:100ppm
chlorine:0ppm
KH:140ppm
ph:7.0

seems that my original smaller tank is a little bit harder, little bit more alkaline, little better on nitrite, but a little worse on nitrate.
 

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It is time to get the ammonia and nitrites under control Chief. The ammonia comes from fish respiration and from the decay of any and all organic material in the tank. The only way it normally gets removed is by having beneficial bacteria growing in the filter that convert it to nitrites. The nitrites are in turn removed by bacteria converting it to nitrates. Finally, at the nitrate stage, the chemical poison is less toxic and you can allow it to build up by about 20 ppm above background levels before removing it by water changes. Unfortunately a new filter has no beneficial bacteria in it so you must control the ammonia and nitrites by doing large and frequent water changes until those bacteria develop. With ammonia levels at 6 ppm, you are due for several successive 80% or larger water changes to get below a target value of less than 0.25 ppm. With each water change you will see the fish act noticeably better as long as the new water is about the same temperature as the old tank water and a good dechlorinator is used.
Do not forget that a dry heater is a burned out heater and a filter running without water soon becomes one that has no functioning impeller. Plug them back in after the water changes.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you.

I have been using distilled because my tap is horrible. Very soft, TONS of chlorine. I would hate to get a RO watermaker. Other than buying tons of distilled is there any way I can get through this? I understand the water changes. How frequently do you suggest I do these water changes? Every 2 days? Also, is this linked to the white stringy stuff I have in the tank? Also could ammonia come from the recent release of all the eggs of the danio? Lastly, still have the older tank, but for a 6 gallon tank, its a lot of fish, but would they be better off there rather than in the tank with the problems?
 

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On the tap water if I were you I would get a bucket full of your tap water and put some conditioner in it. Let it sit for a few days and maybe even put an air pump in it. Then test it with your test kit and see what you get. If it test ok then you can use it. You might just have to get some 5 gallon jugs and fill them up ahead of time. Or a lot of people use rain water, if you have some way to collect it from your houses gutter system.
As has already been stated your ammonia is so high because you have no bacteria established to eat it up. You might also try buying some live plants. I know hornwort will grow in any type of light and grows very quick, it will help suck of some of the nasty stuff in the water.
 

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Are you trreating for ammonia with some kind of chemical. Those chemicals as well as dechlorinators have a side effect of locking up oxygen. Plus the ammonia lock still tests positive for ammonia with common test kits. So the problem is you test for ammonia, add more chemicals and still test for ammonia. All the while locking up more and more oxygen so the danger is the fish could suffocate.

I also would not adjust the pH.


You should not add fish until ammonia tests 0. Add live plants and wait. Plus stop adding food until nitrItes are 0.

Some fish like gold fish and rams will attack the plants. What I would do is setup a partition so you have a small plant partition and a larger fish/swimming area.

my .02
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks again guys. Since my ammonia tested so high, I did treat for the ammonia. I however, did not treat until after the test, so the test is correct.

I also put 2 airstones off my big(5"x4") air pump to eliminate/deminish the oxygen ock-up issues. Since then I have also taken my rams out of the tank, and put them in the established smaller tank. I do not want to overcrowd the established tank, so I am leaving the guppies in the larger tank. Hoping that with the amo-fix, and a few water changes, I will lower my ammonia numbers enough to make the guppies comfortable. I have some 5-gallon buckets, will use some water treatment and use that to do water changes. I might have a perfectly cleaned, unused 30 gallon big trash-pale, might pay to fill that up and use out of there.

Kinda leary on using rain-water, being surrounded by salt-water on all sides having too much salt content. Will do a big water change tonight with steamed distilled, and fill up the buckets for subsequent changes. Thanks guys.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Ok, I have a decent photo of the offending slime. My camera-phone stinks, so forgive the quality of the image. I will also try and get a shot with my digital camera(cheapie).

If you look at the fake bamboo, you can see a few string things dangling off of it, thats the string stuff. Seems like some of it went away, and is deffinitely not the serious offender from before.

Lied, that photo stinks. Lets try the camera.
 

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OK here we go again. The chemicals that you are using to tie up ammonia are not going to work for long. They are intended as an emergency measure like when you are leaving for work and can't stop long enough to do a water change. A water change is the only realistic way to remove ammonia for the fish's health. You are doing something else that is risky and that is using distilled water for water changes. Fish cannot live in pure distilled water, they need some mineral content in their water. Since you already have reduced the mineral content of the water considerably, I would use a mix of tap and distilled for water changes until you can get the water back up to reasonable mineral levels. The rams may be fine in ultra-pure water but most fish , including guppies, will not. The most effective way to do a water change, for chemistry problems, is to do as big a change as you can all in one go. I would drain the present tank so far the guppies in it have a hard time staying wet. Then refill with dechlorinated and temperature matched water that has only a small increase of minerals compared to the water they have been in. By doing one large change, you will likely get rid of most of the chemical problems the first time compared to doing multiple 50% changes to have the same effect.
 

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Ok, so I did about an 80% water change. It was about 2 inches of water remaining in the tank. I put roughly 17 gallons of distilled water. Did not see your post obviously until now. I did this on wednesday night. Water was crystal clear, fish seemed very happy. I went to my parents until a hour or so ago, and fed a small amount before I left, and when I got back, the white stuff was back, water was cloudy, fish were still happy. Since I took them all(8 guppies and the pleco) out of the 6 gallon tank, gave away 6 of the guppies, got the 2 rams, I just put them back in my 6gallon tank. I have decided to go with a saltwater tank, which is what I originally wanted anyway, just didn't think I could do a reef tank in such a small tank. Seeing that I can, That's what I am going to go with. Also purchased a RO/DI machine for my water. Only does 24g/day, but with a 20 gallon system, that should be FINE.


Thank you all for your help. Now they are all happy as pigs in slop in the older tank.
 

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Chief

It is quite possible to have a small reef tank. The salt guys call them nanos so check out that forum there.

And salt tank can get cloudy for the same reasons as FW tank. Remember to balance out the tank with palnt life (macro algae) right from the start to prevent that. And if you get some kill the lights for a few days.

best of luck

my .02
 
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