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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I started a community tank 2 weeks ago, the book I read said to cycle the tank with 3 platys so I added them a few days after I filled the tank. took reading for everything everyday and was doing water changes often because the ammonia readings were fluctuating between 1.5 and 5, occasionally it was 0. About a week and a half later I added 8 zebra danios, all the while taking readings which were consistently Ammonia 1.5, Nitite <.3, Nitrate between 10 and 20,PH 8. When I do water changes, I add the API stress stuff. So far I have lost 2 platys and 2 danios. Am I doing something wrong or is this normal when the tank is cycling if it is even cycling? Please comment!

Thanks
 

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Cycling a tank is very stressful on fish. If I were you, I'd return the ones you have if you can and buy them again after it has fully cycled. I'm pretty new myself, but you want ammonia down to zero before you add fish, or it will stress them out too much. Even if they do survive their life will be shortened and they'll be more susceptible to disease. Another option is a bunch of fast growing plants from what I've heard. Like I said I'm new too, but I saw you didn't have any responses yet. Hopefully someone else can help you further.
 

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How long has it been since you have started cycling? Your parameters are not in the extreme so I dont know why the fish are dieing. Are you using test strips or liquid to test? And also, how big is your tank? All that fish in a small tank would be too stressful on the tank when its not cycled yet, but would be fine in a large tank. Usually when you see nitrAte it means your tank is finished cycling, unless you are over feeding a lot. And 10-20 nitrate is pretty high. You should be seeing no signs of ammonia or nitrite. The only thing I can think of thats wrong is, one of the nitrogen readings is over the chart and your test strips are reading it inaccuratly. (Im assuming you're using strips)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you for the replies, I am using a liquid test kit and I feed them a small pinch every other day which they eagerly eat all of it. My tank size is a 35 gallon tank. Thats the other thing that puzzles me is that my Nitrate is in a good range yet I never saw a nitrite spike and I still have ammonia readings, so that is very baffling to me.
 

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Queen Platy
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Are you changing the filter too constantly? Using medications? Filter working properly? These could temporarily raise ammonia. Ammonia and Nitrite should not be readable on test kits in a mature tank so maybe your tank is still cycling. You can introduce a bunch of fast growing plants to suck up the ammonia. Some plants such as Water Sprite, Hornwort, Wisteria, Anarcharis, etc. Or just keep doing small water changes to keep the nitrogens from going into the extreme zones. Its baffling to me too :p
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I havent touch the filter, which I am using a biofilter but I havent done anything with that, its also big enough for my tank. No medications other than the stress stuff to remove chlorine, thanks for the advice though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
todays reading were Ammonia 1.5, Nitrite .3, Nitrate 20, PH 8. I did two 15% water changes about 2 hours apart to minimize the temperture drop. I have noticed Nitite is slowly coming up so maybe my tank is really starting to cycle after 2.5 weeks.mI have two platys remaining and the are looking rough and 5 danios.
 

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I am by no means am I a pro aquarium keeper but I do not see how your water could be effecting them like that. The only explanation I could think of is that you brought it home with the fish. Did you dump the water that the fish came in, in your tank because that's bad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I dont know either, the only thing I can think of is that even though I was doing daily small water changes my ammonia never went to 0 it was always 1.5 for about a week now and maybe the long term effect at that rate affected them. To answer your question, no, I use my net and scoop them from the bag to put them in my tank. btw I use a whisper 60 water filter and I have yet to see any type of accumulation on the filter media.
 

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A consistent ammonia reading of 1.5 is detrimental to fish health. High ammonia readings for extended periods of time burn out their gills, making gas exchange difficult. Your tank is definitely not done cycling and that's the problem. My recommendation is to start dosing your tank with Cycle (a product that introduces lots of beneficial bacteria to your tank) and keep doing water changes. Add fast growing plants like java moss and hornwort to help out with the ammonia. I think you'll be able to fix this problem soon
 

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Ammonia 1.5, Nitite <.3, Nitrate between 10 and 20,PH 8.
This is a cause for concern if these numbers are correct.

Also what is the temp in the tank?

You just started cycling the tank a couple of weeks doing a fishy cycle. Immediate bump on the bioload by adding the zebras during this time.

Have to get that ammonia knocked down. Bump up the frequency of your water changes to 25% every couple of days. Continue to watch them parms. Fishies are in a bad way at the moment but can pull through.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you for the suggestions, the temp in my tank ranges between 76 and 79 degrees. I have read NOT to use chemicals to knock down the ammonia because that would mess with the cycling process, so I dont know what to do. There seems to be varying(and good) ways to go about it.
 

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Right now during your cycle, water changes are the best thing for you. The key thing is being patient and diligent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Todays reading were Ammonia-0, Nitite- <.3, Nitrate-10, PH-8 water temp-78 degrees. Now the question is should I do a water change and if so how much?
 

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Glad to hear the parameters are getting better. Keep an eye on the ammonia and make sure it doesn't get over 1.0. If it does, do a water change. Cycle is actually just a bacterial additive that works pretty well IMO; I'm anti-chemical most of the time as well. Good luck with everything and keep us posted
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Did'nt know if I should have, but I did another 25% water change to be on the safe side. I will look for this Cycle stuff tomorrow at the fish store. I was also wondering since I'm down to one platy, if I should buy two more tomorrow since it was recommended I have three of those?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
ok todays info brought to you by API.

I ran to the fish store, I had to buy more ammonia test drops(API), I also picked up some cycle stuff and 3 platys. Did a 25% water change, added the cycle stuff and stress coat along with the three platys. Waited 2 hours and tested the water.

Ammonia-0, nitrite-0, nitrate-20, PH-8 and water temp-78 degrees.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
So, last night I was feeling confident and added to pieces of driftwood to add to my scenery. Well by morning it had tinted my water and of course were floating still. So when I came home from work I did a 25% water change, waited an hour or so and tested the water, the results were as follows:
Ammonia-.5
Nitite-.2
Nitrate-80
PH-8
water temp-76 degrees

So I did a second 25% water change adding the cycle stuff and stress coat again(did that the first time also).
 

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You want to avoid doing (2+) water changes in the same day as much as possible.

As for the driftwood, do you know what kind it was? Being that it is floating and from a pet store, chances are it's grapevine. Just a guess. Maylasian and Mopani sink right away.

The brown tint is tannins releasing from the wood. It's normal. If you don't like the "tea" look of the water, add some carbon to your filter. That will help remove it. It's a personal preference to have it. I for one actually like the look. It gives it a much more natural look and feel. Not to mention that the fishies like it too. ;o)

To help the wood get water logged quicker, boil it in a pot of water for several hours. Chnage out the water routinely as well...again this is if you don't want the tint.
 
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