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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
ok so i had a pretty bad experience in my 38gal due to my lack of experience! i lost 4 tiger barbs, 1 rainbow shark, and 1 clown loach due to high nitrite and my inability to do more research. so after trying a million different ways to get my water back to normal again i think it finally came around. i have been doing water changes pretty often. i had a ph a little on the acidic side at 6.0 (the lowest api master will read). i also showed a little ammonia but i had some decaying plant matter from the hornwort that had appearantly died all over my tank (could that be the sorce of the ammonia or is it only fish waste that does this?). i cleaned all that up, cleaned my filters with the water i pulled from the tank for the waterchange, tossed the dying hornwort, and did a ~50% waterchange and water levels are as follows:

nitrites: 0ppm
nitrates: 0ppm
ammonia: between 0and .25ppm (guess i need to watch this)
ph: its climbing back towards 6.6-6.8

im going to keep testing and doing water changes until this weekend...do you guys and gals think it would be safe enough to introduce maybe an oto or 2 to the tank? or should i get some more barbs to replace the ones lost....i need to get 4 more to get what i used to have but i planned on only gettting 2 at a time.

also does anyone have any tips on how to maintain my tank once it finally is cycled. live plants, lighting, anything would be helpful...i liked the horn wort but i think my lighting was not good enough.

thanks so much to all that helped me get my tank point back in the right direction..hopefully it will be back soon!
 

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I have noticed that since I began testing with the API FW Master Kit, my Ammonia level is always between 0.0 and .25 (in a very well cycled tank) - even fresh tap water (without dechlorinator). I'm not sure if this is something to do with my eyes not being able to clearly distinguish the "pure" yellow of a zero reading on the color card, or if my water just always has a bit of ammonia in it. I say this, because that could be the same situation you are experiencing with your low level of ammonia right now. (I wonder if any experts have any input on this. Possibly a false positive due to an ionic form of ammonia???)

Live plants will definitely help to absorb nitrogen components, but you still have to do water changes because Nitrates will eventually build up.

As for cycling, when there are fish in there, the tank is in a Nitrogen cycle. The cycle continues to occur once it begins (where you are right now), as long as there is a supply of ammonia from the fish waste.

If lighting is a concern, look into low-light plants. Java fern, java moss, and anubias are some that I know of off hand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
im going to look into those plants..now i have a really weird problem. one of my barbs and one of my danios will be swimming along and then it looks like they just die. they will float around upside down and settle on the bottom of the tank like they are dead...when i put the net in to get them they start swimming around like everything is ok...got any ideas?
 
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