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  • snowdog_61
    Hello. My 3,8, and 10-year olds finally convinced Mom and Dad( that s me) to set up a freshwater tank. Being a bit Type-A about things, we got the (29-gal)
    Message 1 of 9 , Apr 8, 2008
      Hello. My 3,8, and 10-year olds finally convinced Mom and Dad(
      that's me) to set up a freshwater tank. Being a bit Type-A about
      things, we got the (29-gal) tank, filters, bubblers, substrate,
      plastic plants, "ornaments" and so on around Christmastime 2007. We
      spent the next 6 or 7 weeks reading, together, all about
      aquariums/aquaria, fish-keeping, water/conditions, components of a
      good/healthy tank/community, etc etc. We read <Aquariums For
      Dummies> cover-to-cover, and I (and the kids) seemed to have a
      pretty good handle on things (At least, I thought we did). About 3
      weeks ago, we finally set up the tank, used store-bought pea-gravel-
      sized substrate, a couple of tank-bottom decorations (a battle-ship
      and log that we bought from the aquarium section of the local
      WalMart. We set up the filters (rinsed etc), tested the water
      (everything seemed okay., incl pH, ammonia/nitrate/nitrite,
      hardness, chlorine/chloram's, KH) the bubblers were working great.
      The water became a bit cloudy immediately upon adding water (the
      large blue-bottle variety for water-coolers, but we treated it to
      get rid of Cl, metals etc anyway); I didn't rinse the substrate (my
      bad!)so I assumed the cloudiness was fine dust suspended in the
      water. After about three or four days the cloudiness settled down,
      but seemed to take almost two weeks before the water appeared as
      clear as my kids' friends tank, so I added some tank-clearing stuff,
      as per bottle directions (I didn't notice an appreciable difference
      after the addition, though). I rinsed the rinse-able filters . Of
      note, I did not cycle the tank before adding fish (???my bad???).

      Okay, so things seemed to be going well. The kids got the water-
      testing thing down well, and seemed pretty comfortable with tank
      care. 5 days ago, we bought three Sailfin Mollys and three Mickey-
      Mouse Platys at our local/reputable pet-store, and were assured that
      their tanks had had no recent troubles or fish-additions. I didn't
      check their tank water. So we brought the fish home in their little
      water-filled bags (to which the pet shop owner had added
      some "StressKote" to the water) , we let the bags sit in the tank
      (80 degrees F) for about 25 minutes, and poked a hole in the bags
      allowing the fish to enter our tank. Within about 5 hours, our tank
      water became murky/cloudy (the next morning we couldn't see the
      scene on the outside-back of the tank!), and one Molly was dead. The
      cloudiness has decreased but is still hazy. Last night another of
      the Molly's died. The remaining Molly, formerly a fish that zoomed
      all over the tank non-stop, alternates between very slow
      moving/stationary. and apparently-normal behaving. The Platy's have
      taken up residence in the log so we don't see much of them at all.
      One does come out periodically (the Platys used to all hang out
      together).

      Okay...testing: the pH has climbed from 7.2 to between 7.6-7.8. It
      does not respond to "pH down " products or to buffering tablets..
      The hardness/carbonate is climbing slowly but steadily. Ammonia
      levels started to climb but not too high (0.5ppm max) and NO3/NO2
      aren't detectable). I've added pH stabilizing/buffering evanescent
      tablets (no real change), re-treated the water for Cl etc (although
      no cl-containing water was ostensibly used), my wife used a rapid-
      ammonia reducing compound-no change) I even added some stuff to
      jumpstart the biol filter (it said it contained bacteria and was to
      bee added on days 1,7 14 and up to weekly thereafter, but I'm not
      sure about the rationale for the weekly bit)

      Today, the hardness continues to climb, the water is less hazy but
      still far from clear, my wife is currently at the local pharmacy
      obtaining some distilled water to do a 25% exchange, the temperature
      remains constant at about 80F.. Whassupppp??? ARRRRGGGGHHHH. Of
      course, it doesn't help that two of the three kids have lost their
      first petsÂ…..

      Any thoughts would be mucho mucho appreciated.
      Thanx, and sorry for the lengthy note.

      Brian

      Okay, so things seemed to be going well. The kids got the water-
      testing thing down well, and seemed pretty comfortable with tank
      care. 5 days ago, we bought three Sailfin Mollys and three Mickey-
      Mouse Platys at our local/reputable pet-store, and were assured that
      their tanks had had no recent troubles or fish-additions. I didn't
      check their tank water. So we brought the fish home in their litlle
      water-filled bags (to which the pet shop owner had added
      some "StressKote" to the water) , we let the bags sit in the tank
      (80 degrees F) for about 25 minutes, and ppoked a hole in the bags
      allowing the fish to enter our tank. Within about 5 hours, our tank
      water became murky/cloudy (the next morning we couldn't see the
      scene on the outside-back of the tank!), and one Molly was dead. The
      cloudiness has decreased but is still hazy. Last night another of
      the Molly's died. The remaining Molly, formerly a fish that zoomed
      all over the tank non-stop, alternates between very slow
      moving/stationary. and apparently-normal behaving. The Platy's have
      taken up residence in the log so we don't see much of them at all.
      One does come out periodically (the Platys used to all hang out
      together).

      Okay...testing: the pH has climbed from 7.2 to between 7.6-7.8. It
      does not respond to "pHdown " products or to buffering tablets.
    • Bren
      I wonder if all the studying as made you so focused on so many details that the truly important stuff is getting lost in the noise. It sounds like little
      Message 2 of 9 , Apr 8, 2008
        I wonder if all the studying as made you so focused on so many details that
        the truly important stuff is getting lost in the noise. It sounds like
        little errors are adding up to big problems. The gravel should have been
        rinsed. I don't know what the tank clear stuff was, but I'm guessing it
        wasn't necessary. Not cycling the tank, and adding so many fish at once,
        was not good at all.

        Don't add pet store water to your tank. Pour the fish out into a net, then
        transport the fish to the tank.

        I think I'd remove *all* decorations from the tank (who knows what they have
        in them, and they may be behind your pH fluctuations) and do a partial water
        change. Then cycle the tank with the fish you have left. You will probably
        lose more fish. Feed minimally. Focus only on getting your biological filter
        established. Don't add any fish or chemicals except for dechlorinator for
        water changes. Keep an eye on your ammonia, nitrates and nitrites. What kind
        of test kit do you have?

        Some things I'm not sure about that I'd ask this group - should he lower the
        temp to 78? 80 sounds a little high to me. Also, should he add some aquarium
        salt?

        I'm sorry you're in this mess. I started out similarly and most everything
        I've learned has been the hard way, at least at first!
        Bren
      • Jimmie R Davis
        The Sailfin Mollies are not the hardiest fish. The tank is cycling, but both Mollies and Platys like salt in the water. Did you buy the distilled water, or the
        Message 3 of 9 , Apr 8, 2008
          The Sailfin Mollies are not the hardiest fish. The tank is cycling,
          but both Mollies and Platys like salt in the water. Did you buy the
          distilled water, or the spring water? Spring water is usually very hard,
          and should be okay. Distilled water has all of the minerals removed, and
          is not that good for your fish. They need those minerals. Add some salt
          to the water. I have used Mollies to cycle a reef tank, when I was first
          setting it up. I never took them out. They lived in straight salt water
          for 4 years. The reason I brought them home anyway, was because the
          entire shipment was dying in the pet shop. I brought the last four home,
          put them in the salt water, and they snapped right out of it. The Platys
          could do with a little less salt, but the Sailfin Mollies in my
          experience really need it to survive.
          Nadine

          snowdog_61 wrote:
          >
          > Hello. My 3,8, and 10-year olds finally convinced Mom and Dad(
          > that's me) to set up a freshwater tank. Being a bit Type-A about
          > things, we got the (29-gal) tank, filters, bubblers, substrate,
          > plastic plants, "ornaments" and so on around Christmastime 2007. We
          > spent the next 6 or 7 weeks reading, together, all about
          > aquariums/aquaria, fish-keeping, water/conditions, components of a
          > good/healthy tank/community, etc etc. We read <Aquariums For
          > Dummies> cover-to-cover, and I (and the kids) seemed to have a
          > pretty good handle on things (At least, I thought we did). About 3
          > weeks ago, we finally set up the tank, used store-bought pea-gravel-
          > sized substrate, a couple of tank-bottom decorations (a battle-ship
          > and log that we bought from the aquarium section of the local
          > WalMart. We set up the filters (rinsed etc), tested the water
          > (everything seemed okay., incl pH, ammonia/nitrate/nitrite,
          > hardness, chlorine/chloram's, KH) the bubblers were working great.
          > The water became a bit cloudy immediately upon adding water (the
          > large blue-bottle variety for water-coolers, but we treated it to
          > get rid of Cl, metals etc anyway); I didn't rinse the substrate (my
          > bad!)so I assumed the cloudiness was fine dust suspended in the
          > water. After about three or four days the cloudiness settled down,
          > but seemed to take almost two weeks before the water appeared as
          > clear as my kids' friends tank, so I added some tank-clearing stuff,
          > as per bottle directions (I didn't notice an appreciable difference
          > after the addition, though). I rinsed the rinse-able filters . Of
          > note, I did not cycle the tank before adding fish (???my bad???).
          >
          > Okay, so things seemed to be going well. The kids got the water-
          > testing thing down well, and seemed pretty comfortable with tank
          > care. 5 days ago, we bought three Sailfin Mollys and three Mickey-
          > Mouse Platys at our local/reputable pet-store, and were assured that
          > their tanks had had no recent troubles or fish-additions. I didn't
          > check their tank water. So we brought the fish home in their little
          > water-filled bags (to which the pet shop owner had added
          > some "StressKote" to the water) , we let the bags sit in the tank
          > (80 degrees F) for about 25 minutes, and poked a hole in the bags
          > allowing the fish to enter our tank. Within about 5 hours, our tank
          > water became murky/cloudy (the next morning we couldn't see the
          > scene on the outside-back of the tank!), and one Molly was dead. The
          > cloudiness has decreased but is still hazy. Last night another of
          > the Molly's died. The remaining Molly, formerly a fish that zoomed
          > all over the tank non-stop, alternates between very slow
          > moving/stationary. and apparently-normal behaving. The Platy's have
          > taken up residence in the log so we don't see much of them at all.
          > One does come out periodically (the Platys used to all hang out
          > together).
          >
          > Okay...testing: the pH has climbed from 7.2 to between 7.6-7.8. It
          > does not respond to "pH down " products or to buffering tablets..
          > The hardness/carbonate is climbing slowly but steadily. Ammonia
          > levels started to climb but not too high (0.5ppm max) and NO3/NO2
          > aren't detectable). I've added pH stabilizing/buffering evanescent
          > tablets (no real change), re-treated the water for Cl etc (although
          > no cl-containing water was ostensibly used), my wife used a rapid-
          > ammonia reducing compound-no change) I even added some stuff to
          > jumpstart the biol filter (it said it contained bacteria and was to
          > bee added on days 1,7 14 and up to weekly thereafter, but I'm not
          > sure about the rationale for the weekly bit)
          >
          > Today, the hardness continues to climb, the water is less hazy but
          > still far from clear, my wife is currently at the local pharmacy
          > obtaining some distilled water to do a 25% exchange, the temperature
          > remains constant at about 80F.. Whassupppp??? ARRRRGGGGHHHH. Of
          > course, it doesn't help that two of the three kids have lost their
          > first pets…..
          >
          > Any thoughts would be mucho mucho appreciated.
          > Thanx, and sorry for the lengthy note.
          >
          > Brian
          >
          > Okay, so things seemed to be going well. The kids got the water-
          > testing thing down well, and seemed pretty comfortable with tank
          > care. 5 days ago, we bought three Sailfin Mollys and three Mickey-
          > Mouse Platys at our local/reputable pet-store, and were assured that
          > their tanks had had no recent troubles or fish-additions. I didn't
          > check their tank water. So we brought the fish home in their litlle
          > water-filled bags (to which the pet shop owner had added
          > some "StressKote" to the water) , we let the bags sit in the tank
          > (80 degrees F) for about 25 minutes, and ppoked a hole in the bags
          > allowing the fish to enter our tank. Within about 5 hours, our tank
          > water became murky/cloudy (the next morning we couldn't see the
          > scene on the outside-back of the tank!), and one Molly was dead. The
          > cloudiness has decreased but is still hazy. Last night another of
          > the Molly's died. The remaining Molly, formerly a fish that zoomed
          > all over the tank non-stop, alternates between very slow
          > moving/stationary. and apparently-normal behaving. The Platy's have
          > taken up residence in the log so we don't see much of them at all.
          > One does come out periodically (the Platys used to all hang out
          > together).
          >
          > Okay...testing: the pH has climbed from 7.2 to between 7.6-7.8. It
          > does not respond to "pHdown " products or to buffering tablets.
          >
          >
        • Giancarlo Podio
          I agree. I would not use any buffers, PH additives or other chemicals to solve any of this. The haze you noticed is likely ammonia levels rising in the tank.
          Message 4 of 9 , Apr 8, 2008
            I agree. I would not use any buffers, PH additives or other chemicals
            to solve any of this. The haze you noticed is likely ammonia levels
            rising in the tank. The problem you are having sound like they are
            caused by not having cycled the tank. Cycling requires some kind of
            waste (fish or food for example) in order to take place.

            Here's what I'd do:
            - Return all fish if possible except for one.
            - Monitor ammonia and nitrite daily and perform water changes as
            needed to keep the fish in health (use tap water not distilled). Also
            make sure you use a good water conditioner that removes chlorine,
            chloramine and heavy metals (Tetra AquaSafe for example).
            - 3-4 weeks later you should have both ammonia and nitrite levels
            down to 0 and nitrates starting to rise. You can now start to add a
            couple fish a week.

            If you can't return the fish, you will need to perform more frequent
            water changes in order to keep up with the rising ammonia or nitrite
            levels. Should you end up without fish, simply add a pinch of flake
            food each day to the tank to simulate the presence of fish and
            complete the cycling process wihtout any fish being harmed.

            Obviously don't touch the filter media if possible. As needed, rinse
            half the media in old tank water leaving the other half untouched for
            at least a week.

            If you have any friends with established tanks (healthy ones), you
            can ask them to squeeze some "yuk" from their filter media into a
            container with tank water in it and pour it into your filter. This
            will introduce bacteria to the tank a lot quicker. Most bacteria
            starters you buy are somewhat questionable in their efficiency, Bio-
            Spira seems to be the one that stands out from the crowd if you can
            find it.

            Patience is the most important 'chemical' you'll need during this
            stage :-)

            Some links of interest:
            http://faq.thekrib.com/begin-cycling.html
            http://www.gpodio.com/food_cycling.asp

            Hope that helps
            Giancarlo Podio, LMD

            --- In UniQuaria@yahoogroups.com, "Bren" <wgbren@...> wrote:
            >
            > I wonder if all the studying as made you so focused on so many
            details that
            > the truly important stuff is getting lost in the noise. It sounds
            like
            > little errors are adding up to big problems. The gravel should have
            been
            > rinsed. I don't know what the tank clear stuff was, but I'm
            guessing it
            > wasn't necessary. Not cycling the tank, and adding so many fish at
            once,
            > was not good at all.
            >
            > Don't add pet store water to your tank. Pour the fish out into a
            net, then
            > transport the fish to the tank.
            >
            > I think I'd remove *all* decorations from the tank (who knows what
            they have
            > in them, and they may be behind your pH fluctuations) and do a
            partial water
            > change. Then cycle the tank with the fish you have left. You will
            probably
            > lose more fish. Feed minimally. Focus only on getting your
            biological filter
            > established. Don't add any fish or chemicals except for
            dechlorinator for
            > water changes. Keep an eye on your ammonia, nitrates and nitrites.
            What kind
            > of test kit do you have?
            >
            > Some things I'm not sure about that I'd ask this group - should he
            lower the
            > temp to 78? 80 sounds a little high to me. Also, should he add some
            aquarium
            > salt?
            >
            > I'm sorry you're in this mess. I started out similarly and most
            everything
            > I've learned has been the hard way, at least at first!
            > Bren
            >
          • Julie Haddy
            Wow! That s a lot going on in a short period of time. I have not read that book so am not really familiar with the recommendations in it. I do know however
            Message 5 of 9 , Apr 8, 2008
              Wow! That's a lot going on in a short period of time.  I have not read that book so am not really familiar with the recommendations in it.  I do know however that are 2 things that are the hardest to learn when it comes to fishkeeping: patience & more patience.  The quick fix stuff whether it's pH adjusters, water clarifiers, algae be gone, etc. tends to usually cause more rebound problems than it can solve.  Tanks take time to get established.  Fish stores have to sell to stay in business and often throw products at a problem which does not require addressing as it is usually something that will resolve on its own in time.  The same is also true for filter media, just about the time the filter is becoming well colonized with beneficial bacteria, we are advised to change the cartridge.  I purchase filters where I can use a sponge or a bag of ceramic media in the filter.  Then when it is time for filter maintenance, I rinse out the media in used tank water (from a water change) and put it back in the filter, beneficial bacteria intact.  Rinsing it in tap water will kill off the beneficial bacteria.

              For now, the best thing to do will be to monitor the ammonia, nitrites and nitrates and do water changes as necessary.  Tap water treated with water conditioner will be fine for most fish.  I would not add any thing else to the tank, no more fish, no products to fix things, just let the tank stabilize.  Feed lightly.  Keep up with the water changes.  Let the cycling process finish, just be patient & wait it out.  Once your tank gets established, it will get easier.  Once you have 0 ammonia & 0 nitrites and some nitrates, then add a fish or two at a time with at least a week between additions until the tank is fully stocked.


              Julie Haddy
            • Brian Lyons
              Hi.Thanx for your speedy reply to my quandry. I must admit, the decorations potential effects on tank chemistry didn t occur to me. We returned the third and
              Message 6 of 9 , Apr 11, 2008
                Hi.Thanx for your speedy reply to my quandry. I must admit, the decorations' potential effects on tank chemistry didn't occur to me. We returned the third and final Molly to the Petshop; it appeared to  have become rather territorial and was nipping at the Platys. We began 20% daily water exchanges. The ammonia has begun to rise, but the water is clearing.
                I notice that you asked about which test kit(s) we were using. WE actually have a bunch, and interestingly, they yield radically differect results from a single sampling  (pH ranging from 6.8 - 8.0 in three test kits!) The ammonia results seem to have more inter-kit consistency, but I'm not sure I trust any of the pH results. In any event, though, all three are trnding downwards from their initial alkaline results.
                 
                Oh... has anyone any suggestions re: Tank-and-fish-keeping book/Bibles. It would be nice to get  some more info.
                 
                Has anyone any recommendations about a good and reliable and consistent ph/multi chemistry test kit?? Strips vs. test-solutions etc.? The products we're using are (for ph): 1. API 5-in-1 test strips;2. API pH test kit, and 3. Jungle Laboratories pH Quick Dip. Each product is internally consistent (i.e., one product consistently gives similar results compared to that same products past readings), but quite different from the other products' results.
                 
                I appreciate the feedback, and hopefully things seem to be shaping up.
                 
                Thanx, and thanx for the great forum.
                 
                Brian
                ----- Original Message ----
                From: Bren <wgbren@...>
                To: UniQuaria@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Tuesday, April 8, 2008 3:14:47 PM
                Subject: Re: [UniQuaria] I don't understand what's going wrong here...

                Yahoo! News

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              • Julie Haddy
                ... I love the convenience of the test strips, but they just do not have the reliability of the test kits with reagents. I m not really sure that one brand is
                Message 7 of 9 , Apr 11, 2008

                  Has anyone any recommendations about a good and reliable and consistent ph/multi chemistry test kit?? Strips vs. test-solutions etc.? The products we're using are (for ph): 1. API 5-in-1 test strips;2. API pH test kit, and 3. Jungle Laboratories pH Quick Dip. Each product is internally consistent (i.e., one product consistently gives similar results compared to that same products past readings), but quite different from the other products' results.









                  I love the convenience of the test strips, but they just do not have the reliability of the test kits with reagents.  I'm not really sure that one brand is superior to another, just get a kit from a store where there is good product turnover as some of them will go bad with age.  If the box is dusty, probably not where you want to purchase it.  I generally purchase API, Seachem and Aquarium Pharmaceuticals products for my supplies.


                  Julie Haddy
                • Giancarlo Podio
                  The API liquid test kits are very good. In several test comparisons they have shown to be quite accurate and consistant, even compared to more expensive
                  Message 8 of 9 , Apr 11, 2008
                    The API liquid test kits are very good. In several test comparisons
                    they have shown to be quite accurate and consistant, even compared to
                    more expensive brands...

                    Test strips don't have a very good reputation though, if you can go
                    with the liquid tests.

                    Giancarlo Podio, LMD

                    --- In UniQuaria@yahoogroups.com, Brian Lyons <snowdog_61@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Hi.Thanx for your speedy reply to my quandry. I must admit, the
                    decorations' potential effects on tank chemistry didn't occur to me.
                    We returned the third and final Molly to the Petshop; it appeared to
                    have become rather territorial and was nipping at the Platys. We
                    began 20% daily water exchanges. The ammonia has begun to rise, but
                    the water is clearing.
                    > I notice that you asked about which test kit(s) we were using. WE
                    actually have a bunch, and interestingly, they yield radically
                    differect results from a single sampling (pH ranging from 6.8 - 8.0
                    in three test kits!) The ammonia results seem to have more inter-kit
                    consistency, but I'm not sure I trust any of the pH results. In any
                    event, though, all three are trnding downwards from their initial
                    alkaline results.
                    >
                    > Oh... has anyone any suggestions re: Tank-and-fish-keeping
                    book/Bibles. It would be nice to get some more info.
                    >
                    > Has anyone any recommendations about a good and reliable and
                    consistent ph/multi chemistry test kit?? Strips vs. test-solutions
                    etc.? The products we're using are (for ph): 1. API 5-in-1 test
                    strips;2. API pH test kit, and 3. Jungle Laboratories pH Quick Dip.
                    Each product is internally consistent (i.e., one product consistently
                    gives similar results compared to that same products past readings),
                    but quite different from the other products' results.
                    >
                    > I appreciate the feedback, and hopefully things seem to be shaping
                    up.
                    >
                    > Thanx, and thanx for the great forum.
                    >
                    > Brian
                    >
                    > ----- Original Message ----
                    > From: Bren <wgbren@...>
                    > To: UniQuaria@yahoogroups.com
                    > Sent: Tuesday, April 8, 2008 3:14:47 PM
                    > Subject: Re: [UniQuaria] I don't understand what's going wrong
                    here...
                    >
                    > Recent Activity
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                    > Get it all here
                    > Breaking news to
                    > entertainment news
                    > Dog Groups
                    > on Yahoo! Groups
                    > discuss everything
                    > related to dogs.
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                  • Lauri
                    I have a test kit for pools that I have used in a pinch to check ph. It s amazing how many types and brands of test kits there are out there! I have an
                    Message 9 of 9 , Apr 12, 2008
                      I have a test kit for pools that I have used in a pinch to check ph.
                      It's amazing how many types and brands of test kits there are out
                      there! I have an additional kit just for nitrate and one for nitrite.

                      What about those devices that look like thermometers that check for
                      ammonia? has anyone used those?
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