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Re: [UniQuaria] I don't understand what's going wrong here...

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  • 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 1 of 9 , Apr 8, 2008
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      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 2 of 9 , Apr 8, 2008
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        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 3 of 9 , Apr 8, 2008
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          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 4 of 9 , Apr 8, 2008
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            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 5 of 9 , Apr 11, 2008
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              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...

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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 6 of 9 , Apr 11, 2008
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                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 7 of 9 , Apr 11, 2008
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                  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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                • 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 8 of 9 , Apr 12, 2008
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                    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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