Hi, I fell for this hobby pretty bad around Christmas and did a lot of research and dipped my toes into my first planted tank. I fishless cycled a 20 gallon long and planted it to the brim. I had a small community tank thriving and it was wonderful..so I decided to upgrade my tank after 3 months so I could have more room to plant and to make more educated choices on substrate and plants.
Well here I am 2 weeks after upgrading wanting to give up the hobby that I have now spent a small fortune on. Despite moving a quarter of the old substrate and the filter media my cycle is in a crash or mini cycle. On top of this I had ordered new fish shortly after I updated and thought the cycle was ok. So now I doubled my bioload into this unstable environment. My mystery snails are crawling out of the water and I stepped on one. Two fish have jumped out And died, I do daily 30 percent water changes and my parameters are stuck at ammonia: 0, nitrites: 0.25, nitrates: 20 ph: 6.8 temp is 75f
I’m exhausted and don’t want to even look at this tank anymore. I have emailed and tried contacting every fish store that’s still open near me for filter media and one grudgingly gave me a single ceramic ring. I dose prime daily after the water change. Besides the suicide jumps, everyone looks normal for the moment.
Harlequin rasboras 12
Panda Cory 14
Mystery Snails 2
I can answer with more details if you need any. Sorry this is my first post.
I know it can be discouraging when this happens, but--- if I could make a list of the discouraging losses I have had in my 30 years of fish-keeping....
It happens-chin up. There will be more joys than losses. Give this hobby time enough to show you that.
Now, as a beginner, I can understand how you thought that cycled media from your other tank would give you an "insta-cycle" in your newly set-up tank. It is so often repeated by even the most experienced aquarists. In all my years of fish-keeping, even using cycled media from my other tanks, i have never had a tank cycle in less than 2 weeks. So, your discouragement is from unrealistic expectations. This, and making it hard on yourself by adding fish to a tank that wasnt ready for them.
But, you can keep these fish safe by upping the volume of your water changes daily. I have cycled my tanks with fish-in (discus) many times when I didnt want to introduce pathogens from another cycled tank through media.
Or, just recently, I added a pair of Rams to an uncycled tank where they had fry and I raised these fry for 2 months in this tank. The trick is that you are the filter- through daily water changes you are both the biological and mechanical filter until the actual filter is "seeded" and does this on its own.
If 30% daily water changes are not doing it, you need to up your volume to 50%-75% daily until the biological filter establishes itself.
Yes, these water changes will be exhausting, but-- under the circumstances, with livestock- they are necessary. But, you could try to enjoy them as well: explore the life that you are developing in this glass box of yours. The fish, the plants, the snails, take a close look and lean in. There are some great things to see going on in there.