Help Please on an error I may have made - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-13-2014, 02:25 AM Thread Starter
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Help Please on an error I may have made

I am so worried. Here is the problem. I took a 55 gal fish tank and took all the gravel and sand out and started over on the tank EXCEPT for the filter. I had a canister filter that had been running with old hang filters on this tank for about 3 1/2 weeks to almost 4. So my husband took the 55 and restarted this tank with new sand and decorations. I then took the canister filter and put it on the newly tank because I thought it was already established. So my husband and I assuming the water was good since I used the same filter that had been running for those weeks. We go and get 2 sets of breeding rams. (last night) We decided to go to a mom and pop fish store today and drive the 1hr and 1/2 away and lucky I brought some water to test. I had ammonia and nitrites and nitrates some lots more than others. She said it looks like the tank is in the beginning of a newly cycled tank. So I bought SAFE START PLUS and a seasoned sponge filter she had already established in her tank. We also bought a HUDGE test kit. I retested my tank and my readings are as follows
nitrite .1
ammonia .50
nitrate 5.0
ph 8.2-8.3

we drawl from a well and I have never had this issue. Im on pins and needles watching these fish. I feel so bad for assuming that my water was good by thinking that my filter was in established order.
I did use a capfull of ammonia block.
I'm so afraid that I might have heart these BEAUTY'S!

What else can I do to lessen the evil of the water quality.
(I asked the lady should I do a water change she said no not yet)
I have a few live plants in the tank also.

Sorry for the long post.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-13-2014, 03:01 AM
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I would imagine that the canister filter has some of the bacteria it needs, but the old filters were like that bacteria's home. The canister was like the bacteria's lake house and you'll probably have to give the canister filter some time to catch up.

In the mean time, I would disagree with the shop owner and say change lots of water and frequently. Throw the seasoned sponge in the tank, give it a few squishes and leave it in there, and test the water everyday to determine if you should change some.

If you use the safe start plus, know that it may not be as good of a solution as the bacteria in the filter/tank. So keep an eye on it when you stop using it to make sure that it wasn't just masking the problem.

Any sort of change can cause the filter's bacteria to be a little out of whack with the needs of the tank. Water changes will only help and buy you time.

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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-13-2014, 03:12 AM
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I'm not all that familiar with the instructions for Safe Start as I've never used it... however, IMO you SHOULD be doing water changes... as many and as large as it takes to get both the ammonia and nitrite down under 0.25ppm.

If your nitrite level is still 0.50 ppm tomorrow, I would do a 50% water change. If it's 1.0, you'll need to do a 75% water change.

You may need to do those large water changes several times a day till your cycle levels back out.

Like Reginald2 said, any large change on an aquarium is likely to disrupt a tank's cycle. Keep in mind that only a portion of a tank's N-bacteria are actually living in the filter- the rest are living in the substrate and on all the surfaces in the tank- which were all disrupted with your big re-do. Also, I am not clear from your post if there were any fish in the tank before you purchased the Rams? If not- the tank would not have even begun to cycle.

However, hopefully between the established filter, sponge filter, and Safe Start, it won't be long before things level out. The nice thing about a relatively large tank like a 55gal is that as long as you've got a low bioload in the tank (like 2 pair of Rams), the waste levels stay pretty diluted and it's easier to keep them in check.

Definitely don't add any more fish till your ammonia and nitrites both have dropped to 0ppm and I'd recommend at least a week of 0ppm.

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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 08-13-2014, 03:35 AM
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Safe Start works. The company which developed it in a lab sold the right to produce the freshwater version to Tetra.
I don't exactly follow the directions on it and this is likely late but I used half of it directly into the filter which I left turned off for half an hr after putting in the BB.
Then I used the other half on the next day.
But 3 hrs after I put in the first dose I got a reduction in the ammonia reading.
It took a little more than a week for all the readings to even out but the fish acted normal for the whole time.
The BB clings to surfaces inside of the tank. All the surfaces. So after the first day
most of it has found a home and the water changes won't be throwing it out.
And fish can adapt to almost any PH(most fish). I usually tell people that if your on the same water supply as the city that the pet shop is in then you already have the same PH as the fish are used to but in this case I see it's different.
But bouncing it up and down causes more harm so just let them get used to what you have(they are practically there already) rather than trying to change it again.
These fish if I'm not mistaken are soft water fish normally. But the only most likely thing this will effect is breeding. If after a while they haven't yet you may want to think about that then. But for right now it's better to not give them multiple problems at the same time.

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