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Fish moved now the fun begins (cycling)

1127 Views 9 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Kazman338
Hello everyone,

New to the site but have been keeping fish for about 13 years. Will be starting a Journal for my newest tank and documenting building my aquarium stand soon. Right now I have a heavily planted 29 gallon tank and a new to me 75 gallon tank. My 29 is heavily stocked with guppies and a few loaches, corydoras and a gourami. The 75 gallon was moved this last Sunday from a friends house. He had 5 clown loaches and a synodontis catfish. The smallest loach is around 3-4 inches long and the largest is around 7-8 inches long. The synodontis is around 8 inches long as well. So far the tank is great but I am having some issues because of how the move went.

The move started off badly when I found out that my friend had removed the fish a few minutes prior to me getting to his house and he proceeded to drain all of the water from the tank down the drain. He also had two HOB filters a Penguin 330 and Penguin 350 which he left outside in 90+ degree weather. Needless to say they were dry as a bone when I got there. I did manage to keep all of the rocks he had in the tank wet but all the other items that would have been part of the bio filter were gone.

So needless to say right now I am cycling the tank. I know that I really shouldn't subject the fish to this kind of stress but I don't have any other options. No one I know can take the fish until the tank cycles and my light hood is not ready so I can only plant low light plants under his stock 2x40w light fixture. I did however manage to switch half of my fluval 204's media into the new Fluval 206 I am running on the other tank. I also added a Fluval 406 yesterday to increase the flow in the tank.

I also added some java fern and java moss from my other tank and some duck weed (i know it is a pain but grows quickly). I have also been doing daily water changes trying to lower the ammonia levels but it isn't easy with these large fish. I have been able to keep the ammonia from going above 1ppm and it is usually hovering around .5ppm or .75ppm when I get home from work before I do my water change. My levels started off at 5ppm ammonia and 0 nitrite 0 nitrate, but last night and this morning when tested my tank had .5ppm ammonia, 0 nitrite and 5pm nitrate so I guess my seeded media is working. I also added some Zeo-carb to the filters but that hasn't seemed to make a difference at all. I just really wish I could have started with a clean slate with no fish. And so far they all seem to be acting ok except the catfish. He won't eat any of the food I have given him. Or a least I haven't seen him eat. I usually put the food in after lights out.
Well I just wanted to say hello and tell people about my experience thus far with my new tank. Keep an eye out for my thread hopefully soon about building my stand and my journal for my tank with pictures.
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Use Tetra SafeStart along with lots of plants. The LARGE bottle. Dump the whole thing in.

Pour some of it over each of the bio-wheels, some into each filter, rest into the tank.
Ditto. Run, do not walk to a store that carries Nitrospiros in a bottle. Read the label and do not accept anything else.

Do as large a water change as possible to get the ammonia and nitrite as close to 0 as possible.

Since you have taken a lot of media and plants from your other tank dump a bit in there, too.

Yes, use the whole bottle.

Nitrospiros is the active ingredient, the species of bacteria you are trying to grow. It is found in these products:
Tetra Safe Start
Dr. Tim's One and Only
Microbe Lift's Nite Out II
Probably a few more, but read the label to be sure. Do not waste money on anything else.
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Thanks for the info guys. I knew there was a bio additive that was supposed to work but didn't know which one to get. But at this point I can't get that until tomorrow because all of the stores are closed. And some sad news I came home today to find the catfish and one of the loaches dead. The others were all gasping at the surface. I immediately did a 65% water change. I also ran to the store and got a maxi jet power head and am using that as a venturi to aerate the tank. When I came back home the fish were again at the surface so I did another huge water change. After the first change the ammonia went from around 1ppm to .25ppm and the nitrite went from 1ppm to 0ppm. The nitrate stayed right around 5ppm. I also have a ph of 7.8 so I know that ammonia is more toxic for my fish anyway. The problem is I didn't actually get many plants from my other tank because I am afraid to upset the balance of that tank so I only have a small amount of Java moss on two rocks and two java ferns in the tank. I think by the end of tonight I will probably lose another small loach as he is the last one hanging at the surface. I have to say this has been a horrible night. I really wish I could have done a fishless cycle. But I did find something out about the catfish. I talked to my LFS owner and described what was happening and he said the fish was sick before I got ahold of him. The fish had cloudy eyes and would waddle like a penguin when it swam. I didn't notice a problem with that becuase I have never owned one of them and the other fish were all acting fine. Of course through it all my 4 guppies that I have in the tank have been doing fine. Right now it looks like 3 of the remaining loaches are on the gravel and are getting all there color back. One has his color back but is hanging sideways at the surface. I think I might only have 3 loaches by tomorrow. I am going to get up early and do another water change tomorrow morning. Hopefully I can get the rest of these fish through this. Thanks agian for all the help guys I can't wait to get this tank cycled and setup.

PS I live in Baltimore Co.
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House of Tropicals is just off I-97 South in Glen Burnie. Take the exit for MD 648 South. It'll be in the shopping center across from the train station, behind McDonalds. They have plants in the back.
Hey Klintz thanks for the info I have heard of them but have never been there. I will have to check them out. I actually visited the closet LFS near me called Wet Pet and Reptile and he has nice fish but the plants were very limited and not very good looking.

Oh and a quick tank update. I did another large water change this morning. When I got home today the ammonia is reading at what looks like 0-.25ppm and the nitrites are at 0ppm and the nitrates are at 5ppm. The fish all look really great and thankfully I didn't lose anymore. I am still going to go out and get some of that bacteria in a bottle. I will keep you guys informed on how things are going. Thanks again.
Keep up with the water changes. With that high pH you really want all the ammonia gone or locked up. Read the label on the dechlor. It may have instructions about how much can be used. Perhaps a double dose, or maybe one dose with the water change itself, then repeat that dose later in the day.
Hope you get the Nitrospira soon!

Java moss and Java fern are so slow growing they are not worth much in a situation like this. In that large a tank it will take a lot of plants to make a dent in the ammonia levels. Look for the fastest growing plants like Anacharis, Wisteria and similar plants.
Ok I have been keeping up with my water changes but have had to do them less frequently so hopefully that is a good sign. I can only do 1 water change a day and my ammonia doesn't rise very much at all. Usually never getting above .50. I always perform a water change if it climbs above .25ppm. I actually was finally able to get some safe start today and does my tank a few hours ago. Now I have heard that since I dosed that I should not do any water changes. I did not read that on the bottle however and was wondering what I should do if tomorrow I wake up and the ammonia is out of wack. I have also been feeding the fish very little food so they don't produce so much waste. Hopefully the safe start will work soon. I bought the 75 gallon bottle size also. Thanks again for your help I just wish I would have heard of this stuff sooner.
Well another quick update. I have not had to perform any water changes since I added the Safe start. Used to be every morning I would have to do a 50% water change to get my ammonia levels down from .50ppm to .25ppm but my ammonia level has been holding at .25ppm since I added Safe Start on Monday. I still have no nitrite and my nitrates look like they have gone up to about 10-20ppm not completely sure. I have also been feeding the fish everyday instead of every other day.
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