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Used Antibiotic for sick fish - What does this do to tank cycle?


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My Comet (Fin) is now looking good after a life and death struggle that started with a fungus infection, he then got a bad case of SBD. I thought he was going to die for sure. I used a four day treatment of Tetracyline because he was not eating (so peas were no good) which now has him back upright and looking much better with one day to go on the 4 day treatment. My question is tomorrow when the antibiotic is done and I start to return the tank to normal, is the tank cycle like starting over with a new tank or will it cycle faster than normal? I'm assuming that the anitbiotic would have killed off the good bacteria in the tank.

I used a test strip today and Nitates are at 40, down from 200 when this whole mess started. Ammonia and Nitrites are both at zero now. The tank is a 10 gallon with two Goldfish and they have been in that tank for about 9 months. Fin is about 4 inches and Ginger (a Common GF) is about 2 inches. I've got plans now to get them a 55 gallon or bigger tank since it's obvious that the small tank is too small and my water changes to infrequent and that's how Fin got sick in the first place.

I'm sure that without the tips and information I got from this site that Fin would not be alive right now.

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You won't necessarily lose all of your BBs, but you will most likely see a (significant) cycle bump. Keep a close eye on your ammonia and nitrites. Do you know your tap water parameters? (ammonia, nitrites, nitrate, pH) If not, please test those and let us know your results.

Also test strips in general are not very accurate. I would try and get teh API Freshwater Master Test Kit. Initially it is more expensive than strips but it will last a loooooooong time as you can run specific tests depending on what you're concerned about (you can test just ammonia and nitrites for example).

What strips do you have? :idont

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Thanks for reply fantailfan1. The test strips are from Sentry/Mardel and they only test PH, Hardness, Alkaline, Nitrite and Nitrate. So for sure I need to get a better water test kit and I've only got one strip left anyways. The local pet shop here has API products so I will pick up a proper test kit as recommended and then let you know how the tap water here tests.

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Check the prices! I found the API master test kit on Amazon and actually buying that kit and the GH/KH test kit, including shipping, was cheaper than just the master test kit was at the store! I paid about $25 total on Amazon and the test kit at my LFS is $30.99.

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I went to the local pet store which specializes in fish specifically. They tested the tank water basics as follows:

PH 6.4

Ammonia 6

Nitrite 0

Nitrates 40

Phosphate 4

Tap water:

PH 7.6

Ammonia 0

Phosphate 0

I got some salt, this stuff called Stability which is for cycling tanks with fish in them, Gold Buffer (to bring up PH), and Gold Basics that removes ammonia and a few other things. They gave me the Gold Buffer and the Gold Basics as they were samples. He said this is a quick fix/bandaid. I treated with tank with all and the fish seem happier within minutes. The last of 4 antibiotic treatments was today so tomorrow I will do a water change and test again to see how I'm doing. I now have an API Master Test kit of my own.

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:yikes What did they use to test your water? Strips or drops?

If you have your own test kit, please test your tank AND tap pH, ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. If your ammonia is 6, that is toxic to your fish. Please test.

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The pet store used API drop tests.

April 20 - Yesterday: PH 6.4, Ammonia 6, Nitrite 0, Nitrates 40

The below test was done just done using my API drop kit. I did a 50% water change about an hour before I took these measurements. PH 7.6, High PH 7.4, Ammonia 2, Nitrites 0, Nitrates 60

This the tap water at my house. PH 7.6, Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrates 0

Seems odd that the Nitrates would be higher than yesterday given the 50% water change? Or is that expected as the Ammonia is down? Either way the Ammonia level is down but still an issue.

I'm thinking another water change this PM or tomorrow would be in order? Should I use the gravel vacuum on all the water changes or would that stir stuff up and in turn raise the Ammonia? I've been using the gravel vacuum on the water changes I've been doing in sections so the gravel is getting pretty clean.

I have the carbon filter going and am adding the following with the water changes:

Salt - 1/2 teaspoon for 5 gallons (never used salt until recently)

SeaChem Stability

SeaChem Gold Basics

I gave them a small amount of sinking food I picked up yesterday and Fin ate like normal for the first time since he got sick. Fin and Ginger are doing quite well now with lots of energy.

One odd thing was yesterday when I added the salt, Stability, Gold Basics and Gold Buffers the water foamed at the top from the airstone bubbles. This morning before I did a water change it looked like the foam you see on rivers sometimes that are polluted. It's doing it a little bit now but quite a bit less than yesterday. Is this the by product of getting rid of the Ammonia?

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Because you are doing such frequent large water changes I would not bother with the Stability at this point.

You should do another large water change ASAP to get both the ammonia and nitrates down. You want ammonia as close to zero as you can get it.

Also ammonia and salt don't mix so please don't add salt back in either.

When you need more water conditioner I would recommend either Prime or Amquel plus.

Edited by fantailfan1
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Yesterday I did a another (2nd) 50% water change for the day. I measured the Ammonia and the Nitrate before and after as those seem to be the areas of concern. There was about 8-10 hours between the two water changes.

After 1st Water Change: PH 7.6, Ammonia 2, Nitrate 60, Nitrite 0

Before 2nd Water Change: Ammonia 3, Nitrate 80+

After 2nd Water Change: Ammonia .75, Nitrate 20

Thanks for the Salt/Ammonia tip, I skipped the salt this time. The plan is to do another 50% water change today on my lunch break and test again and depending on the Ammonia do another one this PM. I'll measure the Nitrite this time too to make sure those have not showed up as the tank cycle gets back to a more stable state.

Fin and Ginger are doing very well now!

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Thanks for the help! Today looks better and I did another 50-60% water change. Here are the before & after tests for today.

Before: Ammonia 1, Nitrate 30, Nitrite 0

After: Ammonia .25, Nitrate 5

So I've still got Ammonia but it's getting pretty low now and not going up as much between water changes. Zero Nitrites. At this rate I'm hoping to see Ammonia at zero fairly soon.

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