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Question about cycling, products, PH, and Ammonia. Please help!


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Hi there,

New member here, got a 75 gallon tank ( got from previous owner ). Originally the tank had only 1 filter which was AquaClear 70 (previous owner said they had only 2-3 tetras which multiplied into 20 and they don't want them anymore so donated to lfs) and after the running the tank for the first day, I decided it was probably not enough and added AquaTech 30-60. Combined GPH is 740. I cycled the tank for a week and thought it might be enough (did not do enough research), I went ahead and added one fish. Then added 5 more the next day.

The area I am from has somewhat high PH as it gets to 8 maybe sometimes. Petco employee told me that that's okay for Goldfish but I purchased API's PH Right just in case. In addition, everytime I do water change I also add just a little bit of StressCoat, again, Petco employee's recommendation because she siad it will further remove heavy minerals and such that makes tap water hard. Also, it contains aloe which will calm my fish. Upon my later visit, Petsmart employee recommended me PRIME which seems to be popular here and she told me it owuld help remove ammonia and nitrate/nitrite. She says it mostly does the same thing as the other two so I should just finish those 2 bottles and purchasing this one in the future.

After adding the fish, first two days it seemed that ammonia level was normal as it stayed at 0. I feed them frozen blood worms in the morning and at dawn, during the day I feed them twice, each time a small ration of Hikari's Lionhead. The water was getting seemingly cloudy (forgot to check Ammonia, sorry) so I did a 100% water change as I hear its good for young fish especially if I am feeding blood worms. Then the third day, which was yesterday, I tested for Ammonia (API drip Ammonia test) and it was 4.0 or something really high. I panicked and did another 100% water change and it dropped to 1.0. Then I found this place and decided to ask for help here. I tested the water this morning and it was again very high (4.0), so I did a 30% water change and now its dropped back down to 1.0. I am really worried as I really really really (cannot emphasize) love this group of fish.

Just to add further information, I started out with a lot of gravel in the tank. I removed some after the first 100% water change as I thought it was too much and holding in too much dirt. The second one, yesterday, I took all of it out except the ones holding the plant decorations because one of my guys almost choked on one. Also, I see a lot of algae and stuff from previous owner. Is this bad practice?

Also, I read there are products like QuickStart or InstantStart (not sure the name) and StressZyme which contains the biological bacteria to help eliminate ammonia and speed up the cycling process. Also there are other Ammonia removing products I was going to get but the pet store employees have all said I should be okay as long as I continue doing partial water changes to keep the ammonia down.

Please, any input would be welcome, I know I have already messed up by adding the fish in there too soon and I really hope I can fix it with the help of you guys. Thanks in advance.

Edited by WeeBeyPrice
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:hi and welcome

A pH of 8 is perfectly fine as long as its stable. If you can pick up a KH/GH test kit, you can test for KH which will help us determine how stable your pH is.

Prime is a great product and I would suggest you use this while cycling. I've never use StressCoat.

I would try and keep your ammonia under 1. With that many fish in your tank, that will be difficult and will require frequent large WCs. Feed lightly once a day while cycling. This may take up to a couple months.

Removing all of your gravel is not a problem. Several members have bare bottom tanks and live them. :)

The biological bacteria products are not going to help you. In order for these products to work, they need to be in the tank for a minimum of about 5 days and you will be doing WCs much more frequently than that.

:)

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:hi and welcome

A pH of 8 is perfectly fine as long as its stable. If you can pick up a KH/GH test kit, you can test for KH which will help us determine how stable your pH is.

Prime is a great product and I would suggest you use this while cycling. I've never use StressCoat.

I would try and keep your ammonia under 1. With that many fish in your tank, that will be difficult and will require frequent large WCs. Feed lightly once a day while cycling. This may take up to a couple months.

Removing all of your gravel is not a problem. Several members have bare bottom tanks and live them. :)

The biological bacteria products are not going to help you. In order for these products to work, they need to be in the tank for a minimum of about 5 days and you will be doing WCs much more frequently than that.

:)

:hi and thanks for the reply. I don't mind doing water changes as I work at home. I will probably do another 30% change in the afternoon but right now it seems like its kind of hard to keep under 1.0 even with water changes.

Should I consider ammonia eliminating products?

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Nope, the only thing you need is lots of WCs. What are your tap parameters for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH?

Do you have a water changer such as a Python or Aqueon water changer? That would be a lot better way to spend money than ammonia removing products. :)

And pick up some Prime if you don't have it already. A big bottle. :rofl

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Welcome to Kokos!

You probably would have done well if you had stuck with the one fish. :) It sounds like you are a fast learner. As you have probably learned, the process of cycling involves building up a population of bacteria that convert ammonia first to nitrite and then to nitrate. This takes a few weeks.

When you got the tank, did you scrub and sanitize the tank and filter? (I'm not saying you should do so.)

Have you tested your tap water? Something is funny with your test results. If you do a 100% water change, the ammonia should be zero unless you have ammonia in your tap water. A 30% water change should not drop the ammonia from 4 to 1. Was the "after" test done right after the water change? Is this a new test kit?

To give us a hand in figuring out what is happening, please test both your tank water and tap water for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH and report it to us.

A pH of 8 is fine for goldfish, but ammonia is more toxic at higher pH, so you will have to change a lot of water to keep it under control. I don't recommend trying to alter a stable pH that is not harmful.

How big are your fish?

We recommend Prime and it can be used to detoxify ammonia. There are instructions on the bottle. I wouldn't waste money on the other products you mentioned.

Many of us prefer a tank without gravel for exactly the reason you gave.

When you have a tank that is not cycled, you should feed your fish very lightly and avoid high protein foods like bloodworms. Your fish will be fine on very little food and will produce less ammonia.

Keep us informed on your tank and fish.

Edit: I see I was thoroughly sniped by fantailfan. :)

Edited by shakaho
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Nope, the only thing you need is lots of WCs. What are your tap parameters for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH?

Do you have a water changer such as a Python or Aqueon water changer? That would be a lot better way to spend money than ammonia removing products. :)

And pick up some Prime if you don't have it already. A big bottle. :rofl

Okay, getting that today!

I do not have Python or Aqueon water changer, they seemed pricy at Petsmart (49.95 I think), so I only got the siphon with a pump. I have been scooping out some water into the container and moving the fish there, then getting bucket by bucket.

I did a test on tap water, turns out pH is around 7.8-8.0, it shows no nitrite, and very very low nitrate (the color is closer to 0), Ammonia however is at 0.25.

Welcome to Kokos!

You probably would have done well if you had stuck with the one fish. :) It sounds like you are a fast learner. As you have probably learned, the process of cycling involves building up a population of bacteria that convert ammonia first to nitrite and then to nitrate. This takes a few weeks.

When you got the tank, did you scrub and sanitize the tank and filter? (I'm not saying you should do so.)

Have you tested your tap water? Something is funny with your test results. If you do a 100% water change, the ammonia should be zero unless you have ammonia in your tap water. A 30% water change should not drop the ammonia from 4 to 1. Was the "after" test done right after the water change? Is this a new test kit?

To give us a hand in figuring out what is happening, please test both your tank water and tap water for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH and report it to us.

A pH of 8 is fine for goldfish, but ammonia is more toxic at higher pH, so you will have to change a lot of water to keep it under control. I don't recommend trying to alter a stable pH that is not harmful.

Edit: I see I was thoroughly sniped by fantailfan. :)

How big are your fish?

We recommend Prime and it can be used to detoxify ammonia. There are instructions on the bottle. I wouldn't waste money on the other products you mentioned.

Many of us prefer a tank without gravel for exactly the reason you gave.

When you have a tank that is not cycled, you should feed your fish very lightly and avoid high protein foods like bloodworms. Your fish will be fine on very little food and will produce less ammonia.

Keep us informed on your tank and fish

When I got the tank, I just wiped down the dust built up and for the filter, I did not do anything to it. Then I added a new filter and did not do anything to those either.

Did another test with tank water and it shows that ammonia is at 2.0 actually (more green than my previous test). I did do the after test right after so that maybe why? The tap water report is above and tank water is showing both 0s for Nitrate/Nitrite, pH is neutral (I used pH right).

Should I discontinue this?

Fish are shown here

http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/forum/index.php?/topic/115257-my-tank/#entry1653290

I am really bad at judging how big or old my fish are, I am not sure when people refer to size, do they include the tail or not? Either way, most of my fish seem young except the red Oranda with the larger head.

Edited by WeeBeyPrice
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I have two orandas about 2.5 to 3 inches in body length in a 29 gallon tank with ample filters. I started my tank in late October/early November. Just last week I started getting nitrites. So basically two months of working to keep ammonia down with lots of water changes. I use to do the bucket method. Very tedious. I've devised an easier method now, but I am not using the Python water changer. Wish I could but my faucets are fancy so the Python won't fit. Anyway, I did the best I could in making the water changing method as easiest as possible because I knew I was going to be doing a lot of WCs for a while. I'm only half way through cycling, so I'll continue to do lots of WCs. I am patiently waiting for nitrates. I have stocked my tank with lots of plants (aquatic and terrestrial) and they are growing like gangbusters so that will help with nitrates.

If I had to do it over again, I would do fishless water cycling and I would have avoided going to look at goldfish in stores until the tank was ready (because I knew I would be tempted to take some home).

As a result of doing "fish in cycle" (I think that's the phrase), I have learned a lot about taking care of fish because they have gotten sick a lot. I realize now the stress they were under in coming into an uncycled tank. (I tried Seachem's Stability product to help with the cycling, but soon realized it was a mistake. Better to take the traditional route to creating a cycled tank.) I really wasn't aware of properly quarantining fish, so eventually they got sick from flukes. During fluke treatment, they got a secondary bacterial infection. I fed them too much, so they got constipated. It's a miracle they are still alive.

My water treatment process includes Prime, baking soda (to improve kH), and a gH booster. I'm also using salt right now so that I minimize the nitrite stress on my fish. When the tank gets cycled, I'll stop using the salt.

I suggest you get your water changing method down (use a Python if possible), all the necessary kits for water testing (I think you only need to add the kh/gh kit because it seems you have ones for ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates), and then do a prazi treatment.

Depending on the number of prazi rounds you do that will take several weeks. When you are ready to do a prazi treatment, you'll want to read up on that (in Disease Diagnosis), then start a thread in Disease Diagnosis so that you get guidance on that. You'll want prazi (I use Aqua prazi from goldfishconnection.com) and salt (without any additives) on hand.

Oh yeah, I learned to not trust my lfs' advice about goldfish. They are very well intentioned people, but not goldfish savvy. I've learned that the best advice comes from this community.

Strive for about 15 gallons per fish (especially when they get big).

I wrote lots here. I hope it is not too overwhelming.

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I would not bother adjusting your pH. 8 is fine for GF and with tap of 7.8-8 you can do large WCs without affecting pH too much.

Check out python prices on amazon. Lugging those buckets is going to get old really fast. :o

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I would not bother adjusting your pH. 8 is fine for GF and with tap of 7.8-8 you can do large WCs without affecting pH too much.

Check out python prices on amazon. Lugging those buckets is going to get old really fast. :o

Will do. Meanwhile, going to use lugging to work off some of the holiday weight i've gained :tantrum

Will also get Prime this afternoon and use it for my next water change.

So I should do daily water change of about 50%-60%? Does that sound good? Will do 30% each time.

So far these guys are swimming around and it does not seem like they came with any bacterial infections yet, fingers crossed, knock on wood. Should I do a preemptive treatment anyways?

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For water changes I do the following (turned out cheaper than the Python):

I stick the end of a syphon hose to a hose in my house. I had to cut a slit in the end of the syphon hose so that it will easily stuff into the end of a garden hose.

The other end of the garden hose goes to the outside in the garden. I syphon until I remove all the water I need to.

When that is done, I do the bucket method to the tank but I have a small hand truck for easy transport, and I have a pond pump in the bucket connected to one end of a tube with the other end of the tube in the tank. Turn on the pond pump and voila! water it moved from the bucket into the tank.

I'll takes some pics of my method tomorrow when I do a water change, and then I'll post them. Maybe you can get some ideas from it that will make your water changes easier. I think you get the message now that making your water changing method easier will help from stopping you to do a water change because the buckets are heavy and your back hurts. So I'm going to stop pushing that message. :)

Preemptive fluke treatment is a good thing! If you start a thread in Disease Diagnosis you can get people's opinion on that. You'll get an earful. :) If you start that thread, I have some fluke information I saved on my iPad (I'm on my laptop now) that I can post on that thread.

I know, I know, water quality posts here, fluke treatment posts there. There is logic to this madness. :)

Edited by LisaCGold
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Lisa that's a great idea.

I do it similarly, only instead of using a bucket and pond pump I just attach a 50ft hose to the faucet and fill 'er up!

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Lisa that's a great idea.I do it similarly, only instead of using a bucket and pond pump I just attach a 50ft hose to the faucet and fill 'er up!

Yeah, my faucet is not hose friendly. If and when the kitchen faucet gets replaced I'm going to get a friendlier one. It will make life easier!

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When reporting on the size of your fish, give the "standard length," which does not include the tail. Put "sl" after the measurement (can be an estimate) so we know you didn't include the tail. Also include the variety of goldfish. For example; 2" sl oranda.

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When reporting on the size of your fish, give the "standard length," which does not include the tail. Put "sl" after the measurement (can be an estimate) so we know you didn't include the tail. Also include the variety of goldfish. For example; 2" sl oranda.

Thanks.

So I purchased the python water changer and PRIME today, will do another change after they eat.

QkvDK.jpg

Pre-water change Ammonia? I think its between 2 and 4?

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Hard to tell from the pic but a WC will be needed whether it's 2 or 4. Since you have a shiny new Python, I'd do a big fat WC (80-90%). You can leave the fish in the tank. Suction out lots of water, be sure to hold the Python in your hand at all times. If you would like to let it simply suck water out, please cover it with something so a fish doesn't get sucked in (been there, done that. Not fun :( ). I cover mine with a mesh media bag, some people use the mesh covering from a bag of oranges rubber banded onto the Python. Just don't leave it ahnging in the tank unattended.

When you fill it back up, put enough Prime in for the entire 75 gallons even though you didn't change 100%. Actually since you are cycling, I would suggest using twice the amount of Prime suggested. My bottle says 1 capful for 50 gallons so I would use 3 capfuls. :D

You will absolutely love that Python. Almost as much as you love your fish. :rofl3

Let us know if you have any questions about the Python or whatever. :D

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Did an 80% change like you said and did another test. I don't know what it is but it seems like it's slightly over 1 but definitely under 2. I waited 10 minutes afterwards to do the test and I put extra Prime in there.

I am a bit worried. I will do another partial water change during the morning and another one at night. I just hope these guys will be okay.

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Do another large WC in the morning if you can. :D

How did it go with the Python? :nana

Remember to feed lightly.

Was really nice, definitely less exercise hahaha.

The orandas are hanging out together on one side and going up and down along the side...almost in sync... are they just playing around or is something going on?

And definitely will do another large one in the morning. So most of those ammonia eliminating bacteria in a bottle are a waste of money? I have to go back to Houston next tuesday and I know my parents have a couple left over from previous owners of used tanks. Wondering if I should try?

Edited by WeeBeyPrice
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The problem with those products is that you need to leave them in your tank for 5-7 days before they colonize the filter media. The bacteria are free floating in the water until they establish themselves in the filter. With as many WCs are you are doing, you would be draining them right down the sink. :o

The fish may be reacting to the ammonia in the tank. It could be flukes. It's hard to tell. Did all of your fish come from the same store? :idont

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The problem with those products is that you need to leave them in your tank for 5-7 days before they colonize the filter media. The bacteria are free floating in the water until they establish themselves in the filter. With as many WCs are you are doing, you would be draining them right down the sink. :o

The fish may be reacting to the ammonia in the tank. It could be flukes. It's hard to tell. Did all of your fish come from the same store? :idont

3 of the orandas were originally from the same store, tank mates even. 2 of those really like to follow each other. The Ryukin never joins in with them. And the Orandas do really seem to like that one side...everyone once in awhile one of them would lave to go forage but rest really like that side. They would usually leave together almost as in formation, then swim around in the tank.

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A little bit of extra info, the Aquaclear filter and the pebbles were from previous owner who kept Tetras for a year, I got the tank on a Sunday he said he just took everything out on Friday and the pebbles were still wet so I knew he wasn't lying.

I read that bacteria eliminating ammonia may grow on the substrate too so is it perhaps bad that I took them out? Also, should the filter still contain some as well?

Edited by WeeBeyPrice
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It could be they prefer one side of the tank. I don't think that's terribly unusual. My original fantail almost always stayed on the right side of the tank. :idont What happens if you drop the food on the opposite side of their favorite side?

Was the filter still wet?

I removing the gravel/pebbles was a good move. They might have had a small amount of beneficial bacteria on them but they probably had more detritus and undesirable stuff to outweigh the good . . .

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It could be they prefer one side of the tank. I don't think that's terribly unusual. My original fantail almost always stayed on the right side of the tank. :idont What happens if you drop the food on the opposite side of their favorite side?

Was the filter still wet?

I removing the gravel/pebbles was a good move. They might have had a small amount of beneficial bacteria on them but they probably had more detritus and undesirable stuff to outweigh the good . . .

Yea, i just thought it was a pain to clean + one of my fish almost accidentally swallowed one which freaked me out. Also, the pebbles had green algae looking things on them which I found really gross.

The filter was mostly dry unfortunately.

When I drop the food, they race towards it. These guys really like to eat. One of them even swims up to the filter pipe to eat any worms or food that is caught in there.

Edited by WeeBeyPrice
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It could be they prefer one side of the tank. I don't think that's terribly unusual. My original fantail almost always stayed on the right side of the tank. :idont What happens if you drop the food on the opposite side of their favorite side?

Was the filter still wet?

I removing the gravel/pebbles was a good move. They might have had a small amount of beneficial bacteria on them but they probably had more detritus and undesirable stuff to outweigh the good . . .

Yea, i just thought it was a pain to clean + one of my fish almost accidentally swallowed one which freaked me out. Also, the pebbles had green algae looking things on them which I found really gross.

The filter was mostly dry unfortunately.

When I drop the food, they race towards it. These guys really like to eat. One of them even swims up to the filter pipe to eat any worms or food that is caught in there.

Some other user suggested me to add plants in there to ease the process? Would that help? Sorry I am bombarding you with all these questions, I just really want to make sure these guys make it okay.

Edited by WeeBeyPrice
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