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Johnnyonthespot

Frustrated, can't get tank settled, fish have sporadic behavior.

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Test Results for the Following:
* Ammonia Level(Tank) - .25
* Nitrite Level(Tank) - 0
* Nitrate level(Tank) - 20
* Ammonia Level(Tap) - .5
* Nitrite Level(Tap) - 0
* Nitrate level(Tap) - around 8
* Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) 7.6+ (drops stop at 7.6), 214.8 gh/kh
* Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) 7.2 ph, need to do the others.
Other Required Info:
* Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? API drops.
* Water temperature? Around 78. Hovers between 70-80 depending on the time of the year. 
* Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 29 gallons, 4.5 years. 
* What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)? Aqua Tech rated for 15 I think, Biowheel 150 (definitely something I need to fix).
* How often do you change the water and how much? Once a week, around 24 gallons.
* How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change? Last Sunday, 24 gallons.
* How many fish in the tank and their size? 2 fish, relatively small. Unsure of the exact size.  
* What kind of water additives or conditioners?  I use pro ammonia detox on changes.  Have also been putting in 1.5 TBSPs of Baking Soda and 2 TBSPs of Equilibrium.
* What do you feed your fish and how often? Soilent Green 6 days a week, switched to once a day recently, 1 pea each once a week.
* Any new fish added to the tank? Nope.
* Any medications added to the tank? Nope.
* List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank. Please include salt, Prazi, PP, etc and the approximate time and duration of treatment.  Lol, this is a lot.  I've salted a bunch but haven't for well over a year. I've Prazied, Metro Medded for roughly 6 months (1 month spurts, until the last one of 3 which knocked out a lingering issue), Jungle AP, Maracyn 1&2 a few years ago, Mela/Pimafix.  Nothing in the past few months.
* Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus? Yes
* Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.? Yes
 
Alright.  These fish have a history.  Gabby has been a NOTORIOUS bottom sitter.  She went through a really bad stage a few years ago which required the MM for months.  She had a huge lump near her butt.  Thankfully that's gone.  But she's always either sitting or gulping.  She was especially lethargic a few months ago, so I upped the feedings and adjusted my kh and gh, which were low.  I also have some crushed coral as a subtrate.
 
She was doing pretty well for a while there, with the most energy I've seen in a while.  Then I noticed a patch on her dorsal which just wouldn't heal, and a rip on her back tail.  I found traces of ammonia, which I found weird, and cut the feedings a bit.  The reason for this is because I'm literally not going to be home with my tank for the next month at nights, and have no chance to change the water except Sunday mornings.  I just bought a house, have a wedding and a honeymoon coming up.  Life should stabilize in May, and I only cut the feedings to prevent excess ammonia as a temporary fix.  
 
Anywho, she's also been more lethargic, and Bernie, my other fish, has been a little aggressive with her, my guess over the lack of food.  But who knows.
 
I need to finally stabilize my tank.  I have no idea why I still have ammonia.  I will say a few things that I do, that someone can tell me hopefully if it destroys my cycle.  They don't have much gravel, but I vacuum it weekly.  There's a potted plant that gets a TON of gunk in it, and I vacuum it every 2-3 months.  I try to do it sparingly because I'm sure it houses some good bacteria.  My little filter gets gunked up pretty bad, and I know this isn't the best, but I wash it entirely, including the pad.  It eventually gets like a white cottony fluff on it, which I can't fathom is good.  It's my hopes that keeping the other filter running keeps the cycle intact.  The other filter I maybe rinse the pad once a year.  It's doing well, but overflows a bit, which makes me assume I need one bigger one.
 
So I definitely need and want to upgrade my filter.  I'm open to recommendations, especially on how to keep my current cycle intact, and also how to maintain this one to not destroy my cycle every 3 months.  
 
Alternatively, my pH is too high.  I'm assuming this is because of the coral and baking soda.  I have no idea how to have a good kh/gh without raising my pH, and welcome suggestions. 
 
I feel like my problem is that I've always been reactive versus proactive, and I really want to get it all fixed before my honeymoon in early May.  
 
Thanks for your help everyone.  Sorry if I'm doing really dumb things.

 

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Test Results for the Following:
* Ammonia Level(Tank) - .25
* Nitrite Level(Tank) - 0
* Nitrate level(Tank) - 20
* Ammonia Level(Tap) - .5
* Nitrite Level(Tap) - 0
* Nitrate level(Tap) - around 8
* Ph Level, Tank (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) 7.6+ (drops stop at 7.6), 214.8 gh/kh
* Ph Level, Tap (If possible, KH, GH and chloramines) 7.2 ph, need to do the others.
Other Required Info:
* Brand of test-kit used and whether strips or drops? API drops.
* Water temperature? Around 78. Hovers between 70-80 depending on the time of the year. 
* Tank size (how many gals.) and how long has it been running? 29 gallons, 4.5 years. 
* What is the name and "size of the filter"(s)? Aqua Tech rated for 15 I think, Biowheel 150 (definitely something I need to fix).
* How often do you change the water and how much? Once a week, around 24 gallons.
* How many days ago was the last water change and how much did you change? Last Sunday, 24 gallons.
* How many fish in the tank and their size? 2 fish, relatively small. Unsure of the exact size.  
* What kind of water additives or conditioners?  I use pro ammonia detox on changes.  Have also been putting in 1.5 TBSPs of Baking Soda and 2 TBSPs of Equilibrium.
* What do you feed your fish and how often? Soilent Green 6 days a week, switched to once a day recently, 1 pea each once a week.
* Any new fish added to the tank? Nope.
* Any medications added to the tank? Nope.
* List entire medication/treatment history for fish and tank. Please include salt, Prazi, PP, etc and the approximate time and duration of treatment.  Lol, this is a lot.  I've salted a bunch but haven't for well over a year. I've Prazied, Metro Medded for roughly 6 months (1 month spurts, until the last one of 3 which knocked out a lingering issue), Jungle AP, Maracyn 1&2 a few years ago, Mela/Pimafix.  Nothing in the past few months.
* Any unusual findings on the fish such as "grains of salt," bloody streaks, frayed fins or fungus? Yes
* Any unusual behavior like staying at the bottom, not eating, etc.? Yes
 
Alright.  These fish have a history.  Gabby has been a NOTORIOUS bottom sitter.  She went through a really bad stage a few years ago which required the MM for months.  She had a huge lump near her butt.  Thankfully that's gone.  But she's always either sitting or gulping.  She was especially lethargic a few months ago, so I upped the feedings and adjusted my kh and gh, which were low.  I also have some crushed coral as a subtrate.
 
She was doing pretty well for a while there, with the most energy I've seen in a while.  Then I noticed a patch on her dorsal which just wouldn't heal, and a rip on her back tail.  I found traces of ammonia, which I found weird, and cut the feedings a bit.  The reason for this is because I'm literally not going to be home with my tank for the next month at nights, and have no chance to change the water except Sunday mornings.  I just bought a house, have a wedding and a honeymoon coming up.  Life should stabilize in May, and I only cut the feedings to prevent excess ammonia as a temporary fix.  Please post a picture of Gabby with a view of the "patch" and the rip on her back tail.
 
Anywho, she's also been more lethargic, and Bernie, my other fish, has been a little aggressive with her, my guess over the lack of food.  But who knows. Please describe the aggressive behavior. Maybe it is breeding behavior?
 
I need to finally stabilize my tank.  I have no idea why I still have ammonia.  I will say a few things that I do, that someone can tell me hopefully if it destroys my cycle.  They don't have much gravel, but I vacuum it weekly.  There's a potted plant that gets a TON of gunk in it, and I vacuum it every 2-3 months.  I try to do it sparingly because I'm sure it houses some good bacteria.  My little filter gets gunked up pretty bad, and I know this isn't the best, but I wash it entirely, including the pad.  It eventually gets like a white cottony fluff on it, which I can't fathom is good.  It's my hopes that keeping the other filter running keeps the cycle intact.  The other filter I maybe rinse the pad once a year.  It's doing well, but overflows a bit, which makes me assume I need one bigger one. Please post a picture of your tank with a good view of the potted plant. For the little filter, when you wash it entirely, what do you mean? Wipe the filter walls entirely? Rinse the pads in tank water or tap water? For the other filter, Biowheel 150?, you only rinse the pad once a year--I'm not familiar with what media is in a Biowheel, but it seems to me rinsing a pad once a year is insufficient and may be contributing to the ammonia. Maybe the overflow indicates that that the gunk needs to be rinsed off more frequently than just once a year. Other than the biowheel itself, what media is in the Biowheel?
 
So I definitely need and want to upgrade my filter.  I'm open to recommendations, especially on how to keep my current cycle intact, and also how to maintain this one to not destroy my cycle every 3 months.  I like Aqua Clear filters. For a 29 gallon tank with two goldfish, I recommend  one Aqua Clear 50 in addition to your Biowheel 150. Having two filters is good because if one goes out, you have the other. You can get rid of the small filter, put the bio media and rinsed mechanical media from the small filter into the new filter.
 
Alternatively, my pH is too high.  I'm assuming this is because of the coral and baking soda.  I have no idea how to have a good kh/gh without raising my pH, and welcome suggestions. Your pH is not too high. 7.2 and above is good so long as it is stable. I have 8.2-8.4 in my tank.
 
I feel like my problem is that I've always been reactive versus proactive, and I really want to get it all fixed before my honeymoon in early May.  
 
Thanks for your help everyone.  Sorry if I'm doing really dumb things.

 

Congratulations on getting married soon!!!

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How the heck did you know that I just got a new camera and was dying to use it??  Pictures will be at the end.  

 

1) See pics 1 & 2.  There is a SMALL amount of black, which leads me to believe there was some excess ammonia present at some time.  

 

2) He nudges her with his face.  Sometimes he sits on her, which seems pretty harmless to me.  He also had a scale missing one day after he was really bugging her, so I think she got him back.  I have no idea what their genders are btw.  Just go by names.

 

3) See pics 3-5.  I was it ENTIRELY.  I take a tooth brush to every plastic part, and scrub the pad with my fingers in the tub.  I clean that sucker, and rinse out the harder sponge.  With the Biowheel, the problem is that if the pad is in all of the way, it overflows.  If I lift it up, it still overflows a bit.  Another annoyance is that if the pad is down, it doesn't flow out the front enough and turn the wheel.  All that's in there that isn't mechanical is the wheel in the front and the pad.  The thing flows like crap.  I get good, consistent flow out of the tiny one, surprisingly, and RARELY have I seen an overflow.

 

4) I'm fine with two.  I want to get a workhorse for sure.  At the end, whatever I decide on, I really need to learn how to properly maintain the filters without destroying the cycle.

 

5) Ok, so should I continue doing my routine of baking soda and Equilibrium?  I suppose having proper gh/kh is one thing I'm doing right.

 

If it's not pH, I have no idea what my overarching problem is.  Crap.  Also Bernie isn't sitting in the pics, he's chillin'.  He likes hovering sometimes.

 

And thanks!  Should be interesting lol.  NOT looking forward to moving these guys 20 miles (that's a topic for another day, I have no clue how to do that properly). 

 

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Edited by JohnnyOnTheSpot

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I'm also going to add this, since it's been a problem literally since day one, but I can't get rid of diatoms.  I brush them off with a toothbrush weekly and they drive me insane.  Hopefully they haven't been an issue.  Would love to get rid of them since the tank will be becoming a display piece in a few weeks.

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I am a relative beginner, but if you have two filters, if you keep one of the bio filters, I would think you can put a fresh one in the other and even one should keep the cycle. Does that make sense? In other words change one at a time.

I am amazed that you're not getting more responses from the more experienced people, because it seems that you really need some help.

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I'm sorry they aren't feeling well :hug you are getting some great advice from Lisa :)

Personally, I think that plant should be removed or at least cleaned every week with the water changed. As in, take it out and rinse everything out. You would be surprised how much gunk gets in those in even just a week, let alone 2-3 months.

Diatoms are harmless to the fish and just unsightly to us :teehee as for the marineland 150, I don't know how you have it set up, but if it were me, I would do this. At the very bottom of it, I would put ceramic media for biological. I would get a white polyester pad from a pet store and some marineland white and blue padding. Cut both to size. Do the polyester pad first and then in front of that, do the marineland blue/white padding. As for overflowing, it most likely will not do that anymore unless you let the sponges get clogged up. I would rinse them every 1-3 weeks depending on how quickly they get clogged up with debris. The bio-wheel won't be needed if you have the biological at the bottom of the filter. However, if the bio-wheel starts to work with the new set up, by all means keep it :). You can never have too much biological filtration.

Lisa, the bio-wheel itself doesn't have any media inside of it. It's made of some material that holds the biological :)

As for the aquaclear recommendation, I second that! However, I would do the 70 instead of the 50. You can't have too much filtration, only too much flow. In which case, you can either baffle it if the fish can't handle it or turn down the flow rate to where they can. The good thing about these two filters is that both the marineland and aquaclear have adjusters for the flow rate.

I don't remember where I read this, but I know fish can't live just on gel food unless it has the correct protien and such. SG isn't a bad food, but I would feed pellets at least once a day and then the SG can be their second meal. That way, they get their balanced diet :)

Edited by Mikey

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Scrubbing the filter removes your biobugs.  That's why you have ammonia.  Rinsing the crud off the media is all you need to do, and doing this every water change is not excessive.

 

Soilent Green is a fine food and there is no reason to feed pellets.

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I don't remember where I read this, but I know fish can't live just on gel food unless it has the correct protien and such. SG isn't a bad food, but I would feed pellets at least once a day and then the SG can be their second meal. That way, they get their balanced diet :)

Soilent is balanced, and contains proteins. Super Green and AlgaeGel are the ones that you need to add protein to. With Soilent Green, there is no need to feed any pellets at all.

 

 

 

 

I hope your fish get better, JOS. :) 

Edited by ChelseaM

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Whoops. Got them confused :doh11: thanks for clarifying :)

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I agree... I would for now get rid of that vase and plant... make the tank clean nothing in there..... just the fish :)

 

The top fin looks as though it got caught on something and got ripped not like a bite... dont know...

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You've gotten some great advice here. Regarding diatoms, you may be able to reduce them (but not totally get rid of them) by lessening the time your light is on (photoperiod).

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Regarding the dorsal fin and rip on caudal fin, let's see how the changes recommended above to get rid of standing ammonia help in allowing the fins to heal.

 

I agree with Koko on getting rid of the plant for now because the idea is to stabilize those water parameters before your busy wedding period hits.

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Thanks for the replies, everyone.  First, an update, then I'll go down the list.

 

Today was the first time where I've had extended time with them in a while.  After feeding, Bernie was really tormenting her.  He had her on her side at one point just pecking at her.  I put the separator in, and she's now able to be calm.  He's had a history of bullying, usually when she doesn't feel well, but it's been a while since it's been bad.  Wonder if that's why she's been so blah recently.  I'll leave the divider in for a few days and see if that perks her up.

 

So my plant need to go, eh?  That sucks.  I like having a plant, what can I do about it?  Am I chucking this one or just rehousing it, or what?  When I move I'd like there to be more plants, so I'd love to know a proper way to do this.  I potted this one myself a few years ago with crushed coral and was pretty fond of it.  It's lost 70% of it's leaves over the years, but I like them having something to peck at.

 

I don't seem to get what "media" is versus the filter.  So the blue pad, that's the filter, right?  What am I supposed to do to keep things clean and running smoothly without killing my cycle?  I seem to not really get how to do that.  My Biowheel, for instance, consists of the plastic parts, the filter pad, and the wheel.  What should I be doing for weekly maintenance?

 

The top fin has been like that for a few months.  Same with the tail.  She's had a history of nagging rips.  If she's stressed from bullying, I imagine that would delay repairs.  Like I said, small hint of black, too, which makes me think she got ammonia burns.

 

Regarding diatoms, yea my light is probably on way too much.  Typically 16-17 hours a day on weekdays, 12 weekends.  What should I aim for?

 

Thanks everyone!

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The filter is the apparatus, the media is the stuff that goes inside the filter. So the blue pad is media. Ceramic is media. your biowheel is media.

 

Swish the biowheel in tank water as maintenance, as well as wiping off both ends of the axel and the little bit that the axel goes into on the filter. Everything else can be swished in tank water too. This is basically all the maintenance you need. If the blue pad falls apart, replace it. Everything else should last the life of the filter. However, I would also recommend adding ceramic media to your current filter. This will allow for more space for the biomedia should your wheel stop spinning for whatever reason. (I've had it happen, so this is an experience-type suggestion. :) )

 

 

As far as lighting, drop it down to 8-9 hours/day. You can do this by either splitting the light time into parts (i.e. turn it off when you're not in the room) or by doing a stint of 8-9 hours at a time. This has been said to be a good amount of time without causing issues with diatoms, or so I have read.

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Good idea on the divider. I would keep them separate for a while, while Gabby's fins heal. Bernie, behave!

 

As for your plant in the vase with substrate, you want to create the right environment for the plant to flourish enough for its roots to help reduce the bad gunk in the vase. This involves the right amount of photoperiod, root tabs, and reducing the algae on its leaves. I have plants that don't require a substrate (anubias), so I'm not too familiar with creating the right environment for a potted plant. I use to have an amazon sword (like yours) in a vase with substrate, but it took too much tinkering to get the right environment for it to flourish. Others on this forum can chime in here on what you need to do, but until your honeymoon is over, I suggest taking out the plant for now. Maybe use a soft artificial plant made for aquariums for now.

 

When you are ready, we have a thread on this forum about goldfish planted tanks. By reading threads there (and asking questions) you should be able to figure out what you need to do. http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/forum/index.php?/forum/57-goldfish-plants-how-to-set-up-a-planted-tank/

 

Regarding diatoms, you may even need to reduce your lights down to 5-6 hours per day.

Edited by LisaCGold

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Ok so swish the blue pad in tank water weekly?  I can do that.  Thanks.  I'm going to be honest, I have no idea what ceramic media is, can I get a link or something to start out with?

 

I love Bernie but he can be a brat haha.  He looks like he's in prison right now, he just sits behind the divider and stares at me.  I didn't realize a fish could project anger, but he sure does.  

 

Ok, I'll kill the sword.  I feel bad killing it, I've had it forever.  The anubias...that just sits at the bottom or what?  I'd try that out.  Do you get yours online or at an LFS?  My LFS is great but they have fish with all of their plants, so I'd prefer avoiding that.  

 

So where it stands, I'm killing the plant and nothing else right now.  I changed the water last night and only half dosed my Equilibrium and baking soda, bringing me down to 8 drops on the gh and kh.  Should I bring that back up to 12?  I need a high range pH kit to test my pH since it caps at 7.6.  

 

Anything else?   Thanks everyone!

 

PS, Gabbie has been milling around a bit more than usual, which is nice.  She still falls to the bottom every now and then, but she's more active.  She's never been a model of health, so unfortunately this is normal for her.  

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Ok so swish the blue pad in tank water weekly?  I can do that.  Swish and squeeze it in tank water until it barely has any gunk left in it. I use sponges instead of a blue pad so I squeeze it a lot of times in tank water, get rid of the water, get new tank water, and then squeeze it alot again. I basically do this until the sponge squeezes almost no more gunk--usually two fills of tank water. You can do this with the blue pad. Thanks.  I'm going to be honest, I have no idea what ceramic media is, can I get a link or something to start out with? Ceramic media is your biological filter. The blue pad/sponge is the mechanical filter (although it may contain some beneficial bacteria). The biological filter house the beneficial bacteria (BBs) that convert ammonia to nitrite and nitrite to nitrate. You can rinse this media in tank water (make sure to not get any chlorine on it) during water changes to get rid of solid gunk. Here are some links to ceramic media:

 

This is what I use: http://www.amazon.com/Matrix-500-mL-7-1-oz/dp/B004PBD4J4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1429044508&sr=8-1&keywords=seachem+matrix

 

http://www.amazon.com/Biological-Ceramic-Rings-grams-17-63/dp/B00AG21TC0/ref=sr_1_3?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1429044549&sr=1-3&keywords=ceramic+media

 

http://www.amazon.com/Fluval-Biomax-Bio-Rings-ounces/dp/B000HHSG5M/ref=pd_bxgy_petsupplies_text_y

 

Basically there are BBs everywhere in your tank: tank walls, filter walls (that's why you shouldn't wipe them down), blue pad, sponges, ceramic media, etc. The ceramic media are constructed in such a way as to host a lot of BBs--lots of nooks and crannies for the BBs to reside.

 

It takes a bit for BBs to move into the ceramic media and then multiply, so put the ceramic media (in some sort of mesh bag) next to the blue pad/sponges in the filter. Some of the BBs will migrate and make the ceramic media their home.

 

With the AquaClear filter you'll get ceramic media. You can toss the carbon filter and get more ceramic media.

 

I love Bernie but he can be a brat haha.  He looks like he's in prison right now, he just sits behind the divider and stares at me.  I didn't realize a fish could project anger, but he sure does.  

 

Ok, I'll kill the sword.  I feel bad killing it, I've had it forever.  The anubias...that just sits at the bottom or what?  I'd try that out.  Do you get yours online or at an LFS?  My LFS is great but they have fish with all of their plants, so I'd prefer avoiding that.  I have my anubias glued (super glue) to rocks and tied to driftwood. I've gotten mine at Petco and Petsmart in tubes (which are pretty clean but I still disinfect them). I've also gotten mine at LFS and online (ebay, substratesource.com).

 

So where it stands, I'm killing the plant and nothing else right now.  I changed the water last night and only half dosed my Equilibrium and baking soda, bringing me down to 8 drops on the gh and kh.  Should I bring that back up to 12? Target is 9 to 11 drops on gh and kh. I need a high range pH kit to test my pH since it caps at 7.6.  

 

Anything else?   Thanks everyone!

Have a wonderful wedding!

 

PS, Gabbie has been milling around a bit more than usual, which is nice.  She still falls to the bottom every now and then, but she's more active.  She's never been a model of health, so unfortunately this is normal for her.  

I assume you've posted about Gabbie before on Koko's. :idont  If not, then when things settle down after the wedding, you can post more information about Gabbie and we can help. In the meantime, the focus is on getting the tank cycled. Also, since she has been medicated in the past with antibiotics, you should consider putting probiotics into her gel food. That will help her digestion system which will help her overall.

Edited by LisaCGold

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Alright let me hit everything.  Gotcha on the cleaning and ceramic media.

 

Thanks for the heads up up on the plants.  I'll figure that out when I'm home.

 

I've absolutely posted about Gabbie on here before.  I think 99% of my posts pertain to her.  I've treated her for EVERYTHING.  Almost lost her 3 years ago to a phantom butt lump which took over a year's span to wipe out completely.  She's been treated for parasites, fungus, bacterial...everything.  If someone figures out what's up with her, I'll transfer my bank account to her.  I think she's just...Gabbie.  I'm not sure there's anything persistently wrong with her.  She's always been a sitter/gulper.  Bernie is FINE, forever.  He never shows symptoms.  Which is nice, but also frustrating because I feel like I have no control.

 

My tank is cycled, has been for years.  I just think I eff it up a bit every now and then.  I still have nitrate readings.  And she is on probiotics, started that with the last batch of food.

 

And thanks!  Looking forward to it being over haha.

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My pH is a stinkin' 8!  What the heck.  No clue why it's so high.  Tap is 7.2  We're sure this is ok?

 

Also I got my new filter up and running, tank is crystal clear!

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By adding baking soda, you increase the kh and the ph also increases. Also, it is common for ph of tap water to rise all on its own. You can test to see if the ph of your tap rises on its own without baking soda: put some tap in a cup, test the ph, wait 24 hours, retest the ph.

 

Ph of 8.0 is fine, just so long as your goldfish don't regularly experience a difference of 0.5 in ph.

 

Good to hear about your new filter!

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