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Starting Back Up Again...Questions About Using Seachem Stability

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21 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

Hmmm... that would surprise me, because the filters need to colonize and that takes time (just adding cycled water or bacterial product to the water column doesn’t do it).

But keep testing, if you’re not seeing ammonia after a week of normal feeding I think you can safely say your tank is cycled, since the waste would have started breaking down and you’d definitely register ammonia by then.  I’d be truly surprised if that was the case, so please let us know!

That's what I thought, as well; but is it possible the Stability simply cycled the tank from the week-long treatment?

Indeed, I have been feeding them normally, so I was expecting to see a spike in ammonia already...I will test in a bit and get you the readings.

Perhaps my API kit is expired? Is that possible?

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Okay -- readings I took were as follows (this is the second day since the end of Stability treatment); seems NOTHING had budged:

Ammonia: 0ppm

Nitrite: 0ppm

Nitrate: 0ppm

I can't, for the life of me, explain it...

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Alright....

Someone needs to tell me what's going on here because I'm stumped now...

After fearing that my API Freshwater Test Kit was expired (I've had it for about a decade, maybe less), I ran out today and picked up separate API tests for Ammonia and Nitrate (they didn't have the complete master kit in stock) at a local Petco. When I just ran the numbers, the results were the SAME as what I get from my old supposedly expired kit, which were:

Ammonia: Between 0 and 0.25 (the fluid is pretty much yellow in color)

Nitrate: Between 0 and 5.0, but closer to 0

I don't understand this...I'm on my fourth or fifth consecutive water test and the results haven't changed. I'm SURE I'm following the directions for each test to the letter.

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Did you check the expiration date on your tests? And then double check the instructions, especially on the nitrate test? I have to shake the SNOT out of that test tube to get an accurate result.

If your test kit is in date and you’re following the instructions correctly, I wouldn’t worry about it.  You can cut your testing frequency down to every other day, then every third day, then just immediately before your weekly water change. If it’s still all looking good just keep proceeding normally - watch the fish behavior cues (bottom sitting, gasping, darting) to see if things might be off, otherwise continue with like and weekly water changes and tank maintenance and don’t worry about it.  If this was a brand new filter and the stability really did create a cycle that is WONDERFUL.

How much are you feeding daily? Quantity and food type? My only other suspicion is that you may be feeding too lightly to create much ammonia yet, or changing water frequently enough it’s never building up, which is okay but just makes the cycling take longer to happen :)

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Yes, I am doing the nitrate test exactly how it should be done -- adding the 10 drops of each and then shaking the test tube for the minute (plus shaking bottle number two for the 30 seconds). 

As for my expiration dates, I feared my old master freshwater kit was expired -- thus why I went out and tried to buy a new one. My local Petco was out of stock, and all they had were the separate nitrate and ammonia bottles, so I picked those up. But the new ones gave me the EXACT same readings...

What's weird is that these two fish DO dart across the tank sometimes and do the things you mentioned (not the gasping, though), even going so far as to do this weird "rub against the glass real quick" thing too -- the calico even showed signs of ick poisoning, flashing across the gravel a couple of times. What's even weirder is that the flashing behavior has completely stopped with the calico fantail, and there are no signs of any kind of salt-like abrasions on his scales. My wife pointed out to me that these two fish acted a bit "nutty" when first going in the tank -- and that the calico was a bit kooky even in the store -- so I'm thinking it's just "who they are"...

I can't explain it, though, because they're eating and otherwise swimming happily, playing in the bubble curtain, etc. 

Here's another kicker I can't explain: The water has become EXCEPTIONALLY CRYSTAL CLEAR. I mean, glass-clear. I assumed this meant the cycle was somehow completed, but I don't know (not that this is a bad thing; I am turning over close to 900 gallons per hour with these two HOBs I'm running, after all).

With regard to your question about the feeding, Taryl -- I actually started a thread about this in another section of the forum if you want to look for it. Essentially, I started off feeding them Omega One Goldfish Flakes, which my fancies have always taken to and which I've been told really good things about, and recently introduced New Life Spectrum pellets. I have been switching off throughout the day feeding them both kinds, but is this okay?

My goldfish never seem to "take" to sinking pellets for some reason; in our previous setup, the pellets seemed to make the fish almost lethargic, as if they couldn't digest them; seems to be doing the same thing with these new guys. Is this because the flakes just soak better in the tank and it's easier for the fish to digest them?

Not sure when to start with the water changes if the parameters haven't changed...

 

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What's weird is that these two fish DO dart across the tank sometimes and do the things you mentioned (not the gasping, though), even going so far as to do this weird "rub against the glass real quick" thing too -- the calico even showed signs of ick poisoning, flashing across the gravel a couple of times. What's even weirder is that the flashing behavior has completely stopped with the calico fantail, and there are no signs of any kind of salt-like abrasions on his scales. My wife pointed out to me that these two fish acted a bit "nutty" when first going in the tank -- and that the calico was a bit kooky even in the store -- so I'm thinking it's just "who they are".

 

 

It sounds to me like they still or had ich. Do you have Prazi or General Quick Cure?

It takes store fish to get use to pellets as most stores feed flake. It's like giving a kid new food, takes a bit to start to like them.

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Okay, just took some readings...if someone could guide me on what to do here, I'd appreciate it.

Ammonia and NitrAte are both still around 0ppm.

NitrIte seems to have climbed a little bit -- we're getting a slight PURPLE reading in the test tube, so around 0.25 on the chart.

Should I do a water change?

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Is it just barely purple or solidly on the .25 ppms? If it’s the latter do a water change, if it’s the former add .1% salt and wait until tomorrow evening.  Salt helps the goldfish metabolize nitrite more safely.

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36 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

Is it just barely purple or solidly on the .25 ppms? If it’s the latter do a water change, if it’s the former add .1% salt and wait until tomorrow evening.  Salt helps the goldfish metabolize nitrite more safely.

I'd say just barely purple; it's hard to be 100-percent sure...

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Tonight's test results (weirder than ever IMO):

Ammonia: Now closer to 0.25

Nitrate: 0

Nitrite: 0

Why is it "weirder than ever," do I say? Well, yesterday, our nitrites were around 0.25 -- reading that light purple color on the chart. Today, the reading is back to being the light aqua blue color, indicating 0...

I'm going to do a small WC to see if parameters come down a bit.

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That’s not too weird, it’s mostly just your tank cycling :) Just keep up with your testing and water changes when why parameter gets too toxic until all you’re showing is nitrates. If ammonia is showing that is because there is waste breaking down that hasn’t been processed into nitrites or nitrates yet.  
 

Once it crosses .25 ppms ammonia it’s water change time. Whether you’re showing nitrates or not isn’t really the issue so long as you’re NOT showing ammonia or nitrite. Sometimes with frequent water changes, a heavily planted aquarium, or a new aquarium there just isn’t much being produced.  That’s not really the point much one way or the other and it isn’t weird in a lightly stocked, heavily water changed tank, okay?

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2 hours ago, Arctic Mama said:

That’s not too weird, it’s mostly just your tank cycling :) Just keep up with your testing and water changes when why parameter gets too toxic until all you’re showing is nitrates. If ammonia is showing that is because there is waste breaking down that hasn’t been processed into nitrites or nitrates yet.  
 

Once it crosses .25 ppms ammonia it’s water change time. Whether you’re showing nitrates or not isn’t really the issue so long as you’re NOT showing ammonia or nitrite. Sometimes with frequent water changes, a heavily planted aquarium, or a new aquarium there just isn’t much being produced.  That’s not really the point much one way or the other and it isn’t weird in a lightly stocked, heavily water changed tank, okay?

But my tank isn't "heavily water changed"...I merely did a small one yesterday...

I didn't take new readings since the small WC, but here's another change I can report on: The water has gone from seriously crystal clear to sort of cloudy and murky, indicating to me this may be the beginning of a bacterial bloom, well over a week since the end of the Stability treatment. 

Should I back off water changes for now? I'll take readings ASAP and report back. 

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I was just giving a general explanation of why that can happen.  The nitrate isn’t a big deal unless it gets too high.  Weekly water changes, or every time the ammonia or nitrite shows, and testing every day or two, depending on how things look.  I think you’re cool with every other day at this point since things aren’t spiking dramatically. That’s really what we are looking for, just to protect the fish. Otherwise let it do its thing.

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6 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

I was just giving a general explanation of why that can happen.  The nitrate isn’t a big deal unless it gets too high.  Weekly water changes, or every time the ammonia or nitrite shows, and testing every day or two, depending on how things look.  I think you’re cool with every other day at this point since things aren’t spiking dramatically. That’s really what we are looking for, just to protect the fish. Otherwise let it do its thing.

So are you saying do water changes every other day? And how much? I only took out two buckets worth for this last one...

And what about the water that's getting cloudy now?

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I don’t know how big the buckets are. If I was changing the water I’d be doing 80-100% changes to get the circulating waste back to zero.  I wouldn’t touch the filter; the mulm in there is fine at these levels and helping the bacterial population to grow.
 

The water Is cloudy because your tank isn’t cycled or fully matured, it’s called a bacterial bloom.  Not a big deal, just aesthetically ugly. It will go away in time and isn’t something to worry about.  As the filter ages that almost always takes care of itself.

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7 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

I don’t know how big the buckets are. If I was changing the water I’d be doing 80-100% changes to get the circulating waste back to zero.  I wouldn’t touch the filter; the mulm in there is fine at these levels and helping the bacterial population to grow.
 

The water Is cloudy because your tank isn’t cycled or fully matured, it’s called a bacterial bloom.  Not a big deal, just aesthetically ugly. It will go away in time and isn’t something to worry about.  As the filter ages that almost always takes care of itself.

I know it's called bacterial bloom -- I've stated this several times throughout this thread -- but I just wanted to know if it was normal that it occurred after the water became crystal clear just a couple of days ago.

As for the water changes, you would do 100-PERCENT changes? At THIS stage? This seems contradictory to everything I am reading regarding what to do at this early part of the setup...

You're suggesting I remove ALL the water in the tank -- with the fish in it?

With regard to the bucket I used -- figure about five gallons removed per bucket. 

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Okay, no attitude please. I’ve been traveling all week, am pregnant, have six other kids I’m managing, plus a home remodel, and my own tanks and other pets.  I’m trying to explain this clearly and cannot always jump on every single aspect you don’t get.  I’m one person and a volunteer, at that.  I will kick it over to @koko to deal with if this get tetchy, my patience is pretty limited.

Generally speaking during any cycling, I recommend complete water changes.  100% or close to it.  I do not remove my fish, I take out 80% or until the fish are barely covered, then I refill it back halfway, and remove down to 80% empty again. This two step water change removes and dilutes practically the entire water column without the disruption and difficulty of catching fish.  
 

And yes, do that WHENEVER you’re showing any ammonia or nitrite. I tend to do it daily or even twice daily when I have a hospital tank or a new fish in cycle.  But as long as you’re testing you can spread that out until you show any toxins on your tests, which may be a day or two if you’re lightly stocked, which I stated several posts up. You change the water weekly OR more frequently based on your tests and tank requirements, more than any scheduled thing. What I do may be overkill for your tank, as I have heavier stocking and maybe bigger goldies.  But if BOTH of us change our water based on our test results and fish behavior we are in good shape.

Weekly or biweekly changes down the road should also be very big, as it gives the fish fresh minerals in the water and higher redox potential, which they require for their osmotic health. Generally pristine water and frequent large changes make for very happy tank goldfish. Ponds or planted tanks can be a bit different, but that isn’t what we are dealing with here.

I recommend a python or other hooked up sink water changer compared to buckets. Any tank over about 20 gallons is awful with bucket changes, and if the water changes are easier and less messy it makes it more of a pleasure to do at the proper frequency. That sort of water change system is one I don’t think any of us have ever regretted.
 

If you are doing buckets by all means recycle the water in your garden, it’s great stuff for plants.

Don’t worry about the bloom. It’s normal. All of this is NORMAL. Cycling tanks isn’t rocket surgery, though the stability added a complicated element since we don’t really have a good feel for how well it worked or what parameters it changed, but it is what it is.

We have some additional links above about a fish in cycle.  All our advice is based on that outline, but you can adjust as needed for your specific tank. As long as the water is clean your fish will be in good shape, and clean water varies based on the parameters and needs of each tank :)

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I don't have an attitude -- I was merely explaining, frustratingly enough, that I know this is possibly a bacterial bloom. I have a LOT going on in my life, too, including being pretty close to people who are suffering with COVID-19...so please don't make it like I'm the one who doesn't understand or who is not enduring anything. Thank you. 

If anyone is getting "testy," it's not me; I'm trying to figure out what is going on with my tank in a section of this forum dedicated to equipment and hardware, in a forum itself that's supposed to help people.   

It's quite clear that your "patience is limited" based on the replies I'm getting; it forces someone to get defensive when all they're trying to do is learn about something that's not "rocket science" to THEM. If you no longer wish to assist, that's fine; I appreciate the input you've had up until this point and will continue seeking further help from elsewhere as I attempt to navigate the situation that's occurring in my tank.

I can't envision taking out nearly all of the water in the midst of what is probably an ongoing cycle, but that's a debate for another time. It's comments like "use the water for your garden" that are hurtful and simply unnecessary; to be frank, I don't mind doing the physical bucket method for changing the water (it DOESN'T hamper my desire to perform the correct frequency) and, as it stands, we simply can't hook up a syphon to our current tank because we'd need like 100 feet worth of hose to reach the nearest bathtub or faucet connection.  

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@koko you can take it from here, I’m out.

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And that's what I get....for doing nothing but defending myself and saying I, too, have things going on in my life...

Absolutely no response to that....incredible. 

At any rate, koko, if you would like to continue assisting me with these questions, please let me know; we can go PM if you wish. 

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If I haven’t managed to explain this clearly enough in a dozen posts and our personalities aren’t meshing, it is better for everyone for me to step back. @FishyMandy, @shakaho, @Fish Of Gold, there are plenty of members who can speak to cycling, and dozens of threads on the topic.  Please feel free to peruse the site and glean what you can. In the end it comes down to testing, water changes, and time.

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13 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

our personalities aren’t meshing

Well, that's clearer than my aquarium water has ever been. 

You tell me, in so many other words, that you're not to be "tested" right now (in a quasi-threatening manner) because of the myriad of things going on in your life, and I tell you that I have similar concerns and pressures, including watching people I know waste away from the coronavirus epidemic, and I still receive borderline attitude...

It's wholly incredible, but, hey -- personalities are what they are. I wish you the best (which I'm sure you won't wish me) on a personal level, and do appreciate what you have attempted to explain. I will continue testing the water and report the readings here, of which someone else can perhaps assist with. 

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Today's (7/2) readings (after a tiny water change last night; two buckets' worth):

Ammonia: Between 0 and 0.25; honestly, more like 0

NitrIte: 0

NitrAte: 0, on its way to 5.0

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