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What's Happening To My Cycled Tank? Help


dnalex

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Help please. For the past week, I have been detecting nitrites in my cycled 55gal tank. Using the test strips, I wasn't able to detect any ammonia, about .5 - 1 ppm nitrites, and about 20ppm nitrates. Since last week, I have been doing 40-50% water changes every two days. The last WC was two days ago. After that WC, I have been adding Nutrafin cycle to my tank. I have also replaced with filter cartridges of my two HOB filters.

Today I went out and bought the API drop test kit, and the water parameters are as follows: pH 7.0, ammonia .25, nitrite .25, and nitrate 5ppm.

I really don't know what's happened to my tank. It has been cycled and running fine for several months now. At present, none of my goldies are showing any signs of distress. Still, does anyone have any idea what might be happening? It seems that somehow my aquarium cycle crashed...

What should I do? I am planning on doing a WC in the morning/afternoon. Is 50% WCs a bad idea? Any help/suggestions would be much appreciated.

Thanks :(

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Sorry you are having problems..

At any point did you happen to replace all of your filter media at once, or replace a large portion of it all at once? Or perhaps rinse it in regular tap water without a water conditioner? These things could cause a cycle crash. I see that you said you replaced the cartridges in 2 of the HOB, was that before or after the issues started?

Also prior to that, how often were you doing your water changes and how much? Your PH is borderline low. Too much waste and not enough water changes could have brought that PH down really low and caused not only a cycle crash, but possibly a ph crash. So it's important for us to know your routine...

Right now doing 40%-50% water changes is EXCELLENT! Keep those up and if you haven't been already, you need to keep doing 50% changes at least once a week even after things even back out. How many fish are in the tank? Try and keep the ammonia and nitrite below 0.5 if you can through water changes until the cycle is back on track. As low as you can keep them the better and keep an eye on the fish.

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Sorry you are having problems..

At any point did you happen to replace all of your filter media at once, or replace a large portion of it all at once? Or perhaps rinse it in regular tap water without a water conditioner? These things could cause a cycle crash. I see that you said you replaced the cartridges in 2 of the HOB, was that before or after the issues started?

Also prior to that, how often were you doing your water changes and how much? Your PH is borderline low. Too much waste and not enough water changes could have brought that PH down really low and caused not only a cycle crash, but possibly a ph crash. So it's important for us to know your routine...

Right now doing 40%-50% water changes is EXCELLENT! Keep those up and if you haven't been already, you need to keep doing 50% changes at least once a week even after things even back out. How many fish are in the tank? Try and keep the ammonia and nitrite below 0.5 if you can through water changes until the cycle is back on track. As low as you can keep them the better and keep an eye on the fish.

I have five goldfish in the tank and one bristlenose pleco. I had replace the filter media AFTER the problem started. As for frequency of WC, I make sure to do at least a 50% WC each week, although most weeks I do it twice.

As for the pH, it has been at 7.0 since I set up the tank. I hadn't tampered with that at all and still not sure if I should.

The only thing that I can think of that I've done differently is that prior to the cycle crash, I had to be away from home quite a lot during the week, so I asked my cousin to feed my fish for me. Normally I feed them twice a day, but during the month I was away, I asked my cousin to feed them only once a day. About three days before things went awry, I had gone back to my schedule of feeding 2x per day. Could this be the cause? I know that overfeeding will mess with your cycle, but I didn't think that I was overfeeding, since I had been feeding 2x the whole time, except for that month interval. Any thoughts?

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Ok so you have 5 goldfish and one plec in a 55 gal tank and have done excellent water care. Ammonia issue crops up and you replaced the filter cartridges of your 2 HOBs.

Do you only have those 2 filters running?

How much of the original media was left?

See I'm thinking that the feeding difference caused a cycle bump and then losing too much bbs by replacing too much media at once caused a futher imbalance.

Was the temperature of your tank altered at all?

BBs don't thrive as well at lower temps.

I agree that whenever you need to do a water change to address the ammonia lvl that it should around the 50% range.

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Besides the WCs, is there anything I can add to the water to help my fish while the cycle is getting back to normal? I haven't added any chemicals in the past, thinking that it would either slow or wreck the cycle.

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Yes, you should use Prime water conditioner. It will temporarily detoxify ammonia and nitrite- just long enough to last until the water change for the next day. You need to use a larger dose than normal to detox nitrite, see the bottle for instructions with that. :)

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Has your ph ever gone down past the 7.0 mark? Have you ever tested the KH in the tap and tank?

Also the good BB's live in the filter media, so in your problem, dont clean the filter media until the filters are over flowing into the tank from the intake. I would use Prime or Amquel for the water conditioner this will help the fish from ammonia problems and nitrites, keep doing at least 2 water changes of 30% to keep the levels down but dont clean the filters unless they are over flowing :)

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To answer the questions posed in the previous posts:

- my pH and KH have remained constant. The water here is soft, and the pH is right at 7.0. That hasn't changed at all.

- It was probably a very bad idea for me to change all three filter cartridges at the same time. I freaked when I saw they were dirty, and instead of just rinsing them in tank water, I opted to change them all.

- I have tested the tap water to compare with tank water. The tap water registers 0 for ammonia and nitrite.

- Which of these products do you recommend: Prime, Amquel, Ammolock, etc.? I've not looked into any of these.

Thank you for your help :)

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So with that I would say it will come back but your going to have to do some water changes, also you could use some more "cycle" to help the Bb's to come back.

I use Amquel and others use prime... they are both about the same stuff :)

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As Koko mentioned most of use Amquel or Prime...both very good products, I've used them both. And as mentioned when changing media in your filters only change one part of ONE filter on a monthly basis to keep your BB established and flourishing. I once did the same thing and found ammonia and nitrites in my one tank the next day. It took two weeks to get my cycle back again and I learned from that.

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I just did a 50% WC, waited for a couple of hours, and now nitrites are just barely detectable, using the API drop test. I will do a full test tomorrow, and do another WC.

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This is probably a silly question, but when I use Prime or Amquel, I don't have to add other water conditioners/dechlorinators, right? I've been using TetraAqua Plus, simply because I didn't know better.

Thank you, as always, for the help I get here on this forum :-)

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This is probably a silly question, but when I use Prime or Amquel, I don't have to add other water conditioners/dechlorinators, right? I've been using TetraAqua Plus, simply because I didn't know better.

Thank you, as always, for the help I get here on this forum :-)

All you need is one conditioner. Prime or Amquel remove chlorine and chloramine and detoxify ammonia and nitrite. They also provide essential ions and stimulates natural slime coat. They also detoxify any heavy metals found in the tap water at typical concentration levels.

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Thank you! This morning I checked the water parameters, and based on the drop tests, pH was 7-7.2, ammonia 0-0.25, nitrite 0.25, nitrate 0-5. I went to the LFS and bought some prime and added it to the water.

My question is, will nitrites still be detectable after adding Prime?

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They will but the prime will bond it so it will be safer for the fish to be in :)

Great! That's exactly what would like. Otherwise, I would not know when the problem with nitrites has been solved. Thank you. :-)

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