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Tropical Fish Keeping Help and Advice => Fishtank Filtration and Cycling => Topic started by: barneyadi on January 25, 2017, 09:00:24 PM

Title: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on January 25, 2017, 09:00:24 PM
Hi All

Am new to site but having an issue in my fishless cycle. Got artificial plants and some ornaments in tank with a sand substrate. Started on 7th Jan, used Prime to dechlorinate the water and then on 8th added 3ppm of ammonia. My PH is 7.0. On the 21st ammonia was below 0.75ppm but no nitrites. After speaking to some people they suggested topping up ammonia to 3ppm and put some Tetra Start Up in just to try and give it a kick but as of today ammonia is about 1.10ppm , still no nitrites and nitrates have stayed at 2.5ppm all the way along. My water is soft and Gh is 4.2 or 75ppm and KH is 60ppm according to water board. I understand this is quite low.
Could this be holding up the nitrites appearing? Would some bicarb of soda help? Or anything else I could do?
Any help much appreciated.

Dave
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on January 25, 2017, 09:43:38 PM
Hi Dave,

I'm Sue from the other forum  ;D


I completely forgot to mention using a plant fertiliser as someone on the other forum has suggested. Your water is so soft that it's short of everything, and plant fertiliser contains lots of trace minerals. I use Seachem Flourish, the one without anything else added to the name.

I think maybe see if the advice you've been given 'over there' by the poster called Steven would help, he really knows his stuff.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on January 25, 2017, 10:08:52 PM
Thanks Sue

Will try the Seachem flourish and hold off the bicarb for now.

David
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on January 26, 2017, 03:37:21 PM
Just had a quick thought, is there anyway I could of squashed the sponges in the filter which would cause the bacteria not to grow?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on January 26, 2017, 04:18:09 PM
The only way that would cause a problem is if you squashed them in such a way the water can't flow through them. Is the water is coming out of the filter outlet nice and strong?



Very very silly question. Did any of the media (sponges, cirax etc) come wrapped in plastic - and if they did, did you remove the plastic wrapper? It has been known......
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on January 26, 2017, 04:20:59 PM
Water seems ok out the outlet, causing rippling on water surface.

99.9% sure plastic is off. The top layer piece split into 3, so I just used one of them, hopefully that was ok.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on January 26, 2017, 04:32:09 PM
The white pads do come in packs of three.

The white pads do clog quickly when you have things in there to clog them. They don't wash very well - they fall into holes very easily - and they are not a very good media for bacteria to grow on. There main purpose is to catch bits so they don't get into the other media.
Because they have to be changed often they can work out expensive. Buy a roll of filter wool instead - or a metre cut off a roll - and use the juwel white pads as a template to cut the sheet up. Much cheaper.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on January 27, 2017, 12:29:38 PM
Here is a post of my tests and sponges, Two blue sponges are on bottom and blue and green one on top. I have put carbon one in but not sure I need it. Is that right? And top right one seems a little dirty.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on January 27, 2017, 12:42:23 PM
That looks right. The fine blue sponges go in the bottom with the coarse blue sponges higher up. Do you have cirax as well?

The top white one will get dirty. It is first in the direction of water flow and Juwel put it there to catch any bits before they can get to the sponges.
Although you don't have fish (their poo and any uneaten food will end up stuck to the white pad) or live plants that could lose bits the white pad is picking up something. The grey looks a bit like the dust that sand contains when you first buy it and no matter how much you wash it, there always seems to be some left.

You could try washing it very gently in a tub of tank water, but be very gentle as filter wool (aka filter floss) goes into holes very easily.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on January 27, 2017, 01:04:59 PM
Hi

No I don't have cirax, it's an option you can purchase separately. Is this something I should have? Also do I need the black carbon filter.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on January 27, 2017, 03:28:14 PM
Now here's a though. The green sponge is called Nitrax and is a nitrate remover. Could this be why my nitrates haven't changed. According to Juwel they have various optional media. Links below:

https://www.juwel-aquarium.co.uk/Products/Filtering/Filter-media/Cirax/
https://www.juwel-aquarium.co.uk/Products/Filtering/Filter-media/Amorax/

Could one or both of them help?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on January 27, 2017, 06:41:44 PM
You don't need cirax, sponges are a very good home for bacetria.

The general consensus is that the nitrate sponge doesn't work, and even Juwel says it doesn't work immediately. From their website with my italics
Quote
The nitrate removal sponge contains bacteria, which will after a while reduce the nitrate level

They say that the green sponge contains anaerobic bacteria that break down nitrate - but anaerobic means in the absence of oxygen, and the filter has lots of oxygenated water flowing through it so anaerobic bacteria won't grow there.


The general opinion is that it doesn't remove nitrate so treat it like a blue sponge and leave it there till it starts to fall apart.
But if you wish to, there's no reason you can't remove it, let it dry and put it in the cupboard until the tank has cycled. There is plenty more media to grow enough bacteria to support a tankful of fish.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on January 27, 2017, 06:54:28 PM
How about the Amorax, have you ever heard anything about it?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on January 27, 2017, 07:16:04 PM
I'd not come across that till I saw it on Juwel's website looking for that quote. They say it is zeolite. I would never use this in an aquarium of mine.

It removes ammonia, so there is none left to get the bacteria to grow. If you use it you are tied in to changing it before it becomes full for ever. If you don't change it in time, it becomes saturated, stops absorbing ammonia and, because you haven't been able to grow any bacteria, the ammonia level in the tank rockets and harms the fish.

It works out expensive changing it on a regular basis for ever. It is much cheaper to grow some bacteria.

Zeolite also absorbs medication, so you have to remove it if the fish get sick - and then ammonia will rocket as a result.



Zeolite does have a place. If something happens to the filter bacteria when the fish keeper is not there to sort it out, zeolite can be used to save the fish. We once had a member who was away on a business trip. His wife phoned him to say she was testing the water as instructed and found the ammonia reading was high for some reason. because he wasn't there to investigate, we suggested his wife get some zeolite to protect the fish till his return.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on January 29, 2017, 07:13:14 PM
Well with no movement on ammonia or nitrites or nitrates, have done a large water change today. One thing I noticed is the 125 litres my tank quotes seems nearer 105 litres, is that common?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on January 29, 2017, 07:19:40 PM
It is common. Juwel do tend to give the volume as being the amount of water it will hold when empty. But we put in substrate and decor which displaces a lot of water so the volume of water we end up with is somewhat less than the empty volume.
Other makes give the volume as the amount of space occupied by the whole tank, including the thickness of the glass, the space under the bottom pane with floating bases, and the air space on top of the water.

Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on January 29, 2017, 07:32:56 PM
but what figure do I use when calculating ammonia, 105 or 125 litres?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on January 29, 2017, 07:37:54 PM
Use the amount of water the tank holds, 105 litres.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on January 30, 2017, 02:27:57 PM
Well that's me all rest, decided to start with 1ppm ammonia as Tetra Safe Start might have problem with higher ammonia levels supposedly. Hopefully some bacteria is still there to help out as well.

Finally got a GH/KH tester today. GH was 107ppm and KH 53ppm, how often should I check these with those figures?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on January 30, 2017, 02:55:59 PM
Those figures convert to

GH 107 ppm = 6 German deg
KH 53 ppm = 3 German deg

GH shouldn't vary much. It will only change significantly if you use a substrate or decor that is made of calcium carbonate (eg coral sand, limestone rocks) as these will dissolve and increase GH; or if the tank water evaporates a lot and you top it up with tap water - in this case, the water evaporates but leaves the minerals that comprise GH behind and when you top up you add more minerals so GH gradually increases.

KH can vary. The natural tendency of fish tanks is to become acidic. Nitrate made by the filter bacteria (once the tank is cycled!) and other things excreted by fish are acidic. Carbonate reacts with acids and they get used up. If there's not much there to start with - like yours (and mine) - KH can fall to zero meaning a pH crash is likely. This isn't a problem once the tank is cycled as large regular water changes will keep the KH topped up, but during cycling we don't do water changes, and we make a lot of nitrate so KH can get used up.

It is important to keep an eye on your KH during cycling, and I would also keep an eye on it for a while after you have a tankful of fish. And keep an eye on pH.




Back about 10 years ago I was lazy about doing water changes. Sometimes I went 3 or 4 weeks between changes. And I was overstocked as I now realise. Then I discovered that my pH had dropped by a lot so I came on-line looking for a solution, and found Thinkfish. The site had an advisor back then, and he told me it was because of my low KH - at that time my water company used a table which gave both GH and KH. He recommended that I use remineralisation salts of the kind that people who use RO water need, but I found that by changing at least 30% of the water every week without fail stopped the pH dropping.
I did buy GH and KH testers and kept an eye on those for a good while, but once I knew that my water change regime kept the KH high enough, I never bought any more testers once they ran out.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on January 30, 2017, 07:21:35 PM
Do you think it might help to put some bicarb of soda now? is 25ml (5 teaspoons) be a good figure to use? I only ask as someone has suggested trying to keep my kh over 100ppm
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on January 30, 2017, 07:38:00 PM
My KH is more or less the same as yours and I added bicarb during fishless cycles. The first one, I didn't add it right at the beginning and I did have a pH crash so added it then. With the second one I added it right at the beginning and had no problems.
I used 1 x 5ml spoonful - level spoonful - in a 25 litre tank. As long as the KH reading is 6 deg/107 ppm or above it should be OK but monitor it to be sure.
Bicarb will also increase the pH so don't be surprised if you test yours and find it higher.

As I have softish water, if I had known at the time that the bacteria also need minerals to grow properly, I would have added some plant fertiliser as well.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on January 30, 2017, 07:46:20 PM
I have seachem flourish, a plant thing although I don't have plants. Would putting some of that in prove helpful as well?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Andy The Minion on January 30, 2017, 08:01:59 PM
@barneyadi I think that would depend on the fish as much as anything, I don't recall if you have shared your stocking plans in the past - and I'm too idle to go look :-[
You may have seen from my witterings I run at below 10ppm but as Sue states you can't drop your guard at this level. It is then down to your personal feelings, I would feel completely comfortable at 54ppm providing I can monitor and maintain regularly (let's be honest we should be doing that anyway)
A dropper checker might be a good investment, they are cheap and normally used to indicate CO2 levels in planted tanks but actually show pH changes. Because it stays in the tank so you can see the water is good at a glance whenever you pass.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on January 30, 2017, 08:19:11 PM
Hi Andy

I think with one fishless cycle tried and stalled, if I can do anything to help things along I will try anything. Stock wise, hope to have Harlequins, Neon Tetras, Panda Corys, Marble Hatchets and a Bolivian Ram, but is subject to change.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Andy The Minion on January 30, 2017, 08:41:38 PM
@barneyadi  Oh I see, I was talking about Alkalinity for the long term in the previous post.
For a cycle them definitely no harm adding, you will do an almost complete water change at the end of a fishless cycles and can adjust your Kh if you need after that.
Use pH as your guide for now, the danger point for microbes is below 6.5pH but if it has significantly dropped since you started then add as Sue suggests. The higher the pH and temperature (within reason) the better the bacteria will colonise but whatever you do .... don't go near @Paddy60 cycling tank, you might catch whatever it has that stops it cycling :(
I presume you have read Sue's excellent guide to fishless cycle https://forums.thinkfish.co.uk/fishtank-filtration-and-cycling/fishless-cycling-how-to-do-it ?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on January 30, 2017, 08:46:03 PM
I am hoping I haven't caught @Paddy60 problem. Mine seemed to stall after 22 days, no nitrites at all and ammonia seemed to stop dropping.
I have temperature at around 28c, been told that is ideal for bacteria. Have read Sue's guide, I was following it when things went wrong. Trying a slightly different plan with a lower ammonia ppm to start hoping that it will kick things off.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Andy The Minion on January 30, 2017, 08:58:55 PM
Yes it is so you can bake Sue a cake if it works :)
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on January 30, 2017, 09:02:08 PM
If fact they are different in some way. Fortunately got both in the cupboard so just mixed up some and put in tank. Although just read Baking powder and Bicarbonate of Soda are same thing. Now i'm confused but use Bicarb just in case.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on January 30, 2017, 09:35:50 PM
Barneyadi is still at the stage of sorting out his fishless cycle - his ammonia drops but no sign of nitrite or nitrate. He has all fake plants.

I first met him on another forum where this problem first became apparent. Another member on there has suggested that in addition to artificially boosting KH during cycling - because the bacteria need inorganic carbon to grow and low KH often leads to pH crashes - adding a trace mineral plants fertiliser helps as well because the bacteria also need trace minerals which are lacking in soft water. The chap on the other forum recommends Seachem Flourish as being the one that has the most complete range of trace minerals.



Dave - baking powder and bicarbonate of soda are not the same thing. Baking powder contains bicarb plus a weak acid such as tartaric acid. You don't want this acid in the tank.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Andy The Minion on January 30, 2017, 10:08:47 PM
Oooer which did you originally say? I read Baking soda but I think but you edited it afterwards and I'm not sure now.... what Sue says is correct as always.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on January 30, 2017, 10:13:51 PM
Luckily I went with the bicarb of soda. Haven't added the Seachem Flourish just yet, think putting the ammonia and Tetra Safe Start and bicarb today might be enough. Will check to see how ammonia is doing tomorrow, a little early but you never know.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on January 31, 2017, 09:05:23 AM
Re baking powder and bicarbonate of soda it is easy for me to remember. In cookery lessons in the mid 1960s we were told that using self raising flour was lazy so we had to use plain flour and add baking powder to make cakes rise. I thought this was mean, self raising flour existed so why not use it?
My mother told me I was lucky being allowed to use baking powder. She had her cookery lessons in the late 1930s and they were told that using baking powder was lazy, they had to mix their own from bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar (tartaric acid).

How times change.



And chemistry lessons told me how they all worked.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Andy The Minion on January 31, 2017, 12:57:54 PM
The neighboring kids taking whateve the call cookery classes now use CAKE MIXES !
Truly the times they are achangin but give it 10 years and they will be ordering the cake from the supermarket and having it delivered. They will asking which type of flour to add to the tank
Have I just turned into a grumpy old codger?  :isay:
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on January 31, 2017, 01:31:58 PM
Well just checked ammonia, has dropped from 1ppm to somewhere between .50 and .75ppm so hopefully that is a good sign. Also checked the KH and is around 133ppm, up from 53ppm. So hopefully both are good signs. Someone told me to keep KH above 100ppm, how often should I check the KH?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on January 31, 2017, 01:47:19 PM
I would check it every few days once you have nitrite and nitrate building up. Those are the acidic things made by filter bacteria. You don't have any fish yet to add to the acidity.

My tap water has KH 3 deg/55 ppm, pH 7.5 and between the 0 and 5 colours for nitrate.
I did a fishless cycle 4 years ago and didn't test the pH regularly. When it occurred to me I should be testing the pH, I discovered it was off the bottom of the scale (ie below 6) and the nitrate was 40 ppm.

With a KH of 133 after adding bicarb, you should be OK up to 40 ppm nitrate. But I would get into the habit of testing the pH every time you test for ammonia etc. It is a very quick test and you'll know if it starts to fall that you need to test for KH.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on January 31, 2017, 03:10:01 PM
Thanks Sue

I am going to check ammonia everyday as hopefully things might progress slightly quicker than a new tank. Will check PH every other day and see how things go.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 01, 2017, 01:29:11 PM
Ok test results today

PH 7.0ish
ammonia 0.50ppm
nitrite 0
nitrate 2.5ppm (same as tap)

Seems ammonia going in right direction for now, so fingers crossed.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on February 01, 2017, 01:34:44 PM
I'm just confused as to where it is going since you don't have live plants  ???
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 01, 2017, 02:01:38 PM
Hi Sue

What figure is confusing? Don't for get I did a water change on Sunday, 95% roughly. So take it I wouldn't get nitrite or nitrates just yet. Ammonia went in Monday, only 1ppm so has dropped .50 in 2 days.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on February 01, 2017, 02:20:53 PM
If some ammonia has gone, it must have gone somewhere. In fish tanks there are two possibilities.

When a tank has live plants, they use ammonia as fertiliser so as they take it up the reading drops.

When a tank has no plants, there must be another reason. Something is eating the ammonia, usually the ammonia eating bacteria. They turn the ammonia into nitrite.
1 ppm ammonia -> 2.7 ppm nitrite so if you've lost 0.5 ppm ammonia that would have made 1.35 ppm nitrite. But your nitrite is zero.
Just supposing you had enough nitrite eaters to turn that 1.35 ppm nitrite into nitrate. 1 ppm ammonia -> 2.7 ppm nitrite -> 3.6 ppm nitrate. So your missing 0.5 ppm ammonia would have been turned into 1.8 ppm nitrate.
This is a bit trickier because our nitrate testers aren't good enough to pick up a rise of just 1.8 ppm.

Are you using API liquid testers, and does your nitrite tester goes a nice sky blue after the 5 minutes with not even a hint of purple?



I think the way to go is to add 3 ppm ammonia and see what happens. If that drops to zero, it should make 8.1 ppm nitrite, which is off the top of the scale. That nitrite would be turned into 10.8 ppm nitrate, and a rise of nitrate that size should show up when testing. Just make sure to shake the one nitrate reagent bottle and test tube as per the instruction or you'll get a false reading.







Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 01, 2017, 02:29:17 PM
If some ammonia has gone, it must have gone somewhere. In fish tanks there are two possibilities.

When a tank has live plants, they use ammonia as fertiliser so as they take it up the reading drops.

When a tank has no plants, there must be another reason. Something is eating the ammonia, usually the ammonia eating bacteria. They turn the ammonia into nitrite.
1 ppm ammonia -> 2.7 ppm nitrite so if you've lost 0.5 ppm ammonia that would have made 1.35 ppm nitrite. But your nitrite is zero.
Just supposing you had enough nitrite eaters to turn that 1.35 ppm nitrite into nitrate. 1 ppm ammonia -> 2.7 ppm nitrite -> 3.6 ppm nitrate. So your missing 0.5 ppm ammonia would have been turned into 1.8 ppm nitrate.
This is a bit trickier because our nitrate testers aren't good enough to pick up a rise of just 1.8 ppm.

Are you using API liquid testers, and does your nitrite tester goes a nice sky blue after the 5 minutes with not even a hint of purple?



I think the way to go is to add 3 ppm ammonia and see what happens. If that drops to zero, it should make 8.1 ppm nitrite, which is off the top of the scale. That nitrite would be turned into 10.8 ppm nitrate, and a rise of nitrate that size should show up when testing. Just make sure to shake the one nitrate reagent bottle and test tube as per the instruction or you'll get a false reading.

I must say the Nitrate seemed slightly darker today, so might be nearer 5ppm than the 2.5ppm I quoted. And yes, bottle and tube shaken as recommended. Using API testers, Nitrite is blue, no hint of purple at all. Should I try shaking the Nitrite bottle just in case?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 01, 2017, 02:40:48 PM
Just checked Nitrite and definitely light blue.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on February 01, 2017, 02:47:32 PM
I usually shake all the bottles a bit, but shake nitrate #2 very hard and long.


Since it is known that Tetra Safe Start contains the right species of nitrite eaters, there is the possibility that you might not see any nitrite. The proof is going to be if your nitrate increases as ammonia drops. But to see any increase in nitrate you'll need to add more than 1 ppm ammonia as that won't make enough nitrate to be certain of an increase.
I'd go with adding a 3ppm dose of ammonia next, then when that drops another 3 ppm unless nitrite does start to rise. If the ammonia is going straight to nitrate, that should make enough to show up on the nitrate test.

But if you do start to see nitrite, go with instructions as too much nitrite will stall the cycle.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 01, 2017, 02:59:08 PM
I was thinking of increasing ammonia maybe 2ppm and then 3ppm. I have read on another forum that someone has low alkalinity (40ppm) which is KH I guess and their cycle has stalled. Wondering if keeping KH over 100ppm is a good thing to do. Once I have fish, can I keep using bicarb or is there something else that would help.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on February 01, 2017, 03:11:27 PM
Alkalinity is what water companies call KH. At over 100 ppm yours should be OK, you can always add a bit more bicarb if it does start to fall.

The chemical name of bicarb is sodium hydrogen carbonate, and the sodium bit is the problem when there are fish in the tank. Natural water sources don't have much sodium in them so fish have not evolved to cope with it, certainly not fish from soft water areas. We need another way to stop KH falling.

I have KH 3 german deg/54 ppm and I keep things stable by weekly water changes of at least 30% to top up the KH. I find this works fine for me.
Alternatives would be to use crushed aragonite in a bag in the filter - this contains both calcium and magnesium rather than crushed coral or limestone which only contain calcium. But if your pH is 7.0 or over, not much will dissolve. And it is possible to use too much.
Another option would be to use remineralisation salts designed for use with RO water. You wouldn't need much, just enough to boost your KH slightly. The downside to this is that you would have to add exactly the same amount per litre of new water at every water change as swinging GH would not be good for the fish. Doing emergency water changes if you were near the end of the pack of remin salts would be impossible;you'd have to keep an unopened pack in the cupboard at all times. And it would work out expensive long term.

I'd stick with water changes once you have fish and see if that is enough. You can always try one of the other options if water changes alone aren't enough.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 01, 2017, 03:29:27 PM
Thanks Sue

Will post figures daily, as might help someone in the future. More I read on other forum I think KH is very important, seems to be a main reason that cycles stall so will watch mine every few days. If I hit another stumbling block, will have to look at plan C, D and E.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 03, 2017, 01:52:45 PM
Test done today. Ammonia seems around .25 to .50ppm, nitrites are o ( but could be down to using Tetra start Safe) and Nitrate seems to be about 5ppm, which is slightly up. Picture attached.

Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on February 03, 2017, 02:21:43 PM
How much ammonia did you add in total?

I would wait until ammonia drops to zero then add enough to give 3 ppm. When that falls, see what your nitrate reading is.


One question - when you compare the colour of the water to the chart, what kind of light is it? Daylight or electric light - and if it's electric light, what kind of light bulb? Fluorescent lights, both tubes and compact fluorescent energy saving bulbs, are known to distort the shade of the ammonia test. Daylight is best, or halogen bulbs or LED bulbs, and even old fashioned bulbs if you still have any.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 03, 2017, 02:32:13 PM
Hi Sue, just 1ppm to start. Light wise is either daylight or halogen. The Ammonia green is always hard to read as there seems to be subtle changes in the colour and always hard to discern.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 06, 2017, 09:40:42 PM
Added ammonia to 2ppm, checked using test kit but what picture is correct one to use for reading?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on February 07, 2017, 02:11:22 PM
To compare the test tube to the chart, place the tube against a white area on the chart and hold it up so you are looking straight through the side of the tube. Have the light source behind you shining over your shoulder.

You are looking for the shade of green (in the case of the ammonia tester) rather than the intensity of the colour. A chemistry lecturer at university once told us that the human eye is a pretty good judge of wavelength (ie the shade of the colour) but a poor judge of the colour's intensity.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 09, 2017, 11:08:32 PM
Interestingly today I stood with back door open with my back to it and colour seemed lighter for my ammonia. So will use this method for now.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Andy The Minion on February 10, 2017, 05:24:59 AM
@barneyadi I did notice one thing with the test samples you have shown. The water miniscus in some is still below the mark even after you added the drops so the result will be too 'consentrate' in some by perhaps 10%. I don't know if this will equate to a 10% reading error as I don't understand the chemistry behind the tests but it certainly won't help the accuracy.
I also know that the tubes themselves are not particularly accurate and trying to pour water out of a test tube and hit the mark isn't particularly easy either, and the line is quite thick..... I gave up with this method and use a 5ml syringe to squirt water in it's much easier, accurate and more consistent. Have a word with your local Nurse Gladice Emmanuel and see if she will let you have one.
Another trick I have suggested before is to get an image of the test strip on a tablet or phone and use the clean white background of the image to light the sample from behind You will also note that the reading card colours vary themselves so can images you can find on the Internet that were based on pictures so be sure to pick a good one.

Anybody,
I have seen this same type of question a couple of times, do you think a sticky post with images explaining would be useful? Don't worry I will keep the photometers method out of it :)
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on February 10, 2017, 09:49:04 AM
I have seen this same type of question a couple of times, do you think a sticky post with images explaining would be useful? Don't worry I will keep the photometers method out of it :)


If you are volunteering Andy.......


Is Fish Tanks and Equipment the best place for it?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 14, 2017, 02:58:19 PM
Well with nothing happening was going to start a fish in cycle, but have decided to give it one last chance. Have redirected the airflow to maybe get more oxygen in tank, plastic plants are swaying so there is a difference. Been out today and purchased some different ammonia from Homebase, 9.5% to see if that will help. So will let you know what happens.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Littlefish on February 14, 2017, 03:07:54 PM
Good luck.  :)
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 14, 2017, 06:12:38 PM
Does anyone think a lack of oxygen might have stalled my cycle?. Have turned filter tube straight up towards surface now and surface is bubbling and rippling. Could an airstone or bubble bar help as well?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on February 14, 2017, 07:14:17 PM
As long as water is moving around the tank there should be enough oxygen.

Pinched from the same chap who wrote the fishless cycling method, the bacteria need
Oxygen
Inorganic carbon - carbonates, measured as KH.
pH over 6.5 with 8 being the best
Temperature between 24 and 29 deg C

If the water surface is rippling that should get enough oxygen into the tank
Carbonates - if you've added bicarb to your soft water there should be plenty of that
pH - if you've added bicarb that should also increase your pH
Temp - if you've set the heater to get 28 to 29 deg, that should be fine. You do need a thermometer to confirm the temp, don't go by the heater setting as most are not that accurately calibrated.

I've also read somewhere that the bacteria need iron, which is why using plant fertiliser in soft water helps - provided iron is listed in the ingredients.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 15, 2017, 04:07:24 PM
 not looking good, 24 hours after adding ammonia and no drop at all. Will give some more time and see what happens, but looking likely I will have to try a fish in cycle.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: MarquisMirage on February 15, 2017, 06:43:51 PM
I wonder if the ammonia is being converted to ammonium?  What's the implication of not enough hydrogen ions in the aquarium?  How would you fix it?  I've looked into the chemistry aspect of it but would need more time to make sense of it.  Is this even a possibility caused by the low kH?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on February 15, 2017, 07:07:47 PM
You fix a deficiency in hydrogen ions by adding acid  :) I once came across an experienced fishkeeper who said he used muriatic acid to lower pH. I had no idea what that was so I googled it - it's the old name for hydrochloric acid  :yikes: I would prefer to use a weaker acid than that.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: MarquisMirage on February 15, 2017, 07:13:00 PM
Could this be what's stalling the cycle, Sue?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 15, 2017, 07:14:53 PM
Looks like I will have to go the fish in route. Thinking of using 4 Harlequin Rasboras in my tank, 105 litres. Does that sound right and any other tip for fish in cycle?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: fcmf on February 15, 2017, 08:19:25 PM
Once I have fish, can I keep using bicarb or is there something else that would help.
I use a piece of limestone/Tufa rock in my tank which increases the KH from ~1 to ~2.5.

any other tip for fish in cycle?
If you do go down that route, then twice-daily water quality monitoring (ammonia, nitrite and nitrates), frequent/daily water changes and Seachem Prime as your dechlorinator (detoxifies ammonia, nitrite and nitrates for 24 hours after its use) would be wise, while it probably wouldn't do any harm to try Tetra Safestart (not any other product which a LFS may claim does the same job). Check out https://forums.thinkfish.co.uk/fishtank-filtration-and-cycling/fish-in-cycling-with-fish-how-to-do-it/
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on February 15, 2017, 09:05:28 PM
I wonder if the ammonia is being converted to ammonium?  What's the implication of not enough hydrogen ions in the aquarium?  How would you fix it?  I've looked into the chemistry aspect of it but would need more time to make sense of it.  Is this even a possibility caused by the low kH?

I have just paid proper attention to this post. Ammonia is converted to ammonium when there are lots of hydrogen ions, ie the pH is lower than 7. The filter bacteria grow best at a pH above 7, ie when there are less hydrogen ions so more ammonia is in the ammonia form rather than ammonium. This is why adding sodium hydrogen carbonate (bicarbonate of soda) works during cycling. It is the salt of a weak acid and a strong base so it makes the water more basic - that is, it increases the pH. And it boosts the KH.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 17, 2017, 09:29:17 PM
Ammonia hasn't dropped at all since dosing to 3ppm. So have today emptied tank, rinsed filter sponges and artificial plants and ornaments in dechlorinated water and refilled tank. Will test tank tomorrow and then purchase fish (4 Harlequin Rasboras) and Tetra Start Safe and hopefully that will work. Then add other fish in slowly very slowly.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Littlefish on February 17, 2017, 09:33:00 PM
Good luck and please keep us posted on progress.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 18, 2017, 02:57:45 PM
So checked all parameters this morning, 0 ammonia and nitrite and 2.5ppm nitrate, exactly what is out the tap. So just added my 4 harlequins and a bottle of TSS to help things. So fingers crossed everything runs smoothly.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Littlefish on February 18, 2017, 03:06:45 PM
I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you and your fish.  :)
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 19, 2017, 05:21:40 PM
Fish seem to have settled in well. As I am using Tetra Safe Start I shouldn't water change for 14 days as can affect its usage. Don't trust it entirely so will check water tomorrow as feeding fish a small amount tonight.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: fcmf on February 19, 2017, 07:00:41 PM
Glad the fish are settling in well so far. I wasn't aware of the advice not to water change for 14 days until I "googled" and found a post on another forum which includes a reply from Tetra staff and mentions this and not using anything which detoxifies ammonia (Seachem Prime is one such product). When I struggled with a fishless cycle myself (using fish food as the ammonia source and Tetra Safestart), back in the days before joining this forum, I resorted to a fish-in cycle and continued using Tetra Safestart, twice-daily monitoring of water quality (ammonia, nitrite, nitrates, etc), daily water changes using Seachem Prime, etc. I'm almost certain we had a user on this forum last year who did the same, so this is news to me.

I would monitor the water quality morning and evening and let us know how you're getting on, so that we can advise further if need be.

Do you, by any chance, have any mature media from another fishkeeper? That would speed up the cycle considerably.

Best of luck.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 19, 2017, 08:12:23 PM
No I don't know anyone with mature media. Supposedly as I only have 4 fish it should keep things low. There was a guy on youtube who cycled his tank in 9 days without water changes, but waited till 14 days to do one and add more fish.
Will check though, don't trust anything at moment. Fed fish tonight, only a little. Strangely 1 is more adventurous than the other 3, but all seem happy.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 20, 2017, 03:35:23 PM
Water checked today, .25ppm ammonia, 0 nitrites and 2.5ppm nitrates(same as tap). Did feed yesterday, didn't put a lot in, how often should I feed 4 fish? I think only 1 small bit got to the bottom.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: fcmf on February 20, 2017, 08:00:02 PM
When I got my fish, I recall the LFS staff telling me that 3 full-sized flakes per 6 fish, twice a day, would be best in the beginning. Therefore, in your case, perhaps 2 full-sized flakes, twice a day, would be fine. As their mouths will be small, I'd advise cutting/breaking up each flake into smaller pieces - and this should also help everyone to get some food rather than one greedy fish somehow getting it all.

I only have a small tank of 54 litres and so donít have much filter media. However, it might help you at least a bit if you had some mature media sent your way to incorporate into your filter, so I could send a little bit through the mail - just "private message" me your address if that would help / you're happy for that and I'll donate some. Perhaps one of the others on here https://forums.thinkfish.co.uk/fishtank-filtration-and-cycling/list-of-members-willing-to-donate-mature-media-for-cycling/ (ie @Sue, @Andy the minion, @Paddyc, @Littlefish), all of whom have larger tanks than I have and therefore more media available, could help out too.

 :fishy1:

Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Littlefish on February 20, 2017, 08:13:21 PM
I'm happy to provide mature media.  :)
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 20, 2017, 08:27:39 PM
Thanks for the offer of media. Will pm you both but have a question. I have a Juwel filter with sponges, where and how would I put the mature media into the filter?

Dave
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: fcmf on February 20, 2017, 08:34:47 PM
Great - hopefully we'll get you (or your filter, more precisely!) cycled very quickly this way. :)

You could either remove (cut out) some of the sponge or, preferably, just squeeze in the extra sponge/foam which we send you. I have a few tatty pieces too, so pieces of those could actually be squashed in nicely in various locations alongside your existing sponges, hopefully covering more of your existing sponge's surface area and transferring beneficial bacteria accordingly than if you just pushed in one large chunk of filter media.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Andy The Minion on February 20, 2017, 10:05:05 PM
If it is foam or floss that you receive, having squeezed the best of the filth into the filter as @fcmf described I would temporally (a couple of weeks) attach it to the filter inlet so the water flow will draw anything left into the filter.
I would also offer media but I had a clean out last weekend and didn't replace it in a place where I can get to it without a fight.... typical.
I will add more next water change so I will have some for next time.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 21, 2017, 08:40:59 PM
I brought some Hikari mini pellets today, do you think 8 pellets each feed is enough? I have 4 fish.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Matt on February 21, 2017, 09:14:57 PM
I would say yes, possibly a little too much.  Their stomach is about the size of their eye...
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: fcmf on February 21, 2017, 09:19:37 PM
Those Hikari micro pellets are absolutely tiny, though - I'd say at least 8. Tomorrow, I'll measure out how much I give my 11 fish and then let you know.

Update:

I've taken a pic of my fishes' breakfast - broken pieces of Tetramin flakes plus Hikari micro pellets - to give you an idea of amount. NB. this feeds 11 fish, so you'd be aiming for 1/3 of this amount. I give them the same amount twice a day (although substituting the Hikari micro pellets with Hikari micro wafers in the evening). About twice a week, they get 2 chopped peas between them all as well.

If you find that fish food remains on the water surface several minutes after feeding, then best to net this out. You may find fungused micro pellets on the bottom of the tank during syphoning - this may indicate over-feeding although I tend to find that pellets inevitably fall before the fish notice them or behind their backs while they're feeding on other pieces.

I'd err on the side of under-feeding while undertaking the fish-in cycle - although hopefully my and Littlefish's mature media will help your filter be cycled very soon.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 22, 2017, 02:25:31 PM
Done all my tests today

Ammonia .25ppm
Nitrites 0 (could be because I am using TSS)
Nitrates 2.5ppm
KH 3 degrees
PH 7.4

So everything seems to be running smoothly. Received some mature media today so have put it between the sponges in my filter so that should all help.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: MarquisMirage on February 22, 2017, 04:35:11 PM
The best place to place mature media is at the end of the filter that water is drawn through i.e. if the filter pulls in water from the bottom and pushes out the top place it in the bottom.  That way the mature media is pulled through the rest of the media.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on February 22, 2017, 04:39:11 PM
In barneyadi's case, he has a Juwel Rio so the water flows from top to bottom. In this style filter, the mature media should be placed as near the top as possible -with the Rio's filter on top of the green sponge is the best place whether the black sponge is used or not.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 22, 2017, 05:29:48 PM
Ah ok, will move it from bottom to on top of green sponge and under white one.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 23, 2017, 10:40:27 AM
Hi all

Got the rest of the mature media from you great people. So just to confirm I have the white at the top, then mature media, green sponge, coarse blue sponge, cirax and then 2 fine blue sponges. Does that sound right?

With all this extra media,  should I add in more fish, or just carry on with the 4 I have till ammonia and nitrite goes to zero?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Littlefish on February 23, 2017, 01:44:08 PM
Mature media as close to the inflow of the water as possible, so it sounds as if you've put it in the best place for your filter.
As for adding more fish, I'm really not sure. The more experienced keepers would give the best advice.
The amount of media I sent was half the media that I had in one of my temperate tanks, so would have been used to dealing with the waste from around twice as many fish as you have in your tank.
Plus the other mature media, you probably have the bacterial capacity to increase you numbers.
I'm not known for my patience when it comes to acquiring more fish, and I don't want to encourage any bad habits in others.  ;D
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on February 23, 2017, 01:57:36 PM
You can add more fish when the readings for both ammonia and nitrite have been zero for a week.

But not many more fish. You will have only enough bacteria for 4 harlequins, so in theory you can add 1.3333 more fish the same size as the harlequins. As adding a third of a fish is not possible, I would get 2 more harlequins. Then test for ammonia and nitrite every day, doing a water change if either of them show up. When you've had zero readings for another week, then you can get more fish, equal to 2 harlequins.

I know you've got mature media in there so it might well be safe to add more fish than this, but you can't be certain just how many bacteria you have so take it slow.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 23, 2017, 04:36:22 PM
My thinking was due to the mature media I didn't want to waste it as having only a few fish but makes sense not to rush things. My plan was to get 2 and then another 2 harlequins over the timescale you suggest and then move on to other fish. Main question would be which ones next. In the frame are Panda Corys, Marble Hatchetfish and Neon Tetras. Would you add them in this order?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on February 23, 2017, 04:47:11 PM
I know that neon tetras do not do well in new tanks, they are better added after the tank has been running a while. The reason is that we need to grow more than just ammonia and nitrite eaters. Those are important because lack of them can harm, if not kill, the fish. But some fish seem to need the presence of other micro-organisms too, and neons fall into this group.
Some species of cory also fall into this group but I don't know if pandas are one of those cories. Other members who have pandas will be able to advise about them better. I've never kept them.

I've also never kept hatchet fish but I have never read anything that suggests they do badly in new tank.

I suggest you get the hatchet fish next, then the cories if other members say they would be OK and leave the neons till last.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Littlefish on February 23, 2017, 05:32:38 PM
I have silver hatchet fish in my South American tank. I performed a fishless cycle on the planted tank and added the hatchets, penguin tetra and glass blood fin tetra all at the same time. Also, as I'd used mature media from several tanks, it only took a couple of weeks to cycle, so not what you could call a mature tank by any stretch of the imagination. All inhabitants of that tank have done well.
I have panda cory in my betta tank. That tank was slightly more mature, but had only been running for a few months before I decided to get some companions for the betta. I lost one panda a while back, but apart from that they have been fine in that planted tank too.
I don't have any experience of neons, but the hatchets and pandas I've got seem to be quite hardy, so that agrees with what Sue is saying about order of additions.  :)
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 23, 2017, 07:18:11 PM
Brought myself a colorinator device. Just checked and I have 0.59ppm ammonia and 0.54 nitrites. Little concerned with ammonia levels but will test tomorrow and see how things are going.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Andy The Minion on February 23, 2017, 08:09:30 PM
You can add more fish when the readings for both ammonia and nitrite have been zero for a week.

But not many more fish. You will have only enough bacteria for 4 harlequins, so in theory you can add 1.3333 more fish the same size as the harlequins

@Sue 0.3333 That's sound worryingly like a fish finger
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 24, 2017, 04:20:22 PM
Did tests today and results as follows

Ammonia 0.52 ppm, down from 0.59ppm last night
Nitrite 0.05ppm
Nitrate 4.50ppm

So things seem to be going ok, fingers crossed.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Andy The Minion on February 24, 2017, 05:32:10 PM
Yep looking good @barneyadi
From your readings I calculate your Ammonia and Nitrate should have ended up as about 1ppm Nitrate so I guess you had a little bit of Nitrate in the water already... but the bacteria must be starting to develop :)
Good news on a tank cycle, I like that!
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 24, 2017, 06:11:42 PM
Yes I think my tap water has about 2.5ppm nitrate in it.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 25, 2017, 12:18:17 PM
Help!!!

Checked readings now, and they are as follows

Ammonia 1.28
Nitrite 0.05
Nitrate 12.64

I know ammonia is high, should I use some Seachem Prime to lower it? Nitrates have jumped, is this good news? My thinking is ammonia is being converted to Nitrates which means tank is cycling but just want to make sure.

Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Matt on February 25, 2017, 01:06:17 PM
I would do a fairly large water change to bring the ammonia down and use the prime in your replacement water.  These levels of ammonia will be dangerous for the fish.  You are right though that your cycle is progressing.  :)
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 25, 2017, 01:09:13 PM
Ok here is the problem. I used Tetra Safe Start at beginning of cycle and according to them you shouldn't water change for 14 days as would affect the TSS. Wouldn't just adding Prime help reduce the ammonia? This is a reply from Tetra to a forum member on another site, hence my reason for asking.

You can test the water any time, but really, you should probably wait at
least 48 hours. We expect TSS to start slowly seeding the tank, and
making a difference in about that time. You have to have some ammonia
occur in the tank to provide the cycle needed, so it will usually create
levels or reduce levels to around 1.0-1.5 ppm, and they should stay
there for a week to 14 days, and then come down. Sorry, these levels
would be for both ammonia and nitrite. These are considered stress, but
not toxic, levels, and should not cause any long term damage to the
fish.

We recommend waiting two weeks before a water change. Of course, if for
some reason, the levels go up to a high level again, we would recommend
a change at that point, and another dose. Usually, the hobbyist has
done something wrong the first time, in such cases.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Andy The Minion on February 25, 2017, 01:43:30 PM
@barneyadi I would do exactly as Matt suggests (just using prime to remove chlorine in the normal way) but I don't think this is a panic situation, so what is needed is just to stop it rising massively higher. The levels are rising fast, 0.52ppm yesterday to 1.28ppm today but from the water parameters you gave us the Ammonia test reading (NH3+NH4 remember) gives a toxic (NH3 only) level of 0.001ppm and the upper limit is 0.02ppm.

So this is the time to take sensible action and change enough water to drop the Ammonia back to around 0.5ppm, this will keep your cycle going but the NH3 levels (0.5ppm = 0.004ppm) will be back to safe levels for the fish with a good margin for error.
***In addition reduce the feeding to slow the daily rises and of course test and change water daily until the cycle is completed***

Incidentally I found this in a paper on NH3 toxicity levels, note it refers to 'real' toxic NH3 (free Ammonia) not TAN which is also spoken about as Ammonia.

Rough guide to toxic levels of free ammonia:
Any level above 0.02 (ppm) is considered harmful                                 
0.020 to 0.049 (ppm) is considered 'tolerated' but will cause long term harm to its growth, immune system, health, etc. especially to eggs or very young animals.
0.050 to 0.199 (ppm) is perhaps tolerated for only a few days and is very harmful.                  
0.200 to 0.499 (ppm) is perhaps tolerated for a day or two and will probably kill.                  
0.500+ (ppm) is deadly and will probably kill within a day.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 25, 2017, 02:27:06 PM
ok, this is where I am getting very confused. Some people say don't change the water and others say change it. Which is correct? Or is it just a case of there are different ways of doing cycling?
If I do water change as 0.5 is 40% of 1.28, is a 60% change correct?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Littlefish on February 25, 2017, 02:52:44 PM
I also agree with Matt.
I would do a water change of around 50%, then test the water again, to check the ammonia.
Water changes may prolong your cycle slightly, but the health of the fish is always the priority.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Andy The Minion on February 25, 2017, 02:59:14 PM
The 'don't change water' I think is very general advice that is being repeated without reference to what is happening in the tank. You however can see that the Ammonia is building in the tank and in my opinion the correct thing to do is a water change. I would rather not rely on a claim of products blocking the toxic effects of Ammonia when fresh water is freely available :)
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 25, 2017, 03:02:02 PM
Do I turn filter off while I water change?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Andy The Minion on February 25, 2017, 03:16:07 PM
If you are worried it will kill the bacteria, don't because it wont. Remember you received filter material in the post to start your cycle so a few minutes of no flow is certainly fine. Just remember to turn it back on again!
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 25, 2017, 03:54:47 PM
ok. done about a 55% water change and will check ammonia levels tonight. Do I need to check nitrates as well?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Littlefish on February 25, 2017, 04:16:29 PM
I tend to check everything at the same time, out of habit.
I would expect all of the levels to have dropped after a water change. It might be worth checking morning and evening each day to see how quickly the levels rise and to monitor them so that you know when to do water changes until your cycle is complete.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: fcmf on February 25, 2017, 05:10:16 PM
I agree with all of the others above re changing the water, so glad to read that you have done that.

As I think I mentioned earlier, I used both Tetra Safestart and Seachem Prime during my fish-in cycle, having also struggled with a fish-less cycle (using fish food as the ammonia source); I changed water daily, and my understanding is that the Seachem Prime detoxifies the ammonia/nitrite/nitrates for the following 24hrs rather than actually affecting the levels of them. Hope that this is reassuring.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on February 25, 2017, 06:59:55 PM
Do I turn filter off while I water change?

Yes.Turn off both the filter and heater.

If the level of water drops below the filter pump it will empty of water and run dry. This can damage filter pumps.

If a heater turns on when out of the water there is a risk it will shatter. Some heaters are designed to turn off in these circumstances but I don't think the Juwel heater does.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 25, 2017, 07:02:50 PM
Ok water change done and new reading taken

Ammonia 0.25
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 2.62

Thought I would be nearer 0.5 ammonia as changed 50% water but at least figures have dropped down.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Littlefish on February 25, 2017, 07:55:48 PM
Good to see that your levels have dropped.  :)
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 26, 2017, 01:40:25 PM
So todays readings as follows

Ammonia 0.13ppm
Nitrite 0.57ppm
Nitrate 3.61ppm

Interestingly the first time I have seen nitrites, does it mean my cycle is on track?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on February 26, 2017, 02:00:05 PM
It could be. Keep an eye on the nitrites as there is no safe form of this as there is with ammonia. Anything over 0.25 is harmful for fish.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 26, 2017, 02:16:45 PM
if it continues going up should I consider another water change?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on February 26, 2017, 02:23:03 PM
With nitrite at twice the 'safe-ish' level I'd change at least half the water asap. Then test half an hour after the water change (to allow the new water to mix in) and if it is still over 0.2, do another water change. The reason I say over 0.2 is because it will go up after the water change and you need to keep it below 0.25.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 26, 2017, 02:56:46 PM
strange, just retested and got 0.03 nitrates. wonder if other reading was an anomaly?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Matt on February 26, 2017, 03:09:43 PM
Best way to tell would be to do another test... then we'll know which one is the anomaly  :D
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 26, 2017, 03:17:26 PM
well last night was 0.05 so would probably say the 0.03 is more correct. Will do another test after 7pm and see how it is.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Andy The Minion on February 26, 2017, 03:25:39 PM
With nitrite at twice the 'safe-ish' level I'd change at least half the water asap. Then test half an hour after the water change (to allow the new water to mix in) and if it is still over 0.2, do another water change. The reason I say over 0.2 is because it will go up after the water change and you need to keep it below 0.25.

Ooooo, I had the safe level from a book as 4ppm. I checked my records and I have never been near either so not a problem.....phew!
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Andy The Minion on February 26, 2017, 03:35:42 PM
@Sue Just a thought what other toxicity limits do you use, I have:
Ammonia (NH3 NH4) A general 1ppm but completely depends on temp and pH
Free Ammonia (NH3) 0.02ppm
Nitrate (NO3) 50ppm but opinions on normal levels differ in the 20-100 range so it's probably controversial
Phosphate 25ppm
CO2 30ppm
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on February 26, 2017, 04:51:32 PM
The figures I use for total ammonia (ammonia and ammonium combined) and nitrite are both 0.25 ppm.
Using a caculator or table to work out the proportion of ammonia in the total ammonia, I use 0.02 as being the safe limit, though it can go up to 0.05 for a day or two.

I don't use CO2 so I don't have a figure for that.
I don't know the safe limit for phpsphate either, though that's more to do with plants and algae than fish.

Nitrate - I used to say below 100 is safe for fish but there is now evidence coming out that 20 ppm is the safe limit for nitrate. However, I need to find out is that's nitrate-N or nitrate-NO3.
UK water companies and our test kits give the reading as the amount of actual NO3. Amercian water companies give the reading as the amount of N in the NO3. Since the gram molecular weight of N is 14 and NO3 is 46, using nitrate-NO3 gives a number almost 3 times higher than using nitrate-N. This is why American forum users are shocked by our water companies having 50 ppm as the max permitted levelof nitrate while theirs is 10.  Our permitted max converts to 15 on their scale while theirs converts to 32 on ours.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Matt on February 26, 2017, 05:02:21 PM
I found this the other day which might help:

Rough guide to toxic levels of free ammonia:
0.020 to 0.049 (ppm) is considered 'tolerated' but will cause long term harm to its growth, immune system, health, etc. especially to eggs or very young animals.
0.050 to 0.199 (ppm) is perhaps tolerated for only a few days and is very harmful.
0.200 to 0.499 (ppm) is perhaps tolerated for a day or two and will probably kill.
0.500+ (ppm) is deadly and will probably kill within a day.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Matt on February 26, 2017, 05:05:26 PM
And

The nitrite level should always be zero, or as close to zero as you can get it. Under certain conditions, even relatively low nitrite levels of 0.25 mg/l may be enough to weaken sensitive species. Anything above 0.1 mg/l should be viewed as unacceptable and a potential cause of stress, although some fish might tolerate very high levels.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 26, 2017, 06:50:22 PM
So just checked Nitrite again, and is showing as 0 so the 0.57ppm reading must have been an error. Seems I might have left the test on Ammonia instead of changing it to Nitrite. At least readings are ok. So correct readings are

Ammonia 0.16
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 3.61
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Littlefish on February 26, 2017, 07:07:15 PM
That's better.  ;D
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Andy The Minion on February 26, 2017, 07:22:52 PM
I found this the other day which might help:

Rough guide to toxic levels of free ammonia:
0.020 to 0.049 (ppm) is considered 'tolerated' but will cause long term harm to its growth, immune system, health, etc. especially to eggs or very young animals.
0.050 to 0.199 (ppm) is perhaps tolerated for only a few days and is very harmful.
0.200 to 0.499 (ppm) is perhaps tolerated for a day or two and will probably kill.
0.500+ (ppm) is deadly and will probably kill within a day.


Hey @Matt No fair, that is my quote you quoted back at me   :rotfl:
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Matt on February 26, 2017, 09:09:41 PM
Lols  :yikes:
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 27, 2017, 12:09:33 PM
Todays scores as follows

Ammonia 0.20
Nitrite 0
Nitrates 3.13

Was hoping ammonia might have dropped to 0 by now, but does everything look to be moving in right direction?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 28, 2017, 12:05:48 PM
Todays scores

Ammonia 0.10
Nitrite 0.09
Nitrate 3.02

Annoyingly close to 0 ammonia and nitrite.

Also a forum member on another forum I use has said this:-

Those readings would appear as 0 on the API test since the lowest they recognize is the .25. I know you're using the new reader, it is very normal to have trace nitrites in any tank, even after cycled, though usually lower like .02-.03. You have to remember the fish constantly produce ammonia so it is always in the tank being converted over. I think it all is going really well.

I'd add in a couple more fish this week, dose prime every 48 hours or so from here on out if you see ammonia or nitrites any higher than where they're at (over .10).

What do people think of the suggestions to get more fish etc?
 
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Andy The Minion on February 28, 2017, 07:16:42 PM
@barneyadi Hummm, I'm not sure about more fish, my inclination would be to stick with what you have and watch for a few days rather than take a decision based on a couple of readings.

You didn't mention it you are still doing daily water changes, if you were I would definitely say stick with what you have because you would be artificially lowering the pollutants and not the filter.

What is you percentage stock level compared to the community calculator? I think that this would be a help in deciding if the Ammonia input (in poop) is starting to be dealt with in any sort of volume by the filter or if the load is very small and it is still just building up without much being processed.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 28, 2017, 07:42:17 PM
@barneyadi Hummm, I'm not sure about more fish, my inclination would be to stick with what you have and watch for a few days rather than take a decision based on a couple of readings.

You didn't mention it you are still doing daily water changes, if you were I would definitely say stick with what you have because you would be artificially lowering the pollutants and not the filter.

What is you percentage stock level compared to the community calculator? I think that this would be a help in deciding if the Ammonia input (in poop) is starting to be dealt with in any sort of volume by the filter or if the load is very small and it is still just building up without much being processed.

My first thought was to wait until at least the weekend. Not done anymore water changes since ammonia surge. Stocking level is 17% according to calculator, if I have worked it right. I have 105 litres of water which equates to 105cm of fish and I have a maximum of 18cm (4 harlequin rasboras).
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on February 28, 2017, 07:59:24 PM
It is always a good idea to wait till you've had zero readings for a week - without needing water changes - before getting more fish.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 28, 2017, 08:15:02 PM
But how zero should the readings be? Absolute or can they be slightly above?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on February 28, 2017, 08:19:32 PM
The ammonia tester never looks zero for some people; the way our eyes work vary from person to person and some never see that yellow zero colour.
But if the calculator/tables show that your free ammonia is lesss than 0.02 you can count that as zero.

Nitrite needs to be that sky blue colour to count as zero, without even a hint of purple.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 28, 2017, 08:48:15 PM
Hi Sue

Is free ammonia the NH3 part?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on February 28, 2017, 09:04:25 PM
Yes, sorry I should have made that clear.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Andy The Minion on February 28, 2017, 09:21:32 PM
@barneyadi Remember you are seeing levels that the colour charts can't display, the Ammonia and Nitrite charts start reading at 0.25ppm. So most people will only know they are a shade of yellow on the Ammonia scale and refer to this as zero. I think you should be able to read down to 0.05ppm ish with your kit if you are squeaky clean with your test kit method. This isn't zero but nor is it a problem, it's just your better resolution makes it visible to you.
Yes the free part is NH3 and 0.02ppm is the upper limit, I am sure you will get it well below this once the cycle is complete and you are in a good maintenance mode. This NH3 limit will translate to a higher NH3 NH4 limit that is determined by your tanks temp and pH. You know this calculation because you have done it before. The API test is reading NH3 NH4 so your 0.1ppm is not damaging the fish.
Stay on track, you are getting there :)
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 28, 2017, 09:35:21 PM
Ok, so from a NH3 level, the last 3 days have been 0.0038, 0.0047 and 0.0024, after calculation, so I could class them as 0 so I have had ammonia and nitrites at 0 for 3 days. Is that correct?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Andy The Minion on February 28, 2017, 09:51:21 PM
@barneyadi You could view it that way, I would be inclined see this as a partially cycled tank that is looking after the occupants of a fish-in cycle. The danger will be to get complacent and throw fish at it and have a series of unfortunate events in two or three weeks time.
If you can stay patient and let nature take its course :)
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on February 28, 2017, 10:25:04 PM
Ok I think this is where I get confused. As I understand it if ammonia and nitrite stays at 0 for 7 days with no water changes then the tank is cycled? Is this the right way to think about it?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Andy The Minion on February 28, 2017, 11:28:45 PM
Well, as with all things natural - sort of. ONCE you have established a full community of bacteria, both the ones that process Ammonia into Nitrites and the ones that process Nitrites into Nitrates ....and you have Ammonia and Nitrites at 'zero' for 7 days with a source of Ammonia still being fed into the tank (from the fish) THEN you have a cycled filter.
What we need to be sure is that you have the bacteria and not just clean water, so this where the term cycle comes from. We expect to see a rise in Ammonia, then a fall as it is processed followed by a rise in Nitrites again followed by a fall ending up with Nitrates Only then can you say there must have been bacteria doing the processing and you have a Biofilter and not just a tank of clean water.
The water changes and limits complicate this process but they are needed to keep the fish alive.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 01, 2017, 09:28:34 AM
And after 7 days of zero readings, with no water changes being done, it means the tank is cycled for the amount of fish currently in the tank. It does not mean the tank is cycled for a tankful of fish as it would be with fishless cycling. This is why more fish should be added slowly.


Say you added the same amount of fish as you have at the moment. You'd have twice as many fish as you have now and they'd make twice as much ammonia as the fish you have now. But you'd have only enough bacteria to eat the ammonia made by the first batch of fish; you'd have to grow a lot more bacteria to eat the ammonia made by the new fish. You'd end up having to do water changes again while the bacteria grew.

The rule of thumb is that it is safe to add new fish that are  equal to a third of the fish already in the tank. The bacteria can grow enough bacteria for the new third quickly enough that ammonia and/or nitrite won't build up, and if they do appear it won't last long.
With 4 fish it is tricky to add a third of that number (one and a third fish) so the most I would add would be 2 new fish. You'd then have 6 fish. Then test the water again and when you've had zeros for a week, add more fish. A third of 6 fish is 2 fish, so you could add 2 more fish, making 8. Then test the water and when you have double zeros for a week, add 3 more fish, making 11. Then when you've had double zeros for a week, you can add 4 new fish, making 15 in total. A third of 15 is 5 so the next addition could be 5 fish. And so on till you have all your fish.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 01, 2017, 09:58:18 AM
Thanks Sue and Andy

So as I understand things I have had 3 days of 0 ammonia and nitrite. If I have another 4 days of zero readings then you are saying that my tank is cycled enough for the 4 fish I have. Is that correct?

If it is then I plan to add 2 more Harlequins and then wait till ammonia and nitrites have been zero for 7 days, and then add another 2.

What about water changes, should I do any and if so when?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 01, 2017, 10:07:09 AM
That's right.

Water changes - do them if you see ammonia and/or nitrite; and if you don't see any, once a week. Wth only a few fish you won't need to do a large weekly water change but you'll need to increase the amount changed as you get more fish till you are doing 30 to 40% once the tank is fully stocked.
Remember you have soft water with low KH so you'll need to do bigger water changes than most people just to keep the KH topped up. I have low KH too and with an overstocked tank I find that 40% a week is fine.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 01, 2017, 12:14:41 PM
perfect. So checked today and ammonia and nitrate both 0.05 and nitrate 4.18. So that makes 4 days of zero readings.

Re water changes, when I get to day 7, should I do small water change then before adding new fish?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 01, 2017, 12:23:21 PM
Re water changes, when I get to day 7, should I do small water change then before adding new fish?

That would be the logical time to do a water change. The fish already there will have settled in and you won't stress new fish by doing a water change shortly after they are put in the tank and haven't settled in yet.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 01, 2017, 03:58:27 PM
ok, so plan is if ammonia and nitrites stay at zero, will do 20% water change on Saturday or Sunday, and then add the 2 fish the following day. Does that sound like a plan?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 01, 2017, 04:01:52 PM
That sounds good.
You could add fish later the same day if the timing is convenient for you.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 01, 2017, 07:18:59 PM
Can anyone suggest a similar fish to a Marble Hatchetfish as my LFS doesn't seem to have them. Other fish that will be in tank will be Harlequins, Panda Corys, Neon Tertras and a bolivian ram. Would also consider another fish similar to neons and harlequins.
I understand you can get fish by post, but would rather get from LFS if possible.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 01, 2017, 07:35:41 PM
I assume you want a shoaling fish that lives at the top of the water column like hatchet fish?

While they don't swim as high up as hatchetfish, how about golden/beckford's pencilfish Nannostomus beckfordi? Profiles here http://www.seriouslyfish.com/species/nannostomus-beckfordi/ and here http://www.thinkfish.co.uk/fish/golden-pencilfish.html They are about the same size as hatchetfish and pencilfish have an unusual way of hovering in the water which makes them an interesting addition to a tank.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 01, 2017, 09:34:02 PM
How accurate is the community creator? I only ask as having 8 each of Harlequins, Pencilfish, Neon Tetra and Panda Corys gives me 99% stock level for 105 litre tank. When I use volume calculator it tells me 146 litres, which is not correct.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 01, 2017, 09:42:49 PM
To be honest it's a bit on the generous side. I prefer to stock to 80% of what it says I can have.

Since smaller fish tend to do better in shoals bigger than 6, your answer might be to have just 3 species rather than 4.

For instance,if you want fish that all come from the same part of the world, drop the Asian harlequins and get the south American neons, pencilfish and cories.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 01, 2017, 09:48:01 PM
Well I already have some harlequins, if I drop the pencilfish, I can have 9 each of harlequins, panda corys and neon (or Cardinal) tetra and a bolivian ram makes 81%.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Matt on March 01, 2017, 10:16:02 PM
Bolivian Rams are pair forming... what stocking percentage would you be on with 2? Could you drop 1 of each of the others to make it work?  You'll get better more natural colouration and behaviour with a pair.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 01, 2017, 10:28:37 PM
Bolivian Rams are pair forming... what stocking percentage would you be on with 2? Could you drop 1 of each of the others to make it work?  You'll get better more natural colouration and behaviour with a pair.

Not got calculator open but that could work.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 02, 2017, 09:49:48 AM
You need to be careful with getting a pair of rams, of either species - Bolivian or German/blue/gold/neon blue etc. These fish like to choose their own mate and getting any male and any female can end in a blood bath. And with Bolivian rams it is almost impossible to sex the juveniles in a shop tank. I know, been there, done that.

Several years ago I had a Rio 125 and knew nothing about rams neeeding to chose their own mates. I bought what I hoped was a pair of Bolivian rams which turned out to be 2 males. I was lucky because they did not behave as usual and they tolerated each other with only a small amount of bickering. Until the day I found a shop which had some adult Bolivian rams with their breeding tubes visible and I was able to chose 2 females. Once the males had something to fight over, they did and I had to remove one of the males to my quarantine tank within hours. The remaining male paired up with one of the females, and they both attacked the second female. Luckily the shop bought back the spare rams.

If you definitely want rams watch the shop tank quietly for some time. Once they get used to you standing there they'll go back to their not-being-watched behaviour. Some of the fish will chase other fish away. Those are males. Some of the males might allow one other fish near - these are females that the male likes and are most likely to pair up with. Buy one of the males that allows another fish near, and the fish he allows near. I would take someone with you to go for an assistant while you keep an eye on your chosen fish.



Or get apistogrammas instead. A 1 male 2 female trio is do-able in a Rio 125 - I've done that too. The most common apistos in shops are cacatuoides (cockatoo cichlid) and agassizi, both in a few colour variations.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 02, 2017, 12:24:46 PM
Hi Sue

I think I will just go with the 3 types, Harlequins, Panda Corys and either Neon or Cardinal tetras. Seems by the stocking guide I can have 9 or 10 of each, although will do some research to see if one kind can have a little less and the other two a little more.  Readings still zero so looking good.

Keep forgetting to ask, my tank temperature when lights off is 25.5c but with lights on can reach 26.5c. is this ok or should I drop temp slightly?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 02, 2017, 02:01:09 PM
Looking on Fishbase (http://www.fishbase.org/search.php) (the site written for scientists) the temp ranges of the fish on your list are:
harlequins - 22 to 25oC
panda cories - 20 to 25
cardinal tetras - 23 to 27
neon tetras - 20 to 26

Neons would be a better match for panda cories and harlquins with a temp 23 deg C.
The 1 deg rise when the lights are on won't do any harm but I would turn the heater down to get 23 with the lights off and 24 with them on, or even 22 with lights off and 23 with them on.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 02, 2017, 08:01:23 PM
will aim for 23c. My heater isn't very accurate so might take a few days to get down to 23.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 02, 2017, 09:08:08 PM
Most heaters are badly calibrated. The way to get it down is to turn the heater knob down a bit then wait to see what the temp settles at, and repeat until you get the temp you want. Slowly is better for the fish, and doing it a tiny bit at a time means you won't overshoot by turning it down too much at once.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 03, 2017, 12:07:12 PM
Quick question, ammonia and nitrites still zero. Is it right that my nitrates are staying steady around 4ppm?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 03, 2017, 02:27:49 PM
Your nitrates should be going up as ammonia is turned into nitrite which is turned into nitrate, and we don't grow bacteria to eat nitrate so it just stays there till we do a water change.

How are you testing nitrate, with a liquid reagent tester?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 03, 2017, 02:32:34 PM
Yes, using API kit to test nitrates, shaking bottles well. Could anything be stopping them going up?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 03, 2017, 02:36:35 PM
It could just be because the nitrate tester is the least accurate and you are dealing with only small amounts of ammonia and nitrite. I wouldn't worry at the moment as long as your ammonia and nitrite readings are OK.

I don't even have a nitrate tester at the moment, just ammonia nitrite and pH.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Matt on March 03, 2017, 06:45:49 PM
Do you have any live plants in the tank?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 04, 2017, 09:15:15 AM
Do you have any live plants in the tank?

Hi Matt

No I don't. Maybe only having 4 fish is the reason.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 04, 2017, 12:48:21 PM
Day 7 and ammonia and nitrites still zero. Will do a 20% water change today and then get 2 more Harlequins tomorrow as the LFS is busy on Saturdays.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Littlefish on March 04, 2017, 01:06:12 PM
 Hooray :cheers:
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 06, 2017, 02:16:32 PM
So added the 2 new fish yesterday. Checked ammonia today and is 0.1, nitrites 0 and nitrates 3.85ppm. Fish seem really happy except one who seems to be billy no mates as he seems happy on his own. Bit worried I might not be feeding enough as they ate all the food this morning very quickly. Using micro pellets, 3 per fish twice a day, is that enough?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Littlefish on March 06, 2017, 02:33:35 PM
Congratulations on your new additions.  ;D
I'd have thought that you were feeding them enough. Most fish are quite active feeders, don't let them fool you into over feeding, eve when they look cute and rush to the front of the tank whenever you are near.  ;)
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 06, 2017, 04:49:27 PM
Do you think I can consider todays 0.1ppm reading for ammonia as first day of zero?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 06, 2017, 04:53:00 PM
If it has dropped tomorrow, then yes, start counting today as zero. 0.1 is so small it won't make much difference  provided it does drop and not increase.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 07, 2017, 09:19:59 AM
 :( Looks like I might have lost one of the fish this morning. Can't find billy no mates. Will have to go fishing and try and find him as I understand if he has died his body could add to ammonia. Is that right?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 07, 2017, 09:47:03 AM
If the body decpmoses, it will add to the ammonia. But the chances are that the remaining ones have eaten most of it, assuming it has died. You still need to look for it though, and bear in mind that a sick fish can hide to avoid being picked on by the healthy fish. You need to check behind/inside all the decor.

It is unfortunately not unknown for fish to die shortly after purchase. Breeding paractices can result in weak fish and they have been through a stressful time on their journey from the breeder to your tank.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 07, 2017, 10:03:52 AM
Hi Sue

Yes found him. He was the fish that didn't swim with the others. Other 5 all seem healthy although going to do my tests in a little while to make sure water is ok just in case. Do you think maybe a dose of Seachem Prime is a good idea, just to cover things?

Tests are 0.02 ammonia, 0.05 nitrites and 3.33 nitrates. So water seems perfect.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 07, 2017, 11:29:50 AM
Only add chemicals to the tank if absolutely necessary, not as a precaution. Everything we put in there gets absorbed by the fish, including dechlorinators. The less we add the better.

Your results look fine, I would not add any more Prime unless they deteriorate.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Littlefish on March 07, 2017, 02:06:31 PM
Sorry to hear about Billy.
As Sue said, it's not uncommon.
Best of luck with your remaining fish.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Paddyc on March 07, 2017, 07:48:42 PM
Sorry to hear of your loss  :(

Regarding tetras, can I stick my tuppence in and recommend Cardinals? I have found the "stowaway" cardinals I got amongst my neons to be that bit more hardy and rewarding to look at, the blue is more vibrant in my opinion.

My neon tetras are struggling with neon tetra disease as well which I control with esha 2000. It only tends to appear when more time passes without a water change. This happened this week as I broke my foot and was unable to do it. Poor wee neons looking a bit poorly but I'm mid-dose now and I have every faith they'll be ok. 80 litres changed yesterday as well...
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 08, 2017, 10:22:38 AM
Hi Paddy

I think the reason for neons is they have the same temperature as other fish I am thinking of getting.

Sue, as I have lost 1 fish I have technically only added 1 fish. My figures have been zero for 3 days, do you think it might be ok to add another 2 fish earlier than 7 days or should I wait?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: fcmf on March 08, 2017, 01:29:32 PM
You've carefully thought through all the issues, compatibility, etc, above, so I agree that neons are the best option in this case. [Sorry to read about Billy, though.] Personally, I think you'd be better to wait until the 7 days before adding another couple of fish but I prefer to err on the side of caution so that I don't regret it if anything goes awry.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 08, 2017, 02:57:50 PM
You've carefully thought through all the issues, compatibility, etc, above, so I agree that neons are the best option in this case. [Sorry to read about Billy, though.] Personally, I think you'd be better to wait until the 7 days before adding another couple of fish but I prefer to err on the side of caution so that I don't regret it if anything goes awry.

I wonder if there is any other shoaling fish like a neon which might be better. Any ideas anyone?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 08, 2017, 05:23:08 PM
There are lots of shoaling fish that would be OK, virtually all south American tetras (except the biggest ones) and a lot of fish from Asia (and you already have harlequins from there). It depends to a large extent on which colour you want; and what other fish you decide on. For example, if you want gouramis you need to avoid nippy species.

Will you be going to get another couple of harlequins next? I would have a good look at what else they sell and make a note of the fish you like. Then look them up on Seriously Fish. The fish in shops are juveniles or even babies and you need to know how big they end up before buying anything and whether they will suit your soft water.
And have a look through the fish profiles on here see if you like the looks of any particular fish.

For very soft water I like pencilfish, the golden/beckfords (Nannostomus beckfordi) being the mnost common in shops, but they may not be enough contrast with the harlequins.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Matt on March 08, 2017, 06:17:28 PM
I've heard pencilfish have a slightly different swimming style/behaviours, can anyone comment on This?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 08, 2017, 06:41:50 PM
Yes they do. They sort of hover in the water between bouts of actual swimming.

Pencilfish are also susceptible to certain meds. API deny it but they are sensitive to either Melafix or Pimafix or a combibation of the two. I can't say which it is from personal experience.
Several years ago I had beckford's (golden) pecilfish in the same tank as an iffy honey gourami. I had no idea what was causing the problem with the gourami so I added both Melafix and Pimafix - both supposedly safe natural products - and went to watch Countdown. That programme is 45 mins and in the length of time, almost all the pencilfish were dead. The one that wasn't was thrashing around when I got to the tank and died a few minutes later.
I don't know which one caused the problem or if it was the combination.

Something to be aware of.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: fcmf on March 08, 2017, 06:52:35 PM
I've heard pencilfish have a slightly different swimming style/behaviours, can anyone comment on This?
Yep, Sue's quote earlier in the thread:
...how about golden/beckford's pencilfish Nannostomus beckfordi? They are about the same size as hatchetfish and pencilfish have an unusual way of hovering in the water which makes them an interesting addition to a tank.
:rotfl:
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: fcmf on March 08, 2017, 07:03:03 PM
Just re-reading your earlier posts and see you were keen on marbled hatchetfish. Have you asked your LFS if they're likely to be getting any in stock, in the foreseeable future? Some LFSs are happy to add them to the next order list. If not, then sparkling gourami might be another option for higher up in the tank.

If you're not that fussed about fish higher up in the water column, and want an alternative to the neon tetras, how about rummynose tetras? Their colouring would complement the cherry barbs and harlequin rasboras ie pinks and purples.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Littlefish on March 08, 2017, 07:15:54 PM
I have silver hatchets and I'm very fond of them. I like the body shape and they are so cute face on (basically a thin line with big eyes at the top).  ;D
I would recommend hatchets if you are looking for a surface dweller, I would certainly consider having marbled hatchets in another tank.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 08, 2017, 07:30:07 PM
I could ask my LFS about marble hatchetfish but as I would only get 2 or 3 at a time don't want to be a bother if you know what I mean. Cherry Barbs are a possible, at moment having Harlequins and Panda Corys. Only reason for looking at different fish to neons is the health issue someone mentioned. I looked at rummynose tetras but the temperature range might not fit other fish.

Plan is to get 4 more harlequins, to make a total of 9, then to get the Corys or whichever other fish to get, getting 3 or 4 at a time.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 08, 2017, 07:34:02 PM
Because you still have a while to go before you are ready to get something besides more harlies, the best thing to do is some fish window shopping. See what is available from every shop in your area. Saturday is a good time to do this as the shop will be full and you can browse the tanks without being pressurised into buying  :)
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 08, 2017, 07:39:42 PM
Only have 2 shops, a Pets at Home and one in a garden centre, where I have got my harlequins from. Not sure about pets at home, they look ok and I even noticed signs on all the tanks saying fish resting as they had just been delivered, which sounds a decent thing to do.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 08, 2017, 07:44:26 PM
Pets at Home are very variable. How good any shop is depends on the individual manager. Some shops are awful, some are excellent with the rest being somewhere in between. The only way to find out is to look, and see what you think, or talk to other fishkeepers. My nearest, for example, isn't too bad but has a very small range of fish to choose from.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: fcmf on March 08, 2017, 07:53:28 PM
I visited both those stores 18 months ago and thought both were good, with the PAH one being one of the better/best ones I've been in and the garden centre one very good too (and peace to browse around).

There'd be no harm in asking about whether fish are likely to be in stock - they may even offer to get them in. What generally happens is that they get in a batch (not just the 2-3 for you), knowing that you'll buy a few but that others will buy the rest in due course.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 08, 2017, 08:17:21 PM
I visited both those stores 18 months ago and thought both were good, with the PAH one being one of the better/best ones I've been in and the garden centre one very good too (and peace to browse around).

There'd be no harm in asking about whether fish are likely to be in stock - they may even offer to get them in. What generally happens is that they get in a batch (not just the 2-3 for you), knowing that you'll buy a few but that others will buy the rest in due course.

That's interesting to know. I was in the PAH just after Christmas and two or three different people wanted fish and the staff asked all the right questions about tank and if it was cycled. Two went away with no fish, told to come back in a few days when things were further along.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 09, 2017, 12:12:22 PM
Tests still showing zero for ammonia and nitrite, nitrite up very slightly to 4ppm. So hopefully 2 more additions at weekend.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Littlefish on March 09, 2017, 12:22:11 PM
That's great news. Congratulations.  :cheers:
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Andy The Minion on March 09, 2017, 07:57:39 PM
@barneyadi Good news providing the 4ppm Nitrite was a typo and its Nitrate :)
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Littlefish on March 09, 2017, 08:08:18 PM
I'm assuming it is nitrate.  :)
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 09, 2017, 09:22:02 PM
Sorry, yes nitrate was 4ppm.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Littlefish on March 09, 2017, 09:44:36 PM
I thought we'd have detected a hint of panic if you'd had a nitrite result of 4ppm.  ;D
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 12, 2017, 02:08:49 PM
Added 2 more fish today but slightly worried about one of the others who is hiding today, same as Billy no mates did last week. Fingers crossed.

Had a look at pets at home and wondering what peoples view is on following fish.

Black Phantom
Golden Barb
Red Honey Gourami

The barb seems to like a low temperature (16-24) so might not be right but interested what everyone else thinks?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 12, 2017, 05:02:55 PM
Also sad to report one fish i was worried about. :-[
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 12, 2017, 05:07:15 PM
Was the 'iffy' fish from the same batch as the first one to die? If yes, it could be a less than perfect batch of fish.


Black phantoms would be OK with the harlequins, but I would be wary of keeping them with gouramis as they might nip their 'feelers' (ie modified pectoral fins). Seriously fish recommends 8 to 10 minimum.
Gold barbs need it a bit cooler that the other fish you've been thinking about.
Red honey gourami - fine. But they are very hard to sex and you'd need 1 male, and at least one female, preferably two. With the red colour you have to go by fin shape alone, which is not a guaranteed method. Looking at the the fin along the back and the one along the underside, those will have more pointed ends in males and more rounded ends in females. The problem is that if the fish in the shop are very young, the males won't yet have grown the pointiness.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 12, 2017, 05:24:20 PM
Not sure about iffy fish but might have been. So down to 6. Fish do seem to chase and nudge each other, could this be causing a problem, and if so anything i can do about it?

Possibly black phantoms with the Harlequins and Cory's. Is it just neon tetras that have a slight health issue or is it all of them. Saw some Rummynose and red-eye ( i think) and other tetra types.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 12, 2017, 05:37:48 PM
The chasing and nudging is normal. It could be males vying for potition or males trying to get females to spawn.

Neon tetras have 2 problems.
They do not do well in new tanks. It has been suggested that this is due to the lack of some micro-organism other than the filter bacetria and that these mirco-organisms perform some function, or remove or make something that is necessary for neons to do well. They are also farmed in vast numbers, and conditions at a lot of farms leave a lot to be desired, eg the continual use of antibiotics to keep the fish disease free - then when they are moved on, the anitobiotics stop and the fish come down with everything they are exposed to.
Then there's neon tetra disease, which is incurable. I know neons can get this but I'm not sure if other sepcies can. The closley related cardinal and green neon tetras probably do - all three are in the genus Paracheirodon.

Rummies do have a reputation for needing mature tanks but as I've never kept them I can't say from personal experience. But I don't think they get neon tetra disease.

Red eyes will be OK as they shouldn't get ntd, but they are a fast swimming nippy species so tank mates have to be chosen with care.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Littlefish on March 12, 2017, 05:39:38 PM
Sorry to hear that you've had another casualty.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 13, 2017, 12:20:44 PM
All seems ok with remaining 6. One didn't feed this morning but is lively so hopefully is ok. Ammonia and Nitrite both zero, makes me wonder if I might get more fish a little sooner than 7 days. I know it's ideally not the right thing but having lost two I feel I am a week behind. But will have a think.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 13, 2017, 12:26:53 PM
With only 6 fish in the tank I will relent and say as long as you've had both at zero for 4 days, get more fish. But as you add more fish in less than 7 days, I suggest testing twice a day as near 12 hours apart as your lifestyle permits - just to be on the safe side.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 13, 2017, 02:48:58 PM
Do you think if I added 3 more harlequins on Thursday or Friday, then check every 12 hours for a few days I would be ok. Would switch back to 7 days after this, thinking was with results always zero I was missing opportunity to add fish?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 13, 2017, 03:14:38 PM
The 'wait 7 days' is to make sure that the tank really can handle the last addition of fish, but it is probably overkill. The trouble with a lot of new starters is that they go mad addding a whole lot of fish too quickly to an uncycled tank, so trying to slow them down is the important thing.

In your case you may well have enough bacteria after the weeks you spent trying to fishless cycle it, it's just that we couldn't be sure because of the lack of nitrite. So yes, as long as you keep a close check on ammonia and nitrite after each addition you can probably safely add fish quicker than every 7 days. If you do ever see ammonia and/or nitrite showing up, do water changes till they stay at zero by themselves and take it slower from that point.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 13, 2017, 06:09:01 PM
Slightly worried about 1 of the new fish, he hasn't eaten today that i can tell. I read somewhere sometimes new fish don't eat for the first day or so, is that correct?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 13, 2017, 06:42:49 PM
It's not that they don't eat, a lot of people advise not to feeding fish on the day they go into a tank. They advise keeping the lights off til the following day and not doing anything to disturb the new fish, including giving them food.

A fish might not eat when just put into a tank for 2 reasons. It might be very stressed by what has happened to it. Not just being put in your tank but the whole experience since it left the fish farm. This individual might have had more than its fair share of being chased by a net in the shop, for example. And secondly, some fish don't recognise that the food the fishkeeper gives them is food if the shop fed something different. Admittedly this is more likely to happen with fish like bettas, but it could be the problem here.

Keep an eye on it.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: fcmf on March 13, 2017, 07:05:17 PM
I don't want to give false reassurance but, if this helps:
* when I first got my x-ray tetras, one had a tendency to be on his own and spend most of the time staring at his own reflection, being a loner and not eating - at some stage down the line, this all changed
* when I first got my harlequin rasboras, one started spending a lot of its time away from the shoal and never ate much; this situation is still the same, with two harlequins being significantly smaller than the other four, but they're still fine 22 months down the line

I got rid of all "cave-like" decor, so that no-one had an excuse to stay completely hidden away from the others for any prolonged length of time - I think this has probably helped the situation.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 13, 2017, 08:07:55 PM
I don't want to give false reassurance but, if this helps:
* when I first got my x-ray tetras, one had a tendency to be on his own and spend most of the time staring at his own reflection, being a loner and not eating - at some stage down the line, this all changed
* when I first got my harlequin rasboras, one started spending a lot of its time away from the shoal and never ate much; this situation is still the same, with two harlequins being significantly smaller than the other four, but they're still fine 22 months down the line

I got rid of all "cave-like" decor, so that no-one had an excuse to stay completely hidden away from the others for any prolonged length of time - I think this has probably helped the situation.

My only worry is the other 2 who have died showed similar tendencies. Funnily the one tonight was right at bottom of tank, but then 10 minutes later he was swimming with others, but then later on he was hiding on his own.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 13, 2017, 09:15:25 PM
Sadly it seems I might be loosing another rasbora. He seemed dead at bottom of tank but did move very slightly but don't think he will last. Am I missing something? Would something like Seachem stability help? Or is it just due to where they come from? So now back to 5. Water tests still all ok. I suppose I could get more fish but just want to make sure there is no underlying problem I am missing.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 13, 2017, 09:32:25 PM
Have you been getting the harlequins from the same shop? If you have, I suggest you try somewhere else. It might not be the shop itself but the wholesaler who sent them a batch of sickly fish. A different shop (not just a different branch of the same chain) will most likely have a different wholesaler.

Or try getting a different species.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 13, 2017, 09:36:35 PM
Have you been getting the harlequins from the same shop? If you have, I suggest you try somewhere else. It might not be the shop itself but the wholesaler who sent them a batch of sickly fish. A different shop (not just a different branch of the same chain) will most likely have a different wholesaler.

Or try getting a different species.

I seem to have lost two from one shop and one from the other shop. I know Cory's are in my list, could get 3 of them and see how we go. or 3 more harlequins.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: fcmf on March 13, 2017, 09:45:45 PM
Sorry to read about this.

I wouldn't opt for cories yet - they tend to fare better in more mature tanks, say 9+ months down the line once a biofilm has developed. (In fact, that's one of numerous theories I have for why mine didn't fare well.) So perhaps a different species altogether is a better option.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 13, 2017, 10:03:55 PM
Ok that's a shame, Cory's and Harlequins were on my most wanted list. Black Phantoms a possible but will go to other shop tomorrow and see what they have, research and then buy some more fish tomorrow as loosing 2 in 2 days has taken me back to 5. Fingers crossed for no more losses.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Littlefish on March 14, 2017, 07:45:53 AM
Keeping fingers crossed for you and your fish.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 14, 2017, 10:58:26 AM
Just been to fish shop to get my pH checked and they confirmed it is 7.6 which the shop said is high. Now according to seriously fish Harlequins ideal pH is 5.0 to 7.5. Could this be causing my losses at all? Got a list of fish to look at so will be back.

Also looked at think fish profiles as says pH for Harlequins is up to 8 but fishbase says upto 7? Which is more accurate, here, fishbase or seriously fish?

Saw a fish in shop called a gold nugget tetra but can't find any info on it, does anyone know if it has another name?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 14, 2017, 02:46:31 PM
I attach a spreadsheet of fish i have looked up on all three databases and as you can see some of the details differ, which is quite confusing. Which is the best site to believe? With my PH 7.6, should i be looking for fish that ph range goes to 8? Any help much appreciated.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 14, 2017, 03:41:13 PM
Of the three, Fishbase is intended for scientists so that is the most accurate. Seriously Fish is updated as new information comes along. Thinkfish database was written before 2006* and has not been updated since then.

However, hardness is more important than pH. As long as the fish is within the recommended GH range, a pH outside the quoted range is acceptable.


*
[A brief bit of history - I registered with Thinkfish in 2006 and all the fish profiles were here then (except pygmy cory which was written last year). Early 2012 the owner was given a week's notice to leave by the host, and the owner had only time to salvage the databases. The forum returned on a new host in autumn 2012, which is why it looks as though the site has only been in existence for 4 and a half years.]
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 14, 2017, 03:53:06 PM
Of the three, Fishbase is intended for scientists so that is the most accurate. Seriously Fish is updated as new information comes along. Thinkfish database was written before 2006* and has not been updated since then.

However, hardness is more important than pH. As long as the fish is within the recommended GH range, a pH outside the quoted range is acceptable.


*
[A brief bit of history - I registered with Thinkfish in 2006 and all the fish profiles were here then (except pygmy cory which was written last year). Early 2012 the owner was given a week's notice to leave by the host, and the owner had only time to salvage the databases. The forum returned on a new host in autumn 2012, which is why it looks as though the site has only been in existence for 4 and a half years.]

Ok, so my GH is 7 so nearly everything on the list would work. Temperature wise i am around 23/24 so the bleeding heart, red eye, orange flame and black widow tetra would work as well as the Tiger and Cherry Barb. Does that sound right?

Also i have a lighting question. My tank came with 2 x 28w lights, is that too bright as i read some fish prefer dim light?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 14, 2017, 04:15:59 PM
All those fish would be OK water wise, you'd just need to match their temperaments. For example, tank mates for tiger barbs need to be chosen with care as they can be very nippy.



Are the lights T5 or T8? If you don't know, measure across the tube. T8s are 1 inch across ( 8/8) and T5s are 5/8 inch. T8s won't be too bright, T5s could well be.

You can't remove a tube if they work the same as the T8s in my old Rio 125 as the lights wouldn't work unless both tubes were in place and functional (if one broke, neither worked)
The answer is to get floating plants. I have one of the species of water sprite in my tank - Ceratopteris cornuta, the other more common one is Ceratopteris thalicroides - and that's now almost covered the surface of the tank. My hengel's rasboras come out a lot more now that the light has been dimmed almost everywhere by the plants.
Others to look at are -
Amazon frogbit, Limnobium laevigatum
Water lettuce, Pistia stratiotes
Red root floater, Phyllantus fluitans
Any of the Salvinias
And even duckweed.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 14, 2017, 04:26:19 PM
Hi Sue

The lights are T5. It seems they are sold singularly so maybe i could remove one. Do you know if there are any artificial floating plants? Just rest of my planting is artificial.

I have read about the barbs but it mentions longer finned fish. Would tetras fit into the small fin pile? Or i could get maybe orange flame tetras and red eye tetras, that might work. Supposedly the red eye's are quite hardy.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 14, 2017, 04:33:53 PM
In my experience, harlequins are quite sedate, slow swimming fish and fast swimmers could intimidate them.
It's just that I've read so many tales of problems with tiger barbs that I wouldn't risk any in my tanks.


With my Rio 125, it was the ballast that meant two tubes had to be used. If one was missing or broken the other didn't work either. You could try removing one and see what happens - but you'd have to do something with the open sockets or water would get in.


You can get plastic duckweed and water lilies on Ebay. If you could attach a sucker to any long stemmed plastic/silk plant and stick it to the tank wall just under the water surface, that should work.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 14, 2017, 04:46:04 PM
Ok, might stick to Tetras then, although will have a read up on cherry barbs but i think they can nip too.

I contacted Juwel and you cant remove a bulb, they suggested changing a bulb for a coloured one.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 14, 2017, 04:58:07 PM
I've had cherry barbs, both red and albino, and they didn't attempt to nip the other fish. But I did have 6 of each colour making a total of 12.


You can often get pinkish fluorescent tubes, if that's what Juwel mean.
When Juwel first introduced T5s they used a slightly different length from other makes to tie the customer in to buying only Juwel tubes. Then Arcadia brought out Juwel-compatible tubes. If you go looking for tubes, I suggest you accurately neasure the tubes you have (to the nearest fraction of a mm), both from flat end cap to flat end cap and pin tip to pin tip and take the same tape measure with you to measure the tubes in the shops. There's nothing worse than getting home and finding the new one won't fit then having to take it back.

Edit: just googled Juwel compatible T5 tubes and it seems that iquatics now make them. Arcadia call their Juwel compatibles J5s.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 14, 2017, 07:08:22 PM
Ok, getting my list down to the following:-

Bleeding Heart Tetra, Red Eye Tetra and Cherry Barbs are between 50mm and 70mm, whilst the Orange Flame Tetra and Black Neon Tetra are between 20mm and 35mm. Would the larger fish pick on the smaller ones or would they all get on?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 14, 2017, 07:19:57 PM
They should all get on, and with the harlequins you already have. It's when you mix very small fish with much larger ones that you might have trouble as the bigger fish might well try to eat the smaller ones. The classic example of this is angelfish and neon tetras. Neons are the natural food of angels in the wild, but in tanks angels can also try to eat other neon sized fish.

However, a Rio 125 at 82 cm long is pushing it for the bleeding hearts (min tank length 90 cm) and red eye tetra (also 90 cm). The others would be fine. Of the three 'larger' species, cherry barbs only just reach 50 mm which is why they are OK while the other two need a bigger tank.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 14, 2017, 08:15:07 PM
ok, list complete

Harlequin Rasboras
Cherry Barbs
Black Neon Tetra
Orange Flame Tetra or Panda Corys or Black Phantoms

Has anyone heard of Gold Nugget Tetras, saw them in my LFS but no details about them and cant seem to find any online?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Littlefish on March 14, 2017, 08:30:38 PM
All lovely fish.
I only have black neon tetras (new, in quarantine tank), and panda corys (in with betta).
I can't give any sensible advice because my response is always "get a bigger tank and have them all".  ::)
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 14, 2017, 09:20:21 PM
The problem with common fish names is that quite often the shop, or the wholesaler make up a name. Next time you are in the shop, ask if the ir wholesaler's list gives a latin name for gold nugget tetra. It is possible it is a man-made colour morph of something quite common - man-made by selective breeding.
If they haven't got a latin name, ask if you can take a photo of the fish (or sneak a photo when they aren't looking) and see if we can work out what they are.

I've only ever heard of gold nugget plecs, but I don't think a shop/wholesaler could possibly confuse tetras with plecs......



Hmmm, google images has a fish with the text 'the latest gold nugget' which is a xanthistic (yellow) emperor tetra. Its the second photo in the third row on here http://www.imgrum.org/user/aquariumglaser/2064654955/1267845910928126806_2064654955
Or maybe they are golden tetras http://www.seriouslyfish.com/species/hemigrammus-rodwayi/ ?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 15, 2017, 11:14:27 AM
Been to LFS this morning and asked about the gold nugget tetras. Guy said his manager has known them by that name for years but he knows them more as platinum tetras. I couldn't take a pic as they had just had a large fish delivery. Of course i was going to buy some fish today but will have to wait till tomorrow.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 15, 2017, 11:44:19 AM
This is where the common name problems strike again  ;D

According to google, they could be Hemigrammus vorderwinkleri, or H. rodwayi or H. armstrongi.

Hemmigrammus rodwayi http://www.seriouslyfish.com/species/hemigrammus-rodwayi/
Hemigrammus vorderwinkleri http://www.seriouslyfish.com/species/hemigrammus-vorderwinkleri/ (but no photos)
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 15, 2017, 12:30:30 PM
I did a search for platinum tetra but no info but saw a post on another forum mentioning the two types you mentioned. So think i will look at them and work from there.
Ordered some plastic water lillys today to help dull lighting. 4 of my rasbora don't bother about the bright light but the other one is more active with no lights on.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 15, 2017, 03:59:43 PM
One thing I have noticed is I have kept the lights off and all the fish seem happy, swimming around etc. When I put the light one hides and doesn't look great, while the other four zoom round the tank.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 15, 2017, 05:15:24 PM
Some fish prefer dimmer lights - that's the reason for floating plants  :)

Of my fish, the hengels rasboras - a related species to harlequins - used to stay in the corner when the lights were on, until the floating plants have finally spread till they cover 75% of the surface and now they are out and about with the lights on. None of the other fish were bothered by bright light.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 16, 2017, 03:04:49 PM
Ok, I know I have been naughty. Been out today and brought some more fish. Brought 3 Cherry Barbs and 3 Harlequins. I know it is a little many but thinking tank was handling 7 so these take me to 11. But will be testing morning and evening for next 2 to 3 days at very least. And can do water changes easily. Have decided to keep lighting to a 3 to 4 hour period until my lillies arrive to provide some shelter. My rasbora who doesn't seem to like the light I noticed looks for shade so think only fair to wait until I can provide more shade before putting lights on for longer.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 16, 2017, 04:27:32 PM
Since you don't have live plants you can have the lights on for as long or as little as you like - but too long and algae will grow.

Try to have the on period at the same time every day. If you haven't already got one, a time switch is very useful.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: fcmf on March 16, 2017, 06:29:35 PM
I can empathise with the rasbora who doesn't like light as my tetras developed an irrational fear of light, resulting in me not having the light on for 18 months until I "bit the bullet" eventually round about the time I decided to try live plants. If it's any consolation, they did eventually get used to it with some perseverance on my part.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 16, 2017, 07:16:33 PM
I can empathise with the rasbora who doesn't like light as my tetras developed an irrational fear of light, resulting in me not having the light on for 18 months until I "bit the bullet" eventually round about the time I decided to try live plants. If it's any consolation, they did eventually get used to it with some perseverance on my part.

He is the only one who seems affected by it, the others, including the new additions, seem happy. The Cherry Barbs I added today are well hidden, but I take it it is due to moving in today.

Checked water just now and all seems ok. Will check in morning and evening for a couple of days though.

One question I have about feeding. The rasboras seem to know when it is food time and hover near top of tank. I am slightly worried any fish further down might not get any food. Any thoughts/ideas?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 16, 2017, 07:26:16 PM
I found that cherry barbs fed from the bottom of the tank as well as food floating in the water. One way to make sure they all get some is to split the food in two. Put one half straight into the tank, this will float and the upper feeders will get most of it. Pu the other half in a small pot of water, leave it for a couple of minutes till it is completely soaked and sinks to the bottom of the tub then pour it all into the tank. Add both lots of food at the same time. The harlequins will be busy trying to catch the floating food while the presoaked food sinks quickly giving the barbs chance to get some.



Empty yoghurt pots, cheesecake tubs etc are useful for all sorts of things, make sure you wash them clean with plenty of water before using them.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 17, 2017, 10:16:48 AM
Lost my light hating rasbora overnight. Other fish seem great, although the barbs are still hiding away.

My ammonia and nitrites are zero, and nitrates at 4ppm. I am wondering if my two failed fishless cycles may be helping keep the ammonia and nitrites at low levels. Do you think that is possible? And should nitrates keep going up as mine seem to stay around 4ppm?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 17, 2017, 02:27:51 PM
It is quite possible you did grow a lot of bacteria, but your results were so odd that we can't say just how many you grew. It looks as though you had enough for at least the number of fish you have now.

Nitrate does go up but you have only a few fish so the filter bacteria don't have much ammonia to turn into nitrate. As you get more fish you should see more nitrate.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 17, 2017, 04:39:27 PM
Thanks Sue

Will keep checking twice a day for a couple of days and if all ok will go back to one test a day.

Got my plastic lillies today and they make quite a difference. Hopefully the Cherry Barbs will feel easier in the tank. I only have 3 at the moment, will get more in a few days but could this be causing their shyness? They seem ok around the Rasboras, but if I am near tank they go and hide.

Funnily I think the rasboras know when I am trying to count them as they shoot around the tank and I have to start counting again.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 17, 2017, 05:10:10 PM
Besides the lilies, what other decor do you have in the tank?

Fish can be shy when you first get them, it can take a while for them to settle in and become confident.
When there aren't enough of them, they are also skittish. I know in your case that there will be more of them so they will probably settle down then, if not before.
Fish are also skittish if they have nowhere to hide, which is why I asked about decor. It sounds backwards but the more places there are to hide, the more you will see the fish. Just knowing that there is somewhere to run to makes them more confident.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 17, 2017, 06:25:10 PM
Well here is a picture of tank, I think it has enough hiding places in it.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 17, 2017, 07:35:11 PM
That looks nice  :) Plenty of hiding places for the fish.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 18, 2017, 12:51:07 PM
Looks like i have lost 1 of the Cherry Barbs as can't find it anywhere. Either they are hiding very well or it has died as was struggling last night. Readings still zero and nitrates slightly higher so all looking good otherwise.

Update i might have lost 2 of the cherry barbs only got the bright red one i can see in tank.

Update 1 of the missing has shown his face, that's good.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Matt on March 18, 2017, 10:18:28 PM
Keeping my fingers crossed for you   :-\
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 18, 2017, 10:29:12 PM
Keeping my fingers crossed for you   :-\

Thanks. One is gone, the other two are very nervous and hide all the time. Hopefully when i get some more they might settle down. The 7 Rasbora's seem happy enough and when the barbs are around they swim with them.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Littlefish on March 19, 2017, 09:27:31 AM
Sorry to hear about your losses.  :(
I hope that things in your tank settle down soon.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you too.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 19, 2017, 11:11:10 AM
Sorry to hear about your losses.  :(
I hope that things in your tank settle down soon.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you too.

My tank seems fine, ammonia and nitrite always seem zero and nitrates are around 4ppm so I am thinking it is just the odd fish I get just doesn't make it. Maybe it is how I add them to tank but think I am doing it right. I put unopened bag in tank for 10 minutes, then open it and put a little of my tank water in and wait another 10, then more water and another wait of 10. And finally check temperature is nearly the same, and either catch fish in net or empty them out into net and quickly into tank.

Is that the right thing to do or is there something different I can/should do?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 19, 2017, 11:29:50 AM
There are two schools of thought about acclimatising fish.
The most usual is along the lines you do, but more so. Let the bag sit in the tank for 10 mins to warm, then add a bit of tank water every 15 mins until there is twice as much water as when you started. Then net the fish out of the bag so as little as possible shop water gets into the tank.
A variant of this method is used for very delicate fish. Empty the bag with water and fish into a bucket. Set up an air line tube to siphon water out of the tank and into the bucket, tying a knot in the tube to adjust the flow of water to 1 drop every few seconds. Run this until the water has doubled in volume. This method takes a long time so the bucket needs to be heated.

The other school of thought was expressed by a member on here, I've forgotten who  :-[ . This member said that it takes well over a day for fish to adjust so adding water to the bag for an hour or two does nothing to acclimatise the fish so you may as well just put the fish straight in the tank.


I prefer to err on the side of caution and add a bit of water every 15 mins till there is double the amount of water in the bag.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 19, 2017, 04:38:28 PM
Checked today and ammonia and nitrite zero, nitrate upto 5ppm which is good. Did a 20% water change but what fun the fish seem to have. When I put the siphon in to empty the water and clean the sand they love to get close to it and see what is going on. Then when I put water back, instead of staying away from the bubbles cause by pouring the water in, they get close. One did get caught in a stream of bubbles, went off in a huff I think.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 19, 2017, 04:41:36 PM
That's one problem with nosey fish - making sure they don't get sucked up when cleaning the tank. Been there, done that .........
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 19, 2017, 09:05:35 PM
Ok, can anyone help. As I said yesterday seemed to have lost one of my cherry barbs, but today it seems I have lost a second. Also a harlequin was struggling earlier and now I cant find him either. Water is perfect, zero ammonia and nitrite and low nitrates. Am I doing anything wrong or does this happen with a fish in cycle?

Have read about a sickly barb and Seachem Paraguard was suggested. Will look to see if parasites affect Rasbora's but could this be useful?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: fcmf on March 19, 2017, 10:38:03 PM
To me, in light of the number of fatalities, it seems that there is something not quite right and which needs addressed but I'm not entirely sure what to advise.

However, I have also read a number of extremely positive reports about Seachem Paraguard lately, and, looking at details of the product, I'd be inclined to give it a try. Before you do so, though, how many fish are displaying strange symptoms?

Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 19, 2017, 10:55:01 PM
Well the rasbora was shooting up to the top of the tank this afternoon and i cant find him now. The barbs have been very shy  so not sure if there behaviour was strange.
I searched for illnesses for both barbs and Rasbora's and gill flukes were mentioned which i understand is a parasite hence my thinking about Paraguard.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 20, 2017, 08:34:28 AM
I seem to have lost 2 more fish overnight, the last cherry barb and another rasbora. Definitely think something medical is wrong. Seen a YouTube video of a guy who uses a plastic box with a heater and airstone as a quarantine tank. Seems that he uses it to treat sick fish with the Paraguard and also put new fish in it before adding to tank, again using the Paraguard. Could be the way to go, especially as i want to try and save last 5 Rasbora's.

Any other ideas what might be wrong? Water seems fine.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: fcmf on March 20, 2017, 09:24:13 AM
Sorry to read about further problems.

A lot of fish have been added lately, so it's difficult to isolate the problem.

I would advise having a quarantine/hospital tank (a cheap plastic one such as the 21-litre ones sold by The Range would be fine) plus a spare heater and filter - you never know when you might need it (eg a fish falls ill and requires isolated and treated, or a heater/filter breaks down). It's always best to isolate new fish in a quarantine tank for 2+ weeks minimum - personally, I'd do so for 4 weeks to err on the side of caution, on the basis of incidents I've read about on here.

If there are oddly behaving fish in the tank at the moment, they may need isolated for treatment, and Seachem Paraguard seems as good a choice as any. If there aren't oddly behaving fish, then I'd advise either waiting to see how the situation progresses (but, whatever you do, don't buy any more fish until the tank has settled down eg there have been no fatalities for a couple of months) or start treating that whole tank with something like Seachem Paraguard if there are signs something is awry.

Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 20, 2017, 12:03:02 PM
So LFS didn't have any Paraguard so looked at all the treatment and tried to match with symptoms. Got stuff for a quarantine tank but keeping main tank in quarantine for now. Any suggestions on seeding the quarantine tank or due to small size, 17l and few fish will it be ok for just when needed?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 20, 2017, 12:15:16 PM
The bacteria get into the quarantine tank by cycling. But what most people do is use some media from the main tank. If you want to use the QT immediately, chop up one of the Rio's sponges to make it fit. Put the media from the new filter into the space left and hopefully because you have removed some media, you'll need to grow a few more bacteria and they'll grow in the media from the small filter.

You will need to monitor ammonia and nitrite in the QT because even if you do steal some media from the Rio, there won't be much of it and it may not hold many bacteria.

Since you hope to be adding more fish once the problems are sorted it would make sense to keep the QT running by adding ammonia to it when it has no fish in. That would be easier than moving media frequently. Then once you have all your fish keep the media in the Rio's filter in case you need to set it up quickly for a sick fish. Since you don't need the carbon sponge in the Rio, that space where that is supposed to go makes the perfect place for the QT's media.


However, if fish in the QT die, it is advisable to throw the media away rather than put it inthe the Rio and risk infecting the fish in there.



One question - what media comes with the small tank? A lot of small filters have just carbon containing cartridges which are no use if you want to add medicine as the carbon will just remove it.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 20, 2017, 12:27:01 PM
The sponges in the filter are black so most probably carbon ones. If i brought different sponges and cut to size would that be ok?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 20, 2017, 12:30:26 PM
That would be fine. The black sponges could just be plain sponge coloured black but it is not worth the risk if you want to add medicine to the QT.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 20, 2017, 12:48:58 PM
That would be fine. The black sponges could just be plain sponge coloured black but it is not worth the risk if you want to add medicine to the QT.

Ok will pick up a coarse and soft blue sponge.

Thanks everyone, hopefully the medicine will work, i did pick up another medicine and will get some paraguard.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 20, 2017, 01:24:09 PM
I still have the sponges i got sent, could i use them in the quarantine tank for a kick start?

Also contacted Seachem about a couple of their products, Cupramine and Paraguard, and thought it might help someone.

Hello David,
Thank you for your email. Cupramine is our copper-based medication, and is very effective against external parasites like ich and velvet. ParaGuard is not copper-based and is effective against external parasites, bacterias, and fungal infections. Cupramine is the stronger of the two medications, while ParaGuard is much gentler and more broad-range. Cupramine is also much more economical - it required only two doses for a 14-day treatment, while ParaGuard must be dosed in much higher volumes every day for the entire treatment period.
Of these two medications, my favorite for quarantine systems is ParaGuard. It minimizes the chance of fish death from medication stress while treating all the major infections that incoming fish tend to carry.
Thank you,
Seachem Support
10256
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 20, 2017, 05:20:49 PM
It has been suggested my fish might be suffering from osmotic shock. Has anyone heard of this and could it be a cause for my fish loss?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 20, 2017, 06:47:31 PM
Osmotic shock occurs when a fish is moved from water of one hardness or pH to water with a different hardness or pH. Is the shop where you got the fish near enough to you to have the same water supply? If I remember correctly, you have very soft water so the shop's tank water would have to be hard for osmotic shock to affect the fish. If they are in the same town, their water supply should be the same as yours.



Refresh my memory, please. Is your water soft because that's what the water company supplies or is it soft because your house uses a water softener?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 20, 2017, 07:07:23 PM
Hi Sue

According to water board we have the same water. They keep the PH in their tanks at 7.0, whilst mine is 7.6. According to water company PH could be between 7.6 and 8.3. I have asked LFS to confirm their Gh and KH just to see if any difference. The shop is close by so should be similar. My water comes straight from tap, no water softener. I did check my kh and gh today and still at 3 and 7.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 21, 2017, 09:15:53 AM
Well lost another Rasbora overnight so down to 4, although the other do seem more active today.

Going to set up quarantine tank but wondering if i could cut squares off my big tank sponges to speed up or even instantly cycle at tank? As it is only a 17l tank would dosing with 1ppm ammonia until i get fish work ok?

Just had a nasty thought. Early last week i added in some plastic Lillie's from a aquarium shop on eBay. I rinsed them thoroughly in dechlorinated water, but could they have caused my problem?

Have attached a picture of my latest casualty. If anyone sees anything please let me know. Have visited my LFS this morning and he couldn't see anything. We talked and he was worried about my ph being 7.6. Is there any way of dropping my ph? Have read something about almond leaves, could that help? He also said the lillies might be the problem, as they are designed for ponds and maybe in a small tank colour or something might have got into tank.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Littlefish on March 21, 2017, 05:21:38 PM
Indian almond leaves and lots of bogwood can help, but don't use anything like API pH down. When I was doing a fishless cycle on my first tank I tried the pH down and it just made my water very cloudy and created a suspension in the water, so I had to strip the tank down and start again.
Another option could be getting some RO water from your fish store, and mixing it with your tap water to soften the water, but you'd have to be very careful and do it very slowly over a long period of time to avoid shocking your fish.
I can't explain what has happened with your fish, but then I'm not hugely experienced with keeping fish, so perhaps the others can offer more suggestions.

Sorry to hear that you're having so many problems though.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 21, 2017, 06:56:18 PM
I have pH 7.5-ish and the same hardness as you and I don't have problems. Too many fish shops seem to think that unless the pH is 7.0 - the pH of pure water - there is something wrong. I don't think there's anything wrong with your pH, unless forsome reason the shop has much lower pH than you or much lower hardness in which case the change from shop water to your tank water could cause problems.
Harlequins are OK up to hardness 215 ppm/12 german deg and pH 7.5.
Cherry barbs are OK up to hardness 357 ppm/ 20 german deg and pH 8.0

Hardness is more important than pH and your hardness is well within the range for the two species you have bought.



As for why the fish are dying, I'm afraid I'm at a loss there. All I can think of is that it is somehow tied in with your odd cycling results.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 21, 2017, 07:08:55 PM
The more I think the more I am concerned about the lillies. I know I lost a couple of fish before they were added but the rest have happened since I added them. So now I need to decide on a way forward.
 
If I take a little sponge from my main tank will that seed the new little tank?

I used a medicine for internal bacteria yesterday, and supposed to dose again on Thursday. I have various options. I could transfer remaining fish to quarantine tank and use the Paraguard I have ordered. Them empty main tank, refill and then transfer fish back in. Or I could leave fish and dose Paraguard into main tank. Or I could wait till Thursday and dose second part of medicine. Any thoughts on way forward?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 21, 2017, 07:24:11 PM
Since you want to treat all the fish, leave them in the main tank. You only need to use a quarantine/hospital tank if one or two fish are sick and you want to treat just them; and when buying new fish so that you can be sure they are disease free before putting them in a tank that already has fish.

Taking a bit of sponge from the Rio will seed the QT's filter but there may not be enough bacteria in that bit for the fish you want to put in there. For example, the bacteria needed for the fish in the Rio now are in all the filter media in the Rio. If you take a small bit and put all the fish in the QT there won't be nearly enough bacteria for them.

I would treat the fish in the Rio and at the same time transfer some media to the QT and add ammonia.
I would use 3 ppm ammonia because 2 or 3 fish in 17 litres is max stocking; those 2 or 3 fish could well make 3 ppm ammonia per day in a tank that size.





(ppm is not a measure of a specific amount of ammonia, it is a measure of the ammonia compared to the amount of water. 1 ppm means 1 g ammonia in a million g water. 1 million g water is 1000 litres. So 1 ppm is:
1 g in 1000 litres
0.1 g in 100 litres
0.01 g in 10 litres

Rounding tank sizes for easier maths, if the fish in the Rio made 0.1 g ammonia per day = 1 ppm in 100 litres, that same 0.1 g would be 10 ppm in a 10 litre tank.)
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 21, 2017, 09:23:57 PM
Ok, seems the tank is 24l and not 17. I filled it with tap water treated with dechlorinator but keep reading I should use water from main tank. Is tat correct or will either do?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Matt on March 22, 2017, 06:32:59 AM
As we have concern about the fish water in the main tank, and because you are not looking to use the quarantine tank straight away, no need to risk using water from the main tank.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 22, 2017, 08:34:45 AM
Down to 3 now. I think when my Paraguard arrives I am going to put the remaining 3 in the quarantine tank for what they call a 1 hour dip in the medication. And whilst doing that i can do a near complete water change in case i have toxified the water somehow. Seems something on the outside of the fish that died overnight but will take a closer look.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 22, 2017, 10:25:16 AM
If the fish had been dead a few hours before you found it, whatever is on the outside could have got there after it died. For instance, a white fuzziness could just be fungus settling on a dead fish not something that caused the fish to die.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 22, 2017, 11:09:43 AM
As it turns out i still have 4 rasbora as the dead one must have been one i couldn't find. Think i will still empty main tank, as the 4 remaining look a little listless. So feel this is best chance to save them.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 22, 2017, 11:17:33 AM
One other thing to do as well as a big water change - put the carbon pad back in the filter if you have removed it, or if you left it in there, replace it.
Carbon wil adsorb many chemicals and it could well adsorb anything that has leached out of the water lilies. It also gets full which is why you need to replace it if it's been in there a long time.


Two lines of attack are better than one  :)
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 22, 2017, 12:36:21 PM
Thanks Sue

So my plan of attack is as follows:

1. Take 1 inch square of both blue sponges from big tank to put in qt tank filter as that is how small the sponges are.

2. Transfer the fish from main tank to qt tank and add in Paraguard. Should be in for at least an hour.

3. Empty tank as much as possible, hoover sand and take out ornaments and rinse in dechlorinated water and put back in.

4. Put carbon filter into filter and refill with water.

5. Put fish back in.

Then fingers crossed.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 22, 2017, 07:31:55 PM
Well that's the change all done. Put the carbon sponge back in and put a couple of almond leaves in the tank.The fish looked better in the quarantine tank, one especially didn't have much colour but after about 90 minutes his black markings were back.

Funnily I had a hell of a time getting them out the big tank, in fact thought I had lost one as emptied the tank and still couldn't find him. Then suddenly just appeared. Took me 30 minutes to catch all 4 fish.

So all I can do now is wait and see how things go. Fingers firmly crossed for no more losses.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: MarquisMirage on March 23, 2017, 12:11:36 AM
Good luck, I've got everything crossed.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 23, 2017, 08:45:27 AM
So good news is still have 4 Rasbora's. They didn't seem too hungry but hopefully that was down to being moved to and from at tank yesterday. They look ok but a little shy but again may be down to yesterday's fun.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 23, 2017, 07:27:25 PM
The 4 rasboras are still going, but don't seem interested in eating. Could it be due to distress of being moved so much yesterday?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 23, 2017, 07:33:11 PM
Yes, that and the totally new water could affect them. Plus the effects of the paraguard. Every chemical we add to the tank, including dechlorinator, ends up inside the fish.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 24, 2017, 11:43:18 AM
Another day and I still have 4 fish. So whatever seems to have caused the death of the other fish might have disappeared. But will stay vigilant.

Dosed qt tank to 3ppm ammonia, and in 18 hours that has dropped to 2.25. Due to size of tank and ease of water changes I might empty water in readiness for fish tomorrow and then do 12 hour checks on them while they are in qt.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Littlefish on March 24, 2017, 06:48:24 PM
Good luck and keep us posted.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 24, 2017, 07:58:37 PM
Good luck and keep us posted.

Thanks

Two of the fish have eaten, so hopefully the others will follow over next couple of days. Will sort QT tank tomorrow for new arrivals, for their two week quarantine.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 25, 2017, 09:25:07 AM
DISASTER!!!

Lost one rasbora this morning. Got one active and two still quite listless. I did notice on one of the listless fish a spot, it's not white got a silvery colour. Could be a clue. However treated with something called Waterlife, http://www.waterlife.co.uk/tropical/d-0/protozin-detail#.WNZC1YXXKUk ,  the LFS gave me for white spot and fungus. Pic added of said fish.

Wonder if goldfish are easier to keep?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 25, 2017, 05:22:22 PM
One very low in tank and sluggish. Other two more active but maybe medicine too late. Although can't see spot in picture on the fish now.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Matt on March 25, 2017, 05:50:19 PM
Oh dear, you don't seem to be having much luck!!  I'm not sure I can suggest anything either  :(  your taking all the right steps as it is as far as I can see.  Hopefully someone will be along soon with a bright idea...
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: fcmf on March 25, 2017, 06:33:25 PM
Really sorry to read of all your problems...

Wonder if goldfish are easier to keep?
Goldfish are indeed wonderful and so interactive - I kept them myself for many years and miss mine immensely. They do require huge tanks, though - current thinking seems to be ~180 litres (4 foot long or more) for a common/comet although they really ought to be in ponds, and ~140-litres for a fancy goldfish, with larger tanks if they're kept in groups. They are prone to problems too, though - constipation and swimbladder/buoyancy type problems being particularly prevalent among fancy goldfish, and quite aggressive bullying when mating in both common/comet and fancy goldfish, for example.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 25, 2017, 07:02:52 PM
Thanks for the info about goldfish. Will stick with tropical due to tank size.

Two fish fed tonight, including the one with the spot on them. It is definitely not white, so not sure what it is.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 26, 2017, 12:32:33 PM
Can anyone tell me what happens to the bacteria on the sponges if there isn't enough ammonia being produced. Does it die or just go dormant?

Three fish holding their own, two including the one with the spot seem livelyish, the other hiding and quiet but does move around tank when I'm not looking.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 26, 2017, 03:40:42 PM
The bacteria in the sponges just sit there for several days, then gradually more and more become dormant. After several weeks in the dormant stage they begin to die.

If ammonia is added to a tank - from a bottle or excreted by fish - the bacteria wake up again. But the length of time it takes for them to wake up depends on how long they were dormant. The longer the period of dormancy, the longer it takes them to wake up.
When there are fish in the tank, but not many of them, most will become dormant but some will remain active - enough to eat the ammonia made by the few fish.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 26, 2017, 06:20:14 PM
Might have found out what is wrong with fish, as one has developed a white spot on his nose. I am already treating for white spot, started yesterday and dosage is for 3 days and then another dose at day 6. So hopefully medicine I'm using, in the post up the page will work. Strangely the fish is the most active one. Is white spot curable? And anything i can do to stop it happening?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 26, 2017, 07:59:45 PM
Whitespot looks like the fish has been sprinkled with salt.

Whitespot is caused by a single celled parasite. It has three stages in its lifecycle.

The first stage is attached to a fish. When it first attaches we can't see it but it soon grows a sort of shell around itself and we can then see it as a white spot. Inside this shell the parasite feeds off the fish's tissue and grows and grows. This is stage 1, and because of the shell, medication can't get to it.

When the parasite has eaten enough, it drops off the fish, still inside the shell, and divides in two again and again until there are hundreds of them. This is stage 2, and again the shell protects it against medication.

Then the shell splits open and hundreds of tiny parasites go swimming off to find a fish to infect. This is stage 3 and is the only stage where medication get at it.

There will be parasites in all three stages in the tank at the same time which is why you have to follow the medication instructions to the letter. There must be some med still in the water when the very last shell splits so the 'baby' parasites can be killed.
Some medications tell you to increase the temperature of the water. This is because the parasites go through their life cycle faster in warmer water.


There is a body of thought that all tanks have whitespot parasites in them but the fish have developed immunity to them. But if the fish get stressed it lowers their immune sytems and allows the parasite to infect the fish.

Besides the actual spots, other signs include a fish continually flashing - that is flicking its body against objects in the tank. This is often the first indication of an infection as the parasites are too small to see at first, and they usually start off on the gills where we can see.



Whitespot is a very common infection. Most fishkeepers have it at some stage. Well, the fish keeper doesn't his fish do.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 26, 2017, 08:13:50 PM
Thanks Sue

Ok, so it's not white spot, as it is just a single spot on his nose. Oh well, will keep treatment going and hopefully will sort whatever it is.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 27, 2017, 04:10:51 PM
Asked at LFS about single white spot on nose and they didn't know what it is either. One thing I do know is he is a hungry fish. Others still off their food but showing signs of getting better so hopefully no more fatalities. While I am using medicine, should I avoid a small water change unless necessary?

Got some fish for the quarantine tank today, but nearly had a fatality, one made a jump for freedom and landed in dirty water bucket with no water in it. Fortunately added water quickly and finally got him in tank after he tried to escape again.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Littlefish on March 27, 2017, 08:49:39 PM
The single spot on the nose may just be a change in the markings on the fish.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: fcmf on March 27, 2017, 10:58:51 PM
Also, fish often develop markings from scuffles eg competing for food or sparring, so that's another possible explanation.

Have I read this correctly - you've bought more fish? Or do you mean you've moved some of the current, worse-for-wear ones into the QT? Hopefully the latter as you definitely need a period of time (eg a couple of months, as previously advised) with no fatalities/casualties to get to the root of the problem in the main tank and ensure it settles down. Otherwise, you may find you'll need another QT- one to quarantine new fish and one for hospitalising any ill fish...

Let's hope we can collectively help you get to the root of your problems and resolve them, so keep us posted.  :)
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 28, 2017, 08:26:58 AM
The single spot on the nose may just be a change in the markings on the fish.

Thanks Donna

All 3 still going in the main tank so fingers crossed whatever it was has passed.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 28, 2017, 02:23:48 PM
Sorry guys, urgent help needed. Think one of the fish in the QT tank is showing signs of stress, as he is swimming upside and flying round the tank. Any ideas what I can do? Water was fine this morning but will of course check now. But anything else you can suggest?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 28, 2017, 02:28:32 PM
What species are the fish in quarantine?

The first thing is to check your ammonia and nitrite.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 28, 2017, 02:36:06 PM
Rasboras, just checking ammonia and nitrate now. Think one is dead and another nearly there. Other two are ok. Will post test results in 5 minutes
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 28, 2017, 02:39:48 PM
Ammonia 0.09, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 2. If it helps, the other 2 are swimming at an angle towards the top of the tank. Should I transfer them to big tank?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 28, 2017, 03:24:16 PM
Wow, lost all 4 in quarantine in 30 minutes. Makes me want to give up!!! Water is perfect, only thing was the paraguard I added yesterday but it fades away after 24 hours.

Not sure which way to turn now. 3 Rasboras in main tank all looking happy.

Just don't know what to do next. Feel like just doing what my dad did 30 years ok, add in a load of fish and they all survived.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 28, 2017, 04:33:17 PM
It could still have been the paraguard. It would have got into their bodies before it faded away.

What you report sounds like what happened to my beckford's pencilfish a few years ago, just not quite as fast. I added melafix and pimafix to the tank to treat a sickly honey gourami and came back 45 mins later (I went to watch Countdown) to find 5 of the 6 pencilfish dead and the 6th almost dead.

If you decide to continue with the QT, don't use any medication unless the fish show obvious disease symptoms. Just make sure the water is clean and ammonia/nitrite free. Every chemical we add to a tank, even dechlorinator, gets into the fish's bloodstream and tissue. The less we add to the water the better for the fish.




What chemicals do you use routinely, and what else have you recently added to both the main tank and the QT? You said you have used paraguard, but list everything else including the brand of dechlorinator.

And also, does the water supply go through a softener of any type; does the water you use come straight from the mains or from a storage tank etc. I know some houses were built so that only the kitchen cold tap came from the mains, all others came from the tank in the attic. Do you use hot tap water to warm the water going into the tank? And if so, what kind of hot water system do you have - combi boiler or cyclinder in the airing cupboard?


Just trying to find a clue somewhere........
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 28, 2017, 04:42:35 PM
It could still have been the paraguard. It would have got into their bodies before it faded away.

What you report sounds like what happened to my beckford's pencilfish a few years ago, just not quite as fast. I added melafix and pimafix to the tank to treat a sickly honey gourami and came back 45 mins later (I went to watch Countdown) to find 5 of the 6 pencilfish dead and the 6th almost dead.

If you decide to continue with the QT, don't use any medication unless the fish show obvious disease symptoms. Just make sure the water is clean and ammonia/nitrite free. Every chemical we add to a tank, even dechlorinator, gets into the fish's bloodstream and tissue. The less we add to the water the better for the fish.




What chemicals do you use routinely, and what else have you recently added to both the main tank and the QT? You said you have used paraguard, but list everything else including the brand of dechlorinator.

And also, does the water supply go through a softener of any type; does the water you use come straight from the mains or from a storage tank etc. I know some houses were built so that only the kitchen cold tap came from the mains, all others came from the tank in the attic. Do you use hot tap water to warm the water going into the tank? And if so, what kind of hot water system do you have - combi boiler or cyclinder in the airing cupboard?


Just trying to find a clue somewhere........

Ok, in the QT tank only chemical was the Seachem Prime. Then added the paraguard yesterday, but supposedly a very weak dose.

In the main tank, again Seachem Prime at water changes and currently using the white spot/fungus medicine to try and resolve illness in main tank. Got one more dose to give on Thursday, then will do a small water change at weekend.

Water comes straight from mains, hot water from tap is from a combi boiler.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 28, 2017, 04:46:52 PM
Would it help and be safe to put in more dechlorinator, in case there is more chlorine in the water?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 28, 2017, 04:59:45 PM
Lots of people use Seachem Prime with no ill effects - and it says somewhere in the instructions how much it can be overdosed.

The whitespot med should be used as instructed and the course finished. If the people who say the parasite is in all tanks all the time are right, you don't want to run the very small risk of creating a medication-resistant strain by stopping the med too soon.

Paraguard is a med I have not used and don't know much about, so I've googled it. It contains "aldehydes, malachite green and fish protective polymers". The list of fish that may have adverse reactions does not include harlequins (just the usual scaleless fish such as loaches and rays).
Unless you have overdosed the paraguard (for 20 litres you need 2.5 ml or half a capful) the only thing left is that the harlequins do react to it but that Seachem deny it in the way that API deny that pencilfish are sensitive to melafix or pimafix or perhaps the combination of the two.





Does anyone in the house use aerosols of any sort in the same room as the tanks? Do you use air fresheners? Have you been painting recently? Do you have other pets that have been treated for fleas? Do you use handcream or something like that before putting yuor hands in the tank? I'm grasping at straws to work out what is going on  :-\
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 28, 2017, 05:23:37 PM
Hi Sue

I use a  bacterial hand wash, one has thyme and tea tree oil in it. Also gave the dog a flea treatment on 6th March but always wash hands after it. Boiler was replaced late last year if that helps.

Also concerned as one rasbora is bullying the other two. Is this just down to there only being 3 of them?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 28, 2017, 07:02:22 PM
Before putting your hands in the tank I would wash them thoroughly with plain water. Use the anti bac soap afterwards by all means, that's what I do, but remove as much as possible before going into the tank.

It has been known for flea treatments to get in the air and from there into a tank. This could be a contributing factor.

The boiler would only be likely to affect invertebrates and particularly if there was a lot of new copper pipework put in at the same time. Copper kills shrimps and snails.
It is the older hot water cylinder type that can harm fish because they have a header tank in the attic which, despite them being supposed to have a screen over the top to prevent creatures of all sizes getting in (thanks Andy the Minion for that piece of info) not all of them do, including ours. All sorts of creatures can end up dead in unscreened header tanks  :sick:



It could well be the small numbers causing the harlequin's behaviour. Being in a group that's too small causes stress in shoaling fish, and this can affect their behaviour.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 28, 2017, 07:11:30 PM
I am worried about the bully. I know I said I would put new fish in the QT but with it's behaviour might risk putting 3 in the tank just to de stress things. And then maybe put another 3 in the QT tank once I have emptied it and refilled. Do you think that is a good idea?

Will wash hands with plain water, anything that might help.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 28, 2017, 07:16:15 PM
At this stage, I would risk putting new fish straight into the main tank. Once you have lot of fiish, then it is worth quarantining new fish, especially if the fish you have were quite expensive.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 28, 2017, 07:28:26 PM
Ok, main question then is how many? I know filter was handling 12, but how about 5 to 7 rasbora?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 28, 2017, 07:35:12 PM
I would get 5. That will take you to 8, still a reasonable shoal.
However, if you are willing to do as many water changes as may prove necessary, get 7.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 28, 2017, 07:41:06 PM
Ok, sounds like a plan.

Only other question is should I do other medicine before adding fish, or should I not do last dose?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 28, 2017, 07:45:42 PM
Do you mean the whitespot medication? I would add the last dose, then next day do a water change and get more fish.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 28, 2017, 07:51:20 PM
Ok, it isn't due till Thursday so hopefully bully will leave the others alone.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 29, 2017, 11:24:56 AM
Hi Sue

Had a thought this morning and checked my kh and gh in both tanks. Main tank is 3kh and 6gh, as normal. However in the qt tank the kh was 2 and gh was 5. pH same in both tanks, 7.6.

Could the drop in kh and gh in the qt tank have caused my deaths yesterday? Might a test with Paraguard to see if it drops the kh and gh be a good idea?. Will be good to know if it causes a drop.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 29, 2017, 02:44:21 PM
It is worth checking the paraguard for changes to GH etc.

The drop of only 1 deg hardness shouldn't have caused problems, but you never know.


Perhaps next time you set up the QT, measure the GH and KH as soon as you have filled it, and pH after it has stood for 24 hours, then you'll have a baseline to compare future readings with.
There is always the possibility that your tap water changed between filling the main tank, then filling the QT.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 29, 2017, 05:23:27 PM
Hi Sue I asked my LFS what water they used and they said the following:

In freshwater tanks we use tap water and aquavitro Alpha as our water conditioner for water changes then it tops itself off with RO water due to evaporation and constantly selling fish..

Is there anything in this comment that might be a problem?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 29, 2017, 06:34:21 PM
There is a possible effect.

It is common to use RO water for topping up tanks due to evaporation. This is a good practice because when water evaporates it leaves behind all the minerals etc dissolved in the water and if more tap water is used to top up with that adds more minerals, and over time the minerals in the tank become more and more concentrated. Using RO for topping up after evaporation means that the amount of minerals in the tank stays the same.
But they also use RO to replace water taken out when they sell fish - every fish bag has some tank water in it. In this case, both water and minerals are removed and they top up with water that has no minerals so the effect is that the minerals get more dilute.



One thing you could try is next time you get fish, before you go out, test the GH, KH and pH of the tank water then when you get back test them in the bag of shop water - there is plenty of time while the bag floats to get it to the same temp as the tank. If they are pretty close, that's OK. If they are quite a bit different, add quite small amounts of tank water to the bag every 10 to 15 mins for a couple of hours before netting the fish out.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 29, 2017, 08:33:45 PM
I have test tube or 10ml, would one or two of those every 20 minutes be a good plan?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 29, 2017, 09:22:48 PM
That would be fine.


I use an old cheesecake pot  ;D
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 30, 2017, 08:16:18 AM
Hi Sue

Have found someone on another forum who has had similar problems to me. She has posted the following as she had big problems with osmotic shock as her pet store used RO water in part like mine does and she suggested the following.

The easiest is go to a different store that uses only filtered tap water and not RO. Places like Petco uses only filtered water. Granted, not the best option to get fish from, but if you want to finish stocking your tank, that might be an option.

The next best option is work out a deal with your shop. With mine, I got them to agree to order the fish I want, but not to place them in their tank. Just leave them in the bag. I live 3 minutes away from it, and most of my time is getting in and out of the car. So when shipment comes in, and they find my order, they call and I go get them. I also arranged that if I'm going to be late, the day before I fill a 10 gallon I took over with a filter, and get it going with established media from my tank. So if your shop will work with you, that is another option.

If none of those will work for you, you can try doing a 75% RO water to 25% tap, and every few days take out like 15% water and add tap. Slowly acclimate them to the tap. Takes 10 days for a fish to get over osmotic shock, so take it slow for 10 days doing small water changes. Also have Methylene Blue on hand just in case they can't handle the increase.

The last option is just doing straight tap, use Methylene Blue and aquarium salt to try to prevent the shock. It's risky, and can loose fish, but not the entire new stock.

The TDS, and GH is just to different between tap and RO. (TDS is total dissolvable solids)

Does what she make sense to you?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 30, 2017, 11:05:11 AM
If it is the water in the shop tank then every other person in your town who buys fish from this shop will have the same problem. Are there ever any other customers there when you go that you could talk to?

Buying the fish as soon as they ariive in the shop will have the problem that any disease won't have time to become apparent. I know that most shops only quarantine new fish for 24 hours, which is just about the same as not quarantining them, but if you buy fish after they've been in the shop at least a week, any problems should be showing signs by then.

I don't see how using aquarium salt will help with osmotic shock. All that will do is stress the fish even more. Salt is an old fashioned remedy because it blocks nitrite from entering the fish's blood and back before anyone knew about ammonia and nitrite, fishkeepers discovered it stopped their fish dying. We now know that the fish died from nitrite poisoning.

I would not use methylene blue in your main tank. It kills filter bacteria. It's main use is as a treatment bath for fish, or when eggs are removed from the tank and allowed to hatch in a filterless container as it stops the eggs growing fungus.



Is there no other shop you could get fish from?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 30, 2017, 11:28:36 AM
Most of the time at the other are people getting reef tank fish.

Have just been to my pets@home. They only use tap water in their tanks so think i will just get some fish from their, check kh and gh and take things from there. Only slight problem is their range of fish isn't as good as other shop.

Silly question time, in the shop they have tropical, coldwater and some marked temperate. What is meant by temperate?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 30, 2017, 11:55:51 AM
Tropical fish are those that need the water around 25 deg C, plus or minus a couple of degrees.
Cold water fish will survive oustside. All the fish that live in streams and lakes in the UK are cold water fish.
Temperate fish need water between those two, the ones sold in shops usually needs temps of 18 to 22 deg C, and include fish like zebra danios and white cloud mountain minnows. Temperate fish only need a heater in the tank if the room they are in ever drops below 18 deg C.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 30, 2017, 12:04:54 PM
Thanks Sue

Was wondering if i could keep temperate with tropical fish but seems that's a no.

Plan for tomorrow is to do a water change as last day of medicine today. How big a change should I do? Then take some water to my lfs so they can check things and if all ok to get a few fish. Not sure whether to get 3 rasboras and 4 black phantoms, or just stick with rasboras and get the phantoms next.

Is it ok to do small 20% water change, get water back to temperature and add fish later the same day?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 31, 2017, 02:42:00 PM
Hi Sue need your help. Got fish from shop that uses tap water but concerned in difference to mine. KH from shop is 5, mine is 3 and GH is 16 in shop and mine is 7.

How can i add fish safely.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 31, 2017, 02:58:45 PM
You will need to acclimatise them slowly. Use your 5 ml tube and add one tube every 15 mins until there is twice as much water in the bag.

The GH in the shop bag is an awful lot more than yours. What do they do to get it that high?

Or is something done to your water to lower it? Have you looked at your water company's website to check the hardness they give is more or less the same as your results? Make sure you take note of the unit as well as the number. Some UK companies give hardness as mg/l Ca, some as mg/l CaO and some as mg/l CaCO3.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 31, 2017, 03:13:54 PM
Will take a look at water company website. They just use tap water, that's what they tell me.checked the pH and was same as mine.

Will this difference be the probable cause of my fish loss?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 31, 2017, 03:34:44 PM
Ok, checked water company and although they are only 5 minutes drive away and in same town they have very different water, their mg/l cac03 is 167.01 where mine is 74.90.

So between a rock and hard place, one stone using RO water and the other with very different water.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 31, 2017, 04:26:09 PM
Been adding water for 90 minutes and gh hasn't changed
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 31, 2017, 06:14:01 PM
How close should i get to my gh? Got water down to 12 and tank is 7
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on March 31, 2017, 06:39:53 PM
How much water have you added compared to what the shop put in the bag? If you add the same amount, the GH should be half way between yours and theirs, around 12. If you add twice as much water as the shop put in, that should drop it to around 10. If you add three times, it'll drop to about 9.

I would add water till it is below 10.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on March 31, 2017, 07:42:41 PM
Got GH down to under 10 so have out fish in tank. So fingers crossed everyone gets on ok. Have kept light off tonight, will put on tomorrow morning for an hour to see what's going on.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: fcmf on March 31, 2017, 08:08:23 PM
Fingers/everything very tightly crossed for you and all the fish. :)
 :fishy1:
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on April 01, 2017, 09:03:40 AM
Fingers/everything very tightly crossed for you and all the fish. :)
 :fishy1:

Ok baby steps but everyone survived the night. 😀
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: fcmf on April 01, 2017, 09:11:13 AM
Delighted to read that- I had almost been waiting with bated breath to find out. Great news but, as you say, baby steps - just take each day at a time and see how things are. Best of luck.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on April 01, 2017, 11:44:54 AM
Hi Guys

What is a safe nitrie level?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: fcmf on April 01, 2017, 11:47:51 AM
NitrIte should always be 0.
NitrAtes should be 20ppm if at all possible, or no more than 20ppm above whatever your tap water reading is.

What test kit do you have, though? It may be that it's extremely precise and therefore there may be a little bit of "wriggle room". What is your reading?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on April 01, 2017, 11:54:06 AM
nitrite is 1ppm, will do  a water change, 50% ok?
just checking nitrates
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on April 01, 2017, 11:57:54 AM
Nitrate 6.6ppm

Have done water change and will check nitrite level later this afternoon. Strangely with all my cycling problems this is first time i have seen the nitrites anything but blue.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on April 01, 2017, 12:17:14 PM
With a nitrite of 1 you need to change as much water as you can. There is no safe level of nitrite and it must be kept below 0.25. Even a 50% water change will only get it down to 0.5.

Nitrite gets into the blood and binds to the haemoglobin preventing it from taking up oxygen, in the same way that carbon monoxide does to us.



However, instead of a water change it is possible to mitigate the effects by adding salt to the tank. There is a calculation to work out how much. I've put your numbers in brackets

1. Multiply the test reading by 10 - (1.0 x 10 = 10.0)
2. Calculate the actual volume of water in litres - (with a 125 litre tank this is probably 100 litres)
3. Multiply the numbers from #1 and #2 - (10 x 100 = 1000)
4. Mulitiply the number from #3 by 1.5 - (1000 x1.5 = 1500)

You need to add 1500 mg salt, which is 1.5g salt by dissolving it in some tank water then adding that to the tank.
The tester will still show nitrite.

If the level of nitrite goes up you need to add more salt. But only enough to counteract the extra nitrite not the whole new amount.




How many new fish did you get, and how many were in the tank before you got the new fish?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on April 01, 2017, 12:49:41 PM
Hi Sue

There were 3 in tank and added 6 so expected some movement in ammonia or nitrite.

I take it be salt you mean aquarium salt and not normal salt
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on April 01, 2017, 01:51:26 PM
Actually, any form of sodium chloride is fine including table salt or cooking salt. The amount of 'added ingredients' (eg anti caking agents, iodide) is so small as to be negligible. To quote one source, for the added ingredients to cause harm the amount of salt would have to be so high it would pickle the fish first.

That explains the nitrite - you added twice as many fish as were already in the tank. You had enough ammonia eaters for that number but not enough nitrite eaters
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on April 01, 2017, 01:58:30 PM
Actually, any form of sodium chloride is fine including table salt or cooking salt. The amount of 'added ingredients' (eg anti caking agents, iodide) is so small as to be negligible. To quote one source, for the added ingredients to cause harm the amount of salt would have to be so high it would pickle the fish first.

That explains the nitrite - you added twice as many fish as were already in the tank. You had enough ammonia eaters for that number but not enough nitrite eaters

Thanks Sue

I just popped to LFS and got API aquarium. Have tested nitrites and is back to 0, which is good. On the salt packet it suggests it is a good thing to add after water changes, supposedly 1 rounded tablespoon per 20l. Do you think this is something good to do? And if so am I right in thinking to put salt in for amount of water I have taken out, not the whole tank?

Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on April 01, 2017, 02:28:54 PM
If the nitrite is zero, you don't need to add any salt. But if it creeps up again you can add some. Just put the new nitrite reading into that calculation instead of 1.0.


Salt is not a good thing to use routinely. It harms fish that originate in water that doesn't have it - in other words it is not good for any fresh water fish. It's just that it is less harmful than nitrite, and it is only used until nitrite is gone.
No form of salt should ever be added to a fresh water aquarium except when there is nitrite in the water or the fish have whitespot (it can be used as a cure for that).
Once the need for salt is gone (zero nitrite or the whitespot is cured) the salt is removed from the water gradually by doing water changes and not adding any more salt.

Aquarium salt is just plain sodium chloride, the same stuff as table salt but without any iodide or anti caking agents.
At 1 tablespoon (15ml sponful) per 20 litres, that is a huge amount of salt. A level teaspoon (5ml spoon) of salt contains something like 6g, and the calculation requires a quarter of that in 100 litres!!!

If I remember correctly, API aquarium salt is crystals rather than a powder which does make it difficult to compare a spoonful of that to a spoonful of table salt. I would still weigh it rather than measure it with a spoon. I have kitchen scales which weigh to a gramme. For a half g I would weigh double what I need then divide that amount into two halves.




A lot of companies that make aquarium salt, and a number of old time fishkeepers do recommend adding salt to a tank on a routine basis. This is because decades ago no-one knew about the nitrogen cycle. They did not know about ammonia and nitrite, and there were no testers for them anyway. But it was discovered that adding salt to the tank stopped their fish dying - and we now know that is because it blocked nitrite from binding to the fish's blood.
We now know about nitrite and what to do if we find any in the water. But that doesn't stop old time fish keepers telling everyone they should still add salt, and it doesn't stop companies selling aquairium salt as it costs next to nothing to make and earns them money.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on April 01, 2017, 02:38:50 PM
ok, thanks Sue.

Hoping things go well as got 3 more Rasboras and 3 Black Phantom's yesterday, the phantoms look great.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on April 01, 2017, 06:33:10 PM
It seems my Nitrite spike has gone, just checked and it was 0.03ppm. Do you think I am safe not checking again until the morning?

Fish seem ok, although one of the Rasboras is a little quiet. Rest and the Phantoms seem quite active.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on April 01, 2017, 06:42:09 PM
I would check just before you settle down to watch TV, go the pub or whatever else you do on a Saturday night. Then check again tomorrow morning.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on April 01, 2017, 09:00:09 PM
Did check just now, 9pm. Ammonia 0.05, Nitrite 0.08 and Nitrate 2.53. So things seem to have settled down back to normal.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on April 01, 2017, 09:06:03 PM
You may find that the nitrite eaters have multiplied enough to cope with the nitrite made by the ammonia eaters but keep an eye on it just in case  :)
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on April 02, 2017, 10:36:59 AM
All fish made it through the night. And all hungry this morning although the phantoms are missing out a little as the Rasboras are everywhere. Even wetted food to sink it but the Rasboras are beating the Phantoms to it. Could just be they are still settling in, but will keep an eye on things.

Water test this morning, results were:-
Ammonia 0.04ppm
Nitrite 0.05ppm
Nitrate 2.4ppm

So seems the Nitrite bacteria have woken up as these were the results I was getting before adding the new fish.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Littlefish on April 02, 2017, 10:51:41 AM
Glad to hear that all are doing well this morning.  :)
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on April 03, 2017, 03:06:27 PM
Not lost a fish yet, so hopefully my bad luck is over. One rasbora concerns me but he does go mad when it's dinner time. Quite funny watching all the fish trying to get the food.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on April 03, 2017, 06:01:38 PM
Quick questions guys and girls. I have 3 black phantoms, i believe 2 are male and 1 female. The females is hiding and j am wondering if this could be due to the two males?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: fcmf on April 03, 2017, 06:36:14 PM
Very likely. Any type of tetra ought to be kept in a shoal of 6+, so ultimately it is best if you can increase their numbers to at least that - and, if possible, try to get more females (so all females if you were planning to get another 3). However, you have been increasing your stocking at quite a rate recently, and don't want to have an adverse effect on the ammonia and nitrite levels, so you may need to hold off a little to see how the situation "pans out" before getting any more. How many fish, and of which species, are currently in the main tank and how many in the quarantine tank, and when were each added to the main tank? We can then advise when it would be appropriate to get additional phantom tetras.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on April 03, 2017, 08:22:55 PM
In total there are 6 Harlequin Rasboras and 3 Black Phantoms. 3 of the Rasboras have been in tank a while, whilst the other 3 and phantoms were added on Friday. Both ammonia and nitrite are back to zero. If you remember at one point I had 12 fish.
No fish in QT tank at moment.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: fcmf on April 03, 2017, 10:44:37 PM
Ah, that's a (big) relief - I'd misunderstood an earlier message and thought you had added six harlequins at the end of the week and then also added another three plus the three phantoms within the next day or two when the ammonia and nitrite hadn't settled, which had me quite concerned. I can sleep soundly tonight then. :).

As long as the ammonia and nitrite stay at zero, then the addition of more phantoms fairly soon should be ok.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on April 04, 2017, 02:22:31 PM
Levels still zero for Nitrite and Ammonia. Maybe add the phantoms later in week, as I am away on 14th, so will give time for them to settle in. Then will have 6 each of Rasboras and Phantoms.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on April 05, 2017, 06:15:48 PM
Might have lost one of my phantoms as can't find him anywhere in tank. Maybe he is very good at hiding but knowing my luck that won't be the case.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Littlefish on April 05, 2017, 08:05:38 PM
Keep your eyes on the tank and count the fish whenever you can.
I often have trouble counting my fish, and some are more skilled at hiding than others.
Feeding time can be a good time to try to count, but if they are all darting around after the food it can sometimes keep track of who has already been counted.
Don't lose hope.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on April 05, 2017, 08:09:31 PM
It has been missing all day, hence my concern. Even checked in some hiding places but nowhere to be seen, which is a little strange.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on April 06, 2017, 07:06:45 PM
Hi Sue, or anyone who can help.

At what level should I start using aquarium salt to help with Nitrite? My reading is 0.2ppm at moment but have added fish today so want to be prepared. And if I use salt, am I right in thinking I don't need to do a water change.

And at what level of Nitrate should I do a water change?

Thanks
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on April 06, 2017, 07:13:33 PM
Start using salt as soon as you get a reading for nitrite near 0.25 ppm.

You can just use salt but also do water changes to get rid of nitrite - salt doesn't get rid of it, it just stops nitrite getting into the fish's blood. Since the salt doesn't affect the tester reading, I would try to keep nitrite below 0.5 ppm with water changes and just use salt to help the fish up to that level. The reason for having a small amount of nitrite present is that it will encourage the nitrite eaters to multiply.


When the tank is fully stocked, once a week is good for water changes. You can get away with less often when the tank is under stocked.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on April 06, 2017, 09:11:29 PM
Thanks Sue

Just done another check and nitrite has dropped to 0.01 so seems tank has caught up.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on April 06, 2017, 09:24:39 PM
Just realised I didn't actually amswer the nitrates and water changes question.

Once the tank is fully stocked, you should do waer changes once a week regardless of the nitrate level, and the amount to change should be between 30 and 50%. However, if you find the level of nitrate creeps up to more than the tap water level plus 20 just before a water change, you need to do them more often, or a bigger amount.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on April 09, 2017, 06:01:15 PM
Just a small update. Everything seems to be running smoothly, the one panther who was missing has still not appeared. So currently have 6 Harlequins and 7 phantoms, 2 male and 5 female. All seem happy and are eating well.

Water parameters steady so hoping they will stay that way for when i am away.

I got some Tetra weekend food sticks for when i am away. It says for a 71l to 110l tank and 19 to 29 fish to use 4 sticks for a 4 to 6 day absence. As i only have 13 fish, do you think 2 sticks should be ok?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: adenann on April 09, 2017, 06:30:23 PM
I've used these OK.
I find that the quantity stated by Tetra is about twice what our fish eat.
You should really test if your fish get on with them before you go.  Once you're away it's too late.
If you calculated you need two sticks, try using just one now and see how long it lasts for. Then adjust accordingly.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on April 11, 2017, 05:19:50 PM
My fish seems to like them but they don't seem to disentigrate, seems to have stopped. Any tips?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: fcmf on April 11, 2017, 06:57:16 PM
How long have you had the sticks in the tank for? It might be that they dissolve slowly over time ie might disintegrate in a few hours' time.

I bought a goldfish version of these many years ago, hid it behind some decor, and my goldfish found it and attacked it ferociously until all was consumed within 45mins, so, if one fish learns to do that, it may well dissolve/disintegrate quickly. The food tablets which I use dissolved/disintegrated every now and again over the course of an evening - probably the same as your sticks ought to do although they may be designed to be slower-release - although, once the whale-like tetra (who consumes 50%+ of the food in the tank) discovered that she only has to nudge it with her nose for it to disintegrate, it does so very swiftly.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: adenann on April 11, 2017, 07:05:20 PM
 :wave:
No, I don't think they're designed to dissolve.  Your fish have to nibble at them when they're hungry.  This is why (I think) they last much longer than Tetra advertise.  I assume you're running a test now, just stick with it.  If they haven't completely gone by the time you're testing for is up, you can either leave the remaining sticks(s) in until completely gone, or take them out and go back to normal feeding.

The dissolving type feeders are a non-starter for me as they're plaster of Paris based and are supposed to slowly dissolve.  This is fine, if you don't have hard water, but if you have, they simply don't dissolve so the fish go hungry.  If you have soft water, they should dissolve, but in so doing they will disturb the hardness of the tank water.  They might also dissolve too quickly and then seriously overfeed the fish. @Sue advised me some time ago not to use this type.  It's a bit too hit-and-miss for me so the ones I'd purchased went in the bin.
 :cheers:
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on April 11, 2017, 08:27:36 PM
The fish don't seem to be nibbling it, which is worrying me. Will leave and see how things go.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Littlefish on April 11, 2017, 08:56:02 PM
Be patient, the fish will find a way to obtain the food when they are hungry.
You'll probably find no trace of the feeding stick by tomorrow morning, and just have a tank of slightly rotund but contented fish doing the equivalent of laying on the sofa with their trousers unbuttoned.  ;D
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on April 12, 2017, 04:28:42 PM
Still no change on the block. Been testing my autofeeder and if I use flake I can get a nice amount of food so going to test that.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Matt on April 13, 2017, 11:18:48 PM
If your just away for a few days that sounds like the best option to me, though flake in autofeeders is renounced for going soggy and no longer dispensing/going off. That said if its only a couple of days the fish should be fine without food for that length of time...
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on April 21, 2017, 11:56:00 AM
Hi all

Back off holiday and had a few losses (4 Rasbora's), to be expected with my luck. Checked ammonia and it is 0.27ppm. Would a 20% water change help, or could I just put a does of Prime in the water?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Littlefish on April 21, 2017, 03:27:07 PM
Sorry to hear about your losses.
I would do a water change. If you are using the prime as your water conditioner as well then that will also help.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on April 21, 2017, 04:38:00 PM
Sorry to hear about your losses.
I would do a water change. If you are using the prime as your water conditioner as well then that will also help.

I expected 1, but got 4. Thought I had lost more but the Black Phantoms were hiding, all 7 of them. Which leads me to a question, they hide most of the time, is there anything I can do to bring them out?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on April 21, 2017, 04:50:49 PM
I've forgotten  :-[ do you have many plants or other decor? I know you intended fake plants, which is fine as long as you have a few of them not just one or two. The most common reasons for fish hiding are that they don't like the water, they don't like their tank mates (usually timid fish sharing a tank with aggressive fish) or that they don't have enough hiding places. Fish that have plenty of hiding places know there is somewhere to run to if a predator comes along so they come out more. (Fish don't know they are in a tank and are safe from predators  ;) )
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on April 21, 2017, 05:00:37 PM
I've forgotten  :-[ do you have many plants or other decor? I know you intended fake plants, which is fine as long as you have a few of them not just one or two. The most common reasons for fish hiding are that they don't like the water, they don't like their tank mates (usually timid fish sharing a tank with aggressive fish) or that they don't have enough hiding places. Fish that have plenty of hiding places know there is somewhere to run to if a predator comes along so they come out more. (Fish don't know they are in a tank and are safe from predators  ;) )

There are lots of places to hide, they just seem to hide behind the same big green plant. There are barrels, a hollow log and 2 temple things where they could hide as well as other plants. Their tank mates are Rasboras, they are usually lively, maybe too lively?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on April 21, 2017, 05:07:47 PM
In my tank it is the rasboras that hide, but I have hengels rasboras not harlequins.
Harlequins are often cited as being slow swimming peaceful fish and black phantoms as being more outgoing. I would expect it to be the harlequins that hide from the phantoms. But fish don't read fish books......
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: fcmf on April 21, 2017, 06:16:54 PM
Sorry to read of more fatalities. I'm inclined to suggest you avoid adding any more rasboras from now on as you seem to have been beset by problems. How many rasboras are you left with and how many phantoms do you have?

I wonder if the phantoms somehow dislike and are hiding from a strong water current? Is the plant, behind which they hide, sheltered from the water current? If so, could the water current have its direction of flow changed or power of flow reduced? Alternatively, perhaps they'll become more confident if they now outnumber the rasboras.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on April 21, 2017, 08:33:47 PM
I have 2 Rasbora left now and 7 Phantoms. The pipe from the filter is pointing toward the surface of the tank, I could try and redirect it and see what happens. They are at bottom of tank near the filter, so would say the current would be less there. I cant adjust the flow rate.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Littlefish on April 21, 2017, 08:36:41 PM
For a very low level of water movement you can always point the outflow towards the glass of the tank, that's the general advice with axolotls, who get very stressed from strong water flow. I generally have the outflow pointing towards the surface of my tanks to make sure there is surface movement to help gas exchange and increase oxygen in the water.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on April 21, 2017, 09:01:30 PM
Have redirected the water flow, still got surface agitation but directed against glass more, hopefully that might help.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on April 22, 2017, 03:16:40 PM
Ok, been doing some thinking about what to do next. The  Phantoms are still hiding and although I love the Harlequins have lost so many wondering if I should try another fish. Any thoughts? I would like neon's but want to add them last.

Also, I haven't really cleaned my filter yet. Am I right in thinking I just rinse out in water I take out of tank? Do I squeeze the sponges or just move them side to side?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on April 22, 2017, 03:22:56 PM
Yes, neons should be added later. They are delicate fish nowadays so I would wait until the tank is running with no problems.


Sponges should be squeezed gently in old tank water. You need to remove any brown goo on the surface but not squeeze them so hard that you dislodge the biofilm. There shouldn't be too much goo as the white pad is there to stop bits of debris reaching the sponges (in theory).
I've always found that blue sponges turn a sort of purple colour. In my tanks they never went blue again after washing.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on April 23, 2017, 03:21:29 PM
Do you think it would be ok to move or remove the big green bush to see if the phantoms might come out more? There is still a few hiding places?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on April 23, 2017, 03:32:58 PM
I wouldn't. There must be a reason why they are hiding behind the bush and moving it will cause them stress.


Do they rush and hide behind it when they see movement outside the tank or are they there all the time? The way to find out is to sit away from the tank but close enough to see what the fish are doing, and keep still for a while, perhaps as long as half an hour, so they forget you are there. Then they will behave normally.
Fish don't behave normally if they see movement which they interpret as something coming to get them, or they see you and assume they are about to be fed. In the case of your fish it doesn't sound like the latter so you need to find out if they are just hiding from the perceived threat of something moving outside the tank.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on April 23, 2017, 04:48:37 PM
They seem there all the time. Have tried sitting away and watching, one or two might pop out but then hide again.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on April 25, 2017, 08:14:01 PM
Fish still hiding, not sure what else to do. Removed the back picture today to see if that helped, seem a very little more out, maybe over next few days they might come out.

I am getting to the end of my ammonia test kit, can it sometimes throw up strange readings?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on April 25, 2017, 08:21:05 PM
The test kits should be OK to the end provided they are still within the expiry date or have been opened less than a year. (We used to have a member on here who worked for API and she said that an opened bottle should be thrown away once it reached a year after opening. Just because the oxygen in the air that gets into the bottle reacts with the ingredients).

Interesting about the phantoms. A though occurs - could they see their refection with the background in place so they thought there were more phantoms in that place and tried to shoal with them  ???
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on April 27, 2017, 10:59:27 PM
Hi Sue

I don't think they could see their reflections. Since taking the background down they have come out a little more, although if i got to tank they hide again.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on April 28, 2017, 09:31:21 AM
My hengels rasboras are like that. If I sit quietly at the other side of the room they go all over the tank but as soon as they see movement they dash into the back corner behind a tall plant. I think it must be just the way some fish are.

On the other hand, the rice fish ignore all movement and I have to be careful not to suck them up while cleaning the tank because they fuss around the siphon tube.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on April 30, 2017, 07:12:37 PM
I have read that Black Phantoms don't like bright light. I am wondering if I should change bulbs to what they call a warm yellow light, instead of the bright daylight bulb I have already. Could that make a difference?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on April 30, 2017, 07:21:46 PM
I know you don't want live plants but floating live plants really are the best thing for reducing light in the tank. I got some water sprite off Ebay and it is doing so well I have to throw handfuls in the compost on a regular basis.

Other than that I don't know if changing the tubes would work. They are usually made bright enough to grow plants. The warm yellow lights I've had just made the tank look as though someone had used it as a urinal  :sick:
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on April 30, 2017, 07:51:10 PM
Ok, will try the water sprite. They sell them in 5's, any idea how many I might need for a 125l tank, measures 80 x 40cm?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on April 30, 2017, 08:09:49 PM
I stared with 1 pack of a few plants, can't remember how many were in it  :-[ But this plant grows.
I have Ceratopteris cornuta rather than Ceratopteris thalictroides, and mine has plants with leaves radiating from a centre which are about 8 inches across. There are also lots of baby plants about half an inch across and every size in between. The seller I got mine from doesn't have it listed at the moment, but I can tell you I got mine in August last year.
Here are two links on the difference between the two types (though some people reckon they arethe same species)
https://www.flowgrow.de/db/aquaticplants/ceratopteris-cornuta
https://www.flowgrow.de/db/aquaticplants/ceratopteris-thalictroides

I find the water flow keeps the plants in just half the tank. But if it grows too much, just pull some out (checking there are no fish in it) and throw it away. Or even sell it  :)
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on April 30, 2017, 09:23:57 PM
Thanks Sue

Have ordered a pack of 5 plants, the Cornuta type. Supposedly a mix of small medium and large plants. Will let you know how I get on.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: fcmf on April 30, 2017, 09:33:52 PM
This sounds similar to my experience - take a read of this thread https://forums.thinkfish.co.uk/general-fishkeeping-advice/possible-changes-to-the-tank-thoughts-welcome/

My x-ray tetras hated lighting too but, after 18 months without it, I decided to try again and persevere with it - for the past ten months or so, they've been fine, particularly in conjunction with live plants. The Aqua-Glo light seems to be more subtle for them / their eyes but enhances the fishes' body and fin colours much more than the Sun-Glo light which is brighter but enhances plant colour better (in my opinion).

I haven't updated the thread with the plants I've had recently but, generally, the alternanthera plants and the hygrophila polysperma are a big "hit" as the fish seem to enjoy playing among these plants and also resting and observing tankmates/me from their various positions between the leaves where they must feel comfortable/safe - in essence, they serve the purpose of being somewhere they can play/relax/observe/hide as they desire and simultaneously build up their confidence but without being too hidden as they would be if behind a rock/decor. So hopefully you'll find the plants you've ordered serve a similar purpose.

Hope that helps.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on May 01, 2017, 07:06:40 PM
I had some big brown leaves I brought a while back, cant remember what they are called but put 2 in tank and all the fish are starting to come out more. Only problem with leaves is they sink eventually so hopefully the plants will have a similar effect.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on May 01, 2017, 07:16:20 PM
If the fish are coming out more while the leaves are floating, that is a good sign.

They sounds like indian almond leaves or cattapa leaves. They are actually a good thing in a tank, so when they sink leave them there till they start to fall apart.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on May 01, 2017, 09:22:49 PM
If the fish are coming out more while the leaves are floating, that is a good sign.

They sounds like indian almond leaves or cattapa leaves. They are actually a good thing in a tank, so when they sink leave them there till they start to fall apart.
They are almond leaves. It says to change them every 2 weeks, is that right? I have 2 in tank at moment.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on May 01, 2017, 09:37:05 PM
2 weeks sounds about right. They do tend to break down after that time and go all horrible. Once you don't need them to screen the light try using one every week, that way there will always be one newish one and one older one in the tank at the same time.

Warning though, they'll turn the water brownish. If it gets too brown, just use a smaller piece of leaf each time.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on May 03, 2017, 03:10:48 PM
So with my bad luck with Harlequins, would any of the following maybe better?

Glowlight Tetra
Black Neon Tetra
Orange Flame Tetra

I also got my Ceratopteris cornuta today, do they grow quickly, and do I need to do anything to help them grow?
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Littlefish on May 03, 2017, 04:51:08 PM
I only have experience with black neon tetra. I have a group of 10 sharing a tank with lemon tetras, gold stripe cories, Harri & Bertie (BNs). Apparently the black neons are hardier than the neon tetras. I don't know about the flame tetras either, although they do also look like very pretty little fish.
I bought some of the same plants yesterday, as I thought that the dwarf puffers might like them. I haven't planted them yet, and I don't have any previous experience with them. They are in my plant storage tank, waiting for me to decide what to do in the puffer tank.  :)
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on May 03, 2017, 06:37:08 PM
Water sprite, the Ceratopteris, can be planted but also just placed on the water surface. They will grow - the biggest of mine are about 7 to 8 inches across, and they make baby plants. I'm not sure how, yet, whether they grow stems from the centre of the plants with new plantlets which break off, or whether they are like java fern and grow new plantlets from the edges of the leaves. I just know I have huge plants, tiny little plants and everything between.

I do nothing except dose a bit of Seachem Flourish Comprehensive every few weeks. This is a plant fertiliser which contains micronutrients (trace elements). The plants get the macronutrients (potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen) from the fish and fish food.
Since you have only a few fish at the moment, you may find you need to add some macronutrients. Since I don't use those, someone who does may be able to suggest a fertiliser.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on May 05, 2017, 10:09:55 PM
Here's a strange thing. Decided to get some glowlight tetras but could only get them from my local garden centre which supposedly uses ro water along with tap water. Garden centre supposedly on same water as me, did a gh and kh test on water fish were in and turns out exactly same as pets at home. Not sure what's going on!!!
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on May 06, 2017, 08:59:04 AM
I would suggest that either the garden centre has not been using RO (or the person doing water changes wasn't told he should) or Pets at Home don't know what they are doing and someone there does use RO.


You have said in the past that your tap water is soft. How near are the garden centre and Pets at Home? Are they supplied by a different water company from you? Because if they are on the same water company, they too will have soft water so why should the garden centre want to use RO  ???
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Matt on May 06, 2017, 09:29:17 AM
Each water company will have multiple sources of water with varying degrees (literally!!) of hardness but by putting the postcode of each into the relevant water companies website you should be able to find out about their tap water hardness.  I can't imagine either using RO routinely except for certain species due to cost... but I'm not sure on the running of fish shops (often thought they should do guided tours for a small fee, I'm sure there would be lots of people who would love to see it).
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on May 06, 2017, 11:19:57 AM
Well Pets at home are on different water, moderately hard according to water board. The garden centre should be on same water as me as they are just down road, and according to water board their water should be moderately soft like mine, but their gh is 16 whilst mine is 7.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Littlefish on May 06, 2017, 11:45:33 AM
Wow, that is quite some difference.  :o
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on May 13, 2017, 11:07:21 AM
Just thought I'd give a quick update on things. Added some more black phantom tetras yesterday to make 11 in total. Suddenly most seem more confident and are coming out more. Gave all the fish some freeze dried bloodworm and they went mad for it. But will use as a treat 2 to 3 times a week. Sadly lost one of my last two Harlequins yesterday,  but have decided to hold off adding any more of them for now. Next will be to add some more glowlight tetra to make their group 11/12 strong then will have to think about other fish to add. If last harlequin is still around I would like to add more as they are a great looking fish. But if not might think of something else.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: barneyadi on May 19, 2017, 06:46:12 PM
Had a fatality today, but was fishes own fault. Was doing water change and hoovering sand and all fish were around the tube when one got sucked up by the tube. I noticed and thought he had swam out. Went and emptied bucket and on starting to clean sand noticed he was sadly in tube and it had been out of water too long.

So note to self to double check if happens again.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Littlefish on May 19, 2017, 07:19:50 PM
Sorry to hear about your fish incident.
I think most of us have had problems with fish getting too close to the syphon. I certainly have. I syphoned up some fry that I didn't know existed last week, but was lucky that they were so small that they ended up in the bucket and I noticed before disposing of the water, so managed to get them back into the quarantine tank.
Tank maintenance can be quite difficult when the fish are inquisitive.
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Sue on May 19, 2017, 07:33:48 PM
I have problems with the ricefish coming close to the siphon tubes and the cherry shrimps just sit there and refuse to move. I have to siphon round them  :o
Title: Re: Fishless cycling problem
Post by: Matt on May 19, 2017, 10:08:56 PM
I rescued 11 baby shrimp from one 15 litre bucket the other week... and 2 from the floor the week before where I'd put a pile of plants I was removing... all survived luckily, that said I never thought of checking the tube itself  :-[