The subject sums it up really, I've gone from having 6 cherry barbs, 4 platys and a danio to 3 cherry barbs, 3 platys and the danio and it looks like another cherry barb is now starting to suffer.
The only thing I can think that I did wrong is I forgot to add Prime to one of the buckets before starting to add the water into the tank. I added about a quarter of the bucket before I realised my mistake, then I added the Prime. Is that enough to hurt the good bacteria in the tank?
I had an ammonia spike previously after losing a platy fry that we somehow lost; eventually I managed to remove the remains after frantically cleaning the gravel for a few days.
Other than water changes what options do I have? The dodgy water change was done last Sunday, if the cycle has been affected what can I do to halt the damage to my fish?
Fishlady wrote: I think maybe your previous nitrate reading was incorrect. At the end of a cycle, the nitrate level is usually sky high and an 80% or more change is needed to reduce it before adding fish. Do several water changes over a couple of days now to get it down to an acceptable level. Don't change too much on the first change as that could shock them, but increase the amount changed with each successive water change. You should aim to get it back to close to tap water level over a number of partial changes.
I've done a 25% water change today and I'll increase that tomorrow to maybe 35%, then a 40% but, essentially, the fish are suffering because I didn't change enough water before I added them - I didn't realise I should have changed such a large amount and now it looks like I'm paying the price.
Right tests for nitrate are 40ppm or 80ppm I honestly cannot tell the difference, it's definitely not 160ppm though I have tested twice more. I will do a partial water change just to be on the safe side in case that is the problem here but I'm hoping it's not new tank syndrome or something hideous.
I followed fmcf's advice and dosed the tank to 3ppm ammonia on Friday. Saturday morning both ammonia and nitrite read 0ppm. I did a ~25% water change in preparation for fish then went to my lfs and bought 5 platy's and a danio (which i didn't want but it ended up in the bag and they couldn't get it out so I paid a discount and bought it because the fish were getting stressed).
Yesterday morning one of the Platy's died, literally within half an hour of me first noticing it was swimming on its side. I took it out (there were no visible signs of trauma but I would say her stomach was a little larger than the others). Now the remaining platy's are spending a lot of time at the bottom of the tank but the danio is swimming along non-stop and looks to be ok.
I am hoping the death was isolated but am concerned about the platy's spending time at the bottom of the tank or hidden in the plants.
EDIT: I just checked water parameters and the nitrate test came out at 160ppm?! I am double checking it now but surely that can't be right? I last checked Saturday and it was 20-40ppm. I have fed them very little over the two days. I don't want to jump the gun and start changing water but I am worried now that something is wrong.
Yesterday I dosed the tank up to 3ppm of Ammonia, like I've been doing the past few days, but this morning I just tested the water and it registered both Ammonia and Nitrite as 0ppm.
I did a test for Nitrates, and compared it to the tap water, but it looked exactly the same to me, so it appears there is no extra Nitrates in the tank water.
Could the bacteria somehow have died during the last 24 hours? The tank has only been cycling for 3 weeks as of tomorrow, so it can't be cycled already. If it was Nitrates should be markedly higher surely?
Thought i'd update this thread with my cycling progress, plus I have a further question about the cycling process.
I bought the Kleen Off ammonia (which is disgusting stuff btw, it smells like my nan's old perm packets just even stronger!). Anyway it's just under two weeks now since I added it, and I have nitrites, which is dead exciting, but my question is when exactly will the tank be cycled?
What I'm struggling with is at what point do I stop adding the ammonia? Do I stop immediately once nitrates spike? I can't quite fathom out what point I can actually say 'yes, that's it the tank is cycled, now I just wait for the ammonia and nitrite to completely disappear, then I can add fish'.