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Author Topic: Help me with amonia/nitrite?  (Read 1168 times)
Mearwynna
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Help me with amonia/nitrite?
« on: October 16, 2011, 06:15:50 PM »

Hi there,

I just joined today because we lost our fantails that we got  on September 18 for my ds birthday.  :'(I'm not exactly sure why, but we think it could have been a couple of things.
1. too over crowded (we have only a ten gallon tank)
2. amonia buildup from that

We had 3 fantails, and a small common goldfish that we bought from Walmart. They were beautiful. I'm so sad they are gone. No, walmart didn't warn us we were overcrowding. Should have researched before we bought it.

Anyway, I now know that we had too many. I now know we didn't change the water enough and it grew toxic for them.

So I went and changed the water completely and rinsed the gravel (I didn't know any better.) I'm learning lots of things here.

So we went to a pet store and bought one fantail and two tiny guppies for the ten gallon tank. We also got a live plant, a wisteria. I'm hoping the plant will help a bit with oxygen  and waste products. We also bought a 6 in one test strip kit which we used before we put the new fish in. It is showing a 1.0 on nitrites. This is the low caution level so I'm wondering about that. Should I keep testing for a while to see if it gets worse?

I hope this one is going to make it. He sure seems active.

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gwenblack72
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Re: Help me with amonia/nitrite?
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2011, 06:54:12 PM »

  You can use the ammonia calculator here on the site if you didn't get a test to check the ammonia level. Yes you did over crowd the tank, from research, & help of people here on the forum, I have learned a lot. It goes something like this 20 gallons for the first goldfish, & 10 gallons for every goldfish after that. You shouldn't have gotten guppies to put in the tank, the goldfish may eat or kill them, sometimes you never know. If you continue to research, & talk to people & get advice here you will learn to take very good care of your new fish. I am sorry for your loss, I just lost some of my fish just this week, so I know how you feel. Just keep yourself updated, & remember you can never learn to much, no matter how old you are Wink
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gwenblack72
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Re: Help me with amonia/nitrite?
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2011, 06:56:49 PM »

Oh yeah by the way karma to you for educating yourself, before all was lost Cheesy
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Mearwynna
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Re: Help me with amonia/nitrite?
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2011, 09:20:53 PM »

Having a hard time understanding something. We bought (brand name Jungle) The 6 in 1  test strip has a NH designation, it calls them nitrite (NO-2) and a nitrate (No+3) are these things the same as NH3 and NH4? that is talked about on the ammonia calculator?
I'm just not sure if this <'free' versus 'ionized' ammonia?    Free ammonia (NH3-N) and ionized-ammonia (NH4+-N) >

is the same as what I'm looking at on my bottle???
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Nossie
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Re: Help me with amonia/nitrite?
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2011, 03:03:05 AM »

First of all, never mind calculating the ammonia, you've crowded the tank again, a 10 gallon is too small for a goldfish to live healthy, mostly because they are very social fish, they love company! So the minimum would be a 20 gallon, but then you could have two goldfish in that instead, ideal would be a 30 gallon with two fantails. The guppies will be eaten before you know it as soon as the goldfish will grow a little.

Only thing you should be doing while learning about the water quality and the eco system of an aquarium, is daily or bi-daily water changes of 50%. This will keep all the harmful nitrogen down and your fish safe. Really, all you need to know is that the ammonia should be gone as soon as the nitrite is.
The golden rule of keeping goldfish is as follows:
WEEKLY WATER CHANGES OF 50% AND LARGE WATER CHANGES IF THE FISH ARE ACTING STRANGE OR WATER PARAMETERS ARE OFF. Always rely on fresh water and not chemicals to keep the fish healthy.

This link here might help: (Link is not visible to guests. Please register to view.)
It contains another link to a thread about cycling the tank, in case you didn't completely understand that yet Smiley

It happens all the time that people first don't care to learn about goldfishes' needs and second, don't get any advice at the pet shop because the people at the pet shop don't care. Later, a fraction realize that the fish aren't happy (like you, and many other members here!) and do their best to take care of that. So good luck with it from now on, I'm pretty sure your fish will be just fine! Smiley
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fantailer
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Re: Help me with amonia/nitrite?
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2011, 04:52:18 AM »

Also guppies can't live with goldfish. They like different temps and the guppies will turn white if they don't get the right temp.
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Nossie
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Re: Help me with amonia/nitrite?
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2011, 09:13:22 AM »

They like the same temps, guppies have the same water requirements as goldfish, precisely, it's just that the difference in size really doesn't work, and the guppies might start nipping the goldfishes' fins.
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Mearwynna
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Re: Help me with amonia/nitrite?
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2011, 09:30:14 AM »

I just read a bit about guppies last night, and realized they are not compatible. There are in there for right now, while we figure out what to do with them.
We are looking a for a larger second hand tank, so the ten gallon is only a temporary measure.

I'm still having a hard time understanding what to while the tank cycles. Do I just do a 50% water change every week? Do I do less more often? Am I supposed to be checking with the test strips? I don't have a specific ammonia test strip, so do I need another one? I'm aware that the temporary ten gallon tank is small so I want to be sure we are keeping the levels down while we hunt for a new aquarium.

Oh, I just re read your reply. O.k. so a 50% water change every other day would be helpful. We can do that.

You have all been very helpful! Thanks -Mearwynna
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Nossie
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Re: Help me with amonia/nitrite?
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2011, 02:56:44 AM »

When you'd find a bigger tank, you could let the goldfish move in there and keep the guppies in the 10? Smiley

You change the water every second or third day. When the tank is cycled you change every week.
Test strips are generally pretty inaccurate compared to the liquid test kits, but they're cheaper and they'll get the job done, don't worry about getting an ammonia test, I actually don't think you need the ammonia test in the first place because ammonia will only be present in the system for a week or so. So once you notice the nitrite disappearing, the ammonia should be gone too Smiley
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Mearwynna
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Re: Help me with amonia/nitrite?
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2011, 03:56:09 PM »

If the guppies make it, that's what we'll do.

So today I tested with the strips and the nitrite was between a 3.0 and a 5.00 so I did a 50% water change. Just two days ago I did a complete water change. The test on sunday was at a 1.00. I feel like that kind of went up high in just one day. I also found that the filter was slightly clogged with pieces of the plant so maybe that was why.
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Skwishee
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Re: Help me with amonia/nitrite?
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2011, 09:39:30 AM »

Hi Mearwynna!

It's natural for the nitrites to spike like that, when I was cycling my tank, the nitrites went above and beyond 5ppm, before they came back down!

At the moment your tank is in the second stage of cycling by the sounds of things (the first stage is bacteria developing to transform the Ammonia into Nitrite). The second stage is bacteria developing to convert the Nitrites into Nitrates. So once enough bacteria has grown in the gravel and filter, you'll find the Nitrite level will start to fall Smiley

Just keep up with the daily changes ^_^
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Nossie
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Re: Help me with amonia/nitrite?
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2011, 02:14:00 PM »

Complete water change??
This is a pretty horrible sentence in this forum actually, because if you take out all the water, clean the gravel and filter in tap water and fill the tank back up, you're forcing the cycle to start from square one.
You didn't do that, right?

Here's a thread on how to properly maintain your tank: (Link is not visible to guests. Please register to view.)
I know I already linked to it, but I can't stress this enough! D:
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Mearwynna
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Re: Help me with amonia/nitrite?
« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2011, 09:13:06 AM »

Yes, on sunday I did do that. It was after the other fish died. Then I read about cycling. I'll stick with the 50% water changes every other day and won't do a  complete change again. I've been reading a lot since sunday.
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scrivens345
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Re: Help me with amonia/nitrite?
« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2011, 12:46:32 PM »

(Link is not visible to guests. Please register to view.)
Having a hard time understanding something. We bought (brand name Jungle) The 6 in 1  test strip has a NH designation, it calls them nitrite (NO-2) and a nitrate (No+3) are these things the same as NH3 and NH4? that is talked about on the ammonia calculator?
I'm just not sure if this <'free' versus 'ionized' ammonia?    Free ammonia (NH3-N) and ionized-ammonia (NH4+-N) >

is the same as what I'm looking at on my bottle???

NO2 is the nitrite radical

NO3 is the nitrate radical

NH3is Ammonia

NH4+ is the Ammonium ion

When ammonia is present in water, the water can act as an acid and donate a proton to the ammonia...the result is the formation of ammonium hydroxide  NH3+H20=NH4OH
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Mearwynna
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Re: Help me with amonia/nitrite?
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2011, 12:43:01 PM »

Just wanted to give an update. It seems like things have been going fine,(we've been doing the 50% water changes every 2 or 3 days)  but all of a sudden we've had a huge problem today. Overnight the water became so murky we couldn't even see the fish! We found the filter was blocked partially by some organic matter. I don't know if the water problem was caused totally by the filter or not. We went ahead and did  50 water change and used the gravel siphon a little bit and that stirred up a lot of junk. I want to know how much of the stuff we need to get out of the gravel, and if it will damage the cycle if we remove a lot of the organic matter or not.

I think you are right about the tests strips not being accurate. I test before and after it is always the same. By now the ammonia should be way down, because it's been weeks, right?

Little Fish, ( he still has no name) is still very active and is growing fine.
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Skwishee
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Re: Help me with amonia/nitrite?
« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2011, 07:10:47 PM »

Good to hear the little goldfish is doing okay Smiley

Tanks can take a while to cycle properly. This time period can range from 4 to 8 weeks.
If you can purchase a liquid test kit, such as the API master test kit for Freshwater. This will give you more accurate readings, so you can see where the tank is at with cycling.

As for the water becoming murky, I would suggest doing a partial water change as you have done and checking the filter over to make sure it's okay. If the filter is exceptionally clogged then clean it in old tank water not tap water. So if you've just done a partial water change keep some of that old tank water nearby in a bucket and just give the filter a quick clean, I find just gently rubbing any gunk off the sponges is usaully enough. The reason for this, is because tap water will kill the bacteria whereas old tank water won't Smiley

Also when you next do a gravel clean, try and get as dirt out of there as you can (this is because the poo and un eaten food will produce ammonia to toxic levels if left alone for too long in the gravel, hence why maintenance is fairly important on aquariums!), sometimes to do a really good clean you may need to take out a little more water than usaul. As long as the fish have enough water to swim around in comfortably, they'll be fine. Just go systematically around the gravel bed with the gravel cleaner and suck up as much as you can!

Has there been any more news on a bigger tank for the fish? How are the guppies doing?
« Last Edit: November 15, 2011, 07:13:41 PM by Skwishee » Logged
Nossie
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Re: Help me with amonia/nitrite?
« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2011, 02:12:45 AM »

Had to give you karma for that great post, Skwishee! Grin

Many people are actually concerned about killing off the beneficial bacteria when changing the water, but this is rather impossible, they reside in the filter and gravel and won't be harmed at all, quite on the contrary it's very important to change the water because fresh water will contain more oxygen than the old would, and the bacteria need well oxygenated water Smiley

Try to get to those corners and don't be afraid to move the ornaments if they are in the way when vacuuming, if you don't get rid of all that sludge the ammonia will never go down to safe levels. I noticed that at least in my tank as well, it goes down a lot more if I also clean the filters once a month or every week for the internal filter. You'll know that you have a healthy bunch of bacteria living in your filter when what you find on the filter pads will be sort of like brown and gooey. If it's still pieces of food or plant parts, it means that the bacteria haven't gotten to work yet. Same with the gravel, you should be getting something resembling brown dust almost when you clean it with the vacuum Smiley

Best of luck with the cycling!
Oh, and I'm also very interested in the news on the bigger tank Smiley
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Mearwynna
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Re: Help me with amonia/nitrite?
« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2011, 11:30:55 AM »

The bigger tank will be coming pretty soon. Planning for an early christmas present and we decided to get a new tank, filter system ect rather than having to deal with someone else's germs. Hence the longer wait to save up for it. I'm planning on a 40 gallon, that way we can get two or three safely.  Our filter pads are brown and gooey, so that's good. I did do a very good vacuuming of the gravel last night and now we'll be doing this once a week, too. I guess I thought I had to leave the gravel alone while the bacteria was growing at first, so we didn't use the vacuum. The water is nice and clear now.

A couple of weeks ago the male guppy was sucked into the filter intake and died, Cry but the female is still fine. I was trying to get someone to adopt her but no luck so far.
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Nossie
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Re: Help me with amonia/nitrite?
« Reply #18 on: November 16, 2011, 12:38:28 PM »

Oh, poor guppy Sad They're pretty fragile little fish after all.
If all else fails maybe you could just give her back to the shop? Only if you don't want to keep her of course.

Everything else sounds really good, so exciting! Smiley
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Skwishee
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Re: Help me with amonia/nitrite?
« Reply #19 on: November 16, 2011, 07:35:59 PM »

Awww sorry about the guppy  Sad

But good news about the tank! Remember for goldfish it's a good idea to have filtration 10x the tank size if you can  Smiley They are messy things! Good luck! Hope things continue to go okay ^_^
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Mearwynna
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Re: Help me with amonia/nitrite?
« Reply #20 on: December 16, 2011, 01:53:46 PM »

Hi,

Came back to update you all. We got our new tank! We bought a 37 gallon tank with it's own stand last saturday. We transferred him to the new tank.

Today we had to do a  50% water change, because we had been to busy during the week to do the every other day 20%, and vacumed the gravel. I think one the kids might have overfed him some time in the week because there was ton of stuff in the gravel. Much more than I expected. I think the fish was acting a little off, so I'm hoping he's going to be o.k.

So when we changed to the new tank last week, I just scooped the gravel up from the old one and transferred it to the new along with about half the old water. Hoping that would be o.k. for the bacteria.

So now I have a new question. We are supposed to go out of town on the 20'th for a week, or 8 days. Will the fish be o.k. in the new tank? Without water changes?  We can do another water change before we leave. I have someone caring for our other pets but the guy isn't going to want to do a lot for a fish besides feed it.

What's the best way to get through this period?
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Nossie
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Re: Help me with amonia/nitrite?
« Reply #21 on: December 16, 2011, 05:50:32 PM »

Your tank is probably cycling, so it's not the best thing to be leaving while there's nothing in the tank that's dealing with the waste Undecided
However, 8 days may be alright still. I say, test the water the week you're going to leave, change out about 60-70% the day before or on the day, depending on what suits you best. As long as the ammonia isn't too high on the test result, a water change should suffice. Don't feed the fish anything at all after the water change!!
There's only one fish in that relatively big tank, so I'm fairly sure everything will be just fine while you're out Smiley
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Mearwynna
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Re: Help me with amonia/nitrite?
« Reply #22 on: December 16, 2011, 07:36:46 PM »

The trip is why we had to get the new tank. We felt it was more dangerous to be leaving him in a smaller, 10 gallon tank, because the sitter won't do water changes. Will he be o.k. not eating while we are gone? Should he fast that long?
We are planning to do a water change right before we leave, and then probably right when we get back.

He's been moving slow today, not his usual perky self so I'm pretty sure there was at least some ammonia present in the water. I hope we haven't damaged him.  Sad
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Nossie
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Re: Help me with amonia/nitrite?
« Reply #23 on: December 17, 2011, 06:21:34 AM »

Yes, it's best if you don't let anyone feed him while you're gone, a goldfish can easily survive without food for two weeks, and it's only safer for him and the tank.

If he's acting strange, don't hesitate, just take out a small amount of water, maybe 30-50% should suffice Smiley You may want to buy some stress zyme by API, this works as beneficial bacteria and will speed up the cycling process and protect the fishes' gills and slime coat Smiley
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scrivens345
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Re: Help me with amonia/nitrite?
« Reply #24 on: December 17, 2011, 09:00:47 AM »

stress zyme is good, a product that might be useful while you're away is Tetra "Easy balance" which will help prevent any spikes


But no food is your best bet

also bear in mind that it can take up to 6 weeks for a new tank to cycle
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Mearwynna
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Re: Help me with amonia/nitrite?
« Reply #25 on: December 17, 2011, 01:23:06 PM »

I'm very sure the new tank is cycling, the water smells horrible and is cloudy. Last night I took out another 30 % water and it was a little bit better but the fish is still not looking so good. This morning he was bottom resting and looking worse than yesterday.  Sad

I had an idea. I took the old ten gallon refilled it and put it right next to the kitchen sink, and put him back in it. We still have the old bio filter  but used a new carbon filter. Anyway, this way the pet sitter will be able to do the water changes for him while we are gone and he's not in the nasty new tank.

I wasn't expecting the new tank to get so nasty. What are we doing wrong, or is this just the way big tanks cycle?

He's perking up a little being back in his old tank. It's also a little bit warmer in the old one.The new tanks water was colder. So do you think this will be ok for now?
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Mearwynna
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Re: Help me with amonia/nitrite?
« Reply #26 on: December 17, 2011, 01:25:18 PM »

I think we have stress zyme and easy balance and start smart. We also have an amonia detoxifier but I'm not sure if that is a good idea to use right now.

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scrivens345
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Re: Help me with amonia/nitrite?
« Reply #27 on: December 17, 2011, 01:50:01 PM »

read this article it will explain how to cycle a tank and what happens
(Link is not visible to guests. Please register to view.)

it might be better not to change the filter media as this contains beneficial bacteria...the general rule is to replace half the filter media at any one time
« Last Edit: December 17, 2011, 01:54:43 PM by scrivens345 » Logged
Mearwynna
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Re: Help me with amonia/nitrite?
« Reply #28 on: December 17, 2011, 02:10:24 PM »

o.k. do you mean the carbon filter? We had to use a new one (for the ten gallon)  because hubby tossed the old one.
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scrivens345
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Re: Help me with amonia/nitrite?
« Reply #29 on: December 17, 2011, 02:20:34 PM »

Ah well.....Is there any chance you could take your fish back to the store, and explain to them that you are going on holiday and your tank is still cycling, they MIGHT agree to babysit your fish for you??

Or can your neighbour do a 50% water change every other day?

It would be so sad for you to lose more fish
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