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Need Advice/Knowledge!!
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Joined: 15 Nov 2004
Location: Ft. Lauderdale, FL

PostPosted: 2004.11.15(Mon)16:49    Post subject: Need Advice/Knowledge!! Reply with quote


Name's Chad. Just looking for some input from the more experienced.
First off, I just recently got into the aquaria the experience is definately lacking. I have a 55gal tank...that I'm currently cycling with about 16 fish. (3 Leopard Danios & 12 Zebras & a "Bandit Cory"). In addition I have a few plants: 1 Banana Plant, 1 Amazon Swordplant, a Barteri plant, and 3 green hedges. They've all been in the tank now for 6 days. As of today my water chemistry looks like this:
Temp: 79F
pH: 7.4-7.5 (steady) / pH(tap):7.4
Ammonia: .25mg/l
KH/Alk (Aquarium): (4.8dKH)-(1.71meq/l)-(85ppm)
KH/Alk (Tap): (1.9dKH)-(0.69meq/l)-(34ppm)
Nitrite: 2ppm
Nitrate: 75ppm

The water in my tank is almost 14 days old. 8 of those days were spent with NO fish/plants and just activated carbon filtration.

Question: Is my KH/Alk abnormally low for the level of pH in my tank/tap? Should my water be "harder" with my current pH? I've never read about Soft Alkaline water or Hard Acidic water. And from the looks of my test results I have "soft alkaline water". Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Question: Would you recommend hard or softwater fish with the given water parameters?

Question: What are optimal levels of Nitrates and Nitrites in a lightly planted tank? Are my levels disasterously high/low?

Question: I'm considering an RO/DI unit for my tap to make water to use for water changes and for replacing evaporated tank water.
Any recommendations? Bad idea?

Answers to these questions and any additional input would be appreciated.
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New Members

Joined: 13 Nov 2004

PostPosted: 2004.11.15(Mon)20:14    Post subject: Reply with quote should have only put 1 or 2 fish in there wile it was cycling. Youare now burning and permently damaging about 20 fish lol. Thos fish will never be the same. Its like when you get a VERY STRONG shampo in your eye. Thats how it feals for there whole body. Also why don't you truy FISHLESS cycling? Read up on it in the Articls. The articls can help you alout. your amonia and nitite should be zero when its don cycling. your nitrate should be 5.
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Angry Cuttlefish

Joined: 03 Oct 2004
Location: Laguna Hills, CA

PostPosted: 2004.11.15(Mon)23:17    Post subject: Reply with quote

For an article on fishless cycing try I've done it twice now with very good results. Of course, it may not be an option now that you have fish, but it's still good to improve your knowledge. Smile

You have very high nitrates and you should probably start doing daily water changes to bring that down. 25% a day until it gets down below 20ppm will help. After that, depending on conditions, be sure to change 25% of the water per week. Some people get away with fewer changes, and more changes never hurts (at least, in my experience).

Your water, aside from ammonia and nitrates, looks OK. Your readings may be due to the cycle, however, and there isn't a lot that can be done about it until the cycle ends.

Good luck!
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Jamie N

Joined: 05 May 2004
Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: 2004.11.16(Tue)9:27    Post subject: Reply with quote

welcome chad! I'm glad you're seeking info on how best to take care of your fish! Many people who first find this site don't even know what cycling is. . . it's good that you've made it this far already. That being said, the last posts are correct about the cycling process being damaging to the fish and fishless cycling as being the way to go. There are a couple options for you. You could take the fish back and cycle fishlessly (fishlessly? lol). Or you can continue to cycle as you are. I'll bet that most on this site would recommend you take fish back.

The article on fishless cycling should explain that process, but I will add that if you intend on not fishless cycling, any water changes you do while cycling will increase the time it takes to cycle. This is not to say you shouldn't do water changes - I don't really know the right answer to that - but what you're weighing in this instance is a very severe cycling (painful, etc.) for the fish you have in there, or a longer, less severe cycling. . .

I'm not quite sure what you mean by KH/Alk. . . alkalinity? Hmm.. KH measures the tendency of your water to resist pH swings - in other words, it's buffering effect. Your tap is low, but your tank is alright. Did you add aquarium salt or a buffering solution?

You might want to test your gH too. gH is general hardness and is the usual water parameter for testing how much stuff is dissolved in your water. People generally take gH into account when they're considering hard vs. soft water (low gH=soft water).

Optimal levels: Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 20 ppm. Most fish love water changes. I'd recommend, once your tank gets cycled, to asses how long it takes for your nitrates to reach 20 ppm. What you'll want to do is to implrement a water changing regimen that will keep nitrates under 20. You'll also want to take into account that there shouldn't be any temp change during water changes. Also, make sure to use a dechlorinator.

Your nitrite/nitrate levels are disasterous only because you're cycling - in that sense, they're supposed to be disasterous - hence the push for fishless cycling.

RO/DI, imo, is not neccessary unless you're planning on keeping fish that absolutely must have softer water than your tap. An RO filter removes all dissolved solids - gH=0. This is actually bad for most fish. Although RO is fine for topping off evaporation, imo, you should be making enough water changes that it shouldn't matter (once cycled).

Hope that helped and have fun!
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