4 years ago
Karen
Guest

I added Platy's slowly starting with two the first 48 hours, then waited 10 days and added 3 more Platy's, then all together within three weeks I have 10. Three days ago the water got so cloudy I couldn't see the fish. The ammonia level was very high but no nitrites. One fish died before the cloudy water started, then another was hiding and acting stressed.I have an outdoor pond with Koi's that's been established for three years. I tested the water and all was good except the ph was lower so I raised it a little. Got water out of it and filled a 30 gallon tank and took the Platy's out of the 55 gal. tank and introduced them into that tank. They cheered up the next day and I can see a big difference in how they feel. Well, the 55 gal. tank has been cloudy for 5 days now and don't know how to fix it. Several people at the pet stores tell me different thing to do. One will say don't do nothing let it cycle out because if I change any of the water, the tank will have to start all over again recycling. Then i'm told to do a partial water change.
From what I've read on this site I'm impressed and have this gut feeling that someone will correct all of these problems on what to do to clear it up.
I also have 2 week old platy's in a 6 gallon tank, and their ammonia and nitrites is rising and it's a new tank..Please help!

Answer
4 years ago
johnarthur
Blogs: 107
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You added fish before the nitrogen cycle was established. Building the nitrogen cycle involves growing active colonies of three different bacteria types. The beneficial bacteria live mostly in the substrate and filter elements, so using pond water provides only a temporary drop in ammonia.

Fish respiration and digestion, uneaten food and decaying organic matter all produce toxic ammonia. In an aquarium with a working nitrogen cycle, one bacteria colony digests ammonia and converts it to nitrite, which is a toxic nitrogen compound. The next bacteria type digests nitrite and converts it to nitrate, which is not harmful in concentrations below 40 ppm. The third bacteria type digests nitrate and converts it to elemental nitrogen and oxygen. When everything works properly, the good bacteria eat just enough to balance the biological load (toxins) from the entire aquarium system.

In a 55 gallon aquarium, it usually takes over a month to establish a nitrogen cycle. To hurry things along, add a few cups of gravel or a used filter element from an established, working aquarium. You can also purchase water supplements that contain beneficial bacteria. Of course, it still takes them all a while to mature and become fully effective. Fast growing live plants like hornwort can digest quite a bit of ammonia, so you may want to add a large bunch.

If you can't take any of those steps to encourage growth of the nitrogen cycle, you will need to do a 20 or 25 percent partial water change every day for a week or two. This will at least dilute the toxins. However, it will slow development of the nitrogen cycle, because the beneficial bacteria feed on the very things that need to be diluted for the benefit of the fish.

And yes, cloudy water is typical while the nitrogen cycle is getting started. You're welcome to ask more questions.

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4 years ago
Karen
Guest

Thank you very much John. That explains a lot. So I guess that explains why some people say to leave it alone, and others say to change the water. Changing the water would help the fish but would prolong the cycling. Since I moved the fish out of the 55 gal.,with it fishless, I'll just let it cycle, and add real bacteria to it everyday like Stress Zyme?

I'm thinking on the other two tanks (30gal. 6gal)that has ammonia and nitrite with platy's and frys to save them, to do partial water changes everyday or once a week, and should I add Stress Zyme everyday that has live bacteria in it, or can you recommend better than Stress Zyme.. And I will certainly get the live plants you recommended Thanks, Karen

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4 years ago
johnarthur
Blogs: 107
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Stress Zyme contains beneficial bacteria, but it does not need to be added repeatedly to get the cycle going without fish. I usually just add a small pinch of flake food every other day and wait a few weeks. If you like, you can monitor the cycle by testing the water. You should first see an ammonia spike followed by a nitrite spike, then zero for both. When you get zero ammonia and nitrite and nitrate below 40 ppm, it's time for weekly, partial water changes and the addition of fish. Live plants can be added while the cycle is getting established.

Since your aquarium already has a start, you may see a working nitrogen cycle in two or three weeks. The aquariums with fish and no nitrogen cycle will need daily partial water changes. Please keep us up to date.

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4 years ago
Karen
Guest

Thanks for your quick reply. I will keep you posted. Already started partial water change, and thanks again, you made me feel more postive. I'm such a worrier I might start liking this aquarium busness before it's over with...

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4 years ago
johnarthur
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4 years ago
Karen
Guest

I waited 2 1/2 hours after 25% water change and retested both tanks, ammo 0.50 and nitrite 1.0
John, do you think that's bad? Is there anything else I can do, or just wait and do it again tomorrow?

Reply
4 years ago
mjrkiller308
Champion
Blogs: 27
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yes continue to do the water change daily till it goes down and stays down for about a week. then i would recommend doing a 35% water changes twice a week every week and it should maintain the ammonia nitrate and nitrite levels at a survivable amount. good luck keep us filled in my friend

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4 years ago
Karen
Guest

Thanks, I will try that and hope they will survive through this. I wished I had known all of this info because I would have done it differently like a fishless cycle.

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4 years ago
mjrkiller308
Champion
Blogs: 27
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no prob my friend feel free to ask anything if you need

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3 years ago
Karen
Guest

My 6 gallon tank with platty fry's have odd readings of no trace of ammo and nitrites high. What happened to the ammo reading. I'm still doing 25% pwc...Thanks

Reply
3 years ago
Karen
Guest

My 55 gallon tank has zero ammo, zero nitrite and nitrata.It took exactly one month to finish cycling. I took nine Platy's out of the 30 gal tank (which is still cycling), and put them into the 55 gal., but left one female that looks like she might be fixing to drop some fry's soon.I'm still doing 25% water change with only one fish in there to keep toxins down.The test kit shows very little ammo, and no nitrites as of yet.

My question is, I can't find Hornwort plant to use for cover when she drops the fry's. Will any plant do for that purpose and also help keep ammo down?

Reply
3 years ago
johnarthur
Blogs: 107
Forum: 25,048
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Any bushy, floating plant will do. Cabomba and anacharis are two more examples. You may want to check Aquabid.com. There you can find just about any kind of aquarium plant. Hornwort usually does best in my aquariums, but some of the others may do well in yours.

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3 years ago
Karen
Guest

I just ordered some hornwort, Thanks..

I Have another question.Since my 55 gal tank has 0 readings of no ammo and nitrites, I moved all the Platy's in there except for one pregnant platy (left her in the 30 gal tank and just tested the water that she's in showing very high nitrites and little ammo.I've been doing daily water changes and it's still high The tank has been up since the 14 of May.I was wondering if I should take out maybe 25% of the water in the 55 gal. tank and add it to the 30gal. tank to get it going. She seems to be okay so far under those conditions, but i'm worried it might harm her.

If I ever get through cycling these tanks, I think I will separate the males from the females. I don't have anymore room for anymore fish lol But that might depress them not being able to mate, but it depresses me if they do,lol. Beside, I have no more room for fish.

Reply
3 years ago
johnarthur
Blogs: 107
Forum: 25,048
Votes: 1,344

The beneficial bacteria associated with the nitrogen <email> mostly in the substrate and filter media, so exchanging the water would have little effect. A few cups of gravel from an established aquarium will help start the nitrogen cycle.

When fish are in an uncycled tank, the toxins they normally produce need to be diluted to avoid harm. However, those are the exact toxins that feed the beneficial bacteria colonies powering the nitrogen cycle. Thus the partial water changes help protect the fish while slowing growth of the nitrogen cycle bacteria.

A few years ago, I set up a couple of new aquariums (46 and 30 gallons) and measured ammonia every day using different test kits. The aquariums had no fish but several cups of gravel from an established aquarium. They also had plenty of hornwort and a pinch of flake food every other day. For a month or more, both ammonia and nitrite measured zero. Finally, I did a partial water change and added fish; they all stayed healthy. Apparently, the good bacteria digested the ammonia before the hornwort had a chance.

So far as separating male and female Platies, it may not be necessary, and it must be very frustrating for the fish. Platies are not long lived, and in a good size aquarium, they seem to do their own population control. They reach a maximum population and stay there. Maybe they eat some of the fry; I don't know.

Reply
3 years ago
Karen
Guest

Thanks, I decided to go ahead and move the pregnant Platy into the 55 gal tank with the other fish, and will put Hornwort plants in there to help with cover for the fry's and I will try not to worry about the fry's getting eaten and let nature take it's course.
She seems to be stressed by moving her, but I did do the bag floating method for twenty minutes and then dribbled a little aquarium water gradually before I turned her loose. She's staying close to the bottom and not moving much.Hopefully she will begin to move around, but at least she's in better water than where she was...

Now that the 30 gal. tank is empty, I will feed a few flakes every other day and keep testing the water, and let it finish cycling out.. Someday I would like to maybe put a couple of Silver dollar fish in there but don't know yet. I'm afraid they might be to big for a 30 gal. tank.

Reply
3 years ago
Karen
Guest

I have a problem here..The pregnant platy that I moved over to the 55 gal. tank is not acting right. I just checked the PH in the tank she WAS in, it read,8.2 and for Platy's I think it suppose to be 7.5..Well the 55 gal tank I put here in PH reads less than 7.4 off the chart..Could that be why she's not acting right and if so, is there anything I can do to help her?

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1 year ago
cichlidlover3
Guest

About 10 days ago I set up a new tank. I used some water from an established tank and also used their established filter. My nitrite, nitrate and ammonia levels were in the normal range with the exception of the ammonia being just a little high. My water is very cloudy. With all parameters being normal except for a little spike in the ammonia, do you recommend I still perform weekly water changes and if so, for how long until the water becomes clear? Thanks for any info.

Reply
13 months ago
Paul
Guest

Hi John,
Your advice is sound but you seem like the kind of chap who likes to know stuff, so here's a little more information for you.
You're dead right about the Nitrogen cycle,
Ammonium turns to Nitrite turns to Nitrate, and if left alone Nitrate will eventually de-nitrify; Nitrates turn into Oxygen and Nitrogen, Oxygen dissolves into the water, Nitrogen is insoluble in water and tiny little gas bubbles form which float harmlessly out of your aquarium (or My Sewage treatment works).
All the reactions that happen biologically are equilibrium reactions, so that if there is a high concentration of Ammonium present it promotes the growth of the Bacteria which convert Ammonium to Nitrite. However if there are no bacteria established to remove the Nitrate then the reaction converting Nitrite to Nitrate is slowed down, and Nitrates are the most poisonous species in the cycle.
The clever trick of adding live plants isn't that they somehow magically eat the Ammonium, but that they use the Nitrates as a fertiliser. This allows the other more quickly developed bacteria to get on with doing their jobs of converting Ammonium to Nitrite to Nitrate, while the plants remove the Nitrates from the system.
You should include a word of warning to people introducing live plants. The plants need pretty thorough maintenance. When parts of the plants die off, as they invariably do, the dead leaves etc need to be removed ASAP because all that Nitrogen that the plants have removed will quickly be returned into the aquarium as Ammonium.
Hope you enjoy and understand.

Reply
13 months ago
Joni
Wiz
Blogs: 7
Forum: 9,453
Votes: 362

That was beautifully written! Not sure why you would feel our johnarthur would require that as he basically has taught thousands that same thing.... but either way I do appreciate the clarity of your words! Are you a member? I certainly hope so! Joining is so simple and we would greatly appreciate having someone with your ability to communicate in such a manner assist some of the new aquarists that arrive on our site in a mess. Through misdirection too many leave the hobby frustrated and unhappy! Nice meeting you.

Reply
13 months ago
johnarthur
Blogs: 107
Forum: 25,048
Votes: 1,344

Paul: Thanks for the clarifications and analyses. I tend to oversimplify things so new aquarists don't get overwhelmed with technical details. Your very informative response would provide the basis for an excellent blog, and you are most welcome to join our forum.

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