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Another Question

6 years 3 months ago #33770 by GeriR
Replied by GeriR on topic Another Question
Update: I just checked the tank water. The Ammonia level is now down to .50ppm. Nitrites are still 0 and Nitrates are still off the chart high. I'm not going to do a water change today instead I will check the values again tomorrow. Maybe my system is finally ramping up to mostly cover the load. It's looking more and more like another filter will be just the ticket. Now to decide what to get. Drat, I ordered bacteria which will be here any day. Anyone need any?

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6 years 3 months ago #33769 by GeriR
Replied by GeriR on topic Another Question
I've been wondering the same thing about the cycling. Since my tank has been up and running for at least 10 years with a few fish it should have at least some of the proper bacteria. Nowhere near enough it seems. I've asked around but no one has offered to adopt any of the fish. I really don't want to put them on Craig's list since I am already getting attached and would like them to have a fighting chance for a good home. As long as they look healthy I'm going to continue the daily testing and water changes. Maybe someone from the club would like some bigger (fully grown) Mbuma Africans. As far as a new filter goes; I'm not sure if I should get a sump (which I will need help setting up) or a big eheim canister filter.
There has to be some Ammonia being cycled but I'm surprised my Nitrite level is 0. The very high Nitrates could be because I let the tank go after my big Pleco died. Before getting the offer of these Africans I was going to tear the tank down and get rid of it. It looked like a green cesspool (Bleh). I read the directions carefully on the test kit so I think the tests are accurate. I do know before the rocks and wood was in place I sucked a great amount of mulm(cool word) out of my tank. Tho I doubt that makes up for no cleanings for 9 mo. Water changes are just time consuming since I'm not siphoning the bottom each time.
I will look forward to seeing if Mr Perez has more Mulm than I do ;)

PS: Anyone interested in helping a not so new (actually pretty old) newbie set up a sump?

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6 years 3 months ago #33766 by PhilandLeeAnn
Replied by PhilandLeeAnn on topic Another Question
Good Morning!

Midknight mentions good points for take away. The commonly described (and commonly understood) nitrogenous waste filtration scenario starts with a new tank with no existing cycling while you have an existing system and apparently have a high but still inadequate level of elimination of ammonia for the new fish added. Things are a bit more unpredictable which means monitoring - which you're doing.

On the unpredictable side, I would have expected repeated and large water changes to have had more of an effect on the nitrate level - especially since a good deal of the ammonia isn't apparently being cycled. That and the APPARENT lack of stress in the fish from the ammonia and nitrates is enough to make me double check my tests, my methods of conducting the tests, and my reading of the results. I’d do that just to make sure I'm not unnecessarily working myself to death with water changes on a big tank.

You will unofficially be on an inner level of membership in the GCCA once Mr. Perez has shown you his mulm. It is an honor – and an education.

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6 years 3 months ago #33765 by Midknight
Replied by Midknight on topic Another Question
Hi Geri,
I read the thread from the beginning and I don't want to put a bunch more into the jumble of info you're getting, but I want to mention just a couple of things:
1) Your tank appears to be cycled already as you have ample nitrates built up - which are the end product of the nitrogen cycle - as well as zero nitrites.
2) I agree with most of the others who believe the bio-load from your fish is likely too great for the filtration on the tank. Additional filtration - as has been suggested - would help, but you are probably best trimming down the number of inhabitants. Which, I noticed, you have already begun trying to do.
3) Water changes are the best and almost only serious form of nitrate removal. Plants in the tank can help, but your fish will probably shred most plants.
4) Mulm is that gunk that builds up in your tank if you haven't siphoned the gravel in a while. It consists of various forms of waste - excrement, decaying plant matter, decaying food, algae - all rolled into one. The best examples of this can be found at the Perez house. Don't tell him I said so - mulm's the word.

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. Philippians 4:8

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6 years 3 months ago #33764 by GeriR
Replied by GeriR on topic Another Question
I tested my tap water and there is no ammonia in it and yes my declor removes both. What is mulm? I did another water change today since the fish don't seem to mind. There are a few big ones already trying to establish their territories fortunately they get distracted and don't pick on any one fish. I'm just going to keep testing and doing daily water changes until the tank either cycles and can handle the load or I can off load some of the bigger fish. I still haven't decided whether I can set up a sump or I will just buy the big eheim canister filter (it will cost me about the same for either) Thanks for your reply. Maybe I will meet you at the club meeting next Sunday.

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6 years 3 months ago #33763 by PhilandLeeAnn
Replied by PhilandLeeAnn on topic Another Question
You have more than enough ammonia in your tank to feed the bacteria you are trying to establish. Cutting it in half - temporarily (your fish create it especially if they're getting fed and it isn't being processed if you have insufficient bacteria) - through water changes will not starve the bacteria you are trying to grow. They don't appear to be keeping up anyway. Cutting 3+ ppm in half puts it at a still unhealthy level of 1.5+ ppm and the fish will be adding more ammonia starting immediately. - That said, your fish handled 4+ ppm better than they're supposed to and don't appear to be in "Situation Dire." Your fish / calculated risk.. Watch for changes in behavior, breathing, gills, fins and body. It may still be an issue of the fish resisting and accumulating damage until showing it outwardly. At which point it could be too late.

The ideal approach when we have a crash in the unreal world where we have unlimited time and patience is to get ammonia and nitrites to very nearly zero with stability over a period of weeks through water changes, and then gradually cut back on water changes / increase the load by gradually resuming full feeding. Once bacteria starts producing nitrite from ammonia, there is supposed to be a phase where the separate bacteria that convert nitrite to nitrate have to get established over a period of more weeks. In the real world, we get an existing filter of sufficient size - your friend's gunk - or we lose some fish. PS, by gunk, do you mean dirty gravel? The bacteria live on a medium like gravel or sponge or sand with lots of surface area, not so many bacteria in mulm.

You mentioned dechlor in another question. I was wondering if your dechlor product treats chloramine as well as chlorine and, if not, whether you know if your city uses chloramine instead of chlorine. I'm asking because chloramine consists of chlorine and ammonia.

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6 years 3 months ago #33762 by GeriR
Another Question was created by GeriR
A friend gave me some of the gunk (with lots of bacteria I hope) from her tank yesterday afternoon. Will this help with the cycling? Even tho my tank has been up and running a long time it only had 1-2 fish in it so I suspect the bacteria load was minimal. When I checked yesterday before putting her sediment in the ammonia level had dropped a tiny bit; it's about +3 instead of +4; this was after a 50% water change on Friday. I didn't do a water change yesterday so am I safe letting it go 1 more day? The Nitrites are still 0 and the Nitrates are still off the chart. I'd really like to give the bacteria a chance and I know water changes slows that down. I know that doing a lot of water changes interrupts the cycling of my tank. For what it's worth; I am planning on coming to the meeting next week so I can introduce myself to the folks I've been bugging :) I appreciate all the help and advice I'm getting.

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