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Old 06-11-2012, 13:21
vipergtsr6 vipergtsr6 is offline
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Cycling Trouble...16 days no Nitrites...ICH

I have a new 10 Gallon tank that I have had setup since 5/18. I stocked the tank 5/25 with 3 neon tetras and begun dosing with Stability. To date I have not seen Nitrites, my ammonia ranges from 0-.25ppm and my Nitrates have gotten as high as 20ppm but usually sit around 5-10 PPM. I use Prime daily to bond the toxic Ammonia and Nitrates and do water changes when the Nitrates get high.

I added 3 Cory Cats on 6/2 which brought a case of ICH to my tank. After a lot of reading I decided to treat by raising the tank temp to 85 degrees and added an air stone and decided against chemical treatment in fear of stalling or killing any cycling that has started. I have lost all 3 Cory Cats and 1 tetra at this point and the fin of one of the remaining tetras is deteriorating.

I have to say I am well over my head and thought I would have a fully cycled tank by now. I have learned the importance of quarantining my new fish before introducing them to the community tank but have no idea where to go from here. Any advice you could offer would be appreciated because at this point I fear that I will end up with an empty tank and will let the ICH die off and let the tank complete a fishless cycle. Not ideal but I fear that is where the tank is headed.
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Old 06-11-2012, 16:02
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Re: Cycling Trouble...16 days no Nitrites...ICH

Hey Vipergtsr6, thanks for the post.

Cycling time varies from tank to tank, even with the additional of a supplement like Stability. With that said, it appears that your aquarium has completed or is very close to completing its cycle. You might try testing a sample of pure water for ammonia and comparing it to a sample from your aquarium. You may find that your ammonia is closer to 0 than you thought. It is often difficult to determine between 0 and 0.25 with hobby grade test kits but testing something with a known value helps.

Also, what is your current pH level? If it is below 7.0, any ammonia present will be in the non-toxic NH4 form. This form can still be utilized by beneficial bacteria but will not harm the fish.

As far as nitrates go, water changes may be the easiest way to remove these. Most standard filters are not set up to remove them. However, if you wished to do so, adding some Seachem Matrix would help facilitate this. Matrix is capable of supporting aerobic and anaerobic bacteria while most filter medias only support aerobic species. This means they will break down ammonia and nitrite but have little or no effect on nitrate.
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Old 06-11-2012, 18:47
vipergtsr6 vipergtsr6 is offline
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Re: Cycling Trouble...16 days no Nitrites...ICH

Is it really safe to assume that the cycle is complete since I have never seen Nitrites?

The PH is around 8.0 last time I checked. That is how it is right out of the tap. Also Ammonia is at 0 PPM from the tap.

Is there a good solution to curing the ICH while in the middle of a cycle? I noticed some products say they won't harm the bio-filter, but mine is not an established filter. I have been doing gravel vac's to help pick up the ICH at it's current stage since most of them have fallen off my fish but by the time I am done I am usually at a 50% water change.

As for the Nitrates I am unsure how frequent and what size water changes would be best. I don't want to continue prolonging the cycle but also don't want all the fish to die. I would consider the Matrix but am unsure how I would intigrate it. As I said I am new to the hobby and picked up a 10 gallon kit which included a Marineland penguin Bio-Wheel 100 filter. This filter takes a small cartridge that includeds carbon and a blue filter material. Would I put the matrix in the power filter before the cartridge filter?

Thanks for the quick response.
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Old 06-12-2012, 09:48
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Re: Cycling Trouble...16 days no Nitrites...ICH

Good morning, vipergtsr6,

Yes, you can assume that the tank has cycled even though you never saw nitrites. Oftentimes, when cycling using Stability, one never sees a rise in nitrites because the numerous colonies of bacteria in the product quickly convert the nitrites into nitrates. Because you do have nitrates present, I would say that you are there.

Though your biofilter is not fully mature, I think that you may want to consider medicating in order to eradicate the ich. I would suggest going with Paraguard, as this medication is very effective in killing ich, while having very minimal impact upon the beneficial bacteria. Continuing daily dosing with Stability during the treatment period will replenish any potentially-lost colonies of bacteria that have become established. In my opinion, regular 50% water changes will result in a more adverse effect upon the biofilter.

You can read about Paraguard here:

http://www.seachem.com/Products/product_pages/ParaGuard.html

If you wanted to integrate Matrix into your filter, you could simply place it into the filter wherever there may be some room. This will provide long-term control over ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates.

Best of luck to you, and let us know if you have additional questions.
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Old 06-12-2012, 15:03
vipergtsr6 vipergtsr6 is offline
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Re: Cycling Trouble...16 days no Nitrites...ICH

Ok, thanks again for the response. So help me understand how to overcome the Nitrate spikes. Am I seeing Nitrate spikes because I am continuing to dose Stability after the cycle has completed?

Ammonia is back to 0 PPM and Nitrites are at 0 PPM but Nitrates have jumped over 40 PPM. Is the only way to reduce the nitrate count to do water changes? I am contiuing to dose with Prime but clearly that doesn't reduce the count, only bond them to make them non-toxic. I understand the matrix will help and I may try to insert some between the water intake and the disposable filter in my Marineland biowheel 100.

Thanks again for the input, it's been a great help since I am so new to the hobby.
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Old 06-12-2012, 15:11
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Re: Cycling Trouble...16 days no Nitrites...ICH

You're so welcome!

You are getting nitrate spikes because the fish are producing waste, and your biofilter is not quite yet mature enough to keep up with the production. The removal of nitrates essentially comes down to one parameter: rate. The rate at which your tank is producing nitrates and the rate at which it can remove them. If you fill a bathtub with the faucet on as fast as it can go and try to keep it from overflowing by draining it out of a straw, it won’t be long until it overflows. However, if you drain it at the same rate it fills, the level will always stay the same. Or, if it nearly fills up and then you drain it at a rate faster than it is filling, the level will drop. The same applies to nitrate removal. To lower nitrates you must equip your tank with the capacity to remove them at a rate greater than or equal to the rate of formation.

Nitrates can only be removed via water changes and/or by biological consumption by denitrifying bacteria, which can colonize on Matrix. Prime will detoxify them for up to 48 hours, but ultimately, they must be consumed by the beneficial bacteria.

Best of luck to you!
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Old 06-14-2012, 17:04
vipergtsr6 vipergtsr6 is offline
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Re: Cycling Trouble...16 days no Nitrites...ICH

Well I am not sure where I went wrong here but all my fish have died. The tank paramaters have stayed at PH 8.2, Ammonia 0 PPM, Nitrites 0 PPM and Nitrates 40 PPM. I can only contribute this to the stress of ICH and the increased temp in the tank to help fight the ICH. I added an airstone because of the low oxygen levels at higher temps but not sure what else it could be.

I purchased Paraguard but not in time, so my next question is can I dose the tank to kill ICH so that I may restock the tank any sooner or will I have to wait out the life cycle of the ICH which from what I have read can be 30-72 days.
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Old 06-15-2012, 09:09
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Re: Cycling Trouble...16 days no Nitrites...ICH

Sorry to hear that you lost the fish. You can use Paraguard to treat the tank, a 14 day treatment should be adequate to kill of the parasite. Please let us know if we can help with anything else.
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