The people at the lfs screwed me and my clowns :(

Riley Pasha

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I can't express the anger I am in right now....the people at my lfs basically told me to leave my tank for 3 weeks before adding fish with live rock. They told me absolutely nothing about the Nitrogen Cycle. After reading more and more on these forums I have learned about the Nitrogen Cycle and the importance of ghost feeding and/or dosing ammonia to trigger the cycle creating the essential bacteria to break down the ammonia into Nitrite which then becomes Nitrate due to the salt in the tank which can be taken out via water changes. I know everything about cycling my tank now and am so mad at myself for simply listening to the people at my lfs telling me all I needed to do is leave my tank for 3 weeks (I left it while on vacation for 2 weeks).

So here is the situation...after telling them I had done as they had said and let my tank sit for 3 weeks they said I could add fish...so thats what I did. I added 2 clownfish and a cleaner shrimp as well as 6 hermit crabs. So now they are in the tank that has not been cycled :/ and here I am 2 days later learning everything about it.

I have been advised by people on reddit to buy some tank cycling bacteria asap which I intend to do as well as 12% water changes every other day and checking ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, ph every day. ATM, ammonia seems to be at 0-0.25, nitrite at 0, nitrate at around 10 ppm and pH at a low 7.4 (hopefully this goes up with my water change). When I added the fish the pH was at around 8, not sure why it dropped so much

With this plan of attack do you think my fish are still doomed? or do they have a chance? I get attached to stuff so easily so this sucks :(. At bare minimum, if my fish die, I will know 100% why and will not repeat my mistakes...I will also do a ton more research and preparation before ever adding fish again (talking multiple months). I am so sad rn....I wish the lfs people would at least educate me about this when I told them this is my first tank.......I so hope Simon and Garfunkel make it through :(. Is it possible to keep fish through a cycle? and what would you recommend I do given my circumstances?

IN CASE YOU WANT A PICTURE OF MY MOST RECENT WATER TEST (THIS IS BEFORE THE WATER CHANGE I AM PREPPING RN): http://imgur.com/a/KjaHA
 
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Riley Pasha

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edit: in the first sentence I meant the live rock was sitting in there for 3 weeks and the fish was added later....the fish and rock were not added at the same time....
 

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So sorry you're going through this. Adding the bacteria will certainly help to speed up the cycle. People used to cycle with fish regularly. It's not a practice I would recommend (and I think from your post neither would you), but hopefully it is at least of consolation to know that fish can survive the cycle.

Was the rock already live when you added it? If so, it's possible you are better off than you think...perhaps the cycle will not be as strong. #reefsquad may be able to offer more help as well.
 
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Riley Pasha

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So sorry you're going through this. Adding the bacteria will certainly help to speed up the cycle. People used to cycle with fish regularly. It's not a practice I would recommend (and I think from your post neither would you), but hopefully it is at least of consolation to know that fish can survive the cycle.
That is amazing news to hear you have no idea :). I will def buy that bacteria tomorrow. Is a 12% water change every other day excessive or a good idea in ur opinion? also is there anything else I should do to increase my odds? thanks.
 

mcarroll

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First, did you use actually live "live rock"? (I only ask because using dead, dry "live rock" is so common.)

Most of what you read isn't that true and what the store told you isn't that false.

Bacteria will colonize a bare tank when live rock is added, but there won't be much of it. This is the only way we did it back in the day – every tank I've ever had in fact. :)

But you have to take it slow when you start this way....most folks don't do very well at taking things slowly. (But you will!!)

The ammonia in your water tests is a little concerning – it looks low, but non-zero, right? Can you re-test ammonia and see if that's the same color as pictured?

But the presence of nitrates is very encouraging. Proof that your bio-filter is alive and functioning! :) :) :)

So keep on the course you are – try not to be so upset about the start your LFS gave you, they didn't lie. Opinions differ even here on what's "correct" and you are right that you should have read a book first. ;) I'm a book nut. :) :)

Online is no place to get yourself started in this hobby IMO. Too much information. Start with books and (or even magazines) and move up from there.
 

mcarroll

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A Seachem - Ammonia Alert can make monitoring the ammonia levels much more comfortable
 
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Riley Pasha

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First, did you use actually live "live rock"? (I only ask because using dead, dry "live rock" is so common.)

Most of what you read isn't that true and what the store told you isn't that false.

Bacteria will colonize a bare tank when live rock is added, but there won't be much of it. This is the only way we did it back in the day – every tank I've ever had in fact. :)

But you have to take it slow when you start this way....most folks don't do very well at taking things slowly. (But you will!!)

The ammonia in your water tests is a little concerning – it looks low, but non-zero, right? Can you re-test ammonia and see if that's the same color as pictured?

But the presence of nitrates is very encouraging. Proof that your bio-filter is alive and functioning! :) :) :)

So keep on the course you are – try not to be so upset about the start your LFS gave you, they didn't lie. Opinions differ even here on what's "correct" and you are right that you should have read a book first. ;) I'm a book nut. :) :)

Online is no place to get yourself started in this hobby IMO. Too much information. Start with books and (or even magazines) and move up from there.


Also not sure if this will be fixed with a simple water change but my clownfish appear to be breathing VERY heavily although besides that they seem ok. I am prepping a 3.5 gallon water change (12% change since its 29 gallons but prob more because that's not counting the space rock and sand take). Unfortunately I have to wait for the water to heat to 80 degrees and wait for the salt to mix in (another 3 hours) so I will def have to do it tommorow. In the future I will be prepping my mixtures earlier.
 
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Riley Pasha

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Water changes are a fine idea, but the ammonia treatments work as well.

It shouldn't be long before your bio-filter catches up!!!
do you have any idea why my clownfish are breathing so heavily? thank you so much for the help.
 

mcarroll

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I forgot to mention the low pH....definitely do a water change and see if that test result changes.

Maybe test some tap water or fresh mixed seawater (see below) to see if you get a sane result from that.

my clownfish appear to be breathing VERY heavily although besides that they seem ok.

What's the tank temperature?
Do you run a skimmer as well as a pump for in-tank water cirulation?
What size is this tank again?

Unfortunately I have to wait for the water to heat to 80 degrees and wait for the salt to mix in (another 3 hours) so I will def have to do it tommorow.

Unless you water is very very cold – like being stored in a garage in Minnesota in winter – heating your mix water isn't necessary.

And unless you're mixing you water up with chopsticks, it should take as little as five minutes to make water ready for use. ;)

I made some quick videos a while back on "Mixing saltwater correctly in only 5 minutes using electricity or only using a mixing paddle." just to show it being done. :)
 
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Riley Pasha

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I forgot to mention the low pH....definitely do a water change and see if that test result changes.

Maybe test some tap water or fresh mixed seawater (see below) to see if you get a sane result from that.



What's the tank temperature?
Do you run a skimmer as well as a pump for in-tank water cirulation?
What size is this tank again?



Unless you water is very very cold – like being stored in a garage in Minnesota in winter – heating your mix water isn't necessary.

And unless you're mixing you water up with chopsticks, it should take as little as five minutes to make water ready for use. ;)

I made some quick videos a while back on "Mixing saltwater correctly in only 5 minutes using electricity or only using a mixing paddle." just to show it being done. :)

tank temp atm: 84 degrees (im bringing it down to 80 rn). I do not have a skimmer :/ only a basic hang on filter...it is 29 gallons. Also I live in San Diego, California where it is normally 75 degrees so the water is not very very cold (id say like 68 degrees when I measured it at first?).

I thought I was supposed to heat the mixing water to 80 degrees then add the salt and use the salt mixer to completely mix it. Wouldnt it be too concentrated if I added it without mixing it enough? and wouldnt the temperature stress out the fish if I put it in at 68 degrees or so whilst the rest of the tank is 84 degrees?
 

Vahanyos

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My local fish store wasn't much help either and advised I start my cycle by adding fish in there right away with dr tims stuff - to be honest I wish I never did. I would've been better off cycling without fish in it. My fish got ich from all the stress in the screwed up environment and now I'm fallow to get rid of it for the next few weeks. But it doesn't mean it can't be done. My fish ended up dying and getting really unhealthy so my suggestion would be to just tough it out, keep your water topped off, parameters in check and your fish healthy. Feed them well with some vitamin enriched stuff.

You basically put them in a tank that's not fully cycled or established yet. My tank is much better now and looks healthier then it did when I put fish in it... that also came with TIME! It's a much better environment now then it was before but because of that mistake I can't put fish in there yet until my ich has disappeared completely.
 
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Riley Pasha

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My local fish store wasn't much help either and advised I start my cycle by adding fish in there right away with dr tims stuff - to be honest I wish I never did. I would've been better off cycling without fish in it. My fish got ich from all the stress in the screwed up environment and now I'm fallow to get rid of it for the next few weeks. But it doesn't mean it can't be done. My fish ended up dying and getting really unhealthy so my suggestion would be to just tough it out, keep your water topped off, parameters in check and your fish healthy. Feed them well with some vitamin enriched stuff.

You basically put them in a tank that's not fully cycled or established yet. My tank is much better now and looks healthier then it did when I put fish in it... that also came with TIME! It's a much better environment now then it was before but because of that mistake I can't put fish in there yet until my ich has disappeared completely.
thank you for sharing your experience. I will definitely do my best to do frequent water changes in addition to checking my parameters constantly. Thank you.
 

Vahanyos

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do you have any idea why my clownfish are breathing so heavily? thank you so much for the help.

Your tank is fairly new bud - you're gonna come across a lot of weird behavior and it'll be hard to tell what's wrong with it or your fish for quite some time. When I cycled my tank with your method my fish would always act funny but that's because you put them in a home that's barely getting "built" lol
 
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Riley Pasha

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Your tank is fairly new bud - you're gonna come across a lot of weird behavior and it'll be hard to tell what's wrong with it or your fish for quite some time. When I cycled my tank with your method my fish would always act funny but that's because you put them in a home that's barely getting "built" lol
true. When you do water changes do you not have to have your mixing water at the same temp as the water in the tank? I thought this was necessary because otherwise it would spook the fish? Also people on reddit told me to buy another heater for this reason...Also does the salt not have to be 100% mixed for like 3 hrs with an electronic or is just enough to be clear fine?
 

domination2580

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Is it just me that finds the levels of the water in the test tubes are extremely off from where the 5ml mark is on the tube? Not having enough water or to much water in the vials amd using the correct amount of test fluid I think would obscure the test results.
 
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