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Old 08-20-2012, 09:10 PM   #1 
LizzyP's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2012
Holy smokes!!! Serious water trouble

I tested the water in Dumbledore's tank this evening and was shocked by my results. He currently resides in a 5.5 gallon tank with 3 silk plants, gravel, and a little pot for him to hide in. I've attached a picture of my results:

The order from left to right; ammonia, nitrite, nitrate.
I couldn't tell if the green was between .5-1.0ppm or even 1.5ppm. Either way I was appalled. The nitrates don't look that good either. I immediately yanked Dumbledore out of the tank and did a 85%-90% water change and did a DEEP gravel vacuum. I have attached a picture of these results as well:

The order from top to bottom; ammonia, nitrite, nitrate.

It's a wonder my fish isn't showing any signs of distress, discomfort or sickness, I did add a little extra Stress Coat into his tank to hopefully help him feel better. And the scary thing is...I just did a PWC of about 50% on Saturday. I usually clean his tank about twice per week, or at least once at about 50% maybe a little less if I cleaned it previously in the week, about 30-35% each time with a gravel vac.

So now I have 3 questions:
1. Why did this happen? I don't really understand the cycling process, but I have heard of people having "mini cycles".
2. How do I prevent these from happening? I guess just water changes, but how much should I change?
3. What would be the proper cleaning schedule for my tank? It's a 5.5 with a filter. The only reason I was cleaning it twice per week is because I have a 3 gallon and that's how often I clean it.

I'm really sorry for such a long post. I was almost in tears thinking about the harm I was causing my poor fish that I've worked so hard to take care of. Thank you all so much for your time and help.

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Old 08-21-2012, 05:12 AM   #2 
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Join Date: Jun 2011
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How long has the 5.5 been running? Are you running a filter? Sometimes, even with 2x weekly changes, waste and spoiled food can raise ammonia quite quickly. You did the right thing to fix the situation.

Cycling a tank is not for the convenience of the keeper, but for the benefit of the fish by providing purer water than pwc's can. You might consider cycling your 5g.
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Old 08-21-2012, 05:59 AM   #3 
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It's been running for about 3 weeks, and yes it has a filter. Only reason I don't want to cycle it now is because I don't really have the time to monitor it. I just started school full time and that takes up most of my life.
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