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Re: Tetra Holiday Sticks

Stephen wrote:

"After using TETRA holiday vacation fish food sticks two weeks ago,
the water turned cloudy within 48 hrs. I've been patiently waiting for it to
clear... but it's become MUCH WORSE. 3-gal water changes every 3-4 days
failed to help. I think those horrible TETRA sticks are worked into the
substrate and keep on polluting the water."

The cloudiness is caused by a bloom of bacteria, probably caused by the
presence of the extra food. It is rarely necessary to use stuff like this if
you are going to be away for up to 2 weeks - the fish will survive. It might
help if you could vacuum the top layer of the gravel bed to get any
undecomposed material out of the tank ASAP. And then throw the box of
vacation food in the trash can.... Until this problem is corrected, feed
your fish _very_ little, if at all. They can help by eating some of the

"	Finally someone told me about ACUREL-f to clear cloudiness and I put
60 drops into my 20 gal tank. The cloudiness became worse."

Never heard of this product.

"	Then I checked and found I had a low but present ammonia level, but
nitrites = 0; pH about 6.6."

This is caused by the decomposing food sticks, and is to be expected. The
bio-filtration capacity present in your tank before the addition of these
food sticks was exceeded and the beneficial bacteria are temporarily
overwhelmed. They will gradually increase in number and overcome the problem
of the ammonia. Water changes are the best way to dilute the ammonia.

"	This morning I added three capfuls CYCLE to reinforce the beneficial
bacteria and try to get rid of the ammonia. I did about a 4-gal water change
this morning as well & added pH 7 adjuster."

I read a research article a few years ago that indicated that whatever was
in Cycle, it wasn't nitrifying bacteria.... if you HAVE to add somehting,
maybe Prime or another product which will bind up the ammonia would be best.
Additionally, at acidic pH levels, the majority of the ammonia is in a form
that is relatively non-toxic and very easily absorbed by plants, so the pH
adjuster only complicated matters. A pH of 6.6 is nothing to worry about.

"	Before this I had a healthy tank. 6 serpae tetra, 10 neon tetra, 5
otocinclus, 4 small cats ... lots of plants. There's algae as well, but sort
of under control."

And you will have such a tank again, if you just be patient and stop looking
for bottled solutions to your problem. Perform regular partial water
changes, vacuum the gravel and wait..... the bacterial bloom will eventually
pass and things will get back to normal. The plants will help the solution

"What else can I do to help this situation? What is the best thing to do for
the low ammonia? Which factors are really dangerous to the fish?"

See above....

Good luck, and stop worrying.

James Purchase