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Re: New tank question
> Date: Tue, 20 Apr 1999 10:07:13 -0700
> From: KAnderson at psg_ucsf.edu
> Subject: New tank question
> I'm setting a 55 gal tank up with 110 watt of light, Kitty litter and
> gravel substrate. A week ago I moved a filter and 5 five swordtails
> into. Yesterday I test the water and the amnoina was off the chart.
> I'm going to get an order of plants today.
> Should I move a cycled filter (Powerhead+sponge) into the new tank?
> Should I do a massive water change. How much?
> Should I add plant and let the it cycle with the swordtails??? Should I
> add some algae eater??
With off-the-chart ammonia, don't add *any* fish you want to live. The 5
fish couldn't produce enough to do that in a 55G tank. You must find
your source of ammonia before moving ahead.
If your water has chloramine, and you use one of the old hypo treatments
to remove the chlorine, that can cause exactly what you are seeing. Less
likely, but possible, is whatever is in your kitty litter. Most brands
are extremely *unsuited* to aquarium use. Test some by soaking in a
bucket of water and measuring for ammonia, without using any dechlor
product. Also check pH and any change in hardness before trusting it in
If your tank is in SF, you probably have *no* chloramine (until about
2001, AFAIK), so check what else has gone into the tank.
The cycled filter is a good idea, but will not overcome chloramine
treated with hypo. The ammonia release is just too massive. Avoid, like
the plague, any product that claims to break the chlorine-ammonia bond
when treating for chloramine. At relatively modest pH (say 7.5 or a bit
above) 0.1 ppm of ammonium/ammonia will cause irreversible damage to
fish gills. My kits start with a minimum reading of 2.5 times that much!
At that level, the fish will never really recover, unless pH is below 7.
Very heavy planting can help a great deal. Just sticking in some val, a
few bunch plants, and a centerpiece won't do too much. You need *lots*
of plants and/or the invasive rapid growers like hygro, duckweed,
Salvinia, to handle that much ammonia.
That's the way it looks to me. YMMV.
Wright Huntley, Fremont CA, USA, 510 494-8679 huntleyone at home dot
Stop passing new laws!
Repeal some dysfunctional ones. It will do far more good.*
*The 9000+ pages in the IRS code is a neat place to start trimming.