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View Full Version : Seeded sponges not working, discus in uncycled tank



locodiscus
11-13-2013, 08:02 PM
I purchased five 3-inch discus from Hans almost three weeks ago. He provided me with some seeded sponges to help get me started. The experts here along with Hans assured me that this was an acceptable way to start a discus tank and so I went for it. I put one of the sponges on a Hydro III and a chunk in one of my AquaClear 70's. For the first couple weeks, discus looked great. They were showing great color, eating well, and I would estimate they're closer to 4 inches now. I was consistently getting about 1 ppm ammonia but apparently the daily WCs with Prime detoxified the ammonia keeping the discus safe. Then ammonia started going down, nitrites started appearing. This was at the 2-week mark which means the seeded sponges from Hans didn't do what they were supposed to do. Discus have been and continue to be in an uncycled tank. One of them, a Fire Red, has been hiding and not eating for the last three days. The other four are behaving normally and eating well. However, their color seems to fluctuate more between dark and the normal vibrant. I suspect that all this is due to the high nitrites.

I've just upped the WCs to 50% twice a day and overdosing with Prime since according to Seachem that will help detoxify the nitrites. I can get nitrites down to .25 ppm but twelve hours later is between 2 and 5 (can't tell from API chart). Also cutting down on the feedings because I suspect the bio load was too overwhelming for the seeded sponges. I was feeding 4x/day including Hans' beef mix. The discus were always pooping. Will this be enough to see them through until I'm fully cycled? Any other suggestions? If they survive, will they now be stunted or have any other permanent damage?

Regretting now that I used this approach. Being a noob, I should have followed the traditional approach of putting them in an already cycled tank. I'm not bitter towards the people here who suggested this approach nor Hans. I'll continue to be a loyal customer to Hans. I'm sure it was something that I did or didn't do. Just trying to get an idea of what it was and avoid making the same mistakes again. Hans suggested I keep up with the daily WCs and thinks that they'll be okay. Just looking for other opinions/suggestions. Thanks.

Rudustin
11-13-2013, 08:14 PM
If they are fish from Hans they will make it just continue with the water changes. If Hans thinks they will be okay listen to him. Nearly all my discus and I have twenty are from Hans and I am not afraid to bother him for just about every little thing. If you are feeding them this should start up your bio load in the filter. Just continue with the WCs and let us know how they are doing. Do you have another tank that is seeded? I always have an extra HOB in some tank for just such an emergency. I'm sure that more experienced people here on the forum will suggest lots of things just keep in touch with Hans do everything he says. Best regards.

John_Nicholson
11-13-2013, 08:17 PM
Using seeded sponges has been an accepted method for as long as I can remember, Sorry it did not work in your case but there is no need to panic. Just stay with the water changes and everything will be fine.

-john

locodiscus
11-13-2013, 08:46 PM
If they are fish from Hans they will make it just continue with the water changes. If Hans thinks they will be okay listen to him. Nearly all my discus and I have twenty are from Hans and I am not afraid to bother him for just about every little thing. If you are feeding them this should start up your bio load in the filter. Just continue with the WCs and let us know how they are doing. Do you have another tank that is seeded? I always have an extra HOB in some tank for just such an emergency. I'm sure that more experienced people here on the forum will suggest lots of things just keep in touch with Hans do everything he says. Best regards.

Thanks for the encouragement. Unfortunately, I don't have another tank. Hans gave me a whole bag of seeded sponges. I only used a couple a pieces and threw the rest away. Should have used them to set up my 20 gallon. Sigh...lesson learned.

locodiscus
11-13-2013, 08:58 PM
Using seeded sponges has been an accepted method for as long as I can remember, Sorry it did not work in your case but there is no need to panic. Just stay with the water changes and everything will be fine.

-john

Thanks John. I'm puzzled as to why it didn't work for me. Seemed pretty straight-forward.

judijetson
11-13-2013, 09:25 PM
I'm actually going through the same thing right now with my 5 new discus in qt... received 3 seeded sponges (2 hydor sponges running in the tank and 1 cut in half in my hob filter) and have had to do 2 wcs per day. Luckily the fish with prime are doing fine but I'm a bit tired from having to get up an extra hour earlier to change the water in the morning lol.

Sent from my Galaxy S3

locodiscus
11-13-2013, 09:54 PM
I'm actually going through the same thing right now with my 5 new discus in qt... received 3 seeded sponges (2 hydor sponges running in the tank and 1 cut in half in my hob filter) and have had to do 2 wcs per day. Luckily the fish with prime are doing fine but I'm a bit tired from having to get up an extra hour earlier to change the water in the morning lol.

Sent from my Galaxy S3

Yeah, 2 wcs/day getting old. On top of that, getting evil eye from wife as I drag big Brute trash can and Python hose across our formal living room. Are yours showing any change in color? Three of mine (tefe, red turq, and brilliant turq) are dark a lot now but brighten up around feeding times.

judijetson
11-13-2013, 10:19 PM
Ah, the evil eye... not good lol. Colors are fine on the discus, no darkening at all and eating really well. Can you leave the brute can next to the tank for the time being? I leave mine next to the tank to age my water, remove water with python then refill with aged water by pump. Makes the 2/day changes a bit easier.

Sent from my Galaxy S3

OC Discus
11-13-2013, 10:27 PM
Maybe he meant for you to use all of it? To be safe you could pick up some Tetra Safe Start and divide the recommended dose between your filters, pouring it on the sponge or stones after a huge water change. If you can, get enough for another dose after a couple of days. That should immediately stop the rise of ammonia and nitrite. You might also rinse your prefilters good before adding the tss and keep them rinsed every couple of days. You may also avoid wiping down the glass for a few days until the good bacteria is established. Keep us posted.


Thanks for the encouragement. Unfortunately, I don't have another tank. Hans gave me a whole bag of seeded sponges. I only used a couple a pieces and threw the rest away. Should have used them to set up my 20 gallon. Sigh...lesson learned.

locodiscus
11-13-2013, 11:46 PM
Ah, the evil eye... not good lol. Colors are fine on the discus, no darkening at all and eating really well. Can you leave the brute can next to the tank for the time being? I leave mine next to the tank to age my water, remove water with python then refill with aged water by pump. Makes the 2/day changes a bit easier.

Sent from my Galaxy S3

I only remove the trash can to make things less of an eye sore for my wife. She doesn't like the bare-bottom and now it has black discus that blend in with the black background. Looks like I only have two discus instead of five. lol

locodiscus
11-14-2013, 12:12 AM
Maybe he meant for you to use all of it? To be safe you could pick up some Tetra Safe Start and divide the recommended dose between your filters, pouring it on the sponge or stones after a huge water change. If you can, get enough for another dose after a couple of days. That should immediately stop the rise of ammonia and nitrite. You might also rinse your prefilters good before adding the tss and keep them rinsed every couple of days. You may also avoid wiping down the glass for a few days until the good bacteria is established. Keep us posted.

I dunno maybe. He gave me a lot. A huge block and two that were on some outflow tubes. Didn't know where to put the rest. Could I have just dropped them into the tank by themselves?

My ammonia-eating bacteria has already established. Would tss help accelerate development of nitrite-eating bacteria?

I have been scrubbing the glass regularly... another lesson learned.

Thanks for the advice.

Rudustin
11-14-2013, 01:12 AM
Don't panic! They will come around. Han's fish are very strong because they come from very good stock and the are very healthy. That bio filter will kick in soon. Hang on! Water changes!

Redmelons
11-14-2013, 06:22 AM
I am new to discus but well versed in cycling , what can happen is you added the seeded media the bacteria were happy initially the stocking levels/bacteria colony were unbalanced and caused a mini cycle after you first saw the ammonia drop due to the imbalance. i have seen this lots with other fish i used to keep because i am inpatient and sometimes had to act on good offers before i had a tank cycled .
Solution daily water changes it will settle down and provided you keep changing water nothing will get to a level to hurt your fish hopefully. once again a discus new be but have seen this cycling issue before.

ChicagoDiscus
11-14-2013, 08:48 AM
Good Morning,
Ok first thing I would do is follow Han's instructions they were purchased from him and he knows his discus. Ok dealing with an unicycled tank is not the end of the world and Discus are tougher than people give them credit for. If I were in the same situation I would squeeze the two sponges in the tank and instead of 50% twice daily water changes I would do one large water change daily like 80/90%. Make sure your water is aged in some way direct from the tap is fine for weekly water changes at small amounts but not for large daily water changes. As far as prime goes I know the manufacture says to overdose to to keep the levels safe in the tank but these are discus and you are changing a lot of water. Adding to much prime will slow the cycle process down and cause more stress on the fish. Keep the aquarium dimly lit or off during this process if you come back after twenty four hours and the aquarium is cloudy don't freakout its just the natural cycling process working. If you wanted to add something to the tank instead of overdosing with prime I would add some chemi-pure to your filter…………..Josie

OC Discus
11-14-2013, 09:59 AM
Once the ammonia is under control, the nitrite will follow suite. Water changes will remove the nitrite present now. Ammonia control will prevent future nitrite problems. If ammonia doesn't rise, nitrite wont rise either.


I dunno maybe. He gave me a lot. A huge block and two that were on some outflow tubes. Didn't know where to put the rest. Could I have just dropped them into the tank by themselves?

My ammonia-eating bacteria has already established. Would tss help accelerate development of nitrite-eating bacteria?

I have been scrubbing the glass regularly... another lesson learned.

Thanks for the advice.

OC Discus
11-14-2013, 10:01 AM
Squeezing the sponges is basically the same thing as adding tetra safe start. All that good bacteria in the sponges can be squeezed out into the tank, repeat two or three times, after a big water change. Within 24 hours it should setup in your filters.



Good Morning,
Ok first thing I would do is follow Han's instructions they were purchased from him and he knows his discus. Ok dealing with an unicycled tank is not the end of the world and Discus are tougher than people give them credit for. If I were in the same situation I would squeeze the two sponges in the tank and instead of 50% twice daily water changes I would do one large water change daily like 80/90%. Make sure your water is aged in some way direct from the tap is fine for weekly water changes at small amounts but not for large daily water changes. As far as prime goes I know the manufacture says to overdose to to keep the levels safe in the tank but these are discus and you are changing a lot of water. Adding to much prime will slow the cycle process down and cause more stress on the fish. Keep the aquarium dimly lit or off during this process if you come back after twenty four hours and the aquarium is cloudy don't freakout its just the natural cycling process working. If you wanted to add something to the tank instead of overdosing with prime I would add some chemi-pure to your filter…………..Josie

John_Nicholson
11-14-2013, 10:10 AM
I personally don't really believe in any of that quick start stuff but I do believe that if you just keep up your WC's everything will be fine.

-john

locodiscus
11-14-2013, 11:10 AM
I am new to discus but well versed in cycling , what can happen is you added the seeded media the bacteria were happy initially the stocking levels/bacteria colony were unbalanced and caused a mini cycle after you first saw the ammonia drop due to the imbalance. i have seen this lots with other fish i used to keep because i am inpatient and sometimes had to act on good offers before i had a tank cycled .
Solution daily water changes it will settle down and provided you keep changing water nothing will get to a level to hurt your fish hopefully. once again a discus new be but have seen this cycling issue before.

That's what I suspected. Don't understand how this is considered an acceptable method especially for novices like me because there's no way to guarantee the seeded sponges can handle the bio load. If I could do this all over again, I would make the extra trip to Baltimore to get just the sponges and cycle the tank before purchasing the discus. This way I could set the bio load capacity using ammonia.

locodiscus
11-14-2013, 11:26 AM
Good Morning,
Ok first thing I would do is follow Han's instructions they were purchased from him and he knows his discus. Ok dealing with an unicycled tank is not the end of the world and Discus are tougher than people give them credit for. If I were in the same situation I would squeeze the two sponges in the tank and instead of 50% twice daily water changes I would do one large water change daily like 80/90%. Make sure your water is aged in some way direct from the tap is fine for weekly water changes at small amounts but not for large daily water changes. As far as prime goes I know the manufacture says to overdose to to keep the levels safe in the tank but these are discus and you are changing a lot of water. Adding to much prime will slow the cycle process down and cause more stress on the fish. Keep the aquarium dimly lit or off during this process if you come back after twenty four hours and the aquarium is cloudy don't freakout its just the natural cycling process working. If you wanted to add something to the tank instead of overdosing with prime I would add some chemi-pure to your filter…………..Josie

Wow good stuff! Thanks Josie. I'm a big fan of your posts and, of course, your discus. Hope one day I can do business with you if this situation doesn't completely turn me off to the hobby! Wish I had thought of squeezing all of Hans' sponges into my tanks and HOBs. I'll follow your advice on the water changes. They have not adjusted well to having two a day. They freak out, turn dark, and end up hiding in the corner except for the Fire Red who already spends most of his time there (4 days now and still not eating!). Thanks for the info on Prime. Had no idea it had those negative effects on the fish and the cycle. Good call on turning off lights. They seem a lot more comfortable now.

John_Nicholson
11-14-2013, 11:31 AM
The purpose of seeded sponges is to seed your tank with the proper bacteria...it is not to handle the bioload completely on day one. You are panicking for no reason. As long as you keep doing at least daily water changes ( which you should do anyway ) you will be fine. It will all work out fine, just take a deep breath and maybe switch to decaf.

-john

locodiscus
11-14-2013, 11:45 AM
The purpose of seeded sponges is to seed your tank with the proper bacteria...it is not to handle the bioload completely on day one. You are panicking for no reason. As long as you keep doing at least daily water changes ( which you should do anyway ) you will be fine. It will all work out fine, just take a deep breath and maybe switch to decaf.

-john

No panic here dude. Sorry if I'm conveying that. Not running around like chicken with head cut off. Just a noob soliciting advice because I still have a lot to learn. Glad I did because I'm getting helpful advice. Isn't that what this forum is for?

John_Nicholson
11-14-2013, 12:43 PM
My bad I guess. We had a question where the answer is simply to keep doing WC's and we are now up to 22 responses....Not sure why we need to keep tilling the garden.....

-john

locodiscus
11-14-2013, 01:15 PM
My bad I guess. We had a question where the answer is simply to keep doing WC's and we are now up to 22 responses....Not sure why we need to keep tilling the garden.....

-john

Just replying to people who took the time to offer some help. Not trying to perpetuate it. And, again, got some good advice that I'm actually incorporating.