Calamity of Touch, Linda BerkvistI’ve just tested my water to check everything is OK before I hop along to the fish shop tomorrow and – oh my – calamity – oh dear. I can hardly bear to confess it.

My ammonia levels are WAY up. Nitrite is not much higher than before, but nitrates were up really high. What happened?

The only thing I can think of is that when I did the big post-cycling water change earlier this week I must have failed to dechlorinate the water properly before I put it in the tank. If I didn’t put enough dechlorinator in, or didn’t mix it around well enough, then the chlorine left in the water would have killed off my bacteria colony.

I feel *really* bad. Poor fish. They are, at least, still alive. They were a bit boring yesterday and today, and now I know why. They are swimming in poison!

That the nitrate was high means there are still nitrite-eaters in there, and that the nitrite-eaters still had some nitrite left to be eating means there must still be some ammonia-eaters too (or else, they have started to recolonise the place already). So all is not lost. I have done another big water change, this time using twice as much dechlorinator as it says on the instructions and giving it a really big swoosh around to make sure it was well mixed in before I put the water in the tank. After a retest, all my levels looked less panicworthy. Phew.

But we can forget the idea of getting any more fish for the next week or two at least. It’s just as well: right now I wouldn’t trust myself with any more fish.