10 gal. cycling question - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 12 Old 05-02-2012, 09:13 AM Thread Starter
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10 gal. cycling question

Hi! Thanks in advance for your help. I'm cycling a 10 gal., Aquaclear 30 filter with 2 sponges, set on low (still puts out good water flow) and today is day 16.

Alas, I don't have ammonia or nitrite test kits. Nitrates are steady over the past 2 or 3 days at 10ppm ?? I have put in a very smll amount of fish food each day. Is it possible that the nitrogen in the system is just very low and I can put 3 cardinals in? Also, what's with the flat nitrate reading?

I have had 2 bacteria blooms, the second one just getting over.

Thanks a lot.
Nemo
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post #2 of 12 Old 05-02-2012, 09:58 AM
Welcome to TFK!

You really need to test for ammonia and to a lesser extent nitrites. Under good conditions, it takes 4 weeks or more to cycle a tank - and sometimes that's even with a good bio-seed to start. Unless you tested your tap water and are very sure, the nitrates you're seeing may be coming straight from the tap. It is not uncommon for municipal water supplies to be 10-20ppm nitrates. Nitrate levels can even be much higher in well water (I know!)

http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...m-cycle-38617/

I would not add fish until you can be sure the tank has cycled.

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post #3 of 12 Old 05-02-2012, 10:23 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by AbbeysDad View Post
Welcome to TFK!

You really need to test for ammonia and to a lesser extent nitrites. Under good conditions, it takes 4 weeks or more to cycle a tank - and sometimes that's even with a good bio-seed to start. Unless you tested your tap water and are very sure, the nitrates you're seeing may be coming straight from the tap. It is not uncommon for municipal water supplies to be 10-20ppm nitrates. Nitrate levels can even be much higher in well water (I know!)

http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...m-cycle-38617/

I would not add fish until you can be sure the tank has cycled.
Thank you very much for your input AbbeysDad. I checked with the Massachusetts Water Resource on the Internet and they say a very low (small fraction of 1), presumably because the reservoir is so big. Wouldn't hurt to test the tap anyway.

I guess I should wait until nitrates are 40, then do a water change. I guess I could also use an ammonia and a nitrite test kits.

Thanks again for your help.
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post #4 of 12 Old 05-02-2012, 10:48 AM
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I would recommend some plants. If cardinals are the intended fish, the more plants the better, this is a dark water fish and requires cover. Plus the plants will deal with the ammonia for you.

What is the GH (hardness) and pH of the well water?

And i second the recommendation to buy a test kit. The API master combo would do you well, it includes pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Though to be honest, if money is an issue, live plants will handle things without worrying.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #5 of 12 Old 05-02-2012, 05:44 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info, Byron. Could you suggest some fast-growing plants for those cardinals and also indicate what kind of fertilization they need, if any? I am scouring the LFS's for some kind of pygmy chain sword or val that grows like crazy, although it doesn't provide much shade. I have approaching 4 watts/sq. ft. in my tank - 2 20 watt bulbs, I think, on a 10 gal.

Thanks again.
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post #6 of 12 Old 05-02-2012, 05:51 PM
First off, you can take your water to Petsmart or Big Al's Aquarium Services and they'll test your water for free. I know the good test kits are expensive, so you could do this in the meantime until you pick one up.

Second, a tank without full spectrum lighting will not sustain live plants. You'll end up with a bunch of dead plants adding nitrates and co2 to the water.

Lastly, if you're not adding beneficial bacteria to the tank, start doing so. You can buy it at an aquarium supply store. It takes a while for the nitrifying bacteria to build up and really start benefitting your tank. Or, if you know someone with the same mechanical filter as you, ask if you can borrow the sponge portion of their filter, and use it in your own for a while. Those sponges are the best places for nitrifying bacteria to live.

Good luck!
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post #7 of 12 Old 05-02-2012, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Nemo the Clownfish View Post
Thanks for the info, Byron. Could you suggest some fast-growing plants for those cardinals and also indicate what kind of fertilization they need, if any? I am scouring the LFS's for some kind of pygmy chain sword or val that grows like crazy, although it doesn't provide much shade. I have approaching 4 watts/sq. ft. in my tank - 2 20 watt bulbs, I think, on a 10 gal.

Thanks again.
The pygmy chain sword if you can get one is ideal. Corkscrew Vallisneria will be good but it needs medium hard water, and we don't know what your water is yet...cardinal tetra need soft water.

Floating plants like Water Sprite would do nicely. Some stem plants will float for good effect, Brazilian Pennywort, Green Cabomba, etc. You see these names shaded, meaning the species are in the profiles; click the names to see the profile with photos.

To the light. What type of bulbs, normal incandescent or compact fluorescent (CFL)? The best for plants and fish are CFL bulbs, in a daylight with a kelvin rating of 6500K. I use GE Daylight 6500K over my 10g and 20g tanks, two 10w bulbs over each. CFL are more intense light with less energy (watts) and less heat. Phillips and Sylvania make similar; you can get these in hardware-type stores.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #8 of 12 Old 05-02-2012, 06:54 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Byron View Post
The pygmy chain sword if you can get one is ideal. Corkscrew Vallisneria will be good but it needs medium hard water, and we don't know what your water is yet...cardinal tetra need soft water.

Floating plants like Water Sprite would do nicely. Some stem plants will float for good effect, Brazilian Pennywort, Green Cabomba, etc. You see these names shaded, meaning the species are in the profiles; click the names to see the profile with photos.

To the light. What type of bulbs, normal incandescent or compact fluorescent (CFL)? The best for plants and fish are CFL bulbs, in a daylight with a kelvin rating of 6500K. I use GE Daylight 6500K over my 10g and 20g tanks, two 10w bulbs over each. CFL are more intense light with less energy (watts) and less heat. Phillips and Sylvania make similar; you can get these in hardware-type stores.

Byron.
Byron,

No specific readings for the water, but I think the water is very soft but they buffer it way up to prevent lead and copper leaching from the pipes. My pH now is 7.3, and I think I read that in the pipes it's significantly higher than that.

The bulbs are either regular cool white fluorescent or daylight (been a while since I used them. The last time was when I bred angels in a 29g. I've wanted to throw it out after reading your article, maybe I will. Thanks for the tips on the plants and the plant database.
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post #9 of 12 Old 05-03-2012, 05:26 AM
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Amazon has a good deal on the API master test kit now just ordered one myself.
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post #10 of 12 Old 05-03-2012, 06:27 AM Thread Starter
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Amazon has a good deal on the API master test kit now just ordered one myself.
Thanks Donnie!
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