I have been getting some advise on another forum, but could use a few more opinions. I have 37 gal., freshwater tank with gravel substrate, Marineland Penguin 200 biowheel filter (hooks on back) that filters up to 50 gal. tank. & decorated with 3 beach rocks, 1 small piece rose quartz, plastic plants & elodea (just added yesterday), & 2 aquarium ornaments. Currently inhabited with 5 danios (2 zebra & 3 pearl) who are schooling well together & are fed minimal amt. once daily (pellets & flakes).
I am using a wooly pad filter affixed onto a plastic frame that has carbon particles on the reverse (filters that are sold to fit the filter).
I originally was just surfing the net and getting info from staff at local fish store, but found this insufficient when my tank was still cycling at 7th week. (ammonia high - 1 or more ppm, nitrites low .5, 0 nitrates.
The only additives I was using for tank was 'prime' water conditioner/dechlorinator (I was originally using in huge amounts [200-300 gal. worth] as I did not know that my API ammonia kit also picks up ammonium) & Big Al's bacteria culture, as directed.
At 7 weeks still a neophyte, not even realizing fully understanding the implications of such high ammonia levels and what to do about it. Fish store staff did not know why my tank was not progressing with its cycling and why the readings were remaining stable. They recommended that I kick-start the cycling by adding some hardy fish (3 pearl & 3 zebra danios).
I also did not know by week 8 that I should not scrub aquarium (no t til cycled)& aggressively vacuum gravel (not til cycled and then just surface so as not to disturb the anaerobic bacteria that culture in substrate), & also changed my filter (not during cycle or keep old one in back with new one in front). My ammonia increased to 2 ppm, the water got real cloudy (possibly bacteria bloom in response to high ammonia) and 1 zebra danio died, gasping for air at top of tank. When I seen cloudyness, I tested water, found high ammonia and seen fish in state of distress at top of tank, and I called fish store - I was told and did 50% water change and bought ammonia reducing pad...all of this reduced ammonia back to 1 ppm.
I called makers of 'Prime' to make sure that I could not poison my fish with the extra prime I was dosing with, got more info. on how to establish bacteria colony (main way to combat ammonia and finally finish cycling and establish tank), and suggested use of 'Stability' bacteria colony formula (which I have now started using).
The friendly people at the fish forum recommended that I do 25% water changes daily til cycled (ammonia, nitrites, nitrates 0) (reduce ammonia, etc. as bacteria colony not sufficiently built up yet); get used filter media donation (will hopefully get this monday); get plants (hence the elodea). They also linked me to some great articles on cycling but I am still concerned that nitrite (1ppm) & ammonia (.5 ppm) high
- Any suggestions?