3 week old 29G aquarium- cycling /overstocking query - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 26 Old 09-23-2011, 12:36 PM Thread Starter
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3 week old 29G aquarium- cycling /overstocking query

Hi everyone.. This is my first post and I am new to this hobby.

We setup a 29G aquarium 3 1/2 weeks back with 3 platies in it. I've been checking the water for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. The ammonia always stayed at .25ppm, no nitrites(no spikes in ammonia or nitrites) and now,nitrates at 10ppm .

I've done 2 PWC (30%) in the first 2 weeks. Then 2 days back, my DH and DD got tired of waiting for the cycle to finish (they don't think it is a big deal !!!! ) and decided to get 6 corycats. So now I have 3 platies and 6 corycats in the tank which is not fully cycled yet, I think.

The ammonia still reads at .25 ppm and I am doing PWC (20%) everyday for the last 2 days.Will the water show nitrates even if the tank is not fully cycled yet?

I am not sure if 20 % PWC would be enough for the fishes to be healthy and get through the cycling period. Also, could adding so many fishes have slowed down the cycling ?

I know it is a long query, but I just want to be sure that the fishes are safe and not under any stress.

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post #2 of 26 Old 09-23-2011, 01:02 PM
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Do you have plants in there and are you using a gravel vac to siphon? Are you actually vacuuming the gravel?

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post #3 of 26 Old 09-23-2011, 01:48 PM Thread Starter
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We don't have any live plants in there yet, just some silk and plastic ones. I do have a Gravel siphon which I use for water changes and y'day while doing a PWC , I vacuumed part of the gravel (which I later realized wasn't such a bright idea while cycling! ).
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post #4 of 26 Old 09-23-2011, 02:32 PM
Do a test of your tap water and see if any ammonia/nitrites/nitrates are coming from there. You are using water conditioner with water changes right?

What is DD/DH?
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post #5 of 26 Old 09-24-2011, 01:23 AM
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Hello and welcome to TFK

What test kit are you using to test your water parameters? Yes it is possible to have nitrates showing while going through the cycling process. As suggested by layden definitly check you tap water for ammonia nitrites and nitrates to make sure that these are not coming from your tap water.

I would also go ahead and do larger water changes 30-50% would be fine. Also do you know what the ph of your water is? If you have ammonia or nitrates in your tap water you can use a water conditioner like prime which will convert the ammonia to ammonium for about 48 hours and has been proven to lower nitrites and nitrates. If your ph is below 7 than your ammonia will turn into ammonium which is harmless to fish.

@ layden I am going to venture a guess the dh and dd is dear husband and dear daughter
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post #6 of 26 Old 09-24-2011, 10:36 AM Thread Starter
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I did an ammonia test on the tap water as you suggested. It showed up as 0ppm. The aquarium water still shows .25ppm. I did a PWC (30%) today and will continue to do so as it cycles. Will I ever see an ammonia/ nitrite spike or will the tank finish cycling w/o one ? Also,how long do you think it will take for the tank to finish cycling with these many fishes ? I am using the aqueon water conditioner(came with the aquarium) with each PWC.

ladayen, DH/ DD -> Dear husband, Dear daughter :)

Thanks everyone for help. I am learning so much as I am going through this site.
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post #7 of 26 Old 09-24-2011, 10:44 PM
There really is no set time for cycling a tank. There are so many variables, many of which we have absolutely no control over. If it's not done by about 8 weeks though.. you're probably doing something wrong.

Theres not necessarily going to be any spikes. With fish in now and regular water changes there really shouldn't be any. Just a gradual decline/increase.

You may want to look into a water conditioner called Prime made by Seachem. It detoxifies ammonia so it would be great for a situation like this.
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post #8 of 26 Old 09-25-2011, 07:18 AM
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With that many fish your cycling will definitely be delayed, but it's still do-able. It might take a few months so just be patient. Keep up with the partial water changes, if you should stop that would really set you back and be harmful to the fish. I use Prime, as already pointed out that would be a big help. The larger chains carry it, not all LFS's do. Also, if you haven't already done so, do some research on cories to be sure you are feeding them properly. They might not get enough nutrition from fish flakes alone. Good luck!

~46g with angel fish, bn pleco, cherry barbs, lemon tetras, rainbowfish
~37g with guppies, otos, swordtails
~29g with platies, CPD's, female bettas, bn pleco, apple snails
~20long with 24k and silver mollies, glass catfish, apple snails
~14g with opaline gourami
~10g with male betta
~pond with adult and juvenile goldfish, and several frogs
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post #9 of 26 Old 09-25-2011, 08:27 AM
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Do you have a local fish shop near you if so or if you know some one with a tank you could ask for some used media from their filters. If you can get some you can swish it around in your tank water then add it to your filter this will speed up the cycling. Otherwise just keep up with what the other posters said
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post #10 of 26 Old 09-25-2011, 01:08 PM
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You Aqueon water conditioner is fine, it detoxifies ammonia along with chlorine and chloramine, so this is helping things. Conditioners detoxify ammonia by changing it into the harmless ammonium. Nitrifying bacteria use ammonia/ammonium the same, so no impact on the cycling there. Live plants, when you get some, will also grab the ammonia/ammonium as their preferred source of nitrogen, which is why it is always useful to have live plants in a new tank. Even some floating stem plants will help.

The tank may be "cycled." A 29g with 3 platys is not going to cause much of an issue, and from what you told us that seems to have been the case. Adding six corys should not cause a problem either. I still recommend live plants though but otherwise I think you're OK. Just don't add too many fish without waiting several days between the additions of a few fish as you stock the tank.

And welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum. Nice to have you with us.


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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