AAHHHH! Tank started a mini-cycle!! - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 13 Old 03-01-2010, 04:29 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy AAHHHH! Tank started a mini-cycle!!

I converted my 55g tank from a non-planted to a planted tank on Saturday. I drained all the water, removed the old gravel, add NEW gravel, planted the tank, then filled it back up with new water. Now a new cycle has started!!

I added a new filter to the tank 2 weeks prior. I added some media from my old filter to the new filter, and let the sponge from the old filter sit in the tank until I drained it on saturday to do the change (the sponge from the old filter was huge and didn't nearly fit in the new filter....it was the same size as the new one).

Ammonia was at .5 (I think as I am not at home, but it was 1 color above 0) and nitrite was at .25. Some fish were gasping for air at the surface, so I did an immediate 40% pwc, no gravel vac. This morning Nitrite was near .50!! I did a rush 20% pwc, as it was all I had time for before work. They seemed better after that but I am sure it won't last long.

So my question is, can I do 2 pwc in one day? For exampl;e, since I was only able to do 20% this morning, can I go home and do ~40% 10 hours later? Man, I hope this is a quick cycle and these plants step it into high gear to help me out!!
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post #2 of 13 Old 03-01-2010, 04:57 PM
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I went through a similar ordeal.
I got a new tank and used the filter media from the old tank in the new filter. And then, my tap water had a nitrite spike of .5 ppm which was also what was in my tank.
Since it took forever to come down, I'm not completely convinced I didn't have a minicycle. But what I used was Seachem's Prime. It detoxes the ammonia and nitrite but the filter can use it to build up the beneficial bacteria. I also added Purigen which will soak up the organic causes of ammonia/nitrite/nitrate.
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post #3 of 13 Old 03-01-2010, 05:02 PM Thread Starter
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I do use Prime. But I can't simply dump the whole bottle in to cut the nitrite and ammonia. I can do as many water changes as I need to, I just need to know how much is too much or if i can do them as much as I need to make my fish as comfortable as possible.
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post #4 of 13 Old 03-01-2010, 06:40 PM
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I do use Prime. But I can't simply dump the whole bottle in to cut the nitrite and ammonia. I can do as many water changes as I need to, I just need to know how much is too much or if i can do them as much as I need to make my fish as comfortable as possible.


Mine is a 60 gallon and I only used two capfuls a day for nitrite toxicity, FWIW.

I would do 30% when you get home. 50% total in 24 hours is the max. If your tank was at .5ppm, then thereoretically it will reduce to .25ppm which is still too much. And that's why I suggested the Prime for the ammonia and/or nitrite toxicity.
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post #5 of 13 Old 03-01-2010, 06:57 PM
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You using prime means the available Ammonia was detoxed already; so while tat's good news for your fish that means you will still get a reading on the test thou; keep that in mind.
For the other readings I'd stay below NO2 0.5mg/l and NO3 50mg/l and do w/c each time it rises past that in the proportion of how much higher your readings are.

I'm sorry to hear that really but between adding the media from the old filter and the plants this should be done & over with real quick.

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post #6 of 13 Old 03-01-2010, 09:59 PM Thread Starter
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Well there was a 0 reading on Ammonia when I got home. Nitrite was about .25ppm. I was happy to see no fish gasping for air though. I just did a 30% water change to make 50% for the day. Plants so far look good and no fish loss as of yet with this mini-cycle (not even the Cardinal's....really hoping it stays that way!). I'm hoping by the end of the week, this mini cycle will be complete....
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post #7 of 13 Old 03-01-2010, 10:02 PM
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I'm going to go out on a limb here and say you'll be fine. Those plants will start consuming fairly quickly. Plus you had some seeding bacteria plus the bacteria in the Eco complete. My cycle consisted of a .25ppm nitrite level one day. After a 50% wc it was gone and never returned. All I had was the bacteria in the Eco Complete to start. Hence why I am out here on this limb taking one for Team Lisa

“He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors”
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post #8 of 13 Old 03-01-2010, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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I hope you're right Eric. Last night my nitrite was up to .50ppm. Tonight (after 50% yesterday and 20% this morning) was.25ppm...perhaps slightly more. I did another 30% tonight and I will recheck the parameters tomorrow morning. I felt horrible yesterday when a lot of the tetras were gasping at the top for air, but today when I got home from work I really only noticed 1 gasping. The rest were swimming fine.
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post #9 of 13 Old 03-02-2010, 03:51 AM
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I think the mini-cycle was likely a result of swapping out all of the substrate. You remove a lot of bacteria that way. Your numbers aren't too bad though so between the new plants and your water changes you should be just fine.

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post #10 of 13 Old 03-02-2010, 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by iamntbatman View Post
I think the mini-cycle was likely a result of swapping out all of the substrate. You remove a lot of bacteria that way. Your numbers aren't too bad though so between the new plants and your water changes you should be just fine.

+one, Whenever I change substrates, (not often). I ALWAYS save some of the old , wet,substrate in a nylon ,or mesh bag and push it down into the surface of the new substrate for a couple weeks ,maybe less. I believe people underestimate sometimes ,how much nitrifying bacteria is found in substrates.

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
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