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post #1 of 11 Old 07-21-2011, 10:06 AM Thread Starter
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Question amateur mistake...

SO, I have a 29 gallon freshwater tank, artificial plants, gravel substrate. I had a school of 6 tiger barbs, a yellow molly and a silver molly, and a few ghost shrimp. I did a 25% water change, then reached into the tank with the WRONG cleaning brush to knock some algae off of a rock. Yes, amateur move. Anyway, within about 10 minutes all the fish were dead, I'm pretty sure the brush had some residual household cleaner on it. I flushed the tank with clean, dechlorinated water several times, and changed the filter media. I did not remove any substrate or decorations. Added new water and tested ammonia. I had ammonia readings of ~0.5ppm (which was the same as the tap water). I tested daily, and at the end of 3 days, ammonia and nitrite readings were 0. I cautiously added 3 serpae tetras 5 days ago, and started testing for ammonia daily to monitor the new cycle. The fish are happy, not stressed, and are doing fine.

So finally, here is my question: I continue to have readings of 0ppm ammonia, and 0ppm nitrite. I do have a nitrate reading of <20ppm. Why is my tank not cycling?? Do I need to add more fish? Could my bacteria have re-established that fast from the substrate and decorations??

Thanks in advance for your help! And yes... I will label my cleaning containers from now on...
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post #2 of 11 Old 07-21-2011, 10:57 AM
sorry for your loss. 'Stuff' happens.
It is entirely possible that sufficient bacteria survived in the substrate so as not to see a cycle as you would with a new setup. often a handful of gravel from an established tank is used to bio-seed a new tank.
I would still monitor water and observe the fish for signs of stress until the tank is fully re-established.
good luck.

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post #3 of 11 Old 07-21-2011, 10:58 AM
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If you have 0 ammonia and nitrites, along with <20 nitrates, your tank IS cycled. Congrats. :)

Reusing substrate and decorations from an established tank is more effective than keeping the water itself, so it likely helped quite a bit. As long as the cleaning products were removed properly, you're good to go.

Still, 10 minutes only to crash an entire tank is pretty impressive... I knew those products were toxic, but not that much!

- Doctacosa
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post #4 of 11 Old 07-21-2011, 11:31 AM
yeah, the bacteria convert amm/trite to nitrate

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post #5 of 11 Old 07-21-2011, 12:15 PM
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As I see you joined in July, welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.

I concur with the other members, the bacteria appeared to have survived. However, just a caution on fish species. Both the (former) Tiger Barb and now the Serpae Tetra are notorious for fin nipping, and often get even worse in aggression. A 29g is fine for either, but in a larger group, at least 8 of either. And that means no other fish (except substate fish). You can read why in our profile, click on the shaded names to see that fish's profile. These are not really good community fish due to their behaviours.

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 #6 of 11 Old 07-21-2011, 12:58 PM Thread Starter
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OK, thank you all very much for your replies. It seemed to me that it was already cycled, I just wasn't sure that was possible given the situation! Your input was very helpful and well informed, I appreciate it.

As for other fish, I had great luck with my tigers together with the mollys. As long as there were at least 6 tigers, they kept their fighting to themselves, and they had gotten quite large for tiger barbs. *sniff* I'm planning on adding serpae tetras, I guess 2 or 3 more. I have been reading quite a bit and thought that a dwarf gourami would be a reasonable tankmate plus a few small cory cats. Would you recommend against the gourami?
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post #7 of 11 Old 07-21-2011, 01:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morschra1 View Post
OK, thank you all very much for your replies. It seemed to me that it was already cycled, I just wasn't sure that was possible given the situation! Your input was very helpful and well informed, I appreciate it.

As for other fish, I had great luck with my tigers together with the mollys. As long as there were at least 6 tigers, they kept their fighting to themselves, and they had gotten quite large for tiger barbs. *sniff* I'm planning on adding serpae tetras, I guess 2 or 3 more. I have been reading quite a bit and thought that a dwarf gourami would be a reasonable tankmate plus a few small cory cats. Would you recommend against the gourami?
With Serpae Tetra you do not want any slow, sedate or long-fin fin, they are too much of a temptation. Please read the profile; click on the shaded name. Profile section is second tab from the left in the blue bar across the top, most commonloy-available fish are included.

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 11 Old 07-21-2011, 03:51 PM
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Long-fin fin? Commonloy? Jeez Byron it's time to wake up. :)
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post #9 of 11 Old 07-21-2011, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by ladayen View Post
Long-fin fin? Commonloy? Jeez Byron it's time to wake up. :)
Quite true, I must remember to use the spell-check all the time.

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 #10 of 11 Old 07-22-2011, 11:08 AM
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I would skip the Gourami, but add the Cory cats. They would be substrate fish and fine with the tetras.
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