03-14-2010, 12:37 AM
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It looks like you are not cycled yet, do you understand the nitrogen cycle?
As your ammonia convert to nitrite and the nitrite to nitrate.....you know you are cycled when your reading are 0ppm ammonia and nitrite and 5-10ppm nitrate for several says without water changes...until then you need to make water changes when you test 0.25ppm ammonia/nitrite, but don't vacuum the gravel more than one time a week or touch the filter media unless the water flow has slowed and then only swish it in old tank water with a water change to get the big gunk off, you want it to look dirty...thats okay....
The nitrifying bacteria needed to cycle the tank are sticky and adhere to everything in the tank...like the walls, decoration in the top layer of the gravel and in the filter media, very little are in the water column itself so water changes will not hurt the cycling process...doing a fish cycle you need to make frequent water changes to keep the ammonia and nitrite under control to save the fish just don't vacuum more than once a week or over clean the filter media, you may have to make daily water changes and some time 2 50% water changes a day to keep the ammonia under control to keep the fish safe, use dechlorinator with all new water added and keep the water temp within a couple of degree from new and old water to prevent temp related shock.....