Confused about cycling and ammonia levels - Page 4 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #31 of 70 Old 12-02-2009, 08:13 PM
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deleted sorry

Last edited by billswin; 12-02-2009 at 08:16 PM.
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post #32 of 70 Old 12-02-2009, 09:17 PM Thread Starter
I thought you meant my thread was deleted. LOL

I'm getting ready to test the water again, then I'm sure I'll be full of questions!
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post #33 of 70 Old 12-02-2009, 10:44 PM Thread Starter
Unhappy what?

I just tested my water again. Here are the results:

Ammonia: <.25?
Ph: ~7.2
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: ~5.0

I'm attaching a picture of the ammonia test again, because I can't tell which color it matches. The Nitrate color is definitely orange and not yellow. I tested it a second time and got the same result.

I haven't done a water change in at least three days, during which time I added the appropriate amount of Nutrafin Cycle each day.

The Ammonia level has been the same since before I did the last water change.

I'm confused about the lack of Nitrites and the presence of Nitrates. The Nutrafin says that it contains the bacteria that digests ammonia and nitrates, so I guess this may be why I'm getting a Nitrate reading? If so, then I'm confused about why the Ammonia level hasn't changed.

Comments and suggestions are welcome! :)
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post #34 of 70 Old 12-03-2009, 03:52 AM
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I am not confused at all. Many of these bacteria in a bottle products are little more than dead, ammonia producing organics and is why I and many others don't use them. Is also possibly the reason you are seeing low nitrate levels.
This process is slow and deliberate (cycling) You must have patience. Ammonia levels will fall to zero,Nitrites will rise and fall to zero, When ammonia and nitrites test zero for five or six consecutive days then your tank will have matured(cycled)
Everyone want's it to go quickly and some resort to all manner of chemicals and potions in this effort. Then ,all bets are off as to what test results truly reveal and or how long it might take for the process to render the tank ready for slow addition of few fish.
You have fish in the tank,change the water as needed for reducing ammonia and nitrites,let the process happen and don't stress.

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
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post #35 of 70 Old 12-03-2009, 08:27 AM
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I can only support 1077, HAVE PATIENCE. I know it can be a long and tiring seeming process, but it needs time proper w/c and as little chemicals as possible. The more different chems you add the more you keep upsetting your newly and instable system.

~ Life Is Too Short, Break The Rules, Forgive Quickly, Kiss Slowly, Love Truly, Laugh Uncontrollably And Never Regret Anything that Made You Smile.
Life May Not Be The Party We Hoped For, But While We're Here, We Should Dance. ~
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post #36 of 70 Old 12-03-2009, 11:57 AM Thread Starter

Why am I not surprised that you aren't confused 1077?

So, the Nutrafin will be returned to Petco, since it apparently didn't do anything. Although, I will say that the water is crystal clear. This could be from the reduced feeding though, I guess.

Along with being impatient, I am finding it hard to stick to the small amount of feeding every other day. I have been feeding my betta one pellet, every other day. He is to the point where he will jump out of the water at anything hovering above it, in an attempt to get food. (I've been using a 5ml syringe from work (a dosing syringe for childrens Rx medication) to extract water for the water testing - he jumps up and nips at it...he'll do the same to my finger.)

I have a feeding ring for the flake food and one of my poor ghost shrimps "flew" up to it as soon as the flakes hit the water. He clung to the bottom of it, grabbed a piece of flake and proceeded to shove it in his mouth as quickly as possible. (It was interesting to see the digestion taking place, after he ate it, btw.) I accidentally dropped an extra betta pellet and it sunk to the bottom. The other shrimp bolted over to it and frantically dug it up from between the rocks to eat it.

One of my minnows is quit a bit larger than the other three and he seems to hoard the food from them, too.

So, I will BE PATIENT and wait for the ammonia levels to rise, then fall as the nitrites rise, etc. AND try to ignore the "I'M STARVING" messages from my fish/shrimp.

As stated previously, I should still do water changes to keep ammonia and nitrites under .25, correct? (Speaking of ammonia levels, based on the picture provided, am I reading it correctly? It looks to me like it is lighter than the .25 mark, but obviously not yellow.)

Also, should I really be using Prime, since it is more than just a water conditioner. It also "detoxifies nitrites and nitrates." Don't I need nitrites and nitrates as part of the "normal" nitrogen cycle?

So, in summary, since I tend to "blab" a lot:

1. Should I continue water changes to keep ammonia and nitrite below .25? How much water should I change at a time?

2. What do you think the ammonia reading is, from the picture in my last post?

3. Should I continue using Prime, or get a simple water conditioner?

4. Should I continue with one pellet, every other day, for the betta and a very small amount of crushed flakes for the others?

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post #37 of 70 Old 12-04-2009, 01:40 AM
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I would continue just as you are. Small 20 percent water changes if ammonia rises above .25.
I would always use prime for water changes, It won't interfere with the process. Your feeding sounds good to me. It is difficult to see fish beg. While it is difficult to overfeed fish ,,it is easy to overfeed the capabilities of the bacteria in young tanks and thus create toxic levels of ammonia . Slow and steady is the best approach with just enough food to keep the fish hungry. Once the tank matures,then you can feed approx same amount, ot tiny bit more ,once each day, or twice perhaps. I feed my fish once a day and sometimes once every two days. Never new anyone who lost fish by feeding once a day with the exception of fry(babies).

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
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post #38 of 70 Old 12-04-2009, 07:31 AM Thread Starter
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post #39 of 70 Old 12-04-2009, 09:53 PM
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I started my cycle the same day as yours pax, I also am using prime and API test kit. I have been doing water changes every other day to keep my ammonia below 1.0 and adding prime daily not just at water changes as this will keep the tank safe I was told.

However I went to my LFS today and they stated to NEVER change the water during the cycle process unless the fish are in great distress. He said they fish should be fine as long as they started the from the beginning of the cycle process. He also said to only use prime when the water is changed. This is so confusing imo. I have 4 African Cichlids and don't want to see them die, but everyone has totatlly different opinions it crazy.

I am now torn! To water change or not to water change, to add prime daily or not to add prime daily.
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post #40 of 70 Old 12-04-2009, 11:42 PM Thread Starter
bill: I've done a few 50% water changes to get my ammonia level down, but haven't done any for about 5 days now. I've been keeping the ammonia down by feeding very sparingly.

I only added Prime when I did water changes, but I added the amount needed to treat the entire tank, not just the part I was changing.

I'm obviously not the expert here, but I think I have learned that the best thing to do is "fish-less" cycling, if possible. Otherwise, start with VERY few HARDY fish.

If your levels are staying high, then I would certainly keep doing water changes, as opposed to killing your fish.

From my little bit of experience, I have learned not to take what your LFS says too seriously, especially if it is a corporate chain. They have no idea what they are talking about.

The MAIN goal is to keep the water safe for the fish, during the cycling process. So, if that means doing water changes every day, then do my opinion.

I'm sure others can provide better advice, but I would listen to the folks on here, over your LFS.
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ammonia , freshwater aquarium , new tank

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