Cycling problem
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Cycling problem

This is a discussion on Cycling problem within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> I have had many tanks over the years. I have not had one in about 4 years. I bought a 38 gallon. I have ...

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Old 09-11-2011, 12:42 PM   #1
 
Cycling problem

I have had many tanks over the years. I have not had one in about 4 years. I bought a 38 gallon. I have in Aqua Clear 70 on it. I started the cycle process as normal. I have 4 fancy gold fish in it. Not feeder fish. After 3 days I started to get an ammonia rise It climbed to about 1.0. At the same time I had about 1.0 in nitrite. I knew something was wrong. About every two to three days I skimmed off about 1/3 of the water and filled back up. After 4 weeks no change. I usally feed only what they can eat in several minutes. A LFS person sold me a ammonia removal pack to put in the Aqua Clear. He also told me to remove the sponge prefilter and rinse it out in cold water. I do not ever rember doing this before till the tank was cycled. After one day the nitrite reading went to zero and the ammonia stays at 1.0. It has not changed in 2 weeks now. I have done several 70 to 80 % water changes and no change. I am on well water. My PH is 7.6. I have medium to hard water. After water changes the nitrate is auslly 20ppm. My well is about the same nitrate of 20ppm. I think I interupted to cycle with that ammonia pack. I have removed it and the water paremeters have not changed now in 7 weeks from forst starting the cycle.
What do I do now to correct this problem drain it out and completly start over or is there another way of fixing this tank? I hate to go thru this again but if I have to I will. I have always cycled with fish and never had this happen. Thank you
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Old 09-11-2011, 02:15 PM   #2
 
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Rinsing the sponge was probably suggested to keep it clean so the water would flow through and the nitrifying bacteria would establish easily. No issue there, although the sponge should be rinsed in warmer water (tank temperature or close) to avoid affecting the bacteria which are sensitive to temperature. Also, if chlorine is added to your source water (being well, it may or may not), the chlorine will kill the bacteria; using tank water solves this problem if it exists.

The ammonia pack probably detoxifies ammonia by changing it to ammonium, most work this way; this means it is harmless as ammonium, but bacteria still use ammonium as ammonia so no issue there. And test kits will read both as "ammonia" so it may actually be ammonium (harmless).

Whichever, it should be getting to zero by now. Four goldfish produce a lot of waste, so this may be the answer, but let's explore all possibilities. Have you tested your source (well) water for ammonia? You said it has 20ppm nitrates, so that is where the nitrates in the tank are coming from.

Which water conditioner do you use?

Byron.

Last edited by Byron; 09-11-2011 at 02:17 PM..
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Old 09-11-2011, 02:40 PM   #3
 
Cycling problem

The gold fish are about 1 to 1 1/2 inch in length. I tested many times and my well water has no ammonia at all. But has about 20ppm of nitrate. I have never used any conditioner at all here with any of my tanks. I have not really vacumed the substrate just skimming over the top of it to pick up any loose food. I did this once about a week ago. Its about 1 inch thick aquarium natural looking gravel. All my other tanks usally cycled in about 3 to 5 weeks. Nothing like this time. I said 4 gold fish its only 3. I am totally up against a wall now with what to do to solve this mess. Any suggestions on what to do next is appreciated
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Old 09-11-2011, 02:50 PM   #4
 
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Live plants would quickly get this resolved, but of course goldfish eat plants. However, some fast-growing floating plants would work if you can get some. Even stem plants allowed to float. They assimilate a lot of ammonia and that is that.

Second thought, a bacterial supplement. Tetra's SafeStart and Seachem's Stability are two that work to establish nitrifying bacteria faster than otherwise. I always have lots of plants in my tanks so I don't need to bother, but if ever I set up a new tank without plants, I use one of these and have no issues.

Third, assuming the ammonia pack is doing its thing, the "ammonia" is actually ammonium. This doesn't explain why it is remaining, and I can't answer that. The two above suggestions would however resolve it, or should.

By the way, for the future, I would want to do something about the nitrates. These will eventually occur naturally in the aquarium, and without live plants nothing will be there to keep them in check. Most advise nitrates be below 20ppm with most tropical fish. I would either want live plants, or consider a water conditioner that detoxifies nitrate. Seachem's Prime does, not sure if there are others. The usual advice of more frequent water changes to control nitrates obviously doesn't work when they are being added with fresh water.

Byron.
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Old 09-11-2011, 03:10 PM   #5
 
I did remove the ammonia pack a week ago and the water parameters did not change at all. I will get the chemicles you suggested and try that. Thank you for your help. I will post the results after I get the chemicels added. Thanks again
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Old 09-12-2011, 05:26 PM   #6
 
I bought the Stability today and started the process as directed on the bottle. Introducing this into the tank do I stop water changes the the week of treatment or do I continue with my twice a week 30% water changes? How soon will I expect to see any change in the ammonia-ammonium level if this time period is known at all? It is a week long dosing regement. If this takes care of this problem will I start and continue regular water changes and also start vaccuming the substrate and take out the gold fish and start putting in tropical fish in small amounts?
Of all my other tanks this is a first for me using this chemical. I know I am asking alot of questions but like I said this is a first. I started this whole cycle August 1st.
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Old 09-12-2011, 06:08 PM   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woaussie View Post
I bought the Stability today and started the process as directed on the bottle. Introducing this into the tank do I stop water changes the the week of treatment or do I continue with my twice a week 30% water changes? How soon will I expect to see any change in the ammonia-ammonium level if this time period is known at all? It is a week long dosing regement. If this takes care of this problem will I start and continue regular water changes and also start vaccuming the substrate and take out the gold fish and start putting in tropical fish in small amounts?
Of all my other tanks this is a first for me using this chemical. I know I am asking alot of questions but like I said this is a first. I started this whole cycle August 1st.
On the Stability, it is not "chemical," it is 100% pure bacteria. Just a picky point, but I am not fond of any "chemicals" going into my fish tanks, so I always like to make this point.

Water changes more frequent than weekly is only necessary if ammonia or nitrite test above zero. Add the Stability after the water change. You are not using any ammonia detoxifying product now (the filter thing was removed I believe) and with the pH above 7 any "ammonia" is likely true ammonia not ammonium.

I don't know the time period. Stability simply builds up the bacteria colony faster.
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Old 09-17-2011, 11:16 PM   #8
 
Byron I took your advise and got the Seachem Stability. I called Seachem and they confirmed that it should solve the ammonia problem. They said follow dosing on the label to a "t" which I did. I started it last Monday with an ammonia reading of.50. Nitrites 0 nitrates at 20pp. In 4 days the ammonia went to .25. In 6 days total the ammonia dropped to 0.They also said not to do a water change during this week long dosing. Its finally done. Thanks for your help.
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Old 09-18-2011, 11:24 AM   #9
 
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There you are at last.
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