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post #1 of 9 Old 02-23-2010, 10:31 PM Thread Starter
Unhappy Cycling Problems

29 gallon freshwater

1 angel, 6 black phantom tetra, 6 blood finned tetra, 3 weather loaches.

Ph: 7.2
Ammonia: 0.5 ppm, can only get it to go to .25 ppm with a PWC
Nitrate: 5 ppm
Nitrites: 0 ppm
hardness: 150-180 (cant remember what scale, LFS measured it for me)

Ok, so I have had my tank set up since the middle of January. I have only seen ammonia levels and nitrates, never any nitrites. I'm starting to wonder if I'm getting a false positive reading of ammonia. I thought that ammonia started, then nitrites, THEN nitrates... from what I've been reading at least. I have never seen any appearance of a reading of nitrites in my tank... EVER!

I have been doing PWC's about every other day (about 10 gallons each time), and only one cleaning a week do I take all my decor out and vacuum the gravel (assumed that this would help the bacteria grow).

There is this white/greyish film that is starting to grow on my filter media, is this bacteria? or just build up from my water?

Any ideas of what the heck is going on?

Any and all ideas appreciated...


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post #2 of 9 Old 02-23-2010, 10:37 PM Thread Starter
Forgot to say that I have a Aqueon QuietFlow 30 filter


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post #3 of 9 Old 02-24-2010, 12:11 AM
I would venture to guess that you have ammonia in your tap water...have you tested it straight out of the tap?

Just treat it with a water conditioner that detoxes ammonia and you will be fine (the ammonium will read on the test most likely but will not harm you fish).

The fact that you're getting a nitrate reading is good and means the bb are there working, unless you ahve that in your tap too which some people do.

Is your angel going to outgrow that 29 gallon?

Is your tank planted? If so it's possible to never see a nitrite spike. I've never seen measurable nitrite in my 29 gallon (it's always been planted). Did you seed from an existing tank when you set it up, if so then it's also possible to be fully cycled within a very short time, even a week. If your tank is planted don't worry about thorough gravel vac, just sweep it over the top and get the debris up there where there's no plants. Otherwise just leave it alone. If no plants, then yes, gravel vac. Otherwise there's nothing there to eat the poop, pardon the phrasing.

Stephanie's updated tank profiles:
29 gallon 10 gallon
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post #4 of 9 Old 02-24-2010, 05:49 AM
iamntbatman's Avatar
Yep, testing your tap water is the next thing I'd do.

Also, I'm not sure I would keep weather loaches with those other fish. Weather loaches are a coldwater fish.

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post #5 of 9 Old 02-24-2010, 11:25 AM Thread Starter
I've tested my tap, no ammonia present, maybe I'll let a cup sit overnight and then test that... The loaches are at the upper end of their temperature range and they are very active. My tank is not planted and I did not seed from an existing tank, tried Tetra Cycle, dont think it worked though.

Could it be a false positive?


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post #6 of 9 Old 02-24-2010, 04:59 PM
when were all these fish added? could be the bb trying to catch up with the bioload

Stephanie's updated tank profiles:
29 gallon 10 gallon
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post #7 of 9 Old 02-24-2010, 06:08 PM Thread Starter
I waited a week or two between adding them


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post #8 of 9 Old 02-24-2010, 06:53 PM
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IMO you're still cycling there and your tank is trying to work its way through handling the bio load there. I'd just do more frequent w/c while the ammonia is up and one's its dropped for good switch back to 1x week only.

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post #9 of 9 Old 02-24-2010, 07:07 PM
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I think you prolly have more fish waste than the bacteria can convert right now. The bacteria probably going to take a bit to reproduce until it has enough to convert all the ammonia.

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