My tank should be cycled and is not! - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 11 Old 01-30-2012, 10:06 PM Thread Starter
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My tank should be cycled and is not!

I'm not sure what's wrong but my tank has been up for more than a month and it's not cycled yet. I tested my water and found that it is very hard and alkaline. Also my nitrite and nitrate are in the danger zone but ammonia is fine. The guy at my LFS said to leave my tank alone for a week but I'm not so sure that's right. Also my water is cloudy. What do I do! Please help!

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post #2 of 11 Old 01-30-2012, 10:17 PM
I just went through the same trouble with my tank and it's finally cycled after 3 months! My mistake was adding to many fish to fast, and that messed up my cycling process. I'am no expert but I would say do 20%daily water changes with Prime water conditioner, and add some live plants they help my tank.
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post #3 of 11 Old 01-30-2012, 10:28 PM
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dont do a water change leave it ur tank shouldnt be cycle after only 1 month
wait at least another month to add fish or untill levels hit 0

doing a water change will disrupt the cycle

i have a dog named fish

30g long

55g -planted

125g 4ft long octagonal


10g hospital
-empty- :]
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post #4 of 11 Old 01-31-2012, 08:07 AM
Uhm, if your water tests are accurate and you have [high] nitrAtes, then your tank is cycling and you should be doing water changes!?!?
Ammonia ==> NitrItes ==> Nitrates ...and nitrates are only removed with water changes (unless you have a lot of plants that use the ammonia so 'trites and 'trates never exist.)

footnote: without ample bio-seed (which is always best), it's not uncommon for a new tank cycle to take 4-8 weeks...and 6 months to become established.

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post #5 of 11 Old 01-31-2012, 08:49 AM
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You should be doing water changes... but daily would be too much. Try doing a weekly 20% and see what happens.

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post #6 of 11 Old 01-31-2012, 08:57 AM Thread Starter
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To: AbbeysDad

What is Bio-seed? I have been adding Stress Zyme when I do water changes. If I leave it alone will the Ammonia not kill my fish?

Last edited by paintedpink24; 01-31-2012 at 09:04 AM.
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post #7 of 11 Old 01-31-2012, 09:06 AM
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I just wanted to note here... This might sound like I'm being too harsh, but I'm just trying to look out for the fish, and help you get the healthy fish and aquarium you're after. So follow with me, and we'll see if we can get your on a better path!

if we're talking about the tank in your aquarium log, then it is already stocked with fish, right? If this is the case (that you've done a fish-in cycle), then you need to put the needs of your fish first. This means doing 50% water changes anytime the Ammonia or Nitrites have readings above 0ppm, or Nitrates are above 20ppm, or weekly (whichever comes first). Fish are (at least) damaged if not killed (sooner, OR from cumulative damage down the road) from these toxins. You need to protect them as best you can.

If the fish list on your log is accurate, your 10g tank is VERY overstocked with "1 chinese algae eater, 1 upside down catfish, 1 Julii Cory, 2 painted tetras, 7 long finned zebra danios". The Chinese Algae Eater (CAE) will be WAY too big for this tank (needs a 4ft tank min), will stop eating algae, and will become very aggressive. The Upside Down Catfish needs to be in a group, and in a bigger tank. The Julii Cory (which is probably Corydoras Trilineatus) needs to be in a group (5 or more). I'm not sure what the painted tetras are, but all tetras belong in a group (6 or more). And the Zebra Danio need a tank at least 2ft long for their very active swimming. So, I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but none of these fish can be kept in a 10g tank. I STRONGLY suggest returning all of them to the store, or otherwise finding them a good home. Then we can wrap up your cycle with a fish-less method, and properly stock your tank so that you'll be able to enjoy a healthy tank with healthy fish!

P.S. You can click on the shaded names of the fish to read about each species. You can also use the "Tropical Fish Profiles" link in the dark blue navigation bar at the top of the page to research fish before purchase.

"My dither fish need dither fish!"

Last edited by MinaMinaMina; 01-31-2012 at 09:10 AM.
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post #8 of 11 Old 01-31-2012, 09:14 AM
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If you already have fish in the tank then you need to be doing water changes.

Any level of ammonia or nitrite is bad for the fish long term.

Try as others have mentioned to let it run for a week or so with no water changes.

There is no set time to cycle a tank...I cycled my 180G in just under 2 weeks but I very heavily seeded it and did a fishless cycle.
My 75g which I did fishless cycling took 8 weeks, as for no reason I entered a stalled cycle period...turns out the test kit I used had expired...this was giving me false readings of ammonia and nitrite. When I started the fishless cycling I overdosed on ammonia to near 10ppm! stalled the cycle.

If you are still getting nitrite readings and no ammonia and high nitrite/ nitrate that is a good sign...if your nitrate level is off the scale then do a water change, if it is below 80ppm then it is acceptable as far as cycling is going, while being bad for the fish it is less so than having high levels of ammonia and nitrite.

The fact is I do not believe anyone should fish in cycle a tank as it is extremely bad for the fishes health long is kind of on a par of having a human live in their own waste and not get sick long term.

10g Fry / Hospital / QT tank (as needed)

75g Saltwater Reef, Ocellaris Clownfish, Lyretail Antias (baby), Lemon damsel, Longtail Fairy Wrasse, purple dottyback, snails, crabs and a few LPS corals.

220g Still sitting empty (come on Lottery I need the numbers to come up!)
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post #9 of 11 Old 01-31-2012, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by paintedpink24 View Post
To: AbbeysDad

What is Bio-seed? I have been adding Stress Zyme when I do water changes. If I leave it alone will the Ammonia not kill my fish?
Welcome to the forum! You've come to the right place to solve your problem. Unfortunately, it's probably not going to be the solution you were hoping for. Hang in there and it will DEFINITELY pay off in the end when you are an expert keeper of happy, healthy fish!

First, to answer your question on bio-seed, you can "cheat" the cycle process a little bit by seeding your tank with an established bacteria colony. For instance, if you know someone with an established tank, you might ask them to run your filter in their tank (or just the media) for a week or two. When you re-introduce it to your aquarium, it will speed the cycle process dramatically.

Moving on to the larger issue at hand, I'm sorry to say it, but I'm in full agreement with Mina. I'm sure it's frustrating and disappointing to hear it, but those fish are not going to survive for long (or live happily in the meantime) under the current conditions. My guess is that the problems you're experiencing with water chemistry and clarity are directly related to the fact that your tank is dangerously overstocked.

The good news is that there are plenty of interesting fish and inverts that will thrive in a 10g tank. The fish profiles (2nd tab from left above) are a great starting point. For rule-of-thumb purposes, AqAdvisor is a really useful tool for stocking aquariums.

As you'll see, when we plug in your tank, your filter (guessing a Whisper PF10 or similar), and your inhabitants, AqAdvisor echoes Mina's sentiments, with some additional cautions:

P!nk Hippy Tank

My advice is to return all of the fish to the store where you bought them. If a clerk there advised you to stock a 10g tank with these fish, you're well within your right to demand a refund (or at least store credit for when you're ready to try again). Start a thread in this forum asking for stocking suggestions for a filtered 10g with your water parameters and you'll be amazed how many wonderful fish you have to choose from! Your patience (while no doubt frustrating in the short run) will ultimately be rewarded!

Finally, a quick word on "Painted Tetras." These are actually White Skirt Tetras which are artificially dyed. The dyeing process is considered by most to be cruel and harmful, reportedly killing the majority of the fish who undergo the process. What's more, the dye fades over time. Better perhaps to get a small school of healthy White Skirts in the first place! Just my opinion, for what it's worth!

Good luck and PLEASE keep us posted on your progress. There are some wonderful people here who will be happy to support you with expertise you simply won't get at the local pet store.

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post #10 of 11 Old 01-31-2012, 10:50 AM Thread Starter
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Okay, I'll take back the fish and I'll get some of my mother-in-laws media to cycle the tank faster.

Is there any fish I CAN keep? I really like the corys and catfish and would like to keep one of them if possible.
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