Hello TFK community. after many days days of looking around for a good community to join i have decided to settle here for now to see how much help and information i can get/learn from this community. so looking forward to it guys!
I always loved fish! but it wasnt until very recently wife approved for me to get my own tank set up on my condo. After searching around sizes and what kind of tank I wanted to "create" I have decided to go with a 40 gallon (37 gal actual water capacity), Whisper EX 45 power filter, got a expensive heater, some rock/drift wood decor and fake plants. Also using deep blue rocks for gravel.
I was complete noob (lets be honest here) in setting up freshwater tanks, so after reading some posts i have decided to cycle my tank with few fish.
Set up my tank, decorated it, filled up with water, ran the filter and the heater for about 24 hours, and then went to Petco to get some cheap fish so i could start the bio cycle. I ended up picking out 4 silver tail mollies, (live bearers), 1 male swordfish. After i added the fish, within the first 12 hours the tank's water got very cloudy, and fish started to gasp for air. I assumed that's a normal sign for the brand new tank and was told that my tank was going through ammonia spike. I let it be for few days, and then started to do 15-25% water changes every 2-3 days just to help out the fish. I did not have any water testing strips or tubes, so i just monitored fish's behavior for now.
Tank's water became semi clear, and looking like things were getting established after 4-5 weeks of cloudiness.
Than someone advised me to make sure im changing out my bio filter pads every month or so, so... without any research, stupid me, i went home and threw away my bio filter pad, and inserted a new one (the filter came with pack of 2). Next day the water got pretty cloudy again, and i was puzzled to why that would happen. Did some research and found out that I just made a biggest mistake ever, by throwing the good established bacteria away and putting a brand new filter pad.
It has been over 4 weeks since I have done that. Here is my ISSUE NOW, I invested some money in purchasing API Master Test Kit, and been testing my aquarium water every other day. The readings are what trouble me, and i cant find a solution to what am I doing wrong, or do i just patience. Looking for some advice from the experts.
Did my water readings today and this has been the SAME result for 1.5 weeks now.
pH - 6.6
Ammonia - 4 (4-5ppm)
Nitrate - 0
My Tap water test results:
pH - 7.6
Ammonia - 0
Nitrate - o
Nitrite - 0
I have not been able to reduce the ammonia even with water changes, and also the pH seems a bit low. Also not getting any Nitrate readings question my filter cycle process.
I have been doing 25% water changes every 5-6 days just to give the filter a bit of time to fight back the ammonia levels.
I feed the fish tiny bit once a day.
Anyone can advice me on my tank keeping methods? I know the tanks is not cycled due to ammonia readings, and is my pH levels too low? I been struggling with this tank for over a month now not knowing what am I doing wrong. Fish seem to be okay once in a while, and few times have I witnessed them gasping for air. Any advice would be greatly appreciate it. I thought about re-starting the tank completely few times now... because it seems I can not get the nitrate/nitrite levels to go up to start the actual cycle.
Thank you guys in advance!