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Need help, our 29 gal tank refuses to cycle.

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Need help, our 29 gal tank refuses to cycle.
Old 07-17-2010, 06:20 AM   #11
I also just finished testing the water after the last 50% water exchange and here are the results:

PH -> 7.6
High Range PH -> 7.4
Ammonia -> 1.0
Nitrite -> 0

I didn't bother testing the nitrates as the tank still has yet to show any signs of Nitrite. The Ammonia has at least dropped and will hopefully be down to .25 after the next two water exchanges. Will the fish that are showing signs of ammonia poisoning with the red gills, will they clear up from the poisoning or are they going to definitely pass on?
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Old 07-17-2010, 11:33 AM   #12
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I need to see what else I can find for a LFS. Maybe see if they can do anything as far as giving me a little of their seeded filter media or something.
Personally I would never take "dirty" gravel or filter media from a store to use in my tank. Using substrate or filter media from one of your own tanks is fine as you know the state of the tank health. You have no idea what pathogens may be living in this material from a store. And most stores have circulating systems which means disease in any tank in the system can be present even if unnoticed in all the connected tanks. I do not recommend this practice.

As for the biological supplements, there is varying opinions among aquarists, and that's fine. If the stuff is inactive, it will do no harm. If it is live bacteria, it will help seed the aquarium, and more safely than using gravel as above. It's your decision. Here is a link to Dr. Timothy Hovanec's paper on this, he invented the live bacteria in a bottle, and scientifically it is what it says, though shelf life can make it ineffective. Tetra [SafeStart] use his formula, they bought the rights to it; Seachem's Stability is as far as I know much the same, and is live bacteria, guaranteed.

We lost the cory cat this morning. I didn't get a chance to do the 50% water exchange yesterday after work but just did it this morning. That is when I noticed Louie the cory cat floating upside down. I noticed someone mentioned we had a poor choice of fish to have together, can someone elaborate on that? I want more cory cats as I love the little things and I know they should be grouped together in 6 or more. I am not adding fish till this tank is finally cycled. I am going to try and see what live plants I can find to add to the tank also. Anyone have suggestions?
Corydoras are highly sensitive to cycling issues and in fact any water problems, also medications which makes treating them troublesome. I agree, no more fish until the tank is cycled. And plants will certainly help, in this case the fast growing plants (stem plants) even just allowed to float will help; being fast growing they assimilate nutrients faster, including ammonium (ammonia). One bunch of any stem plant floating will help you. Plants for permanent use in the tank we can discuss later, one thing at a time.

You asked about the fish stock. Some of the fish must be kept in groups, the Corydoras and all tetras. For corys, minimum 3 but 5 or more is preferable. Tetras, six is usually considered minimum. All these "shoaling" fish have social structures within their groups and this plus the fact that just being in higher numbers gives them added "security" is important for their long-term health. So any tetra you plan on getting, remember it needs 6 and that takes up space (both physical and water quality). In a 29g, this quickly fills the tank.

The Red tailed Shark should be returned for exchange or credit if the store will; most good stores will because they know we all get ourselves into these problems and they want you to be successful so you will remain a good customer. This fish grows to 5 inches, and if you check our profile you will see several reasons why it is not suitable in a 29g, nor with some of the other fish you have. Profiles can be accessed via the second tab from the left in the blue bar cross the top, or by clicking on the shade name in posts. Please have a look.

The black with white spot "sucker" is probably a plecostomus. Some spotted species reach 12 inches or more. Without knowing which species, I can't say much more, except you should identify the fish and then may have to decide whether or not to keep it.

Different fish require different water parameters. Some are adaptable to some extent, depending upon species, others are not. In general, livebearers (guppy and molly are livebearers) require basic slightly hard water (pH above 7, some mineral hardness). Tetras are the opposite, soft acidic water fish. But many of the common ones are tank raised and adapt to slightly basic water (pH in the low to mid-7's). Your pH is within this range, so it is possible to have a compromise. That can be looked into more when the tank is settled and you are considering new fish.

Many of us, myself included when I started out, go into the fish stores and we see all these fish and assume they basically live together (and sometimes store people tell us so) with no mention made of varying water parameters for long-term health and happiness of the fish. Researching any fish before you buy it is good sense. We have profiles here on many fish, and among our members I'm sure we have experience on every fish out there. I have a habit of never buying fish until I have researched it. Only the other day I was in one of my reliable stores and saw some loaches I had never seen before. They were about 1.5 inches long, seemed to get along fine together, quite attractive. The "common" name on the tank meant nothing (it usually doesn't) so I asked the staff for the scientific name from the supplier's sheet and when I got home I looked it up. The loach attains 5 inches, is quite territorial and aggressive to its own, and doesn't like other bottom fish. Had I listened to the store person, I would probably have bought 3 of them. There's no way I want that in my tank, with my other loaches.


Last edited by Byron; 07-17-2010 at 11:54 AM..
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Old 07-19-2010, 09:21 PM   #13
I will have to take some pictures of the red tailed shark and the pleco. I tried doing a google image search on the pleco and haven't found any that look identical to ours, I mean they are close as far as shape and fins but he is all black with white poka dots all over. He mainly stays on the gravel and never on the glass.

The red tailed shark, he is gray with the red tail, has little whiskers and seems to feed more off of the bottom or the decorations.

I did manage to get the water down to .25 in ammonia and will do one more 50% water change tomorrow and then do 20% every other day till the tank finally cycles. Still no signs of nitrite. I would have thought it would at least show some sign of starting to cycle by now. Especially now that we have the aqua clear filter on there for the last three weeks. I had part of the old filter media in with the AC filer media just in case there was any bacteria starting to form, I left it in there for over a week but finally removed it since there are still no signs of cycling. We are in the middle of moving and will be moving the tank this weekend. I am going to drain half the water out and transport them in tank to the new house and then fill the tank back up. I hope it cycles soon or at least shows some promising sign of starting to.
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Old 07-20-2010, 09:10 AM   #14
Yea, throw a plant in there and that should help a lot. As far as the pleco goes, it COULD be:


Price tags between 30-50 dollars.

I've got one of each of these in my 20 gal. I love them, my heroes. I don't have the L numbers offhand, unfortunately.
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Old 07-21-2010, 01:48 PM   #15
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My avatar is a red tailed shark. Not mine per say as she's pretty uncooperative for pictures but that's what they look like. If your shark is gray they're stressed out which given your parameter problems would make sense. As they shark gets older and more at ease they'll be pitch black and vibrant red.

29 gallons is, in my opinion, the absolute smallest tank you can consider keeping a shark in. Personally I'd prefer 50+ gallons for them. The biggest issue is that putting the shark in first can result in major territorial issues.
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Old 07-21-2010, 02:03 PM   #16
The water is almost down to zero ammonia. It is between zero and .25 now. The shark was the 4th or 5th fish added to the tank. He seems to get along nice with all the other fish. The one that seems to be territorial or go after any other fish is the bleeding heart tetra. The shark was a light gray at the lfs and hasn't changed colors since we have had him. I would love to get a 50 gallon tank which might happen once we move. I haven't had a chance to get any of the cycle starting aids yet. I would love to see it cycle on it's own. Hopefully soon. I think the pleco that we have might be a galaxy. I will try and get some pictures of them tonight and post them. I don't know if they will be camera shy or not LOL.
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Old 07-21-2010, 02:05 PM   #17
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I really have a low opinion of cycling aids. I'm sure some of the stuff really does work, like the Safe Start product, but there are some stringent handling requirements to ensure the bacteria survey to your tank and I have little faith that they are followed from the factory to your LFS.

At 29 gallons I would strongly, strongly advise against stocking any more bottom dwellers.
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Old 07-21-2010, 02:08 PM   #18
So does that mean no cory cats?
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Old 07-21-2010, 02:17 PM   #19
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I wouldn't recommend it. Red Tailed Sharks are territorial bottom dwellers. They are going to find "their" spot and lay claim to it. Once they've got it they will defend it.

Now there are steps to take to manage a RTBS's territoriality. First off decorate heavily, lots of plants, lots of rocks. If the RTBS can't see it they aren't going to consider it their's. Second, give your bottom dwellers roost in opposite corners of the tank. In my case my RTBS has "her" cave in one corner and my cories have staked out "their" tree stump in the other and there are a lot of plants and rocks in between. Finally, and this one is sort of out of your control now, add the RTBS last. The more fish in the tank the smaller the territory that will be claimed. Alternatively you can rearrange everything in the tank. This will break up the existing territories and hopefully get everyone to reassess what's their piece of sand.

Again though, in a 29 gallon tank I'd just stick with the shark.
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Old 07-21-2010, 02:42 PM   #20
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I agree with Tyyrlym on the Red Tailed Shark and bottom fish. Read our profile [click the shaded name] on this species, it says the same.
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