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post #1 of 9 Old 03-06-2012, 11:10 PM Thread Starter
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Question New freshwater tank - first-timer

Hi,

I'm waiting for my cycle to set in my 10 gal freshwater tank. I have four neon tetras in there and some plants too.In the first week, I had I had not fish but only plants and water in the tank and only put in very little fish food once a day. After a week, I put in the fish and today it is three weeks since the day I planted my tank and added water in. Finally I can see a nitrite spike in the water.

Here are my readings from the API liquid master test kit,
Nitrite - 3 ppm
Nitrate - 20 ppm
Ammonia - 0.23 ppm

Are these readings okay? Should I be changing my water? My fish dont seem stressed at all.
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post #2 of 9 Old 03-06-2012, 11:39 PM
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Originally Posted by dpooja85 View Post
Hi,

I'm waiting for my cycle to set in my 10 gal freshwater tank. I have four neon tetras in there and some plants too.In the first week, I had I had not fish but only plants and water in the tank and only put in very little fish food once a day. After a week, I put in the fish and today it is three weeks since the day I planted my tank and added water in. Finally I can see a nitrite spike in the water.

Here are my readings from the API liquid master test kit,
Nitrite - 3 ppm
Nitrate - 20 ppm
Ammonia - 0.23 ppm

Are these readings okay? Should I be changing my water? My fish dont seem stressed at all.
I am assuming that the plants are live plants correct? How many do you have in the tank? Also what are the names of these plants? Plants will help out with cycling your tank but your numbers have me concerned! Nitrites should never be over 0 as they are deadly to fish. Nitrates being @ 20 is okay but doesn't need to go much higher. Ammonia is ok up to .25. The thing that has me confused is if you have enough plants you should not be seeing nitrites or ammonia unless you have a dirty tank.
So back to how many plants do you have? How much do you feed and how often? Have you done any water changes?
Best advice I can give is do a water change something like 50%. Make sure to do a gravel vacuum also. Check your parameters again and see where they are at. If they are still high do another water change. I would monitor the parameters for a while everyday and make sure the numbers are where they are suppose to be. Also the more plants you have the better! Plants will grab the ammonia and use it for food faster then the bacteria can thus less nitrates and as always never any nitrites with fish in the tank. Of coarse this all depends on the cleanliness of the tank.
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post #3 of 9 Old 03-07-2012, 12:55 AM Thread Starter
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I am assuming that the plants are live plants correct? How many do you have in the tank? Also what are the names of these plants? Plants will help out with cycling your tank but your numbers have me concerned! Nitrites should never be over 0 as they are deadly to fish. Nitrates being @ 20 is okay but doesn't need to go much higher. Ammonia is ok up to .25. The thing that has me confused is if you have enough plants you should not be seeing nitrites or ammonia unless you have a dirty tank.
So back to how many plants do you have? How much do you feed and how often? Have you done any water changes?
Best advice I can give is do a water change something like 50%. Make sure to do a gravel vacuum also. Check your parameters again and see where they are at. If they are still high do another water change. I would monitor the parameters for a while everyday and make sure the numbers are where they are suppose to be. Also the more plants you have the better! Plants will grab the ammonia and use it for food faster then the bacteria can thus less nitrates and as always never any nitrites with fish in the tank. Of coarse this all depends on the cleanliness of the tank.
Thank you for such a prompt reply.

Yes the plants are live. I have one anubias, three anacharis, a java fern and an amazon sword. Have updated a picture on my profile. I feed the fish twice a day (once in the morning, all the flakes are devoured in about 2 min and once in the evening - this time about half of the morning quantity) I just did a 40% water change and will keep testing the water. The water did not seem to be very dirty though. I did a gravel vac.

I had read about the nitrogen cycle online and it said that there is usually an ammonia spike followed by a nitrite spike. Thats when the water needs to be changed. I hope I am going in the right direction
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post #4 of 9 Old 03-07-2012, 01:12 AM
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That's generally correct about the cycle except when you throw live plants onto the mix. In that case you usually don't see a true cycle. Providing the plants can handle the waste from the fish load. With that said the number of plants to you four fish should be plenty to handle the waste load (well I would think). Pretty much everything breaks down into ammonia (I.e. fish food, fish poo, matter that gets broke down). As long as this isn't to great then plants can handle it making it hard for the nitrogen bacteria to form. It still will just not to the point a non planted tank will. If the balance is right. If this gets unbalanced then the bacteria can start forming easier.

Mr thoughts here is since you were feeding the tank fish food before the fish was added this extra food source spiked your bacteria even with the plants. I think you should be fine now. If you find you are not then cut back on the feeding and this will help and or add more plants especially fast growing ones.
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post #5 of 9 Old 03-07-2012, 11:04 AM
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All I would add is to reduce feeding to once daily, no more. And you can skip a day or two will no issues. Water change day is a good one to skip feeding, as fish should not be fed prior to water changes or other in-tank disturbance.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #6 of 9 Old 03-07-2012, 11:20 AM
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All I would add is to reduce feeding to once daily, no more. And you can skip a day or two will no issues. Water change day is a good one to skip feeding, as fish should not be fed prior to water changes or other in-tank disturbance.

Byron.
Just out of curiosity Byron, why would you not want to feed before you do a water change?

I have actually been feeding about 1-2 hours before a water change (it is usually when I get home that I feed them and then wait to do that water change)
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post #7 of 9 Old 03-07-2012, 11:27 AM
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Just out of curiosity Byron, why would you not want to feed before you do a water change?

I have actually been feeding about 1-2 hours before a water change (it is usually when I get home that I feed them and then wait to do that water change)
This advice I read a while back. When fish eat, they go through an increased physiological process involving respiration, digestion, blood flow, energy levels, etc. Causing stress right after this can be harmful. I don't know the exact biology, but I suspect it is something akin to humans not eating prior to strenuous exercise. We often read about not feeding new fish, probably something related.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #8 of 9 Old 03-07-2012, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Byron View Post
This advice I read a while back. When fish eat, they go through an increased physiological process involving respiration, digestion, blood flow, energy levels, etc. Causing stress right after this can be harmful. I don't know the exact biology, but I suspect it is something akin to humans not eating prior to strenuous exercise. We often read about not feeding new fish, probably something related.
Interesting. How long should you not feed a new fish for? A day? A few hours?

Also, how long does this process last?
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post #9 of 9 Old 03-07-2012, 11:38 AM
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Interesting. How long should you not feed a new fish for? A day? A few hours?

Also, how long does this process last?
First question, I always feed the next day as normal, the existing fish in the tank eat, even if the new ones don't.

As for waterchanges, I sometimes feed two hours after, rather depends upon the fish in the tank. I have noticed that some of them are still skittish and don't eat, others are gobbling it down. After a water change, many of them tend to be more interested in spawning than eating. The corys and loaches seem to be out and about, poking everywhere, after the water change.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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