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Please help me with my cycle

This is a discussion on Please help me with my cycle within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Originally Posted by cjz96 It was a mini community combined with my female betta sorrority. I was hoping corys, tetras, and possibly harlequin rasboras. ...

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Please help me with my cycle
Old 11-22-2012, 09:49 AM   #11
 
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Originally Posted by cjz96 View Post
It was a mini community combined with my female betta sorrority. I was hoping corys, tetras, and possibly harlequin rasboras. The plants are: Wisteria, foxtail, micro swords, hairgrass, java fern, java moss, and duckweed. I just picked up and switched to the API Master Test Kit and nitrates are apparently in my water. What should I do?
For first fish, after the tank is set up and planted [I usually run it overnight to make sure filter is OK, heater working, etc] one group of a tetra species or the rasbora will be OK as first fish. These are shoaling fish requiring a group as you may know, so get the entire group at the same time.

On the nitrates, this now explains where they are coming from. What was the number from the tap water alone [I see two different numbers were given previously]? And did you remember to shake Regent #2 for a good 2 minutes [the instructions say 30 seconds but this often results in a false and higher reading]? We can discuss options when we have the number.

Byron.
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Old 11-26-2012, 06:37 PM   #12
 
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For first fish, after the tank is set up and planted [I usually run it overnight to make sure filter is OK, heater working, etc] one group of a tetra species or the rasbora will be OK as first fish. These are shoaling fish requiring a group as you may know, so get the entire group at the same time.

On the nitrates, this now explains where they are coming from. What was the number from the tap water alone [I see two different numbers were given previously]? And did you remember to shake Regent #2 for a good 2 minutes [the instructions say 30 seconds but this often results in a false and higher reading]? We can discuss options when we have the number.

Byron.
Please excuse my late response. I was gone due to the Holidays. From what I am seeing, it looks between 20-40ppm.
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:02 PM   #13
 
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Please excuse my late response. I was gone due to the Holidays. From what I am seeing, it looks between 20-40ppm.
If the tap water has nitrates at 20ppm or higher, I would suggest for water changes using a conditioner that detoxifies nitrates. To my knowledge, Prime is the only one that does, but there may be a couple others. This would handle the initial influx for 24-36 hours. By that time, the plants might be able to handle this, or the nitrate-consuming bacteria (yes, there are such) in the substrate. Using this procedure, monitor nitrates daily for the week following the water change and see what occurs.

Nitrates are far more serious than many aquarists realize, or will admit. We do know that nitrates will not kill fish immediately, as will ammonia or nitrite, the two other forms of nitrogen we have to deal with. But that does not mean they are not toxic; they are, and highly so. And in some rather interesting ways. Fish digesting food in water with nitrates take in some of that water, and in the digestive system the anaerobic bacteria convert the nitrate to nitrite which is then taken up by the bloodstream. This causes a shortage of oxygen in the cells, particularly those further out as around the head and lateral line, and the cells will slowly die. Other damage includes a lower production of antibodies (which of course is going to make the fish more susceptible to disease and pathogens), and damage to the liver, spleen and kidneys. A sustained low level of nitrates will simply keep building up these effects until eventually something kills the fish. Think of it as smoking cigarettes; you are not likely to die after one cigarette, but in several years (or less for some people), the damage will be life-threatening. For fish, the effects accumulate much faster due to their shorter normal lifespan, the physiology, etc.

Byron.

Last edited by Byron; 11-26-2012 at 07:09 PM..
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Old 11-26-2012, 11:56 PM   #14
 
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Believe me i am no expert, But i have also identified that i get nitrate levels in my tap water after heavy storms here in Sydney and it doesnt help that the tank is a little overstocked (Bad LFS advice). I have just started a little experiment using duckweed in my tank to see how rapid the nitrate removal is (If at all). Ive never had a problem with ammonia or nitrites but i have had nitrate spikes. As a control i have added duckweed to a bucket filled with water containing nitrates from my last water change. Added a small aerator to stop it stagnating and left it getting direct sunlight in small plastic glass house.

Basically my intention is to allow the bucket to grow Duckweed and completely cover it. Test for nitrates. If the result is zero = i will do a water change with fishtank water (if it contains nitrates) or tap water (with prime conditioner) and measure daily. If i can get nitrates down to zero in less than a week then the result will be positive and i will be able to condition water from the tap to be safe prior to my weekly waterchange.

Just my Mad Scientist alter ego having a rant.

TitanTDH
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Old 11-27-2012, 12:20 PM   #15
 
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Originally Posted by TitanTDH View Post
Believe me i am no expert, But i have also identified that i get nitrate levels in my tap water after heavy storms here in Sydney and it doesnt help that the tank is a little overstocked (Bad LFS advice). I have just started a little experiment using duckweed in my tank to see how rapid the nitrate removal is (If at all). Ive never had a problem with ammonia or nitrites but i have had nitrate spikes. As a control i have added duckweed to a bucket filled with water containing nitrates from my last water change. Added a small aerator to stop it stagnating and left it getting direct sunlight in small plastic glass house.

Basically my intention is to allow the bucket to grow Duckweed and completely cover it. Test for nitrates. If the result is zero = i will do a water change with fishtank water (if it contains nitrates) or tap water (with prime conditioner) and measure daily. If i can get nitrates down to zero in less than a week then the result will be positive and i will be able to condition water from the tap to be safe prior to my weekly waterchange.

Just my Mad Scientist alter ego having a rant.

TitanTDH
Don't worry too much if you can't obtain zero in the aquarium. My tanks run around 5ppm (according to the API test, which admittedly is probably not all that accurate). I would strive for no more than 10ppm at the upper limit.

Nitrates in tap water is often due to near-by agricultural farms. The high organic waste gets down into the water table, and this can vary by season due to rains, etc. There are "safe" levels for human consumption, but as often occurs the safe level for humans is higher than it should be for fish.
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:57 AM   #16
 
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Originally Posted by Byron View Post
If the tap water has nitrates at 20ppm or higher, I would suggest for water changes using a conditioner that detoxifies nitrates. To my knowledge, Prime is the only one that does, but there may be a couple others. This would handle the initial influx for 24-36 hours. By that time, the plants might be able to handle this, or the nitrate-consuming bacteria (yes, there are such) in the substrate. Using this procedure, monitor nitrates daily for the week following the water change and see what occurs.

Nitrates are far more serious than many aquarists realize, or will admit. We do know that nitrates will not kill fish immediately, as will ammonia or nitrite, the two other forms of nitrogen we have to deal with. But that does not mean they are not toxic; they are, and highly so. And in some rather interesting ways. Fish digesting food in water with nitrates take in some of that water, and in the digestive system the anaerobic bacteria convert the nitrate to nitrite which is then taken up by the bloodstream. This causes a shortage of oxygen in the cells, particularly those further out as around the head and lateral line, and the cells will slowly die. Other damage includes a lower production of antibodies (which of course is going to make the fish more susceptible to disease and pathogens), and damage to the liver, spleen and kidneys. A sustained low level of nitrates will simply keep building up these effects until eventually something kills the fish. Think of it as smoking cigarettes; you are not likely to die after one cigarette, but in several years (or less for some people), the damage will be life-threatening. For fish, the effects accumulate much faster due to their shorter normal lifespan, the physiology, etc.

Byron.
I have just picked up some prime. Do I add the prime everyday for a week? After I get the nitrates down, do I start adding fish or try a fishless cycle. I have also just picked up some ammonium hydroxide just in case. Thanks.
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:45 AM   #17
 
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I have just picked up some prime. Do I add the prime everyday for a week? After I get the nitrates down, do I start adding fish or try a fishless cycle. I have also just picked up some ammonium hydroxide just in case. Thanks.
Prime should only be used with a water change, as any conditioner should. Do a partial water change, maybe only about 1/3 of the tank volume, using Prime. It will detoxify the nitrates in the fresh tap water, and remain effective for up to 48 hours (according to Seachem). I would test nitrates in the tank water (not tap here) just prior to the water change, and then 2 days following. While Prime detoxifies ammonia, nitrite and nitrate, all three will still read positive with our aquarium test kits, even though they are at that stage non-toxic; so a test after the water change or the next day is rather pointless. Keep track of the numbers from your tests so you can see the pattern. If nitrates are above 10ppm on the last test mentioned, do another test in a day or two, and so on. After a week or maybe even two of this, let us know what numbers you are getting.

I am not a fan of using Prime as some sort of treatment or remedy outside of water changes. For one thing, this is adding chemicals to the tank that are not needed. And second, this adds TDS (total dissolved solids) and TDS can build up and affect soft water fish. TDS is part of the GH (general hardness), though most of the time we are thinking of the hard minerals (calcium, magnesium, etc) when we speak of keeping the GH low for soft water fish and high for hard water fish. But all substances added to an aquarium, from plant fertilizers to water conditioners to any medications, adjusters, etc., are also adding TDS which we cannot measure without sophisticated equipment. And these TDS will harm some fish, so the fewer the better.

Letting nature do as much of the work as possible is always better for the fish.

Byron.
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Old 12-04-2012, 03:28 PM   #18
 
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Originally Posted by Byron View Post
Prime should only be used with a water change, as any conditioner should. Do a partial water change, maybe only about 1/3 of the tank volume, using Prime. It will detoxify the nitrates in the fresh tap water, and remain effective for up to 48 hours (according to Seachem). I would test nitrates in the tank water (not tap here) just prior to the water change, and then 2 days following. While Prime detoxifies ammonia, nitrite and nitrate, all three will still read positive with our aquarium test kits, even though they are at that stage non-toxic; so a test after the water change or the next day is rather pointless. Keep track of the numbers from your tests so you can see the pattern. If nitrates are above 10ppm on the last test mentioned, do another test in a day or two, and so on. After a week or maybe even two of this, let us know what numbers you are getting.

I am not a fan of using Prime as some sort of treatment or remedy outside of water changes. For one thing, this is adding chemicals to the tank that are not needed. And second, this adds TDS (total dissolved solids) and TDS can build up and affect soft water fish. TDS is part of the GH (general hardness), though most of the time we are thinking of the hard minerals (calcium, magnesium, etc) when we speak of keeping the GH low for soft water fish and high for hard water fish. But all substances added to an aquarium, from plant fertilizers to water conditioners to any medications, adjusters, etc., are also adding TDS which we cannot measure without sophisticated equipment. And these TDS will harm some fish, so the fewer the better.

Letting nature do as much of the work as possible is always better for the fish.

Byron.
I have just got the nitrates down to 5ppm or lower.
Ammonia: .25
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0-5ppm
It has been a week and no nitrate spikes yet. Should I keep up testing or try to cycle again? Thanks.
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Old 12-04-2012, 03:41 PM   #19
 
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I have just got the nitrates down to 5ppm or lower.
Ammonia: .25
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0-5ppm
It has been a week and no nitrate spikes yet. Should I keep up testing or try to cycle again? Thanks.
Checking back, you intend live plants, so don't fuss with "cycles." Plant the tank, and once planted add the first fish.
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Old 12-05-2012, 05:59 AM   #20
 
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If the tap water has nitrates at 20ppm or higher, I would suggest for water changes using a conditioner that detoxifies nitrates. To my knowledge, Prime is the only one that does, but there may be a couple others. This would handle the initial influx for 24-36 hours. By that time, the plants might be able to handle this, or the nitrate-consuming bacteria (yes, there are such) in the substrate. Using this procedure, monitor nitrates daily for the week following the water change and see what occurs.

Nitrates are far more serious than many aquarists realize, or will admit. We do know that nitrates will not kill fish immediately, as will ammonia or nitrite, the two other forms of nitrogen we have to deal with. But that does not mean they are not toxic; they are, and highly so. And in some rather interesting ways. Fish digesting food in water with nitrates take in some of that water, and in the digestive system the anaerobic bacteria convert the nitrate to nitrite which is then taken up by the bloodstream. This causes a shortage of oxygen in the cells, particularly those further out as around the head and lateral line, and the cells will slowly die. Other damage includes a lower production of antibodies (which of course is going to make the fish more susceptible to disease and pathogens), and damage to the liver, spleen and kidneys. A sustained low level of nitrates will simply keep building up these effects until eventually something kills the fish. Think of it as smoking cigarettes; you are not likely to die after one cigarette, but in several years (or less for some people), the damage will be life-threatening. For fish, the effects accumulate much faster due to their shorter normal lifespan, the physiology, etc.

Byron.
I think you meant a sustained high level of nitrates...?
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