Originally Posted by nouvelle1972
I just set up a 29 gallon and within 2 days all my levels were perfect. No fish in yet. I just rinsed rocks, decorations and live plants off in filtered water, added the water and conditioner, which is usually 1/2 tsp/gallon (leaving enough room to transfer water and fish) and kept filter running (I also turned the light off and on for plants). Easy as that. I know this works because I have a little 2.5 gallon with a betta (same set up) and a 5 gallon with a dwarf pleco and 6 danios. They all swim around happy as clams in the sand.
Do you have a nitrate reading? How did you cycle it? Seeding or food or pure amm?
Freddy--IMHO I would wait to add fish till you get a nitrate reading. My 10 gallon got a nitrite reading today after I guess about 5 days of cycling with fish food. I know you upped your temp (82, like me, right?) and used fish food. I dumped about 10 fish flakes the first morning and night, and about 10-20 every morning since then. I know it's a lot, but I want to make sure I have more bacteria than I'll need for the fish so when I introduce them they will be supported. So again IMHO if I were doing a 20 gallon I'd add like three times (fellow members might be cringing at this). I also don't mind some deteriorating food in there to fertilize my plants, since there's no fish in there.
From experience, when you add fish before you cycle, it's stressful because say you get a .5 ammonia reading with fish in there, I always worry about the fish.
And yes, please get a new test kit. Use the drops, not the test strips. Dropper test kits tend to be more accurate (API sells good ones and they last a long time so the price is spread out over time).
Good luck, fellow cycler : )