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FlyingFish47 09-11-2012 03:00 PM

Newbie Tank- 30L- Questions About Early Stages of Cycling
Hello all, first post here!

I'm a newbie to fishkeeping (aside from a brief, ill-fated attempt at goldfish in primary school- now I know better!)

Anyway I am in the process of cycling my first tank and have a few questions on things I'm not clear about.

The tank:

I have a 30-litre tank with an Aqua-One300 hang-on filter. The (unheated) temp has remained at about 25-27'C regardless of whether our a/c is on or not.

I realise the tank size is smaller than ideal however it's all I am able to work with due to living in shared accommodation. All being okay with this tank I would surely look to upgrading to larger tank, but my housemates have said I need to know I am going to stick with it before having to put up with "fish stuff" everywhere! :-P

I've gone for a fishless cycle, but due to not being able to find pure ammonia ANYWHERE, have had to go for the "meat method".

Items in the tank are: medium gravel, small pebble bed with a river rock border. 4 artificial plants, one bridge and an artificial driftwood log. My heater is on order since they only had 200-watt in stock and I think that is too much for the tank size, correct?

The water in Dubai is desalinated, however the guy at the fish store said so long as I use dechlorinator/chloramine remover it would be fine (all their fish appeared healthy)

I'm currently on day 6, but am confused by my test results.

24hours after starting the filter and adding the fish meat, I got:

Ammonia: 0.05
Nitrite: 10
Nitrate: 2
pH: 6.6
CI: 0.8

I had changed 50% of the water prior to testing (because of the smell) however I believe this might have not been a good idea.

Day 2, all same except Nitrate was 0 and pH dropped to 6.4 (no water change)

Day 6 (i was away for work for days 3-5)
Ammonia 0.5
Nitrite: 25
Nitrate: 2
pH: 6.4
CI: 0.8

Tonight when I tested I got:

Ammonia: 0.5
Nitrite: between 25 & 50
Nitrate: 2
pH: 6.8
CI: 0.8

I am using test strips for everything except Ammonia, which is the liquid drops kit.

Am I doing something wrong, or are these readings normal? And would the CI be due to using the desal tap water? Also I am not sure when/if I meant to remove the 'fish meat'. Just in case I also added one tiny pinch of fish food to the tank just now after testing, to see if it makes any change tomorrow.

Any advice/tips/suggestions MOST WELCOME, and thank you so much!!!

FlyingFish47 09-12-2012 10:23 AM

Seems I *may* have a lead on some pure ammonia- if so, is it possible to rmove the fish meat and tocontinue the cycling with the ammonia, or would it disrupt the process? So far the ammonia levels are not moving much so not sure if I have done something wrong, or if it just happened really fast? (6 days)

please help!

corina savin 09-12-2012 11:11 AM

How many fish do you intend to keep and what kind?
Pure ammonia, much better than "fish meat". Be careful also, too much ammonia will kill your bacteria. A good fast growing stem plant will help a great deal. Any lights?
pH also a bit low to start with, is that from the tap?

FlyingFish47 09-12-2012 11:48 AM

Not using lights yet, planning to pick one up soon when I get my fish (they were out of stock, was thinking just the basic clip-on LED light, that would be sufficient? Is it ok to keep 'real' plants with fake plants? I didn;t want to bite off too much to start so haven't got any plants.

Yes the pH seems to be low no matter what, they said it's because the tap water is that way. I used Prime to condition it before putting in.

FlyingFish47 09-12-2012 11:49 AM

Some people have advised me to steer away from neon tetras and go for glowlight or maybe some white moiuntain minnows and maybe some small shrimp to 'clean up'. I guess if they are very small 6-8 (or should it be 8-10) tetras or something of that size. Still confused as to how many I can safely keep with the tank size, filtration rate and regular water changes.

FlyingFish47 09-12-2012 11:52 AM

otherwise I suppose I could get 2 female bettas, i think mroe than 2 is not good for that tank size (females won't fight, will they?)

AbbeysDad 09-12-2012 12:05 PM

It would appear that you cycle has stalled due to high nitrites. Nitrites are very toxic and inhibit the development of nitrobacter bacteria that convert it to nitrates. You should do a water change to get the nitrite level down to allow the nitrobacter to develop.

Keep us posted and Welcome to TFK!

FlyingFish47 09-12-2012 12:09 PM

Okay, the test kit I have indicates the nitrites are in the medium range though?

I tested the tap water (before adding dechlorinator etc) and out of the tap the pH is 6.8, everything else is the same.

Should I be using bottled then? It tests at 6.6 and all else the same. This desal water is really confusing me!

Edit: Just tested the tank water.

pH is 6.8, the nitrites are still at 25. waiting on the ammonia test.

Does this mean the ammonia already spiked i nthe first few days and then dropped and what I am seeing is the nitrite spike???

FlyingFish47 09-12-2012 12:52 PM

No change to the ammonia or nitrites. So I changed 50% of the water. Will see what the readings are tomorrow. Thanks & I will keep you posted :)

corina savin 09-12-2012 01:05 PM

If that's the case, you are close to finish the cycle (nitrite spike,ammonia zero and some nitrates). You are safe to add fish when adding ammonia to 4 ppm will become 0 ppm next day (for few days in a row), nitrites are zero and you must see nitrates. Get liquid test for this fine tuning, strips are not accurate enough.
LED lamps are not for real plants. You need good lightings, about 1.5 watts/gallon (for low light plants). Your tank is about 8 gallons, a 15 w is minimum, and at least 6000 kelvins. Plus fertilizers and maybe CO2 (or Seachem Exel). But plants (fast growing, stem plants) will "eat" all ammonia and nitrites in the tank cycling the tank without any ammonia or nitrites at detectable levels
As for the number of fish: stick to rule: one inch of adult fish per gallon of water. Like 8 tetra for your tank

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