Issues with cycling?
Hey guys. So I think I might have an issue with cycling my aqurium. I have a 20 gallon with a external 150 marineland filter with two filter media and and a Grreat internal filter stocked wih 8 with danios, 4 guppies, 2 gourami dwarfs, 4 Cory catfish and a few ghost shrimps. I've had the tank set up now for over a month. On Sunday I tested my water and it showed no ammonia, high nitrite and nitrate levels. I did a 50% water change and like an idiot replace all filter medias but left the bio wheel alone. I tested the water Monday and it showed no ammonia or nitrate but high levels of nitrite. So i went and got 5 live plants and a bottle of prime which i treated the tank with. Yesterday i tested the water and had no ammonia or nitrate but still high nitrite. I than treated the tank with prime and added a whole bottle of ATM colony (per petco) and label than this morning I tested the water and now it's zero on ammonia, nitrite and nitrates. All other parameters are good. Is the tank cycled now or did I Messed up the cycle? All the fish seem fine they are active and eating. I am using the API freshwater master test kit. Can anyone advise?
My advice is the plants and bio wheel did more for your aquarium than anything else.
The plants will consume the ammonia directly while the aerobic bacteria build up. So youcan get no or very low short spikes. Then as bacteria build up there is less and less ammonia for the plants so they start consuming the resulting nitrates.
You can have (if the tank got ahead of the plants) persistant nitrite spikes which are best handled imho by not adding food to the tank to limit ammonia production.
IMHO a tank is never completely cycled and you do have more than just a fish or two. but you do get to the place where the cangerous spikes are a thing of the past or never showed up to begin with.
But that said it sure should like you are on your way with the fish being healthy. I would limit light and feeding so the water stays clear but overall sound like a good setup.
Thanks for the reply. So, with the filters, live plants and the levels of ammonia, nitrites and nitrates should I continue to do weekly water changes and keep adding stablize or ATM colony or just leave it alone as is now and so water changes if I see ammonia/nitrite spikes or if nitrates get too high?
So what would make sense to me (keeping in mind that above method) is to stop adding the chemicals, stop doing water changes (just replace what evaporates), insure you have fast grwoing plants like anacharis, and see what happens.
but that's just my .02
Wow, some 'interesting' advice here.
First, if you had high nitrates and did a 50% water change, you'd still have only slightly lower nitrates....not none. So something is wrong with your test. Make sure you shake the heck out of regent #2, even rapping it on a table - it has an element that tends to separate and yield false results.
During cycling (or anytime), regardless of plants and/or filtration, you should always do weekly water changes and do water changes anytime you have ammonia and/or nitrite readings. Ammonia and nitrite are not only toxic to fish, but at higher levels, even toxic to the very beneficial bacteria we're trying to culture.
It's possible that adding the bacteria supplement product, you now have sufficient beneficial biology to handle the bio-load. However, you need to monitor closely until the conditions are stable.
Oh and most dechlorinators will produce ammonia as a result of the process. Prime is one conditioner that binds this ammonia making it non toxic until the bio-filter can process.
Prime also detoxifies ammonia, nitrites and nitrates as well as heavy metals.
Ok so tonight I figured I'd do another test since its been about 8 hours. My readings than was Ammonia: .50 Nitrite: .50 Nitrate: 0-5. So I went ahead and did a 25% water change. Now my test reads the following Ammonia: .25 Nitrite: 0-.25 (light side of the blue but darker than the 0) and Nitrate: 0-5 (not as light as the light yellow but not as dark either). These readings are all up since this morning of 0 across the board. I added prime to the new water as well as Nite Out II (a bacteria supplement I got at Petco). Should I wait for about 8 hours for the bacteria to multiple before I do another test now? What should I do?
I'd wait 24 hours.
Tested the water again this morning and ammonia is at 0 nirites looks like its at 0 and nitrates is slightly up to almost 5. Looks like everything is starting to stablize? I will check again tonight. If everything is good should I do another 25% water change?
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