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another Cycle Question
To start I just want to say thank you in advance for taking the time to read and help me out.
The last week of November I set up a 16 gallon tank with rocks and no plants, and an Aqueon filter (it was part of a kit). After a week I added 4 platy fish to start the cycle. I am happy to report that all of the fish are still alive and seem to be doing well. Here is my issue about three weeks ago my ammonia finally dropped to zero and I got a huge Nitrite spike as expected. A also started to see nitrate levels climb in the tank. To keep the fish happy I made sure to do 15% water changes each day. Its now been a few weeks and my nitrite levels are still not dropping off as expected. The ammonia is still zero and my nitrate levels are constant ( I forgot the amount but in the middle of the scale on my test card). I have to keep doing the daily water changes to keep the nitrite level from getting worse. Also when I change the water I am using gravel vacuum as recommend to me by my local pet store. However after the first use t I am careful not to clean the gravel to much. The first time I used the gravel vacuum was at least 2 weeks back. I am also only feeding the fish once a day, and from reading other posts I should tell you I am using a liquid test kit with test tubes not the strips. I have resisted adding any chemicals except the salt water conditioner which also helps to regulate the PH. My tap water has high PH.
So my question is what am I doing wrong?
Do I just need to be more patient?
any help would be great!!
Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.:-D
Now, I have a question or two for you. What specifically is the "salt water conditioner" you mention? Aside from this, are any additives/substances being added to the tank water?
As you mention pH adjustment, what is the pH of your tap water? And when testing tap water, put a small amount in a jar with a lid and shake it very briskly for several minutes to out-gas the CO2, otherwise the pH reading can be inaccurate (depending on how much CO2 is in the tap water, it varies). And by comparison, what is the tank water pH [No need to shake this to test]?
I am using API Proper PH which also takes out the chlorine from the water. I have never added any other substances to the tank. The PH was above 7.6 when I took it from the tap. when I get home tonight I will take it using the method you described, and let you know the results.
sorry forgot to add
last I took the PH (yesterday) it was right around 7.0 per the color test, maybe slightly higher.
I'm not personally familiar with the API Proper pH line, but from what it says on their website I would not mess with these. Obviously it contains chemicals that somehow impact the water chemistry, and this may (I say may, as I'm not a chemist) be a factor in the nitrite. Water chemistry is a very involved issue, and generally the less we mess with it the better and safer.
What fish are you keeping? The tap water pH at 7.6 is not bad for many fish, unless you have wild caught soft water fish.
I may have more when I know the fish answer. But if this were me, I would switch to a plain water conditioner that only does what you need for your water, by which I mean detoxifying chlorine (and chloramine if that is in your water). During the initial cycling, a conditioner like Prime or Ultimate that also detoxify ammonia and nitrite is advisable (since you don't have live plants). And daily water changes of half the tank if nitrites are above zero.
I have 4 platy fish in the tank. If it will help I will switch over to plain water conditioner. I was given the API salt as a recommendation from the pet store "expert". I expected after almost 8 weeks for the tank to be cycled, that is why I jumped on the forum after just lurking for a while. I am not expert but something must be happening to keep the nitrite levels so high, being the API conditioner is all I add to the tank that is a good place to start. I will let you know what happens, and I can not thank you enough for taking the time to help.
I have also read in other posts not to worry so much about the PH as long as it is stable the fish can adjust to it without harming them.
I don't know where these myths and old wives' tales originate, but there are some aquarists and stores that still say a pH around 7 is best. I suppose this comes from trying to keep fish with different needs (soft acidic water and harder basic water) together, but most of us now understand that this doesn't work anyway. There is no "middle road" when it comes to this aspect of fish keeping. So for your platy, stop using any pH adjusting stuff, do 50%water changes, use Prime or Ultimate if you can get either (until the nitrites are zero), and good luck.;-)
Don't forget to keep us posted. There are other sources of nitrites, very complicated and frankly I don't understand them, so let's hope this will fix things for you. I do honestly think it will.:-)
Just wanted to report that Wed night I picked up some water conditioner without the PH control. I did about a 50% water change in stead of my 15% to 20%. I am happy to report that this morning before work my nitrite level was zero. I am not sure if it was the PH control, the cycle kicked in, or a combo off both. Going to monitor the tank for the next few days and if everything stays stable I can 2 more fish next week. My kids ages 6 and 9 want angle fish, I am not sure if they are too aggressive for the 4 platys in the tank. I am going to do some reading!!!
As for angelfish, no, a 16g tank is too small. Do you know about our profiles? Second heading from the left in the blue bar across the top of the page takes you to the fish and plant profiles. Or you can click on shaded fish names as links to that species' profile, example Pterophyllum scalare which is the angelfish. Info there about tank size and numbers, etc.
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