Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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bigk_54 04-16-2008 09:36 AM

Tank Cycling (Where am I at?)
 
Hello All here I am for some more advice to make sure I am on right track!
Well I started to cycle my tank (55 gal.) a week ago. I cleaned gravel in sink, cleaned plants (plastic) and decorations. I have a Emperor 400 and a Aqua-Tech 30-60 for filtration. My tank temp stays between 76-78 degrees. I know someone gonna peel my @$$ but I am doing my tests with strips til I can get a liquid kit!
All along my GH has been either 120 or 180 and is at 120 now, my KH has been at 240 the whole time, PH ranges between 7/7.5 and 8, Nitrite always been at 0 and Nitrate 0-20 which it is at 20 now, my amonium as been at 0 unil today and it has went to harmful (3 ppm).
Saturday we put 3 Zebra Danios in and they have been doing well and seem to be full of life.
Sun night/Monday the water became real cloudy, like a greyish color, so Tue I changed out about 10 to 12 Gallons. Water was still a little cloudy and then yesterday BAM it is CRYSTAL clear!
Here are my ?'s
1) Am I doing this all right so far and are any of my readings alarming? 2)The ammonia going up is a good thing in the cycle process correct? 3) Is there anything that I need to do at this point? 4)Also how often should I be changing out water during the cycle process?

Thank you for all your help!

1077 04-16-2008 10:53 AM

do you have fish ? if so you need to perform water changes any time ammonia readings are above zero. I would not be concerned with any of your readings other than ammonia and nitrites at this point.It is imperative that you get a quality test kit, but in the meantime, Perhaps your local fish store would test your water if you were to bring them a sample. If they too use test strips however the readings will not be accurate. P.S. the emperor 400 is plenty of filter for 55gal.But extra air stone or two with temp at 82 and light left on 24 hours will help beneficial bacteria develop a bit quicker. bacteria need light and oxygen and develop quicker in tropical temp as opposed to lower temp or fluctuating temp. PATIENCE is key. Sorry ,I see you do have fish! Raise temp. slowly so as not to stress fish any further. Extra air stones also help in this regard.

bigk_54 04-16-2008 11:24 AM

1077 Thanks for the reply! I currently am using a 4" airstone and an 18" bubble curtain and I have a scuba action decoration. Do I need more than that?! You say raise the temp......... Do I just raise it during the cycle period then turn it back down after it cycled to what I have it now, I am going to have Danios, Tetras, Dwarf Gouramis and poss Swordtails/ Platties/ or Rainbows.

Thanks!

meegosh 04-16-2008 11:27 AM

It seems you are doing ok... did you ever have a nitrite reading? If it has been at 0 the whole time then I don't know where your nitrates are coming from. What does your tap water test at? I agree that everything looks good except for your ammonia. Anything over 0 is intolerable.

I am not going to give you the... "you shoulda cycled with no fish" speech because I cycled my 10g with 2 zebra danios. They are quite hardy fish and they lived in my tank for over a year before they got fin rot from a new batch of red-eye tetras I got (my mistake for not qt'ing the newbies).

Also, I wanted to note that the cycling process will take a little longer when doing it with fish because of all the water changes you will have to do to keep your ammonia readings down to 0.

Good luck and let us know your readings when you get a liquid kit, or results from your LFS.

Edit: Yes, turn the temp up during cycling, slowly however, as to not stress your danios. Once cycled you can drop it back down to normal (slowly). As far as decorations, its personal preference but I would suggest adding some plants (even if they are fake) for some hiding spots. I know my gourami loved floating plants.

1077 04-16-2008 11:49 AM

:wink: DITTO previous poster.

bigk_54 04-16-2008 11:56 AM

Thanks MEE and 1077! No I never had a nitRITE reading, BUT when I do a test strip from my tap water (which I did as a control when I started) I wasnt's 0 but it wasn't .05 either (the little pad was kinda in the middle of the two colors) so there was a TRACE. Now on the other had my nitRATE reading is 20 right out of the tap.

As far as the temperature, should I try to get up to 80?

Plants, yes I have them, they are all fancy plastic ones :D

Also what is good test kit? I see there are many of them on the market?! Is there an advantage to one over another (assuming they test for the same thing)

Flashygrrl 04-16-2008 04:28 PM

Danios live at a max of 78, so no....most people keep their tank at 78.

You can't keep doing water changes to keep ammonia at 0...that will prevent your tank from cycling, you need to have that ammonia for nitrites to form so then the nitrates can come do their thing. That's why danios are suggested for cycling since they are hardier and can withstand the ammonia better.

Your nitrate reading in the tap water may be a blessing and a curse....it may help you tank cycle better, but if it gets too high it can poison your fish. Look into getting some live plants like water sprite and wisteria and anachris to "soak up" some of those nitrates. They'll probably grow like weeds in your tank :)

Last thing is the test kit. Many of us use the API Freshwater Master Kit. The only thing really annoying is you have to shake the beejezus out of the solution bottles before you test.

okiemavis 04-16-2008 04:52 PM

I love my API tests as well. The best part is the Master Test Kit from them is actually complete- it's not missing nitrites or ammonia like some of the other kits are. It's got all the important stuff for basic tank maintenance and cycling.

Also, make sure you have a good water conditioner, as your tap water has nitrites/nitrates. You'll want something that neutralizes it before it goes in the tank or you'll have sky high nitrates and will stress your fish with nitrites. I use Prime and love it because it's so concentrated it will last me forever.

1077 04-17-2008 03:10 AM

as long as fish are in the tank and being fed, they will produce ammonia. If you do not perform water changes, the fish will die. danios will tolerate temp from 78 to 82 degrees . API test kits are a good choice. Feed fish sparingly during cycling, once per day and only what they can eat in two min. Measured opinions are always a good thing. I would suggest that you perform a search on cycling a new aquarium . In this way you can feel more comfortable rather than confused and can make an informed decision as how best to proceed. Ican only offer you info based on my own expieriences.

1077 04-17-2008 03:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 1077
as long as fish are in the tank and being fed, they will produce ammonia. If you do not perform water changes, the fish will die. danios will tolerate temp from 78 to 82 degrees . API test kits are a good choice. Feed fish sparingly during cycling, once per day and only what they can eat in two min. Measured opinions are always a good thing. I would suggest that you perform a search on cycling a new aquarium . In this way you can feel more comfortable rather than confused and can make an informed decision as how best to proceed. Ican only offer you info based on my own expieriences.

You may take comfort in knowing that I would not offer you harmful advice.


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