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Tropical Trav 04-22-2013 05:50 PM

Is my tank cycling correctly?
I have a question about my 29 gallon tank cycling. I put 3 clown loaches in on Tuesday night (4-16). I have tested the water every 24 hours for the last 5 days (tonight will be day 6). I have the API freshwater master test kit. Every reading has been the same.

pH 7.4
ammonia .50 ppm
nitrite 0
nitrate 0

Is this normal? I have 11 live plants so maybe they are taking the ammonia but i have no nitrite or nitrate. Is the tank cycling? Am i just being impatient? Please let me know if this is normal or not. Thanks.

TitanTDH 04-22-2013 06:42 PM

Hi mate. Firstly yes it looks like a cycle has started and may take a while before nitrites and nitrates appear and settle. Have you been conducting waterchanges everyday with readings of .5. If not please start. The plants will help but being a new tank they may be adjusting to the water and hence not sucking up the ammonia.
Hate being the bearer of bad news but according to the fish profile the Clown Loach need a minimum of a 6 foot tank. Can you possibly return them. As reading the profile leads me to believe they will grow fast.

My two cents
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JDM 04-22-2013 07:56 PM

With only three fish, assuming they are small now (yes, they are way to big for your tank when they grow out. They are a 12"+ fish) and plants you won't see many nitrites or nitrates as the plants (depending on what variety) can take up ammonia anywhere from 5 to 50 time faster than any bacteria/archaea will. Tis effectively bypasses the whole nitrogen cycle. Eventually you will have nitrates build up but slowly. I have over 20 fish in a 37 gallon and I have yet to see nitrates over 5ppm even after a 3week span between water changes.

What plants do you have?

What are your plans when the loaches outgrow your tank?

What other fish are you considering?


Tropical Trav 04-22-2013 08:19 PM

Yes, I will be returning the loaches soon. They were poorly recommended by my LFS. I have 4 corkscrew Vals, 3 java ferns, 2 hornwort, and 2 sword plants but not sure what kind. "Assorted swords" according to Petco. Water sprite will be here Friday. I plan on 8 glass catfish, 8-10 neon tetra and 8-10 lemon tetra or harlequin rasbora and possibly Kuhli loaches or Cory's for the bottom.

If I do not ever see nitrites, when is it safe to add more fish? When I start seeing nitrates and zero ammonia?

Also, I have not done any water changes yet. Should I be?
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JDM 04-22-2013 08:47 PM

With plants you can just step into your planned routine of weekly changes. Keep testing for ammonia and nitrites frequently until a few weeks after fully stocked. Put each species in together and leave two or three weeks between additions. It wouldn't hurt to keep upping the plants in between as well. Even toss in some cheap fast growing stems to help buffer everything while it starting.

Cory's and loaches should go in last.

You could stock the first batch anytime.

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MoneyMitch 04-22-2013 09:15 PM

P.S the only things that happen in a aquarium FAST are BAD THINGS

Tropical Trav 04-23-2013 09:39 AM

Thanks a lot guys!

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