Hi, I am rather new to the hobby, and I have been having problems with the cycling in my 10 gallon tank.
The tank have been established for 3 months, it contains live plants, a betta and 4 corydoras pygmaeus (used to be 6, lost 2 due to cycling problems). I have waited until the fishless cycle was done to add my first fishes (always in pairs) and all was good but about a month ago, I made the typical newbie stupid move of washing my filter's foam in the tank's water, which apparently was too early to do for a small tank and debalanced my cycle. I was advised to do partial water change every 2-3 days until it evened out, problem is, it DOESN'T even out. I've been doing this for nearly a month, I test every 2 days and I always get 0 ammonia, 0,3 nitrite and 10 nitrates, I haven't touched the filter nor the substrate since my blunder (I use a turkey baster to clean up leftover food, that's all). Once last week, I got a 0,1 nitrite after 2 days, but by the 4rth day it was back to 0,3, and never happened again since then.
I'm puzzled. I know I must be doing something wrong, but I can't for the life of me find what it is :-?!
The remaining fishes seem unaffected so far but I know nitrite is a slow killer so I really need to get this under control and quick!
Thanks for your help :)
you didn't make a stupid mistake. its good to wash the foam in tank water. but draw water from the tank and wash it off outside of the tank. you should be using declorinated water in which your tank water is. now it sounds like you disturbed your bacteria colony. what filter do you have. if you have aquaclear, use two sponges instead of one to increase the area for a colony to be present and rotate them and only clean one at a time. actually, is there a reason why you washed the sponge. only reason to do so is when it clogs considering you have plants, but too much washing if you only have one sponge can disturb your colony. your cories are suffering the most, keep doing water changes and be sure to declorinated and match your new water to the tanks water.
thanks for your response! I use Aquaclear 20 with 1 foam and 1 bag of 'noodles', I will add an extra foam right now! I didn't even think of that!
I washed the foam because I have a lot of plants and a lot of Physaes in my tank, and after the month of cycling and not touching anything, I thought it would be a good idea to decrass the foam a little bit as I added fishes. I had no idea that the cycle could be so easily unbalanced in a smaller tank.
I think the worst is over. The parameters shd be ok if u change the water every 2 days. The colony of bacteria will grow slower because of the frequent water changes, but they will grow. Not only in ure filter, but also on the gravel or any decorations u might have in ure tank.
you'll get the hang of it. i wish i had more knowledge when i attempted this stuff 4-5 years ago. the most important thing to do is to keep up with your water conditions since you have readings. afterwards you go to weekly testing. test it every day until you have 0,0,10-40. the first two are the main killers and if the nitrates get to high, they can be just as bad. but your okay more than likely since you have plants. plants will take the nitrates and other nutrients helping your cycle. depending on the plants you have, some absorb more toxins than others. oh, and use chemical testers instead of strip tester for your water. just a little fyi. if you don't have a good local fish store (lfs) to get tester such a Aquarium Ph. go to big als online. one of the most popular and overall best sites for pets.
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