Hello everyone! I'm in the very beginning process of cycling my 20g tall tank. (48 hrs) I got a very slight ammonia reading today, which I suppose is a good thing. I know when I do a water change that I should condition the water to get rid of chlorine, etc. I just noticed that the bottle I was given at the LFS is called "Prime" and it says it removes chlorine, chloramine, AND ammonia and "detoxifies Nitrite and Nitrate". How much of that is true, I have no idea. From what I understand the ammonia isn't actually removed, just made less dangerous. Should I use something different or will this stuff work okay? I don't want my tests to be all screwed up.
Thanks again. I've learned TONS from you guys!
cycling your tank
My fish don't like the chemicals. They rub their bodies against the gravel like they are itchy. What I do is leave fresh water from the tap in a bucket out over night. All of the chlorine or chloramine will evaporate out of the water. Changing some of your water regularly will keep the ammonia and nitrite levels down. Testing the tank water will tell you how often you need to change it.
Rubbing of their bodies against objects in your aquarium generally means the chemicals are burning them.
IMO don't use it while you are cycling, or honestly at all. Any product that say will detoxify ammonia and nitrite is useless, and doesn't work in your favour...
Chloramine will not evaporate when the water is aged. I never just depend on aging my water, always use a dechlorinator. What those do to chloramines is they break the chlorine/ammonia bond and detoxify the resulting ammonia, sometimes it can cause a false-positive depending on the test. What exact test are you using, if it's API does it turn yellow to green, or clear to amber? If it's yellow to green it shouldn't be affected.
The API test is rather iffy on that last bit of ammonia. If you've been cycling and seen the nitrite rise and then diminish it's likely you're just having trouble reading the test and you really have no ammonia. Of course that applies at the end of the cycle...
Anyways, if you're cycling fishlessly there's no reason to worry about what it's de-toxifying. Once your aquarium cycles those pollutants will be a non-issue anyways. If there's no ammonia to change to ammonium it makes no difference in your tests. After you've cycled if you get a positive reading no matter what something is off. When it mucks things up is when you're cycling with fish and trying to determine if you need a water change or not, which if you're cycling with fish the answer is always yes anyways.
Prime works well, I use it.
Keep in mind that things like chlorine and chloramine are added to tap water specifically because they kill bacteria. If you've got significant amounts of them in your tap water, I'm not sure how well your cycle would progress without the use of a water conditioner that removes chlorine and chloramine. Not to mention that any heavy metals will still need to be removed at some point, as well. Other than possibly throwing off your ammonia test, there's no reason not to use a water conditioner while cycling.
Thank you again for everyone's help. I think my slight reading of ammonia was probably my inability to see the color on the test well (API). I've had the 4 danios in the tank now for 5 days and am getting readings of 0 for everything. The fish all seem to be doing fine, although the little one doesn't swim around nearly as much as the others. He tends to hide. I think it's probably because he's constantly being chased around the tank. At night, when they all seem to calm down he swims around with them. I'm feeding them a small amount once a day, just to avoid a drastic ammonia spike.
I'm dying to get an ammonia reading, just so I know the cycle is at least starting. Patience is certainly a virtue! I think I'll use the prime when I do a water change just to make sure the chloramine is removed. I'm planning on doing a 15-20 percent water change at 1 week, regardless of ammonia reading, unless someone says that isn't a wise thing.
I'm not sure about fish cycling, so someone correct me if i'm wrong, but when you cycle fishlessly, your not supposed to change the water out until the cycle has completed.
During fishless cycling it is not necessary to change water. In this case though fish are being used so it becomes necessary to change water to keep ammonia levels from becoming lethal to fish. Water changes with fish in the tank won't slow the cycling process as long as the filter and substrate are not disturbed there is very little beneficial bacteria in the water. Some might disagree but i believe science would prove it to be so. With that said I would not change the water unless ammonia levels dictated otherwise.
It is certainly possible that a product detoxifies ammonia and nitrite. It is just chemistry. An ion is introduced into the water to bond with or bread the bond of existing ions. NH3 becomes NH4 for example. Most aquarium products do exactly what they claim to do. It is the hobbyist who misunderstands the purpose and correct use of the product.
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