Tank Cycling Question Week 7
I posted a thread probably 2 weeks ago where I had a serious ammonia problem while cycling my tank. Since then I have been doing water changes(30-50%) almost every day just to keep my ammonia between 0.25 and 0.50ppm. The day before yesterday I finally read a nitrite reading of 0.25ppm with an ammonia reading of 0.50ppm. I was extremely excited about that reading and looking forward to the next. I did a 30% water change that day and called it good. Yesterday I was gone most of the day, so I didn't do a test or water change. Today when I got home the water tested at 1.0ppm of ammonia and nothing for nitrites or nitrates! What happened? Things like this along with the daily water changes make me just want to return my fish to the store and try a fishless cycle, but everytime I think about doing that I feel like the last seven weeks were a waste and I just need to stick it out a little longer! Any help would be appreciated.
(Right now I am going to do another water change and add API Tap Water Conditioner as well as AmQuel+ to the new water as I have been since my last thread. Also either tonight or tommorrow I should get my second filter that I had ordered which will be another Whisper PF30.)
I have followed this thread and some time back I recall suggesting always use a good dechlorinator such as prime or amquel+ The API water conditioner only removes chlorine it does not detoxify ammonia or chloramines which is a combination of chlorine and ammonia. no doubt the elevated ammonia levels that forced you to perform water changes was due to the fact that API water conditioner did or does nothing to detoxify ammonia. For no more fish than you have ammonia levels should not become lethal so long as fish aren't being overfed. How long have you been using the amquel+? have you cleaned or replaced the filters? these should be left alone until nitrates appear on your API test which i see that you have. Don't clean the bottom or gravel either until you see nitrates as much beneficial bacteria gathers here as well as the filter.Also when using the API test kit it is important to wait for the full five to fifteen minutes before comparing the solution to the color cards. Waiting longer or noy long enough will give skewed results. I am not suggesting that you are not performing tests correctly just trying to cover bases. Lastly, the small fish you have will not generate waste to be used for bacterial digestion as fast as say the same number of giant danios so your patience is all important. If you do not see nitrites within the next week starting today then were it me, I would add no more than two more glolights. I would add no more fish other than the two glolights and I would continue to feed sparingly once a day for another ten days. then I might add two or three guppies. Again I would feed them once a day and would not add any more fish until nitrates appeared. I say this because at seven weeks the addition of two small fish in my view will not cause ammonia levels to rise much if any and by adding very small fish a couple at a time they will contribute waste that will help build more good bacteria. More importantly it will be slowly. With the few fish you have presently Even after your tank has cycled , It would be imperative that you add fish slowly no more than two per week or every ten days would be better so that the biological bacteria can develop[ as per the number of fish in the tank. Adding a dozen at a time would no doubt create more waste from fish than the bacteria could consume. Hopefully you will see nitrites followed by nitrates any day now . Please remain patient and keep us informed. I know it is difficult we all do !;-)
There are some products out there to held speed up the cycle. I have used some cycle start from our lfs, Jacks Aquarium.(It was their name brand) I got a nitrate reading, just after adding it. Only took 3 weeks to cycle. First thing to Zero was the ammonia, nitrites shortly after. You are doing good with the water changes to keep levels in control. Sounds like a good number of fish to start the cycle. Adding more fish when ammonia levels are high, could stress and kill the new fish. They will not get a chance to adapt.
I have been adding Amquel+ during water changes as per your recommendation. Thank you. I do try to wait exactly five minutes (but sometimes it creeps up on ten) to read the test results. I think I have found my problem though in your last suggestion. I have been using the vacuum every week and doing about 30% of the gravel at a time. I believe that was suggested to me in the last thread, or I read it in someone else's thread. Either way, I will stop cleaning the substrate until the tank has cycled.
I have heard that it is best not to use" bacteria in a can" so to speak, to speed up the cycle because it could just make the tank unstable once nitrates appear?
I might try to add 1 or 2 fish next week, but I don't think very many of the types of fish I like are hardy enough to withstand a cycle. I am new to fishkeeping and petco recommended the glofish and fancy guppies as starting fish since I told them that I wanted to keep extremely colorful fish. I now know that the glofish are very frowned upon even though they don't really appeal much to me because they are extremely mean/aggressive toward others of their kind. They do not bother the guppies though, so that is good.
And I am sure that the next question is going to be "what kind of fish are you looking at stocking?" to which I don't really have a good answer. It seems that all the fish I like will get way to big for my tank, or are too aggresive to keep with guppies(which I do want more of). Beside guppies, the only other fish that have caught my eye are ghostfish which I the people at petsmart say that you have to add 3-6 at a time since they are schooling fish. My tank is very neon with some roman ruins thrown in :), so what I am trying to stay away from is the dark grey/brown colored fish. I will quit rambling now and go change my water..... any other advice is always welcome!
I have in the past recommended vaccuming the bottom of the tank a small area, and a different area each time to help remove fish poo or uneaten food that may be causing elevated ammonia levels in established tanks. In established tanks, this is a good practice for it helps keep water parameters in check. In cycling tanks however it can hamper the ability of bacteria to develop(good kind) for as mentioned much of this bacteria is found in or on the substrate as well as the filter. In all honesty if no one overfed their fish vaccuming the bottom would be unnecessary but many do. But for your application I would as stated feed the fish sparingly once a day, hold off on vaccuming and i am confident that your tank will be ready to introduce fish SLOWLY soon.
I felt the "bacteria in a can" was great help cycling my 210 gal tank. I did not rely on the cycle start to just do its majic. I still tested my water daily, and did water changes as needed to to keep levels in a safer zone. I replaced the cycle start taken out after water changes. Partial water changes in a 210gal is 50 gal or more of water to take out at one time. Had a realy high water bill that mounth, but I Can not complain about a 3 week cycle time.
Ok, thank you to both! I will look into that cycle start product.
The bacteria in a can stuff has mixed reviews, from what I've read. Sometimes it works wonders, sometimes it doesn't do anything except cost some money. It probably has everything to do with how long the bottle has been sitting on the store shelf and thus whether or not any of the bacteria inside are still alive.
Very strange indeed for nitrates to disappear in a non-planted tank without a water change. In addition to being sure you waited long enough - did you really shake the heck out of the test bottles before doing the test? And shake up the test tube for the full recommended time as per the instructions? Failing to do those often gives a really wacky reading for nitrates.
I doubt your GloFish are being "aggressive" - it's probably just typical danio playing tag behavior. Adding more GloFish (or regular zebra danios, for that matter) after your cycle is complete might calm them down a bit, though.
Just to clarify... it was nitrItes that appeared for one day then disappeared, and I did do a water change immediately after the reading, but did not test or PWC the next day. The only bottle that I shake before putting into the test tube is the nitrAte bottle #2, all the other bottle just go directly into the tubes. I believe this is the correct way to do it from what I remember, but I shall go and read the instructions again. And yes I make sure to shake plenty before letting them sit for 5 minutes.
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