Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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reds21 03-15-2009 09:29 AM

cycling tank
ANOTHER question. i am in the process of getting my 55 gallon tank up and running and i went to the local fish store and they said that if you add the bacteria supplement and the water conditioner to a cycling tank, you should be able to add your fish to the tank in no time at all. right now it has been cycling since friday. i tested all my levels and for 2 days now they have all been consistant.

my ph is a little high but i am buying some ph down today to speed that up.
my ammonia, nitrite and nitrate are all at 0, have been for two days now.

if i were to get ph down to lower the ph level which is currently at 7.6, how long does that take to work? (trying to get 6.6 maybe 6.8)

also, if my levels remain at 0 like they should be, would it hurt to add the fish in the tank now? right now they are in a 10 gallon tank but they are a little cramped :-(

will i expect any high spikes in my water quality? right now they are status quo

wmoyer2006 03-15-2009 01:28 PM

To be honest, I highly doubt that it would be safe to add fish if you are trying to do a fishless cycling process.

Just because you have a reading of "0" doesn't mean that the tank is cycled. For the biological filter to begin its process, not only do you need the bacteria, you need something for them to eat. Just by adding the stuff that the petstore gave you doesn't jumpstart it. Without anything to eat, the bacteria die and the cycle doesn't truely start.

So, in other words, you need ammonia in the tank to get ammonia readings. Have you added anything to create ammonia? If you haven't added anything to create ammonia, of course your readings are going to be "0".

Also, after that you must wait for your nitrite to level off. Nitrite is just as dangerous to fish as ammonia, so you need to allow the bacteria that feast upon nitrite to grow too.

Sj45 03-15-2009 09:46 PM


aunt kymmie 03-15-2009 10:13 PM


Byron 03-16-2009 01:18 PM

I fully agree with wmoyer2006's advice. Good as the bacteria stuff is (I expect it is "Cycle" or something similar) it only works when you have fish in the tank to create the ammonia to start the cycle. In a 55g tank, I would put in 3 or 4 fish and use the Cycle as indicated on the package. Use "hardy" fish, not something rare and delicate. What do you have in your existing 10g tank? After a few days add a couple more fish (having taken readings of ammonia and nitrite regularly to monitor it), and so forth. Most aquarists say that a tank is usually cycled in 8 weeks, a gradual process. Adding too many fish at once during this period is what causes imbalance in the biological cycle and fish stress if not death.

A caution on the pH adjustment. Using chemicals to lower the pH is not recommended; I went this route when I was starting out, and had nothing but trouble (fish loss, stressed fish, outbreaks of ick due to the stress, etc). An aquarium will balance out at some pH, depending upon the pH of the water put in it (out of the tap), the materials in the tank [regular aquarium gravel does not affect pH, but using coral or dolomite gravel as one would in a marine tank or Rift Lake chiclid tank will keep the pH high (alkaline) no matter what you do], buffering materials [like peat in the filter to lower the pH], tannins leeching from natural wood in the tank, and the biological processes of the inhabitants. Using CO2 as in a planted tank will also lower the pH. I (or others) can offer more detailed advice if you tell us the pH of your tap water which presumably will be the source for your aquarium water. Also, what is the material you have for the substrate? We need to know why the pH is now at 7.6 in order to offer suggestions for lowering it to 6 or 6.6 which is a very considerable adjustment. A change of one pH unit equals a change of ten times the acidity/alkalinity of the water, and most fish are very sensitive to relatively minor changes.

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