Question about cycling a new tank
I had a few questions regarding cycling a new tank. First I'll describe the setup. I have a 50gal tank with a canister filter rated for 70gal, a heater rated for 65gal, a turbine powerhead rated at 850GPH, and a two air stones.
When I first filled the aquarium, I used 5gal of water from another cycled aquarium and the rest with fresh water with correct amount of conditioner. I have transfered the used filter from my 30gal pump into the new tank, as well as moving over the drift wood. Also added new sand that had been thoroughly rinsed.
The first fish we transfered were 2 medum sized gold fish (about 4-5 inches. They have been mating in my 20 Gal) and 5 small gold fish (about 2 inches) from my 30 gal. The larger female had layed eggs on the first day I had introduced them to the tank. I had removed the larger gold fish once I noticed them laying eggs but the whole bottom of the tank is now covered with eggs, some fertalized and some not.
It's been 1 week from starting this process and now with only 5 small gold fish, the ammonia and nitrite levels have spiked past the scale that my testing kit can measure. I did a 10% water change and was recommended to use Superbac to introduce benificial bateria. It's been 3 days from using super back and my readings are still spiking as far as ammonia and nitrite. I have ony tested for ammonia and nitirite.
My questions are whether or not the gold fish eggs are contributing to the toxicity of the water?
How often should I perform 10% water changes while the levels of ammonia and nitrite are spiking?
Is the sand trapping gasses that are contributing to the levels of toxins and what is the correct way to clean the sand? (first time I've used sand)
Should the temprature be kept at 76F?
Are the air stones interfearing with the cycling process?
Or am I just impatient? ;)
Thanks for viewing and any input is greatly appreciated.
Cycling is a pretty long process and, when possible, should not be done with any animals in the tank as high levels of ammonia/nitrite is part of the process.
Now, to your questions:
1) The gold fish eggs are contributing to the toxicity of the water, but anything organic would also contribute. In fact, there needs to be some organic waste in order for the tank to cycle. As such, if you do not mind all of the eggs dying (most probably already are), then you could leave them in the tank as an organic source of ammonia.
2) How often to change out water depends on who you talk to and whether or not you are using live fish to cycle the tank. As using live fish can result in unnecessary fish deaths, I will assume you are going to fishless cycle. For a fishless cycle there is no need to do water changes. However, there is some marginal evidence out there that doing 25% water changes every week can speed up a cycle a bit. Doing 25% water changes also helps build healthy habits that will be beneficial later in the life cycle of the tank.
3) The sand is probably not trapping any gases at this point, but anaerobic zones can form in sand later on. One way to prevent this is to manually stir up the sand while holding a gravel siphon over the surface of the sand (don't get the gravel siphon too close to the sand or you will suck up sand instead of debris). Since sand requires extra care (good cleanings at least every two weeks), it is definitely not a suggested substrate. Another item to consider about sand is that some sands can release toxic compounds into the water. Please be sure that your sand is inert.
4) The temperature you keep the tank at depends on the fish you plan to keep. If you plan to keep goldfish, then the temperature can be a little lower (65 degrees Fahrenheit for most goldies, 68-73 for fancy goldfish). Set your temperature to match your expectations regarding the fish you want.
5) The air stones are probably unnecessary given how much flow you already have in the tank, but they will not harm the cycling process unless you use copper junctions or valves. Copper is toxic to many aquatic organisms and can act as an antimicrobial, keeping the cycle from proceeding normally.
My personal recommendations are to remove all or most of the eggs if you want to save them and do some research on cycling processes. You can find some information on cycling by clicking the link in my signature, by using the "search" tool on this forum, or by doing web searches.
Thanks for Your Time,
I agree with MOA, you probably don't NEED the airstones, but more oxygen doesn't hurt fish.
I would do larger partial water changes than just 10%, will decrease the amount of ammonia and nitrite by a larger amount.
You can do 50% water changes daily, it will only help. Since bacteria does not live in the water but rather in the substrate, surfaces, filter, doing large water changes will not impact it negatively. It is recommended that ammonia be kept <.25, so if it takes a 50% water change daily to accomplish that... well then thats what should be done. If you don't have any live plants then the airstones should be fine, however if you DO have live plants the airstones should be taken out since they drive CO2 out of the water.
As for the temp I am not sure, we have a goldfish pro on here that can help you with that... A quick search shows a variety of recommended temps ranging from 62 to high 70s, so I wouldn't worry until more experienced input! :)
76 degrees Fahrenheit is fine. You do not need to adjust it. If it's not broken, don't attempt to fix it.
Everyone missed the most important sentence, "I used 5gal of water from another cycled aquarium". If you have another aquarium or know someone who does (where ever you got the 5g of cycled water from), simply take out the filter media (sponge) from the established tank and put it in your new tank and shake it around so some gunk comes off in your new tank. It will clear up rather quickly with your new filter running. This is called "seeding" and insyantly puts the beneficial bacteria in your new tank. This drastically increases the cycle process and most times eliminates it all together. It's an instant cycle.
Which makes me wonder, when you say you "moved" the old filter... what brand and model is the old filter? And how did you go about moving it?
The second comment I have to make is the stocking of this tank. Earlier in this thread you mentioned that you "only" have 5 small goldfish. Truth be know, 5 small goldfish produce a lot of waste. If you think about body mass and girth, this is like saying you only have 50 Neon Tetras. 5 goldfish, even small goldfish, is a lot of biomass to add to a system all at once, especially a biofilter that was previously only seeded to handed a 30 gallon tank.
Finally, just a point of clarification . MOA, this is not a fishless cycle. There are already fish contributing to this situation.
Also, the use of sand has been rather widely documented on the freshwater section of this forum, and our members are using sand very successfully. The appearance is wonderful, and the maintenance needs are not much different from gravel. For this reason, I have to disagree that sand is not a preferred substrate. Instead, I would simply say that sand is a substrate which is not as common as gravel, and perhaps has a lot of misunderstanding by those who have not used it.
Thanks everyone for the great info!
I forgot to mention that I have about a 10" red devil and a red chilli crab in my 30gal that I'm planning on moving to the 50 gal. One of the reasons I think I need so much aeration is for the crab.
First I will remove the gold fish from the 50 gal and continue to cycle the tank without any fish.
The filter element and the 5 gal of water I moved over was from my 30 gal, which has an over the top filter. Marineland penguin I believe. I just dropped it in the 50 gal about a week ago, and it's currently sitting in the sand.
I purchased a master test kit from API and performed all the tests with the below results.
pH = 8.2
Ammonia = 8.0
Nitrite = Approx 3.5
Nitrate = Approx 7.5
I't looks like I'm at the phase where nitrite is rising and ammonia should be going down. I'll continue doing 25-50% water changes daily and monitor the above levels.
I have another question now that I'm testing pH. The Red Devil prefers 7.0 pH from what I've researched but can also adapt to pH between 6.0 and 8.0. The current tank he has been in for the past 3 years has a pH of 6.0. I'm not planning on having any plants, just rocks and driftwood. Should I use any pH adjusters, specifically API pH 7.0? My LFS recommended using it every time I perform a water change.
Dont use pH adjusters/stabalizers/whatever they call it. It will be very difficult to keep a stable and balanced pH, never mind the headache of doing so. Actually it will never be stable and will constantly bounce around. A few people here have altered pH with different methods which are stable and successful, I'll let them chime in
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