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gzarr 01-24-2010 04:44 PM

I need help cycling my 10G tank!
 
Okay, first off, I'm new! So hello! My story has lots of components...so here goes...

I started my whole aquarium hobby backwards. My son is obsessed with fish so for Christmas we got him is own 10g tank. Dec 20th I went to Walmart, bought everything, and was told I could fully stock the tank-including a shark! Yikes! So my husband and I went home and got it all ready (with AquaSafe) and stuck the fish in. Only then did I go online to read and learn about our new fish. My first aha was that the shark was WAY too big and I returned it to another LFS promptly. Then I read about Tiger Barbs (5) and how my 10g was too small for them. Last I found out about the nitrogen cycle. Needless to say I had only 1 surviving barb, a male betta and a cory left at this point. I moved the barb to a friend's tank with other barbs (much happier!) and now it's just betta and cory.

I did purchas API's master test kit around a week or two after setup and have been putting AmQuel+ and AquaSafe into the water as the readings for the last 5 weeks have NOT deviated from:
ammonia-.5-1
nitrite-0
nitrate-0
ph-7.5-8
However I CANNOT get the readings to change. It's been 5 weeks going now and I still have no nitrites.

Also, I had the original location of the tank set up by a window (ugh!) and it has been moved since the water started turning green. It's now out of direct sunlight. I just finished a 3 day blackout and the was is almost greener. I'm getting very frustrated as there are no changes towards the good. Everything is at a stall! And the water is ugly with algae! Help!!!!!!

Angel079 01-24-2010 05:26 PM

Welcome to the forum!!!
RESPECT most people wouldn't notice much less correct their error's "cause the fish store said so" - Respect for that!! Great move!!

Test your tap water - It may well be you already have ammonia in there. If that's the case I'd suggest using "prime" as a water conditioner which will not remove it but transform it to a non toxic form for fish.
For the green water, removing it from the sun was one big step. Then doing large water changes like 80% will work well too. Also adding live plants would help this matter. Last but not least to add to a good water quality feed VERY little.
I'd do a large water exchange right away to this tank so the ammonia won't hurt the fish (something like 7-80%).

Once you have this all sorted out...we gotta consider your Cory and what to do: They are very sensitive fish and need the security of groups (~8cory) however for that a 10g is too small. Maybe its an option for you to consider trading it in for like 15-20 ghost shrimp? They're super fun to watch and the Betta won't mess with them neither.

10g limits you quite some on fish keeping, most fish need to be kept in groups and then need room to swim; plus larger tanks are MUCH easier to maintain then small tanks. Maybe its a option to your family to buy a larger used tank (so its cheaper on ya'll)? Anything from 30-55g will make for a very awesome set up really (Check out my tanks to the left here under the tap called "Aquariums").

gzarr 01-24-2010 06:25 PM

Thanks for your response. :)

Well, no fish store around here has Prime. I've looked. The only detoxing product anyone carries is the AmQuel+. And I HAVE done large water changes. It seems to drop the ammonia for a day or two to .5 but does nothing for the water color. I've been told to use a product called AlgaeQuel to remove the algae but if the problem that started it isn't fixed then won't it come back?

Do you have any ideas as to why I'm not cycling? I know that it can take a while but I thought I'd at least be stuck in the second phase or something! Not the first! I was thinking because I was doing quite a few WC that that could be a reason...usually every other day 20-50%. This is the part that is really frustrating me now and I need some pointers on.

Regarding the cory...yes, I know they like groups (found that out later, of course) but I dont want to add any fish while I'm cycling. I planned on getting 3-4 cories after everything was complete. The betta leaves him alone and vice versa. Seems to be a good match.

I would LOVE to get a 30 gallon setup! The only things is the cost! A tad frightening. Unfortunately we don't live a large area that does Craigslist or the like. My husband did tell me to just 'do it' and get the set up. Could you guesstimate how much it would cost to get setup with a 30g and stand?

Thanks!

Angel079 01-24-2010 07:20 PM

I just looked up AmQuel+ online to cross check...It also does work against ammonia, so that's just like Prime then.
Have you tested your tap for Ammonia? How much do you feed these 2 fish in there how many times a day?

For the green water/ algae its best to battle its source then 'mask' the problem short term with any chemicals. I almost guarantee you once your tank is cycled thatgreen water will go away by itself, its caused by unstable CO2 systems (your fish exhaling) and fluctuating Ammonia and NO's (which will stop once its cycled)

There could be number reasons your tank takes a while to cycle properly. For one, tanks cycling with fish and no plants generally take longer then a tank that's cycled fish less with live plants. Also amount of food/ waste introduced has big effects there and last but not least: do you mess with your filter or leave it alone? I can really only walk throught with you here and go by process of elimination to get to the bottom of it, so sorry I come back each time with so many questions.
Until the Ammonia is under check and at a constant 0 you will unfortunatly have to continue the w/c; some people (with very large tanks) have to do some 50% each day to battle it till its over.

30g would be wonderful. I can understand the cost matter...The recent one's I bought was a combo of a 45&55g with metal stand (that I tossed and built my own) for like 60-70 bucks. Picked up 2x10g and one 2g kinda like a 3-in 1 set for $15...so if you could browse some local adds, look for sales flyers that alone would safe you a LOT $$$ right there.
The Stand can be expensive, and personally I am not a fan of this pressboard stuff, so I built my own out of oak wood shelf parts from the homestore (You can see a picture of the newst one under my aquariums "New 55g)
Having fish tanks can really be a a not pricey hobby if done right or on the other hand as sky rocking expensive as you'd want it to really.
Little example: I recently converted a bunch people from the "fih" lights fro the fish store to bulbs found at the home stores - Why? Well they're the exact same light plants need in order to thrive - At the fish store its about $20 for 1 small fluorescent; I can pick up a 2pack of 4ft lights (exact same spectrum and Kelvin rating) at my Lows for $5....

iamntbatman 01-24-2010 10:07 PM

How much are you feeding the fish? Overfeeding can result in uneaten food decaying, which gives off quite a bit of ammonia. It could also be that, since moving the tank out of the light, the algae has been dying off (though not completely, as you said) which would be another source of ammonia. Testing the water out of your tap as Angel suggested is a good idea but so long as you continue to use a water conditioner that detoxifies ammonia you should be ok. Just keep up with those water changes and cut back on feedings which could be contributing to your problems. Also, how long are you leaving your lights on? A good 8-10 hours is usually enough; leaving your lights on longer than this can contribute to algae problems.

What sort of substrate do you have? Apart from being in groups and having pristine water conditions, having a smooth gravel or preferably sand substrate is at the top of the list of things to provide your corydoras. So long as you've got a corydoras-appropriate substrate, I think you should be just fine with a group of 5-6 of them (maybe 4-5 for the slightly larger species) in a 10g tank with a betta. Of course, you'll want to wait until your ammonia problem subsides and the tank has had some time to establish itself before adding more fish.

1077 01-25-2010 04:27 AM

I agree with all of the above. Amquel+ will do what it says it does with respect to ammonia and nitrites. Reading for ammonia may still be present but the ammonia being measured will be non toxic ammonium or I should say,less toxic. One small pinch of food every other day will also help reduce ammonia levels and fish will not suffer. Fish can go up to a week without food with no ill effects.
As for why you are not getting readings for nitrites,, The nitrification process can take up to eight weeks for some tanks. I would also submit that in water with low pH (below 7.0)t hat the beneficial bacteria develops very slowly.
Washing,or cleaning filter material during the maturing or (cycling process), should only be done when and if the flow of water is reduced significantly. If not overfeeding, this seldom happens but IF,,, filter material needs cleaning not just during (cycling) but at any other time,, it is wise to clean it in old tank water that you take out during water changes,or a bucket of dechlorinated water. The reason for this is that the chlorine and or chloramines found in most municipal water supplies, will destroy a significant portion of the beneficial bacteria that we want to keep to break down the ammonia,and nitrites.
I would also submit that water that goes through domestic water softeners while it may produce soft water,, it does so by removing minerals that fish need and that also help to buffer the pH of water used in the aquarium and as mentioned,, at ph below7.0 the (cycling) process will be much slower. At pH below6.0 the bacteria (good kind) hardly functions at all.
Just some things for you to consider.

gzarr 01-25-2010 10:37 AM

Angel-
I have tested my tap water and the ammonia is close to 1ppm. And I used to overfeed my fish (2-3 x/day) but have since learned that it was too much and cut back to a small pinch of flakes OR 2-3 bits of betta food for the betta and a sinking pellet forthe cory. He doesn't get fed again till it's gone. As far as the filter, I have swished it in old tank water once to remove some debris and changed the carbon out of it once. That's it. And thanks for the cost-effective tips!

Batman-
I usually leave the lights on around 8 hrs or so a day. I turn them off if we leave. I didn't want to contribute to more green water. The substrate I have is just the regular gravel you can buy. I plan on getting a larger tank in the future once I get this tank under control and want to put in finer stuff. Maybe I can move the corys) there then.

1077-
Our ph is closer to 8 or even 8.5 so I don't think that is the issue. However we do have a water softener so do you think that maybe has something to do with it? And if so, do you have suggestions as to what to do?

Thanks everyone for your help getting me closer to cycling this frustrating tank! :)

1077 01-26-2010 01:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gzarr (Post 312530)
Angel-
I have tested my tap water and the ammonia is close to 1ppm. And I used to overfeed my fish (2-3 x/day) but have since learned that it was too much and cut back to a small pinch of flakes OR 2-3 bits of betta food for the betta and a sinking pellet forthe cory. He doesn't get fed again till it's gone. As far as the filter, I have swished it in old tank water once to remove some debris and changed the carbon out of it once. That's it. And thanks for the cost-effective tips!

Batman-
I usually leave the lights on around 8 hrs or so a day. I turn them off if we leave. I didn't want to contribute to more green water. The substrate I have is just the regular gravel you can buy. I plan on getting a larger tank in the future once I get this tank under control and want to put in finer stuff. Maybe I can move the corys) there then.

1077-
Our ph is closer to 8 or even 8.5 so I don't think that is the issue. However we do have a water softener so do you think that maybe has something to do with it? And if so, do you have suggestions as to what to do?

Thanks everyone for your help getting me closer to cycling this frustrating tank! :)

I might try using three times the dose of AMQUEL+ for tapwater and try this in a bucket of the tapwater and check for ammonia after 24 hours. Would also aerate the bucket with airstone while this takes place.
I am wondering if the 8.0 to 8.5 pH reading is after the water passes through the water softener or before. Would also wonder if you are using the high range pH test from your API master kit or the low range. Most use the high range test when keeping fish that do well in hard alkaline water such as many of the Cichlids. Otherwise for most fishes, I would use low range test for pH .
It is said that domestic water softeners do not produce water that is good for longterm health of fishes. They remove minerals or salts that fish need and those same minerals or salts, also help buffer the water to help maintain stable ph. The water softeners replace the minerals and salts they remove such as calcium and magnesium, with sodium salts that over time depending on species of fish, can cause problems.
I might be tempted to use water from outside spigot on house or apartment and test the pH of this water. So long as ph is not below 6.0 using low range test or above 8.0 this would be water I would use after treating it with dechlorinator perhaps at three times the recommended dose and heating the water before using it for water changes.
Do be sure when performing tests that you allow solutions to set for the recommended length of time for tests to be accurate. Letting then set too long can also render inaccurate results.
If you still record ammonia at levels above .50 ,,A R/O system may be consideration. It will remove everything from your tapwater or source water and additional buffers will need to be added before you can use it for the aquarium.
Another option is to get large tub and fill it with tapwater or source water . If the source water contains ammonia ,,then adding a hang on the back filter to this tub of water will allow the ammonia in the water to essentially cycle the filter on the tub and the water would eventually be safe to use in your aquarium. course this will take time for you are essentially cycling this tub of water to produce water safe for water changes. It would be same as fishless cycling an aquarium only instead of using fish food,shrimp,or fish,you will be relying on the ammonia that is present in the tapwater to feed the bacteria.
I would still treat the water with conditioner before using and after water change,, I would refill the tub with this tapwater. thye size of tub in my view, should be large enough to hold enough water for two to three water changes .Depending on the size of the aquarium,, this could be smaller tub,or larger. Hope some of this helps.
P.S. What ever your pH is,,, I would keep fish that are comfortable in THAT pH. It makes things much easier than trying to adjust water to suit the fishes.

Angel079 01-26-2010 10:08 AM

Well there ya go, that in combo with your using the AmQuel+ is why you always get readings.
Yea 1x day for feeding is plenty enough; any my tanks over the years got also fed every 2nd day, and that is just fine.
Leave your filter alone for the time being. The only time you should EVER need to "clean" it is when its clogged not filterin propperly any more and then ONLY do this in used tank water. Using tap water to rinse it out will kill your bacteria. Exchanging pads is really only then necessary when they fall apart.
Carbon pads in planted tanks is less desirable as they filter out what your plants need to feed off of.

gzarr 01-26-2010 01:29 PM

Holy Crud! That is a lot of steps just to change the water! ;)

So are you saying that my tank will never cycle because of the water softener? Is that why I haven't moved beyond the ammonia stage with no nitrites? Will the bacteria to convert to nitrites never grow then? I could use our water from the sigot outside but right now it's 6 degrees outside and I don't think I should turn it on now. I can use it in the spring/summer/fall... but obviously not now. Unfortunately our winters last about as long as all three other seasons here in ND! :)

And since we do have ammonia in our tap why would I need to cycle it out first if there are supposed to be bacteria in the tank to do it for me? Isn't the tub idea the same as the tank? If I can't cycle the tank how am I going to cycle the tub to make water for the tank? Just confused a bit...

I have tested the ph with both the low and the high kit. The low ph kit our water registers on the highest color and the high ph kit our water registers on the lowest. I'm guessing we're right in the middle of the tests.

I won't touch the filter! No problems there!


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