Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Jmalone 07-05-2010 02:55 PM

got a few questionss
Hello all- Im pretty new to this hobby and im not gonna lie, im getting hooked on it pretty fast, but I just have a few questions because I want to make sure that Im doing the right things when it comes to my tank- I have a 20 high with heater, filter, air stone, etc. Right now all i have in the tank is 5 barbs, because the guy at the aquarium center near my house told me that they would be good fish to "cycle" with, Had i known that I could cycle without fish, I wouldve went that route. Anyways, ive had the fish in the tank for about a week now, and ive been keeping an eye on the ph level, and the ammonia levels both of which have stayed the same for the entire week. The ammonia is reading 0 ppm, and the ph is 7.6. The fish seem happy and are eating on a regular basis. Should I start doing water changes? or should I wait for the ammonia levels to go up a bit first?? and as for a nitrate/ nitrite test kit, thats coming tomarrow. Is there anything else I should be watching out for, and or doing...once again I appreciate the advice--

bones14 07-05-2010 03:19 PM

Read the sticky A Beginners Guide to the Freshwater Cycle at the top of this forum.It will answer most of your questions.If you still have questions,help is always here.

zof 07-05-2010 03:19 PM

Well first off I'm assuming you've read through the post on cycling as it will explain alot up front. I do not know much about barbs so cant say they are a good fish in cycle fish but I would think by now you would have some ammonia readings so you might check and make sure your ammonia test is accurate. Most people here and also I will recommend you get the API freshwater master kit, as it will have all the test you need; ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and ph.

While cycling water changes should always been done with a fish in cycle, at least weekly if not more often until you are done with the cycle. The opinion varies on how much and how often but when I did my fish in cycle I just used my best judgment with testing everyday to make sure the ammonia and other parameters never got high enough to hurt the fish.

I will let others add more, thats just what I've learned so far :)

Byron 07-06-2010 11:42 AM

First thing, welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.

I concur with the previous members, read that article on cycling, it will explain a lot.

One other thing, it is good to test your tap water (assuming this is your "source water" for the tank water changes) for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate, and of course pH. Hardness is also worth knowing, as it impacts pH. A test kit (API's liquid test kit is recommended, they have a combo kit for these four things) for the first 4 is a good investment, but for hardness once you know the tap water you needn't test the tank for hardness unless you intend adjusting it [the hardness of the tap water plus the fish you want to have will determine this]. The water supply people will tell you the hardness of your water, or it may be on their website, to save you buying a kit just for one use.

Once you have these numbers, post them and we can comment if needed.


Aqua Jon 07-06-2010 11:44 PM


Unfortunately I too started out with a fish-in cycle in my first ever tank. I had barbs (rosy barbs to be exact) and they were very hardy. I was truly surprised how they had gotten to their 4th generation of lil fishes in spite of me. I don't know what others think, but maybe throwing in a live plant or two to help quell the ammonia spike when it happens. If you're not a fan of the live plants something like anacharis is pretty cheap and will grow like crazy, using the ammonia in the tank.

Hope your tank is a wonderful success!

Jmalone 07-07-2010 12:58 AM

so first of all, id like to say thanks to all of you that responded, its awsome to know that I can have questions answered without feeling like a dope bc some of the guys at my lfs kinda talk to me like im an idiot, ill post the numbers tomarrow when I have the chance, but I just wanna say thanks for the input and suggestions, its encouraging to say the least.

JohnnyD44 07-07-2010 06:18 AM

I agree with all the others and am awaiting your results :-)

just wanted to say hello to TFK! :wave:

Jmalone 07-07-2010 10:13 PM

okay- so I finally got to check my levels after a lonnng day lol, here they are as of an hour ago--
The Ph has been at a steady level of 7.6 (or higher, the test kit from API only goes up to 7.6) so theyres been no variation there since I set the tank up, and the Ammonia level is has gone from 0ppm two days ago, to .25ppm for the past two days, I was thinkin a WC would be appropriate right now, but I wanna see what you guys say first being as I dont wanna mess anything up with the cycle and what not.

I was also told to give APIs stress zyme+ a shot from the guy at the fish store I go to, any thoughts on that??

Also another question, Ive had a betta for a year now, and this guy has been through the ringer to say the least, he was at my girlfriends house for a while (who neglected to change his water quite a few times), anyways, I treated him to a little 2.5 or 5 gal, cant tell what size, but its perfect size for him, it has a filter and a little light, new plants etc.etc. However, the little crappy marble like substate it came with seems as though its holding alottt of waste and decomposing food, I just didnt have money to buy good stuff at the time because of a lack of cash, however I bought him new gravel today. The ph in his tank is 7.6 as well, and the ammonia just shot up to between a 1.0 and a 2.0, so obviously I want to change his water, im wondering if its a good idea to just move him temporarily into a bowl and just clean the whole tank out and start over with the gravel- thoughts??

a little side note, its amazing how much happier and brighter the little guy is now that he has a good home, I feel bad I didnt do it for him sooner. He practically eats the food off of my hand now when I put it in the tank.

As always guys, I really appreciate the help and advice-
Thanks, Joe

Jmalone 07-07-2010 10:19 PM

oh and p.s. checked the levels of my tap water as well- P.h....7.6 (shocking) and ammonia is at 0 ppm

Aqua Jon 07-07-2010 10:50 PM

Two things with the pH. It could be higher than 7.6. I get the same reading on my API for the low end test, but it is not always the case for it to be higher. When I test for high range pH i get a 7.4 - which i take to be a ~7.5 pH level. Yours could be higher if there are large amounts of calcium present in the tap water you use. If you can, check the website of your water supplier - they should be posting these levels in a yearly report. Then you can get a better idea of your own tank's pH and if you need to invest in a high range pH test kit.

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