Has my tank cycled?
It's been about 4 weeks since I started my first tank (8 gallons) with 5 white cloud minnows. Fish seem very happy, I have already spotted 2 fry though I am not sure if they are still alive or not since it is hard spotting them. After the first week I decided to add Tetra SafeStart to help quicken the cycling process. Since then, I have only done 2 water tests, one last week and this week. I didn't have the API test kit until recently.
What's currently in my tank: 5 WCMM, Anarharis Live Plants (growing very fast), one 8" piece of malaysian driftwood.
The nitrate levels seem quite high, is this good for my fish?
I also noticed tiny white dots moving near the bottom of the tank, I researched a bit and they seem to be Copepods. There are also worms moving around too, they have a arrow like head, don't know what these are yet.
I don't really know if my tank is cycled yet, should I wait another week or is it now safe to do a water change to help lower the nitrate levels?
those worms sound like planaria.cut down the food or siphon out what not eaten and leftover in the tank to keep them in control.amonia spikes in the first week is normal in a newly cycled tank and the high nitrate is from the debris left on the floor of the tank thats not cleaned out but the plants use them as food.do a little water change by taking out the debris in the tank and make sure you have water thats standing over night to top up in the main tank.
Sounds like time for a water change/gravel vac. I'd change out at least 1/3 and keep testing the water (maybe every other day) to see if you have any ammonia/nitrite spike. If no spikes, you can keep changing the water weekly or more if needed in a tank that size to keep your nitrates down.
Congrats. on your "cycle"
Sounds good. On the nitrate, assuming you are using the API test kit--you have to shake Regent #2 for 2+ minutes to get an accurate reading. The instructions say 30 seconds, but several have had inaccurate (high) readings unless the regent is shaken for 2 minutes before adding the drops. Try that and see if you still have nitrate. I am suspecting you won't, because in a planted tank it is very unusual to have nitrates above 10, and frequently below, even to zero. The plants (esp fast growing ones like stem plants) use the ammonia/ammonium fast. Try the test suggestion and let us know the results.
Aside from that, a regular weekly water change of 30-50% is good maintenance, regardless of nitrates. There are more important reasons for a regular water change.
I think kitten is talking about the water you would lose when you vacuum up the excess food to prevent the planaria, not a full water change. And even then you should use a little water conditioner just to be safe.
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