Am I still doing the right things?
I'm over 3 weeks trying to cycle a 30 gal FWT. I have only 4 small Danios that I bought the first day. I added a Mystery Snail about one week ago, to clean up the white-cotton looking slime I had gather on a piece of previously, well-boiled African wood (snail did a great job).
I do frequent water changes (10-50 %) every couple days. I only did one 50 percent WC, (maybe that wasn't good). I have a Aqua Clear filter, which I have a sponge and ceramic chips in (threw away the Ammo-block), read those aren't so great. Just threw those yesterday.
Again today, Ammonia reading at .25 and I only have a kit that measures Nitrates, which keep showing up as 0. PH is from the tap at 8.0. Though the driftwood may have lowered, I don't measure PH. Even after water changes, I don't get a big difference in a Ammonia reading from 0.25ppm
I added one bunch of Anacharis plant and one java fern, hoping to help with cycling. Today, I added a Seachem product for plants called "Plant Pack Enchancer". To add Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
Probably shouldn't have messed with that till the tank cycles, but figured, I guess I'll find out what happens. I hate to see the plants start dying. Fish are fine, when they exhibit the darting/erratic behavior I do a water change, and will end up doing one tomorrow, I'm sure. Just didn't do it now when the tank is showing 0.25, because the fish seem fine, no strange behavior.
Just trying to keep on the right track - any feedback appreciated. I did leave a message for a neighbor that has an established tank to try to get some gravel - maybe that will help cycle too??
Hi Gwen, welcome to TFK!
The added plants should help, as will a handful of media from your friend who already has an established tank. What type/brand of test kit are you using? Have you tested your tap for ammonia? What brand of water conditioner are you using??
Once again, welcome, we are glad you found us! :-)
I'm not sure if I'm responding - to answer your question. I use the API liquid drops. Yes, I did test my tap water, and got a 0 for ammonia.
The conditioner I'm using is Microbe-lift decholorinator plus conditioner. Also, I've used microbe-lift "special blend" smells horrific, suppose to add "good" bacteria. About giving up on that.
I'm guessing I should reply here?? Checking out how this works :)
If I were you I would try and get some hands on your neighbors gravel! Or possibly even one of his filters if he has the same filter as you. I am still learning about cycling tanks myself so I don't know too much but that is what I would suggest
Hi Gwen, and welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.
First on water changes: they cannot hurt, even at 50%. If ammonia or nitrite rise above .25, do a 50% water change immediately; waiting for erratic behaviour is too late, the damage is being done to the fish. Don't touch the substrate (gravel) or the filter media because you want bacteria to colonize both places. But changing the water will not hurt anything and may save your fish.
Plants are good and will help in cycling. I know that plant enhancer stuff, Seachem is a reliable company but this product I would not bother with in your setup. Plants require 17 nutrients plus light to grow. All of these [except oxygen, carbon and hydrogen which naturally occur in the aquarium] are contained in Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement for the Planted Aquarium. You use very little, so a bottle will last a long time. This is one of the best fertilizers available in my experience.
I'm not familiar with the Microbe-life products, but from their website I would assume they are fine. A water conditioner that detoxifies ammonia and nitrite is useful in new tanks. Seachem's Prime does this [I believe it also smells, like sulfur someone told me]. As your tap water has zero ammonia, the ammonia in the tank is from the cycling, and that is normal though we do what we can to reduce/eliminate it as it is highly toxic to fish. As is nitrite.
Hope this helps you.
You hear such different things - the LFS told me not to do a 50 % change, and I've read different things on this too. I'll do a water change than tonight - ugh, because it may be too late when I get home tomorrow. Thanks for the info. I will stay away from vacumming the bottom, I've done that a bit, but not excessively, and sometime not at all.
Fish in nature do not live in the same water for more than a second. Water is constantly flowing past, slowly perhaps, and even in lakes and ponds there are thermal currents moving the water. Fish can also swim elsewhere to escape something toxic in the water. In the aquarium, regardless of how large it is, we cannot even come close to this ideal. Filters only move water around, and to some extent they alter its chemistry. But the pathogens produced by fish and the solid waste broken down to liquid by bacteria remains in the water until plants use it (to some extent) or we remove it.
In new tanks, ammonia and nitrite can rise very fast, and both are highly toxic to all organisms. Bacteria colonize hard surfaces under water, not the water itself. The toxic ammonia and nitrite remains in the water until either bacteria grab it, or plants grab it (ammonia as ammonium is the preferred form of nitrogen for aquatic plants), or it is detoxified (by products like Prime), or we remove it. A 50% or even greater water change every day will absolutely not hurt fish. And compared to the toxicity of ammonia and nitrite, it may well save them.
It does not take much toxicity to damage the fish permanently. Even those that live through a cycle will often develop health issues down the road that can be directly related back to the ammonia or nitrite. And premature death is common.
Those who breed discus frequently perform 90% water changes several times each and every day. The fish grow--and grow healthy--with such care. No one can really dispute any of this.
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