Not cycling? More fish?
Hello! My wife and I are new aquarists. She's never done this before, I had a few fish I kept as a kid, but I wasn't very scientific about it.
We've both done some research, talked to folks at our independant fish shop, and last weekend picked up a 35 gallon hex tank, along with an AquaClear 50 and other required tidbits.
After filling it with conditioned water, we let it come up to temperature and stabilize for a day, then put in three zebra danios to begin cycling.
It has now been 5 days, and there are no apparent traces of ammonia. Per my test strips, the water is within recommended ranges for hardness and pH. There is 0 chlorine. Temperature is 78 degrees. Filter has been running at full capacity until I throttled it back last night. The tank is planted with 5 small plants -- I don't remember the names, but none is over 6" tall. They are being fed very sparingly twice a day.
Do I not have enough biomass in the tank to start an effective cycle? Or am I just being impatient? Most charts I've seen show that there should be a noticeable amount of ammonia by this point. Should we add a few more small fish, or wait it out a bit longer?
3 Danios in a 35 gallon with plants may not show much ammonia, ever. The plants will use some of it and the rest will be turned into nitrites. You should see some nitrites and then some nitrates assuming you don;t have high light and high nutrient uptake plants. Give it time, I would say at least a full week from today to see what starts to show up if anything. Something else you can do is feed them a little more as the extra food will creat ammonia also just not too much. Not seeing ammonia for a cycle is a good thing not a bad one but it does make it hard to determine when it would be safe to add more fish. If oyu still see nothing in a week you could add a couple more smallish fish like more Danios but make sure to stay diligent and test at least every 3 days to make sure you don't see a spike of ammonia or nitrites somewhere down the line.
Welcome to Fishforum.com.:wave:
You might want to go with liquid test kits instead of test strips. The latter is unreliable for accurate results. API is the best recommended brand.
I didn't get any ammonia when I started my new aquarium. I just thought I got lucky.
yeah with a very small ammount of fish the cycle may take a little longer but it will go very smoothly as the bacteria has time to build up and handle the bioload. In an aquaclear 50 if you bought the aquaclear biomax media you should be fine to handle the bioload. Have you tested nitrites and nitrates?
if you are patient, i would keep waiting for the bacteria to slowly build up and keep doing what you are doing. if you want to go a little faster, you could add a few more danios (like for your tank size, maybe a total of 4-6 would do the job- without killing your tank). i cycled my 30 gallon with 5 danios, but even then i did it in batches (put 3 in, waited two weeks, put two more in, waited 2 weeks), then i began slowly adding my other fish. just out of curiosity, what other kinds of fishies are you thinking about adding??
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