Help with Water Numbers
Ok finally broke down and bought a reputable test kit. Those test strips are too dang hard to get an accurate reading.
29gal tank that is 17 days running. Added 5 bloodfin tetras and an angel fish on day 3. Angelfish died from stress when I was moving the tank from one part of the room to the other. Then one tetra died do to who knows what. Fast forward to day 12, I added 3 baby blue dwarf gouramis and a small variety pleco. Everyone has been getting along great and no fish are showing any signs of stress or being sick.
Test results from this evening:
Not sure what these numbers totally mean.....I realize we want Ammonia and Nitrite to read zero in the end. Does this mean some ammonia is breaking down already or it just hasn't built up to a unhealthy level? I'll wait 2 days and test the ammonia level again.
ETA: Oh other questions...during the first cycling period, should I leave my light on a majority of the day? Do I need to do a water change right now? Should I not rinse off my Aqueon filter until we have an established cycle?
Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.
Barb has set you on the right course with your issues. Ammonia and nitrite are both highly toxic to fish at very small levels, so monitor daily and do a water change as needed. A conditioner that detoxifies ammonia and nitrite is also a good investment at the beginning; Prime (made by Seachem) and Ultimate [can't remember the manufacturer] are two that do.
Okay update.....I retested my ammonia last night to make sure I was reading the card right and it was actually 1.0ppm, REALLY high obviously. I did a water change of 8gallons last night and went to bed. I retested today after I got home from work and it was still around .75-1ppm so I did a 33% water change (10gallons out of a 29gal tank) and let the new water circulate for about an hour and a half. Retested after that and it was reading .25ppm. MUCH lower than where it started yesterday, but still high. I suppose tomorrow I'll do another 10gal change so I don't freak the fish out too much.
Currently I have no live plants in the tank. Do you think adding 2 live plants would help kick start the consumption of ammonia to be turned into nitrites? Currently I only have 2" of medium sized rock as substrate. I was thinking of adding another 2" of some sort of substrate that is healthy for plants below the rock. Comments?!
Another thing that would be good if you have not done so already is to check your tap water for ammonia and nitrites. Some people do have this present in their tap water. If you do find that you have either in your tap water you can use a water conditioner like prime from seachem which will convert the ammonia and nitrites into a form that is not harmful to your fish.
Yes, check your tap water, though as ammonia is decreasing with each water change it is likely from the tank cycling. But still wise to know.
Yes, add plants. They will quicken the cycle and if you have enough prevent any problems.
As for the substrate, 2-3 inches is normally good depth, but the size of the gravel is important. If it is too large, not only will plant roots have trouble, but the biology will too. Waste from the fish needs to be able to settle in the substrate so bacteria can break it down. If the substrate is too large a particle size, too much chunky food can get trapped and it is difficult for bacteria to break this down. With smaller grain gravel, the waste gets broken down more on the surface--fish eating it, snails etc. So the bacteria can more easily handle it.
If you are going to add smaller gravel under what you have, it would be prudent to consider replacing the substrate completely. Depending what it is, this can be better. The substrate is the most difficult part of setting up a new tank, because once set up the substrate is the most difficult to change, so make sure you have what you want--and what will work best--before you go further.
If you have friends with tanks or a local fish store, see if you can get a scoop or two of their gravel from an established tank. That will add the bacteria you need. You added fish way to soon IMO unless there is more to the story. Unless you have enough plants and/or seed material in the tank, I don't think you should add fish until the cycle is over, not before it even started.
I am not a fan of using gravel from someone else's tank, and especially a store's. All sorts of unwanted pathogens can be introduced.
With live plants you will not have a cylce, just don't add too many fish.
The benefit of plants cannot be understated. Provided there are enough to handle the fish.
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