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Kholguin 01-04-2012 09:36 PM

converted tank... cycling question
Hello. I am glad to be here. I had a saltwater tank running for the past 6 years that I decided to convert to a freshwater tank. I cleaned the tank, filter and put in new filter media. I put about an inch of old, dry "live sand" at the bottom. I filled the tank with fresh water (conditioned with prime, stress guard, and added a biological "jumpstarter"). Oh, and I added 10 teaspoons of salt in preparation for mollies. This was Dec. 31. The next day, I added the fish - I know that is not the best thing to do, but I gave in to my kids' pestering and did it anyway.

My question is... shouldn't the nitrogen cycle have started by now? I tested the water tonight and all of the parameters seem too good to be true. The water, which was so cloudy before, has also cleared up. I have 2 thoughts... either it is too early for the cycle to begin, or there was already biological matter in the filter tubes (which I did not clean out) which helped complete the cycle in a short amount of time. What do you think?

Oh, and my fish are a bit itchy and are flashing a bit, but no visible spots or velvet.

Here are my details:
75 gallon tank converted from saltwater
5 plants, 5 mollies, 2 gullies, 2 platies, 2 teteas

Test results:
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0
Hardness 150-300
Alkalinity 120
pH. 7.5

Nubster 01-05-2012 01:47 AM

I'd say either you haven't cycled yet or the plants are using the nitrates. Time will tell I guess.

Kholguin 01-05-2012 06:56 AM

Yeah, the nitrates is what really confused me. What do you think is causing my fish to itch?
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SeaHorse 01-05-2012 07:22 AM

Welcome Kholguin!!
If you have done marine before you are used to testing and mixing! So I don't want to sound like I am talking down to you... I just want to explain this precisely so other new fish keepers who read this will also understand...
Unless you have lots of live plants to help with the cycling process it will take 6-8 WEEKS to go thru the cycle. Your tank hasn't started yet. The Ammonia has to rise and spike, then the NitrItes will do the same, then the NitrAte levels will rise to around 20. That's where you want to keep it. Between 5-20.
Thru all this process you will need to do de-chlorinated, temperature matched, salt matched water changes to dilute the process or you will loose fish.
Please pick up as soon as you can a Liquied API testing kit if you don't already have one. The paper test strips can quickly be unreliable as they absorb moisture/humidity.
I am unfamiliar with the salt part so cannot advise here... nor the live sand at the bottom of the tank. This is new to me as I have only ever done a FW.
Can you tell us what fish and how many you have in there now? What else are you thinking to add?
Good luck with it... keep testing and do lots of water changes to dilute the Amonia and Nitrites... Keep us posted.

SeaHorse 01-05-2012 07:24 AM

When you say itch... what is their behavior? I would say the growing Ammonia in the water which is the first step. Are you sure they were in Brakish water at the LFS?

jeffnsa 01-05-2012 07:57 AM

Your cycle hasn't started yet but you have a pretty low bioload for now. If you are like me when i converted over your still using the same theory of high light, filtration, and water flow along with the live plants will make it take longer for the amonia to start and the cycle will be brief and not that bad.

Kholguin 01-05-2012 09:05 AM

Thanks for the replies. I guess I was expecting to see the ammonia levels rise as quickly as they did when I had my seahorse tank. I will get a liquid API test kit ... I only bought the strips as they were less expensive. Jakiebaby, I have 5 mollies, 2 platies, 2 guppies, and 2 tetras. I am not sure if the mollies were in brackish water in the lps, but I have read that they do well with a bit of salt. By itching, I mean that they rub up against the rocks every once in a while.
Jeff, I hope that the cycle isn't too bad. I haven't had freshwater fish in at least 12 years, and that was just some mollies in a 20 gallon tank... I didn't even know about ammonia, nitrites and nitrates then!
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jeffnsa 01-05-2012 10:39 AM

What type of horses did you have? I always had freshwater when i was growing up (never heard of a cycle) and then after getting married I got the itch for a salt water tank. At one point i had a 140gl sps tank, 100gl softee tank, 55gl freshwater, 30 gl h readi seahorse tank and 5 -10gl tanks for seahorse breeding. After moving i've decided to start with a 10 gl planted hopefully to upgrade to a 55gl planted. Good luck getting everything set up and running.

Kholguin 01-05-2012 06:44 PM

Jeff, I started out with dwarf seahorses (h. zosterae), then graduated to h. erectus. This last batch of seahorses were h. fuscus. I had several batches of fry thoughout the years. It was fun, but lots of work.

Kholguin 01-06-2012 08:55 PM

Ok, tested today and I see that the cycle is beginning. Should I just let the fish go through the cycle or should I be doing water changes with prime.?

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