Hello. To start, I did initially use the search feature (an admitidly short search however) but I did not find anything specifically like this situation.
I currently have a 10g tank set up that has been running since the beginning of January. Unfortuatly, when we set this tank up we did not know much about cycling and were told that we only needed to let the tank run for about a week before adding fish. When we initally added fish we did experiece a few deaths and we now have 1 Platy and 1 GloFish in the tank.
Even with this low population we are experiencing elevated ammonia levels. Until recently they have been reading .5ppm (pH = 7.0, Nitrate = 0, Nitrite = 0) and today we noticed that it was finally down to .25ppm. About a week and a half ago we actually added SafeStart to hopefully boost the cycling process but continued to stay around .5ppm (All of the testing has been done with an API master kit).
What would be suggested in this situation (apart from frequent water changes)? We have an AquaClear HOB filter set up at the moment and I had considered adding AmmoCarb/Zorb but after reading around I was unsure if this would hurt the bio filter in the long run. We had also been thinking about adding plants to the tank after the levels had all settled out. Would doing that now have any positive or negative effects?
Any help would be appreciated.
I'll answer you question with a series of questions ;)
Are you using a water conditioner with your water changes? Just want to make sure, chlorine will kill the bacteria (and your fish).
Have you tested your tap water? Ammonia can be present in tap water.
Nitrite and Nitrates at 0 would suggest your cycle hasn't started. How much water do you change, and how often?
Live plants can be added day 1, they assimilate Ammonia as a nutrient, and actually do it better than bacteria. With enough plants (lots) you do not even have to cycle a tank.
Yes, we are using a water conditioner. At the moment, Aqueon but I was considering switching to Prime or some other alternative if there would be a significant difference.
The tap water tests at 0ppm.
I know that for awhile we did have nitrate >0 but <50ppm, but I don't remember the exact level or when this happened. Off the top of my head I do not ever remember seeing nitrite > 0 but I could have missed it or could have just forgotten that it ever raised above 0. We were also having the water tested at a chain pet store for the first month or so. Its possible that the values were above 0 but we were just not told at the time. Because of the ammonia issues I have been doing 1 50% change per week and a few smaller ones thoughout the week. The larger water changes have been done with a siphon vac.
Are there any good "beginner" level plants that you could recommend along with any care tips?
Any plant with Java in front of it will grow easily in low lights with no co2 and also Amazon swords
A nice lil website to check out is this one. It will tell you how easy they are to grow and give you a drawn pic, a photo of the plant and a photo of it in a tank. Also to the right of the plant it will give you a little chart that outlines light needed, growth speed, and how demanding a plant it is :)
Explore the rest of the site too, it gives lots of planting structure ideas.
Tropica Aquarium Plants - Plant list A-Z
Hope this helps :)
Anubia attached to wood or rocks with thread or fishing line,Pennywort,Water sprite,Java fern (also attached to wood or rock) would be some good plant's that don't need much light.
I should think if the tank has been running for around a month with fish such as the platy and glofish,that there is some beneficial bacteria but perhap's too much food is being offered and this will encourage ammonia level's to rise.
Would try reducing feeding's to once a day and feed lesser amount, two fish don't need much food, and see if ammonia level's don't drop off to zero.(would also see that only one person is feeding fishes)
Would also suggest that if, and when, filter material is cleaned that you clean it in old aquarium water you take out during weekly 30 to 40 percent water change.
cleaning filter material under tapwater will often result in good portion of the biological filter being lost in newly established tank's.
Would also consider that ten gallons will be problematic with more than five or six platy's or five or six of the glofish in my view.
Smaller volumes of water are much more unstable than larger volumes so care must be taken not to over stock the tank's biological capacity or over feed the tank .
Thanks for the plant suggestions and resources!
Sorry, I forgot to add a lot of information about what we are doing with the tank apparently :-D. For the past week to week and a half we have reduced to one feeding per day and also cut back some on the amount given. Whenever we clean the filter material we do make sure to use old tank water as well.
So at the moment should I just continue with small water changes and wait it out? Should I avoid adding AmmoCarb or SafeStart at this point?
If small water changes are lowering the ammonia level's,,then larger water change will lower it some more.
Floating plant's such as those mentioned ,would make ammonia a non issue.
Gah! I keep forgetting things/thinking I have already mentioned them. We are adding in an ammonia detoxifier as well to keep the levels down. Part of the reason I was thinking of switching to prime was to cut down on the amount of chemicals we are currently having to put in the tank. It looks like I'll definitely make the switch! We do always condition the water before it is added as well as check the temperature before it is put in the tank.
So what should I be doing about cycling at the moment? Is there anything I can do? Just sit back and watch?
I guess if that is the case then the current plan is this:
Also, how often would you suggest adding prime to detox the ammonia? Just when the water is changed (with the appropriate dose for the amount of added water)?
At what point would I know that it is safe to add new fish, other than having ammonia at 0ppm?
Can add fish, (if no plant's) when nitrites read zero for three or four consecutive day's, and you have NitrAte reading's.
Skip ammo carb,Safe start, save your money for plant's,fish.
Add Prime when doing water changes for amount changed.
Floating pennywort grows in one of my tank's with only light from window which faces north.
Will grow with standard T8 full spectrum bulbs along with the other plant's mentioned, but the Pennywort can also be planted in substrate but grows better for me, as floating plant.
I pull bunches out when it start's to block light for plant's planted in substrate but fishes love it while floating on surface.
Plant's are better ammonia scavengers,nitrate scavenger's than any product's offered for sale for same.
(Mainly) good news, I checked the water a little while ago and ammonia was at 0ppm, nitrites 0ppm, nitrates between 5-10ppm, and unfortunately, pH was at 6.5 (I added a half dose of pH up to start with). I will recheck these values tomorrow to see how they are doing and to ensure that it wasnt just a fluke :).
I do like the idea of pennywort, thanks for the suggestion.
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