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Discussion Starter #1
10gallon
2-platies
2-mollies
Current readings:
Ph - 7.6-7.8 (I have well water and this is the Ph of it also)
Nitrite - 0
Nitrate - 0
Ammonia - 4

I know nothing about keeping an aquarium and I'm learning as I go. I've had it up an running, with fish, since mid January. Everything has been fine up until last week. Wednesday, I tested my water and the ammonia was off the chart. Overnight the tank clouded. Thursday night, I replaced 50-75% of the water. All readings were good Friday night and the water was much clearer. Today (Sunday), my water test are listed above. Why is my ammonia so high? I feed them very little twice a day.

Is this part of the cycle the tank goes through? Do I need to replace the water again because the ammonia is so high? Should I change the filter?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Why are you feeding twice a day? adult fish should be fed once a day.

do not replace your filter media. if you toss it the cycle will start all over again. It sounds as tho the cycle is starting.

I suggest another partial water change. The ammonia can several injure or ill your fish. Keep doing partial changes until ammonia reaches 0.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Why are you feeding twice a day? adult fish should be fed once a day.
Seems most of what I have read says to feed twice a day. I give them 3-5 flakes twice a day. I will start feeding only once a day.


OK, so this is completely normal. What a relief.


When and how do I change my filter? I thought I was supposed to change it once a month.


Will I go through all of this again when I do change the filter?
 

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you've been changing the media once a month? What media are you using? Sponge or carbon? I would recommend sponge/ceramic medias. These medias hold onto beneficial bacteria. These medias should also not be replaced unless they have started falling apart. To which you should add the new media with the old media to for a few weeks. Once the new media is seeded you can toss the old media.

Unless your fish are juvenile fish, they should only been fed once a day.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I have NOT changed the filter yet. I set the tank up in mid January. I am using caarbon filters. The directions on the box says to change the filter every 3-4 weeks and I've been told by a few people to change it that often as well.

Thank you Fishy for your help :)
 

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No problem. If you're going to continue using carbon filters it should be replaced as the carbon expires after a while and isn't no good. But sponges and ceramic medias are the best ones. Especially since they just sit there and do their thing until they fall apart. They last very long and are the biggest bang for your buck ;)
 

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Hey mate and welcome. Ok sounds like the tank has begun cycling. I assume running for a month.
As fishy says sponges and ceramic are the best. Carbon filters remove chemicals from the water and not much else. I understand you are learning as you go. Do you use a water conditioner when you change water. The reason I ask is that products like prime will declorinate the water and detoxify ammonia. For a few days anyway. I could suggest some live plants, especially fast growing stem plants as they will use ammonia for their nitrogen source. Can't recommend plants as I don't know your current lighting.
Definately reduce feeding until the tank is cycled. This will reduce the amount of waste generated.
With fish in cycle I would recommend checking water every morning and night. If its above 1ppm then do a waterchange. Until it drops to zero. Repeat for nitrite until reading zero and hey presto cycle complete.
One more thing. Not insulting your intelligence but rinse your filter media in old tank water always. Chlorine from the tap will kill bacteria and prolong the cycle until the tank surface has enough bacteria to cope.

Good luck

TitanTDH
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Discussion Starter #8
I do use water conditioner when I change the water. I have well water so chlorine is not an issue. The ammonia reading this afternoon was about 4, so I did a 40-50% water change and the reading has went down to 1.

Sounds like I will be checking and changing water pretty often for a little while. After doing much more research, I have a better understanding of the water cycle.

After the cycling is complete, at that point should I place a new carbon filter behind the old one to start the process of building the beneficial bacteria on this filter?
 

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I do use water conditioner when I change the water. I have well water so chlorine is not an issue. The ammonia reading this afternoon was about 4, so I did a 40-50% water change and the reading has went down to 1.

Sounds like I will be checking and changing water pretty often for a little while. After doing much more research, I have a better understanding of the water cycle.

After the cycling is complete, at that point should I place a new carbon filter behind the old one to start the process of building the beneficial bacteria on this filter?

It depends if you use carbon then replace it when it is supposed to be used, honestly though using carbon is a waste of time and money if your filter uses pre-packaged carbon just use a knife or some scissors to take out the carbon your filters will last way longer and it willl be more beneficial for your fish. If you use this method you just need to take the pad out rinse it out in the aquarium water you took out from the water change and put it back in. This helps keep costs down by using the same pad again, helps keep your beneficial bacteria in place, and carbon is only useful when removing escess chemicals or medicine from the water.
 

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Hey mate. I'm not sure why you are using carbon filters, unless there is a pollutant problem in your well water. But yes the carbon will need to be changed every 4 weeks. is it a combined carbon sponge filter like aqua one produces. Another option if you have the space is get the ceramic noodles and sponge filter media. Place underneath your carbon filter and then the other media just needs to be rinsed every week. Bacteria will colonise the ceramic noodles and the carbon filter can just be changed.
 

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Keep changing water until it reaches 0. There shouldn't be ANY ammonia in your tank.


Are you sure you want to stay with carbon filters? You'll have to replace the carbon often. If you're looking to stay with carbon; what filter do you use? Some carbon filters come with a filter bag that you can open up to refresh the carbon, thus being able to keep the BB on the filter bag.

With sponge and ceramic media you won't be replacing them unless they're falling apart. If you'd like to look into sponge and ceramic media, check out these products:
These would be your sponge(s):
Fluval Canister Filter Foam Blocks for Models 104 - 404, from Hagen - Filter Media - Fish - PetSmart
AquaClear 20 Foam Filter Inserts - Filter Media - Fish - PetSmart
Fluval® C2 Poly/Foam Pad - Filter Media - Fish - PetSmart
HBH Aqua-Pure Filter Media - Filter Media - Fish - PetSmart (I believe you would cut to fit these ones)
Marineland Bonded Filter Pads at PETCO (I used this one, it is one you would cut to fit)

And your ceramic media:
Fluval BioMax Media - Filter Media - Fish - PetSmart
Marineland® Ceramic Filter Rings - Filter Media - Fish - PetSmart
AquaClear® BioMax Filter Insert - Filter Media - Fish - PetSmart (I use this one, it actually comes in it's own baggie)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
It was not an impulse purchase, but I did not do near enough research and I listened to some" idiots" I assumed knew what they were talking about. I purchased a 10g starter kit with heater and LED lights and I bought an air pump with a long airstone.

After asking the "idiots" about my current issues, their answer was chemicals and I knew that could not be right.

So, to answer why I am using carbon is because that is what came with the kit and I bought a box of refills.

On one side of the tray I have a black filter that looks like a window air conditioner filter and on the other side is where the white pockets with the carbon are inserted.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Fishy, I did not see your post before.

Yes, they are the kind I can replace the carbon only if I choose.
 

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Sounds like we are all having a communication problem. Would it be possible to get a picture of the filter arrangement so we can provide some better advice. I just can't visualise it.
Sorry if I was abrupt
 

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Sounds like we are all having a communication problem. Would it be possible to get a picture of the filter arrangement so we can provide some better advice. I just can't visualise it.
Sorry if I was abrupt
I agree.

Also, jmecon, your filter can be converted from a carbon to a sponge filter. I'm not trying to get you to switch to sponge/ceramic. I'm just offering you a more economical choice. Lasts longer and is cheaper. Ya can't beat that!
 

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ah yes!
To make the switch just get a sponge that will fit the area that your media goes into. Your ceramic media will fit directly behind your sponge.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Great! I want to make sure I understand correctly...The sponge will go on the thing I called a tray and the ceramic will go loose in the back?
 

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Ahh I see. Ok so you have the carbon pads with floss sewn in. And a vertical black sponge version. Is that correct? Is there a recess where the water flows out that could house the ceramic noodles.
 
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