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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone! My 20 gallon (tall) tank has been set up with 4 zebra danios for two weeks and one day. I've done one 15% water change during that time because of an accidental fish food spill. Other than that I have left the tank alone and fed the fish a small amount once a day. I test the water every day or every couple of days. I did a full test today with no changes:

High ph: 7.8
Ammonia: 0 (maybe a bit above zero it's hard to tell, but nowhere near .25)
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0

The fish tank basically tests exactly like my tap water. Are these results normal after the fish have been in there for two weeks? My stocking goal, once things are done, will include 6 zebra danios. I'm wondering if 2 more danios added to the mix would be okay for cycling or if that could make the tank go crazy.

So far the fish are doing great. They all look healthy, are eating well, and swimming around the tank like a bunch of fools. The water is also very clear. Thanks for the help!
 

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It sounds like 2 more danios wouldn't make that tank out of whack. You may also might be nearing the end of the cycle. But if your kit is old, you may want to get a new kit because it is unusual for the nitrates to be 0. My 10 and 37 which have been established for a few years each, aren't at exactly 0. Otherwise it sounds like a cool tank and again i do think that 2 more fish would be fine. GOOD LUCK!!

~ Cam
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Highland, I appreciate the input. I finally found what seems to be a very good LFS. The guy there was very helpful and seemed to agree that two more shouldn't be a problem. I went ahead and did it. I'll be keeping a close eye on the water quality. The fish are all doing great so far.

Thanks again.
 

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That would be an incredibly fast cycle but I don't think that's what's happened. Have you seen the ammonia rise in the tank, the nitrites? If your tank has cycled the nitrates should be on the rise.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'm fairly certain the tank hasn't cycled, I don't think it could have in just two weeks. The strange thing is that I've not seen a rise in ammonia or nitrites at all. I have no idea if my test kit is out of date, I don't see an expiration on it anywhere. Hopefully adding the two danios won't be a big deal. I suppose time will tell!

If I do get an ammonio or nitrite (or nitrate, for that matter) reading I'll be sure to let ya'll know.

Peace!
 

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After two weeks you should be seeing ammonia readings. Danios aren't large fish but a 20 gallon tank isn't large enough to mask the ammonia they should be making. What test kit are you using? I know on the API kit the difference between 0 and 0.25ppm of ammonia is hard to read. If your LFS is willing to run the tests you might want to take a water sample to them and have them test it to be sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
That is a great idea! I think I will take my water in to see. You're exactly right that the difference between 0 and .25 on the API is difficult to read. I think that is where I'm having trouble. I know there is ammonia in there, I just can't seem to find it! I do use the API testing kit. I sure hope it's not an old testing kit because throwing out another $30 bucks for a replacement kit would be hard to swallow. Thanks again.
 

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I cycled with fish, 3 platys and a single neon, long story, in a 55 gallon. My ammonia rarely made it over 0.25. A good LFS will be willing to test your water. Mine wants fifty cents to do tests but that's not bad. They use the API kit themselves.

If you just bought the kit its unlikely its too old. More than likely the problem is you just have some small fish and the test is hard to read for the ammonia levels you have.
 

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At two weeks, I would not be concerned about anything with this particular tank. Four danios ARE producing ammonia assuming they are alive and eating. The tank is maturing and the fish are not being overfed. I would not add any more fish and I would continue to test water every other day to two days. Who is to say how much ammonia shoud be being produced by the four danios. Another two weeks to three weeks and assuming no MAGIC potions are added to the water and OP could SLOWLY introduce new fish one or two a week. Also while taking a water sample to the fish store can benefit those without test kits, It should be noted that many fish stores especially some of the large chain stores use test strips rather than liquid test kits. IMHO all that is needed in this case is patience.
 

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If the LFS does tests and properly going and having their water tested can help them know that they're doing it properly and getting consistent readings. Also, its an excuse to go to the LFS. The danios are of course producing ammonia this is just for their benefit to know that they're doing it right.
 

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Keep in mind that the bacteria that are establishing themselves in your tank are only sufficient to handle the bioload of the fish you've got in the tank. When you add more fish, do it slowly, as it will take time for the bacteria to multiply in order to handle the increased bioload. And be sure to keep an eye on those water parameters after more fish are added.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks to everyone for their help. Today I got my first definitive ammonia reading. It is definitely above zero but below .25ppm. I've got the six danios in there and they are all doing very well. I'll keep a close eye on the tank parameters. I don't plan on adding any fish until the cycle is completely done. Hopefully these six danios will survive because I'd like them to be permanent members of the community tank.

I would like to set myself up a quarantine/hospital tank. I don't want the tank set up permanently, only when I need it. I've done some research and this is the plan so far. I'll get a 5.5 gallon tank with hood/light and a small heater. No gravel but a decoration or two to provide hiding spots. What I was thinking of doing is putting a small sponge filter into my main tank now so that it will build up a good bacteria base. When I buy new fish, or have a sick fish that needs to be quarantined, I could siphon out 5 or so gallons from the main tank into the hospital tank. From what I've read, if I then move the sponge filter from the main tank into the hospital tank I shouldn't have to wait for a cycle. Once I'm done with the quarantine tank I'd put a new sponge on the sponge filter and put it back into the main tank to start building another bacteria base.

It all sounds good in theory but I'm not sure if it would really work. Anyone have experience doing it that way? Anyways, thank you all again. I'll keep you up to date.

BTW, this is my stocking plan:
6 danios
6 Lemon Tetras
5 or 6 Panda Cory cats
 

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That sounds perfect. You shouldn't need to use tank water from the big tank in the hospital tank. The seeded sponge filter should be home to enough bacteria to keep any fish in quarantine healthy. Make sure you get a fully adjustable heater for the quarantine tank, as it will be useful to be able to raise the temp should new fish you buy come from the store with ich or velvet.

I do the same thing for hospital/quarantine except I have a power filter that I can move. However, I have seeded sponge filters in big tanks, plopped them in smaller ones and added fish straightaway without ever seeing any ammonia or nitrites in the small tank.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Awesome, thanks much iamntbatman. You and everyone else has been a big help. How long do you usually leave new fish in quarantine? Also, I know fish need to be added slowly. I've been thinking, once the cycle is done, to introduce 3 at a time. Is that too many?

Thanks all!
 

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Three at a time is fine. A week in quarantine is great. Two weeks if you're really paranoid. Of course, you'll have to leave them in there longer if it turns out they're sick and you need to medicate or otherwise treat them.
 

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Two weeks is not paranoid. By some estimations it is not long enough. A week would be plenty if the only thing you worried about was ich but some things won't show symptoms for several weeks.
 

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A couple of things, I'd get a bigger QT tank myself. You don't wanna go nuts with it, bigger tanks take more meds, but some fish aren't going to like being in a five gallon tank. I use a 15 gallon rubbermaid box and that's about as big as I'd go. If I was getting an aquarium I'd get a 10 gallon tank myself.

I use the sponge filter method and it works very well. I seeded it initially in my main tank and moved it over no problem. Since I'm still stocking my tank I don't have to worry about keeping it seeded between different groups of fish.

I QT for four weeks. If any of the fish have anything it's going to show up.
 
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