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Fish-in to Fishless Cycle

1127 Views 7 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  rsskylight04
I already posted this in the wrong section.

I had a 10 gallon that I instant-cycled with a dirty emperor 400 cartridge from my LFS. It had been running 2 weeks fish-in getting 50% WC with Prime every other day. Well, I returned the fish Thursday and added fish food as an ammonia source so my cycle didn't die to make sure it was completely established so I can get my BGK (who will QT in this tank) later in the week.

Well, I added too much fish food and woke up to a yellow-clouded tank this morning. I have since removed the food that was in there (It was in a net) and simply added 10 API bottom feeder (shrimp) pellets (about 1.5mm) and two Wardley shrimp pellets. I let those break down in the net and today it's getting a 50% WC to clear the water a bit. I will also be placing the cartridge in the tank and putting a new one in the filter today because the amount of food in the water has clogged it fairly badly, I just wanted to get the new pellets dissolved a bit before doing so.

Would I be better off throwing a feeder or two in there for ammonia? I really don't like the whole "not knowing" thing with the fish food. I can't get pure ammonia due to the fact that I am 6 months pregnant. I've never done fishless and it is not my preferred method. Shame on me, shame on me.

I'll be changing the substrate this week because my current sand is causing my pH to skyrocket an entire ppm, how will this affect my cycle? To give you an idea of my "media forrest" as I'm calling it, I have;

  • the spongey part of a filter cartridge rubber-banded around the intake
  • the filter sponge from my spare 10 gallon filter
  • tomorrow there will be the dirty cartridge from my running filter
  • the filter cartridge from the LFS emperor 400 I used to seed the tank
  • the filter sponge in the current HOB
  • the new media sponge I'll be adding to the HOB tomorrow

Hopefully with this media forrest alongside the decor, I won't cause a disturbance in the cycle when I change out my substrate. If I do, I'll wait a bit longer to get the BGK.

Does it sound like I'm doing everything right? I don't like the sudden switch but I felt it was necessary.

My parameters as of yesterday;
I did a 75% WC yesterday before returning the fish. Here were my readings as of this morning;

Ammonia - .25-.50 (couldn't tell the difference but were 0 after WC yesterday I massively overfed the tank night before last)
Nitrites - 0 (I never get readings here, my kit is old)
Nitrates - 0-5 (they were 5-10 before WC night before last)

I have a new kit coming but my Nitrate and Ammonia readings are always accurate. I test before I go to the LFS and have them test. Only difference is they got Nitrite readings a few times.

I haven't tested yet today.

Thanks in advance for any advice,
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I know this is a silly question, but is a tank cycled without having 20ppm of Nitrate? I've always waited for 0, 0 and 20 ppm but I'm worried with the fish food and transferring to a fish with a low bioload, I'm never gonna see 20ppm.
That's why I've always waited for the magic 20. I never have swings after that. I have to have a stable aquarium for the BGK, though.
Okay, so I tested my water before I did my WC and WOW did my overfeeding become apparent in the results.

Ammonia - 4ppm
Nitites - 0 (my new kit will be shipped next Friday)
Nitrates - 5ppm

I did a 65% WC and dosed a bit over 10 gallons worth of Prime as the conditioner. (It's hard to be accurate measuring prime for a 10 gallon....)

I'm gonna re-test the water when I get home this afternoon so the water has a chance to circulate and the Prime has some time to do its thing.
Here was my mistake;

The aftermath and removing most of the food (still too much in there);

After the WC and adding my new dirty cartridge to the media forrest this morning;
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