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Faith_at_Large
01-22-2007, 06:10 AM
I started a new ten gallon tank on December 29, 2006. Some of the water used was old, but not aged, treated water - not cycled. I have a power filter, a 50w heater, coloured gravel base and lots of fake plants (and a tank divider installed at about 1/4 tank to potentially house a Betta if it does not get along with his other tank mates [no Betta in the tank yet]). I added some Zebra Danios the next day. On January 4, I tested my water and had a temperature of 24 degrees C, a pH level of 8 and a water hardness of about 240 ppm - both typical for my area, an ammonia reading of 0.6, a nitrite reading of 0.3, (I don't have a Nitrate test kit yet) and clear water. I tested and did a partial water change on January 15, and tested only on January 20 but did a 20% water change today on the 21st. Every test reading has been identical except for one minor temperature dip. How long does it normally take before the ammonia spikes (and how high would a normal "spike" for this situation be?)? I.e. is the 0.6 the spike, or is it supposed to get worse before it gets better? I understand that the Ammonia will go to zero, but I can't seem to get it there. I have also been using "AquaClear" both in my replacement water, and in the tank to help my fish. I have also used "Cycle" from the beginning with a double dose at the beginning. And, I use "Waste Control", but have been using it only about once every two weeks - I am still sorting out what to use when. I have been testing with the Nutrifin Master Testing Kit (mini version).

f1oored
01-22-2007, 06:52 AM
Water changes are only going to slow you down. Stop doing them. You will know when your ammonia and nitrites spike because they will likely go off the chart. I'm guessing that aqua clear is your dechlorinator? If so, this is the only product you need. Cycle doesn't work in most cases. I would also stop using waste control. You want your ammonia and nitrites to spike. This product seems to be trying to control that (you will probably never need this actually).

Let your water go to crap, turn the heat up a little, and make sure you are getting plenty of oxygen into the water. The fish may die but that is one of the risks of using fish to cycle. It could take up to 2 months.

Lady Hobbs
01-22-2007, 08:16 AM
Some of the water used was old, but not aged, treated water - not cycled.

Water that sits around is not cycled. The chlorinate evaporates but it still contains metals and a de-chlorinator with "chloramine remover" is still needed to get rid of the metals in the water. Even well water has metals altho it contains no chlorine.

I believe AquaClear is nothing but a product to clear the water? Look at your bottle and see if it says chlorine remover. If not and it's the AquaClear I am thinking of, it only clear the water and is doing nothing for the chlorine. If that's the case, the chlorine in your tap water is not allowing bacteria to grow that will eat up that ammonia. Possibly you have a different product than what I am thinking.

I'm also wondering if you are cleaning the tank in any way, cleaning the gravel, changing filters, etc? You can not do this during a cycle or will keep the tank from cycling.

I would opt to just let the tank go if you had no fish in there and was cycling the "fishless" way but with fish you have to do water changes to keep them alive unless you are using these as throw-outs. Personally I don't think any fish deserves to die a horrible death of ammonia poisoning.

http://www.gnsaquarium.com.au/html/ammonia_nitrite.html

Certainly in a small tank you should be seeing nitrites by now. You may benefit from reading in Announcements "tips for beginners" (in red) and also the Free E-book on the menu on your left.

Faith_at_Large
01-22-2007, 07:30 PM
Thanks. I will stop fussing over my tank and allow nature to run its course (with supervision). I may have misnamed the main product, I am not at home at the moment, but I think that it may be AquaPlus (not AquaClear), and I believe it says that it is for the removal of chlorine and chloramine from tap water, and helps to promote a good "slime coat" on the fish - I treated my "old" water with this stuff before putting it into my tank, and I always add it to my water that I let sit between tank cleanings (for use in the next water change).

It was never my intention to use "disposable" fish to cycle my tank. Every pet store that I spoke with, including a specialty petstore that "rescues" and "boards" fish, said that the Zebras could withstand the cycling process - the specialty store even offered to "rent" me a Zebra for this purpose, saying that I could bring it back to the store when I was finished and pick out the fish that I really wanted. I didn't think that this would be very nice for a single Zebra Danio, so I changed my stocking plan to include them and bought a small group of them to take me though the cycling period.

There is so much information out there that it is hard to know what is best. No other source even suggested that I wait for the tank to spike before cleaning it. Most sources describe the cycling process and independently describe the tank maintenance process as if it should be done at the same time - some suggested weekly cleaning and water changes of up to 50%; others suggested every two weeks; others monthly, with weekly checks; with water changes from 10 to 20%. I have a siphon gravel cleaner, but my tank is quite elaborately decorated and so small that it is difficult to clean the gravel (not to mention that the gravel is supposed to be a place to grow beneficial bacteria). I have been using a turkey baster (purchased specifically and used exclusively for this purpose) to remove uneaten food from the bottom (the flakes just get knocked down and fall before the two minutes are up - then I have to fish them out) (freeze-dried bloodworms never make it to the bottom and inspire a feeding frenzy - but they seem to make my fish bloat temporarily, they are such pigs).

Lady Hobbs
01-22-2007, 07:36 PM
Those water change schedules are for cycled tanks. Often that "small" detail is not mentioned and it leads to newbies confusion.

Yes, the zebra's are a good cycling fish if fish are used. I have to assume it's because they remain at the top of the tank. Can't think of any other reason they are such tough guys. Good luck. Once things start moving in the right way for you, things will change rapidity.

Faith_at_Large
01-22-2007, 07:39 PM
I forgot to ask something important. Do I let the full cycle go through before intervening? The Ammonia is supposed to spike, but then the Nitrites are supposed to reduce the Ammonia and then produce their own spike, and then get converted to Nitrate which I then remove with a water change (because that is the only way to remove Nitrates?). Do I have to wait for this full cycle to run through before I do anyting to mitigate the spikes in any of the elements? Also, if this is the case, once the Ammonia begins to spike, will the cycle continue on its own if I remove the Zebra Danios to a safer (more controlled) tank to wait out the cycle process? Let me know. I want a cycled tank, but I don't wish to seriously harm my fish.

Also, has anyone completed a cycle with Zebra Danios remaining in the tank - successfully? Or does this process always result in fish loss.

Sasquatch
01-22-2007, 08:42 PM
I've recently cycled a 10g with platies and here's what happened with mine. The ammonia spike happened after about two weeks and spiked at about 2ppm. The Nitrite spike was about 5 days later at 2.8 ppm, at this point ammonia was effectively 0. It took another two weeks for the nitrites to hit 0.

The products I used were the same as yours.

"Aquaplus" remove chlorine, chloramine and metals from the water. Follow the directions on the bottle, IIRC it's 1 cap per 10g of water treated.

"Cycle" is a starter for the bacteria that are responsible for the nitrogen cycle in the tank, again it's 1 cap per 10g, 2x that at the start and at fish introductions. It's not the best thing on the market, but it's better than nothing and can help reduce the stress on fish during cycling.

"Waste Control" is something used to break down leftovers and feces from the fish. Again, it's the 1 cap per 10g. This product can actually cause an ammonia spike because it's an end product of degrading the organic matter that's left on the bottom.

As for water changes, don't do any until you're certain it's cycled. Check your ammonia (NH4) and nitrites (NO2) at least every other day during the cycling process, it'll be much easier to track the progress of the tank.

I personally change about 20-25% of the water every week in my tank and things are fine. When you do water changes, set aside the water for at least two days before. This will let the chlorine evaporate. Just before the water change, add the Aquaplus into the bucket (or whatever you use to age the water) and then add it into the tank to replace the water you removed.

Hope this helps and good luck.

NWMountainTroll
03-28-2007, 04:44 AM
I'm gonna hijack this with a new question - I'm on my 35th day of having my tank stocked. Ammonia was originally at .25 and steadily rose after adding fish, I did water changes to keep the ammonia levels down. Then I got a spike to around 5ppm, and eventually on the 23rd day of having fish in the tank I spiked to 7ppm. Ammonia levels have steadily remained at 7ppm for two weeks now with no increase in nitrites. What gives?

Chrona
03-28-2007, 04:54 AM
I'm gonna hijack this with a new question - I'm on my 35th day of having my tank stocked. Ammonia was originally at .25 and steadily rose after adding fish, I did water changes to keep the ammonia levels down. Then I got a spike to around 5ppm, and eventually on the 23rd day of having fish in the tank I spiked to 7ppm. Ammonia levels have steadily remained at 7ppm for two weeks now with no increase in nitrites. What gives?

You could have just made a new thread :P

How big a tank? Current livestock? How often/much are you feeding and what kind of filtration? Have you lost any fish yet? At first glance, I'd say something's screwing with your test results, as 5-7 ppm of ammonia over the course of a few weeks is MANY times more than the EPA recorded lethal ammonia level. Are you adding amquel or any ammonia absorbing chemical by any chance?

NWMountainTroll
03-28-2007, 05:15 AM
You could have just made a new thread :P

How big a tank? Current livestock? How often/much are you feeding and what kind of filtration? Have you lost any fish yet? At first glance, I'd say something's screwing with your test results, as 5-7 ppm of ammonia over the course of a few weeks is MANY times more than the EPA recorded lethal ammonia level. Are you adding amquel or any ammonia absorbing chemical by any chance?

10 gallon with 5 tiger barbs, I started with 2 but I had to get more because of aggression. They are all small for now, this tank is actually temporary I'm stepping up to a thirty gallon in about 6 months once I move out. Anyways though, I am not adding anything to the tank just doing water changes. I was doing them daily, but I started doing them less frequently because I was afraid that it might be killing the bacteria.

I am running 2 filters right now, one is rated 80gph for a 10 gallon tank. The other is an older filter I had on my 20 gallon tank, I'm not sure of the flow but it seems to be the same size as most 20 gallon filters. I am also running an airstone, so circulation is great. I have kept almost complete records of ammonia, nitrite levels, temperature, water changes, fish additions, etc. since I started. Temp was originally kept around 78 degrees but recently I raised it to 79-80 degrees.

I feed once a day to once every other day and not very much, and I change the water about 15% at least every other day. I'm thinking about starting up the frequency again to get the ammonia levels down, I was hoping they would naturally come down after the spike but that has not been the case. Maybe there is too much ammonia?

Chrona
03-28-2007, 05:39 AM
I would take a sample of the water to the LFS and get a second opinion on the ammonia. I can pretty much guarentee that you don't actually have 6-7ppm ammonia in your tank since you have had no deaths/no illnesses over the course of a month, not to mention the bacteria population would have caught up by then. Even daily 15% water changes wouldn't do much to the ammonia levels, and 1 ppm of ammonia is enough to kill fish if maintained over the course of a week. At the very least, all your barbs would look sickly. Again, my thoughts point to faulty test kit or the use of a product like Amquel

What's your nitrite/nitrates at by the way? Have the nitrates been steadily increasing?

Also, was the old filter from the other tank transfered over wet?

NWMountainTroll
03-28-2007, 05:46 AM
No the filter has been in storage, man would that make things easier though!! I haven't been testing nitrates but I have been testing nitrites and they have remained at 0ppm.

The weird thing is that the water gets cloudy every once in a while, which I assume to be a bacteria bloom or whatever. And the fish were showing signs of stress a while back, about two weeks ago. But now, there are no signs of stress in any of them. They all have beautiful coloration on them and they like to shoal as well as dart around the tank. Ferrocious eaters when I feed them too.

The only products I use on the tank is a chlorine remover and Stress Coat, I used Stress Zyme for a while but I don't use it anymore.