View Full Version : Is my tank cycling?

03-19-2009, 03:59 PM
My girlfriend recently inherited a 30 gallon from a co-worker. Due to the circumstances in which the tank was moved we had to move quickly with the fish and only had a few hours to refill the tank and get the fish back in. I have watched the levels in the tank fairly religiously testing every few days for a couple weeks and now only test about once a week.

Once the tank seemed well established we added a plant which our Tinfoil Barbs took to chewing on. Seeing the demise of this plant, the girlfriend and I added additional plants as to give the Barbs some variety as well as adding a Pleco as a decent buildup of algae was apparent.

Now my problem is that a day after adding the new plants and Pleco Im getting ammonia levels as high as .50 as well as high nitrite levels. Now Im really new to all this so Im trying to figure out if this is actually a cycle or is it the result of disturbing gravel during planting and the addition of the Pleco?

The tank is currently stocked with 2 Kissing Gouramies, 2 Tinfoil Barbs, 1 Common Pleco, and an assortment of plants ranging from 8 inch tall leafy stems and a small, ground level mossey variety.

Please note that Im not even entirely sure of the defination of "cycling" so I may be in the wrong place for this.

03-19-2009, 04:11 PM
Welcome to the AC!
It sounds like your cycle wasn't ready for the bioload that a pleco carries.
Whenever you get a spike like that the best cure is a water change.Make sure you use dechlorinator.Test and do daily water changes until your perameters are down to a healthy Ammonia 0,nitrites 0,nitrates under 20.
Hopefully you are using a liquid test kit.You get more accurate results.

03-19-2009, 04:14 PM
Plecos, from what I understand, are actually very messy fish. They poop all the time, which is going to increase your ammonia a little bit.

My suggestion: What happened to the used filter media that was originally in the tank? Was it thrown out? Because keeping it would have auto-cycled your tank (as the bacteria would already have been present in the filter media).

If you threw it out, it's not the end of the world. It just means it'll be more work to keep things under control for a while.

Keep up with water changes as often as possible to keep the nitrite levels down as low as possible (1 ppm is generally considered toxic; .25 ppm is usually enough to keep the fish from feeling too great, but it's more easily managable than 0 at that stage). Nitrite is a bit more toxic than ammonia and severe nitrite poisoning can damage your fish for a very long time.

To speed things along, try to find some gravel or a bit of filter media from an established tank. If you get gravel, put it right under the filter intake.

03-19-2009, 04:19 PM
Thanks for the responses. We didnt clean the gravel at all after setting up ourselves so nearly all the medium from the previous setup is in there. Our filtration system utilizes the filter puches along with the reusable metal filters. The large metal filters usually end up with a good amount of gunk on them over a week or so. My first instinct is to clean it out but should it be left there? Does that help with bacteria growth?

I will test again and proceed with a water change. Thanks again for the help!

How ironic, we get a pleco to help the guamies with cleaning duties and he trashes the place.....

03-19-2009, 04:35 PM
You do realize that that pleco will only to live in your tank for a while.It gets too big for your tank and will be longer than your tank is deep.
A bristle nose pleco will clean your tank for you of algae and will not outgrow the tank.I would take it back and get bn.

03-19-2009, 05:04 PM
Yeah Im aware of him growing larger. At four inches I think he may get too large rather quickly as well. Aside from his utility we had to find out how the other fish would react to someone new in the tank as their previous owner told us that the two guamies and barbs are not very tolerant of new fish. As the common was rather cheap and a decent size we went with him. I didnt want to go with a rhino or golden spect and just give my other guys a $30 lunch.

On a related note we did not know the Barbs were going to grow as they were just given to us. If and when any of the fish look to be outgrowing the home we will be moving them to either a larger tank or giving them away.

To be honest I never thought I would find myself being concerned with the happiness of fish.

03-19-2009, 05:50 PM
Tinfoil barbs and a pleco. Hmm that's about what? 200 gal worth of fish. Once of the reasons that the previous owners may has seen aggression in their stocking is because when fish that get big don't have alot of room, they can get testy and territorial. Normally passive fish can get fairly belligerent if there isn't enough room, especially if they are a schooling fish(all barbs) and there are not enough of them. Plus gouramis can be just plain nasty too. That almost seems like a stock destined to fall apart to me, i'd suggest you get rid of the barbs, pleco, and maybe even gourami to a LFS and restock the tank as you see fit.


03-19-2009, 06:33 PM
Really? The two barbs are about 4 inches each, gauramies about the same. I theorized that the previous owner had all of them, short the pleco, for some time. Since we have taken care of them the Barbs appear to be growing. Them and the guaramies have gotten along splended the entire time we and the previous owner had them.

So considering the size of these guys now, and their history with each other (( very peaceful and very happy it would seem )) should I be scrapping this setup immediately and start fresh? Or is it ok to wait a bit, enjoy the view, and move them once they have outgrown their tank?

I have their well being in mind of course so any advice is great.

03-19-2009, 06:40 PM
To be honest I never thought I would find myself being concerned with the happiness of fish.

Haha, well part of it comes from the experimental side of fish keeping. By that I mean, seeing what they will do next when you add/subtract/change something. Part of it is understanding they're more interesting when they're happy. Part of it is some subtle parenting instinct that arises from having living things in one's care.

03-19-2009, 06:41 PM
You can find some amazing deals on Craig's list for a used tank.
You may find your tank too small soon anyhow!
We all do eventually!:hmm3grin2orange: