View Full Version : How do i know when my tank will be cycled?

Puff Daddy
04-04-2009, 08:20 AM
Befor I start, just to tell you guys, I'm new and I screwed up with buying my fish and tank at the same time. I didn't know about cycling. I started with a temporary 1 gallon until I got my 10 gallon, and for about a week my fish stayed in there. I noticed my the puffer i had purchased seemed to look unhealthy. I researched and found that it was ammonia poisoning and learned about cycling. I went ahead and bought a 10 gallon tank, again temporary. I put the fish in there, having pretty much no choice but to cycle with them.

Currently my 10 gallon tank has been cycling for 5 days with a GSP, Pleco, and 3 Ghost Shrimp. I've been doing 2 gallon water changes every day with a few drops of stress coat, zyne coat, and a few bits of aquarium salt. I've been testing the water everyday and the levels have stayed consistent.

Ammonia - .25
Nitrate - 20
Nitrite - 0
Hardness - 150
Alkaline - 120
pH - >7.5

I wasn't sure if anything is working or if i'm doing this right. How do I know if the bacteria is building. Shortly before this I found my puffer dead, and I'm sure it was due to amonia poisoning in the 1 gallon tank prior to transferring to the 10 gallon. The pleco seems perfect and the shrimp fine as well.

I was wondering if i should just move the remaining pleco and ghost shrimp back to the 1 gallon temporarily while the 10 gallon cycle. Is this possible or because there was fish in there not possible.

04-04-2009, 09:08 AM
You'll know when your ammonia and nitrite are zero, and Nitrate is 10 ppm or less. Might as well leave what you have in the 10 since the ammonia they produce will help the tank cycle.


04-04-2009, 09:25 AM

Like Dave said, when your ammonia and nitrite are zero and you have some level of nitrate. Levels such as these indicate that your biological filter are doing their job of converting the ammonia (from the waste and other things) into nitrites and then into nitrates.

Then, once your nitrates get high, you can remove them with weekly water changes.

This site has a nice sticky on cycling here (http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aquariumforum/showthread.php?t=36492) and you can find other articles on the web, like
Here (http://www.firsttankguide.net/cycle.php)

You can gauge your progress by looking for key signals that things are going well. I think your first will be some cloudy water (a bacterial bloom) and the second (I might have the order reversed) will be a sharp rise in nitrites. This is a sign that things are moving. It can take several weeks for this to happen...just be patient.

I am probably in the minority here, but feel that if you get in a real jam where your ammonia reaches terribly high levels (like 6 or 8) that you are OK to use some ammonia locking chemicals to convert the ammonia to a less-toxic from (ammonium). This makes is safer for your fish but also continues to fuel your cycle. The biggest drawback is that it totally f's up your ammonia measurements and makes it seem as though you have an ungodly amount of ammonia in your tank, even though in reality it isn't as bad as it seems.

I also feel you should continue very frequent water changes. Some will argue this will slow the cycle, which it will. On the other hand, you have critters that you want to see live, so I feel it's worth it.

You might take some flak for cycling with fish, but don't let it bother you. Stuff happens, and you are dealing with it in a good way.

Hang in there and keep up the water changes !