Freshwater Cycling Questions
Freshwater Tank Info:
48” L x 13” W x 29” H
Approximately 62 gallons of water after gravel and decorations
2 – 3” of natural river pebbles/rock gravel substrate
African Mopani driftwood, neutral colored decorations to provide shelter and all artificial plants - heavily at sides, consistently through throughout, some floating plants, with open swimming space in upper and middle tank regions.
Filled this tank 3/16/12. Began Penguin 400 Power Bio-Wheel Filter and Seio P350 - Super flow pump, flow rate ~ 400 GPH, both constantly for 30 days.
Added water from established “dirty” tank every 3 days. Ran “dirty” bio-wheel from established tank in new tank. Never added ammonia.
On 4/16/12 added 7” Pleco and 1.5” mature Black Skirt Tetra from established tank. On 4/25, twenty juvenile fish added. On 5/2, twelve juvenile fish added.
Changed approximately 10% of the tank water on 4/26 and on 5/5. I will continue to perform ~ 10% water changes every 5-6 days.
Penguin 400 Power Bio-Wheel Filter, obviously running constantly
Hydor Theo Heater @ 150 watts, running constantly for now
Two air pumps - one duel outlet, one single outlet, with three air stones (placed at gravel level or below), running constantly
One Seio P350 - Super flow pump, flow rate ~ 400 GPH, running ~ 10 hours per day
Juvenile fish are:
7 ~ Danio roseus, Purple Passion Danio
6 ~ Gymnocorymbus ternetzi, Black Skirt Tetra
8 ~ Tanichthys albonubes, White Cloud Mountain Minnow
11 ~ Aphyocharax rathbuni, Green Fire Tetra
Mature fish are:
1 ~ Pleco…?common? @ approx. 7"
1 ~ Gymnocorymbus ternetzi, Black Skirt Tetra
As of 5/6/12 - Tank Reading are (and these have been stable since 4/25/12 reading):
PH = 8.0
Ammonia = 0.5
Nitrite = 0
Nitrate = 2
GH = 2
KH = 5
Temp = 75 degrees Fahrenheit (consistently)
My Observations and Questions:
So, since I didn’t add ammonia, I found that now my tank is cycling, duh. I am planning on adding API Stress Zyme to help combat ammonia and then let nature run its course. Is this correct? Any thing I am overlooking? Do I have enough biological filtration? Should I increase GH or test O2 levels? I am just looking to minimize fish stress; I have had no deaths of the new arrivals and would like to keep it that way. I am very much a beginner looking for advise, thank you.
Welcome to the forum
Just a few suggestions to consider about a few of things you have posted:
Adding water from a cycled tank will not help your cycle. If you could get some already cycled filter media from a established tank and added it to your filter it would help speed up the cycling process.
Bottom dwelling fish are more sensitive to toxins in the water (ammonia and nitrite) than most fish. I would suggest taking he pleco back to the store. If it is a common pleco it will outgrow your tank anyways
10% daily water changes may or may not be enough to keep your fish safe. You need to complete waterchanges based on the amount of ammonia and/or nitrites in your water. As you to not want either of those two levels to go above 0.5ppm, you sometimes have to change more water to accomplish that. For example, if your ammonia is at 1ppm, you would need to do at least a 50% waterchange to lower the level to 0.5ppm. A 75% waterchange lowering the ammonia to 0.25ppm would be best. There is a link to the cycling with fish process below in my sig. It explains the process better than I can.
Last edited by Cliff; 05-06-2012 at 09:24 PM.
If you take your time to do the research FIRST, you can successfully set-up and keep ANY type of aquarium with ease.
"Not using a quarantine tank is like playing Russian roulette. Nobody wins the game, some people just get to play longer than others." - Anthony Calfo
Fishless Cycle Cycling with Fish Marine Aquarium Info
Thank you Cliff.
Thank you for the reply. I do realize now I made an error, by only adding cycled tank water and not ammonia. I did not cycle the tank prior to adding the fish. So now I am cycling with fish, because I did not properly follow directions.
The Pleco is 10 + years old, I inherited him. I have no idea his species, but he is full grown for sure. I am a little worried that GH in this new tank is too low for his liking though.
I am guess I am looking for tips to avoid as much cycle stress as possible for the fish during this process as a result of my inexperience. Thanks again!
More frequent water changes seems best solution...
according to research and popular opinion.
Water changes are the best thing you can do. And like Cliff said, if you have some used filter media or know someone who could give you some, that would help a lot.
3 Gallon Planted Betta Tank
4 gallon planted Aqueon Evolve Dwarf Puffer Tank
Agree with everyone else - the best thing you can do is keep your ammonia & nitrites at .25 via water changes - above that is harmful to your fish.
46 gal fw tank with black skirt tetras, neon tetras, spotted corys, green corys, 1 guppy, cherry barbs, otoclinus, snails & 4 amano shrimp - plastic & live plants
5 gal QT with green corys & 2 guppies
Cliff, thanks again your "Cycling with Fish" link was very helpful. It helped me to not use PH adjusters and i learned that my well water does not need as much de-chlorination as i thought, maybe not any at all...
Today's readings were the same as the previous post except my Ammonia is 1.0. I did an approx 25% water change today - it's hard for me to do any more than that (i don't have enough buckets/containers) as i let the water sit for 24 hours before doing the water change because i have well water with a PH of 8.0. Do i need to let the tap water sit for 24 hrs, or is this ridiculous and unnecessary?
I have increased the frequency and volume of my water changes. I am trying to do 25% every 3 days or more and may increase that if Ammonia ever is above 1.0.
I have also increased the frequency of my carbon changes, my filter has these two carbon "cages", that i've been changing every 10 days and i may increase that to every 5-7 days in an effort to reduce the organic matter as much as possible.
Fish still seem to be doing well, so I will keep it up the frequent water changes, carbon changes and testing. This is a lot of work, I can't wait until cycling is over! Next time i will have a fishless tank for 6 + weeks that i add ammonia to so I don't have to do this again, whew. Fishless cycling sounds easy compared to this.
Is it strange that my Nitrite level has been zero at each testing for 3 weeks? You know that whole ammonia -> nitrite -> nitrate cycle? I did add salt to the aquarium at start up and continue to add it (less than 1 tablespoon per gallon) only at water changes. I was adding PH Decrease at the beginning but i have stopped that.
If you can take the fish back - do it! Water changes of 25% after three days will mean that most or all the fish will not survive the cycling. A 1 ppm ammonia level is bad for fish - you need to add a chemical to 'fix' the ammonia.
The really bad news is that when nitrites start appearing (and they will) and exceed 0.5 ppm the fish will start to have their gills chemically burned. How you will stop the nitrites climbing to deadly levels with such small water changes is beyond me - maybe you'll get lucky but it looks bad.
Your only course is very large water changes - get a water transfer system that hooks up to the sink - these drain and add water very easily. If you can't I don't see the fish making it unless you up the WC a great deal and get those toxin levels down a lot more.
By the way 'carbon' (really charcoal) will do zero for the fish and aquarium - don't waste your money on it. 'Carbon" remove some types of organic chemicals but not organic solids or fish waste. never will touch ammonia or nitrates or nitrites, either.
Salt is useless for cycling - can help fish with burned gills but hopefully, you haven't reached that point. Don't lower the pH (very high acidic pH can slow/stop bacteria growth.)
By the way - an ammonia level of 1 ppm is only used for Fishless cycling. YOU need to get the ammonia level down ASAP. Aim for 0.25 ppm - in other words, a 75% WC!
Best of luck
Last edited by Cermet; 05-12-2012 at 11:13 PM.
As for well water, if it is soft, sitting allows the pH to stablize. If the well water is hard, the pH will be rock steady. Don't worry about the pH - its the fish and the ammonia and soon, the nitrites that are/will be the issue. For the future, yes, test the water hardness but for now, water changes and watch those far too high ammonia levels.
Well water should be able to be added immediately. My son is on a well and has never used any products at all. However, some wells can have a high metal content and for that reason, I would still use a dechlorinator simply to combat the metals. Prime is an excellent water condition and is concentrated so it takes very little.
The days of the bucket barrage is over, thank god. This you just gotta have.
Water sitting in buckets is also not up to the correct temp for the fish and this also allows large water changes.
If your ammonia is at 1, you really need to do a large water change. If you remove 50% of the water, the ammonia level will still be at .50.......still too much in my opinion and still way too much for any bottom feeders.
Cliff gave your some good advice as he always does. Frankly, IMO, I would get that water changed and add Seachem Stability to the tank. It doesn't cycle for you but makes life easier for those fish and helps convert those toxins.
Last edited by Lady Hobbs; 05-12-2012 at 11:27 PM.