Questions - Changing Substrate, Cycle
On March 8th i set up my 30G aquarium and started cycling with fish food. (I've looked everywhere for ammonia, no where sells it)
After a week of adding fish food i had an ammonia spike, then a nitrite spike followed, with nitrates.
I did a water change because the numbers were too high to read and i also forgot to add filter media from my 6 year old 20G so i added sponge to the 30G's filter. (I should've hung the new filter on the 20G, but i never thought of it). So i went and did an impulsive buy and got a pleco when i was finally thinking i was almost done of my cycle, having ammonia at 0 and nitrite 0.2 and nitrates at 25. (He's been very healthy since i've got him, his colors got darker because in the pet store he looked really stressed).
Ever since i've gotten the pleco i've been doing weekly gravel vacuuming because he's a pooping machine, and the ammonia is still at 0, nitrite is faint purple really close to clear, and nitrates 10 after every water change.
So, my problem is the nitrites WILL NOT MOVE at all. So what do i do from here?!
Tomorrow i'm picking up driftwood for the guy, and on Friday i'm picking up 4 new fast growing plants to go along with my anubias. As well, on Friday i wanted to switch the substrate to sand for the plants and because i can't stand the gravel and the size of it. How would i go about this?
Put the plants and pleco in a bucket, vacuum the gravel first (so poop isn't flying everywhere. also he has 1 feeding place so there is no leftover food after i vacuum) then take it out, put it all back in bags of pantyhose, wash the pool filter sand really damn good, put it in the tank, put the bags of gravel back in the tank for the bacteria then fill the water back up?
Does that sound good?
what 'pleco' did you get?
you still have a good ways to go for the cycle. nitrites are harmful and especially since water quality is poorest a the bottom of the tank where your 'pleco' is at...
the substrate swap is easy since you have 1 fish.
put him in bucket with water.
empty your tank
remove current substrate
add in **clean/washed/rinsed** sand
fill back up
put fish back in.
gravel does hold your BB, your filter media does. so just toss the gravel.
I've got a common pleco. Don't worry though, i have very strong plans on upgrading to 100g within the next few months before he gets too big. (Still wishing i go BN's, but again, impulsive buy - feeling sorry for him being stressed )
The tank is crystal clear and i find it so funny for a cycling tank, and the gravel isn't dirty too. A lot of people say you can get a mini cycle from removing all the gravel because it holds some BB. So i'm glad to hear it won't be a problem. Thanks!
i hope that plan works out for you.
cycling doesn't mean cloudy vs clear tank. it means having proper BB to eat up the ammonia and nitrites.
in the meantime, to complete the cycle-test every day and if your nitrites get over .25ppm, do a 50% water change. you're halfway through the cycle, so you'll get there soon enough.
I had my 45gallon tank up and running for a year when i swapped out the substrate and i didn't experience a mini cycle.
as long as you have proper filtration and do proper filter maintenance, then you shouldn't have any issues with changing the substrate.
I really hope the nitrite does some kind of move, it's so impatient when it hasn't moved in a long time. Excited to get this planted tank goin'.