Water Changes while adding bacteria?
Hello all, quick question for you guys. So I'm about a month and a half into my first tank and I rushed it horribly. I never let the tank cycle. I recently had an aquarium buddy come over and give me advice/help me out. I am now adding bacteria from a kit to try and cheat the cycle.
I added my first dosage on Saturday and my ammonia is just starting to go down (my main tank is at 1-2ppm down from the "danger/lethal" level). I'm supposed to be adding more today. My question is whether I should be doing a water change or not. I'm not sure if it would help decrease the ammonia or if it would disrupt the bacteria that are settling in. Any quick advice for me?
Thanks (I'm learning, I promise).
You're not the first among us to rush things. To help out, however, please provide the following information:
size of your tank, your filtration, how many and what kind of fish you have, what are you using to test your water - strips or API liquid master test kit.
In the meantime, most here believe that if you are cycling with fish, the best option is water change, water change , water change. forget the bacteria.
and 1 - 2 ppm ammonia is still very dangerous to fish. Your goal while you're cycling is to keep ammonia and nitrites at .25 and nitrates below 20ppm. the most important thing is to check your perimeters every morning before feeding and before changing the water. any time ANY Ammonia or nitrites head toward .50, do an immediate water change of at least 50%. This means you may be making daily water changes for a while. Additionally, if you are using strips, ditch them and get the API liquid test kit. the strips are highly inaccurate.
Feed very lightly during this cycle period - which may take you another month or more.
Again - if you can answer the questions we can zero in on what else might be going on to prevent the tank from cycling.
Last edited by fishmommie; 05-13-2013 at 03:39 PM.
If you don't have any fish in the aquarium, don't do a water change until ammonia hits about 4ppm.
If you have fish, you have to keep the ammonia and nitrites below 0.5ppm through water changes, which means testing ammonia and nitrites everyday.
I haven't found any bacteria in a bottle that works well. I've read other posters who swear by Dr. Tim's One & Only Live Nitrifying Bacteria to work quite well during the fishless cycle.
Sorry! I should have posted specs!
It's a 10 gallon tank with a Whisper PF10 filter. It's a planted tank with an airstone. Here's a photo from yesterday. It is currently stocked with 6 guppies (two male, four females), a small albino plecostimus, and two ghost shrimp. So it's about at full capacity, so I don't think it's going to cycle on its own without adding bacteria (at least without killing all my fish).
I'm using water strips to test. Tetra Easystrips, a 6-in-1 that tests for chlorine, nitrite, nitrate, alkalinity, hardness, and pH. And a separate one for ammonia. I had also been adding Prime ammonia fixer, but I've stopped doing that since I put in bacteria.
I've heard of Dr. Tim's bacteria (my friend swears by it), but I bought a cheaper kit from Petco so I could start immediately. If this doesn't work, I'll be buying from them. The kit I'm using is "Microbe-Lift" and contains a bottle of "Special Blend" bacteria and "Nite-out II, nitrifying bacteria".
Do you guys think that the water change will keep the bacteria from colonizing at all? I know I'm supposed to keep the ammonia as low as possible, but the fish that I have in the tank are extremely hardy.
Again - very few here rely on added bacteria. Please reread my original post. Everything you need to know is in there.
And BTW - the pleco is, unfortunately, a very poor choice for a 10 gallon tank. they are huge waste producers and a 10 gallon is too small for that type of fish. also - toxins settle at the bottom of the tank so the pleco is in the most danger of being poisoned by your extremely high ammonia readings. If you could return him to the fish store that would be the best for the fish.
sorry I'm not telling you what you want to hear but again, reread my original post. Your tank WILL cycle doing water changes but it's going to take a while. It would also be good for you to read the free e-book to grasp a better understanding of the nitrogen cycle. additionally, there is a stickie in the beginner's section that more fully explains how to cycle a tank with fish.
Also - make sure to add enough Prime to treat the entire 10 gallons every time you make a water change and I'd add another filter - the same size as the one you have.
Last edited by fishmommie; 05-13-2013 at 04:20 PM.
Please read and understand fully this sticky, cycling with fish: http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aqua...ad.php?t=36492
Originally Posted by Krispyz
It is generally advised to filter 2x your tank size, so you will need at least 20 gallons of filtration for a 10 gallon tank..I use a 30 gallon filter on my 10 gallon tank, and it works wonderfully...
Please, DITCH the test strips and get you an API Master Liquid Test kit, it is much more accurate, and will last you many, many water tests...
CONTINUE to use the Prime water treatment, every water change, it does many beneficial things besides de-chlorinating your water...
In my opinion, you do not need to be adding bacteria, as long as you leave your filter media alone, do no cleaning of your media (see "Cycling With Fish" sticky)
Water changes DO NOT remove bacteria, the bacteria live in your filter media and other surfaces of your tank
10 Gallon: 8 Platys, 2 Guppies, Snails, some RCS, and plants
40 Gallon Breeder: 10 Rosy Tetras, 10 Red & Blue Colombian Tetras, 10 Marbled hatchets, 7 Pristella Tetras, 6 Sterbai Corys, 1 Ancistrus "Rio Tocantins", 2 Re-homed Platys, plants and DW
"Don't cry because it is over; smile because it happened" --- Theodor Seuss Geisel
Agree with fishmommie on the choice of a pleco for that sized tank.
Originally Posted by Krispyz
Changing water is the FIRST thing you should be doing since your tank is uncycled & has fish in it - tanks cycle (go through the nitrogen cycle) only with a source of ammonia.
Ammonia can come from fish (which you have), or ammonia added by you artificially (like real ammonia). The bacteria you are trying to grow doesn't happen in the water (hence no problem with changing the water) - it happens in the filter (in the media).
It doesn't make ANY difference how hardy your fish are supposed to be - too much ammonia in the water will stress them and either cause illness or kill them - that's why everyone is recommending keeping the ammonia level down very low - it's needed to grow bacteria but too much will harm fish.
Also, I'd ditch the test strips and invest in a liquid test kit - they are MUCH more accurate and provide many more tests than the strips (which will cost you more in the long run).
If you are going to keep the 10gal, I would 1)return the pleco (it will quickly outgrow your tank) and 2) get another filter - filters are usually good for half the # of gallons they are rated for so yours is good for 5gal.
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
Yes, return the pleco as a 10 gallon tank just isn't big enough for it. It's ok to ad a bacterial booster, but remember this. The bacteria mostly live in your filter, so doing water changes to keep ammonia and nitrites below .25 ppm will not hurt the growth of the bacterial colony and it will save your other fish. With doing a fish in cycle, it's necessary to do water changes to keep ammonia and nitrites in check. There no other way around it.
I strongly suggest that you purchase and use the API liquid test kits for ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. They are of greater accuracy and dependability. Cycle your tank before adding any more fish and at some point in the future, you will need to add another filter.
When in doubt, do a water change.
"This ain't rocket science!"
Thank you for all of the advice! I saw a Master liquid testing kit at Petco when I was there the other day, I'll stop by this afternoon and pick that up! Hopefully (crossing fingers) my problem isn't as bad as I think it is!
I was told that the Albino plecostimus (it's called a bristlenose, from what I remember) is much smaller than the common pleco and would only get to be 2" or so long. I thought that would be okay for 10 gallon tank. Also my guppies are not store-bought, they're from a large guppy tank from a parasitology lab (a bit of a story) and they're much smaller than store-bought guppies. The adult males are only about an inch long and the females get to be an inch and half long or so. So in terms of bioload, I was under the impression that my tank was acceptable (not horribly overstocked).
I had not thought of the problems with the pleco being a bottom feeder and being more affected by the ammonia. I will definitely keep that in mind if we decide to keep him or not.
I don't understand the bit about filters. Are you guys saying that every filter is half as good as the rating? So a filter rated to 10 gallons is actually a 5 gallon? I got the PF10 with my Tetra kit that came with a 10 gallon tank... It doesn't make any sense to me how they can get away with selling a filter that's going to kill your fish... Is this just a known problem in the industry?
Anyway, I will do a water change today, I'm going to continue adding bacteria. I have a friend with a 30 gallon that only has a couple of fish in it. If I need to get rid of the pleco, I'm certain I could convince her to take it.
When I get a chance, I will read those stickys. Of course, I read about cycling before I even got the aquarium, but there's so much conflicting information out there. I'm just trying to get past this hurdle and take my time on any future tanks! Thanks again guys.