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Results 1 to 10 of 14
  1. #1

    Default New tank, with fish, but no Ammonia

    0 Not allowed!
    Hi All
    I'm new to this forum, and new to keeping fish. I have got an AquaOne AR850 tank (about 40 gallons/180 litres), which I have had planted up and settling for about 3 weeks and all was fine. Everything was testing zero, pH 7.8 and steady, and plants doing fine. I then introduced 8 Zebra Danios, and waited for the Ammonia to start rising, but in 2 weeks, it has only gone up to 0.25. But also in those 2 weeks, I am now getting brown algae on all my rocks and broad leaf plants, as well as the inside of the glass. Most of the plants are putting out new growth which looks healthy, but the leaves with the algae are dying off - some going black. The Danios all seem fine. I don't think I am overfeeding them - I give them a small pinch of flake food 3 times a day, which is all consumed in a feeding frenzy at the surface within a minute or so - none of it ever makes it to the bottom of the tank. The lights (standard setup for the 850) are on 12 hours per day for the plants - maybe that is too long?
    I have read that some tanks suffer with brown algae during startup and that it may settle of its own accord once the cycle gets established, but I am concerned that my Ammonia just isn't rising at all, so there is nothing to kick start the creation of Nitrites and Nitrates (both still testing zero). Should I be thinking of adding a few more fish, or just sit tight until the Ammonia rises? And in the meantime, what should I do about the algae and plants?
    Thanks in advance for any advice

  2. #2


    0 Not allowed!
    Sometimes with a smaller stocking level in relation to the size of the tank, you may not get very high readings of ammonia and/or nitrites. What type of test kit are you using ?

    The brown algae you are talking about sounds a lot like diatoms to me. Nothing to be worried about, just clean it off.
    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 [URL=""]

  3. #3


    0 Not allowed!
    Cheers Cliff - the test kit I am using is the API Freshwater Master Test Kit. Pretty much everywhere I researched on the net, that seemed to be the de facto standard that everyone recommends. Rather annoying that it costs $58 here in Aus, but only about $28 in the US - considering our dollars are pretty much on parity - but that's a discussion for a completely different forum :D

  4. #4


    0 Not allowed!
    Yes, as Cliff said, 8 zebra danios is a very light load for a 40 gal tank, particularly if the fish are small/young, so not much ammonia is being produced.

    You had the tank up & running for 3 weeks without fish, THEN you introduced the Danios.
    But the tank was pretty much without any ammonia source during that 3 week time period, so BB was not started developing.
    Now you're showing a .25 ammonia reading, but nothing for nitrites or nitrates.
    Seems to me your tank is just now beginning the cycle, which could take several more weeks for a sufficient bacterial colony to develop.
    Keep testing and do wcs as need dictates, to keep that ammonia level down, as well as the later developing nitrites.
    It would help to get some seeded filter media from a reliable source to help get things moving along, &/or you might try some good bottled BB product, such as Seachem Stability.
    Best of luck to you.

  5. #5


    0 Not allowed!
    Thanks Paul. So if I have only a light load - is it TOO light? Should I think about introducing more fish, or is that likely to start changing the water conditions too quickly and stressing the fish? I was thinking of getting a few Oto Cats - partly to help with the algae, and partly to add some 'bottom' interest - the Danios favour the middle depth mostly and don't go to the bottom much. However, I have read that the Oto Cats are susceptible to changing water conditions - so perhaps they are not an ideal addition at this point in time...


  6. #6


    0 Not allowed!
    No Grum, any small number of fish in relation to tank size is never too light of a bio-load. In fact, it's good that you're introducing just a few fish at a time - but your tank can actually accommodate quite a few more, before you become even close to being 'overcrowded'.

    So adding some Otos would be just fine, but not just yet - wait several more weeks, do your wcs, and keep testing for ammonia & nitrites. When your bio-filtration tests out '0' for both ammonia & nitrites, but some nitrates are present, then add more fish.

  7. #7


    0 Not allowed!
    That's good to hear Paul. Thanks for the advice.


  8. #8


    0 Not allowed!
    I cycled my tank with fish before I found this forum. I can tell you that it took my tank about 6.5 to 7 weeks to cycle. You will def have to be patient. Although danios are hardy fish, i recommend you stick with what you have. keep both ammo and nitrites under .25 and you will be fine. While you are waiting for the cycle to finish, use this site as a guide to help stock your tank.

  9. #9


    0 Not allowed!
    Thanks Rod. OK, so I think I was maybe taking the advice I'd read too literally... like "start testing for Ammonia after day 3". I was expecting the cycle to follow a rough timeline, when in fact it looks like it follows a series of events, but the timing between those events can vary quite considerably. Oh well - patience is a virtue.
    Oh and thanks for the advice to stick with the fish I have - I think I'll do that. Oto Cats are quite expensive (compared to Danios and Neon Tetras, anyway), so I don't want to spend a fortune on a bunch of them only to have them expire after a few days.
    I see you're in Afghanistan - not really a place I'd imagine is overrun with aquarium shops (though my preconceptions of life in Afghanistan are based purely on news footage I see on TV - so probably somewhat biased towards the areas caught up in conflict). Do you have trouble getting supplies there, or is there a side to Afghanistan that we don't see?


  10. #10


    0 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by Grum View Post
    Cheers Cliff - the test kit I am using is the API Freshwater Master Test Kit. Pretty much everywhere I researched on the net, that seemed to be the de facto standard that everyone recommends. Rather annoying that it costs $58 here in Aus, but only about $28 in the US - considering our dollars are pretty much on parity - but that's a discussion for a completely different forum :D
    Hey Grum,

    I agree prices are annoyingly high here in aus, I buy most of my stuff online, even with shipping to Perth it works out as a fair bit cheaper :)
    If you're interested:
    plus 10 bucks shipping is still cheaper than $58, and it might be cheaper shipping to Sydney.

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