brand new to having fish, not sure how to cycle
On Tuesday night this week, I bought a 30 gallon fish tank that came with everything, filter, heater, plants, and fish. We took out almost all the water before transporting, and then filled it up with tap water and used a water conditioner that takes Chlorine out too. I have some small fish, and 2 algae eaters, plus a loach and two dwarf frogs. My tank is definitely not over crowded. The next day my Molly started acting weird, the symptoms she is displaying are from to much ammonia, and I've been told to do water changes. How do you do a cycle and water changes with fish? Is it okay to add water conditioner with fish in the tank? I have a water tester coming next week. I'm just confused. I have a large aqueon filter. Thanks!
The filter bacteria may have died; just test the tank water with an ammonia test kit . Also, a nitrite kit might be needed (sometimes that shows up on a stressed filter but must be used for a new filter.) Than a nitrate kit is essential to determine when and how much water to change at least once a week. A pH kit is also a good one (but not required.) These kits are sold on line and at all major pet shops.
Until then, change at least 75% of the water right away (when unsure of a tank problem, large water changes are your best bet to help the fish) and at least 50% every other day until you get the kit(s). Once you know the ammonia/nitrite levels, adjust the water changes to keep the ammonia under 0.5 ppm and the nitrites under 0.2 ppm. Nitartes only are an issue in a cycled tank.
The tank filter should cycle using the fish waste even as you do the water changes. The frogs need cleaner water than most fish as do the bottom feeders and especially loachs.
Be sure you have enough water conditioner.
Best of luck.
Knowledge is fun(damental)
A 75 gal with eight Discus, fake plants, and a lot of wood also with sand substrate. Clean up crew is down to just two Sterba's Corys. Filters: continuous new water flow; canister w/UV, in-tank algae scrubber!! Finally, junked the nitrate removal unit from hell.
For Fishless cycling:http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aqua...ead.php?t=5640
Cermet is correct. I know the other thread, and will just add a bit in answer to your direct questions here.
Water changes will slow the cycling to some degree, obviously, because they are removing ammonia and nitrite. But this is far better than not doing them and killing the fish, which will occur from ammonia and nitrite poisoning. Using one of the conditioners i believe I mentioned in the other thread that detoxify ammonia and nitrite helps, and you can manage with alternate day water changes becaused these products work for 36-48 hours.
Adding some live plants also helps a lot, as plants use ammonia/ammonium. Easiest is floating plants. I strongly recommend this in new tanks.
And yes, you can add the water conditioner directly to the tank before you refill it.
Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
Thank you so much both of you! How long does it take to regrow bacteria in the filter?
There is no set amount of time - you will know there is enough bacteria grown when you test your water parameters and they read as follows: 0ppm for ammonia, 0 ppm for nitrItes & 20ppm or less for nitrAtes - these readings show a completely cycled tank. Liquid test kits (as already mentioned) are the best to do this (we usually recommend the API freshwater) - not test strips which are not reliable or accurate.
From that point on, you will change your water weekly (approx 50%) and stay on top of the nitrates to make sure they dont' go above 20ppm (which will necessitate another water change to get them down).
Any new fish added will also require you to check your ammonia to make sure enough bacteria is growing to accommodate the extra ammonia from the new fish.
I should add that cycling with fish in the tank can take a while because you need to keep your ammonia level low so bacteria will grow slower.
46 gal fw tank with black skirt tetras, neon tetras, spotted corys, cherry barbs, otoclinus, snails & 4 amano shrimp - plastic & live plants
5 gal QT
Remember: Our job is to take care of the water our fish live in