I do not know what I did wrong.
Hey there, thank you for any help in advance.
About 3 weeks ago I started my 50g tank up and let it run for a week before I added any fish. At one week I added 6 little tetras and kept an eye on my ammo levels. I did water changes as necessary to keep the ammo levels down to at least 2ppm. At week two I added 6 more cichlids and kept up with the water changes. At that time I also started reading nitrites. About half way through week three I did a water change to take my ammo and nitrites down and in the process lost all my nitrites and have yet to get them back. This Thursday will be week four. My ammo keeps going up and only drops with water changes, but nothing else will show up. I did not clean anything, no filter change, just water changes.
I have used filter media from another tank, got readings for about a day, then they went away. My ammo today is past 8ppm and I have no idea what else to do. I have been doing 50% to 60% water changes just trying to keep it down but in a day or two its right back up.
That is what it is like to cycle with fish.
You have to keep in mind, it takes time to grow the needed bacteria that will consume the ammonia and nitrites.
You should be testing your ammonia and nitrites daily. When the any of those two levels gets above 0.25ppm, complete a large enough water change to bring it back down to 0.25ppm. For example, if your ammonia hits 1ppm then complete a 75% water change to bring it back down to 0.25ppm. You have to keep in mind that ammonia and/or nitrites start to become toxic to fish at 0.25ppm and prolonged exposure will have some long term effects on their health
There is a link below in my sig that explains how to cycle with fish is you would like more info
I forgot to mention that letting your tank run with just water in it will not help you to grow the bacteria that you need to consume your ammonia and nitrites. The bacteria needs a source of ammonia to start growing. That typically comes from adding pure ammonia (if you are cycling without fish) or from the fish wast (when you cycle with fish)
Last edited by Cliff; 10-29-2013 at 12:37 AM.
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
your ammonia levels are due to fish waste accumulating in the tank without anything removing it.
in a mature tank, beneficial bacteria converts ammonia into nitrite and eventually nitrate, which is much less harmful and can be allowed to build up to 20 parts per million. ammonia and nitrite should never exceed .25 parts per million.
the process of accumulating these bacteria is cycling, which you have not done. for now, your only choices are to return the fish and begin a fishless cycle or keep up the big daily water changes until the bacteria establishes itself, a process that may take from 4-8 weeks. instructions can be found in the beginner's section. before you further stock your tanks make sure to research fish compatibility too. some fish are aggressive, some are shy, some have special requirements regarding food and other things, some will outright outgrow your tank, eat their tankmates, have different water parameter preferences, etc.
what type of cichlids are those that you have?
Excellent advice from all above, I'd just like to add that you need to be adding a good water conditioner to help detoxify any ammonia/chloramines with each and every water change...how does your source water (tap, etc) test?
Ok so you have a way to go with the above members advice... one thing im confused on that I would like to get clarrified is you stated 6 tetra were added then 6 more CICHLIDS... did you add 6 more tetra by chance? Can you give us an accurate stocking of what is actually in your tank?