So now I'm cycling with fish...help!
I'm starting a new thread because I have a new situation and would like specific feedback on
Per my other threads....have a 40g tank that was at 0 ammo, 0 nitrites and 20-40 nitrAtes for 3 days (after 7 weeks of fishless cycling) and I added 22 fish (rasboras and cherry barbs) Friday.
Less than 24 hours after adding the fish (this morning) I was showing 0 ammonia, nitrites 0.5-1 and nitrAtes 20-40. (I've been doing my testing every morning).
Did a 30% water change this morning and added Prime. Testing this afternoon showed:
-- Free ammonia less than 0.05
-- Nitrites closer to 1 (so it rose after the water change)
-- Nitrates closer to 40
-- pH 7.6 (which is my norm)
I have NO nitrates or nitrites in my tap water; I do have ammonia in my tap but it tests zero for free ammonia.
I have an Aquaclear 70 HOB filter, and I'm using API Freshwater kit for testing with a MultiTest ammonia kit for free ammonia.
I just finished a 50% water change. I didn't add Prime because I found a Seachem reference that said not to add it more than once in a 24-hour period, and I added it with this morning's water change.
I read the "cycling with fish" sticky and it sounds like basically it's all about water changes for as long as necessary.
So the questions I have right now are:
--With ammonia in my tap water, should I do water changes more than once daily if I can only use Prime in one of those water changes? Or stick to one water change a day? What percentage?
--If I can't get these nitrites down in the next couple of days so I try to re-home the fish?
--I've done some reading and know what to watch for with ammo/nitrite poisoning...but if it gets to that point will it be too late to re-home them?
Unfortunately, I don't have a quarantine tank or even know anybody with a tank.
I'm so baffled and sooooo frustrated with this cycling process. Right now all I care about is not killing these cool little fish in my tank. Just doing water changes feels really inadequate, especially when I do a water change and the nitrites don't go down at all.
Am keeping my fingers crossed that this evening's water change will have an impact. I was so excited to get the fish....now I'm gonna be scared to turn on the light in the morning! Major bummer.
Unless you used seeded filter media, you likely did not complete a fishless cycle in just 7 days. That combined with add a very large number of fish all at once contributed to your current situation.
However, that info really doesn’t help you right now. The most important part of understanding how to successfully complete a cycle with fish, is to understand that you have to base the size of your water change on your test results. As you have read the cycling with fish thread here already, you already know your ammonia and nitrite levels should be at or below 0.5ppm or lower (0.25ppm is better). For example, if your nitrite or ammonia level reaches 1ppm, then you should complete at least a 75% water change to get it close to 0.25 ppm.
30% water changes when your nitrite levels are at 1ppm, will only lower it to 0.75ppm which is still a very harmful for your fish. Even a 50% water change will (at best) leave your 1ppm nitrite level at 0.5ppm for a short period of time. You should have completed at least a 75% water when your nitrite level hit 1ppm.
Lots of large water changes are very common when cycling with fish
Does this make sense ?
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
I'm not clear what you mean there's ammonia in your tap but it tests zero for free ammonia. Like Cliff said, your water change percentage should be determined by your test results. Do you have access to RO water, complete some smaller water changes through out the day with RO water instead of tap. I've never used Prime so I'm not sure about the whole use in only one water change rule.
Try re-home the fish now, or at least make arrangements. Where did you purchase the fish? With fish-in cycle it's going to take awhile before your tank is cycled. Be prepared for consistent daily water changes for at least another month or so.
I don't have experience with ammo/nitrite poisoning, can't say for sure what will come of the fish after your water levels are safe. I would think for sure a shorter life span.
Test frequently. I would think 5 smaller water changes throughout the day after getting the levels below .5 would be more beneficial than waiting and doing a single large water change a day. IMO.
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First off and most critically, a 30% water change is as close to worthless as one can get ... why? Well, nitrites as high as yours can be deadly to fish and in any case is causing harm (0.5 - 1.0 ppm is in the toxic range for this very dangerous waste.) For example: if you are in the high end of that range than all you did was take a deadly level and reduce it (0.3 * 1.0 = 0.3); that means you removed 30% of that waste level leaving a nitrite level of 0.7 ppm!!! Still deadly. Even if your range was at the low end - leading to 'just' 0.35 ppm nitrites that is still a very harmful level! - that tiny of a water change is useless BECAUSE the fish are still loading waste into the tank and the filter baxcteria are converting it directly into NITRITES!!! By the next day the nitrite levels will most likely be toxic! Cliff is correct but a 75% is, I feel, too small with that many fish prodcuing more waste 24/7! You may not really get ahead of the nitrite levels or at least, reduce them fast enough. The fish need help ASAP.
While you have cycled for 7 weeks (not 7 days) this happens. Sometimes over feeding ammonia causes the nitrite consuming bacteria to be cowarded out. No matter. Transfering the fish is not a good idea without a fully cycled filter because you will just have the fish living in ammonia waste (they produce.)
Rather do near 100% water changes every single day until the nitrite consuming bacteria grow (I've done this - a pain but protects the fish.)
By the way, be sure to have an airstone running to help the fish (their gills tend to lose some ability to function with nitrite burning.) Also, a teaspoon of salt per 10 gals of water can help the fish wdeal better with the nitrites.
Also, your nitrates are way too high - you have been slacking on water changes in general. Fish should never be added to an aquarium with nitrates between 20 - 40 ppm (esp. since it maybe in the high range.)
Before doing the water changes check the pH of the tank and tap - if they differ by more than 0.2, do as ijackrom says and do four or five smaller water changes over 12 hours. This will allow the fish to adjust to the pH change slowly. By the way, NEVER use RO water for large water changes - that stuff lacks critical minerals and the pH wil lcrash and the lack of minerals (over time) would harm fish. Adding RO water is for more advance aquarium keepers.
ALWAYS add prime to the tank before ANY water change if your tap water is treated with chlorates (well water generally does not need prime. This is something you need to find out.) That warning is nonsense!!! I assume it means don't add prime just to add it. Makes zero sense not to add it if you have chlorates in the water that you are putting into the tank. Others here know more and I hope add/correct me if I am wrong.)
Best of luck!
Last edited by Cermet; 12-22-2013 at 12:14 PM.
You just added too many fish at once for the amount of ammonia you had been treating your tank with. After the 7 weeks of cycling your tank, and the readings were 0 for ammonia and 'trites for those three days, did you stop adding ammonia daily before you added fish?
In any case, if you don't have ammonia or nitrites in your tap water, just keep completing water changes until your nitrites are at the rates Cliff suggested. Likely the presence of Prime is skewing your test results. I would complete large water changes until your 'trites were down to less than one, even if it meant completing 2 or 3 big changes in a row. If there are no 'trites in your tap water, then you can do no harm completing water changes. I would like to advise treating with dechlorinator only, rather than Prime, as the Prime may be skewing your readings, but you need it for detoxifying the water if you can't stay right on top of your water changes. I also personally would not add salt - IMO salt is an irritant which causes fish to develop protection against it, and your fish already have enough to deal with.
If you still show no ammonia readings, and had completed your cycle as you stated, it should not take long for your BB to catch up to your nitrites, I don't think you will have to wait weeks for your readings to come down, especially as you had no ammonia readings.
I also do not understand the reference to having ammonia in your water, but no free ammonia. Using the same test kit as you would for your tank, does your tap water show any ammonia readings (any or all of the three types/stages)?
Last edited by sheamurai; 12-22-2013 at 12:18 PM.
You've got your hands full with waterchanges...so on a python note. You said the water was spraying from the tap. I had the same problem with mine until I removed the rubber washer that is in the tap. When you remove the "screen filter" from the tap it will have a rubber washer...if this is left in you then have 2 rubber washers as the python attachment also has one in it and you won't be able to get a proper seal. I had a very wet kitchen until I figured this one out! Hope you can get your python working well to save your back! Good luck!
As I understand from past posts, Prime converts chlorates into 'bound' ammonia (or converts free ammonia into bound.) I am not someone who uses this so check other posts on this or someelse may add their thoughts. The bottomline is bound ammonia is harmless and it is free ammonia that is bad.
Nitrites should be held under 0.1 ppm NOT under 1.0 ppm. Nitrites are far more toxic than ammonia. So keep a close eye on that level and aim to get it at least under 0.2 ppm. If fish are producing waste the nitrites will climb above this level every day (due to the filter converting ammonia into nitrite) so large water changes will be required. Your filter will cycle (but far more slowly) with the large water changes. Unless you return the fish for a fishless cycle, you are stuck with the large water changes (at least 75% and a near 100% to start.)
Thanks, this has all been helpful. I do understand most of it.
I have well water, no chlorine, and my tap water reads 4ppm total ammonia with AP Freshwater, but zero free ammonia.
I'm still unclear on two points here...
-- Should I do a large change ONCE a day or more than once a day?
-- Should I add Prime at all? Or not because I don't have chlorine? My understanding from others here was that it is helpful with my tap ammonia. But if its skewing results....arggh.
You need to change your water until you get the proper test results...your first water change should be large, and test right away after completing. If you still get too high of a reading, do another.
Once your levels are tolerable, you test a couple times per day, and do a change as soon as you get high levels - at that point you do say a 50% change, and check your levels. If they are good, you do your next change at that same interval and amount. If its still high, you know you need to keep doing 75% at that interval. So, if it took 6 hours to up, you need to do them twice or three times per day...if it took 18hrs for the level to top out, you do once per day...
I have well water, and do not use any additives. I'm not sure why anyone would add chemicals to a tank if there's nothing wrong with the water. I keep Prime around, in case my tank experiences an ammonia spike due to some odd circumstance but do not add it as part of my tank maintenance.
I only add what I need to add to keep my tank growing - ferts for the plants, prazipro if adding new fish.
Waterchange at first sign of trouble, and Prime only if I detect harmful toxins for some odd reason.
I do not own any dechorinator or conditioner other than Prime.
Last edited by sheamurai; 12-22-2013 at 05:34 PM.
Thank you for the good clear directions!