First mistake, I THINK, was to listen to an employee at our local Petsmart! The guy has seemed like he knew what he was talking about AND since I'm NEW at this, I followed what he said. Actually, him and a co-worker of his told me to do the fish-in cycling with two Rosy Red Minnows.
Anyway, here goes (little long, but not bad):
Took some water to the store this past Sunday for testing. He told me that it was time to vac the gravel, which in turn would take water out (water change). He also told me that I didn't need the two minnows anymore that my tank was cycled. He said this b/c I told him our water was "crystal clear".
Yesterday I took everything, except one live plant out (including the minnows), and vacuumed the gravel w/the hand-held suction thing we bought. It was my first time doing this, so don't know if I done it completely right, but did see junk going into the bucket with the water. Ended up taking out around two gallons of water. Along w/1 swim-thru décor, put one artificial plant back in (had taken out 3) and put another live plant in. Also have a Moss Ball and a Betta Grass Pad in it. Anyway, already had 2 gallons of room-temperature tap water, so put that in, along with 4 drops of Prime (2 drops per gallon). The water was cloudy for a little while and then completely cleared up to "crystal clear" again.
I tested the water this AM at home w/API Strips......WON'T get these again! Ammonia was high as well as Nitrate! Too high! Also, took a sample of water to Petsmart and a girl checked it this time. She told me that I needed a water change. My Ammonia and Nitrate and Nitrite (think that's what she said) was too high. Told her that I done a gravel vac yesterday along with replacing 2 gallons of water and adding 4 drops of Prime. She told me to add 4 more drops of Prime to help the water. Also, gave the two minnows back to the store. When I got home, I added 4 more drops of Prime.
Did we take the minnows out to soon? Was there bacteria on the artificial plants, that I didn't put back in? Right now, it looks like we needed to keep the minnows in there longer. If the water numbers don't get better, what do we do? Get two more minnows? Was planning on getting our Betta this Friday, but not with water like this!
Now that you don't have any fish in the tank, why don't you do a fishless cycle with ammonia? Much faster and safer than a fish-in cycle. You use the Ace Hardware brand Janitorial Strength Ammonia.
Read the fishless cycling sticky - http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aqua...ead.php?t=5640.
Forget the petsmart people - forum members will help you cycle your tank.
75 gal - Smudge Spot Cories, Silvertip & Pristella Tetras, Scissortail & Red Tail Rasboras, Pearl Gourami, Black Kuhli Loaches, Wild Caught BNP, Mystery Snail
Dual 29 gals - Diamond Tetras. Harlequin Rasboras, Bloodfin Tetras, Peacock Gudgeon
10 Gal - Mr. Betta's Fishy Paradise
"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass....it's about learning to dance in the rain"
Fish in tank cycling in very risky, especially for new fish keepers. Unfortunately it seems the vast majority of pet stores give the advice of doing fish in cycling.
The two major problems with fish in cycling are:
1- Its extremely stressful for the fish involved and requires constant monitoring and water changes to keep Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate levels that won't cause severe damage to the fish.
2- It is quite difficult to control as you can't regulate the substances involved in the cycling process e.g the fish waste
Most hobbyists would recommend fish out cycling. In it's simplest terms this is where you add ammonia to the water to create the necessary bacteria levels to cope when the tank eventually has fish in it.
The obvious advantages to fish out are:
1- No damage to fish what so ever
2- You can regulate the cycling process fairly easily
3- Much less labour intensive as you don't have to perform constant water changes
The advice I would give to you would be:
1- Start again since there are no longer fish in the tank.
2- Purchase a drip test kit to measure water chemistry. This is more expensive than the test strips but is more accurate and they do last longer
3-There is plenty of literature on fish out cycling, including on this forum. Try to research it as much as possible as it will only make the process easier for you.
4- Doing a fish out cycle can be quite daunting to new fish keepers and most have not heard of the process. Don't be afraid to ask questions. There are plenty of people on this forum who are very knowledgeable about the process and will help you through every step.
I hope this helps you.
Last edited by Aiden123; 02-11-2014 at 10:58 PM.
- 20 gallon: Shrimp tank: Taiwan Bee Shrimp, F Hybrid Bee Shrimps, CRS & CBS
Here's the Scoop.
The fish were producing waste, which supplied the Ammonia part of the cycle.
Once you have Ammonia, (either from fish, rotting shrimp, fish food rotting, or pure ammonia - your seed material) the Beneficial Bacteria that converts Ammonia to Nitrite start to establish a colony and begin making the Nitrites portion.
Next up since you've made a buffet of Nitrites, the next part of your Beneficial Bacteria will start to grow their colony. This bacteria converts from Nitrite to Nitrates.
When you get to the point that you have a large enough colony of both types, then your cycle is complete. You'll know you are there when you no longer register Ammonia or Nitrites and just Nitrates.
In the wild, Rain, plants, and other bacteria that do not thrive as well in an aquarium would convert the Nitrates again. So the dilution of Nitrates is what we end up doing with water changes. You are literally... the Rain God!
If you do a fish-in cycle you are growing colonies of bacteria to the size of the fish you have. You do need to watch your water testing parameters to ensure that you don't let the toxic Ammonia and Nitrites get too high and kill your fish, so this takes quite a bit of time. If you add more fish, or higher producing fish, you may see some cycle behavior as the colonies of Beneficial Bacteria have to grow larger to handle the larger amount of waste.
Doing a Fish-less cycle you can grow a larger colony quicker over all because you aren't worried about the fish in your tank. So you can have a higher concentration of Ammonia or Nitrites to grow your colony.
At this point you are still cycling. If you want to do fish in, then you need some fish in there. If you want to do fish-less then you need to provide some other ammonia source.
Actually, I was afraid I'd get "fishless" recommendations.
As for myself, I really didn't see anything wrong with having the two minnows in the tank to cycle it. They were doing fine and when I took them to Petsmart yesterday, they were still doing fine! They say they are "hardy" fish and they sure are!
To do the fishless thing and keep adding more and more ammonia into the tank, testing it numerous times can be hecktic, IMO that is. Heck, wife and I are having a hard enough time TRYING to match the strip w/the color chart!!
I don't know. Perhaps I shouldn't have done this Thread and just went ahead and bought two more minnows and continued with that. Sometimes a person (Newbie) just doesn't know what to do!!
Well Fishless or Fish-in you still have to test. That part doesn't change.
What changes is if you have fish that you have to worry about keeping alive while you are doing it.
Hang in there.... I'm pretty sure everyone has gotten bad advice from a fish shop when they were starting out.
If you do ultimately decide to continue with the fish in cycle, there are a few things that may make the process easier, not necessary for you, but for the fish. It must be stressed that these are not a replacement for a full cycle, albeit they are aids to help with the cycle
1-Get the hardiest fish you can get your hands on. These will be able to better cope with fluctuations in water chemistry.
2- There are some bacteria products out there. Some claim to instantly cycle tanks. This is false, due to the nature of the cycling process. I have used bacteria powders in the past that have helped correct my water chemistry during "mini cycles", but not all products work so it is worth doing research into the products before choosing one.
3- If you have friends/ relatives with a long running, mature tank, ask to test their water. If the results come back as the tank being cycled and well looked after e.g Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0 and Nitrates at reasonable levels and no signs of disease on the tank inhabitants. then proceed to ask if you can have some of their filter media and old tank water. This would help to speed up the cycling process.
4- Water change as often as possible and at the slightest hint of increased ammonia and nitrite levels.
None of these are a substitute for a full cycle and will not cycle the tank instantly. Fish in cycle can be a long and laborious process so if you choose this option, try and keep ammonia and nitrite as close to 0 as possible.
- 20 gallon: Shrimp tank: Taiwan Bee Shrimp, F Hybrid Bee Shrimps, CRS & CBS