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Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. Default Did My Fishless Cycle Work? And... Ammonia in Tap Water

    0 Not allowed!
    Hi all,

    I have a few questions to ask and the following may be a bit hard to follow, so please bear with me. I'm still very new at this and I want to get it right so I don't stress, or worse, kill my fish. I have a 60 litre tank and I completed a fishless cycle, as per the instructions on the forum, without any apparent problems. I then introduced 6 small silvertip tetras (each less than an inch in length) at the advice of my local store. I later found out that two of these fish are in fact cherry barbs! Anyway, I have been monitoring the tank closely and testing the water regularly.

    Following the cycling of the tank nitrates and nitrites have always been zero, pH remains around 6.4, hardness is 4 degrees and chlorine is always zero. The ammonia level went up from zero to 0.5 so I did a 30% water change and it dropped to 0.25 for a few days and is now back up at 0.5 At the last water change I checked the filter (foam type) and I could see no significant dirt/debris.

    When I first started cycling the tank I used Tetra 6 in 1 test strips for most parameters and a Waterlife NH3/NH4 test for the ammonia, this is the test tube type with 2 bottles of test liquid. After cycling the tank I purchased an API Master Freshwater Test Kit, which included an ammonia test, because I read that the test strips aren't very good. This coincides with the increase in ammonia so I suspect my original Waterlife test kit is inaccurate. I have tested the two side by side and the Waterlife test comes back as zero but the API one reads 0.5 I am inclined to err on the side of caution and believe the API results.

    I feed the fish flake once a day, a small pinch and if they eat it all I give them a little bit more. I also feed live daphnia once a week to vary their diet. Any residue left after 10 minutes is netted out. When I do a partial water change I agitate the gravel to suck up any debris. I recently introduced a couple of live plants and there has been a piece of bog wood in there from the start, which I soaked for a week prior to adding. The fish are very active during feeding and I have seen no signs of distress.

    So, my first question is: Could the fishless cycle have failed despite everything looking ok? I ask this mainly because I kind of expected to see something on the foam filter to indicate a build up of bacteria.

    Second: Is it possible that my tap water contains ammonia? I have consulted the water provider's website and it says they don't use ammonia during disinfection of water supplies.

    I understand that ammonia is produced in the tank from fish waste as well as from decomposed food, but shouldn't the filter deal with this if it is working correctly? Should I treat the water with something like Safe Start or Filter Aid to help things along?

    Sorry, lots of information and questions. Hopefully someone can make some sense of it all and advise me.

    16g tropical - Silvertip, Cherry Barb, Clown Plec & Cherry Shrimp

  2. #2


    1 Not allowed!
    A cycled tank should show at least some trAtes...what water conditioner do you use?

    Did you shake the 2nd bottle of the API trAte test like crazy?...that bottle needs to be shaken for a long time, violently, before testing

    Why not test your tap water yourself, with the API ammonia test?

    You won't see anything on a sponge that indicates beneficial bacteria, they are microscopic
    10 Gallon Beginner Tank... Journal
    40 Gallon Breeder: ... Journal
    29 Gallon: ... Journal

  3. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    I used Tetra Safe Start initially and treat all water with Tetra Aqua Safe when I do a water change, I also get it up to the same temperature as the tank, currently set at 25 degrees celsius.

    I do shake the second API titrate bottle vigorously for a minute as per the instructions.
    I have tested the tap water today with the API test and it showed 0.25 so unless my test kit is wrong I need to treat all new water for ammonia.

    16g tropical - Silvertip, Cherry Barb, Clown Plec & Cherry Shrimp

  4. #4


    0 Not allowed!
    When you run out of the Aqua Safe (or even before then) get you a bottle of Seachem Prime, it's awesome stuff...very little amount goes a long way (1 ml per 10 (US) gallon of water), and it will bind and render harmless any ammonia in your tap or tank for 24 hours

    Try using this chart next time, instead of the color code card that came with the API test kit:
    10 Gallon Beginner Tank... Journal
    40 Gallon Breeder: ... Journal
    29 Gallon: ... Journal

  5. Default

    1 Not allowed!
    Thanks for that information, I'll look into getting some of that, and I'll print out the charts aswell.

    16g tropical - Silvertip, Cherry Barb, Clown Plec & Cherry Shrimp

  6. #6


    0 Not allowed!
    You're quite welcome. You don't have to print the charts, just save the page in you favorites or bookmarks...when you test, just hold the test tube up to your monitor to compare colors
    10 Gallon Beginner Tank... Journal
    40 Gallon Breeder: ... Journal
    29 Gallon: ... Journal

  7. #7


    1 Not allowed!
    .25 ammonia in tap water is not a problem. As Matt advised, use the Prime to dechlorinate and detoxify the ammonia in your tap water. The BB will take care of it after 24 hrs.

    Do not add any Tetra Safestart or other BB product - they have ammonia in them to keep the BB alive.
    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's about learning to dance in the rain"

  8. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    OK, that puts my mind at rest a little, thanks.

    16g tropical - Silvertip, Cherry Barb, Clown Plec & Cherry Shrimp

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