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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2015

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    Default No water changes during first part of fish-in cycling??

    0 Not allowed!

    Could this be right??: "Don't do any water changes during the first part of fish-in cycling even if the ammonia rises to 2 ppm or even higher, because water changes will starve the bacteria"?

    I heard this from two seemingly reputable folks working at a seemingly reputable aquatic store. But it seems to go against what I have read on this forum. Please clarify :)

    BTW, I have a 20 gal Marineland tank with biowheel, started with spring water (eldorado springs drinking water) and ran it empty for two days. Plastic plants, 1 bubbler. One week ago I added 4 platys and 2 corys. Over that time I noticed ammonia going up to 0.5 with 0.0 nitrite and 0.0 nitrate. pH at about 7.8 or even 8.0 (just added root wood from a store tank to help lower pH, another thing they recommended). Tank at 78 degrees. Did three 15% water changes with treated tap water (marineland conditioner) over this past week. I'm not vacuuming the gravel, just water changes. Then the folks said I should by no means do any water changes while cycling. Ammonia now at 1.0.

    So, are they lying so that my fish die and I have to buy more? Should I do water changes to get ammonia down to 0.25? Any other recommendations?

    I'll be gone in one week for one week; hoping things will be ok while I'm gone. I don't know of anyone locally who has filter media to borrow from. But could saltwater media work ok for bacteria in my freshwater tank?

    I'm new to this hobby, and this forum; both are great.


  2. #2

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    Apr 2013
    Southeast Texas

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    1 Not allowed!
    Quote Originally Posted by manleyw View Post
    So, are they lying so that my fish die and I have to buy more? Should I do water changes to get ammonia down to 0.25? Any other recommendations?
    "Lying" is a harsh word, I'd call it "misinformed"

    You need to do big enough WC's to bring ammonia down to .25 or less as often as necessary during a fish-in cycle.

    No, SW media will not work in a FW tank.

    BTW, welcome to the AC!
    Last edited by Slaphppy7; 03-12-2015 at 04:50 PM.
    10 Gallon Beginner Tank... Journal
    40 Gallon Breeder: ... Journal
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    “If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went” - Will Rogers

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Washington, DC

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    2 Not allowed!
    +1 to what slap said. The information you got at teh store is, to put it mildly, incorrect.

    Ammonia above 0.5 ppm is toxic to fish and can kill them, or at the very least stress them enough that they will fall prey to disease. You need to do a 50% water change whenever ammonia exceeds 0.25 ppm. Depending on your stocking and tank, this could mean water changes every day at the start.

    Maintaining low ammonia levels like this does mean your cycle will take longer, but that's the downside of a fish-in cycle. If you haven't already, make sure you thoroughly read the cycling with fish sticky.

    EDIT: just noticed you will be gone for a week in one week. This means your tank will have no water changes at all for a week in the middle of your cycle? I hate to say it, but ammonia levels could get dangerously high. With ammonia showing up, but no nitrites and no nitrates, you are probably at least 4 weeks away from completing your cycle.
    Last edited by wgoldfarb; 03-12-2015 at 05:53 PM.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Mar 2015

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    0 Not allowed!
    Thanks guys.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Saskatchewan, Canada

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    0 Not allowed!
    +1 one to all the above

    There is a link in my sig (below) to a thread here that explains cycling with fish
    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 [URL=""]

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