Cycling with fish and gravel vac
I'm still working to complete the cycling of my tank with fish.....ugh! I know its sometimes hard to keep track of folks so here's my history.
* Attempted fishless cycle but couldn't get it to finish after two months
* Decided to "complete it" with fish (on 3/9)
* 10 gallon with 4 black skirt tetras (2 medium size, 2 small)
* 7 days into cycling with fish found out my tap has ammonia so started using bottled water, this was on 3/15
* I can get super close to 0 ammonia but never for more than one reading and most of the time its .25
* I'm doing WCs only when my nitrAtes gets to about 20ppm
* I have an AC20 and added an extra biomax bag about 3/26
* I "rinsed" my filter out about a week ago (in my old yucky water during a WC)
* I use Prime and Seachem Stability during each WC
I just read in another post that I'm not supposed to be vac'ing my gravel during WCs, why is that?
I, obviously, thought that removing any potentially decaying food and other refuse was good so I have been being pretty aggressive in my vac'ing (its easy in a 10 gallon :)) BUT, I have noticed that my ammonia reading is sometimes higher immediately after a WC but it usually does go back to .25 by the next day. I thought it was going up after WC because I was continuing to get the really bad 'water' and gunk out of my gravel but now I'm obviously thinking that I'm wrong.
One more thing do I need to use Prime and Stability both when I do a WC? I'm using bottled water so I don't *think* I need the dechlorinator from prime but it could be helping with the ammonia. So, let me know.
Thanks for the help.
Some people have cycles that take longer than six weeks - a fish based cycle takes longer due to lower ammonia/nitrite levels and this slows the process. Vacuuming gravel has been considered by many here as something that can hurt the cycle - your judgement on this issue because I don't know for sure. Decaying food (shouldn't overfeed) does help the cycle as does solid fish waste - if it is an issue, a light vacuuming that does not get down into the substrate should be ok.
Knowledge is fun(damental)
A 75 gal with eight Discus, fake plants, and a lot of wood also with sand substrate. Clean up crew is fifteen Sterba's Corys. Filters: canister w/UV, in-tank algae scrubber that removes phosphates and nitrates! Also, a highly dangerous commercial nitrate removal unit from hell
For Stocking Questions see: http://aqadvisor.com/AqAdvisor.php?
For Fishless cycling:http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aqua...ead.php?t=5640
I want to start by saying GREAT post! This is the kind of detail we need to help you!
So, I wonder if you are overfeeding. This would cause ammonia as the food decays. How often are you changing your water out? Sounds like you have a good schedule but just want to make sure. What is the reading for ammonia in the tap water?
8 tanks running now:
1x 220 gallon, 2x55 gallon, 1x40 gallon long, 1x29 gallon, 1x20 gallon long, 1x5.5 gallon, 1x2 gallon
Gouramis, barbs, rasboras, plecos, corys, tetras, fancy guppies, swordtails, ottos, rainbow shark, upside-down catfish, snails, and Max and Sparkles the bettas.
gm72 - Thanks!!!
To answer your question:
1. My tap water has ammonia of .25 which is why I went with bottled water.
2. We are feeding one time per day and there is no food left when they are done. Of course, super small pieces fall as they eat but they are pretty good at getting as much of it as possible. I will be the first to admit that I'm not exactly sure how much is too much and do probably have a tendency to over do it. How do I know how much to feed other than the fact that the eat it all?
3. I usually end up having to do WCs two/three times per week. Again, my ammonia is usually not the problem (almost always .25) but my nitrAtes get to 20ppm so I change it.
Bacteria grows on the filter media mostly but some of it is in the gravel. You need to clean the gravel "now and then" but not constantly and not at the same time as the filter cleaning. Feed your fish less and you won't have to be cleaning gravel all the time. A pinch of food and when gone within a couple minutes, just a pinch more. Food causes high nitrates but so does that constant ammonia.
Last edited by Lady Hobbs; 04-10-2011 at 03:52 PM.
I have two larger fish that are more "eager" so I put in one pinch one each end of the tank. The food is done in about 30-60 seconds. We had been doing this twice per day but now are down to one. I also feed frozen bloodworms about every 3-4 days instead of flakes...not in addition too.
Thanks, I'll stop vac'ing as much.
You've also talked for some time now about ammonia in your water but you said you were using bottled water, right? If so, you should be showing 0 ammonia if the tank is cycled.
I haven't seen any responses about your nitrates level - 20ppm is not bad! It's supposed to be 20 or less - it also doesn't sound like you're overfeeding if you're watching and see it 's all eaten. I don't even add a full pinch - I add a few flakes at a time maybe 4-5 times and watch as everything gets eaten then add more - eventually I see they are losing interest and I stop because I had really dirty substrate at one point. If you tank is really cycled and you're feeding properly, you shouldn't have to change the water that often.
46 gal fw tank with black skirt tetras, neon tetras, spotted cory catfish, cherry barbs, guppies, snails & 4 amano shrimp - plastic & live plants
5 gal QT with green corys & 2 guppies
Yes, I am still using bottled water. Yes, I realize I am not yet fully cycled....STILL! As unfortunate as that is.
Originally Posted by Lady Hobbs
I do have one more question about my filter. Is it better to have it on a high or low setting? I will say my fish are much more active when its on high so I have been keeping it on high.
Originally Posted by fishlessintx
Leave your filter on high. I turn my adjustable filters on low during feeding only to reduce the amount of food sucked into it.
Distilled water or Drinking water sold at the grocery store in gallon jugs should not be used by it's self as replacement water.
It is stripped of key elements like calcium and magnesium that are needed by all fresh water fish to maintain osmotic balance. Since these elements are removed the bottled water has a neutral PH of 7.0 and a KH of near zero.
With a KH near zero your PH is hard to stabilize and may swing all over.
I myself would mix the bottled water 50/50 with your tap water. This should reduce your ammonia level down to .125 or so. In a cycled tank this level of ammonia would be converted in a few hours to zero.
For more information on KH/PH and a lot more I would suggest you read this article: http://americanaquariumproducts.com/AquariumKH.html