First cycle - learning from my mistakes!
I'm new to aquaticcommunity.com and I need a bit of advice. I set up my first tank a little over 2 weeks ago. It's an Aqueon Evolve 8 (which is really more like 7 gallons), freshwater tank set up in my office. I'm using Flourite substrate, driftwood, and I put in some live plants about 3 days after I first filled the tank with water (they are growing excellent, by the way). The aquarium light is on a 10-hour timer. One week after first setting up, I added 3 guppies. Ultimately, I want 6-7 fish but I knew I should add fish a few at a time. Yesterday, one of the guppies died - the other 2 seem to be doing fine.
Here's where I think I made a few mistakes. Right before I left the office on Friday, I put in a self-feeding tablet for them to nibble on over the weekend, and it was completely gone when I got back yesterday, so I'm afraid there is a LOT of uneaten food in the aquarium now. I'll not be doing that again. Second, I did my first water change yesterday (about 40%), and I rinsed out the filter, so I'm pretty sure I killed any bacteria that were growing. I tested the water with a test strip (I know...I should really invest in a liquid kit!), and all the parameters were normal, although it did not test for ammonia.
Do you think I added too many fish at once? Did the ammonia level get too high because of the self-feeding tablet? The fish that died didn't show any signs of illess other than just getting weaker and weaker. He died right after the water change, so I guess the stress was too much for him in his weakened state. Like I said, though, the other two are fine.
So, until I can get a liquid test kit, what do you recommend? Should I do daily water changes, or leave it alone for a day or two? Also, is it better to let the fish go hungry over the weekend than risk overfeeding them?
Thanks in advance for your help!
Last edited by AllieCat; 08-14-2012 at 12:59 PM.
So the tank is uncycled and you do not have a liquid test kit. Its going to be difficult to assess when you need to do a water change as ammonia or nitrites are usually the indicator.
I would say once a day should be more than enough, maybe a 50% chance.
Did you at a dechlorinator to your water before adding it to the tank?
And since you are in a cycle, its hard to say whether or not to feed the fish. You want the ammonia to build up so that you can grow good bacteria, but you also don't want the ammonia so high that it will harm the fish.
If it were me, I'd skip the feedings.
I am getting a liquid test kit as soon as I can get to the pet store, will be today or tomorrow.
Yes, I added dechlorinator.
Thanks for your reply - I'll change 50% of the water again this afternoon, and skip the feedings at first. And I won't get any more fish until I've determined that the ammonia is under control.
Sure thing. With two guppies in the tank, they only need like a flake each.
Personally, what I would do is feed once a day. I would also do a 50% water change everyday until you get the kit. Treat the water with a water conditioner that neutralizes chloramines/chorine and detoxifies ammonia like Kordon Amquel or Seachem Prime. Dose for the entire aquarium size. It can only bind the ammonia for 24-48 hours, which is the reason for the daily water change.
The fish can go without food on the weekends. But the problem I see from here is you added the guppies a couple weeks ago and this is a small tank. By two weeks time, your ammonia levels would have begun to rise. Fish may be fine for the first few days but they would be reaching the danger zone after two weeks and no water changes.
But I think trying to keep guppies in a 7 gallon tank will lead to some problems. Those fish breed like rabbits and soon your tank will be overstocked. If you want guppies, stick with males only. For now, keep up with water changes of one half. I'm not of the opinion they need daily water changes but I would think every 2-3 days would be warranted. Especially if you are doing larger water changes.
Last edited by Lady Hobbs; 08-14-2012 at 05:38 PM.
+1 to Lady Hobbs - keep in mind that the less water there is in the tank, the faster there will be ammonia build up. Until you get a test kit, it's very easy to change out half of your water very quickly to keep things from getting toxic.
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
Well I've only had the fish for a week, but I definitely see what you're saying Lady Hobbs. I do only have males, and plan to keep it that way. I'm open to other types of little fish, too, though.
I bought a liquid test kit last night and tested my water this morning. Here were the readings:
Ammonia: Between 0 and 0.25 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 0 ppm
Monday was when I found the dead fish; 40% water change on Monday and Tuesday afternoons. I did not change the water yesterday.
I think I'll do another water change this afternoon, and test again tomorrow to see what the ammonia level is. It looks like it's getting much better, no? Also, both remaining fish are still going strong.
Out of curiosity, does it take less, or the same amount of time for a nano tank to cycle as a larger one? I've had the fish in for a week and a half now.
Trying to cycle with fish in a small tank is much more difficult than trying to cycle a larger tank. The less water the more toxic it can get. But on the same principal, if you have a large tank and stock the beans out of it, you will still have the same problem. You have to stock enough to get the cycle going but not so much the toxic levels become lethal.
You have to test every day and do water changes when levels rise in both cases.