There has been no real movement on my cycle since my last post. It sure is being stubborn. My nitrites just don't seem to want to move past .25ppm and my nitrates are breaking 5ppm, but barely. Talk about slow going!
That said, my Plan B has changed from a bucket to bucket system, to a fish-in cycle. After weighing options with the kokonuts, I feel confident that with daily testing and large water changes, the fishies won't really be stressed out. I'm also happy that this will avoid the need to have 3 large bodies of water in my living room so I'm not that super crazy fish lady... just a regular crazy fish lady
Also, the calico pearlscale that Steve was monitoring got worse and we had to cancel the order for her. I was bummed about it, but thankful that he is so forthcoming and really cares about the health of the fish and that his customers are happy. Ideally, I wanted to substitute her for another goldie from Steve so I could get all 3 at once, QT them together, and have a closed system. His fish are gorgeous, but the few I was interested in had sold, and after stalking his site, I haven't found "the" goldfish yet.
I decided to proceed only with the two goldies I had already ordered (a cute blue oranda and an adorable ranchu with dorsal) and not force a third. The final goldie to complete the trio will will happen when it happens. I will most definitely keep stalking his website because I can't help myself.
All things considered, I'm pretty pleased. Although 3 goldies all at once would have been cool, having only 2 is gonna be cool too because that means more water per goldfish while I cycle... which means less stress for me. Hooray!
AND they will be arriving on Friday, 2/7/2014
Now that I'm doing a fish-in cycle, I just need to finalize my game plan so I am completely prepared when they get here. I already have food, enough Prime, and baking soda for my KH, but I'd like to get a good idea about the water temperature, how often to dose the Prime considering the state of my tap water, and I need to finish getting the tank decorations setup.
ZOMG! It's happening
My previous excitement over nitrates has diminished. A little over a week ago I tested the tank water wondering why my nitrite and nitrate readings hadn't been changing and saw that my tap has 5ppm nitrates. Sheesh. I hadn't made any progress really and was getting nervous because I preordered goldies from Rain Garden thinking that my cycle would be much farther along than it actually was. Minor stressor.
I posted a thread in the water quality section with my tank and tap readings seeking advice on how to really get the cycle moving along as well as better understand my current water quality and how to manage it so the new fishies would have a happy home
Also, the goldies were originally scheduled to arrive on January 10th. This made me nervous as I didn't want to have to cycle the tank with them in it (the whole purpose being me doing a fishless cycle). Technically, I could complete the cycle with the goldies since I would have to test the water/do daily water changes anyway, but I would greatly prefer to do this on a cycled tank to remove any added stress on the fish (and me)! Another option (thanks to dnalex) would be to have a tub system to put them in. I could have 2 tubs, switching the goldies from tub to tub daily with 100% fresh water. This would also allow me to continue my cycle on the tank. It's a big relief having a backup plan
Just in case, I contacted Steve and asked if he could hold onto them a few weeks more (which was asking a lot since he had already been holding onto them for over a month) and he was so generous to say yes!!!! Happy day! No need for tubs (at the moment) and that gives me 2 more weeks of worry free cycling!
Steve also mentioned that the calico pearlscale without pearls (from my previous post) was acting floaty and might be developing a swim bladder issue. He is going to monitor her for a bit and see how she does, but there is a chance that I might not get her. I am hopeful she will be alright because I am smitten, but I am also grateful to Steve for being so honest. I am used to LFS and chain stores that only want to sell sell sell and don't care about the health of the fish. This is a breath of fresh air to know someone is passionate about what they do and cares about the fish and the customer.
More fun news: a few days after I ordered the 2 cuties from my previous post, I saw this guy and couldn't help myself:
Isn't he crazy adorable?! Assuming the calico is OK, all 3 cuties will put me at my ideal tank maximum and I'll be fully stocked.
Thanks to the awesome kokonuts here, I raised my KH with baking soda to 10 drops, and reduced the ammonia to 2ppm and things have been moving along. Last nights readings leave me hopeful that I could possibly (fingers crossed) be cycled in a few weeks, which would be amazing since I hadn't really had ANY movement since late Novemberish.
I know I have said this before, but this forum is so wonderful and I'm thankful to have the help and support of the koko's crew. If anyone actually reads this, I highly recommend subscribing. If you can afford to do so, it's a way to help support kokos and it comes with some fun extra perks... like this blog!
Awwwwwww yeeeeeeeahhhhhhhhh! <--- Can you tell I'm excited?!
Tested the tank again last night and I totally have between 5-10 ppm nitrates. Wahoo!
Please excuse the peeling/chipped nail polish. Normally I'm very anal about my nails... except for last night.
I am so happy about having some nitrates. That means I am sooooooo close
I added more ammonia and am currently at 1ppm+ ammonia, .25ppm nitrate, and 5-10ppm (closer to 5) nitrate.
I'm going to keep feeding the tank so I can beef everything up and better establish my good bacteria, but overall, I am super happy. I thought it would take a little longer before I even started showing nitrates, so I am very pleased at the moment.
I have been testing my tank intermittently and watching the level of ammonia... I am finally around 2ppm ammonia (or a little less than 2ppm). This weekend I tested for nitrite and I have a reading of .25 ppm!
I'm definitely about halfway there and I'm anticipating being cycled no later than the beginning of 2014.
*knocks on wood*
In addition to being really excited about my cycle moving along, I'm also super stoked about the actual goldfish!
In the past I've either wandered around a local LFS for goldies or my husband and I have gone on "fish adventure days" where we drive around the Bay Area and stop at several fish stores. Even if I didn't find a goldie to come home with me, it was a lot of fun looking around to see what types of fish the stores had and how well they took care of them.
This time I'm doing things a little different. I decided that I would buy online through a reputable breeder and I've been keeping an eye on auctions and doing some online "window shopping".
Well... one thing led to another and I ended up convincing my wonderful husband splurge on a couple of goldies as a Christmas prezzie for me. They are Rain Garden goldfish; 2 oddballs to be exact. 1 pearlscale that never developed pearls, and 1 ranchu with a dorsal. I'm totally in love. I spoke with Steve and he has been very generous in agreeing to hold them for me until my cycle is complete. Assuming my tank is ready around the beginning of the year, these 2 will arrive on 1/10/2014:
Steve was also nice enough to allow me permission to use his photos
I finally have the 65 gallon setup and ready to go... mostly
This week was very productive. Over the weekend I disinfected/sterilized the tank, canister filter, and plastic bio balls; boiled the ceramic rings and left everything out to dry. Once everything was dry, I picked up some new vinyl tubing for the canister and started the process of re-assembling.
I have two Marineland C-360 canister filters, but I decided to use only one right now, which offers 360 gallons per hour, slightly over 5x filtration. It comes standard with filter foam, carbon filter bags, plastic bio balls, ceramic rings, and filter floss. I got rid of the carbon bags and am instead using that space for 1 liter of Seachem Matrix. Hooray MOAR media! Since this sucker is large capacity and houses quite a bit of media (with more room for additional ceramic rings), I think this will be sufficient filtration. Of course, more filtration never hurts so I may end up adding that second canister anyway. We'll see.
Anywho... I'm ready to go!
I have the tank filled, canister assembled and running, an air stone bubbling away, and a heater that has the temp at 80.6... nice and toasty to get the ball rolling. I added 4 ppm of ammonia and now I get to sit back and..... wait. This has to be the hardest part. I want to test the water every day to see if by some magic, testing the ammonia level will speed up the cycling process <-- yeah right!
So it looks like I will have some down time while I patiently wait for the cycle to do its thing. I think I'll start by re-testing my tap water. Who am I kidding?! Right after I post this I'm sure I will be surfing koko's and looking at everyone's cute fishies.
Let the cycling begin!
My very first blog entry ever. EVER. Seems fitting that it would be on koko's where I can babble about goldfish, keep a log of my tank set up and the cycling process, babble about goldfish, make notes about water quality, what food I'm feeding, and of course babble about goldfish Hmm... wonder what I'm most excited about?!
I have been taking a long break from the hobby obsession <-- because I had a long run with drospy and eventually lost all my goldies. It broke my heart when I lost them and I decided to walk away for a while. I thought a bit of a break would do me good. Little did I realize that my little break would turn into 2 years!
It all started with my very first goldie, an orange oranda my friend Michelle named Mooshu. Back then I knew basically nothing about keeping goldfish and Mooshu put up with all of my mistakes. I remember when I went to the store and saw her there, wiggling around with her tank mates being all cute, and I decided she had to come home with me. When I went to find an employee to get more information, he asked if I already had a tank that was ready for her. When I said no, he told me about cycling a tank (which went right above my head at the time) and said he couldn't sell her to me until I had a tank that was cycled. He went on about new tank syndrome and some other facts, but what I heard was "blah blah blah, you can't have her right now, blah blah blah".
Side note: knowing what I know now, that chain store employee was very knowledgeable which is unfortunately rare as most chain stores want to sell sell sell and don't care about the actual goldfish.
OK... back on track: I bought a tank (a 5 gallon ), filter, etc. and went home to get things set-up because I was in love with that cute little fishy and she needed to be home with me so I could oogle at her 24/7. I went back every day to check and make sure no one else bought her and then on the third day I went back to buy her, thinking that 3 days was enough to cycle a tank (can you imagine if you really COULD cycle a tank in 3 days?!). Sheesh. I somehow convinced that poor guy to sell her to me with the promise that I would do daily water changes until the tank was fully cycled AND that I would test the water every day. Oh happy day! I had a goldfish. I went and bought some basic books about keeping goldies, fed the poor girl flakes, did 10% daily water changes, had a lacking filter, and no surface agitation. Gee.... can you guess what happened next? She started gasping for air, became floaty off an on, and had a case of popeye. Needless to say, she was not a happy camper. I mean, how could any goldie thrive in that environment, right?
That's when I found koko's. I was amazed there was a forum dedicated to goldfish and I got really excited. I was so happy to have found a place where so much knowledge was being shared and that so many people loved their goldies as much as I loved mine! I started searching through the site, reading everything I could. I learned about the cycling process, proper filtration, good quality food, tank requirements, water quality and testing, and so much more. Thanks to koko's, Mooshu was properly treated and her life was so much better than it had been.
She was upgraded to a 12 gallon tank with proper filtration and she was finally in a stable environment with good water quality and a varied diet. Soon after I upgraded her to a 26 gallon and got her a blue oranda buddy, Moose. Then I picked up a 65 gallon and started a fishless cycle. During the months it took to cycle, I found an amazing orange/black chubby cheeked oranda and had to bring him home. I named him Mr. Wendell I was head over heels for this one. He hung out in QT by his lonesome until the 65 was ready. Then, everyone was introduced. Birds sang, unicorns danced, and glitter clouds floated in the air (well, that might be an exaggeration, but that's how proud and happy I was). I even picked up an itty bitty lionhead, Martini. Life was good.
Somehow, something started going very wrong. I still am not sure exactly what happened, but I know it had to have been something I did or something I neglected to do because Mooshu had reoccurring issues with popeye and drospy and the other goldies starting following suit. I'll spare the details, but off and on I was putting goldies into QT. It was very frustrating and I felt awful that I couldn't get everyone healthy. Eventually, the meds just weren't working anymore and one by one, I lost them. I never pinpointed the issue either. I felt defeated. Months of treating just to lose them. I knew I needed a break so I nuked the tank and left it sitting in the living room.
What happened sucked, but I will forever be thankful to outpouring of help, advice, and support I received. This is truly a site where everyone wants you to succeed and wants the best for your goldies. It's rare to find a forum where people are helpful AND kind hearted. Yeah, koko's rules
I thought I wouldn't be able to stay away for long and it really didn't feel like that much time had passed but a few weeks ago I realized it has been a few years. YEARS. How did that happen? Enough is enough! I've been away too long and the more I think about it, the more I miss it, and the more excited I get. I have the itch... BAD.
I am so looking forward to this fresh start.
Man it feels good to be back.