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xStatic

Trouble getting my cycle started

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I've had my tank set up for a little less than 2 weeks. Everything in the tank is new and its a 10gal with one 1-1.5" long fancy. At first I was changing about 80% of the water every 2-3 days but about a week ago I started doing daily 30% water changes. I'm also dosing my tank with Prime every time I do a water change. So far my ammonia reads around 0.25ppm or a little lower every day with 0 nitrites and 0 nitrates every day. I'm just wondering how long I should expect before I start seeing nitrites and nitrates being produced? Am I doing something wrong? I believe the prime detoxifies the ammonia for the fish but leaves it available for BB, correct? In the tank I have a biowheel filter full of ceramic media and filter sponges, and I also have a large sponge filter in the tank. The water always looks crystal clear which is great but I feel like I'm never going to get a decent colony of BB built up. 

Edit:

  1. Ammonia (tank/tap): ~0.25ppm/0ppm
  2. Nitrite (tank/tap): 0ppm/0ppm
  3. Nitrate (tank/tap): 0ppm/0ppm
  4. pH (tank/tap): 7.5-8
  5. kH (tank/tap): ?
  6. gH (tank/tap): ?

    I'm not sure what kH and gH are?
Edited by xStatic

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How long has the tank been running and what is the temperature of it?

 

The kH is good to know during cycling, as when it is low, it takes a little longer to cycle. kH is alkalinity and gH is general hardness. Both should be around 100-150ppm. the gH is okay if it is lower, but the kH should be around that level to make sure the pH stays stable.

 

Also, give this a read :)http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/forum/index.php?/topic/121320-kokos-goldfish-forum-guidelines-for-healthy-goldfish/

Edited by Mikey

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Thanks! I've read that guide! The tank has been setup for almost 2 weeks. the temperature fluctuates between 68-70 degrees. I know the 10 gallon tank is too small for my fish long term but I'm working with it for now and I'll upgrade within the next few months. 

Thanks for letting me know about the kH and gH. The water where I live is hard. I've never had a problem with pH in any aquarium changing from the tap to the tank and I've only ever had fish that tend to do well in hard water/water with a high pH. I have no idea about the alkalinity. The water testing kit I have only does ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, and high/low pH. Do I need to purchase another kit? (hopefully it isn't as expensive as the $30 one I already have).

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Relax.  With daily water changes, you may never read nitrite.  When ammonia drops to zero, you know you have an adequate population of ammonia oxidizers.  When that happens, continue your current water change schedule for a week.  

 

If you see no nitrite by the end of that week, decrease the water changes to 2 gallons a day, otherwise do another week of 30% changes.

 

If you see no nitrite with 20% changes, decrease the water changes to 10 gallons a day.  If you get no ammonia or nitrite on this schedule, congratulations, you have a cycled tank.

 

Ten% daily water changes correspond to 50% a week, which we recommend for a cycled tank.  You can switch to that or continue 10% daily.  A tank which has fish and reads zero ammonia and zero nitrite with normal water changes has cycled.  Most, but not all, will have a nitrate reading.

 

I have water much like yours.  I see no reason to test GH and KH when your water has a high, stable pH.  If you have municipal water, you can probably get the GH and  KH from the water company.

Edited by shakaho

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Relax.  With daily water changes, you may never read nitrite.  When ammonia drops to zero, you know you have an adequate population of ammonia oxidizers.  When that happens, continue your current water change schedule for a week.  

 

If you see no nitrite by the end of that week, decrease the water changes to 2 gallons a day, otherwise do another week of 30% changes.

 

If you see no nitrite with 20% changes, decrease the water changes to 10 gallons a day.  If you get no ammonia or nitrite on this schedule, congratulations, you have a cycled tank.

 

Ten% daily water changes correspond to 50% a week, which we recommend for a cycled tank.  You can switch to that or continue 10% daily.  A tank which has fish and reads zero ammonia and zero nitrite with normal water changes has cycled.  Most, but not all, will have a nitrate reading.

 

I have water much like yours.  I see no reason to test GH and KH when your water has a high, stable pH.  If you have municipal water, you can probably get the GH and  KH from the water company.

Okay, good to know. I didn't really realize that my water changes might be making it hard to get a nitrite reading but that makes a lot of sense. I'll do a few more days of my 30% changes and then go down to 20% and see what happens :)

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I prefer that you continue 30% until ammonia reads zero. Fish-in cycling normally takes 4 to 6 weeks.  You should see the ammonia go away within a week.

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So the past few days my ammonia has been spiking like crazy but I still haven't seen any nitrites at all :no:  I read 5ppm nitrates but it looks like that's just in my tap water which is a bummer. I've been managing the ammonia spikes with frequent (like 2-3 times a day!) 20-30% water changes and dosing with prime. My fish seems to be doing great, doesn't seem to be affected by the ammonia which I'm happy about. But within a few hours it can shoot from <0.25ppm to 1.0ppm. I'm REALLYYYYY hoping I start seeing the ammonia go down on it's own and nitrite readings appear soon :cry  

In other news I got an old 29 gallon that I resealed about 36 hours ago. I ordered a stand, a python water changer, and I have a new marineland penguin 350 filter ready to go as well. So once my 10 gal finally cycles I can start thinking about moving my fish to the 29 gallon. I also discovered a roommate's bottle of the ACE pure ammonia (fragrance and surfactant free) hiding in the closet so I may steal some and start a fishless cycle in the 29 gal whilst I'm completing the fish-in cycle in the 10 gal. Boy oh boy  :o

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One small fish should not produce that much ammonia.  Ammonia comes from food, so please cut the amount you feed in half and/or reduce feeding to every other day.  Rather than doing multiple small water changes in a day, do one 50% change.  

 

Usually people get prolonged nitrite spikes rather than ammonia spikes.  AOBs/AOAs (ammonia oxidizing bacteria/archaea) seem to be everywhere, since they oxidize ammonia in soil as well as water.  In homes without other fish tanks, they typically come in with dust.  You may have a super-clean house.  Do you have the tank covered?  That could keep dust out.

 

Let's seed your tank with nitrifiers from soil.  Go to Lowes/HD or a garden shop and find a little houseplant or two.  You can usually get those in 2 inch pots for $2-$3.   Vines like pothos grow vigorously in water.  

 

Also get some organic compost or garden soil.  Avoid mixes that contain vermiculite or pearlite.  These do not harm fish, but they make a mess in the tank. Also find a clip that can clip the top of the pot to the top of your tank.  A clothespin should work.

 

When you get home, remove the plant from the pot and gently shake and rinse most (~75%) of the soil from the roots.  Empty soil from the pot and rinse it out.  Then take the pot and clip to the aquarium and make sure the clip will hold it in place -- the top of the pot level with the top of the aquarium.  

 

Now repot the plant using your organic compost/soil.  Put it on a saucer, and gently water it until water flows out the bottom.  Then let it sit in the puddle for a half hour or so.  This will help "set" the soil to minimize loss to the tank water.  Some will come out at first, which looks messy but won't harm Pebble.  

 

Wipe any soil from the outside of the pot and clip it to the rim of the aquarium.  

Edited by shakaho

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Can you get a photo of the tank?

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One small fish should not produce that much ammonia.  Ammonia comes from food, so please cut the amount you feed in half and/or reduce feeding to every other day.  Rather than doing multiple small water changes in a day, do one 50% change.  

 

Usually people get prolonged nitrite spikes rather than ammonia spikes.  AOBs/AOAs (ammonia oxidizing bacteria/archaea) seem to be everywhere, since they oxidize ammonia in soil as well as water.  In homes without other fish tanks, they typically come in with dust.  You may have a super-clean house.  Do you have the tank covered?  That could keep dust out.

 

Let's seed your tank with nitrifiers from soil.  Go to Lowes/HD or a garden shop and find a little houseplant or two.  You can usually get those in 2 inch pots for $2-$3.   Vines like pothos grow vigorously in water.  

 

Also get some organic compost or garden soil.  Avoid mixes that contain vermiculite or pearlite.  These do not harm fish, but they make a mess in the tank. Also find a clip that can clip the top of the pot to the top of your tank.  A clothespin should work.

 

When you get home, remove the plant from the pot and gently shake and rinse most (~75%) of the soil from the roots.  Empty soil from the pot and rinse it out.  Then take the pot and clip to the aquarium and make sure the clip will hold it in place -- the top of the pot level with the top of the aquarium.  

 

Now repot the plant using your organic compost/soil.  Put it on a saucer, and gently water it until water flows out the bottom.  Then let it sit in the puddle for a half hour or so.  This will help "set" the soil to minimize loss to the tank water.  Some will come out at first, which looks messy but won't harm Pebble.  

 

Wipe any soil from the outside of the pot and clip it to the rim of the aquarium.  

Thank you for all the help. I do have the tank covered with a hood and the filter has a cover on it as well. I took off the cover on the filter for now since my hood is latched onto my tank but I can remove that too if I need to. I will be going to lowed tomorrow to get a plant and some soil! That's such a cool idea :)

I will also cut back on the feeding. I also have a marimo that was looking a little brown lately but it smelled fine so I left it in. I removed it now just in case it was decomposing and contributing to the ammonia for some reason. 

Can you get a photo of the tank?

 

Yes! This is my 10 gallon tank, all the plants are artificial except for the marimo balls. There's gravel on the bottom, with a HOB filter that turns 75 GPH and a big 20gal sponge filter/air pump that is hiding in the back. I also removed all of the crystals that are in the tank here about an hour after I added them in because I read that amethyst may be harmful so they're not in there currently. 

 

89176339-FC13-435C-A4D9-AA9E0C01E828_zps

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Such a beautiful tank! Can you keep the lid open?

 

Good on removing the brown marimo. Marimo should be nice and green.

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Another thought came to me about the amount of ammonia--what is your filter cleaning routine? Too much gunk in the filter sponges/pads may be contributing to the ammonia. In a cycle established tank, it is good to squeeze the sponges/pads until clear in tank water at least every two weeks. Since your set-up is new, you might want to see if you have excess detritus in the sponges/pads.

 

Also, with the type of substrate you have, detritus may be getting caught in the nooks and crannies of the gravel-like substrate that you have. Do you vacuum your substrate? We recommend smaller granules with the layer no more than 0.5" in height.

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The tank hasn't cycled yet, Lisa.

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Oops, I should have reread the thread. :oops:

Edited by LisaCGold

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