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Old 02-03-2012, 12:14 AM   #1
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Cycling New Tank-Help Please!

Hi All,

First post here.

I bought my son a 15g kit for Christmas. We set it up on January 1st and put two 1 inch cichlids in it. For the first few weeks they were great. At three and a half weeks we added two more cichlids. We did 1/4 water changes each week. Then at four weeks we lost two of the fish in one day. I took a sample of the water to Petco and the nitrites and nitrites were through the roof. He gave me Prime to detoxify them. I tried that and did a water change. It kept my fish alive for one day but then they started to show signs of stress again. After testing the water, the n and were still off the charts. Another 1/2 water change and the n and n are still off the charts. WHY? I can't get them to go down. I don't want to lose another fish. I will keep it down to only two fish until the cycle is complete but how will I know when that is?

I just changed the filter two nights ago. Was that the wrong thing to do?

After reading cycling on here, I am starting to realize that the guy at Petco does not give me good advice.
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Old 02-03-2012, 12:45 AM   #2
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Hi and welcome!
Please read this and if you have any questions don't be afraid to ask!
Guide to Starting a Freshwater Aquarium
What kind of cichlids are they? There really aren't that many that can go in a 15g tank.
Changing the filter has set set the cycle back considerably.
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Old 02-03-2012, 12:56 AM   #3
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While I would suggest reading all about how to cycle a fish tank, since you've already got the tank and fish, here's the ultra short version.

Go by test kits (the liquid kind, not the test strips or test meters) to test for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates. Every day, test your aquarium water. When ever the ammonia or nitrite gets above 0.25ppm, do a partial water change.

Depending upon how many fish you have and how much they are fed, at first you very will might find yourself doing a pwc every day for a month until the tank is cycled.

I would suggest you don't get any more fish until the tank is cycled (when ammonia and nitrites consistently read 0). If the fish all die, look into fishless cycling so you don't have to do so many pwcs.

Once the tank is cycled, keep using the nitrate test kit daily until you learn for a given fish count how long it takes nitrates to reach about 20 to 40. Do pwc to try to keep nitrates around that reading.

Now that's just the readers digest version. You still need to review all the instructions at the link already provided.
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Old 02-03-2012, 01:18 AM   #4
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@Elise, Thank you. I have one electric yellow and a tiny red tiger (i think that is what it is-bright orange) I really wish I did not listen to the lfs guy. He didn't know a think.

HooKooDooKu- Thank you for giving me the number perameters. I have read about cycling all over the net but never saw anything about number. Of course, I bought the test strips (they are so expensive) and the lfs guy didn't even mention a liquid one. I hope they have it. I will keep testing and keep changing the water. I have done changes four times in the last four days. How long should I keep the same filter during cycling?

Thanks again! Amber
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Old 02-03-2012, 01:31 AM   #5
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The filter is where the bacteria will grow to cycle the tank.

Most filters have multiple stages of filtration, on stage that filters particles out of the water that is supposed to be changed on a regular basis, and another part that is NEVER changed because that's where the bacteria grows. If your filter has a "wheel" that the water spins, that's where the bacteria will grow.

Specifically look for API test kits. There's one that has something like 5 different tests in one kit, and they are also sold individually. Do a google search on "API test kits".
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Old 02-03-2012, 01:36 AM   #6
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OK looks like I am starting over since I got rid of the filter cartridge. Oh well, I guess it is just fish growing pains! I will figure all of this out eventually. I just looked up the kits. I will buy one tomorrow. I noticed that the filter that came with this kit is for a 5-10 gallon tank but it came with my 15 gallon. I can't believe they wouldn't put the right things together. Obviously, people would buy that tank for a child. It is just cruel.

Thanks again.
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Old 02-03-2012, 01:44 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AmberW
@Elise, Thank you. I have one electric yellow and a tiny red tiger (i think that is what it is-bright orange) I really wish I did not listen to the lfs guy. He didn't know a think.

HooKooDooKu- Thank you for giving me the number perameters. I have read about cycling all over the net but never saw anything about number. Of course, I bought the test strips (they are so expensive) and the lfs guy didn't even mention a liquid one. I hope they have it. I will keep testing and keep changing the water. I have done changes four times in the last four days. How long should I keep the same filter during cycling?

Thanks again! Amber
I'm sorry to say but those fish are too large (or a re going to be soon) for that tank. I'd suggest returning them and purchasing someone suitable for your tank for a fish in cycle or doing a fishless, then buying fish.
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Old 02-03-2012, 03:00 AM   #8
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Petsmart sells the API Master test kits for about $32, so Petco will probably have them, but you can also find them on Amazon.com for around $18. Hope that helps you some.
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