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Old 07-19-2006, 12:19 PM   #1
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Cycling new tank with fish

Hi all, i'm new to the hobby and have a couple of questions i'm unclear about after reading some books and lurking on AA for like 3 weeks now.

I've purchased a 55gal for a freshwater setup. Setup the tank and waited until i got the temp stabalized. Went down to the LFS and picked up 5 zebra danios to start my cycle 1 week ago feeding them lightly.

Picked up an Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Freshwater Master Test Kit i checked my initial tap water results to make sure i was startiing out ok.

The book i've been following makes it sound like my ammonia levels should rise rather rapidly once my fish are added and i should be prepared to do PWCs. However after a week i'm still reading my ammonia levels at 0ppm. I don't want you to think i'm being impatient I just want to make sure i'm not performing the tests incorrectly. Is this slow build up of ammonia normal or am i doing something wrong and my ammonia is really higher and harming my fish?

I've just been skimming water off the top into the test tube, should i be doing something different? Also when comparing to the results to the card do you hold the tube up against the card (which makes the color appear darker) or do you just view it agaisnt' the background of the card?

Sorry for the long write up just wanted to make sure i provided enough information. THANKS
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Old 07-19-2006, 12:25 PM   #2
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Well IMO, there's not enough ammonia being produced by the fish to get a reading and that's why it's taking so long of a time. Back when I got my first 10g I cycled it w/ three zebra danios. So, 5 in a 55g really isn't that much.

Your better off taking them out and trading them in at the LFS, and doing a fishless cycle w/ pure ammonia. Or, buying ALL of your fish that you want and a 3oz pouch of Bio-Spira and adding that. Even though it's pricey it's worked for a lot of folks, including myself, and there's no waiting for the cycle .

HTH.
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Old 07-19-2006, 12:27 PM   #3
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Welcome to AA!!!

I am surprised you haven't seen any ammonia yet. You should see some soon. Have you had the test verified by your LFS just to be sure your test is good? Is this tank planted?

I always hold the tube against the card as that is what the instructions say.
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Old 07-19-2006, 12:33 PM   #4
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No i didn't want to try and go overboard and do a planted tank as my first setup it's all artificial.

Quote:
Have you had the test verified by your LFS just to be sure your test is good?
That's a good idea i think i will maybe give that a try if still don't see any traces this weekend.

Quote:
Well IMO, there's not enough ammonia being produced by the fish to get a reading and that's why it's taking so long of a time. Back when I got my first 10g I cycled it w/ three zebra danios. So, 5 in a 55g really isn't that much.
I was worried about this possibly being an issue but didn't want to rush off and just go buy additional danios fearing i would get a large spike then and really be in trouble.

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Old 07-19-2006, 05:09 PM   #5
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You will still cycle, albeit slowly, if you add the fish slowly. The rule of thumb for this method is 1" of fish for each 5 gallons of water. TomK2 wrote an excellent article about this; you won't even notice the ammonia and the nitrite spikes even tho your tank is cycling.

Here's a thread you might want to read on humanely cycling with fish:
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewtopic.php?t=80626

Here's Tom's full article
http://home.comcast.net/~tomstank/to...s/page0017.htm
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Old 07-19-2006, 05:39 PM   #6
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I added fish slowly to my 55g and never registered ammonia or nitrite. My tank had some fast growing plants in it though, so that probably helped.

Read the article above and see if thats the way you want to go. Adding fish gradually worked for me, but I couldn't find pure ammonia anywhere, so I had to go the fish-ful way of cycling (or use messy fish food, which I didn't want to do).
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Old 07-24-2006, 10:02 AM   #7
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joannde-

Thanks for putting the link up. Yep, if you go slow, have very few fish, have patience, feed sparingly, you can cycle a tank without detectible ammonia or nitrite. It took me about 40 days or so. If you loose patience and up the fish load or feeding, you will outpace your bacteria growth and expose your fish to toxic substances, all while becoming the next water change king. Thus, don't go too fast.
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Old 07-24-2006, 01:00 PM   #8
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So one more question, while your tank is slowly cycling with these undetectable amts of ammonia or nitrite should you still be doing PWC's?
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Old 07-24-2006, 01:06 PM   #9
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Absolutely do PWCs but don't do deep gravel vacs yet as your good bacteria are growing there. Its ok to siphon up the gunk at the top of the gravel. There is very little bacteria in the water column itself - most of it is in your filter and in the gravel
Try to keep you nitrates (the end product) below 20ppm at all times, even in a fully cycled tank
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Old 07-24-2006, 06:59 PM   #10
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If cyclig with fish, and you have no detectable ammonia and nitrite, no need to do a water change. I did a light gravel vac at 30 days, so that changed a little bit of water.
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