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Old 07-19-2004, 08:04 PM   #1
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Cycling problems/questions

I'm having some trouble cycling my tank. I have two fish (Damsels) and three pounds of live rock in a 20 gallon tank. They've been in there three days. My ammonia tested .2 mg/l yesterday and today it has dropped back to 0. I then tested nitrate and it tested at .1. What appears to me is that cycling is complete but it couldn't be. Any suggestions?
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Old 07-19-2004, 10:10 PM   #2
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welcome to aquarium advice
first if you can take back the fish that would be the nice thing to do most use raw shrimp to start the cycle ! its not good or fair for the fish to make them live in those conditions ! yes they are tuff fish but not a good thing !
the fish been in there 3 days how long has the tank been running with the rock?
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Old 07-19-2004, 11:44 PM   #3
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What other filtration do you have? I don't think 3 lbs of rock will do much.
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Old 07-20-2004, 12:21 AM   #4
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As well as the good advice above, having nitrate present is not an indication the tank has completely cycled. Both ammonia and nitrite must be zero as well. You have gone through a quick NH3 spike but what does the NO2 read?

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Old 07-20-2004, 01:44 AM   #5
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It's not really possible to take the fish back. I'm leaving for Europe tomorrow and a friend is taking care of the house. The store we bought them at is over an hour away. I'm also not sure the i really need to take them back. I was told that these fish are what are commonly used for cycling and would survive. The fish and rock were placed in the tank at the same time, three days ago. Amonia is almost 0 (a decrease from yesterday) and Nitrite (NO2) is measuring 0. Should ammonia be measurable at this point?
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Old 07-20-2004, 02:20 AM   #6
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No offense intended, but what you were told was to make a sale and not to ensure the well-being of the fish. My usual analogy for how cycling with fish relates to humans is that of sitting in a car with the exhaust fumes pumped in through a cracked window. The nitrite has a similar effect on the fish as carbon monoxide has on us. It makes it next to impossible for the blood to carry oxygen.

I hope that explains why our views appear to be in conflict with your LFS.
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Old 07-20-2004, 11:07 AM   #7
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The fish store made a whopping $6 dollars on that sale. I'd probably have spent more on the decaying shrimp. I've read that you can use fish on almost every web site i've read. I didn't post this thread to get a lecture on animal cruelty, but to get some suggestions on the cycling process. Not that I'm not appreciative of the advice but at this point it is almost impossible for me to take the fish back. Anyone have a suggestion on monitoring the nitrogen cycle in my tank?
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Old 07-20-2004, 11:26 AM   #8
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No lecture intended. I was merely explaining the reasoning behind scuba_steve's suggestion. Yes we can use fish to cycle, that doesn't mean we should.

Anyway, like I already asked above, what other filtration do you have? 3 lbs of LR will not be sufficient by itself.
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Old 07-20-2004, 12:42 PM   #9
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I've done many a cycle with fish, in my freshwater tanks. However, I'm also more than willing to do ammo and nitrite tests every day for 4-6 weeks, and follow that test with a water change if needed (and for the first few weeks, its needed about every day, and then every other day for another couple weeks). That's the only way to humanely cycle with fish. Since I have planted freshwater tanks, the ammonia never builds up very high.
However in my salt tank, it's fishless cycle the whole way.
If you're going to Europe tomorrow, expect to come home to dead fish and a funky smelling tank. 3lbs of LR isn't enough of a bio filter, so unless you had an existing, cycled filter that you put on this tank, the livestock is probably doomed.

I'm not trying to chastise you...you're new...you don't know any better. I'm just being honest, and don't want you to expect to come back from abroad to a healthy tank with live fish.

Have fun on your trip! Don't stress on the fish. When you get home, we'll be here and more than willing to help you do everything the 'right' way.
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Old 07-20-2004, 01:37 PM   #10
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Ok there are many different ways to cycle the people in this forum are for the most part set in their ways on fishless cycling in my opinion we are beating a dead horse here, the guy has already done it his way the most we can do is help him out. Now, mattmku you need to post all readings nitrate nitrite and ammonia and this board will be able to help you i can almost guarantee that. They are a really helpful bunch, however they can get very passionate with their beliefs on keeping a marine tank. Hope this helps and have fun in europe, I always do.
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