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Old 07-15-2006, 12:36 PM   #1
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New 46 gal tank - when to do first PWC

Since this is my first post...hello all, I have found many useful tips on this forum already. I am new to aquariums, but not new to the wonderful water chemistry associated with it - I am a chemist by trade.

I began cycling my 46 gallon tank one week ago the "all natural" way with 3 black skirt tetras, 3 tiger barbs, and 3 columbian tetras. All is well so far, but I am wondering when to do my first PWC. The ammonia level has only inched above 0.25 ppm, and nothing further down the cycle has been detected yet. Is a PWC necessary at this point or should I just let it be?

Also, would BioSpira speed up my cycling time? There is activated carbon in my filter, I've heard that can be a problem sometimes. Thanks!
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Old 07-15-2006, 01:12 PM   #2
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Welcome to AA!!!

The AC wont hurt anything, I feel it is not needed. You can change water if you like, the fish always like it, but you want to keep your ammonia under 1ppm. So when it starts getting near 1ppm do a water change.

BioSpira should just about instantly cyclee your water if it is a good batch.
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Old 07-15-2006, 03:20 PM   #3
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I'll agree with everthing rich said.

Also stay away from gravel vacs and do not replace you current filter cartridge or the carbon until the cycle is complete....each provide surface area for bacteria growth.
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Old 07-15-2006, 04:46 PM   #4
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BioSpira should help the cycle go faster, since you have some ammonia registering now. If you can get some, I'd go ahead and add it.

The carbon only causes problems when you are dosing medications. Its not really needed otherwise, but I'd leave it where it is until the cycle is fininshed.

Good luck!

I hope you are planning on increasing the schools when the cycle finisheds. I'd get atleast 3 more of each type.
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Old 07-16-2006, 04:12 PM   #5
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I hope you are planning on increasing the schools when the cycle finisheds. I'd get at least 3 more of each type.
I was going to start with more but decided against it. The fish seem to get along fine even though their schools are pretty small. The barbs get a little feisty sometimes, but they aren't biting fins off or anything. The other two types just keep to themselves. I'd like to get a school of hatchetfish for the top of the tank, but I don't want to overload too soon.
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Old 07-16-2006, 09:05 PM   #6
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I'd like to get a school of hatchetfish for the top of the tank, but I don't want to overload too soon.
Good thinking....I suggest no new fish until the cycle is complete.The more fish the higher the spikes the more harm to the fish ect.
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Old 07-16-2006, 09:17 PM   #7
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Also, a good idea is weekly PWC's as well. Since you are cycling still, I'd do 20% weekly just to get some fresh water in the tank for the fish, or if the ammonia starts to rise faster, do larger PWC's. But it's always a good idea to do a weekly PWC. But like mentioned above, don't do any gravel vacs til you are completely cycled. And even after that, for the couple weeks after you are cycled, do a gravel vac on only half the tank one week, and the other half the next week. That will help make sure you have a good amount of bacteria in the system.
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Old 07-20-2006, 07:05 PM   #8
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Well it's been almost two weeks now, ammonia has been hovering between 0.75 and 0.25, nitrite and nitrate remain ND. I did a ~25% water change just now sans gravel vac with my python. Greatest invention ever. Not really an invention so much as a creative application of the water siphon. At any rate...

Since my ammonia level has been oscillating between 0.75 and 0.25 about every other day, I am assuming something is eating it and the concentrations of nitrite generated are below the limit of detection, likewise for nitrate.

Two questions:

One, many of the little card thingers at Petsmart say "Requires aquarium salt" but my local guy whom I trust much more than Petsmart never mentioned it. Who is correct?

Two, will my fish live for about two days while I am out of town this weekend? I'm sure they will, but I get nervous.

Make that three:

The barbs do this strange thing where they swim vertically downwards into the current of the circulating water from the pump and it looks really funny. I hope that nothing is wrong with them, like they are trying to run more water through their gills or something. Anyone else seen this before?
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