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Old 01-26-2013, 11:33 AM   #1
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Cycling with an Apple Snail :/

Ugh! Where to begin. We have done everything wrong!!

My daughter has a 5 gallon tank that has been set up for about 3 weeks now. Sadly her grandfather took her to Walmart of all places to start. Originally the tank was overstocked and we lost all of the fish.

We decided to start over with two guppies and an apple snail. Sadly, they were not educated about the whole cycling thing so...they used distilled water and just put all the critters in. We lost both the guppies but still have the snail.

I have switched to treated tap water and have been testing the water daily. I've been changing out 20% of the water every other day. I know this slows the cycle but we've had ammonia spikes and I'm afraid of losing the snail. At several points I did add some Start Zyme too.

I've been using Prime for the past week to treat my tap water. I'm using the API Ammonia test kit. The lowest we've seen the ammonia go to is .25 but we keep yo-yoing back up to as high as 4.0 if I let it go for a few days. I've been using a 5-n-1 test strip and before today my nitrates and nitrates were 0.

Today the ammonia is reading 1.0 and my nitrite is at 3.0! Does this mean it's finally starting to cycle?! Should I treat the water or can my snail handle this?! I know I've probably messed around with the water too much but I'm just trying to keep this darn snail alive!!

Any thoughts would be appreciated!!!
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Old 01-26-2013, 11:45 AM   #2
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Hi and welcome! Changing to treated tap water was a good move.

First, I'd test your tap water for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate to see what you're starting with.

Looks like the cycle is starting, yes. Snails are as sensitive to toxins as fish, so I'd stay on top of the water changes. With ammonia at 1 and nitrite at 3, I'd d0 a 50% water change, wait a couple of hours and then do another. This should bring ammonia to about 0 and nitrites down to less than 1 (assuming your tap water has 0 ammonia and nitrite). Test again tomorrow and do a water change whenever ammonia or nitrite are over .25.

Here's a guide if you haven't seen it yet:
I just learned about cycling but I already have fish. What now?! - Aquarium Advice
and
Guide to Starting a Freshwater Aquarium - Aquarium Advice

Good luck and let us know if you have more questions.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:37 AM   #3
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Thanks!

Well...we've been doing the 50% water change for the past few days and our ammonia level is finally at 0! Yay! Our nitrites are still at 1. So obviously we are still not done. I've heard that the nitrite stage could take even longer than the ammonia stage. Is there any truth to that? Our ammonia phase lasted about a month for a 5 gallon tank!

So far Senor Sucky Face (yup, my 4 year old named him) seems to be doing well. He is about the size of a silver dollar. Any suggestions for tank mates when all is said and done?
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:50 PM   #4
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Yep, the nitrite phase is the longest I'm afraid. Try to keep nitrite as low as you can.

For stocking a 5 gal with an apple snail (which get fairly large) you're pretty limited. Best bet would be a betta (if it tolerates the snail). If you can upgrade to at least a 10 gal you'd have more options though.
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