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Old 03-30-2013, 07:45 AM   #1
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New tank set-up.

Have a very small freshwater tank, a 3 gallon glass Mr. Aqua tank. (Yes, it's a tiny tank, but I live in a very tiny NYC apartment.)

Didn't have the patience to properly cycle the tank, because of my 4 year old boy who was going nuts for fish.

Started with 3 tiny Harlequin rasbora after running the tank for a week with chemical treatments using API Quick Start. Fast forward three weeks. The fish are doing OK.

I'm on the full suite of chemicals from API: Quick Start, Stress Zyme, Stress Coat, and Ammo Lock. Been testing every two days or so using API Freshwater Master Test Kit.

And I've been changing the water, maybe 20% or so, or been topping off the tank to compensate for evaporation every 3 to 4 days.

PH check - GOOD.
NITRITE TEST - 0 ppm
NITRATE TEST - 0 ppm
AMMONIA - INCONCLUSIVE.

Followed directions to the letter. Ammonia test shows 0.50 ppm or so more than 10 minutes after testing. But when I leave the test vial sitting overnight, the level rises to 8.0 ppm.

Is this supposed to happen?

Are the test results only good after 5 minutes or so as per the brochure? Does the color change over time giving off a false, high level result? Is that it?
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Old 03-30-2013, 09:21 AM   #2
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Yes the test changes color if you leave it out. To get an accurate reading you have to add drops from both the ammonia bottles in the right order, let the tube sit for 5 minutes and then check what it reads.

With that said, harlequins are too large and active for a 3 gal, so I'd suggest either returning them or upgrade to a larger tank if you can (minimum 20 gals). A 3 gal tank would make a nice shrimp tank, or a betta tank, but that's about it.

I also would stop with all the chemicals. The only thing you need is the dechlorinator; ditch the rest. Prime is one of the best dechlorinators out there if you can get it.

Here are some links if you haven't seen them already:
I just learned about cycling but I already have fish. What now?! - Aquarium Advice
Guide to Starting a Freshwater Aquarium - Aquarium Advice
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Old 03-30-2013, 09:23 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoredMan View Post
Have a very small freshwater tank, a 3 gallon glass Mr. Aqua tank. (Yes, it's a tiny tank, but I live in a very tiny NYC apartment.)

Didn't have the patience to properly cycle the tank, because of my 4 year old boy who was going nuts for fish.

Started with 3 tiny Harlequin rasbora after running the tank for a week with chemical treatments using API Quick Start. Fast forward three weeks. The fish are doing OK.

I'm on the full suite of chemicals from API: Quick Start, Stress Zyme, Stress Coat, and Ammo Lock. Been testing every two days or so using API Freshwater Master Test Kit.

And I've been changing the water, maybe 20% or so, or been topping off the tank to compensate for evaporation every 3 to 4 days.

PH check - GOOD.
NITRITE TEST - 0 ppm
NITRATE TEST - 0 ppm
AMMONIA - INCONCLUSIVE.

Followed directions to the letter. Ammonia test shows 0.50 ppm or so more than 10 minutes after testing. But when I leave the test vial sitting overnight, the level rises to 8.0 ppm.

Is this supposed to happen?

Are the test results only good after 5 minutes or so as per the brochure? Does the color change over time giving off a false, high level result? Is that it?
Usually, yes. Mine always rised like that when I forgot it there. The tests are active when you finish shaking the bottle.
Did you get an ammonia or nitrite spike? If not, then you might re check you're feeding or you're tank management, because you are at an advanced stage of cycling.
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Old 03-30-2013, 10:19 PM   #4
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Thank you for the advice.

Tried to adhere to the 1 fish per 1 gallon rule. The Harlequins I bought seem juvenile and not quite 1 inch big yet, so I will have to take action in the future when they do grow.

The chemicals are temporary until the tank is fully cycled. I really wanted to take the whole 4-6 weeks approach before adding the fish in, but my 4 year old was going nuts.



Quote:
Originally Posted by librarygirl View Post
Yes the test changes color if you leave it out. To get an accurate reading you have to add drops from both the ammonia bottles in the right order, let the tube sit for 5 minutes and then check what it reads.

With that said, harlequins are too large and active for a 3 gal, so I'd suggest either returning them or upgrade to a larger tank if you can (minimum 20 gals). A 3 gal tank would make a nice shrimp tank, or a betta tank, but that's about it.

I also would stop with all the chemicals. The only thing you need is the dechlorinator; ditch the rest. Prime is one of the best dechlorinators out there if you can get it.

Here are some links if you haven't seen them already:
I just learned about cycling but I already have fish. What now?! - Aquarium Advice
Guide to Starting a Freshwater Aquarium - Aquarium Advice
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Old 03-30-2013, 10:36 PM   #5
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I think I had the ammonia spike which prompted me to get the Ammonia Lock from API. And I did an emergency water change.

Pet store advised against changing the water until fully cycled. But I opted instead to do small changes and top-offs every several days.

Nitrite and Nitrate levels have been under control.

And I had the bacterial bloom as well which seems to have died down a bit. Still some cloudiness though with the Ammonia level holding at 0.25 ppm this whole week.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishanatic View Post
Usually, yes. Mine always rised like that when I forgot it there. The tests are active when you finish shaking the bottle.
Did you get an ammonia or nitrite spike? If not, then you might re check you're feeding or you're tank management, because you are at an advanced stage of cycling.
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Old 03-30-2013, 10:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoredMan View Post
I think I had the ammonia spike which prompted me to get the Ammonia Lock from API. And I did an emergency water change.

Pet store advised against changing the water until fully cycled. But I opted instead to do small changes and top-offs every several days.

Nitrite and Nitrate levels have been under control.

And I had the bacterial bloom as well which seems to have died down a bit. Still some cloudiness though with the Ammonia level holding at 0.25 ppm this whole week.
No need to use ammonia lock. Just do a 50% water change, wait a few hours. If still high, do another 50% water change.
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