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Old 03-04-2009, 02:00 PM   #1
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Nicks 10g FRESH Project w/ live plants

I am current working on cycling my 10gal setup while i plan out my 55g FOWLR setup. To date, this setup is 2 weeks old

The 10 gallon tank is newly setup by me from scratch and I used treated tap water to start. I have a pelican filter with biowheel, 50w heater and under gravel air tube on small air pump. I have about 7 various plants planted in the rocks and about 5 of the same type floating on the surface. The surface ones as this time take up about 25% of the surface. I have 13 tetras, 3 black fin, 3 serpae, 3 von rio, 3 cardinals and 2 neons. I know this is alot of fish, but i have been doing 20% changes every day now for a week since the ammonia has been rising. It will get to about 1.0 and il do the change and it goes back to .50. I think this should be fine until i get some bacteria growing. I did a test today at lunch and im finally getting some nitrite readings. It had been staying at 0ppm all week.. I didnt do a nitrate reading today, but it started kinda high, but it has been droping as i have been doing water changes i assume. Not sure where it orig came from, but it was there. Im using plant food and also using zyme that will inhibit the bacteria growth. Total time since first fish have been (originally just 6) in the water has been 2 weeks. Now i know this is way too many fish, but im thinking it will be ok if these fish are disposable in the end anyway. I keep this tank at 79F. pH 7.2

Granted, im new to all this, so chime in for my freshwater setup
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Old 03-04-2009, 02:01 PM   #2
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OK. My first problem with my freshwater tank.... Just got home for lunch and did my daily tests i have been doing of all the levels and my pH is reading 6.0. well it culd be less, because thats all my test does too, but its very light yellow... yesterday it was 7.2 and has been. one time went to 7.3 bu then back to 7.2... dont knwo what happend now. i guess all these water changes maybe?? i dont knwo much about pH yet except i knwo it needs to be 7.2 lol. Ok, im going to run to strore i found out about and see what type of rock they have available and pricing. I going to pick up a bottle of pH UP i guess, ,to try to save the fish.....

Update:

Ok i went to fish store and they said to stop changing out the water even if the ammonia gets high that im stalling the cycling, which makes sense, but im trying to save the fish, lol. ok, well i guess thats why the pH is down then.. I didnt buy any pH UP. Guy said just let it be. Ill start feeding them less. Lady told me to do just every other day.. i have been twice a day, but i have been making sure they eat it all..

To make note, the fish are starting to swim slanted and are acting more aggressive to each other. I assume im about to loose some..
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Old 03-04-2009, 02:24 PM   #3
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Ok, couple things. Yes, the tank is WAYYYY over stocked for being such a new tank. Second, I would do large water changes if ammonia or nitrItes get above .25ppm. Any readings higher than that could cause harm to your fish. It might not be noticable now but the fish will most likely have a shortened life span if exposed to high levels of ammonia or nitrite.

You don't NEED to have a pH of 7.2. If anything, a stable (consistent) pH is often better than buffering to get that 'perfect' pH. The fish don't like large swings in pH readings.

Do not add pH up or anything like that, it is a waste of money. Just send me $6 if you have extra money... lol just kidding

I would definately keep up on the water changes. It will not stall your cycle, only take longer to complete. After all, you want healthy fish.. or at least I do!

Like I said, I would do a large water change anytime you get an ammonia or nitrIte reading over .25ppm.

Post back if you have any more questions. Also, I would start looking for another LFS, they seem to be screwing you around.
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Old 03-04-2009, 02:29 PM   #4
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eh i was hoping not to hear that part of the LFS.. bleh.

WHen you say large, do you mean 20%? 75%? Ive been doing 15-20% changes everyday tryign to keep it under 1ppm of ammonia. Nitrite hasnt gone over 0 but one test, yesterday, and that was only to like .10 or so. Today, its back to 0. but i dont think thats because i have the right bacteria yet... but to make note, im using cycle stuff to promote growth of the bacteria.

I orig put a teaspoon or 2 of salt in there (as instructed by my LFS), but since my water changes, i have not replaced that salt. maybe thats why the pH is down now? but why so drastic overnight?? yesterday it was 7.2.
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Old 03-04-2009, 02:41 PM   #5
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I wouldn't use the cycle stuff, I got suckered too when I started out.. It is a waste of money, honestly. As far as the water changes, I would change however much it takes to get it back down under .25ppm. I would start with a 50%. I was in the same boat as you, got 3 danios the second day my tank was set up. Needless to say I will NEVER do that again. I spent weeks doing water changes of 30%+ EVERY day, sometimes three times a day.

I would also stop adding salt, tetras do not need it at all. Again, just wasting money. Its good that you haven't added anymore because a lot of people will keep adding and adding salt to their tanks during water changes and never measure the salinity of the water. This could be potentially harmful to your fish as well.
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Old 03-04-2009, 02:43 PM   #6
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Ok. was just trying for an answer to why my pH blew through the floor all of a sudden..

So what do i do about how many fish i have? does the fact that i have alot of plants in there affect any of this? or do i just keep changing the water out every day?
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Old 03-04-2009, 02:52 PM   #7
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I'm not sure why your pH dropped so much, others might be able to answer that.

Having live plants will help consume some of it but those levels are too high for the fish. Eventually having the plants will help keep things balanced but you are still over stocked. Keep changing the water... until your fingers look like raisins!!! LOL!
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Old 03-04-2009, 02:56 PM   #8
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how long is the cycle going to take if i keep doing a 30% every day?
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Old 03-04-2009, 09:01 PM   #9
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To work out why your pH dropped, we need to know what your pH was to start ... ie. what your tap water pH is. Sometime, tap water has dissolved gasses, or the water might have been limed (ie Ca(OH)2 added), and the water takes a day or two to settle out to the true pH.

To start, it would help to know the pH right out of the tap, and pH after the water had sat out in a container for a day or 2.

The other thing to know is the alkalinity of the water - its buffering capacity, or KH. <You can get a KH kit, or get a water report from your water company. We can infer the KH from pH, but that is not always accurate.>

In water with low KH, the pH is prone to crash, esp. with high bio-load, & during cycling. As others had mentioned, it is best to keep pH stable. For now, water change is what you need, and doing enough water changes will help keep the pH close to the tap's. If the pH remains unstable, there are ways to increase buffering capacity. <pH up, etc. are not good ways!>

You will slow down the cycle if you keep doing water changes. However, your fish will not tolerate too high ammonia or nitrite levels. It is a balancing act. With your fish, you really should be keeping levels below 0.25. At that kind of level, you will be looking at a few weeks, depending on tank temperature (4-6 weeks is my guess).
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Old 03-05-2009, 12:33 AM   #10
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Thanks for the info, that helps!

So lets say the fish die, or i take them out.. can i run a fishless cycle with ammonia for the bottle or decayed shrimp and not hurt the plants? whats the highest ammonia and No2 the plants can take? I guess im going to try to find some kind of phosphorus additive to speed it up and keep plants alive
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Old 03-05-2009, 12:49 AM   #11
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Myself I would beg a friend for some filter gunk to cycle my tank. I don't know what type of floating plants you have they would be fine most likely in a bucket if you are going to use ammonia to cycle the tank.

You are overstocked. The Von Rios are a beautiful fish but not for planted tanks, they love the young tender leaves. I came very close to getting 5 or 6 for my 50 gallon, I decided to come home and read up on them then take money back to the store. I go to LPS and LFS broke so I don't bring someone home and try to explain my logic to my son.
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Old 03-05-2009, 12:59 AM   #12
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Yes you can run a fishless cycle with pure ammonia (no soap stuff in it). I did my cycle with a dead shrimp and was finished in 4 weeks. Problem with your situation is that you have fish already (a problem i encountered with my shrimp). Plants can take large amounts of ammonia, but idk about No2. Plants consume ammonia and nitrate as far as I know. Make sure u have good lighting too.
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Old 03-05-2009, 09:26 AM   #13
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Yeah the Von Rios are pretty aggressive right now. One being hardly being without fins because the others are fighting with it and they are nibbled off, etc. Plants seem to be doing ok.. growing very fast. Think because i feed them twice a day, they are leaving the plants alone, but yes the von rios def eat more then the others, the neons being last in that list. Seems like the cardinals arent as bringht anymore either.. I did a 50% change last night and before that i was seeing .25 nitrite, so thats good, as my bacteria is forming. Its going to be interesting to see how the fish are going to take it as the nitrite rises with the ammonia lvls as well.. Ammonia was @ 1 before change and i got it back down to .25. and now nitrite is 0. It was 1am and i was half alseep, so i forgot to look at pH, but hopefully thats just going to stay stable staying at the tap water pH with all these changes ill be making.. im going to check pH of tank water and straight tap water today at lunch and get back to you guys. Ill also set out a tub of water for a couple days to do pH on that as well.
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Old 03-05-2009, 11:59 AM   #14
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Sounds like you got it under control now. Just keep up on those water changes and be patient. Let us know if you have any other problems. Good luck!
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Old 03-05-2009, 02:55 PM   #15
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...Ok i went to fish store and they said to stop changing out the water even if the ammonia gets high that im stalling the cycling...
Stalling the cycle? No
Lengthening the cycle's duratation? Yes. But then you made that choise (whether you ment to or not) when you decided to do a fishy cycle rather than a fishless cycle.

As you continue with the fishy cycle, you don't have to worry about ammonia levels in regards to the plants. They can handle much higher levels than the fish can. So you just have to keep worrying about the fish. Otherwise, I don't think the plants are going to make a big difference in your cycle. One of the main things plants do (among others) is absorb nitrate from your water as a fertilizer. But nitrate is the end product of cycling.

So I woud say ignore the plants and just keep doing daily tests for ammonia and nitrite and doing the daily PWC to keep those levels down. Expect the cycle to take about a month. It can take longer, and it might be shorter. But for me, it took right at a month to cycle a 10 gallon with a pair of goldfish, and it took right at a month to cycle a 5 gallon fishless.
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Old 03-05-2009, 03:05 PM   #16
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Yeah, thats why i started with the plants, thinking it would help with my nitrates at first. But im doing so many water changes, it doesnt matter anyway, lol.

I had enough time at lunch to do a few tests, but not all i wanted to.. this i what im at now. havent done water change since 1am

Ammonia .25, Nitrite .15, Nitrate 20, pH 6.0 or below

So the pH is still low, so im not really understanding, until i actually test the pH of the straight tap water, why the pH is so low now, whereas it was staying 7.2 before.. Not sure, but if i can keep it at wherever it is at now and keep that mark stable, i should be ok throughout finishing the cycle.

Nitrites are rising which is clearly a sign i have ammo>no2 bacteria, so thats great. Its going to be hard to see a big nitrate change with all my plants in there, but i should be getting some higher no3 readings in about a week and then im hoping for another week or 2 and i should start seeing 0 ammo and 0 no2 without having to clean water but every other day and shortly after, weeks apart.

Thanks for all the help guys =) This forum rocks!

Ill be in the saltwater section planing up my 55gal FOWLR project w/ sump!
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Old 03-05-2009, 03:30 PM   #17
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Nick,

Just curious, what kind of plants did you add to your tank?
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Old 03-05-2009, 04:56 PM   #18
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With the PWC that you are doing, pH should be really darn close to what your tap water is (or what ever water source you are using). Not to mention the fact that a pH of 6.0 is acidic (at least a little bit).

Is it possible that you are using rain water as a water source? When I looked up pH on wikipedia, they have a chart of the pH of various items. It shows that pure rain water in equilibrium with atmospheric CO2 has a pH of 5.6. I guess that could also mean that if you are injecting CO2 for your plants, that could be a source of what is changing the pH.

I would suggest that if you are not, you might want to consider using tap water, and I would suggest that you set some tap water in a bucket and leave it there for 24 Hours. Then test the pH of the tap water. What ever that reading is should be darn close to what the pH in your tank is. The only exceptions would be if the types of plants, substrait, or decoration, is doing something to the water to alter the pH.

Additionally, you might want to get a second opinion on your pH reading (perhaps you have a faulty test kit now and you need to compare it to someone else's reading).
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Old 03-05-2009, 05:00 PM   #19
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I am using tap water and de-chlor/zyme it before putting it in the tank. I am also using a liquid plant food that has mostly phosphates and iron. Besides that, the only thing else going in the tank is flake food and dried bloodworms.

I havent done anything different with chemicals since the start and maintained a consistant 7.2-7.3(1 time) for over a week.
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Old 03-05-2009, 05:01 PM   #20
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Cool HooKooDooKu, your in bham. Ill have to let you know if i ever make it out that way!
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