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Old 05-02-2005, 12:13 AM   #1
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Starting Questions

I'll start with my story of woe. Tried a fishless cycle using Hagen's Cycle in Reverse Osmosis water. After 5 weeks there was no change in ammonia levels at all. I talked to an aquarium store guy who said 1) Living bacteria cannot survive in a bottle like Hagens (made sense). 2) Reverse Osmosis water is too pure, it has no bacteria in it at all like city water has. 3) A lot of the nitrifying bacteria come from the fish waste to begin with. After 5 weeks of no activity and based on what he said I drained my tank and filled it with city water (dechlor with tetra tank safe or whatever it is called). Let it sit for a day with everything running and added fish.

I have a 10 gallon Regent tank. I have 3 tetras in it (I think they are white tetras. I suspect they have been painted when we looked at them close at home so they are 2 pink and 1 blue. I am not thrilled about that but that is what I have at this point. Anyway . . .)

I think I understand the cycling process. Nitrifying bacteria will grow to change the ammonia into Nitrites, and bacteria will grow to change Nitrites into harmless Nitrates. This will take time. So . . .

What levels do I keep the ammonia at or under, and what levels to I keep the Nitrites at or under?
How often do I need to do my tests, is daily enough?
Can I do water changes with Reverse Osmosis water or does the new water need to be dechlorinated city water?
How much water do I change at a time?
Do I have to pre-heat the water for the water change?

I think that is all, but I might have missed something a full thesis on cycling with fish might even be of benefit.

Thanks a lot.
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Old 05-02-2005, 12:32 AM   #2
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You want the ammonia and nitrites to eventually get to zero. Testing daily is fine but every other day is fine too. If you plan to do ro then go ahead. The store was wrong about that. You just didn't have an ammonia source so your water couldn't cycle. After your cycle is complete(zero amm and nitrite) then do a 30%(appx)water change then slowly add your livestock. Then you can do weekly or every other week water changes of appx 10 to 20%. The temp and ph of the replacement water needs to be as close as possible to the tank water to prevent shock. Be sure to add your new fish a couple at a time to give your bio filter a chance to catch up to the bio load. When you clean your filters, be sure to change or clean only one part of the media at a time. For instance, change the carbon one time and the sponge the next time. If you change all your media at once you will be getting rid of the good bacteria and your tank will spike all over again.
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Old 05-02-2005, 05:27 AM   #3
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1. "What levels do I keep the ammonia at or under, and what levels to I keep the Nitrites at or under?"
While the cycle is happening keep the ammonia at about 1 to 1.5 ppm. Your nitrite you want to keep a little lower.

2. "How often do I need to do my tests, is daily enough?"
When cycling I did tests morning and evening. I always woke up in time to do a small pwc if needed. I did a test before and after the pwc's in the afternoon too. The one before tells you how much you need to change and the one after just sonfirms that you did it right.

3. "Can I do water changes with Reverse Osmosis water or does the new water need to be dechlorinated city water?"
Unless you have special conditions you need RO water for, then just use city water and dechlorinate it.

4. "How much water do I change at a time?"
Depends. a 20% change will dilute the levels of waste by 20%. If you have high readings then a larger pcw may be needed.

5. "Do I have to pre-heat the water for the water change?"
Only if you are doing large water changes eg greater than about 30%. OR if your water supply is cold the larger the difference in temp. between tap and tank the more the water will cool the tank water. Don't drop the water temp too much.
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Old 05-02-2005, 10:10 AM   #4
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Re: Starting Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smudgeboss
Can I do water changes with Reverse Osmosis water or does the new water need to be dechlorinated city water?
Fish won't be happy in straight RO water - if you use it for your water changes you should add something like Kent RO Right or Seachem Equilibrium to restore the hardness and alkalinity (not sure if Equilibrium restores alkalinity - might need to add baking soda too). With tetras you won't need to add much - they generally prefer soft water conditions.
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