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Old 12-05-2005, 04:25 PM   #1
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"STILL" trying to learn


Remember me? The dummy that cleaned her tank from top to bottom and bought over 20 fish and stuck them in immediately? Hmm. Well, things are a little bit better but I'm sure having a hard time trying to understand this cycling process. It's all new to me..no wonder all of my fish in the past years have died. I always thought it was just something fish did. Thinking No wonder fish were so cheap at the store..Some died from the shock of transport and some didn't. I have read and read and read different web sites and posts and have decided I must need a 3rd grade science book to understand it all. Can anyone direct me to a web site that is understandable? Something is just not clicking here. I bought the test kit and matched up the colors as best as possible. Nitrates in safe area says 20. Nitrites says caution .5 Hardness 25 very soft, alkalinity must be off the page because I saw a blue color not even listed. And PH very red 8.4. Ammonia is in between safe and stress. .25-.5 Im doing my daily water changes, taking about 1/4 to 1/3 water out(what a chore) but also read if I take too much out my cycle process won't start. Unreal...anybody want to buy a tank? Ha. And here I was bad-mouthing Walmart for diseased fish and it's been my fault all along. I guess the theory "if the water is good enough to drink, it should be good for fish isnt true. My opinion was the cleaner the better. NOT! Alot to learn. Thanx so much.
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Old 12-05-2005, 04:48 PM   #2
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You don't need a website since you have AA right at your fingertips. Here's a simple understanding of the nitrogen cycle:

"Fish produce waste while in the "box of water". This waste over time can become toxic. These waste products are known as ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Nature has provided for the elimination of these wastes with some very interesting bacteria known as nitrosomas and nitrobacter. The first one consumes ammonia, converting it to nitrite. The second converts nitrite to nitrate. Where does this bacteria come from? It is everywhere and always has been.

In order to establish healthy colonies of these nitrifying bacteria and keep our tanks toxin free, an ammonia source is needed in the tank from the very beginning. Fish are a natural ammonia source, but the problem is trying to balance the needs of the fish (low toxins) and not killing off the nitrifying bacteria.

It is common knowledge that levels of toxins above 1ppm are harmful to fish, so partial water changes are recommended. This lowers the toxin level and keeps the fish happy. But, if we disturb the breeding grounds of bacteria (filter media, gravel, decorations) we can accidentally kill the bacteria and this will start the cycle over again (commonly known as a "mini-cycle").

Once sufficient colonies of nitrifying bacteria are established, ammonia and nitrite are undetectable and a decent (but not harmful) amount of nitrate is left behind (20ppm is the recommended "decent" level).

The trick to all of this is actually a delicate balancing act. Test kits will tell us when we are in danger and we can make the necessary adjustment. This takes a lot of patience and dedication (when you think about it, you are trying to keep a sufficient amount of toxins in the tank while at the same time, limiting the amount to keep fish healthy).

There is little more to it but that is the simple version. HTH.
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Old 12-05-2005, 04:59 PM   #3
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Here's a couple sites that might help some. The second link is the toxicity levels of ammonia and how it affects fish.

http://www.pcpages.com/fish/nitrogen1.html

http://www.goldfishinfo.com/ammonia.htm

First, in a new tank, your parameters should be 0, or close to 0. When fish are introduced, and food, the fish gives off waste, poo and ammonia. Also, decaying food gives off ammonia. This is where it all starts, ammonia will rise.

Once ammonia begins to rise, the beneficial bacteria will turn on, come to life. It normally takes 3-4 weeks for the bacteria to multiply enough to keep your ammonia levels at 0.

Once the first bacteria starts doing it's thing, it in turn gives off nitrite. This is also extremely toxic to the fish. During this second phase, as the ammonia is coming down from it's spike, you will see nitrites rise. This is usually the biggest killer of fish as it takes a bit longer for the 2nd bacteria to multiply. At this stage, the 2nd bacteria type will kick in and start to multiply. This will generally take 4-6 weeks til you get enough bacteria multiplied to keep your nitrite levels at 0. Also during this phase, you should see ammonia drop to 0 as the nitrites are rising.

Once enough bacteria is in the tank, the level should drop off to 0. Then all that's left is nitrates, which is what the nitrite bacteria give off. Nitrates are not near as toxic to the fish as ammonia or nitrite, but nevertheless, is toxic in higher ammounts. That is the reason for regular PWC's, to keep the nitrate level down. And if you have a planted tank, you may not have to do many PWC's at all, as plants will take in the nitrate as food.

So, in a nut shell, cycling can take 6-8 weeks, occasionally longer, sometimes shorter, but generally 6-8 weeks. If cycling without fish, you won't need to do PWC's. But if you have fish in the tank, you will be doing lots of PWC's, almost daily for that 6-8 week period, or fish will start dying off. Also, monitor with a good test kit, keeping ammonia and nitrite below 1 if possible during the cycle. But lower is better. You can generally keep this level with 30-50% changes every day or every other day. When I cycled my 26G with fish, I did 50% changes every other day, and I still did lose a couple fish. But I now cycled my 55G fishless, and just recently moved my fish to the new tank. It only took 19 days, as I used some media from my cycled tank, as well as added water from my cycled tank when I did gravel vacs to my new tank. Could have been quicker if I would have been able to use some of the gravel from the cycled tank, but I'm using pool filter sand in the new tank.

Hope this helps. I tried to find the chart for the nitrogen cycle, but couldn't find it. If I do, will post it also. Or if anyone else knows, they may post as well. HTH
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Old 12-06-2005, 05:48 PM   #4
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Im starting to understand a little bit better...I did order the bio-spira last night and it should be here tomorrow. Ive read so much on this topic I'm dreaming fish poo while I sleep. The links were great. Now if only my tank will cooperate.
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Old 12-06-2005, 11:12 PM   #5
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When you add the Bio Spira, do a quick PWC first, then add it. Give it a day or 2 to kick in, you should start seeing results pretty quick. Just remember, test your water daily for the next few days after adding the Bio Spira and let us know how things go for you.
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Old 12-06-2005, 11:15 PM   #6
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If it does not arrive cold do not use it. Demand a refund it needs to be refridgerated.
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Old 12-06-2005, 11:22 PM   #7
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Very true, it needs to be cold. They usually pack it well with cold packs, but do be sure it's cold when you get it. When you get it, and know it's cold, place it in the fridge til you do the water change, then take it out and add it.
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Old 12-07-2005, 12:00 AM   #8
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I just now finished with another water change. I ordered the stuff from the fish store online and they said it will be ok. It is also very cold here in Indiana, 5 degrees, so hopefully if they didnt pack it right it will be cold from the weather. Its coming UPS supposedly. ?? Im really suprised that these little fish put off so much ammonia in a days time. I have a 5-6 inch algea eater in the tank...maybe he's the big producer. Maybe I'll fry him up.
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Old 12-07-2005, 04:33 PM   #9
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Oh no...UPS drove right on past today. Hope the stuff comes tomorrow.
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