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Old 01-10-2017, 11:11 AM   #1
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Tank still won't cycle! Add more fish?

Hey guys-

I have a 20g tank with 5 Zebra Danios in it that I am doing a fish-in cycle with, or attempting to.

I have been testing water chem daily with API test strips and the levels have not changed in over a week. I initially put only three in, no change for a week, then added two more, still no change for another close to a week.

I know Zebra Danios have a very small biological footprint, and I am on the lower end of the 3-4 fish per 10g stocking rule (I figure after substrate and plants my true tank space is like 18.5 gallons or so).

Would it be safe to add 3 or 4 White Skirts in here to speed up the cycle? I do not want anymore Danios (I realize I am one short of a true school, but they seem happy).

I am okay with doing water changes every other day or so, I just want this tank to start cycling so I can add some otos and a Ram or two in a couple of months.
Thanks.
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Old 01-10-2017, 04:13 PM   #2
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Fish-in cycles take a *long* time. Don't add more fish until it's done.

When you use up your strips, get the API master test kit. Much more accurate and economical.
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Old 01-10-2017, 04:41 PM   #3
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spa...

How often are you feeding the fish? When you cycle a tank with fish, you have to feed them a little every day or two to maintain a source of ammonia. Add some floating plants like Water lettuce, Hornwort or Anacharis. These will help steady the tank water between water changes.

5 small fish doesn't generate much waste material. But, be patient and test the water daily for traces of ammonia and nitrite. If you get a positive test, remove 5 gallons and replace it with pure, treated tap water. Just continue to test daily and change the water when needed. This process can take several weeks.

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Old 01-10-2017, 04:50 PM   #4
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I have been feeding them twice per day with smallish feedings.

I went out and bought the API master test kit as I didn't trust the strips. It is giving me an ammonia reading og 0.25 where as the strips said 0, so this is good.

I will continue to use the test kit and do a partial change once it gets to 0.5ppm.

Thanks!
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Old 01-10-2017, 06:50 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nirbhao View Post
Fish-in cycles take a *long* time. Don't add more fish until it's done.

When you use up your strips, get the API master test kit. Much more accurate and economical.
I did the same mistake...
9 weeks it took to finally balance out! But now it's a happy tank that has spot on chemistry.
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Old 01-10-2017, 06:54 PM   #6
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This is why I don't like fish in cycling With the ammonia reading you're getting it sounds like you're on track. Fishkeeping is a hobby that rewards patience and diligence so keep it up
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Old 01-11-2017, 10:13 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spaullba View Post
I have been feeding them twice per day with smallish feedings.



I went out and bought the API master test kit as I didn't trust the strips. It is giving me an ammonia reading og 0.25 where as the strips said 0, so this is good.



I will continue to use the test kit and do a partial change once it gets to 0.5ppm.



Thanks!


Same experience - test strips here under-read compared to master test kit.
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Old 01-13-2017, 04:41 PM   #8
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Took mine around 2 months using the fish in cycle, and it wasn't a good experience. I knew more about fish keeping before I got a thank I would have got fishless.
But now your doing it, keep on with water changed around 50% daily if poss if not every other.

And get API master test kit, loads more accurate
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Old 01-13-2017, 06:48 PM   #9
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I'm so glad to hear that no one is attacking you for fish in cycling. You seem to be doing it responsibly and like you know what you're doing. I've been relentlessly and aggressively attacked for my decisions to do fish in cycles.

Fish in cycles do take time. My current 29gallon tank took 2-3 months because I waited so long to add more fish, kind of an extra precaution or whatever. It wasn't a bad experience, and it worked for me. Fishless is obviously better but If done right, under the right circumstances, it's not a big deal. Good to hear you got the master test kit and now know what you're dealing with. Like others have said, and as I'm sure you know, wait until at least your ammonia is down to zero, and preferably nitrites as well, to add more fish. (Readings should read zero before you perform your next water change, not after obviously.) haha don't mean to patronize/condescend, apologies if so. Good luck.
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Old 01-15-2017, 03:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxhrbal View Post
I'm so glad to hear that no one is attacking you for fish in cycling. You seem to be doing it responsibly and like you know what you're doing. I've been relentlessly and aggressively attacked for my decisions to do fish in cycles.

Fish in cycles do take time. My current 29gallon tank took 2-3 months because I waited so long to add more fish, kind of an extra precaution or whatever. It wasn't a bad experience, and it worked for me. Fishless is obviously better but If done right, under the right circumstances, it's not a big deal. Good to hear you got the master test kit and now know what you're dealing with. Like others have said, and as I'm sure you know, wait until at least your ammonia is down to zero, and preferably nitrites as well, to add more fish. (Readings should read zero before you perform your next water change, not after obviously.) haha don't mean to patronize/condescend, apologies if so. Good luck.
P.s. Pictures are always cool
I think the problem with fish in cycling comes from the fact that many who do it don't actually know what they're doing or do it wrong- like for example, when I started, people suggesting to me to just dump a bunch of feeder goldfish into my tank and ignore them for a month to start it up. A lot of fish in cycling threads end up sounding something like that. But done correctly it's fine. Not my prefered method, but that's because I'm lazy and I'd rather just dump ammonia and mostly forget about it, not because I think it's bad

(edited to add: OP you are in the category of "doing it correctly", just to be clear )
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