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Old 08-30-2013, 01:42 PM   #1
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Trouble cycling?

First tank, doing a simple 20g freshwater with your common fishes. I filled it up and let it run for a few days and then bought a 5" pleco. He's been fine, other than I worry about him having enough to eat because he shows no interest in the food I give him and there isn't much (if any) algae on the glass.

About 10 days later I introduced 5 neon tetras and they did good at first, bit in the last 5 days I've lost 3 of them, and I think a 4th is about to go No more fish until I get it established and don't have to worry as much...

NO3 is 0, N02 is virtually 0, but I'm having trouble keeping ammonia <2ppm even with .3 & .5 WC and vacuuming. No live plants, and I keep the fish waste down as much as possible, even if I have to rake the gravel by hand. Filter is over-sized and moves plenty of water (as well as gather the dead neons).

Tap water reads about 7.2-7.4 pH and no detectable ammonia.

Only thing I can think of is that our water is chlorinated and preventing the necessary bacteria growth, but I doubt that with our country bumpkin water supply...

???
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Old 08-31-2013, 12:30 AM   #2
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How long have you had fish in this tank exactly? It sounds like your just starting a fish-in cycle with ammonia spiking. Bad news is a fish-in cycle can take 6-8wks or longer.

As your ammonia is high, you will need to do no less than 50% water changes daily (or more often) to bring this under control and keep it controlled. When your nitrite spikes (it will!), your going to be doing frequent water changes as well. Ideally, you should aim to keep toxin levels at or below .25ppm. No more fish until the cycle is complete. Have some patience!
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Old 08-31-2013, 12:56 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reassurance. I will keep regular with the wc and cleaning and hopefully it becomes established before the end of September. Amazing how fish can live in any ol' mudhole in nature, but need a butler to live in a well kept tank, lol.

Also, a little note on my neon tetras. I had one male and four females and the females died one-by-one. The last female kicked the bucket today. However, this morning I saw the male tetra attacking her, which I thought was very awkward since tetras as about as docile as they come...

I wonder if he was slapping them all around, or just coincidence.
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Old 08-31-2013, 01:53 AM   #4
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I do not keep neons so I can not advise whether his behavior is typical for the species. I do believe though the high ammonia levels were the largest contributing factor in fish demise here. Keep the water healthy and this won't be a factor in the future. Hopefully, someone else will jump in here that can offer a bit more insight on your male's behavior!
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