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Old 08-21-2006, 12:49 PM   #1
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Water Changes While Cycling With Fish?

When doing water changes when cycling with fish what percentage of the water should i change at a time? I'm doing 1/3 change a day, but have read that I should do less so that the bacteria have enough ammonia to work with. What level of ammonia should I stay below? It's currently 0.5ppm. Also, is it true that if the pH is below 7 then the ammonia is not as lethal to the fish as it is if it's above 7?
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Old 08-21-2006, 01:12 PM   #2
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Try to keep the ammonia and nitrite levels below .5 ppm. I'm currently cycling my tank and im getting
ammonia: .5 ppm nitrite .5ppm and nitrate 0 ppm

If your ammonia or nitrite levels rise to 1 ppm or above, I'd do a 10 - 20 % water change. This should drop the levels a good bit. So far I've been doing 20 % water changes everyday, and it's doing a good job of keeping the ammonia and nitrite levels under control.

Hope this helped,
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Old 08-21-2006, 01:14 PM   #3
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You want to stay below 0.5ppm ammonia and 0.5ppm nitrIte.

You have to sacrifice the slight slowdown of the cycle for the health of the fish.

And yes, the lower the pH the less amount of the toxic form of ammonia is present (more NH4 than NH3+). That is why we suggest less than 0.5ppm as a broad rule.

And its not the amount of water changed per day, but that you stay below the 0.5ppm level. If that means a 10% change or a 90% change, for the health of the fish you need to get below the 0.5ppm level.
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Old 08-21-2006, 01:16 PM   #4
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Enigma's right, don't worry about the cycle taking longer because you have to do a water change, do whatever's best for the fish.

-Blizzard.
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Old 08-21-2006, 01:26 PM   #5
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I kept my level below .5-1 ppm by doing 25-50 percent water changes frequently, it took exactly one month to cycle.
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Old 08-21-2006, 01:29 PM   #6
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Cheers, I'll keep doing 1/3 pwc a day, that seems to be keeping it at or below 0.5ppm.
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Old 08-21-2006, 01:35 PM   #7
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Do you know anyone that has a fish tank setup or a LFS that would be willing to give/sell you used gravel/filter media/plastic plants? That will help to speed up your cycle quite a bit.

Just keep whatever you buy wet in the tank water until you can put it in your tank at home.
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Old 08-21-2006, 01:40 PM   #8
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I'll have an ask around, best bet would be the plants because I can't have gravel. I've got ceramic media instead. Actually someone I work with is getting rid of his fishtank so might be able to get some plants off him.
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Old 08-22-2006, 07:44 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by hoppershaun
I'll have an ask around, best bet would be the plants because I can't have gravel. I've got ceramic media instead. Actually someone I work with is getting rid of his fishtank so might be able to get some plants off him.
Get the gravel! You can put the gravel in a filter insert if your filter uses inserts. You can put the gravel in a new washed (by hand with tap water) stocking/panty hose and sit it in the tank. Every day or so with a clean hand squish the bag to cloud the water (bacteria is now free floating around the tank, and new nutrients are distributed throughout the bag).

When I fishless cycled my tank in 17 days I only had 1 small tupperware container of gravel from a friends tank. I took one handful and put it in my AquaClear filter (in an insert mesh bag thing), and the rest went in the foot of clean pantyhose (my wife thought I was crazy when I asked her to buy me some panty hose.... ). I would come home from work each day and squish the bag just sitting in the tank, and very quickly cycled. Had I had filter media (much better than just gravel) I probably could have cycled in a week or less!!

This way you will get the benefit of having more filter media without the mess of mixing substrates.
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Old 08-22-2006, 10:19 AM   #10
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Good idea! I'll defo see if I can get some gravel. Would I have to leave the gravel in when the tank is cycled, or will I just be able to remove it?
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Old 08-22-2006, 10:40 AM   #11
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Put it in the filter or put it in a stocking and toss it in the tank. When the cycle is over you can remove it.
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Old 08-22-2006, 10:46 AM   #12
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Leave it in for a couple weeks after your cycle is over (the fish won't mind), since you don't want to have a minicycle if the stocking was actively removing ammonia.

I kept mine in the tank for about a month after and never saw even a hint of ammonia and nitrIte with a full stocking of fish.
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Old 08-22-2006, 03:13 PM   #13
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Ok, got the gravel from my friend and put it into a stocking and then into the tank. I've only put a handful in and have some gravel left over. Should I put it all in?
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Old 08-22-2006, 03:38 PM   #14
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If you can fit it in the stocking, then go ahead. The more bacteria the merrier.

You did keep it wet right?
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Old 08-22-2006, 04:23 PM   #15
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Yeah, kept it wet. I'll put it all in then.
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