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Old 02-17-2012, 09:48 AM   #1
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fishless cycle and aqarium set up help

hey everybody, im new here and just wanting some advice... I started my tank up about 5 days ago, I washed the stones and plastic plants thoroughly and I've put a few live plants in there. I used a water conditioner initially as I was using tap water. Since then I've been using seachem 'stability' which apparently helps the filter mature. I dont have any fish in the tank yet and I dont plan on putting any in until the filter is doing its job properly, not too keen on the idea of lil fishes suffering.. anyway, I read somewhere about using fish food to help mature the filter so I've been trying it for the last few days. does this actually work or am I making things worse? I dont want to mess anything up. The tank has since gone kind of a cloudy milky white color... I tested the water for the first time today and my PH is currently 8.2, the ammonia levels are at 5, nitrite is at 4 and nitrate is at 0... is this normal? what kind of levels am I looking for? im guessing ammonia should be 0 but what about the rest? Also, should I be doing water changes at all at this point? I haven't really got any idea what I should be expecting. Sorry for the long ramble on but im very confused by it all at the moment so any help or advice would be fantastically appreciated. thanks very much in advance
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Old 02-17-2012, 10:05 AM   #2
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Hi and welcome!!! The cloudiness is either a bacterial bloom or its being caused by the fish food (which can get moldy & messy). It sounds like your right on track with an ammonia level of 5 & nitrite level of 4. Your ph is stable as well. So, no need for water changes at this point. You will just need to have some patience & wait for your ammonia & nitrite levels to zero out with a high amount of nitrates. When this happens, you are cycled! Ill post a link with some more infomation on fishless cycling- dont hesitate to ask questions!

The (almost) Complete Guide and FAQ to Fishless Cycling
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Old 02-17-2012, 10:08 AM   #3
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From the readings it looks like your cycling has started. Keep testing and you should see the ammonia and nitrites drop to zero and the nitrates start to climb. When that happens (and not before then) you can do a partial water change to drop the nitrates. Ideally you will want all of them to go to zero, especially the ammonia and nitrites. Some low level of nitrates is ok, but ammonia is always bad after the cycling is complete.
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Old 02-17-2012, 10:28 AM   #4
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Thanks very much for your quick replies and advice, I can stop panicking now hehe. I have the fish food tied up in some tights, its not floating round the tank if that makes any difference at all so hopefully its a bacterial bloom, i shall keep all possible bits crossed and keep testing thanks again
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Old 02-17-2012, 10:29 AM   #5
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also thanks for the link to the fishless cycle page, very very helpful
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Old 02-17-2012, 10:45 AM   #6
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Good luck!! Make sure you keep an eye on your ph- drops can stall your cycle & indicates its time for a big water change to re-establish buffers in your water.
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