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Old 10-11-2016, 08:49 PM   #1
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Hello From Texas!

Just want to introduce myself to everyone 😊
About me: Wife and stay at home mother of 2 elementary grade kiddos. First time fish owner and loving it!
About my fish/tank: 40gal tank housing 2 Black Mollies, 2 Red Platies, and 1 Common Pleco. Not planted(yet).

A couple months ago, we were given our fish tank. Hadn't been used in years. Anyway...Sept 24th I went to Petsmart to start getting it all set up. I bought a filter (Aqueon Quiet Flow 50), gravel, decorations, and water conditioner (Top Fin brand). Spent atleast 2 hours talking to the girl about all the steps I need to take to have a successful tank. I like to do things right the first time. Silly me, thinking I could trust this sales associate. I was told to set up my tank, fill it up, and let the filter run for 24 hours. Then it would be ready for fish. So did that. Went back and bought my 5 little loves. 5 fish were the amount I was recommended to start out with. Also, wasn't warned about how big common plecos actually get ( whole other story)...

So few days after adding my fish, I'm thinking everything is fine, I get on Google and learn about the Nitrogen cycle. Ummmm. Yeah. That would have been nice to know about before hand. I should have done my research, but, like I said, thought I could trust the "experts" at Petsmart. Lesson learned.

So, I bought an API testing kit and tested straight away and have been testing regularly since. Monitoring very closely, pretty much obsessively. Also I'm on Google and YouTube DAILY. Yesterday I bought a couple sponges to put in my filter (which has almost NO extra space for any type of media).

So here's my current conundrum. I don't need to be lectured about what ammonia and nitrite does to fish. I feel like if I watch another tutorial on cycling my head will explode. As of right now my levels are showing:

Ammonia: between .25 and .50
Nitrites: .25
Nitrates: 5.0
Also my ph is around 7.4

My tap water does have a bit of ammonia in it even after the conditioner (bad brand?)

Ammonia has been slowly going down. Nitrates popped up out of nowhere a week or so ago. And a couple days ago Nitrites finally started going up. I was under the impression that levels would spike dramatically which hasn't been the case. Everything has been frustratingly gradual.

Please PLEASE tell me that my tank is cycling!!

Sorry for such a long post. I hope there are members here that like to read 😕

I also get the impression that y'all like photos so I'll add a few 💙 Thank you in advance to anyone who is willing to take the time of day to read my novel and give advice. It is ALL welcomed and appreciated.

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Old 10-11-2016, 11:16 PM   #2
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Try Prime water conditioner for a little extra security for Fish in Cycling.

Have you read these 2 articles here on AA
Fish in cycling
Fish-in Cycling: Step over into the dark side - Aquarium Advice

I just learned about cycling but I already have fish. What now?! - Aquarium Advice

You need to do a pwc or 2 - say 50% then test for nitrites and if still NitrItes the do another until you do not have Nitrites. That can injure fish and they can die a couple weeks later. Also leave at least an inch of lower water level, even 2 so that the water coming back into the tank from the filter becomes more aerated. Or idf you have an extra air bubbler hook that up. Nitrites reduces O2 in the blood of the fish so they need lots of oxygen.
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Old 10-11-2016, 11:17 PM   #3
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Maybe you can return the Pleco in exchange for a Bristlenose or Clown Pleco.
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Old 10-11-2016, 11:26 PM   #4
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Thank you so much. Will take a look at the articles. I do plan on doing something with the pleco. The nearest pet shop, which is where I bought it, is 30+ miles away and I don't always have time to make the trip. Have heard good things about prime so I'll be buying a bottle next time I go. And possibly a marimo(sp?) moss ball. I hear they help the cycle.
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Old 10-11-2016, 11:28 PM   #5
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My tank seems to be extremely oxygenated...The fish are always in the middle or at the bottom. But will look into adding another bubbler too.
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Old 10-12-2016, 02:24 AM   #6
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The extra bubbler is mainly for the time during the NitrIte spiking. Doing sufficient pwc to get the number to 0 will be great.

Marimo moss balls do not help the cycle, per se. As a plant they will take in some nutrients from the water from the fish waste which is good. But all plants will do that in varying amounts some which grow fast use up more, like Hornwort, and Elodia or Anacharis for example. But Marimo balls are really cool and are a great addition to a tank either way!

Not an emergency for getting the Pleco changed but a very good idea.
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Old 10-12-2016, 02:43 AM   #7
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I did a about a 40% wc this morning then did another 50% wc tonight. Levels are still the same. Will do another wc in the morning. Thank you for your time and patience. I appreciate it 😊
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Old 10-12-2016, 03:29 AM   #8
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You might also test your tap water, often allowances from the water providers for yucky stuff like ammonia is a measureable amount, and more than we want in our tanks (not to mention in our drinking water )
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Old 10-13-2016, 12:27 AM   #9
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My tap water does show up as .25ppm in the ammonia test after the conditioner. Not sure what to do about that
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Old 10-14-2016, 11:38 AM   #10
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Hello From Texas!

Quote:
Originally Posted by WickedWiggy View Post
My tap water does show up as .25ppm in the ammonia test after the conditioner. Not sure what to do about that

You could set up a large drum with filter to cycle the water but if common hardy fish (and your tap ph isn't too high), I'd suspect small, regular water changes will be fine.

As mentioned above, I'd get seachem prime or similar (even just online) product that says it detoxifies ammonia. Seachem prime is just suggested a lot as it detoxifies quite a few things, as it gradually wears off after 24 to 48hrs your bio-filter should handle be able to handle the load once tank is cycled.

Out of interest what is tap ammonia before you add water conditioner?
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