Hey everyone.. Glad I found this place, seems like there is A LOT of valuable info here that is going to help me figure out what I am doing a little easier.
I currently have a 10 gallon tank with an Aqueon QuietFlow 10 filter. I placed some Aponogeton (sp?) bulbs in there when I set the tank up, and added my first 4 guppies to begin cycling after running the tank empty for about a week.
I was checking my Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate and pH levels daily after the fish were introduced, and changed 40-50% water when the levels would increase.. 3 of them didnt even make it 2 weeks and the last Gup was holding strong and is still in there at about the 6 week mark..
Last week, a buddy of mine at work brought in 7 baby cichlids (all 1" or smaller) which I brought home and added to the one lonely guppy that has been in there by itself for the previous 3-4 weeks. I didn't think this would be an issue since the Cichlids were so small and so far everything has been going well. The ciclids seem to love it in the tank, I love watching them go crazy at feeding time!..
My only concern at this point is that my tank is still not cycled and I am running for 6+ weeks.. I still have to change water (at about 40-50%) every 2-3 days at this point because the nitrite and nitrate levels seem to increase drastically while the ammonia stays at a safe level. I think this is because the plants are absorbing the ammonia?
Should I be changing the filter media in my QuietFlow during cycling? I noticed it has a lot of muck built up in the media and I don't know if I should leave it (for good bacteria) or just replace it with a new one and continue letting the tank do its thing.
Once I get the tank cycled, i am going to work a little more towards gearing my tank for Cichlids, possibly change the gravel over to sand (which I know is another process in itself) and add some more "cave-like" rocks and things for them to swim through. Probably will replace the real plants with fake ones too because these little guys like nibbling the roots of my Aponogetons..
Looking forward to getting some advice from you guys