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Old 09-03-2013, 02:54 PM   #1
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First stages of cycling, need help!

Hiya, I set up my 6 Gallon aquarium with t5 light, internal filter and pump, thermometer and artificial plants, arch and gravel. After a few days I bought 1 Zebra Danio which seemed in good health, and one apparently easy to grow live plant.

The first day I introduced the Danio aka "Spike" to the tank was sunday about 12 noon. I observed that his gills were maybe a little red, possible a little pinched belly. I thought maybe ammonia burning or something. I new that this might happen so I didn't change the water or do anything as I don't think changing water would be a good idea when trying to cycle a tank. He seemed very happy swimming against the current and learning his new surroundings. He stayed around the top at night when light went out for a while but it seemed like normal Danio behaviour.

However, the plant I introduced didn't seem to be doing well where I put it and parts of it was dying. So I moved it away from the strong current and took out the floating dead parts. By Tuesday 12 noon Spike was hiding either under the filter a bit lifeless opening and closing his mouth, or at the surface in the corners of the tank doing the same thing.

This was worrying me so I took out the plant and its dead bits which all smelt pretty bad. I did receive my test strip kit tuesday (today) however I only just realised it didn't have ammonia reading on it. Anyway, this is what it read in the tank when the plant was in it:

Nitrate: 0-10 mg/l
Nitrite: 0
Hardness: about 15d
Carbonate Hardness: 16d (which I realise is high?)
Ph: about 7.6-8
Chlorine: 0

I realise without ammonia reading it might be hard to help me. I am going to purchase a kit for this.

After I took the plant out I did about a 10% water change. Even though I had planned not to during cycling, but I did not intend of having a dying plant in the tank too. I also turned out the light and Spike isn't hiding in the corners looking limp and like he's gasping anymore. He's not his normal self which I guess is bad water quality due to cycling and me messing with his tank a bit. However, whenever I put the light on he goes back to the corner at the surface and does the same.

I don't know why he's doing that, or whether my 10% water change has helped or hindered. Also, how has the smelly sludgy plant changed my cycle?
Spike doesnt physically look bad and swims around with the light off.

Please help me, I really want to help my little guy.
Thanks!
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Old 09-03-2013, 04:15 PM   #2
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Ok im not going to dwell on mistakes about tank size for danios and fishin cycling but 5 gallons is horribly too small! 20gallons is too small unless a 20gallon long. Danios are fast swimming, fast moving fish which need lots of space to swim instead of hitting glass beofre hes even wiggled his tail fin. Id actually recommend taking him back and choosing different fish.

Changing water while cycling a tank with fish in is esssential or your fish will surffer and then die.

Fishless cycling is easy peasy and should be the first choice for anyone starting a new tank. Danios are scholling fish and need other danios around them to feel safe and secure, 6+ as a minimum.

Right, if you want to help him, change 40% of the water now.

Cycling a tank with one fish isnt the best idea for doing a fish in cycle either because the bacteria will only grow to the amount of ammonia/nitrite in the water given off by one fish. So when it comes to addding more fish youll have an ammonia spike and that again will harm or kill your fish.

Im actually going to suggest you take him back and do fishless cycle with me, ill dedicate my time to helping you every step of the way so in future you will know and can advise others the humane proper way of cycling a tank.

I will help either way, if you want to keep him you butchange the water whenever ammonia or nitrote reading above 0.5ppm to stop any suffering caused to dan the man.
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Old 09-03-2013, 04:47 PM   #3
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Confused.

Okay thank you for your reply. It is actually a 6g but okay they need a 20g. What would you suggest in this tank for future reference? The trouble is i'm getting different advice from everywhere. I was specific with my tank at the store and I knew danios were hardy fish used to cycle a tank. However I knew they were schooling fish but knew my tank was too small to cycle with two danios if I wanted other fish.
I have been advised that cycling with this fish needs about 20% WC daily to keep levels of nitrite and ammonia down. I live in the country and taking the fish back would be too stress-full I think. Since finding out about fishless cycle I do wish I had taken that route but it is too late now. I will really try and keep the guy happy while cycling by checking the water and doing water changes. If this is unfortunately unsuccessful I will go down the fishless route.
I do know its 1inch of fish per gallon. So if small schooling fish aren't good, what would be?

Thank you again!
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Old 09-03-2013, 07:01 PM   #4
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Yeah danio are quite hardy fish and are (wish i could say were) used for cycling new tanks.

Its easy to do a fish in cycle but water changes become tiring doing them daily for afew month until cycled. Fishless cycling requires alomst no water changes at all, only if the ph drops too low during the cycle which coukd hault or stall the cycle. It drops when acids are realsed as a by product of converting ammonia too nitrite.

As for fish, once cycled have a look at mini rasboras species. After seeing a planted tank containing discus with galaxy rasbora theyre stunning and look like miniture rainbow trout. These fosh will not tolerate ammonia in any amout.

If your danio does die and you plan to finish the cycling fishless dont take him out the tank until you secure an ammonia source, in theory you could actually just leave him in the tank to rot as he would be the perfect ammonia source for a cycle. But would i recommend that, ha no probably not.

The 1inch per gallon rule is kind of old fasioned now and doesnt always give a true reflection of stocking, due to filtration, water change routine and where the fish spends its time, i.e in the middle upper, bottom and so on.
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Old 09-03-2013, 07:42 PM   #5
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Is this okay?

Okay, I am prepared to keep up with water changes.

So, if I had good filtration and oxygenation and multi levelled my tank by putting maybe guppies and cory catfish in? 2 of each? Would that work? Would I have to rehome the zebra danio then as-well, or would he get along with the guppies as well as not overstock.

I made the mistake of saying the danio was my boyfriends and he doesnt understand aquariums as much as me so he doesn't want his "spike" to go. I don't know if I can have what I want now he's in there.
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Old 09-03-2013, 08:04 PM   #6
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A 5 gallon tank is too small for those fish. In fact in that size tank you could do a single Betta, a shrimp tank, or a few nano fish, many of which are quite striking. Nano fish that would be suitable would be Chili Rasbora's, Neon Rasbora's, Scarlet Badis pair, Clown Killifish, and several other nano species. In the future if you get another tank I would suggest getting at least a 20g and bigger still if possible.
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Old 09-03-2013, 08:09 PM   #7
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With such a small volume of water it will foul very quickly and youre very limited and because its so small the tank region/ filtration stocking approach wont work. 6gallon doesnt give you many fair options.

Corys need 20gallons minimum too. Have you seen cherry shrimp before? Theyre really beautiful and have a really interesting social behavior that extremely fun to watch. When kept in large groups and makes for a very active tank and you could have quite alot in there

Is the danio going back to the lfs after? when you say rehome i hope you dont mean the toilet.
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Old 09-03-2013, 08:43 PM   #8
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Oh my goodness no I don't mean the toilet! Haha. IF the shop will take him back I may do that, or find someone with a suitable aquarium that will take him. I want to try fish first but if it doesn't work I wouldn't mind shrimp. How about a single awesome betta fish. It's what I originally wanted any famously pretty ones you could suggest?
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Old 09-03-2013, 09:11 PM   #9
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I have a Betta in a 6 gallon Fluval Edge that is planted. It's the perfect size fish for that tank. There are tons of pretty Betta's and I suggest shopping around until you find one that catches your eye.
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Old 09-03-2013, 09:31 PM   #10
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As its a 6g which it's plenty big enough for 1 betta could I have something else like 4 neon tetra? Or some small bottom dweller of any sort?
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Old 09-03-2013, 09:33 PM   #11
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I know bettas can be aggressive but tetra are quite fast compared. That's my thinking anyway :S
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Old 09-03-2013, 09:42 PM   #12
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A lot depends on the individual Betta's personality. Some will tolerate other fish and some not. But you can usually add small cory cats which most Betta's leave alone. I believe it's because they are not brightly colored and they stay on the bottom. You could do 3-5 Pygmy or Dwarf Cory Cats.
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Old 09-03-2013, 09:47 PM   #13
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Yay, that would be a lovely outcome. I hope the store will take poor old danio. Would the small cory be okay in my size tank?
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Old 09-03-2013, 09:54 PM   #14
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Could also do a dwarf puffer fish. That's what I am getting when my 5g finishes cycling.
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Old 09-04-2013, 12:23 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissPufferfish View Post
Yay, that would be a lovely outcome. I hope the store will take poor old danio. Would the small cory be okay in my size tank?
No the tanks is too small.
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