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Old 03-10-2015, 09:28 PM   #1
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Fish in cycle confusion!

Hello. I am currently doing a fish-in cycle with a 20 gallon Freshwater tank. I am using 2 zebra danios, in which I plan on keeping after the cycle is complete. I am using the Api Master test kit so my tests are accurate. I know how to use them.* (Don't tell me I might be using them wrong because I'm not.) So far, the cycle has been going on for 3 months and two weeks. I started the cycle on December 3rd 2014. I am a little confused about what is going on in my tank. I followed the proper procedures of doing 25-30% water changes everyday to reduce the ammonia amounts to under .25 ppm so the fish wouldn't die. After 2 months the ammonia finally dropped to zero. And no nitrites or nitrates appeared. I waited. On the 3rd month, the ammonia began to rise again* But no nitrites or nitrates ever rose.* I did water changes to keep the ammonia down. Three days ago , I tested, and it was .50 ppm of ammonia , no nitrite, and 2 ppm of nitrate. I did a water change to get the ammonia down under .25 ppm. Two days later (today) it is now* .25 ppm of ammonia, 0 nitrites, and 5 ppm nitrates. I noticed the ammonia is going down and the nitrates are rising. But still no nitrites. What now?
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Old 03-10-2015, 09:32 PM   #2
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My tank cycled with fish-in and I never saw nitrites. It can happen. It sounds to me like you are finally getting the cycle going. Hopefully it won't be long now.


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Old 03-11-2015, 12:11 PM   #3
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Fish In Tank Cycling

Hello Frank...

A couple of things: Danios need numbers to do well in any tank. 8 to 10 is the least number of fish for this species to do well. They're very active swimmers and need a bit of space. But, since you have them.

20 gallons is quite a bit of water. I don't think two fish are enough to produce the steady source of ammonia needed to begin the nitrogen cycle. You'll need 5 or 6. Add more later, once the tank is cycled. Add some floating plants to help keep the tank water a bit more stable between water changes.

You should test the water daily for traces of ammonia and nitrite. If you have a positive test, remove and replace 25 percent of the tank water with new, treated tap water. Test daily and change the water when needed. When you have several daily tests with no traces of the above forms of nitrogen, the tank is cycled. At this point, you change half the water every few days for the life of the tank.

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Old 03-11-2015, 05:24 PM   #4
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Thanks Lotocus. Hopefully it does finish already. I've been waiting too long. And @ BBradbury : You helped me 0%. -_-
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Old 03-11-2015, 06:09 PM   #5
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Hello Frank...
20 gallons is quite a bit of water. I don't think two fish are enough to produce the steady source of ammonia needed to begin the nitrogen cycle. You'll need 5 or 6. Add more later, once the tank is cycled. Add some floating plants to help keep the tank water a bit more stable between water changes.
No...

If the 2 fish wasn't enough to cycle the tank then he wouldn't be seeing ammonia levels.

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Thanks Lotocus. Hopefully it does finish already. I've been waiting too long. And @ BBradbury : You helped me 0%. -_-
It's not unusual to be seeing 0ppm of nitrites throughout a fish in cycle. It's something that happens now and then.

I( would personally be more worried about the ammonia levels that keep increasing. Do you change your filter cartridge on a regular basis? If so, that would explain the current ammonia levels.

Lastly, I wouldn't worry about doing a water change at 0.25ppm ammonia level. That particular level is perfectly safe for fish. When it rises above that is when you should be doing the water changes.
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Old 03-11-2015, 06:22 PM   #6
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Are you using a water treatment/dechlorinator?

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Old 03-11-2015, 06:46 PM   #7
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I am using a dechlorinator. The ammonia is actually decreasing and the nitrate is increasing. The nitrite still remains at 0.
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Old 03-11-2015, 06:55 PM   #8
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Have you tested your tap/source water for ammonia? What type dechlorinator?

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Old 03-11-2015, 07:07 PM   #9
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I am using the API Stress Coat +. I have tested the tap water and it does have some ammonia. My cycle must be progressing because the nitrate levels are rising and ammonia is decreasing.
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Old 03-11-2015, 07:32 PM   #10
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I'd reccomended using prime, just to rule out variables. I didn't have much luck with api as a conditioner with my tap, registered ammonia as well.

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Old 03-11-2015, 08:25 PM   #11
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I am using the API Stress Coat +. I have tested the tap water and it does have some ammonia. My cycle must be progressing because the nitrate levels are rising and ammonia is decreasing.

As far as I know API stress coat doesn't detoxify ammonia. You would need API ammono lock for that but prime could cover everything.
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Old 03-11-2015, 08:47 PM   #12
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As far as I know API stress coat doesn't detoxify ammonia. You would need API ammono lock for that but prime could cover everything.
Not sure it helps with chloramines?? Could be wrong though, either way.. from personal experience, when I had a tough initial cycle... prime seemed to right the ship..

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Old 03-11-2015, 09:10 PM   #13
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Not sure it helps with chloramines?? Could be wrong though, either way.. from personal experience, when I had a tough initial cycle... prime seemed to right the ship..

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I think that's it. It breaks the bond but doesn't detoxify ammonia. Must go check API site (again). Ian(?) got me onto seachem safe and that's been great as long as you never smell it. Only one family member was that foolish but on the plus side I find garbage night no longer a problem
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Old 03-11-2015, 09:24 PM   #14
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+1 on the prime. Plus it's way more concentrated than anything else so you use less of it and it lasts longer. To me, it sounds like you are getting there.


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Old 03-11-2015, 10:46 PM   #15
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I think that's it. It breaks the bond but doesn't detoxify ammonia. Must go check API site (again). Ian(?) got me onto seachem safe and that's been great as long as you never smell it. Only one family member was that foolish but on the plus side I find garbage night no longer a problem
I don't mind the smell of safe! Its actually easier than the liquid, i just "borrowed" a teaspoon from my gf ' s fancy measuring set

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Old 03-12-2015, 07:13 AM   #16
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I might have missed it but what kind of filter are you using?
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Old 03-12-2015, 07:22 AM   #17
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I still dont get why people dont do fishless cycles. Much easier to control the cycle and cleaner. Plus in my opinion it works out quicker im most ocassions. Some people just dont have any patience they get a new tank and need fish in it straight away.

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Old 03-12-2015, 08:06 AM   #18
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I might have missed it but what kind of filter are you using?

+1. And what maintenance has been performed since startup?


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Old 03-12-2015, 08:36 AM   #19
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I still dont get why people dont do fishless cycles. Much easier to control the cycle and cleaner. Plus in my opinion it works out quicker im most ocassions. Some people just dont have any patience they get a new tank and need fish in it straight away.

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Nothing wrong with fish in cycle, I've done it in many tanks and so have others without issues and it's not any slower or faster than any other method.
There are many factors with any cycling that affects the time involved, patience is one of them.


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Old 03-12-2015, 10:37 AM   #20
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I still dont get why people dont do fishless cycles. Much easier to control the cycle and cleaner. Plus in my opinion it works out quicker im most ocassions. Some people just dont have any patience they get a new tank and need fish in it straight away.

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Opinion... nothing wrong with fish in..

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