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Old 09-22-2020, 02:00 PM   #1
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Fish-in cycle getting close hopefully

20g, 2 male Platy, 1 male swordtail, aquarium has been running for 3 weeks. Finally got the liquid test kit 5 days ago and have been testing daily along with water changes and dosing with Seachem Prime and Stability. Used Tetra safestart 3+ weeks ago a couple days before adding fish.

Today's test results:
Ammonia: zero/yellow (if not zero then very very close). Has been consistently .25
Nitrites: zero (has been consistently zero)
Nitrates: 5-10 (also has been this consistently)
pH: 7.8ish
Temp: 77.5-79 depending on room temp

So now that I got to zero ammonia, my next steps are to keep testing daily, water change as necessary if ammonia goes up, and try to get zero ammonia for a week?
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Old 09-22-2020, 08:27 PM   #2
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You'll want to keep watching for nitrites as well. I always double dose the tank with prime every 24 hours if I'm cycling and there are detectable nitrites or ammonia.

It sounds like you're on top of it. I don't like to let ammonia or nitrites go above .25 when I'm doing a fish in cycle.
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Old 09-23-2020, 09:57 AM   #3
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Thanks. I've been consistently at 0 with nitrites but have had nitrates present which doesn't seem to follow the typical cycle model. I suppose it is fine if it stays that way.
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Old 09-23-2020, 04:42 PM   #4
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Second day in a row of 0 (or close to it since I'm awful with these color results) for ammonia. Nitrites was 0 again. Nitrates was between 5-10.
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Old 09-23-2020, 05:01 PM   #5
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So your nitrates are staying at a consistent 5-10? It's possible your tap water has these nitrates present normally. You could test your tap water for nitrates if you haven't already.
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Old 09-23-2020, 06:44 PM   #6
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I'll test that tomorrow. Good idea
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Old 09-24-2020, 12:15 PM   #7
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Hmm, may have spoken too soon on this. Took your advice and tested the tap. Came out essentially the same shade of orange (5-10ppm) as my tank test. Probably means BB isn't up to the task yet and not producing enough nitrates to add to the background from the tap.

Checked my city water report and it lists nitrates as 1.3ppm.

Left is tap, right is tank
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Old 09-24-2020, 07:36 PM   #8
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Yeah, it looks the same to me too. I'm not sure what this means for where you are at with your cycle.
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Old 09-25-2020, 07:55 AM   #9
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I suppose it means I just keep plugging away with daily tests and water changes if ammonia/nitrites go up. When I'm looking for nitrates, I guess I know what the baseline is so it will need to be above this 5-10 range.
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Old 09-25-2020, 07:34 PM   #10
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Total new guy here obviously, but is it possible that my BB don't have enough ammonia to really start cycling the tank? Should I wait for ammonia to get to .5 before I water change? I've been water changing when it read .25.
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Old 09-26-2020, 05:27 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris1212 View Post
Total new guy here obviously, but is it possible that my BB don't have enough ammonia to really start cycling the tank? Should I wait for ammonia to get to .5 before I water change? I've been water changing when it read .25.
The common practice is to do a water change when your ammonia and nitrite combined is 0.5ppm. So if your ammonia is 0.5 and your nitrite is 0 then do a water change, or each is 0.25 etc.

Have you done a water change since your first post?

You say your ammonia is 0 or near 0. Test some bottled water for ammonia and compare with your tank water. The bottled water will be 0.

I really wouldnt be worried. Even though it appears your nitrate is the same level as your tapwater you arent seeing ammonia or nitrite rising. Your bioload is very low, so i wouldnt expect to see much in the way of readings.

Double check you are doing the nitrate test correctly. Assuming API master test kit, if you arent shaking the heck out of bottle #2 it will give a false reading.

If your cycle is running you could be waiting forever to see ammonia/nitrite and trigger a water change, so still do weekly water change regardless.

Are you ultimately planning on more fish? If so, and you go a week without seeing ammonia or nitrite then i would very lightly increase your stocking. Maybe 1 extra fish. And then keep testing so you can mitigate any spikes. Rinse and repeat till you are stocked.
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