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Old 04-09-2006, 11:43 AM   #1
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Some New Test Results ... Better? (lots of questions :))

Well yesterday I did my test results and I was very happy with what i saw cause I feel that I am almost done I think .... here is what I got

Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrite: 5 ppm (at least 5)
Nitrate: 30 ppm (somewhere between 20 and 40 so I guessed)

I added some drops of ammonia cause I know im suppsoed to feed the bacteria till I get some fish .... my question is if i see no nitrites today or whenever should i wait one more day and add like 4ppm of ammonia and see if it goes away in 24 hrs?

Also I have a piece of driftwood i have soaking in a tub outside to get the tannins out ... i bought it at the LFS ... would it be best to put it in the tank before i get any fish along with any plants or is it ok to add plants after i have put fish in?

My next thought is turning towards my fish ... i think i get 4 or 5 zebra danios and a school of about 6 tetras to start ... is it ok to add this many fish once my cycle is done (hopefully a few days)? Also how do i properly acclimate them to the water? What is the best food to buy for these 2 fish and other community fish?

A quick question about PWC when i do them should i turn the filter off? ... also i have a python but have not used it yet but when i add water should i use my stress coat as im adding water or wait till i add it all and do i dose for the whole tank?

TIA

Ray
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Old 04-09-2006, 11:57 AM   #2
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If you think you are cycled, go 1 more day and add 1-2ppm ammonia. If it drops to 0ppn in 24 hours, you are cycled. Then go ahead and keep adding 1-2ppm ammonia til the day before you add fish, and make sure it's 0ppm when you get the fish.

As for the driftwood, add it anytime, before or after. Makes no difference.

As for that amount of fish, you will be ok. Those fish have a smaller bioload, so you won't have any problems....

As for acclimating, I usually put the new fish from the bag into a small plastic pitcher, then slowly add tank water. If you don't think the temp is close, put the bag in the tank first to acclimate for the temp, then put in the plastic pitcher. When the pitcher is almost full, empty half in the sink, running it through a fish net just incase you get one that decides to escape, lol. Then do it again, add tank water slowly. I usually use a small cup or glass to add the water to the pitcher from the tank. After doing it 2 times, then release into the tank. I've had great luck doing it that way. It can take up to 20 minutes to do it.

As for food type, any tropical flake is good. Might even get a small container of vegie flake too, to get some vegies and algae in the mix. They also tend to like frozen brine shrimp as well.

As for dechlor, when using a python, you add the dechlor when you start filling the tank, and dechlor for the whole tank. Prime is recommended by most. Don't wait to add the dechlor, as the chlorine/chloramine will start killing off the bacteria, and will end up in another mini-cycle.

As for the filter, you can leave it on if you want, unless the water level gets too low and it loses suction. I have to turn them off on my 55G and 26G when I do my 70% PWC's, but the 50% PWC on my 75G, I leave my cannister on, as there's still plenty suction. All depends on how much water you change and the filters suction. If you have a biowheel, might take them out and put in tank water til you are done with the PWC, but I don't with mine, as I too use the Python, and it goes quick and the biowheels don't dry out.
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Old 04-09-2006, 12:13 PM   #3
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You are getting there you need to wait for that nitrite spike to go down, As Wolf says add 1ppm ammonia every day and wait for the nitrite eating bacteria to finish establishing itself. I think it will be more than a day for the 5 ppm nitrite to come down.
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Old 04-09-2006, 12:15 PM   #4
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Just remember the 24 hour rule, when you add 1-2ppm ammonia, if both ammonia and nitrite go to 0ppm in 24 hours, you are cycled.
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Old 04-09-2006, 01:11 PM   #5
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Ok thanks guys ... you pretty much hit on all my questions ... and yes i do have a emperor 280 with bio wheel ... so if i turn it off during my PWC with the python it shouldnt dry out? .... also do i do a 50% pwc the first time or what is it for my 29gal? ... TIA

Ray
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Old 04-09-2006, 01:21 PM   #6
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For the first water change after fishless cycling you want to do a large enough water change to get your Nitrates at least under 40ppm, but preferably under 20ppm.
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Old 04-09-2006, 01:48 PM   #7
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ok thanks ... will do
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Old 04-09-2006, 07:28 PM   #8
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You can take the biowheel off and put in a cup of tank water if you think it will take longer to do the PWC. But if you got it down, and is relatively fast, you don't need to remove it. I don't remove mine anymore, but the first few PWC's I did, I took them out til I got the routine down.
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Old 04-09-2006, 08:54 PM   #9
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Ok well here is the results for today

Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrite: 5 ppm (at least)
Nitrate: 30 ppm

I added more ammonia so the bacteria have something to feed on ... how much longer till i start to see nitrite to decrease? ..... i think the first couple times i will soak the bio wheel in some tank water while i PWC till i get it down good ... thanks

Ray
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Old 04-09-2006, 09:08 PM   #10
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Might be a couple more weeks, maybe sooner. Hard to tell for sure. But you are definitely getting close.

And once you are cycled, go an extra day or 2. I'm glad I did, as I thought I was cycled, only to have nitrites back the next day and took an additional 4 days before I was truely cycled. And I know others who wish they would have too, and ended up doing a few more PWC's to get levels down til it was cycled, after adding fish.
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Old 04-09-2006, 09:20 PM   #11
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Have you checked for Nitrate in your tap water? Also, remember that nitrite levels are additive onto the nitrate test. This is only significant in cases like yours, when the nitrite level is rather high. Normally, in an established tank, nitrite is undetectable, so it has no contribution to the nitrate test. But lets presume your nitrites are really 10 ppm, then your nitrate level would really only be 20. And if you started with 10 ppm of nitrate in your tap water, then your tank has only produced 10 ppm of nitrate, instead of 30. I would decrease daily ammonia doses to 0.5 - 1 ppm so that your nitrosomonas bacteria don't keep adding so quickly to the large nitrite spike you have going, and you could consider doing a PWC to get the nitrite levels down a bit. I am not certain that really, really high nitrite levels would harm you cycle, but I am certain that a PWC to lower them to under 5 would do no harm.

Nitrate tests are a two bottle test because the nitrate is first converted to nitrite, then the nitrite reacts with the indicator to change color. For more info on aquarium test kits, you can check out:

http://home.comcast.net/~tomstank/to...s/page0018.htm
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Old 04-09-2006, 10:34 PM   #12
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Yea i know i have been feeding those ammonia to nitrite bacteria pretty good ... so i bet they are pretty high ... also i remembered reading that nitrite showed up in the nitrate test but i did test my tap water for nitrates when i first got my test kits and i dont believe it was over 5.

I might be back home tom or tues and if my nitrites are not down below 5 then ill do a PWC ... how much should i take out?

thanks guys

Ray
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Old 04-10-2006, 09:10 AM   #13
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Like Lonewolfblue says, the nitrite phase of the cycle can be just as long or longer than the elevated ammonia phase was. So you could be looking at a week or two of elevated nitrite levels. So, I would probably do a 40 or 50% PWC with dechlorination.

At this stage, I think there are a few things to remember with your nitrate test results. First, you didn't start out with zero nitrate. That means to use an elevation in nitrate as a secondary confirmation that your cycle is done, it needs to increase definitively over the value that you started with. Second, with nitrite levels over 5 ppm, they could concievably be up to 10 ppm or more, and your test kit would look the same (upper limit of measurement is 5ppm). Thus, you don't know how much nitrite to subtract from your nitrate test rusult to get your real nitrate level. Again, your nitrate test is not of any real value as a confirmation of cycle end at this point.

But fortunately, we do know that your ammonia level goes to zero each day, which is confirmation that the first phase of the cycle is over. Now we are just waiting for your nitrite to go to zero, which will be the best indication that you are done with the cycle. YOu do not need ultra high levels of nitrite to get the bacteria established, which is why I am recomending the reduced ammonia input and PWC to lower nitrite levels. When you have nitrite anywhere between 1ppm and 5ppm, just add your daily dose of ammonia and wait it out.
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