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Old 07-21-2006, 02:14 AM   #1
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Is my tank ever going to be cycled?

So it's been more then 30 days and the amonia level in my tank is crazy. I've been doing water changes throughout the 30 days and none of my fishes died so far (3 black skirt tetras and 3 more colorful ones that my gf bought, so 6 fishes total).

Right now the reason for the amonia is the leftover food on the bottom of the aquarium. First of all, any suggestions on how to get rid of that and avoid it in the future? Secondly, I've had my Aquaclear 50 for my 20 gallon tank for a month or so and have never cleaned or replaced the filter yet, is it time for me to do that?


Anyway, any help would be great because right now Im confused since I've been hearing that it takes about 30 days for the tank to go through a cycle.

Thanks again
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Old 07-21-2006, 03:13 AM   #2
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First off,what number is "crazy"?

Do not change the cartridge,but I would advise swishing it around in your next bucket of discharge water generated during your next water change...just swirl it around to get the solids off of it..put it back before it dries.

Cut your feeding to every other day and only to what can be eaten in a few minutes (3 tops,2 I suggest considering).
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Old 07-21-2006, 03:22 AM   #3
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Like SCFatz said DONT clean the filter til after it's cycled. Nor do any gravel vacs.

What is your am/nitrite/nitrate readings?

You'd have to be feeding ALOT of excess food to get a "crazy" ammonia reading above .25 or .5

Not knowing your numbers, it would be a safe bet that in 2 weeks or less, more like 1week and a day or so, it should be ready. Hard to say without the numbers though.
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Old 07-21-2006, 03:34 AM   #4
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right now I'm using liquid test kit that says amonia is at about 7.0 to 8.0 ppm (mg/L)
Nitrate is at 20
nitrite at around 5
Hardness at 50
total alkalinty 120
ph is at 7.2

And about the food, there's a good layer of brownish leftover food in about half of my tank.
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Old 07-21-2006, 04:26 AM   #5
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If the ammonia is 7-8 then do a 75% pwc ASAP
Nitrate is ok for now and the nitrite is high, but a pwc will bring everything down.

The ammonia might be spiking because your at the end of the cycle but thats a big spike.
How much and fast did it reach 7-8?

Do a pwc now and another one about 6-8 hrs later.
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Old 07-21-2006, 04:34 AM   #6
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What are you using to de-chlorinate the water with? Prime is the best
Some de-chlorinators will show some ammonia but not that high. Prime will not.
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Old 07-21-2006, 10:41 AM   #7
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left over food means overfeeding. feed a maximum of once per day, and its ok to skip days too.

with an aquaclear, you only rinse the filter sponge out in old tank water that you've siphoned out. once a year you'll need to replace the sponge.

I run 2 sponges in every aquaclear i've ever owned.

a cycle takes as long as it takes. the average is 4-6 weeks, but I've seen 3 week cycles, and I've seen 3 month cycles.
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Old 07-21-2006, 12:12 PM   #8
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A little advice that worked for me, but may or may not work for you. When i was cycling i added 2x the amount of water conditioner that was called for, i did 1 water change a week in to the cycle and i fed the tank to help cycle it faster. At the end of 2 weeks i added biospira and a week later after cleaning up left over food bits from feeding my tank to cycle my levels were fishworthy. My $0.02 for what its worth

Good Luck
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Old 07-21-2006, 02:19 PM   #9
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Another odd thing is that this has been happening for close to 2 weeks. Suprised these fishes are still alive. Maybe my tests are comming up wrong.
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Old 07-21-2006, 03:10 PM   #10
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I'd vac up the leftover food. Don't do a deep gravel vac, don't disturb the gravel at all. Your ammonia isn't going to go down enough unless you get that food out of there. I'd do a PWC like suggested above and try to get some of that food out.

How often are you feeding? Start feeding every other day. I too am surprised the fish have made it.
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Old 07-21-2006, 04:15 PM   #11
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I feed them every morning, and obviously it looks like I overfeed them. On a different note, should I crush the flakes really well or not as much? I see the eat big pieces all the time and I thought it could be a better way to do it in order to keep the small pieces from floating towards the bottom unnoticed.
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Old 07-21-2006, 04:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jarnism
I feed them every morning, and obviously it looks like I overfeed them. On a different note, should I crush the flakes really well or not as much? I see the eat big pieces all the time and I thought it could be a better way to do it in order to keep the small pieces from floating towards the bottom unnoticed.
It's pretty hard to starve a fish. Look at it this way when you feed them, a fishes stomach is no bigger than its eye, it shouldnt take much to fill it. When i feed i tend to give as much as they can finish in 1 minute, the 2 mintue rule usually leads to overfeeding in my opinion.

Crushing the flakes wont make a difference, if the food isnt eaten it decays the same at the bottom of the tank.
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Old 07-21-2006, 04:36 PM   #13
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I think mine took 6 weeks to fully cycle.
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Old 07-21-2006, 05:47 PM   #14
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Quote:
right now I'm using liquid test kit that says amonia is at about 7.0 to 8.0 ppm (mg/L)
Nitrate is at 20
nitrite at around 5
The numbers in bold above are indeed crazy high.Wow...while its usually recomended NOT to gravel vac during the cycle,in your situation I think its a must.

Those numbers need to get down with water changes.Target 1 ppm for each or lower (except for the nitrates which is fine).

With the nitrates at 20 you are very close to finished imo,I think you are overdriving the existing bacteria with overfeeding.Some good gravel vacs and water changes and it will start testing fine (0,0,something) imo....or I would be suprised if it doesn't.

Be sure to match water temp and declorinate.
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Old 07-26-2006, 07:24 PM   #15
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I think you guys were right about it being at the end of the cycle cause the amonia is completly gone at this point and was about a day after I made this thead. Don't even know if this is normal.

so what now
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Old 07-26-2006, 07:29 PM   #16
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Cool ! How are the nitrites ?
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Old 07-27-2006, 11:47 AM   #17
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Seconded, the ammonia part of the cycle is quick compared to the nitrite part (at least it was for me).

Keep testing nitrites and keep them below 1 ppm with partial water changes.

Cycling with fish just takes a lot longer than fishless, you're in this one for the long haul.
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