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Old 03-24-2012, 02:36 PM   #1
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Help Cycling

I do not understand what I am doing wrong. I got a 5 gallon tank with 1 mickey mouse platy in it about 13 weeks ago and it has not completed cycling. Ammonia levels rose about the 2nd week or so and they are still up on week 13 and I haven't had a nitrite spike yet. I've been doing small daily water changes to try and keep the ammonia levels down and an occasional vacuum but other than that I've been trying to let it cycle on its own. What am I doing wrong? Please help because I don't want to have to worry about my fish making it through the cycling process anymore. Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-24-2012, 04:30 PM   #2
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hi and welcome! A platy is too large for a 5 gal unfortunately. I'm not sure if there isn't enough room in the filter for the bacteria to grow to sustain a platy since a 5 gal filter is pretty small. That's my best guess but I could be wrong.

Are you using dechlorinator with water changes? Does it say it detoxifies chlorine, chloramines and heavy metals? What water are you using? What test kit? What's the temp in the tank? More info would help pinpoint a potential issue other than what I mentioned above.
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Old 03-24-2012, 04:48 PM   #3
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Thanks for the response. Maybe it's too small, the pet store people said it was fine but they also did not inform me of the cycling process.

Yes, I use a dechlorinator that detoxifies chlorine, chloramine, and heavy metals. The test kit I use is API, it requires adding drops to a test tube..not the strips. The tank is usually around 78-80 degrees.
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Old 03-24-2012, 07:16 PM   #4
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Hi!
Are you changing filter media?
That would be resetting the cycle. IMO a platy in a 5g is fine. You need to do lots of water changes to get ammonia (and nitrite) to or under .25ppm. Test everyday and do water changes as needed. Water changed wont hinder the cycle but will protect your fish.
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Old 03-24-2012, 07:23 PM   #5
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Yeah I have a disposable filter that I change ever month - month and a half or so. I've been doing water changes but as I said I've only ever had ammonia spikes and it's been almost double the supposed 6-8 week cycling time. It's been almost 14 weeks and I haven't even hit a nitrite spike yet, just steady ammonia readings. It's just frustrating and I worry about my platy. Would adding another ornament or 2 maybe help so there are more surfaces for the bacteria to grow on? Currently I have 1 ornament and a fake plant.
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Old 03-24-2012, 07:28 PM   #6
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Changing the filter media every month is resetting the cycle. By doing that you are throwing out any bacteria that have formed. Stop replacing the filter. When it gets clogged swish it in a bucket of tank water to clean.
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Old 03-24-2012, 07:29 PM   #7
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well im no expert but i dont think your supposed to change your filter media till it falls apart basically
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Old 03-24-2012, 07:30 PM   #8
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So never actually change the filter media just swish it out? They get pretty nasty and sludgy after a while. That is the only place where the bacteria grows?
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Old 03-24-2012, 07:31 PM   #9
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its not the only place, but its going to have the highest concentration of it i believe.
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Old 03-24-2012, 07:42 PM   #10
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Alright, I will try and let the filter media go as long as possible before changing it and see what happens. Any other advice? Thanks for all of the responses.
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Old 03-24-2012, 07:43 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aoessand
its not the only place, but its going to have the highest concentration of it i believe.
Yes that correct. The majority is (usually) in the filter. Dirty and sludgy is fine as long as the water is flowing through. If it falls apart or you just can't get it clean enough to let enough water pass through you can replace it. Don't just do a straight swap. You need to put the new media next to the old media to seed for 2-4 weeks (long the better). You can cut old media to fit.
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Old 03-24-2012, 07:58 PM   #12
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You can buy beneficial bacteria to jump start the cycle, I've never done it before but someone told me that doing so is very helpful. If you don't want to spend money, if you have a friend with a tank you could put one of your filters into their filter, let it get seeded, and put that into your tank (you'll have to acclimate the bacteria so you don't shock it to death) keep up on pwcs!
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Old 03-25-2012, 12:09 AM   #13
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Great, thank you everyone for your great advice. I will let you know it goes in a few weeks and hopefully it will all be cycled and good to go!
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