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Old 06-12-2014, 07:57 PM   #1
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Help with Cycling

I have been cycling a 10gal tank with a goldfish (got the goldfish out of the blue, had no choice but to do fish-in) since Friday June 6, so roughly one week. There are some plants, a gravel/sand mix in the bottom, filter, and 2 15W lights.

I preform daily PWC around 30-50% and have vacuumed twice. When i change the water i add that dechlorinator, i heard it doesn't make a difference what kind of dechlorinator you use because they are all the same. I was using API Quick Start every time i changed the water, then ran out for 1-2 days, bought more today and added it as well as an Ammonia and NitrAte test... there was no nitrite test there so i figured the nitrate test will do because once i see ammonia go down and nitrate levels are low, then there is nitrite being made.

Did a test of my tanks ammonia and nitrate today, about 3 hours after the PWC (without Quick Start) and Amm. is ~.5ppm, Nitrate is at 0ppm. I also tested my tap water and its ~.5ppm as well, is it possible that my tap water along with a goldfish (supposedly very dirty) is slowing down the amount of time it takes for amm. levels to drop? A guy at LFS told me to get his water for $0.50 a gal (think he said its distilled or something) and do PWC with that rather than my tap - is it worth it? Lastly, I'm wondering if API Quick Start actually speeds up the process of cycling like it says it does? should i maybe add a little more that the suggested 10ml?

I know I'm asking a BUNCH of questions but i just need some help.
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Old 06-13-2014, 11:15 AM   #2
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This could be one of those freak moments where prime actually comes in handy.

When your tank has gone through its cycle (approx 4 weeks) you won't have to worry about the 0.5ppm if ammonia in the tap because your biological filter will be significant enough to convert it before it does any harm to your fish.

Truth be known, your goldfish would probably be fine with 0.5ppm ammonia since your kit measures the sum of the toxic form of ammonia and the non toxic form ammonium. The percentage ratio of toxic to non toxic ammonia alters with ph and temperature. As temperature and ph increases so does the toxic ammonia.

This guide will help you identify where your current toxic ammonia stands but you need to know your ph and temp.

http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums...ty-159994.html

Anyway. If you didn't do your water changes then a generously fed goldfish in a 10 gallon tank will produce ammonia pretty rapidly and since you already have 0.5ppm in your tank your toxic ammonia will start to rise. Water changes are a good thing. However, during a cycle, frequent water changes will remove the ammonia the bacteria are using to grow and multiply.

Seachem prime will detoxify ammonia for 24-48 hours. It will become ammonium but can still be used by the bacteria. Best play it safe and dose every 24 hours though. This means that you can let a steady amount of ammonia be supplied to the bacteria without doing as many water changes.

Do not buy the water from the LFS as this will make matters worse. Perhaps consider a new LFS as this one is trying to pull a fast one. I don't mind a fast one if the product is just unnecessary as they are in a business after all but when it compromises the health of your fish it's time to find a new LFS.

The goldfish will need to be re-homed after the cycle.
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Old 06-13-2014, 01:47 PM   #3
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Thanks for the awesome reply Caliban, I have some more questions though!
Im going on vacation very soon, sooner than the tank will be fully cycled (The process will be ~3 weeks in when i leave) and i am probably going to take the goldfish back to a petstore so he does not die while I'm gone (i will be gone something like 4 days, unless someone tells me he will survive in a tank that has been cycling for 3 weeks I'm taking him). Will removing the fish from the cycling process that has been there since day 1 mess with the process? And also, once the tank has fully cycled, i am moving the goldfish and making my 10g a tropical community tank so i will be installing a heater that keeps the temp at 78*F, will installing a heater mess with the cycling, or will it not matter at that point because the process will be finished?
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Old 06-13-2014, 03:10 PM   #4
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Short answer is you're all good with your plans. The goldie probably would not survive vacation. Send the goldie to fish camp while you are gone. A heater actually helps the cycling process as I have foumd the warmer the temperature the faster the cycling process becomes.
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Old 06-13-2014, 04:16 PM   #5
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Okay so the heater is good, but will moving the goldfish do anything? whether good or bad?
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Old 06-13-2014, 04:39 PM   #6
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Also, lets say i test my water and Ammonia is at or less than .5ppm, should i skip a PWC for the day? will skipping a few PWC's do the tank any good?
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Old 06-13-2014, 04:46 PM   #7
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Thanks for the awesome reply Caliban, I have some more questions though!
Im going on vacation very soon, sooner than the tank will be fully cycled (The process will be ~3 weeks in when i leave) and i am probably going to take the goldfish back to a petstore so he does not die while I'm gone (i will be gone something like 4 days, unless someone tells me he will survive in a tank that has been cycling for 3 weeks I'm taking him). Will removing the fish from the cycling process that has been there since day 1 mess with the process? And also, once the tank has fully cycled, i am moving the goldfish and making my 10g a tropical community tank so i will be installing a heater that keeps the temp at 78*F, will installing a heater mess with the cycling, or will it not matter at that point because the process will be finished?

In 3 weeks time the cycle will be in the final stages. Ammonia shouldn't be a problem then and 4 days is nothing. Just keep doing what you are doing until then and do a water change before you leave. The fish will be fine. You can either leave him without food for 4 days or ask a house sitter to feed him if possible. If you do that I recommend you put the amount if food for 1 small feeding in a sandwich bag as an example of how much to feed (house minders tend to overfeed)

You can hold back on water changes if you use prime or feed very lightly once a day and always monitor water closely.

The heater will do nothing to disturb the cycle.
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Old 06-13-2014, 05:03 PM   #8
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I just tested my ammonia levels and they look a little less than .5ppm, should i skip a PWC today to let the bacteria do whatever it is that it does and just add some of that API Quick Start?
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Old 06-13-2014, 07:30 PM   #9
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I just tested my ammonia levels and they look a little less than .5ppm, should i skip a PWC today to let the bacteria do whatever it is that it does and just add some of that API Quick Start?

I would use prime if I were you.
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Old 06-13-2014, 07:49 PM   #10
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I would use prime if I were you.
and if i don't have Prime, just do a PWC until i pick some up?
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Old 06-13-2014, 08:05 PM   #11
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and if i don't have Prime, just do a PWC until i pick some up?

Sounds like a plan
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Old 06-14-2014, 05:56 PM   #12
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Sounds like a plan
Sorry to bother you again, but something interesting happened.

Yesterday against everyones advice and my own better judgement i held out on doing a PWC. When i woke up i checked the ammonia levels and they seemed to be ~.25ppm. I don't have a nitrite test so i did not do one. Since i didn't do a PWC the day before i vacuumed up some debris from the gravel (tried not to get the vacuum into the gravel, just lightly ran it along) and did a PWC of about 30%. Immediately (and i mean literally right after filling the tank) i did another Ammonia test and the levels were ~.5ppm. I waited 2 or 3 hours and decided just for the heck of it i would do a nitrate test. The nitrate test looked like there was ~5.0 ppm, which i would imagine is pretty good. Signs of nitrates is a step in the right direction, right? shouldn't they be more than 20 but less than... 40? if i remember right...
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Old 06-14-2014, 08:41 PM   #13
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Hello OP. Thanks for your question,
Your are doing alright so far. I have cycled many tanks and would be glad to help
I am actually currently doing a fish-in cycle in a 10 gallon.
I suggest buying API freshwater master kit for testing the water. You really need to test nitrite, it is different than the ammonia and nitrate, also when there are nitrites it gives you a False positive for nitrates.
I am using QuickStart and it is workout really well.
I have been using it for 5 days and my cycle is almost done!
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Old 06-14-2014, 08:43 PM   #14
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Sorry to bother you again, but something interesting happened.

Yesterday against everyones advice and my own better judgement i held out on doing a PWC. When i woke up i checked the ammonia levels and they seemed to be ~.25ppm. I don't have a nitrite test so i did not do one. Since i didn't do a PWC the day before i vacuumed up some debris from the gravel (tried not to get the vacuum into the gravel, just lightly ran it along) and did a PWC of about 30%. Immediately (and i mean literally right after filling the tank) i did another Ammonia test and the levels were ~.5ppm. I waited 2 or 3 hours and decided just for the heck of it i would do a nitrate test. The nitrate test looked like there was ~5.0 ppm, which i would imagine is pretty good. Signs of nitrates is a step in the right direction, right? shouldn't they be more than 20 but less than... 40? if i remember right...

You are getting a false positive. You need to check your nitrites. You will only have real nitrates if nitrite and ammonia are at 0 ppm.
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Old 06-14-2014, 09:05 PM   #15
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You are getting a false positive. You need to check your nitrites. You will only have real nitrates if nitrite and ammonia are at 0 ppm.
So if it is a false positive, would that mean the nitrates that are being detected are actually nitrites, and either way the cycling process is moving forward?
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Old 06-14-2014, 09:46 PM   #16
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So if it is a false positive, would that mean the nitrates that are being detected are actually nitrites, and either way the cycling process is moving forward?

That is correct, yes it's moving forward. When did yiu start cycling? It appears we are in the same step.
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Old 06-14-2014, 11:17 PM   #17
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So if it is a false positive, would that mean the nitrates that are being detected are actually nitrites, and either way the cycling process is moving forward?
No, the nitrate test is specifc for nitrate, it will not detect nitrite. Two totally different ionic species and reactivities. It is likley you could have some nitrate, where it comes from is hard to say. It could be from your source water or it could be contamination introduced by you, such as unclean glassware or something on your hands....or it could be the vagaries of the nitrate test itself. It is not one of the more accurate test at low levels.

But yes, your cycling is moving forward, so keep at it.
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Old 06-14-2014, 11:30 PM   #18
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That is correct, yes it's moving forward. When did yiu start cycling? It appears we are in the same step.
something like 8 days
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Old 06-15-2014, 12:06 AM   #19
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something like 8 days
Mine has been 5
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Old 06-15-2014, 02:52 PM   #20
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Thought i would post some pictures because i find it hard to believe that a nitrate test specifically designed to test for nitrates would consistently test a false positive. No disrespect to Crazyhermitcrab, but i would like a second opinion.

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