...alternately titled, "Why Won't My Tank Cycle?"
Bought a 10 gallon aquarium for my daughter's 7th birthday in May. I decided to go with a fish-in cycle so that she could enjoy fish right away. Bought two platys. Was vigilant with doing PWC
every few days, but they died after two weeks. Took distraught daughter back to store where this time the lady was able to talk her into danios. Got four of them; they were all dead before the week was over. Decided we had better stick with fishless cycling. Bought Ace Hardware ammonia, dosed to 4ppm. That's it. It never, ever dropped. It's been since May, so I'm pretty sure I've given it enough time.
Waited til after vacation to continue efforts... last week I decided to add a bottle of TSS to see what might happen. After a day and a half, ammonia read 1ppm!! Dosed back up to 4ppm. And there it stayed.
Trying to decide what to do next. A coworker who used to own an aquarium told me he gave up because our water here is too hard. I looked into that and thought maybe I should try RO
water next. However, I'm reading a lot that says that shouldn't make any difference in establishing a biological filter, just with what kind of fish we end up adding.
So maybe I will try buying a seeded filter sponge next, but first, to make sure that isn't a waste of more money, I thought I'd look to the experts to see if I've done anything wrong in my setup that will ruin any attempts. Here's what we've got:
10 gallon tank
Aquaclear Powerhead 20 - 127gph
Tetra HT submersible aquarium heater - non adjustable; stays at 78 degrees
Overhead lamp - incandescent
Aqueon tap water conditioner
I know that ideally I should be able to turn the heat up higher during the cycle. Is not being able to raise it higher than 78 the problem? I didn't want to go spending tons of money on new setup just on guesses.
Or possibly the filter? I did all kinds of reading on filters, and I know most fishkeepers are pretty divided on whether or not UGFs are okay. I decided to go with it but...
Or would the RO
water actually help?
I forgot to mention that the Ph is 7.6. Don't really want to go buy yet another test kit for water hardness unless absolutely necessary.
If anyone is able to solve the mystery of this tank, end my frustrations, and bring my daughter's dreams of owning real fish to fruition, I would be most grateful!!