Go Back   Aquarium Advice - Aquarium Forum Community > Freshwater > Freshwater & Brackish - Getting Started
Click Here to Login

Join Aquarium Advice Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com
 
Old 01-28-2011, 01:09 PM   #1
Aquarium Advice Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Near Asheville, NC
Posts: 7
New member with questions...

Hi everyone, I am really hoping to find some support here since I am currently floundering through a fish IN cycle that doesn't seem to be moving along at all. My 9 year old got a 36 gal bowfront for Christmas (her actual goal was a tank large enough for her to play in WITH the fish!) We set it up on the 27th of December and on the advice of the fish store added fish after New Years weekend. For weeks we had no ammonia, no nitrites, no nitrates. Then had a spike of ammonia to .5. Did 35% water change and ammonia was 0. Then a week later had a spike of ammonia to .5. Did another partial water change. Another week now we have a spike to 1.0 of ammonia. Still no nitrates, no nitrites. Do I just need to keep waiting? What should I do to encourage the bacteria to grow and take care of the ammonia? Why isn't it growing? We have lost some fish which is killing me but I really don't know what else to do.

Niki in NC
__________________

__________________
niki364 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2011, 01:21 PM   #2
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
Coleallensmom's Avatar


 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,943
Welcome to AA

A couple questions...
How often are you testing your water?
What are you using to test your water?
How many fish did you add?

If you're using test strips, your water parameters may not be what you think they are. Most find that using a liquid test kit (such as API) will be much more acurate which is important when cycling...It seems strange that an uncycled tank with fish in it would have no ammonia in it for two weeks. Any ammonia or nitrites over .25ppm is harmful to your fish and could be the reason why you've had fish losses.
__________________

__________________

Check out my 50 Gallon Build
Coleallensmom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2011, 01:29 PM   #3
Aquarium Advice Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Near Asheville, NC
Posts: 7
I am testing the water every day or every other day. I am using the API Master Freshwater test kit. It is the liquid one with two different bottles to check the ammonia. We added 8 fish. We now have 7. The little cat fish died.For the first two weeks I was using the test strips that pet smart recommended. But I changed to the API because the results didn't make sense. I couldn't figure out how I could have all those fish and no ammonia!
__________________
niki364 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2011, 02:58 PM   #4
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
Coleallensmom's Avatar


 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,943
With in a couple of days you should have had some sort of ammonia readings. Good job on getting the API test kit. Keep testing your water every day and make sure you're doing PWCs as need to keep your ammonia as close to <.25ppm as you can get it. There isn't really anything you can do but wait the cycle out. I'm surpised you haven't already gotten a nitrIte reading...Make sure you are following the directions for each test, some of those (like the Nitrate test) are very sensitive.
__________________

Check out my 50 Gallon Build
Coleallensmom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2011, 03:35 PM   #5
Aquarium Advice Regular
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 89
do you know what kind of fish you have? Some don't produce much waste like some of the smaller tetras. Just so I understand correctly, you are now seeing ammonia levels rise to 1ppm correct? Its the nitrate your now worried about?

Do you clean your filters at all? If you clean out the filters with tap water, it will kill any bacteria you develop, resetting the process to step 1.

Was the tank new or used? Did you introduce filter media from another tank or start from scratch?

Should start to point us in the right direction anyways
__________________
summit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2011, 03:47 PM   #6
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
Coleallensmom's Avatar


 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,943
She's saying she has ammonia but no nitrites or nitrates. Unless there is some other issue we don't know about (like the filter as you've suggested) I would expect that after a month of having fish in her tank, she should have some sort of Nitrite reading...low bioload or not.
__________________

Check out my 50 Gallon Build
Coleallensmom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2011, 03:59 PM   #7
Aquarium Advice Regular
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coleallensmom View Post
She's saying she has ammonia but no nitrites or nitrates. Unless there is some other issue we don't know about (like the filter as you've suggested) I would expect that after a month of having fish in her tank, she should have some sort of Nitrite reading...low bioload or not.
Yes it should, thats why I was asking about filter maintenance, as it seems stuck on step 1. I also had a situation one time doing a fishless cycle where I forgot to dose ammonia, and it killed off the ammonia eating bacteria, yet the nitrite bacteria that was developing at the time survived because there was just enough for it to survive the couple days, so I had both bacteria developing side by side, which would not be the case here as there is fish in the tank though. The bacteria is not as cut and dry as it may seem from my experience, sometimes things go wrong that throws things out of balance.
__________________
summit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2011, 09:40 PM   #8
Aquarium Advice Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Near Asheville, NC
Posts: 7
I have 2 lyretail mollies, 2 dalmation mollies, 2 red wags, and 1 sunset wag. They seem pretty happy. I tested the water a couple of hours ago. I had these results today. pH is 7.4, ammonia-1, and nitrates and nitrites 0. I keep thinking that one day I will get a nitrite spike, but it hasn't happened yet.
I just had surgery yesterday so i wasn't able to do the water change today because I can't pick up the buckets, but I should be able to do it this weekend. My kids can help tomorrow.

I have never changed the filter and when I changed the water I only vacuumed half the gravel so that I wouldn't upset the bacteria too much. I started with a brand new tank and didn't have anything to seed the filter with or anything like that. Everything was new, so started from scratch. I keep the temp at 76 all the time.

Thanks to everyone who has responded. I really appreciate it.

Niki in NC
__________________
niki364 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2011, 10:49 PM   #9
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
ejaramillo01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: South California
Posts: 2,288
Send a message via MSN to ejaramillo01
PWC

I think that you are in the right track, I don't know why the cycle got stock in the step 1, I agree with the suggestions above.

My suggestion is to keep doing water changes, and maybe more frequent, the fact is that 1 ppm of ammonia is high and not good for the fish, even if they look happy today, the reality is that the ammonia is like a poison for the fish, and can make them more susceptible to become ill, and you don't want that. Keep doing the PWC to maintain your Ammonia as close as possible to no more of 0.25 ppm. Just be sure that you are using a dechlorinator (like PRIME) to the new water that you added during the water changes.

Let's hope that the cycle starts to move to step 2 in the next days, and as suggested above, don't change or (IMO) not even clean the filter cartridge until the cycle is completed.

Hope I help
__________________
ejaramillo01 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2011, 08:33 AM   #10
Aquarium Advice Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Near Asheville, NC
Posts: 7
Thanks so much to everyone. I will do enough water change today to get the ammonia level back down and hope for the best. Just to be sure I checked all the expiration dates on the test kit and they are all in date. I'll keep in touch with how it is going.
__________________
niki364 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-30-2011, 11:38 AM   #11
Aquarium Advice Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Near Asheville, NC
Posts: 7
OK, so I changed 50% of the water yesterday. The ammonia dropped to .5. Still no Nitrites, Nitrates. I put in Prime water conditioner which says it treats the ammonia, chlorine, chloramine, nitrites and nitrates. Maybe I should go try to beg some gravel from a fish store. Would it be OK to ask Petsmart? I'm not sure if we have a locally owned fish store here.

Today I checked the water. Ammonia .5, 0 on the Nitrites. I didn't check anything else. The fish seem happy, and are eating well.

Maybe i should a try another test kit? incase there is something wrong with this one?

Niki in NC
__________________
niki364 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-30-2011, 12:32 PM   #12
Aquarium Advice FINatic
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 988
If it were me, I wouldn't trust a chain store. If their tanks are infected, you're bringing their infection home in the gravel. That is, if they would even do it.
There's some LFS's in my area I wouldn't trust either, though. IMO, it's up to you: who you trust.

You can check and see if your test kit is out of date if you're concerned. Typically API master test kit is reliable though.
__________________
jenatron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-30-2011, 01:15 PM   #13
Aquarium Advice Freak
 
XimeD's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: LA
Posts: 364
Quote:
Originally Posted by niki364 View Post
OK, so I changed 50% of the water yesterday. The ammonia dropped to .5. Still no Nitrites, Nitrates. I put in Prime water conditioner which says it treats the ammonia, chlorine, chloramine, nitrites and nitrates. Maybe I should go try to beg some gravel from a fish store. Would it be OK to ask Petsmart? I'm not sure if we have a locally owned fish store here.

Today I checked the water. Ammonia .5, 0 on the Nitrites. I didn't check anything else. The fish seem happy, and are eating well.

Maybe i should a try another test kit? incase there is something wrong with this one?

Niki in NC
If you can, try to keep that ammonia below 0.25ppm as was mentioned, and then nitrites once you start seeing them. I really recommend getting a python it makes PWCs so much easier and faster, it is well worth the $$ (~$40 on amazon).

My first tank took 2 months to cycle, no nitrites for the first 7 weeks and then it cycled about a week after I saw those first nitrates. I gotta say it was exciting to see that tube go purplish the first time! (Now I really want to see the light blue lol). Have patience and keep up those PWCs.

It seems you are worried that your kit might be bad and that might not be case, it seems to me it is more likely you have a stalled cycle than that your kit is bad. However, if you need to be sure there are ways to go about it (IMO you don't really need to do this but I'll just give you the info anyway):
1) Get a second API liquid test and run parallel tests then compare results, you'll end up using the second kit eventually.
2) This second option is tricky for nitrites (not sure where to get those outside of chemistry lab), but you could "calibrate" your test kit against standards of known concentration which you would have to make, this is non-trivial and requires quite a bit of math/chemistry (I'm thinking I might start a thread on a how to for that) so I would stick for option 1.

Finally, excluding a dechlorinator (I too use and recommend prime) are you adding anything else to your tank? Some products, like ammo-lock, will actually stall your cycle.

Hope this helps but you're definately on the right track!
__________________
-Ximena
75gal: 3 peacock eels, 2 TBs, 2 leopard ctenopoma, 1 raphael cat, 1 giant danio, 2RTTF, 2 BN pleco.
XimeD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-30-2011, 01:21 PM   #14
Aquarium Advice Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 1
6 neon tetra

hi
i brought 6 neon tetra last week and now i only have 3 left ive checked every were in my tank and can not find them any help ???
__________________
mrcarp123 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-30-2011, 01:31 PM   #15
Aquarium Advice Addict
 
ejaramillo01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: South California
Posts: 2,288
Send a message via MSN to ejaramillo01
Nikki:
I agree with Xime, you are in the right track, just keep up with the water changes to aim for no more of 0.25ppm of Ammonia and don't get desperate. It will work !

mrcarp: This thread is Nikki's new tank. You can start your own thread which will be way more helphful for you (More people will be able to help you). But my answer to you will be to check in your filter, maybe the tetras got suck by the intake pipe.
__________________
ejaramillo01 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-31-2011, 09:57 AM   #16
Aquarium Advice Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Near Asheville, NC
Posts: 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by XimeD View Post
If you can, try to keep that ammonia below 0.25ppm as was mentioned, and then nitrites once you start seeing them. I really recommend getting a python it makes PWCs so much easier and faster, it is well worth the $$ (~$40 on amazon).

My first tank took 2 months to cycle, no nitrites for the first 7 weeks and then it cycled about a week after I saw those first nitrates. I gotta say it was exciting to see that tube go purplish the first time! (Now I really want to see the light blue lol). Have patience and keep up those PWCs.

It seems you are worried that your kit might be bad and that might not be case, it seems to me it is more likely you have a stalled cycle than that your kit is bad. However, if you need to be sure there are ways to go about it (IMO you don't really need to do this but I'll just give you the info anyway):
1) Get a second API liquid test and run parallel tests then compare results, you'll end up using the second kit eventually.
2) This second option is tricky for nitrites (not sure where to get those outside of chemistry lab), but you could "calibrate" your test kit against standards of known concentration which you would have to make, this is non-trivial and requires quite a bit of math/chemistry (I'm thinking I might start a thread on a how to for that) so I would stick for option 1.

Finally, excluding a dechlorinator (I too use and recommend prime) are you adding anything else to your tank? Some products, like ammo-lock, will actually stall your cycle.

Hope this helps but you're definately on the right track!

Thank you for taking the time to answer me. It is so helpful to know that it took your tank 7 weeks to cycle too. I will just keep being patient.
No, I haven't added anything else to the tank. I have a free sample of Topfin Bacteria supplement, but after reading the forum I was afraid to add it or anything else.

So I'll just wait!

Thanks so much,
Niki in NC
__________________
niki364 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2011, 06:09 PM   #17
Aquarium Advice Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Near Asheville, NC
Posts: 7
So FINALLY after 43 days I have nitrites. .25 today. I immediately did a 60 % water change and brought ammo down to .25 and nitrites to 0. So now I guess I should start testing for nitrates? when should I expect to see nitrates?

Niki in NC
__________________

__________________
niki364 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on AquariumAdvice.com

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
New member Eric Shin Members Freshwater Tanks Showcase 6 01-11-2011 08:01 PM
New member with questions about stocking plan? Hinds04 Saltwater Fish Only & FOWLR 9 03-02-2010 11:23 AM
new member/aquarist, a few questions blacksaabath Freshwater & Brackish - Getting Started 9 02-08-2008 03:59 PM
Couple questions from a new member solie Freshwater & Brackish - Getting Started 22 04-12-2004 06:13 PM







» Photo Contest Winners







All times are GMT -4. The time now is 12:16 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.