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Old 02-11-2014, 05:23 PM   #1
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New tank - Super Confused with water test results help please

I made a post on here a few days ago about sick platies. Well, three of them died and the fourth one got ich but with the temperature of the tank raised the platy now has no ich (however, I am still keeping the temperature raised for several more days and continuing to change the water so as to make sure it is actually gone).

The point of the platies was to cycle the tank. Well, ever since last Tuesday (a week ago) when I got the platies I have been testing the water every single day and my results were always 0ppm ammonia and 0ppm nitrites. I did not see how this was possible and since my test kit is 8 years old and has been both moved over a 1000's miles and stored in a basement for an extended period of time I assumed it probably just got old and hence was not working properly. So I ordered myself a new API Freshwater Test Kit complete with a Nitrate test. I just got the kit today and tested my water and below (see picture) are the results:



To me it looks like it is still reading as 0ppm for ammonia, 0ppm for nitrites, and possibly somewhere between 0ppm and 5ppm for Nitrate (water looks like it has a slight orange tinge). I am so lost on the pH I always thought my pH was over 8.8 but looking at this test the color is more pinkish purple and doesn't seem to match anything...

So my question is am I reading this wrong/what am I doing wrong? I have had the tank set up with water and a filter since last October but no fish were added till this past Tuesday (2/4/14). I really don't see how it cycled itself on its own or is it not cycled at all?

Help please.
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Old 02-11-2014, 11:16 PM   #2
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If you are just now adding a source of food(ammonia) your tank could not have cycled. Sounds like your cycle is just starting.
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Old 02-12-2014, 12:57 AM   #3
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That was the same thing that I was thinking. The part that was confusing me though was that 3 of the 4 platies died so logically with them being dead in the tank until I located them I would have thought that would have given off some ammonia, hence the readings would not be at 0ppm every day.

I will just keep testing everyday then and see what happens. Thank you!
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Old 02-12-2014, 01:00 AM   #4
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Your welcome. Good luck
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Old 02-12-2014, 06:13 PM   #5
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If you are cycled you will have had some sort of nitrates, unless you did a lot of water changes. Also, I think the pH is some weird mix of 8.2 and 8.4. It doesn't look like anything on the color chart though, but it is probably 8.3.
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Old 02-13-2014, 09:57 AM   #6
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A cycled tank is not defined as having nitrates. A cycled tank is defined as always having 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites. Your ammonia looks green. 0 ammonia is bright yellow, you'll know when you see it. Do you still have fish? If not, read up on fish less cycling. If you do, do small water changes daily (25%) and add Seachem Prime daily, per recommended dose on the bottle. Prime only lasts for 24-48 hours in your tank, a d your API test kits will still read the ammonia and nitrite levels even when using Prime.

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Old 02-13-2014, 01:42 PM   #7
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I will just keep up the daily tests and daily water changes (for the ich) and see what happens. The colors are just hard to see. I tested the ammonia and nitrites again today and the nitrites are most certainly 0ppm. The ammonia looks different under different lighting. When I look at it in the house it looks like it could be around 0.25ppm but when I take it outside and look at it with the sun shining it looks bright yellow, like the 0ppm on the color chart. Just a quick question but is 1 platy capable of producing enough waste to get a cycle started?

At this point I would LOVE to do a fishless cycle (if for nothing more then to see if my test kit works), however, the closests Ace Hardware is about an hour away (although I think I will pick up some ammonia just incase the next time I go that direction) and I still have the one platy. Too bad I didn't hear about it back in December at which point I could have just cycled it while I was waiting on the heater. Oh well, I now know for next time.

Thank you again for all the input. I really appreciate it.
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Old 02-13-2014, 02:10 PM   #8
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Good luck Yeah once you have fish, you can still cycle safely, it just requires more work. You'll be able to tell 0 ammonia, it's clearly yellow in all lighting. I'm slightly color blind myself, and always convicted myself that a slight green wasn't there, but once my cycle finished, you can tell. 0.25 ammonia some would argue isn't toxic, some would. If you can keep it 0.25 or lower, you're doing good.

Remember when you stock the rest of your fish, do so slowly, 3-4 at a time if you can.
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Old 02-13-2014, 03:24 PM   #9
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Thank you. Yes, I think it could be reading 0.25ppm or a little less which makes me feel better (although obviously not good for the fish). With a fish-in cycle and daily water changes should I expect the ammonia to climb above that? Since it would seem that there is some ammonia I am guessing that one fish will do the trick/cycle the tank?
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Old 02-13-2014, 04:11 PM   #10
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With 1 fish and daily water changes, you shouldn't see ammonia above 0.25. This is such a rough estimate, but for a 36G tank 1 adult guppy will produce about 0.1ppm ammonia per day. You can do the math from there. There will be some people commenting on that calculation, but it is a rough amount.
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Old 02-13-2014, 05:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fish4phil View Post
A cycled tank is not defined as having nitrates. A cycled tank is defined as always having 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites. Your ammonia looks green. 0 ammonia is bright yellow, you'll know when you see it. Do you still have fish? If not, read up on fish less cycling. If you do, do small water changes daily (25%) and add Seachem Prime daily, per recommended dose on the bottle. Prime only lasts for 24-48 hours in your tank, a d your API test kits will still read the ammonia and nitrite levels even when using Prime.

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I realize that and that's not what I said. I said that if you don't have any nitrates and haven't done anything to remove them then you aren't cycled. A cycle will always produce nitrates.
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Old 02-13-2014, 05:24 PM   #12
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I realize that and that's not what I said. I said that if you don't have any nitrates and haven't done anything to remove them then you aren't cycled. A cycle will always produce nitrates.
You're right Sorry for any confusion.
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Old 02-14-2014, 02:16 PM   #13
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Thank you so much for the tips. That is good to know though that with daily water changes the ammonia will never get very high. I am assuming then with one fish cycling the tank when the nitrites begin to show they also will always be at 0.25 or below? Just trying to get an idea of what to be looking for.

Lastly, with a fish-in cycle what should I expect the nitrate readings to be/look like. I know with the fishless cycles it can get very high and turn in water bright red but what can I expect with the fish-in cycle?

Also on a side note since my female platies died my male has turned into the biggest chicken (I am assuming because he is social and is just scared to be in such a big tank all by himself). Besides chasing him down with a net does anyone have any suggestions on how I can lure him out so I can see how the ich in coming along? I know he is still alive and from what I can tell (looking through plants a driftwood) he does not seem to be clamping his fins. However, I also heard that keeping your heat at 86 degrees for prolonged periods of time is also bad for fish so I would hate to leave it the high for longer then it really needs to be simply because Mr. Platy prefers hiding. I have tried food but he always waits till I leave (I can see him from the side of the tank from the other room but it is too far away to really tell how the ich is since they are super tiny specs). Ideas?

Side note: ammonia between 0ppm and 0.25ppm before todays water change. Yay!
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Old 02-14-2014, 02:27 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by kevan07 View Post
Thank you so much for the tips. That is good to know though that with daily water changes the ammonia will never get very high. I am assuming then with one fish cycling the tank when the nitrites begin to show they also will always be at 0.25 or below? Just trying to get an idea of what to be looking for.

Lastly, with a fish-in cycle what should I expect the nitrate readings to be/look like. I know with the fishless cycles it can get very high and turn in water bright red but what can I expect with the fish-in cycle?

Also on a side note since my female platies died my male has turned into the biggest chicken (I am assuming because he is social and is just scared to be in such a big tank all by himself). Besides chasing him down with a net does anyone have any suggestions on how I can lure him out so I can see how the ich in coming along? I know he is still alive and from what I can tell (looking through plants a driftwood) he does not seem to be clamping his fins. However, I also heard that keeping your heat at 86 degrees for prolonged periods of time is also bad for fish so I would hate to leave it the high for longer then it really needs to be simply because Mr. Platy prefers hiding. I have tried food but he always waits till I leave (I can see him from the side of the tank from the other room but it is too far away to really tell how the ich is since they are super tiny specs). Ideas?

Side note: ammonia between 0ppm and 0.25ppm before todays water change. Yay!
1. No you shouldn't have a problem with nitrites if you don't with ammonia. Especially if it's just one small fish in a 36 gallon tank.

2. If you have to stress him out just to see him, then it isn't a good idea. Just leave him alone, because stress will make the ich worse.

3. You can crouch down below the tank and they won't be able to see you! If you feel uncomfortable with it then just turn the heat down to 83 or 84.
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Old 02-19-2014, 12:01 PM   #15
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Alrighty. It has been about 9 days (give or take since it took 3 to get the temperature up to 86 degrees) treating the ich with the raised heat and daily water changes. I was finally able to see my platy last night after sitting perfectly still in front of the aquarium for 20 minutes.

He does not seem to have any of the tiny white spots (that made him look like someone had dumped a salt shaker on him) anymore. However, on his right side he has one big white spot (about the size of the pointed end of a pencil) and then his belly on the left side is also white. He is a red wag platy. What I am wondering is this normal/what the end result of having ich looks like or has he developed a new disease? It isn't fuzzy like what the females had it is just like his scales turned white instead of being their redish/orange color. Is there anything I should do for this or is it something that will improve with time?

The tank is also still cycling. Ammonia is somewhere below 0.25ppm but above 0ppm and there does not seem to be any Nitrites in the tank as of yet. Is the white on him ammonia burns? Or is that not possible?

Last question, should I still keep the heat cranked up to 86/87ish or should I begin lowering it back down to 78?

Thank you!
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Old 02-19-2014, 06:03 PM   #16
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I just realized that I could have been using my betta tank to help cycle this one and for color chart comparisons... Whoops. So I took the one foam insert from my betta tank and stuck it in the filter of my 29 gallon tank. Will this help the cycle? It won't give me super high ammonia or nitrites though will it?

Also I tested the betta tank with 0ppm ammonia, 0ppm nitrites, and somewhere between 5 and 10ppm of nitrates (once again I was having difficulty with the colors). Is this what my 29 gallon tank should look like when it is all done?

Obviously those results were before I changed the water. I do weekly water changes on the betta tank, is that often enough?
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Old 02-19-2014, 09:25 PM   #17
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Yes, it will immensely help the cycle. Your 29 gallon tank, when cycled, will look something like that, yes. Nitrates will always vary between tanks, but nitrites and ammonia should always be close to 0. And yes, water changes are enough as long as you keep nitrates below 30, it's fine.
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