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Old 02-12-2014, 01:10 PM   #1
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Next Steps after Cycle

10 gal tank.

Started my fishless cycle on 1/10, two weeks later the ammonia dropped out to zero on 1/27, Nitrites were high, nitrates climbing for a week. I've done about 4 water changes in the next two weeks to keep nitrites readable; dosing ammonia to 4ppm every other day. Nitrites just dropped to zero today 2/12, 3 weeks after the ammonia drop. Sounds pretty typical - 5 weeks for a fishless cycle. So I dosed to 4 ppm Ammonia today, if ammonia and nitrites are zero 24 hours later, I'm cycled right?

So I know usually the next step is 90% WC and "GET FISH!" or is it? I know I need to turn down my heater, we're looking to get platies, guppies, and ghost shrimp. Am I looking to hit 75 degrees for water temp? For cycle it's been 86 degrees.

GH, KH, PH. We have a water softener, so I've been using half softened water and half tap unsoftened water in the tank during cycle. This is the only way I can control the temperature as it goes into the tank (our only unsoftened tap is outside and the water is frigid so I use the softened heated water to bring it to tank temp). I haven't been worried about these parameters until now. GH is 60, KH is 120, and ph is 8.0. The test kit instructions suggest I am out of range for my desired fish, is this something I need to adjust before the fish come in, or will they cause adjustments when they start introducing waste? I have one java fern in the tank, the rest is fake plants/decorations.

And lastly what's the best way to acclimate the fish from store to tank? I've read floating bag variations and a couple other methods, which method is easiest and causes the least stress for the fish?

I hope hope hope everything is good by Friday, my daughter would be thrilled to pieces to find out on valentine's day that her tank is ready and she gets to pick out fish!! She's had her eye on a very kissy interactive platy she saw at the store a week ago, I hope it's still there.
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Old 02-13-2014, 12:59 PM   #2
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Newly cycled tanks can be a bit tempermental. I would dose ammonia for a few days to ensure that you are steadily seeing the ammonia fully converted to nitrate in a 24 hour period. I would start dropping the temp by a few degrees each day during this time until you are in tropical fish-range temps (high 70's). This will allow your bacteria to adjust to the lower temps gradually.

When you are ready for fish, do a big wc the night before. Do not add any ammonia. Make sure your nitrates are low to zero (whatever the level for your tap nitrates may be). I would take the time to drip acclimate your new fish to your tank conditions when you purchase them. There are lots of 'how to' articles here and videos on U-Tube as well. Most fish are capable of adjusting to different parameters as long as they are properly acclimated so I would not be overly concerned with having 'exact' parameters according to what you may reading elsewhere. The exceptions to this would be more difficult or sensitive species such as discus. Please ask if you have any questions!
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Old 02-13-2014, 04:35 PM   #3
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I agree, drip is the best possible method, but some say that it isn't necessary for most fish. You can just cut open the bag, clip it to the side of the tank (so it's in the water) and add half a cup of tank water every 30 mins.
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Old 02-13-2014, 08:47 PM   #4
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Your pH, GH & KH are really very suitable to livebearers. The water they evolved in is close to what you have. OS.
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Old 02-14-2014, 02:28 PM   #5
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Thanks all. Excitement got the best of me and we got fish last night, spent an hour and a half acclimating them. Guppy, Swordtail and shrimp are all vigorous. Platy died over night. Water parameters are perfect this morning. He was lethargic when we brought him home, the pet store lady didn't let me pick out the one I wanted, she just threw one in the bag, so I'm pretty sure he was on his way out when we brought him home.

Aqadvisor told me a swordtail would be ok in a 10g, but now I'm concerned because I've discovered that a 20g is probably better, but then I've read their growth can be all over the charts so I'm going to take a wait and see approach and if I have to get a 20g tank, oh darn
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Old 02-14-2014, 02:34 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Cattrah View Post
Thanks all. Excitement got the best of me and we got fish last night, spent an hour and a half acclimating them. Guppy, Swordtail and shrimp are all vigorous. Platy died over night. Water parameters are perfect this morning. He was lethargic when we brought him home, the pet store lady didn't let me pick out the one I wanted, she just threw one in the bag, so I'm pretty sure he was on his way out when we brought him home.

Aqadvisor told me a swordtail would be ok in a 10g, but now I'm concerned because I've discovered that a 20g is probably better, but then I've read their growth can be all over the charts so I'm going to take a wait and see approach and if I have to get a 20g tank, oh darn
TBH I don't think anyone should use aqadvisor anymore. It can give you warnings, but there are a lot of terrible things about it. And it's stocking predictions are really crazy sometimes.

Yes, swordtails shouldn't be in a 10 gallon, and probably not even in a 20. Maybe a 20 gallon long. It should be fine for a little while though.
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