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Old 09-20-2020, 04:04 PM   #1
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Ok, way ahead for fish in cycle

20g aquarium, running for 3 weeks now. Started with 3 swordtails and 3 platy, down now to 1 healthy swordtail and 2 healthy platies. Was using strips to test but finally got the liquid test kid and apparently I have an ammonia problem.

I also used tetra safe start plus when I first cranked up the aquarium three weeks ago. Filter is penguin 150, replaced the carbon cartridge with two aquavlear sponges and seachem matrix.

Have been testing with that kit for 3 days and consistently get .25 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 5-10 nitrates. Ph is 7.8ish. Over the last three days I have done a 50% and a 33% water change, treated daily with prime and seachem stability.

We also had a bad bout of ich that seems to be gone after three cycles of nox ich and raised temps. It's been a busy three weeks.

So what should be my game plan moving forward. How do I get that .25 ammonia down to zero before adding any new fish?
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Old 09-20-2020, 04:17 PM   #2
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I would first compare your ammonia test with a test of bottled water which should be 0ppm ammonia. If not read in good light, preferably daylight a 0ppm test can look like 0.25.
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Old 09-20-2020, 05:07 PM   #3
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Good idea. I tested our tap and it was definitely yellow, zero for ammonia. I'll keep doing daily testing and using prime and stability.

I know .25 isn't horrendous but I do want to get it to zero.
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Old 09-20-2020, 05:35 PM   #4
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Ill add a few comments, although waiting it out may be your best option. You dont seem to have any major issues at the moment.

- Maybe your water changes are removing too much ammonia so your cycle can't fully establish as there is insufficient fuel. Maybe leave off on the water changes until your ammonia + nitrite total 0.5ppm. This wouldnt normally be my advice for a fish in cycle, but might be worth considering if you dont see improvement.
- Ive read that stability might not be all its cracked up to be. "Nitrite in a bottle" is a common comment. If you dont see any improvement possibly try a different booster.
- Do you know anybody that keeps fish? Getting hold of some media from an established filter is the best way to seed your filter and establish a cycle.
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Old 09-20-2020, 06:33 PM   #5
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I've read the same about stability. Maybe it's doing nothing but I already owned it so I figure no harm.

I'm skittish to let ammonia get to .5, I'd hate to kill my last three fish that seem to be doing well. I'll hold off on water changes I suppose
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Old 09-20-2020, 06:49 PM   #6
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If you do a double dose with a water conditioner such as Prime, you can detoxify ammonia for 24 hours. If I reached .5 ammonia I would certainly do a water change, but at .25 I would probably just double dose prime if I was doing a fish in cycle.

Doing this can slow the cycle down, but you don't have to worry as much about harming your fish.
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Old 09-20-2020, 07:34 PM   #7
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Cool, I'll give that a try tomorrow. Is the idea by double dosing and theoretically getting the toxic ammonia down to zero for 24 hours, you are giving the bacteria time to grow and process the ammonia?

So after that double dose, should I expect to see a rise in nitrite and/or ammonia to remain at zero?
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