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Old 01-16-2020, 09:17 PM   #1
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Setting up issues

So I have a 5.5 gallon tank with a bubbler, heater, filter, and gravel and decorations. I've added bacteria in a bottle stuff as the directions told me to and have put some flakes in the tank. It's been running for a week and has been getting slowly more and more cloudy. It's been cloudy for several days. Temp is 78 farenheit.

I tested the water for the first time today and got these results:
Amonia 1ppm
Nitrite 0ppm
PH 7.5
Nitrate 15ppm

I plan to put a betta in so these are almost what I want. I know I need to wait longer and continue to check the water to make sure its stable, but other than that I have no clue what to do.

Should I keep adding fish flakes? How do I get the water to not be so cloudy? Is the tank almost done cycling? Do I just leave it and let it sort itself out?

Explain it like I'm stupid. I've never had an aquarium before.
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Old 01-17-2020, 07:23 AM   #2
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Ammonia is too high. Just do some water changes and stop adding flakes. The cloudiness is a bacterial bloom. Test the water again when it stops being cloudy.
What you are looking for is
Ammonia 0
Nitrites 0
Nitrate 5-20 ppm
Your ph and temperature is fine as is.
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Old 01-17-2020, 05:26 PM   #3
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Since there are no fish in the tank you don’t want to leave the tank un fed for too long though or the bacteria will die off again.


I would do just enough of a water change to get the flakes out. But you really want to see how long it takes that ammonia to be processed by your bacteria. If it’s gone within a day of the ammonia source being removed you’re probably good to do a big water change and add your fish!

You’ll then need to keep testing to ensure your bacteria are keeping up with the fish load.
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Old 01-17-2020, 08:29 PM   #4
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I did a smallish water change, probably 25%. Amonia is now at .50, the tank is still quite cloudy, and I took out almost all of the fish food laying around. Do I just wait for awhile until the amonia is gone or should I change the water more? The water changes haven't done anything for the cloudiness.
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Old 01-18-2020, 09:30 AM   #5
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The cloudiness is likely a bacterial bloom; leave it alone for a day and see what happens. The cloudiness will go away on its own once parameters settle.

Using fish food to cycle is a little less precise because you donít know how much ammonia your filter can really handle but if the ammonia goes away quickly (at most within a day) itís a good indication that things are up and running. If the ammonia is gone within a day and you have no nitrites youíre probably good to go. Do a big water change and gravel vac to clean up any leftover fish food from cycling and bring the nitrates back down. Leave the filter alone though. And add your fish within a day or so of seeing the ammonia go away. Donít want to starve all the bacteria you worked so hard to get in there!
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Old 01-19-2020, 12:36 PM   #6
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Alright, now my nitrates are up? Nitrite is still zero and the amonia is going down very slowly. The tank is of course still cloudy. Why is the nitrate up? What do I do about it? Nitrate is about 30 and amonia is about .03ppm

I did read about cycling before I started, but I expected nitrites. I expected amonia, nitrites and amonia, and then both to go down as nitrate started up.
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Old 01-20-2020, 09:38 AM   #7
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Isnít this what you expected? Ammonia and nitrites are down and nitrates going up. Youíve obviously just missed the nitrites because of you hadnít had them you wouldnít have nitrate. This sounds all good and normal. .03? What kit are you using that can pick up that small an amount?
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