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Old 02-10-2005, 11:50 PM   #1
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tank won't cycle

I have a 10 gal tank, that was started at Christmas. We set it up, waited two days, started slowly adding fish (about 1 week in between each addition). I have a charcoal filter and initially did weekly water changes of 1/4. Not until ammonia levels started to run up to 1.0 ppm (water was checked initially every 2 days) daily, did I start water changes daily of between 1/3 to 50%, since the fish were hanging panting below the surface. Every time, I do water change, I add salt, 5 ml stress coat and 5 ml stress zyme. 2 weeks ago, I added a sponge to cultivate even more of that precious bacterial flora. I slightly underfeed the fish once a day and there is no source of ammonia in my tap water (city). During all these (close to 4) weeks, there is no nitrite and no nitrate whatsoever. Even if my tank would cycle slowly, shouldn't there be at least some nitrite or nitrate measurable at one point? If the fish hang panting after 1 1/2 days, should I risk loosing them all if I do not change water at all for a week? I would hate to see them die. My female guppy is pregnant, and I think my platy female too.
With all that ammonia, they seem to be fine. Eating, active, gills pinkish, not panting (unless I postpone the waterchange for half a day). What do I do?
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Old 02-11-2005, 12:08 AM   #2
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if u used live rock and live sand, you may have skipped the cycle... Thats how i did it! If everything is doing fine, then i think your good!
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Old 02-11-2005, 12:12 AM   #3
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Chemicals state otherwise (and we did test 4 different kits). Should I continue with water changes or let it ride? Use prime or ammo-lock. I am quite torn. I would rather not loose my fish......
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Old 02-11-2005, 10:29 AM   #4
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[center:e582830ce0] Welcome to AA, carpediem!! [/center:e582830ce0]

I love your handle!!
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During all these (close to 4) weeks, there is no nitrite and no nitrate whatsoever. Even if my tank would cycle slowly, shouldn't there be at least some nitrite or nitrate measurable at one point?
This is normal while cycling with fish while doing water changes. The cycle can easily last 3 months.
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if u used live rock and live sand, you may have skipped the cycle... Thats how i did it! If everything is doing fine, then i think your good!
That's SW advice
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Use prime or ammo-lock.
No, PWC are your fish's best friend right now. How many fish are in the tank right now?
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Old 02-11-2005, 12:51 PM   #5
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my tank content

I have 3 platies, 3 glolight, 1 catfish, 1 oto, 2 guppies in my tank. Partial water changes of about 1/3 of the water?
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Old 02-11-2005, 07:30 PM   #6
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That's a lot of bioload for a new tank. Do you know anyone with an established tank?
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Old 02-11-2005, 09:54 PM   #7
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There is one at the school, but the secretary just exchanged all (!) the water in the 20 gal tank with one fantail goldfish. She even scrubbed the gravel!!!.
That is probably not much help for me.
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Old 02-11-2005, 10:21 PM   #8
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There is one at the school, but the secretary just exchanged all (!) the water in the 20 gal tank with one fantail goldfish. She even scrubbed the gravel!!!.
8O
yikes
If she didn't change the filter, you could get some bacteria that way, but she probaly scrubbed that too! Where in Canada are you?
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Old 02-11-2005, 10:27 PM   #9
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Vancouver Island and I bet she did. She was so proud that she got it all clean. What was I supposed to say, it was already done, by the time I got there.
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Old 02-11-2005, 10:35 PM   #10
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I started two tanks at the beginning of January, and they took 4-5 weeks to fully cycle. I did get some "grunge" from an established filter, and it helped -- it wasn't instantaneous, but it did speed things along. Be patient, and keep doing water changes. Also, I would stop using the stress-zyme. It's best in the long run to cycle without it. Your tank will stay stable if it cycles on its own or with some established filter grunge. Ammo-lock may interfere with the cycle too. It could bind up some of the ammonia, which is good for the fish, but then it could starve the bacteria that you've got started in there. Just do lots of water changes. Yes, I know it gets tedious! But it will cycle!
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Old 02-11-2005, 10:55 PM   #11
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How high can I let the ammonia ride before it gets critical. I am currently between 1 and 2 ppm daily, despite daily water changes of about 1/3. Frustrating. Almost 4 weeks of Ammonia that high and no nitrites or nitrates at all. I do not get it. I added a sponge in my cascade filter. Absolutely nothing. For a while, I thought it was a faulty test.
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Old 02-11-2005, 10:55 PM   #12
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I thought of something else -- how are you removing the water? Are you using a gravel vac? If you are, just remove water only at this point. Don't vaccuum the substrate. It's better to leave it undisturbed now so the bacteria can colonize. Some bacteria (the majority of it, actually) will colonize in the filter since the water flow is highest there. (scrubbing the filter?? 8O) But as the tank is starting, it helps not to disturb any area where the bacteria could be. When the tank is established, you can gravel-vac half of the tank at each water change.

For now, just remove water with the vac, but if the ammonia level goes up too high, you can vac just a little bit to get some of the gunk out. The gunk is what feeds the bacteria, but you also have to balance that with the fish's health.
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Old 02-11-2005, 11:02 PM   #13
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I do nothing with the filter except change the carbon once a month. I added a sponge between the carbon and the water output. Don't even rinse that one at this point. I do use the gravel vac, because the 3 platies and the 2 guppies are quite messy, I could just slightly do the top for now. Good tip. I will try that. Should I keep using the stress coat 5 ml? How high can I let the ammonia ride?
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Old 02-11-2005, 11:09 PM   #14
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With levels of between 1 and 2 ppm, you'll have to keep doing daily water changes. Try doing two changes one day -- one in the morning and one in the evening. I know how frustrating it is. I showed ammonia for one month and nitrites for one day, and then no nitrates (I have live plants).

As Menagerie said, you do have a lot of fish in there. Can you take some of them to a friend's tank? You could continue to cycle your tank, and with a smaller bio-load, it may cycle through faster and with less stress on you. When it's cycled, you could get your other fish back. Your tank will probably go through a small cycle when the other fish are added, but it shouldn't be that bad. Of the two tanks I started, the one with the smaller bio-load cycled about a week sooner than the other one. Your mileage may vary, though, but it's worth a thought if the fish don't look good or you're getting worn out.

Here's another product that may help, if you can get it: http://www.seachem.com/products/prod...Stability.html

I know I said it's best to cycle without chemicals, but this product looks promising. I'm trying it in a third tank I just started (yes, you read that right!!) and I'm hopeful that the ammonia spikes won't be so high or last as long.
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Old 02-11-2005, 11:16 PM   #15
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I have stress coat, stress zyme and now prime (which I have not used yet instead of stress coat. Apperently prime is working like stress coat and ammo-lock together.
No, I do not know anybody with a tank that could take my fish.
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Old 02-11-2005, 11:40 PM   #16
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Did you say you had 4 different tests? Did they all come out the same? I took some water to my fish place to have them test it, just for verification.

I'm glad you added a sponge. Don't rinse that yet!! Later on, if it gets super grungy, you can swish it a little in some removed tank water during a water change. But I can't even remember the last time I rinsed my sponge.

You can keep using the stress coat. It shouldn't interfere with the cycle. But it does have some more organic matter (the aloe) that other brands don't have, and an excess of organic matter is what you don't need right now. Just don't overdose it. I would not use the stress zyme anymore.

If you use Prime, follow the directions on the bottle. It says it's best when added to the new water. I use Kordon brand Novaqua and Amquel when I mix water up for a water change. At large doses, Amquel will detoxify ammonia and this could interfere with the cycle. I only use the dose for the initial conditioning of tap water. This dose (it's 8-10 drops per gallon) removes chloramines in your tap water but won't starve the good bacteria. After reading the Prime description, I think that's what it does too. So you can use it if you want instead of Stress coat, but don't overdose.
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Old 02-11-2005, 11:48 PM   #17
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The lfs did 3 more different tests with different kits from different brands. Just to make sure it is not a bad lot. The prime will detoxify ammonia too. I do not have any chlorine in my city water. If I should ride out the ammonia, I should probably use something to keep the ammonia in shape. If water changes are better, I would rather stay with the stress coat in order not to do any more changes in there. It just feels I am still far away from the cycled tank yet.
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Old 02-12-2005, 06:55 PM   #18
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Leave the carbon out or just leave it alone - you don't need to mess with your filter at all. If you have ammonia and no nitrite for an extended period, then something is interfering with the cycle. What is the temperature of the tank?
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Old 02-12-2005, 11:01 PM   #19
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My temp is around 78.
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Old 02-13-2005, 06:57 PM   #20
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grrr. My tank must be cursed. I just measured again. 1.0 ammonia. I looked it up. I have straight 1.0 levels since Jan. 21 and never had a positive nitrite level. How I admire those in this forum that have to battle high nitrite levels. At least they are a huge leap ahead of me. I heard patience is a virtue.
I thought I would get a low maintenance pet for my son. Looking back, a puppy would probably have been easier.
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