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Old 04-28-2011, 02:18 PM   #1
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Unhappy Thinking of returning fish due to cycle

Hi,

I'm new, 12 gal tank, 4 Glofish (which I learned afterward isn't the best size for these fish. The fish have been there for a month now. Tank not cycled yet.

Ammonia is usually 0-0.25, although the last two tests 12 hours after a pwc showed a full 0.25 ammonia (it's usually less) even 12 hours after a 5 gal change, so maybe the ammonia is trying to come up.

nitrates/nitrites - 0

ph is often around 6.8-7.2 but I've lately had fluctuations so not sure what's going on there.

Also started to notice some green algea (?) on one of my decorations.

I've been doing pwc 1-2x daily as habit. Until last week I was testing the water (API kit) only after pwc. This week I started testing the water before changes as well.

So my question:

First, is the tank taking so long to cycle b/c I have fish and am doing pwc?

Second: if the ammonia is trying to come up (finally) and if I let it get to .5 before doing a water change, how long would this take before I start seeing nitrites? Days? Weeks?

I'm already very attached to my fish and it would make me sad to bring them back to PetSmart (if they would even take them). However, the thought of them swimming in .5+ of ammonia kills me, especially if it could be days or weeks. And if any of them die because of that I'd be upset (and probably quit this hobby before I even started).

So, should I just take the fish back now and do a fishless cycle? Since I may be a bit further along than a brand new empty tank, how long do you think it would take to cycle without fish from where I am now? (of course this would open up a new can of worms for me and my asking more questions, lol).

What should I do?
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Old 04-28-2011, 02:51 PM   #2
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Hi Libraygirl. You're kinda in a catch 22. You're absolutely doing the right thing with the daily pwc's. Any levels above .25 are harmful and start burning and scarring the gills of your fish.

Problem is, keeping the ammo at safe levels results in your tank cycling more slowly, but it's what's necessary to keep your fish from suffering. I think you're right that the safest and smartest decision (especially if you're attached to your fish ) would be to either return them or hopefully find a temporary home with a friend and doing a fishless cycle.

You can follow the guide in my signature to learn more about fishless cycling, and I'm more than happy to guide you the whole way through the process. Good luck!
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Old 04-28-2011, 02:57 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by libraygirl
Hi,

I'm new, 12 gal tank, 4 Glofish (which I learned afterward isn't the best size for these fish. The fish have been there for a month now. Tank not cycled yet.

Ammonia is usually 0-0.25, although the last two tests 12 hours after a pwc showed a full 0.25 ammonia (it's usually less) even 12 hours after a 5 gal change, so maybe the ammonia is trying to come up.

nitrates/nitrites - 0

ph is often around 6.8-7.2 but I've lately had fluctuations so not sure what's going on there.

Also started to notice some green algea (?) on one of my decorations.

I've been doing pwc 1-2x daily as habit. Until last week I was testing the water (API kit) only after pwc. This week I started testing the water before changes as well.

So my question:

First, is the tank taking so long to cycle b/c I have fish and am doing pwc?

Second: if the ammonia is trying to come up (finally) and if I let it get to .5 before doing a water change, how long would this take before I start seeing nitrites? Days? Weeks?

I'm already very attached to my fish and it would make me sad to bring them back to PetSmart (if they would even take them). However, the thought of them swimming in .5+ of ammonia kills me, especially if it could be days or weeks. And if any of them die because of that I'd be upset (and probably quit this hobby before I even started).

So, should I just take the fish back now and do a fishless cycle? Since I may be a bit further along than a brand new empty tank, how long do you think it would take to cycle without fish from where I am now? (of course this would open up a new can of worms for me and my asking more questions, lol).

What should I do?
Daily PWC are the best thing you can do for your fish. Below is a link to cycling with fish that should help you out a lot.

http://www.aquariumadvice.com/articl...now/Page1.html
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Old 04-28-2011, 03:05 PM   #4
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Thanks. I did read that article and many others. The article says that doing constant water changes shouldn't stall the cycle and it should take about a month or so. It's been a month for me and no change at all yet. Is that normal? So if I keep the fish and continue doing pwc if the ammonia is 0.25+ then the tank should eventually cycle, just not as fast?

I wish I knew someone with a tank to take them but I don't; and I'm in the smallest state in the country so yeah probably won't find anyone to take them, any definitely no one I know. I could return them to PetSmart but I'll never get the same ones back, plus who knows what care they'll get there. I saw a dead fish in one of their angel fish tanks recently, the thing was just stuck to a plant. Plus what if all the moving and changing environments kill them too?

Ugh I'm gonna cry....
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Old 04-28-2011, 03:09 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by libraygirl
Thanks. I did read that article and many others. The article says that doing constant water changes shouldn't stall the cycle and it should take about a month or so. It's been a month for me and no change at all yet. Is that normal? So if I keep the fish and continue doing pwc if the ammonia is 0.25+ then the tank should eventually cycle, just not as fast?

I wish I knew someone with a tank to take them but I don't; and I'm in the smallest state in the country so yeah probably won't find anyone to take them, any definitely no one I know. I could return them to PetSmart but I'll never get the same ones back, plus who knows what care they'll get there. I saw a dead fish in one of their angel fish tanks recently, the thing was just stuck to a plant. Plus what if all the moving and changing environments kill them too?

Ugh I'm gonna cry....
I'm usually 100% for fishless cycling...but I'd feel bad having to return fish I cared about to Petsmart just for them to probably go to a bad home. I think you seem like a committed and caring enough person to get through this with your fish.

The article Mr. Limpet linked is the best on the site about cycling with fish. Just keep being committed, patient and keeping the ammo under .25 and you'll get through this.

Are you using an API Master Test kit? It's possible your numbers are wrong if you're using the strips.
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Being responsible...fishless cycling defines it, fish-in requires it. Choose wisely.
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Old 04-28-2011, 03:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by libraygirl
Thanks. I did read that article and many others. The article says that doing constant water changes shouldn't stall the cycle and it should take about a month or so. It's been a month for me and no change at all yet. Is that normal? So if I keep the fish and continue doing pwc if the ammonia is 0.25+ then the tank should eventually cycle, just not as fast?

I wish I knew someone with a tank to take them but I don't; and I'm in the smallest state in the country so yeah probably won't find anyone to take them, any definitely no one I know. I could return them to PetSmart but I'll never get the same ones back, plus who knows what care they'll get there. I saw a dead fish in one of their angel fish tanks recently, the thing was just stuck to a plant. Plus what if all the moving and changing environments kill them too?

Ugh I'm gonna cry....
I think one issue is that 4 glofish in 12g doesn't really produce a lot of waste to get the bacteria groing at a good rate. What's your feeding schedule like? Maybe bump it up a bit so that the left over food can help feed the bacteria and do so after a daily PWC so it has a chance to desolve and boost the bacteria. Another suggestion is when testing before a PWC, ammo at >.25ppm and no2 at 0pmm isn't that bad and wait a few hours to see where it goes till it jumps a bit and then do a Pwc. The last thing I'd suggest is get some Anacharis, let it float or sink (plant weights are OK) and that will help soak up some no3 and feed the bacteria.

For an example, I cycled 90% of my 29g in 8 days with plants and they do help, but I'd say 1 bunch would be enough for a 12g.
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Old 04-28-2011, 03:25 PM   #7
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I'm usually 100% for fishless cycling...but I'd feel bad having to return fish I cared about to Petsmart just for them to probably go to a bad home. I think you seem like a committed and caring enough person to get through this with your fish.

The article Mr. Limpet linked is the best on the site about cycling with fish. Just keep being committed, patient and keeping the ammo under .25 and you'll get through this.

Are you using an API Master Test kit? It's possible your numbers are wrong if you're using the strips.


Yes I am using the API kit (sorry meant to mention that in my original post). I find it's sometimes hard to read though, the colors are so similar (and/or could be the lighting in my apartment, I keep moving to different spots but can never be sure).

The color for the ammonia test usually seems between 0 and 0.25 (I usually do a small water change at <0.25 anyway), slightly greenish tint but not full 0.25. Although the last two times I tested, 12 hours apart, the test seemed a full 0.25 both times and this was 12 hours after a 5 gal change which used to keep the ammonia down, so I think maybe it's starting to rise.

Thanks, you made me feel a bit better.
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Old 04-28-2011, 03:26 PM   #8
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4 glolights in a 12 gallon is absolutly fine i would even add a couple more once your tank has cycled and even add some cardinals or neon tetras
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Old 04-28-2011, 03:28 PM   #9
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do you know anybody with a cycled tank?
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Old 04-28-2011, 03:35 PM   #10
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I think one issue is that 4 glofish in 12g doesn't really produce a lot of waste to get the bacteria groing at a good rate. What's your feeding schedule like? Maybe bump it up a bit so that the left over food can help feed the bacteria and do so after a daily PWC so it has a chance to desolve and boost the bacteria. Another suggestion is when testing before a PWC, ammo at >.25ppm and no2 at 0pmm isn't that bad and wait a few hours to see where it goes till it jumps a bit and then do a Pwc. The last thing I'd suggest is get some Anacharis, let it float or sink (plant weights are OK) and that will help soak up some no3 and feed the bacteria.

For an example, I cycled 90% of my 29g in 8 days with plants and they do help, but I'd say 1 bunch would be enough for a 12g.
I usually feed them a very small amount of flakes; I crush them in my fingers (get nervous when the large pieces start floating everywhere and once a fish inhaled a large piece and I was praying it wouldn't choke lol). Usually each fish gets at least one piece. Then 1-2x per week I'll put a dried bloodworm between my fingers and let them pick it off, do that a few times but I don't just drop them in the tank.

I'll start doing what you've suggested. I have the next 2 days off so I can monitor the tank more closely. Another issue is that I'm gone a good 10 hours per day for work so I fear that if I don't do a bit enough pwc in the morning or let the tank sit with 0.25 ammonia in it, I'll come home to sick or dead or suffering fish, so I always change the water in the AM regardless of what the test shows, so that could be slowing things down.

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Old 04-28-2011, 03:36 PM   #11
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do you know anybody with a cycled tank?
No
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Old 04-28-2011, 03:37 PM   #12
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maybe you can go to your lfs and offer to buy some of their filter media mine will sell theirs if they have lots
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Old 04-28-2011, 08:11 PM   #13
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So how do you know what you're getting is good? I mean, if the lfs is bad and their tanks are diseased, etc., how would you know? I'm hesitant about putting something in my tank from someone I don't know. The few lfs I've been in here aren't good; some get their puppies from mills (or at least those are the rumors), some seem dirty, keep their animals in poor conditions. I'm not saying all of them as I haven't been in every fish store in the state, but I'd still be leery of them and putting something in my tank that might be harmful. I got my fish and supplies from PetSmart but I don't know if they would share their media and even then, I'm not sure. I've gone there a few times and seen some fish gasping at the surface and others had dead fish in the tank.
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Old 04-28-2011, 08:16 PM   #14
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have a look in the tank look for healthy fish and check back with it a few times if it seems to have no problems offer him 20 buck for some good healthy media he will sell i wouldnt go to petco/shop whateever lol thry a local store
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Old 04-28-2011, 08:19 PM   #15
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I'm also VERY leery of seed material from any lfs. It's always gonna be a gamble unless it's coming from a friends house who you know has a healthy established tank. The problem I have with lfs filter media is that even if they have beautiful, well maintained tanks...they're constantly adding new fish to the tanks which could be bringing the nasties in with them. You've just really gotta take an educated gamble where you get it from.
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Old 04-28-2011, 08:21 PM   #16
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i guess so but iam good friends with the owner of our lfs and she gave us great media for free i guess trust is the issue
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Old 04-28-2011, 08:34 PM   #17
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So how do you know what you're getting is good? I mean, if the lfs is bad and their tanks are diseased, etc., how would you know? I'm hesitant about putting something in my tank from someone I don't know. The few lfs I've been in here aren't good; some get their puppies from mills (or at least those are the rumors), some seem dirty, keep their animals in poor conditions. I'm not saying all of them as I haven't been in every fish store in the state, but I'd still be leery of them and putting something in my tank that might be harmful. I got my fish and supplies from PetSmart but I don't know if they would share their media and even then, I'm not sure. I've gone there a few times and seen some fish gasping at the surface and others had dead fish in the tank.
IMO you don't know what you're getting and I think it would be a bad idea to use media from a LFS system that can support 10 or more tanks at once (basically multiple tanks in a big loop on one filtration system and it's SOP at LFS).
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Old 04-28-2011, 08:45 PM   #18
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maybe at yours iam just saying its an idea if you can trust them its not gonna be any worse then putting fish in your tank from a lfs they can just as easly carry a disease unless you qt all your fish before you add them to your tank
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Old 04-28-2011, 08:51 PM   #19
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maybe at yours iam just saying its an idea if you can trust them its not gonna be any worse then putting fish in your tank from a lfs they can just as easly carry a disease unless you qt all your fish before you add them to your tank
Problem is that those filters from a LFS has had potentially hundreds of fish using those filter pads. Adding a fish directly into your tank without QT is always a gamble, but you're taking a risk with one fish as opposed to hundreds. I don't want to be inappropriate, but it's like that saying that when you "get with somebody...uhm...cough"...you're also getting with all the people they've been with.
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Old 04-28-2011, 08:54 PM   #20
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thats kinda what iam saying too figuratively speaking you have been as most diseases can be passed on
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