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Old 04-27-2013, 09:10 AM   #1
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Totally lost with my cycle (or mini cycle) help!

Hello new forum
I have recently become another owner of a wonderful betta fish called Milton who is fantastic, however his water chemistry in the tank is worrying, confusing and frustrating me so i'm hoping some more experienced people can help me out!

(LONG post sorry, want to give as much detail as possible)

Tank details / history
It is a 5 gallon (20-21 liter) tank: Buy Marine Master Panoramic EziStart Glass Fish Tank Starter Kit 21L | Read Reviews | BIG W Online Store Australia

It was previously my sister tank which held some tetras for close to a year, the tank was fully cycled and didn't have any fish loss (amazing since the filter wasn't that great but did its job in the end) She grew tired of fish keeping, gave the tetras to my mother and let me have the tank.

I totally cleaned the tank (it had SUPER algae growth) including the gravel really well, cleaned the filter (just the pipes not the actual bacteria growing media) and replaced the fake plants with brand new ones.

CURRENTLY the tank has plain grey gravel (medium size), silk plants, a log of driftwood and a anubis plant that i'm attempting to grow on the wood.

How i set up the tank
I took some seeded and used filter wool from my already cycled (been so for 2+ years- yes with cleaning monthly ) 3ft tank and used half clean filter wool. I also replaced the ceramic tubes for the filter with some from the cycled tank. I filled the tank with half water from my big tank and half clean conditioned water and let this run for 2 days (set up the tank 21/4/13) , These were the results at the FIRST test (with no fish):

(23/4/13)
Ammonia: 0ppm
NitRIte: 0ppm
NitRAte: 40-80ppm
Ph: 7.2

Since the nitRAte was higher then i wanted, i did a 50% water change the day of that test with PRIME.

(24/4/13)
The following day i bought my betta home (the store could only hold fish for 3 days ) and did another 25% water change to be sure about the nitRAtes which after another test were still higher then i liked (and my nitRItes were also a little bit higher)

I did the normal routine of introducing a fish into the aquarium and Milton was home!

(25/4/13)
I re-tested the water again the day after introducing Milton into the tank and these were the results:

Ammonia: 0ppm
NitRIte: .5ppm
NitRAte: 40-80ppm
ph: 7.2

After this reading i did another 50% water change and used a little higher then usual dosage of PRIME to try to bring it down. This is when i also started getting confused, why was my tank almost fine, then within one day things started going out of wack!

(26/4/13)
This day i did ANOTHER 50% water change in the morning and retested again and these were the results:

Ammonia: 0ppm
NitRIte: .5-1ppm
NitRAte: 80ppm

WHAT? how in the world did i have such a massive spike in everything?
I started focusing my time on water changes and after some quick reading i realized that 50% was proberly over doing it (i guess i was freaking out for Milton's health)

I did yet another water change that afternoon of 15% using now both PRIME and API QUICK START (i had bought API QUICK START that day after talking with my aquarium shop guy who suggested that i use it) this time again both higher then normal doses and these were the results:

Ammonia: 0ppm
NitRIte: still .50-1ppm *the colours are so similar!
NitRAte: 20ppm
ph: 7.2

Good to see the nitRAtes were lowering, but now the nitRItes were bothering me!!

and finally, TODAY (27/4/13)
Did yet another 50% water change when i returned from work, re-dosed with more then usual PRIME and API QUICK START and this is what i found:

Ammonia: 0ppm (could have been a TINY bit higher i wasnt too sure because of the lighting)
NitRIte: still .50-1ppm
NitRAte: 5-10ppm

PHEW, if you managed to read all that, THANK YOU!
So with all that information, where do people think i am in this situation, am i in the middle of a "mini cycle" or have i just restarted my cycle from the beginning?
How else do you recommend that i bring down the nitRItes levels? Continue with the water changes or leave it for a few days now that i have some ideal levels of nitRAtes?
Please ask questions incase i have missed anything!

Thanks, Erin.
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Old 04-27-2013, 11:33 AM   #2
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If your nitrite isn't 0 you're in the middle of the cycle and you need to continue doing water changes to keep nitrite under .25ppm
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Old 04-27-2013, 11:35 AM   #3
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Did the filter media dried up at all, how long was the media out of the cycled tank?
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Old 04-27-2013, 12:22 PM   #4
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Ill continue the water changes

Do you mean the filter material right from the established tank. No it was still wet when I made the transfer, I did it straight away.
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Old 04-27-2013, 08:38 PM   #5
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Preformed a 25% water change this morning and retested the water without letting it rest and this was what i got (pretty interesting and now I'm basically like what!?)

(29/4/13)
Ammonia: .25ppm
Nitrite: .25ppm
Nitrate: between 0 and 5.0ppm

Now I'm totally lost, why suddenly has my ammonia spiked (even after a change) but my nitrite has dropped to almost gone but I've lost my nitrates!
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Old 04-27-2013, 08:52 PM   #6
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What are you using for a test kit, what are your readings out of the tap
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Old 04-27-2013, 11:18 PM   #7
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I use the api liquid testers, all are in date and shouldn't be causing false readings as they are only a few months old.

I also tested my tap water and it was 0 for everything..
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Old 04-28-2013, 04:42 AM   #8
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Did another 25% water change and used a higher then average dose of prime, I actually put a little into the filter part and then waited and retested, these were the results:

Ammonia: .25ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 0ppm

So what now, it's great my nitrites are now back to 0 but my ammonia is on the rise, is this the beginning of the end of the cycle?

Thanks for everyone's input btw
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Old 04-28-2013, 04:52 AM   #9
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And of course a picture of Milton!
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Old 04-28-2013, 06:38 AM   #10
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Sad so say no, end of the cycle is 0 ammo, 0 nitrite and 5-20 nitrate
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Old 04-28-2013, 07:34 AM   #11
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So what happened! Haha these readings are confusing me I'm not sure what it all means!
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Old 04-28-2013, 08:58 AM   #12
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Sometimes I have difficulty distinguishing 0 ammo from .25 so I lay the vial against something completely white & that helps. I wouldn't get too worked up based on the one test. Give the tank 24 hrs then retest to see what's happening.
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Old 04-28-2013, 10:47 AM   #13
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Ill leave the tank for now I'm a little relieved that the tests are coming back less so I'm positive leaving it won't harm Milton for now! Ill update for the next test
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Old 04-28-2013, 07:51 PM   #14
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Just wanted to say hi, and that Milton is stunning!!
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Old 04-29-2013, 07:52 AM   #15
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Hey guys, just a little update.

I left the tank for 24 hours and re-tested:
ammonia: 0-.25ppm (basically inbetween these two)
nitrite: 0ppm
nitrate: 0ppm

Still basically no change since a day ago, and now i still have readings of 0 nitrate which is a little concerning Any ideas?

And thanks, i couldnt leave the store without buying him Never good to buy pets on the spot without any kind of setup but sometimes if you dont, you will regret it later!
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Old 04-29-2013, 08:30 AM   #16
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Glad the readings look a lot better! I wouldn't worry too much about nitrates yet, give it a few more days.
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Old 04-29-2013, 10:59 AM   #17
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Should I continue with water changes or leave as it is unless I have another big spike?
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Old 04-29-2013, 12:12 PM   #18
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Based on your readings no water change is needed IMO. Sit back & relax today, check again tomorrow.
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Old 04-29-2013, 07:12 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shellieca View Post
Based on your readings no water change is needed IMO. Sit back & relax today, check again tomorrow.
+1 have to agree. .25 wont harm your fish
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Old 05-01-2013, 10:34 AM   #20
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I waited again and retested without any water changes and I got the same results as the last one.
What does that mean for my cycle? Is it stalled or has it reset itself..?
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