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debbiepride 01-14-2009 12:23 PM

Cycling question
I recently started a 10G tank, and it is still cycling. I have three guppies in there. So far levels are fine, but if the Nitrite/Ammonia levels get too high what should I do? I've read some things that say just change 25% of the water, and others that say to add a conditioner that will lower the levels. The guy at the pet store told me not to add any chemicals because it would start the Nitrogen cycle all over again. So do I never ad any chemicals like Nitraban, even after it cycles? I'm confused...

bs6749 01-14-2009 05:49 PM

You can add Prime by Seachem that will neutralize the ammonia and nitrites for a couple of days. It will convert those chemicals into a form that is unharmful to fish yet the bacteria will still be able to consume them. I'd suggest dosing every day if you can. The down side is that the converted ammonia and nitrite will still show up on the test kits though it is neutralized. Changing out 25% of the water per day wouldn't be a bad thing IMO, especially if the levels get too high. Then you might want something more like a 50% PWC. Welcome to AA!

fort384 01-14-2009 06:15 PM

I think based on most of the advice out there, you want to avoid using chemicals to change the composition of your water whenever possible. Treating with chemicals potentially is just masking a different underlying issue. The key is to treat the root cause. In your case, with the tank still cycling, I think it would be prudent to do frequent small (10-25%) PWCs until the cycle is complete. I have a 29G tank that I have never put chemicals in... and my ammonia and nitrites are at 0, and nitrate levels are great. When I cycled it, I did 20% PWCs every other day until ammonia and nitrite reached 0 (took about 2.5 weeks).

I would stick with the PWCs, and let the tank run its course.

bs6749 01-14-2009 06:19 PM

Prime is completely safe and it is highly recommended by many seasoned aquarists. I agree that trying to adjust pH for example by adding H2SO4 would not be a good idea because many don't understand the concept of buffers and pH swings. Prime is another story however and has proven itself to be trusted over many years of use. It can only help things.

debbiepride 01-14-2009 08:17 PM

Thanks! Wow, this forum is great... I think I will try to cycle without chemicals, but keep Prime on hand in case the levels spike too high. Thanks!

HooKooDooKu 01-15-2009 05:19 PM

IMHO, the correct thing to do is a fishless cycle.

But since we already have the fish, then (again IMHO) the correct thing to do is ONLY daily PWC to keep the ammonia and nitrite levels low. The amount of the PWC depends upon the ammonia and nitrite levels. You might find that one day the levels are particulary high and you need to do a 50% water change, and another day you might find the levels are already low and you decide to either to a small (10%) PWC or skip it all together.

If you are treating the TANK water with chemicals, then you won't know what the actually levels are (as bs6749 pointed out) and therefore not know how much of a PWC is needed.

However, you still want a bottle of Prime. Assuming that you are refilling the tank with city tap water, you need Prime to pre-treat the city water to neutrilize the various forms of chlorine used to treat city water as well as neutrilize any ammonia and nitrites in the city water. In this case, you only use two drops per gallon. That will be enough to prepare the water to add to your tank, but it's not enough to effect the ammonia and nitrite levels in your tank.

jim692 01-15-2009 10:29 PM

I am also cycling a tank with fish. (Doh!)(have posted story of my foolishness)

Water changes.(with appropriate dechlorinater) seem the way to go IMHO because it removes the waste instead of converting it to a less toxic form. I seem to be able to keep the ammonia and nitrite levels down below .50ppm with daily testing (API freshwater master test kit) and partial water changes of anywhere from 1/3, 1/2, 2/3% when levels get too high without a problem. This seems to work for me, but to each his/her own.

After the tank cycles your ammonia and nitrites should hit 0 and stay there. Nitroban, etc should not be necessary at that point. Water changes to keep the nitrAtes below 20 -40 ppm would be all thats necessary

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