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Aquarium Advice Apprentice
May 20, 2014
I found this site on google a bit back after doing some research regarding my 3 goldfish. I found that the 10 gallon is much too small for them, so my mom helped me get a 29 gallon for them since its the biggest tank we could afford. This is where I found this site. I found the "The (almost) Complete Guide and FAQ to Fishless Cycling" and started the new tank up around April 18th. But after a month of cycling I've got some questions now. I love these fish very much and I want to make sure I've made the conditions as safe as possible (as in the bacteria fully established) before I transfer them over. Its probably better to have a community to talk to in case any problems arise in the future and how to properly deal with it. I've had them for a couple of years now, and even though they are just fish they really mean a lot to me.
Welcome. I'm new here too. I won't be much help with gold fish, the last gold fish I had was a feeder who lived in a 2g bowl with a pleco (poor fish) when I was 8.

As for the fish-less cycle have you tested your water yet? If you post the values the experts might be able to give you advice.

For our 30g tank we used some bacteria from a bottle to move our start up along. Lots of people don't like to use it but it worked well for us. We needed to move a guppy from a failed attempt at a pond in to the tank quickly so we didn't have a month to wait for the bacteria to build up.
Well I guess I'll start on how about I started cycling it. After getting it set up (the heater and bubblers and filter, decorations placed) and the water dechlorinated, I placed the carbon of the goldfish tank in and let it drop to the bottom. I've been using a mix of fish flakes and my turtle's sticks to bring up the ammonia level since I do not have any pure ammonia, nor can I find any nearby to purchase.

After the first week the levels of ammonia started going up, and by the second week they were at 4ppm or around there. My nitrites and nitrates also started to show up by the beginning of the third week. The nitrites got high, and like expected the ammonia level got low. I added more fish food to bring it up a little. Well around the fourth week the ammonia and nitrites were both really low. My nitrates on the other hand haven't moved up much. It's been sitting at around 40ppm for a while (and still is there).

I wasn't sure if it was stalled or done, so I did a 50% water change (and the water added also had the conditioner put it), and added a little more fish food in. The nitrites have been climbing up again. So now I'm waiting to see if they and the ammonia go back down to where they were. From what the guide said, it said the nitrates were supposed to get really high, but they just hit a certain point (around 40ppm) and haven't got any higher, which is why I'm kind of unsure if its ready or not yet. I also added another one of the decorations from the ten gallon today just in case it needs more seeding material.

I should probably mention that my (city) water is also very hard and alkaline. I'm also wondering if this would be bad for my fish as well, or if its interfering with the cycling at all and if there's anything that could help with that. I'm also using the jungle test strips for both my ammonia and other stuff. I heard strips might not be as accurate, but its all I have.

I tested it earlier today and this is what I got for my readings:
Nitrate: 40 ppm
Nitrite: 3ppm
Hardness (GH): 300pm (or higher)
Alkalinity (KH): 300ppm (or higher)
pH: 8.4 (or higher)
Ammonia: Since the strips kind of jump from 0.5 to 3.0ppm and due to the color, its somewhere in between there.
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