10 G-Cycling questions-help please!

Discussion in 'Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle' started by gzarr, Dec 30, 2009.

  1. gzarrValued MemberMember

    Hello everyone!
    I'm new and an animal lover who decided to get my 5 year old son a fish tank for Christmas. He LOVES sea creatures so I was really excited about this present! I had a 10 G tank when I was in high school and at the time didn't have the internet so I was very uninformed. All I knew was that fish tend to die shortly after you get them so I wanted to get my son's tank set up a tad earlier in case any died before Christmas (didn't want him opening up a tank of dead fish! :)).
    So I truck off to Walmart to get my supplies and fish and was told I could have 2 black-finned sharks, 3 tiger barbs, a male betta and 2 ghost shrimp together. I happily go home, set up the tank (with dechlorinater), a heater, hang on back filter and plop the fish in. THEN I decided to research the fish I had selected for me, and there-in starts my slow realization that I did this ALL WRONG!
    I found out the sharks get too big and take them back for 3 more barbs since they like to be in groups of 6 or more, and a bronze cory for the bottom. I had found out about cycling and knew there would be some victims in the next week (also what my problem was in high school). So now a week and a half later I still have the cory, 1 barb, betta and 2 shrimp and am not getting anything else till we're cycled.
    I got water testing kits and started that 4 days ago. The ammonia was at
    .25 but today is 1.5-2. The general hardness was 0, carb. hardness was 190, ph 7.5-8.5, nitrites 0, and nitrates 20-30. Those have stayed the same. I have changed 10% of water twice now.
    My questions are this: Will this tank even out since I started it totally wrong? Are the levels going along how they should? Will the exisiting fish make it? If so, what other fish should I add once cycled? Should I change more water and how often? Anything else I should be doing?
    Thanks everyone for your input. I feel bad for these fish that I'm putting through my ignorant 'science experiment.' I wish I had researched BEFORE buying, but hindsight is 20/20 so now I just need guidence with where we are.
    Thanks so much!

  2. LucyModeratorModerator Member

    Welcome to FishLore :)

    Looks like you're not doing too bad.
    It would be a good idea to do 50% daily water changes until the tank is cycled.
    0 ammonia, 0 nitrites with some nitrates.
    If you use Prime as your water conditioner, it'll detox the ammonia for 24 hours between water changes.

    What test kit are you using? You might want to to test your tap water for ammonia and nitrates.

    Your betta shouldn't be in a tank with barbs. He should be in a heated, filtered 5g tank by himself.
    Things may look like they're going ok but sadly you might wake up one day and fine someone hurt or killed. Here's our Betta Care Guide

    Once the tank is cycled and the betta removed you can look into more barbs and cories. Both like more of their own kind.
    Best of luck and post some pics when you get a chance!

  3. gzarrValued MemberMember

    Thanks for the response.
    I have the API 5 in 1 test strips and the API ammonia drops test kit.
    What is the purpose of the 50% water change? I thought you weren't suppose to do anything more than 10-15%? So bettas can never live with another fish? I thought they could be compatable with more placid fish (or so I read). Unfortunately I had bought him first thinking my son could have him in a bowl, but after reading up on bettas I felt horrible for him and that was a contributing factor to getting the 10G tank. The cory and him don't really interact, however, the betta will chase the barb if he gets too close. I have an instinct that the barb may not make it, perhaps due to stress of not having like kind around.
    And if my tap water has ammonia or nitrates what are you supposed to do about that?

  4. konstargirlWell Known MemberMember

    Well first of all, As lucy said tiger barbs cannot be housed with bettas because they have a tendency to nip at long fins. So I would take the tiger barbs back immediately and just keep the betta and the cory. Otherwise you are going to experience some problems in your tank. I already had problems with my 10 gallon especially I got danios now and I'm not going to buy anymore danios because they get agressive sometiems during feeding times. But anyway.....I will also stick with the liquid test kits. Thet are more accurate than test strips.

    So thats all I have to say. Not really an expert, but I just konw from what I had done to my tank and share it to others. Hope these advices help
  5. LucyModeratorModerator Member

    May I suggest that you invest in a good liquid test kit. API makes an excellent one.
    It's less costly than the strips in the long run.
    The strips can be inaccurate, but for the sake of your fish, we'll assume you have an ammonia readings.

    Ammonia is toxic to fish. For their sake we have to keep the levels low during the cycling process. Exposure to ammonia weakens their immune system and leaves them open to disease and illness.
    Once the tank finishes cycling 25% once a week to a week and a half is fine.

    I'm really glad you did some research and found a bowl isn't a suitable home for a betta.
    Whether a betta accepts tank mates depends on the betta. Your best chance is with cories and otos. Sometimes snails will work.
    Barbs can be pretty nippy and aggressive especially with the long fins of a betta. Too many times, things work for a little while, and as said above, someone wakes up or comes home to find some serious damage done.
    I prefer to err on the side of caution.
    Bettas don't normally play well with others and prefer to be on their own.
    What they do like is human interaction!

    Your barb has a few stress factors....ammonia, a betta chasing him and as you said, he doesn't have more of his own kind.

    If your water has ammonia, your best bet would be to use a water conditioner that detox's (not removes) ammonia. Eventually when your tank fully cycles the bacteria will process it.
    I believe Prime also detox's nitrates. Live plants also use nitrates.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009
  6. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    Don't feel bad, you started the same way many of us did, myself included. I seems everything the fish stores tell you is wrong. I really don't understand that business model.

    Anyway, at one point I decieded to put a Betta and some cories in a 12 gallon tank. It seemed to be working for several weeks until one day I noticed some of my cories had chunks of their tails misssing. Sure enough my Betta was going after them. And he seemed so mellow. Sometimes Betta's work with cories and sometimes they don't, so just keep an eye on them and have a backup plan just in case.

    Good Luck
  7. gzarrValued MemberMember

    Thanks! I'll keep an eye on the betta and cory. Do I have to put an ammonia detox in the water or will it even out on it own? Will the water changes help neutralize the ammonia? I only ask because I don't live in a very large area and I might not be able to find it.
  8. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    Water changes will help keep the ammonia levels lower. And if you use a water conditioner called "Prime" with your daily water changes, the Prime will detox the ammonia and nitrites for 24 hours at which point you would be doing another water change until you are fully cycled.
  9. gzarrValued MemberMember

    How long does the ammonia stay up in a 10g?

    I've had a 10g set up since the 17 of Dec. and my readings are 1-2 ammonia, 0 nit., .5 nitrates. 7.5-8 ph. I set up the tank wrong from bad info and learned the hard way about cycling after the initial setup. Long story short, now I have a barb, betta, cory and 2 ghost shrimp still alive. I want to return the barb so she's happier in a group but I can't find anyone or any LFS to take her. The betta likes to chase her and she's obviously stressed.

    Anyway, since there are fish in the tank, obviously there is ammonia being produced. How come the nitrites aren't going up yet? The highest the ammonia has been in 2 but no readings on anything else really. I got the master kit and some AmQuel to lessen the toxins (not sure if it's really working). I've done 20% water changes every other day. Oh, and the water has a minor green tinge to it. What else can I do to make sure this cycle is moving along the way it should?
  10. LucyModeratorModerator Member

    I merged your threads. It best to keep on topic in one thread.
    Easier for you to keep track of the answers and the other members can see what's already been suggested.

    It might be too soon for a nitrite reading. I don't understand why there are nitrates.
    Have you tested your tap water?
  11. gzarrValued MemberMember

    Wow! I didn't even know you could merge threads! I tried finding my old post and couldn't, so I'm glad you did! :) Thanks!
    I haven't tested my tap water. I will and will come back.

    Okay, just tested my tap water:
    1 ammonia-to be honest, looks the same when I test the tank water
    0 nitrites
    0 nitrates
    7.4 ph

    So if my tap water has ammonia in it to begin with, what do I do? I'm not sure if that AmQuel Plus is working or not. I followed the directions and put 1 tsp in for the 10 gallons and I don't think it changed at all. Can I put more in? And I couldn't find any Prime in my area.

    Oh, and I tested the nitrates twice now, two different days, and still got the same .5 reading.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 3, 2010
  12. LucyModeratorModerator Member

    Your welcome! Only mods can merge threads. Just ask if you need something. Any of us will be glad to help.
    Here you go this will help you find your threads, posts and any replies you may have received:
    Where Did My Post Go?

    Instead of posting back to back, you can also use the edit bottom (bottom right hand side) if you want to add something to a post.

    If you're detoxing the ammonia, you'll still pick up the readings. The ammonia is being converted to a less toxic form.

    Once the tank is cycled, the bacteria will process the ammonia the your tap water. It looks like you'll always have to use a conditioner that detox's.

    The #2 Nitrate bottle contains crystals that are really hard to mix. You have to bang the bottle and shake the heck out of it. Otherwise you might get a false reading.

    At this point, continue with daily water changes with a conditioner that detoxes.
    Test before your water changes.

    Let see if anyone else chimes in, maybe they can give better info.
    Hang in there!
  13. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    Amquel+ is a great product. (I use it myself). But the one downside of Amquel+ is that it will give a false positive reading for ammonia if you are using the API liquid test kit. This info is documented on Kardon's (the maker of Amquel+'s) website.

    I actually bought a Kardon powder based ammonia test kit for that very reason. But it seems the only way to get one is to order thru Kardon.
  14. gzarrValued MemberMember

    Good grief! It totally figures that that's what would be happening! So if the AmQuel is really neutralizing the ammonia, but I'm getting a false positive, how do I know if and when I'm fully cycled then? Could I be cycled now since I don't have nitrite readings and 20ish readings on the nitrate only 2 weeks after setting up the tank? I'm still getting ammonia readings (obviously) but I didn't get the test stips till about a week and a half after the tank was set up. And then everyone suggested I get the API liquid tests (which I did this past Sat) and the liquid tests showed nothing but minor nitrates. I'm getting confused!

    Oh, and when can I start vaccuuming the gravel? Last water change really stirred things up and it looked terrible!
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2010
  15. gzarrValued MemberMember

    Okay, day 16 of the tank set up. Put AmQuel Plus in twice now. Did a 50% water change yesterday. Just tested and got .5 ammonia 0 nitrites (didn't test nitrates). How come the nitrites haven't been going up at all? Shouldn't they by this point?
  16. gzarrValued MemberMember

    How far into cycling am I?

    I posted this in another thread but didn't get any answers, so I'll try it's own! ;D

    I set my 10G tank up Dec 20th. Has 3 fish in it and 2 ghost shrimp. Did API Master kit test today: .5 ammonia, 0 nitrites, didn't test nitrates. And the water is yellowish/green. I know our tap water looks pretty bad in the bathtub so I'm not sure if this is the reason the tank water looks like this or if it's another reason????? Can I change this so it's more clear?

    Anyways, my questions are how far into cycling am I? How come I haven't experienced any nitrites yet after 16 days? Is the ammonia reading lower because I have put AmQuel Plus in with the last two water changes? Any help would be great cause it doesn't look like I'm getting anywhere.
  17. LucyModeratorModerator Member

    Your threads have been merged. It's best to keep all this in one thread.
    This way the members can see what's been suggested and you can keep track of the responses.

    :;dk I'm not sure why you don't think you're getting any responses. It looks like a few members are trying to help.

    Edit: Cycling can take up to or even more than a month. It takes patience.
    ;) Hang in there, it's only been a couple of weeks.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2010
  18. gzarrValued MemberMember

    No, I'm sorry if you misunderstood me. I don't think people aren't trying to help at all! On the contrary-everyone's been great! However, I had asked some more questions and they hadn't been answered for awhile so I thought maybe people were just sick of this particular thread and stopped checking it. That's all. Just thought there would be more interest if I started a new one.

    Would you happen to know an answer to the water color question?
  19. LucyModeratorModerator Member

    Can you post a pic of the tank?
    Do you have driftwood in the tank?
    If it's green, it could be an algea bloom, but if your tap water is off color, so will your tank water.
    You might want to check with your water company if your water isn't running clear.

    It's not unusual for you not to see nitrites yet, the first set of bacteria takes a couple of weeks to develop then convert the ammonia to nitrites.
    Also, when cycling with fish, it's kind of a double edged sword.
    With water changes, you're removing the ammonia the bacteria needs to develop.
    However, you're doing that for the sake of your fish.

    Cycling is like watching paint dry. lol
  20. gzarrValued MemberMember

    I would post a pic, but my thieving husband took my camera when he went hunting this past weekend! lol!
    Unfortunately you may be right about the tank looking that way because our water normally looking so. We have rural water and it always has looked as if someone had just got done peeing in it. Disgusting! It's always bugged me, but I don't think there's much we can do about that. Just wanted to make sure it wasn't something going wrong with the tank.
    Thanks for the speedy responses!

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