10 Gallon Aquarium Cycle Questions

EddieO

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I am new to this hobby and have just set up a 10 gallon aquarium 3 days ago. I added top fin water conditioner and top fin ReadiStart Bacteria starter. Past two days I have had readings of :

Ammonia : 0.25 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate : 0 ppm
I did a 10% water change today and still have same levels.

I have the liquid test kit for ammonia but bought strips that have nitrite and nitrate. I realize now that’s a bad move and I am buying the API master kit tomorrow. I want to know if my ammonia level is normal for this part of the cycle and if I should add TetraSmart Starter and Prime if I already added the others.

Along with this, my water appears to be slightly cloudy and I want to know if this is normal. Please let me know ! Thanks !
 

Jim2195

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I have actually never done water tests on my aquariums before, when first setting up I just let the tank run without fish for about a week and then it should be ready. It’s always gone fine like that.
Hopefully someone with actual water testing knowledge will respond.
Secondly when I first set up tanks, usually when setting up with new gravel and plants the water gets a teeny bit cloudy. It shouldn’t affect things too much.
 
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EddieO

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Okay thanks. I thought that’s what caused the cloudiness but I wasn’t too sure. I was hoping the cycle would only take a week or two but we’ll see!
 

Jim2195

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A week should be a good amount of time to cycle a tank, especially the fact it’s only a ten gallon.
 
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EddieO

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Jim2195 said:
A week should be a good amount of time to cycle a tank, especially the fact it’s only a ten gallon.
Okay cool thanks. Do you think I could add fish at a week even if the levels aren’t perfect yet?
 

Jim2195

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To be safe maybe wait another day or so. Hopefully you’re aware you’re talking to a 14 year old with no experience with water testing.
 

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No! None of this!

What are you feeding the bacteria with? You want to be either ghost feeding or using pure ammonia to cycle the tank. Otherwise you are doing nothing. You need to cycle the actual filter with bacteria until you can process 1 to 2 ppm ammonia in a 24 hour period. If you aren't adding ammonia, you are wasting your time. A good bacteria starter like tetra safe start plus will have you cycled in a week or two. None at all, or a not good product will take about 6 weeks. The size of the tank has nothing to do with anything!
 
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EddieO

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Wraithen said:
No! None of this!

What are you feeding the bacteria with? You want to be either ghost feeding or using pure ammonia to cycle the tank. Otherwise you are doing nothing. You need to cycle the actual filter with bacteria until you can process 1 to 2 ppm ammonia in a 24 hour period. If you aren't adding ammonia, you are wasting your time. A good bacteria starter like tetra safe start plus will have you cycled in a week or two. None at all, or a not good product will take about 6 weeks. The size of the tank has nothing to do with anything!
So if I put in tetra safe start it will be good? And then do I have to feed it ammonia also after I put that in?
 

Wraithen

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If you are going to fish less cycle, you dump in the safe start, and add a few drops of ammonia in. There are calculators but I don't know how to get to them. Google should have a few available. Then you want to test to ensure you have the right amount of ammonia.

If you feel the need to do a fish in cycle, I would need to know what your planned stocking is to offer a suggestion. Just know that most people here frown on fish in cycling. However, it is the method I always use, and I always use tetra safe start plus.
 
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EddieO

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Wraithen said:
If you are going to fish less cycle, you dump in the safe start, and add a few drops of ammonia in. There are calculators but I don't know how to get to them. Google should have a few available. Then you want to test to ensure you have the right amount of ammonia.

If you feel the need to do a fish in cycle, I would need to know what your planned stocking is to offer a suggestion. Just know that most people here frown on fish in cycling. However, it is the method I always use, and I always use tetra safe start plus.
Thank you. I will get the safe start plus and I prefer fishless cycle. Is it okay to add it in to the water I already have or should I do a water change?
 

Jim2195

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Thanks for correcting me! I tried to help lol
Wraithen said:
No! None of this!

What are you feeding the bacteria with? You want to be either ghost feeding or using pure ammonia to cycle the tank. Otherwise you are doing nothing. You need to cycle the actual filter with bacteria until you can process 1 to 2 ppm ammonia in a 24 hour period. If you aren't adding ammonia, you are wasting your time. A good bacteria starter like tetra safe start plus will have you cycled in a week or two. None at all, or a not good product will take about 6 weeks. The size of the tank has nothing to do with anything!
 

Wraithen

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EddieO said:
Thank you. I will get the safe start plus and I prefer fishless cycle. Is it okay to add it in to the water I already have or should I do a water change?
Actually, dont do a water change. Prime interferes with the safe start and you used it a few days ago so it has run its course and your water is perfect. Just make sure to get pure ammonia, no scents or surfactants. To check for surfactants, shake the bottle. If it bubbles or froths, it's no good. Pure ammonia at I think 9.5 percent is available at ace hardware labeled as there in house brand, ace janitorial strength ammonia.
 
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EddieO

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Wraithen said:
Actually, dont do a water change. Prime interferes with the safe start and you used it a few days ago so it has run its course and your water is perfect. Just make sure to get pure ammonia, no scents or surfactants. To check for surfactants, shake the bottle. If it bubbles or froths, it's no good. Pure ammonia at I think 9.5 percent is available at ace hardware labeled as there in house brand, ace janitorial strength ammonia.
Okay thanks you really helped a lot!
 

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I just recently setted up a new 20 gallon long aquarium. Here's how I did it. Added Top Fin Bacteria Supplement 20mL for each day without fish for 4 days. Then, I added 3 albino corys and changed dosage to more than the recommended to 30 mL per day for 3 days. Then, I added 5 green(bronze) corys and kept adding 30mL per day. 4 days later, I added 2 albino corys and 1 otocinclus kept dosing 20 mL per day of Top Fin bacteria supplement for 3 days and stopped. My ammonia and nitrite levels never went above 0 ppm this whole time. All my fish are still alive and doing well.
My parameters are 0, 0, 10-20 ppm(ammonia,nitrite,nitrate). Aquaclear 50.
Hope this helps. Also I tested my water everyday to make sure my parameters stay 0 and see if I needed to add more of the bacteria.
 

sixtyfour

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I'm not the expert on fish less cycling. It is the preferred method of the forum, and there is lots of info here about it. Two side comments:

1. I've been playing a lot with these bacteria in a bottle products. They all seem pretty cool, and do cool stuff. Each one works a little differently, and the directions they come with are terrible. There is a thread here where someone reach out to Tetra and got some good directions. I'll try to find that. Also know that when you use these products it will cause your testing to do weird things. For example, correctly using Tetra Safe start will cause the nitrite (NO2) step of the cycle to be skipped.

2. I'm a big advocate of getting seed material in new tanks. However you choose to go about cycling the day you get the first fish get seed material. The pet store should be happy to give it to you. The best would be a used filter, or some of the filth off of their filter.

Have fun:) It starts with a 10 gallon and before you know it you'll have a fish room:)

Here is the link to the information from Tetra about TSS. This should be a sticky.

https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfishforum/threads/q-a-with-tetra-about-tetra-safestart.58116/
 
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EddieO

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Wraithen said:
Actually, dont do a water change. Prime interferes with the safe start and you used it a few days ago so it has run its course and your water is perfect. Just make sure to get pure ammonia, no scents or surfactants. To check for surfactants, shake the bottle. If it bubbles or froths, it's no good. Pure ammonia at I think 9.5 percent is available at ace hardware labeled as there in house brand, ace janitorial strength ammonia.
So I bought the safe start and ammonia, the bottle says to put the entire bottle of safe start in, is this true?
 

Wraithen

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Yes its true

Shake the bottle well, dump it all in preferably near the filter intake, fill it with tank water, shake it and dump it again. Just beware, I've had about a 20 percent dud rate with tss. I'm not sure why. Some bottles are awesome, some work just as advertised, and some dont do anything at all.
 
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