10 Gallon Aquarium Cycle Questions

EddieO

Member
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

Member
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

Member
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

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

EddieO

Member
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

Member
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.
 

Wraithen

Member
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

Member
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

Member
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

Member
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

Member
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

Member
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, don't 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.
 
  • Thread Starter

EddieO

Member
Wraithen said:
Actually, don't 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!
 

Otto1

Member
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

Member
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/
 
  • Thread Starter

EddieO

Member
Wraithen said:
Actually, don't 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

Member
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 don't do anything at all.
 

sixtyfour

Member
Do we have a formal sticky for doing a fishless cyle with TSS?
 

sixtyfour

Member
The links don't show up on my phone. I'll have to read that when I get home.
 
  • Thread Starter

EddieO

Member
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.
So when I added the ammonia I read the calculator wrong and added too much and now my level is at 8.0 ppm+, will it drop quickly or is there a way to fix it?
 

Wraithen

Member
I would wait for about 24 hours and then do a water change. It's possible you nuked your bacteria from your safe start, but they may survive. Do a 90 percent water change tomorrow, ensure you are below 4ppm, and see if that disappears after a few days. The problem is tss+ will make your readings skewed for up to a week or so anyway
 

Hugginz

Member
EddieO said:
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 !
I cycled a 10 gal 2 months ago and had serious problems. The minute I changed to seachem stuff, everything made a turn for the better. It took me about a month to cycle it. I didn’t do it properly. I inadvertently used a pleco as my ammonia and I know he suffered but he survived all my mistakes. Now my tank is doing great! Just wait until you have nitrites and nitrates showing up, then make sure they disappear before adding any fish, and then you’ll know you’ve cycled. And don’t add a lot of fish at one time. I made that mistake too. I killed all of them except the pleco. Phil is bullet proof. I’m just a beginner, but I was where you’re at around Easter. It’ll get better. Just don’t get impatient!!
 
  • Thread Starter

EddieO

Member
Wraithen said:
I would wait for about 24 hours and then do a water change. It's possible you nuked your bacteria from your safe start, but they may survive. Do a 90 percent water change tomorrow, ensure you are below 4ppm, and see if that disappears after a few days. The problem is tss+ will make your readings skewed for up to a week or so anyway
Did water change last night, this morning pH down to 7.2 which is good, ammonia down to 2.0 ppm, 0 for nitrite and nitrate. Anyway to know if tss+ wasn’t destroyed or not?
 

Wraithen

Member
EddieO said:
Did water change last night, this morning pH down to 7.2 which is good, ammonia down to 2.0 ppm, 0 for nitrite and nitrate. Anyway to know if tss+ wasn’t destroyed or not?
Kind of. If you cycle faster than normal it's good. There's no good way to tell in the moment though.
 

CichlidTai

Member
Wait at least 2 weeks otherwise fish will die. Don’t do any water changes and let it do it’s thing
 

Wraithen

Member
CichlidTai said:
Wait at least 2 weeks otherwise fish will die. Don’t do any water changes and let it do it’s thing
There's no fish
 

sixtyfour

Member
It's interesting to watch the fish less cycle projects. I've got a 10 gallon doing nothing and a jug of amoninia. I've always wanted to set up a lab project. Might not ever put fish in it.
 

Wraithen

Member
sixtyfour said:
It's interesting to watch the fish less cycle projects. I've got a 10 gallon doing nothing and a jug of amoninia. I've always wanted to set up a lab project. Might not ever put fish in it.
I've had a similar thought. I've got a Mason jar full of bio rings I've thought about putting in a 5 gallon bucket with a small power head and adding ammonia until my ppm are crazy high and yet still cycling. Just to see how high I can build the bb colony. How cool would it be to say that a cup of bio rings can process up to x ppm ammonia a day. Then I could sell it off to some poor person who needs to instant cycle a huge mistake impulse tank.
 

sixtyfour

Member
Wraithen said:
I've had a similar thought. I've got a Mason jar full of bio rings I've thought about putting in a 5 gallon bucket with a small power head and adding ammonia until my ppm are crazy high and yet still cycling. Just to see how high I can build the bb colony. How cool would it be to say that a cup of bio rings can process up to x ppm ammonia a day. Then I could sell it off to some poor person who needs to instant cycle a huge mistake impulse tank.
Yes, and I have a Seneye so I can actively monitor.
 

Wraithen

Member
sixtyfour said:
Yes, and I have a Seneye so I can actively monitor.
And I thought I was fancy with a co2 tank lol
 

sixtyfour

Member
I want a CO2 tank. I'm not that cool yet.
 
  • Thread Starter

EddieO

Member
Wraithen said:
Kind of. If you cycle faster than normal it's good. There's no good way to tell in the moment though.
Levels still haven’t really changed yet, should I be worried if it’s not moving by tomorrow?
 

Wraithen

Member
EddieO said:
Levels still haven’t really changed yet, should I be worried if it’s not moving by tomorrow?
Not really. Worst case you wasted a bottle. You will still cycle it will just take longer.
 
  • Thread Starter

EddieO

Member
Wraithen said:
Not really. Worst case you wasted a bottle. You will still cycle it will just take longer.
Would getting another bottle of tss+ help at all or no?
 

Wraithen

Member
EddieO said:
Would getting another bottle of tss+ help at all or no?
It would. I didn't say anything about it because most people consider it expensive.
 
  • Thread Starter

EddieO

Member
Wraithen said:
It would. I didn't say anything about it because most people consider it expensive.
I’m going to test the levels now, if still not down, I will get a new bottle today
 
  • Thread Starter

EddieO

Member
Wraithen said:
It would. I didn't say anything about it because most people consider it expensive.
Would you suggest a water change to get ammonia from 1.0 to 2.0 ppm before adding the new tss+?
 

sixtyfour

Member
Generally a water change is always a good idea. It solves a lot of problems.
 

Wraithen

Member
No. Then you would have to dechlorinate and wait another 24 hours prior to putting in the tss+
 

sixtyfour

Member
I lost track of which one we are talking too
 
  • Thread Starter

EddieO

Member
Wraithen said:
No. Then you would have to dechlorinate and wait another 24 hours prior to putting in the tss+
Is it normal to have the levels not change since I put the first bottle in?
 

Wraithen

Member
EddieO said:
Is it normal to have the levels not change since I put the first bottle in?
Remind me, is this the second or third day since you put the first tss bottle in?
 

AnglerLuke

Member
Wraithen said:
I've had a similar thought. I've got a Mason jar full of bio rings I've thought about putting in a 5 gallon bucket with a small power head and adding ammonia until my ppm are crazy high and yet still cycling. Just to see how high I can build the bb colony. How cool would it be to say that a cup of bio rings can process up to x ppm ammonia a day. Then I could sell it off to some poor person who needs to instant cycle a huge mistake impulse tank.
As I am currently in the middle of a fishless cycle, I am curious what a "huge mistake impulse tank" is. Perhaps that is what I have done LOL
 

sixtyfour

Member
I think you might be taking that wrong.
 

sixtyfour

Member
AnglerLuke said:
As I am currently in the middle of a fishless cycle, I am curious what a "huge mistake impulse tank" is. Perhaps that is what I have done LOL
We are talking about using seed material from an established tank. It's kind of like "cheating" when it comes to cycling. Honestly I've never done a tank that I didn't seed at least a little.
 
  • Thread Starter

EddieO

Member
Wraithen said:
Remind me, is this the second or third day since you put the first tss bottle in?
I put it in on Saturday so it’s been two full days since
 

Wraithen

Member
EddieO said:
I put it in on Saturday so it’s been two full days since
Ok. Of you don't have movement by tomorrow, you killed the first bottle.
 
  • Thread Starter

EddieO

Member
Wraithen said:
Ok. Of you don't have movement by tomorrow, you killed the first bottle.
I will test tomorrow morning, if not lower I will add a new bottle
 

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