55 Gallon Tank 56 Gallon new tank nitrogen cycle question

sambofish
Member
First thank all you guys/gals for your help earlier. I was able to take back the "shark" to the LPS with no problem and the barbs and danio have survived the week .I also picked up a master test kit and I need help understating where I am in the nitrogen cycle. My results from the test are:

Ammonia
2.0
Nitrite
0
Nitrate
0
Temperature
80F
pH
7.6

I will do my first partial water change next Friday 25% change. I have also updated my profile and will continue to do so as I learn more. Thanks for your help again and I will be posting pictures in the near future.
 
toosie
Member
Welcome to the forum! I'm happy to hear you've been getting great advice so far.

Cycling with fish is quite different than cycling without fish. Right now you are still in the beginning stages of the cycle. First you will have levels of ammonia. As beneficial bacteria develop that will covert ammonia to nitrites, you will then start to have nitrite readings as well as ammonia readings. After a while, beneficial bacteria that convert nitrites to nitrates will develop, at which point you will have nitrate readings. Only after ammonia and nitrites both read 0 and nitrates are the only product of the nitrogen cycle you get test results for, will your tank be cycled.

This process when undertaken with fish involved will usually take 6 to 8 weeks or longer. Daily water changes are essential to keep ammonia and nitrite levels as low as possible to try to prevent the fish from suffering from illnesses or even death as a result of the cycle. A product called Prime can help further protect the fish from any remaining ammonia and nitrites for 24 hour periods at which point a water change is carried out and Prime redosed.

The only time you don't have to do daily water changes when cycling with fish is when you use a product called Tetra SafeStart. With this product, a water change isn't done for 2 weeks after this product is used. It's important not to dose Tetra SafeStart if you use a product like Prime until 24 hours has elapsed since Prime was used. Prime can make TSS fail to work. If you are using TSS to cycle this tank you will still receive test results for ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates when they develop but the beneficial bacteria in TSS require these levels in order to colonize the filter media and other surfaces of your tank so ammonia and nitrites levels aren't something to worry about unless they get too high. If ammonia or nitrite levels get past 1.5ppm, I assume TSS has failed and take steps to get the cycle back on track. When TSS is working, these levels tend to stay quite low. If TSS is working, it is important not to do water changes until the 14 days are up.

Your ammonia level of 2.0 at this point in time is why I brough this all up. I'm not sure if you are using TSS to cycle this tank or not.
 
Dria
Member
+1 to the post above. If you're not using TSS, which you don't mention in your post, you need to do a water change yesterday, not next Friday. 2 ppm is too high for your fish to tolerate for long without anything to detoxify.
 
  • Thread Starter
sambofish
Member
Both LFS have been out of TSS, one had some called start ezyeme, but it wasn't recommended so I didn't buy it. Just did an 80% WC with water conditioner. Oh yeah and they were out of prime as well.
 
toosie
Member
Ok, with no Prime or TSS, daily water changes to keep ammonia and nitrite levels as low as possible, and preferably no higher than .25 will be extra important. Some ammonia is unavoidable as well as necessary in order to cycle the tank but .25 will allow the beneficial bacteria to develop. Don't try to keep it a 0, but keep it low.

Finrot, popeye, bacterial and fungal infections could still plague your fish even keeping the levels low but it will help to give them a fighting chance and hopefully you won't lose any.
 
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sambofish
Member
Went out to dinner, ran into random LPS and they had TSS. Just came home and but the bottle in the tank.
 
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sambofish
Member
Kinezumi89- the ammonia was 0.25 when checked after the WC. Now I just sit back and do nothing for 2 weeks......correct? Besides feed the fish. Haha
 
kinezumi89
Member
That is correct!
 
  • Thread Starter
sambofish
Member
After two weeks my test for ammonia should be 0 correct and do I wait another 2 weeks to do a WC.
 
kinezumi89
Member
Nope, once the TSS is done you can/should do a water change.
 
  • Moderator
jdhef
Moderator
Member
sambofish said:
After two weeks my test for ammonia should be 0 correct and do I wait another 2 weeks to do a WC.
It depends on your nitrate level. Ideally you would like to keep nitrates under20ppm. So if your nitrates are low, you could wait to do a water change, if they are close to 20ppm, you would want to do a water change.
 
anz
Member
sambofish said:
Went out to dinner, ran into random LPS and they had TSS. Just came home and but the bottle in the tank.
There is one other problem. You should wait 24 hours after doing a water change to add the TSS. Water conditioners used to remove chlorine can also kill the bacteria in the TSS.
 
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sambofish
Member
So I woke up this morning and some of my fish had died, I realized I did what anz just posted. I used water conditioner in my WC and used TSS 4 hours later.
So what do I do now? Do I still wait 14 days for WC? Do I add another bottle of TSS? right now the fish are all swimming in one corner of the tank, they never did that before.
 
toosie
Member
Test your water. If your ammonia reading is still under 1ppm you could just add another bottle. I prefer to have an ammonia reading lower than that, but Tetra claims TSS will still work. If your ammonia reading is higher than 1ppm, you should do another large water change, dose the tank with your water conditioner and then wait at least 24 hours and then add your next bottle of TSS. If your fish are acting strange, you may want to do the large water change even if your ammonia level is under 1ppm.
 
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sambofish
Member
Toosie- Tested the water, ammonia is at .50., will have to go to store and buy another bottle of TSS. I will test again tomorrow and if above 1.0 I will do large water change and wait 24 hours before putting in TSS. Question wouldn't my readings be wrong because of the TSS?

Also fish no longer acting strange as in being in one corner. But the tiger barbs and giant danios are not schooling. Usually only at night do the danios school? Is this normal?
 
toosie
Member
TSS won't affect your test results. The main reason a number of people advise against testing when using TSS is because they don't want people to prematurely change water if they get an ammonia reading. As I explained to you in an earlier post, ammonia and nitrite levels are needed for TSS to work. TSS is the same types of bacteria that naturally occur in your tank during a cycle, and as you likely know, these bacteria use ammonia and nitrites as their sources of food. Once the bacteria has established they manage to convert these nitrogen products very efficiently which is why you won't have ammonia or nitrite readings after the tank is cycled. That is of course unless you do something that changes the amount of bacteria available such as changing filter media, or add more fish than the bacteria colony can handle at the time. In these cases you would once again get readings for ammonia and/or nitrites but usually for a shorter period of time than the original cycle took. Anyways... It is alright to test during the use of TSS just like a regular cycle, it's just that water changes aren't necessary unless levels get too high (above 1.5) and you have reason to believe TSS has failed.

Both danios and tiger barbs are schooling fish. Yours might just be trying to settle in. Some people do find they school together better when they are kept in larger schools. Aggression issues amongst the tiger barbs may also be decreased if they are kept in larger schools.
 
  • Thread Starter
sambofish
Member
The fish are getting comfortable and are starting to school. Just tested the water it's at .50 still does that mean TSS is working? Or should I still add another bottle?
 
  • Moderator
jdhef
Moderator
Member
If it hasn't been 14 days since adding the SafeStart, just hold tight.
 
toosie
Member
Being as the ammonia is holding steady, I agree with jdhef, just hang tight. No point in adding more if it turns out that you really don't need to.
 
  • Thread Starter
sambofish
Member
I just want to say thanks to everybody for their help.. The fish are doing great (so far) my wife can't wait for the cycle to be complete. She wants to add plants and more driftwood for the fish. I will take and post pictures soon
 

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