A newbie's confession and contrition!

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Gunzer, Dec 29, 2009.

  1. GunzerNew MemberMember

    A month prior to educating myself with this site about the Nitrogen cycle, I took an old 5 gal tank with an undergravel filter, added water, gravel a few neon tetras, two corries, a few guppies and called it a day.

    A month into it, of course a few of the fish began to die. All I had tested the water for was PH which was always extremely alkaline via the API test. As Christmas approached, I yearned for a larger tank with a real filtration system. Santa brought a new 26 gal setup complete with a better heater and an Aqueon 30 filtration system. I also acquired an API master test kit.

    I set up the tank with gravel (rinsed of course) and various other aquarium acoutrements via Petsupermarket.

    The ammonia test on my 5gal tank was off the chart dark green. In an act of pure ignorance I removed my remaining fish from what I thought was a 5gal death chamber and put them in my new tank which up to this point had only been running for 3 days and tested completely negative for ammonia.

    My remaining fish never made it through the night. Not only sad at the loss of my remaining fish, I was angry with myself for what I had done. Before the introduction of my remaining fish, I added 25 ml of Cycle to my new aquarium at day 3.

    It has been a full day since my remaining fish had died ( 1 corry, two guppies, and 4 neon tetras ). I had decided to let the dead fish remain with the hopes of developing ammonia.

    After testing my tank this evening, I have .5 ppm of ammonia. Should I wait until the ammonia reaches a higher level then introduce more of the Cycle beneficial bacteria to begin converting the ammonia to Nitrite? Is it possible that I have introduced a disease into my new tank by adding fish from my first tank where the ammonia and nitrite readings were very high? When would it be a good time to remove my dead fish from this tank?

    I want to do the right thing from this point forward. Any guidance from those that really know would be sincerely appreciated:;a1


    Last edited: Dec 29, 2009
  2. AlyeskaGirlFishlore VIPMember

  3. GunzerNew MemberMember

    Thank you for the rapid reply. I had read these 4 fishless options already. Does my scenario not compare closely enough to Option #2, the decompsing piece of shrimp tactic?

    Thanks again!


  4. LucyModeratorModerator Member

    Hi Gunzer welcome to FishLore :)
    I'm really sorry about your fish. I wouldn't leave them in the tank. Yes, they'll create ammonia but there's also a possiblity that they had gotten sick form the effects of high ammonia.
    The product Cycle contains the wrong kind of bacteria. It will give the illusion of a proper cycle but the bacteria it contains isn't aquatic and dies off quickly
    You have to keep adding it and even then the toxins will probably spike at some point.
    It'll use the ammonia that the benefical bacteria needs to develop, never allowing your tank to cycle properly.

    Here are Four Methods of Fish Less Cycling

    Good luck!

    Edit: wow, I typed slow.lol
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2009
  5. GoGreenWell Known MemberMember

    Uh oh...First of all, I would remove the dead fish (poor little guys) and proceed with fish-less cycling. And you need to break the Cycle bacteria habit now! I used it for my tank and have been slowly weaning the tank off of it in the last 3 weeks, the bacteria in there are terrestrial and not aquatic, therefore you won't get the bacteria growing in there that you need for an established tank and you will have to add the cycle for the life of your tank, because terrestrial bacteria die off within a week (hence the reason it says to add it once a week for maintenance.)
    I don't know the link that explains the fish-less cycling procedure, but hopefully someone more experienced will step in and provide it.
    And above this post explains it all, it seems that I typed far too slowly.:-[
    Patience is a virtue you need for this hobby, this is your chance to develop it!
    Good luck!
  6. GunzerNew MemberMember

    Thank you Lucy for your reply. Will you suggest the correct type of beneficial bacteria I should obtain?

    Should I continue to monitor the ammonia levels for a period of time before introducing the proper type of bacteria? Just when I think I have a handle on this, the more confused I become!
  7. GunzerNew MemberMember

    Accordingto Option 3, all I need to do is add pure ammonia at a proper interval until I begin to test positive for Nitrites? There is no need to add beneficial bacteria of any kind at any point?
  8. LucyModeratorModerator Member

    One bacterial additive that some members seem to have luck with is Tetra Safe Start. However, other members haven't had such good luck with it cycling their tank.
    Here's a Q & A With Tetra about Tetra SafeStart

    The Q & A will answer your first first question.
    Cycling is super confusing. Don't worry, it'll click and all come together with lots of reading.
    Nitrogen Cycle

    That's right.
  9. MeenuFishlore VIPMember

    welcome to FL. I'm very sorry about your fish.

    You don't need to add bacteria - if you do a fishless cycle, it'll develop on its own.

    (by the way, since you don't currently have fish, I'd recommend doing fishless. If you do the shrimp, you can just put the shrimp in a sock, throw it in, and then remove after the cycle and just toss it. The sock is just so the decaying matter isn't all over your tank.)

    edit: Also, that 5 gallon, once it is cycled, would make a wonderful tank for a betta, or even a quarantine tank.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2009
  10. FancyfishNew MemberMember

    I hear you, Gunzer.. I did the exact same thing- bought a new tank, threw in some Cycle and added fish immediately (in my defense, the local fish store told me that I could buy the tank and fish the same day without any problems..). I have had real problems ever since- my fish have had Ick, my tank hasn't cycled properly etc.. Like you, I wish I had discovered this forum sooner!!

    Several of the moderators and fishkeepers in this forum have recommended a product called "Tetra Safe Start", which contains the correct bacteria to get the tank cycling. I see that you are in the US (lucky, because they don't sell this product or anything like it in Canada): try Walmart- they probably well carry it.
    If you are looking for a water conditioner that also converts ammonia to a non-toxic form try "Prime". You don't need very much at all and it can be used while you are cycling your tank if you end up having to add fish.
  11. flyin-loweWell Known MemberMember

    As long as there is an ammonia source (the dead fish, adding pure ammonia, feeding the tank) the bacteria will grow on its own. As long as there are no living fish in the tank don't change the water and the ammonia will eventually go to nitrites, and then eventually to nitrates. Once you get to the point were you can add ammonia and it quickly goes away then you will know the tank is cycled. Eventually you should have readings with 0 ammonia, 0 nitrates, and 10-20 nitrates. Also as long as there are no living fish in the tank crank the heater up, the warmer the water the faster it will cycle.
  12. LucyModeratorModerator Member

    Walmart and chain stores don't carry it. You'll be lucky to find it at a fish store. Many members have to order it on line.

    I've never tried cycling with dead fish. Can't comment either way but I know I couldn't leave a dead pet in the tank to rot, but thats just me.
    It will create ammonia, for sure.
    Thanks for commenting on that, Gunzer wondered if he could use that as his source of ammonia.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2009
  13. MeenuFishlore VIPMember

    In many cities, it is hard to find. I know around me, no chain stores carry it. Most others report the same thing. Of the 4 locally owned fish stores I know of, 2 carry it and 2 don't.

    It's a great product. I used it in my tank. But I found it finicky. It pretty much has to be used under certain conditions, and isn't forgiving of human error. Overall, I tend to recommend it, because I like it. In your situation, I would say you should do the shrimp thing. It'll take a little longer, but is safest for the fish, since they aren't in the tank during cycling. If you decide to use it, get the bottle for the 75 gallon tanks and use the whole thing. Do a complete water change, too, to get the Cycle out. Treat the water with a conditioner that does not detoxify ammonia (so no Prime), and add enough fish to cycle but not so many that you overwhelm the TSS.

    And it has to be Tetra Safe Start. That exact product. If you call and ask if a store carries it, they may claim to have a different brand that does the same thing. It doesn't. TSS is the only product currently being sold on the market that contains the correct bacteria.

    rofl... everyone is being ninja'ed by everyone. Gunzer, I've never seen so many people so eager to help someone before. We're all stumbling over each other.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 4, 2010
  14. GunzerNew MemberMember

    The number of replies in this amount of time is fantastic. I never had a love affair for Cycle and as such, I wont use it anymore. I may persue Option #3 after a complete water change this weekend.

    I will continue to read up as well. I really like this forum!
  15. LucyModeratorModerator Member

    Good luck! Hang in there and keep us posted.
  16. aquatic mouseValued MemberMember


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice