Another newbie confused about cycling readings 10 Gallon Tank

Discussion in 'Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle' started by emberly, Mar 29, 2010.

  1. emberlyNew MemberMember

    I have a friend who has an established tank of roughly a year. I started setting up a 10 gal tank roughly three weeks ago as of last Saturday. After about a week I started to see a nitrite spike and accidently overdosed ammonia, my ph dropped, and the whole thing crashed.

    Fast forward to about a week and a half later. Readings at very low nitrites. I asked a friend to bring me--- weell, some poopy fish water. She cleaned her tank and brought about a gallon over Saturday. I poured it in.

    Readings Sunday:

    Ammonia 2 ppm
    Nitrites .25 ppm
    Nitrates (didn't test)
    ph 7.8
    temp 80

    So today I tested it. And I was a little confused. Readings were

    ammonia 1 ppm
    nitrite almost 0. Between 0-.25, def less than Sunday.
    Nitrate 5 ppm

    I have several plants in my tank, a tetra whisper hob filter, and diy c02. Is it possible the bacteria from the dirty fish water are colonizing and cycling my tank this fast? I would just think I had accumulated nitraTes from the dirty water, but both my ammonia and nitrites are going down at the sAm
  2. thorpbrianValued MemberMember

    My guess would be that most of the nitrates came from the dirty tank water. The tank water itself isn't going to contain much, if any, beneficial bacteria.

  3. AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Hello Emberly and Welcome to Fish Lore,

    ThorpBrian is correct by stating the water itself doesn't contain the good bacteria needed to cycle the tank, as it isn't free swimming but attached to all surface areas of the tank.

    However, if the water you received contained debris from the substrate, or the substrate itself, of a well established tank, and you poured it all in including the debris, I would like to think that some beneficial bacteria would be in there. It might not be a great deal of beneficial bacteria but it might help to cycle a bit faster.

    Have you tested your water directly from the tap?

    Please keep us posted on how your cycle progress.


  4. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    Maybe your crash wasn't as bad as you thought and some of the bacteria survived in reduced numbers.

  5. FlyfrodValued MemberMember

    Welcome to fishlore. I have found In my own tanks that the cycling the tank is not always as clean cut as we read about. I have a 20g long tank that I had cycling for 3 weeks(fishless of course). My readings were 1-2 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 10 nitrates. My tap water reads 5 nitrates. I then decided to add 2 spounge filters to the tank that I had running in my 65g tank( just in case). Within three days My ammonia when to 0 and has since stayed there. My point is that aquarist48 is right in that there might have been enough good bacteria it the poop water to help with your cycle.
  6. emberlyNew MemberMember

    I did ask her to swish the filter cartrage in the water which I believe she did. It was water from gravel vaccing not just dirty water too. My water has pretty much 0 across th board from the tap.

    I was apt to believe it was nitrates from the dirty water, but that didn't explain the drop of 1ppm in ammonia. Testing it later. Hopfully nitrites and ammonia are down and nitrates are up... Because otherwise my nitrites are going down instead of up.
  7. emberlyNew MemberMember

    Okay so... What Im still confused. Readings:

    ammonia 2 ppm (added a dropperfull last night)
    nitrites: 0
    nitrates: slightly darker in color I think but not 10 ppm
  8. emberlyNew MemberMember

    Today ammonia is .75ish ppm and nitrites are 0, nitrates are greater than 5 but less than 10 I think. I have a hard time being 100% sure when judging color matches. Esp when they're in large incriments.

    Maybe this is the end of the cycle?? If I can get it to keep my ammonia way down I'm adding in a betta at the tail end I think. I keep worrying about under//overfeeding the cycle.
  9. LucyModeratorModerator Member

    Welcome to FishLore!!

    Cycling is crazy! No two are a like.
    Looks like you're heading in the right direction!

    Hang in there :)
  10. emberlyNew MemberMember

    Thanks for all the welcomes, by the way. So strange, I feel like I've been reading forever but I've apparently never posted before.

    It's looking good then I think. I'mconstantly worried about feeding the cycle. If it's testing 0 ammonia, what are the bacteria eating, I guess? Which is kind of why I wanted to put a betta in at the end of the cycle when the ammonia is down low, so I know it always has a food source. (fish poo machine!)

    Not to mention this was a birthday gift... threeweeks early, and saturday is my birthday, wouldn't it be nice to get a little fishie in there? Confused about stocking. I have 3 betta already, 1 agressive male 1 rather passive, and a female, and a 10 and 5 gal. I want to keep both of them occupied. Was thinking 3 males in the 10 and a female and maybe two guppies in the 5. She's very small and nonaggressive, and a friend has 2 extra guppies she needs rid of. But then one of my males passed, so I could do 2 males in the 10, or 3. Or I could do 2 in the 5 (which is a little crammed but still 2.5g a betta. It's not cycled either yet- newb mistake. D: I'll seed it when i know the 10 is cycled) and some cories and a betta in the 10. Or Icould do the two males in the 10 with an ADF? or man there's a lot of stocking options, not sure what I will chose.
  11. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    When you talk about multiple male Betta's in one tank, I hope you are dividing the tank with a single Betta in each compartment. Two (or more) Betta's together in an undivided tank is a recipe for disaster. There is a reason they are called "Siamese Fighting Fish". They will not tolerate others (especially of there own kind).
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2010
  12. Prince PowderWell Known MemberMember

    I would recommend waiting on adding the betta until your tank is fully cycled. Even if your ammonia drops to zero you may still have to worry about nitrite and generally the bacteria which converts nitrite is slower to reproduce. If you are worried about feeding the cycle you can try the raw shrimp method, it doesn't require the daily feedings that the fish food and pure ammonia methods do. Being in a partially cycled tank will stress them out and could lead to illnesses like fin rot. It's not fun to have to deal with fin rot, particularly with bettas who are pretty much all fin and were probably chosen specifically for their finnage.

    Most bettas will not do well with ANY tankmates of any species, particularly if they have become accustomed to living alone. They are definitely not going to tolerate living together in the same tank unless the tank is divided. When mixed with their own species they WILL fight, and fight to the death. Even a male/female mix will not work. Because the tank will need to be divided you will not be able to have any corys or anything like that because they will need more room than a divided section. You can purchase dividers from the store, or make your own like the ones done HERE! since you only have the two tanks and already 3 bettas I would pass on the guppies. Tell your friend to try and see if a local fish store will be willing to take them instead. Then you can divide your 10 gallon in half and put one betta on each side and the third betta in the 5 gallon. Or you can divide your 10 into 3 sections, put each betta in their own section and use the 5 gallon to house an ADF, a dwarf puffer, or a school of red cherry shrimp. I have a 10 and a 14 gallon divided to house 4 bettas each. It would be the max I would recommend doing, and even that I did more out of necessity than anything else. I would personally prefer having only 2 in a 10, 3 at the most.

    Another option with cycling would be to get a bottle of Tetra SafeStart. As long as your ammonia reading can be kept at less than 1ppm before adding you would be ok to add it. Just divide the tank ahead of time, add the TSS and then add the fish. If you plan on putting one of the bettas in the 5 gallon, you can get a second bottle to cycle that one with. Both of my betta tanks were cycled with TSS.
  13. emberlyNew MemberMember

    I know that about the betta. I have the 5 gal divided and the 3rd in a 2.65 gal right now. The 10g is not going to be divided in more than 3. The guppies come from a friend with a betta and several guppies in with it. If my betta is overly aggressive with them, or they nip, I can give them back. Cories, ADF, and guppies are all generally considered ok with betta. And with the ADF, I have an extra tank if anyone gets aggressive. I wasn't worried about compatability as much as what I want my tanks to look like.

    Also the female I wanted to put with 2 male guppies lived for a while with some ghost shrimp, and all three have been in divided tanks.

    Though a dwarf puffer is really tempting I've never seen them around here. I don't care much for shrimp. Think I might stay ten divided in 2 with 2 betta and maybe an adf and then the female in the five possibly with guppies not sure

    I heard safestart isn't really worthwhile anymore. When the 10 is cycled I'm going to seed the filter of the 5. I really don't have money for SS anyway. I am getting 0 nitrites so nothing to worry there. Just my ammonia.
  14. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    I'm kind of curious why you heard SafeStart isn't worthwhile anymore.
  15. emberlyNew MemberMember

    The bacteria formula is said to have changed. Biospira and SS were about the same but now the quality control/whatever is said to have decreased and i've heard from some sites it does not perform as well/well enough.
  16. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    I have used it a few weeks ago, and it worked great. It appears that most of the times that failure has been reported, it was due to people not following the directions properly.
  17. Prince PowderWell Known MemberMember

    I agree with jdhef, my experiences with the product were relatively recent and I had complete success. There are any number of things that could cause a bacterial supplement like TSS to fail, the most common of which is human error. The directions on the bottle do not provide enough information on how to get the best results from using it, so often people do things which can cause failure because they were unaware that they shouldn't do it. For example, the bottle mentions nothing about the product being incompatible with conditioners like Prime or Amquel+. It also does not mention that you should avoid water changes during the time the TSS is cycling. There is, of course, always a risk of things we can't control like the possibility of a bad batch here and there. Also despite TSS being more shelf stable than the original bio spira, it is still temperature sensitive to a degree and there is no way of knowing what temperatures the product was exposed to during shipment and warehouse storage. Any of these variables could cause TSS to fail, but I have personally never had a problem and most often when failures are reported it is due to human error rather than the product itself.

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