Beginning of Cycle

Discussion in 'Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle' started by MaineAttraction, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. MaineAttractionNew MemberMember

    Yesterday, I put my first two fish, a male red wagtail platy and a female gold dust Molly into a new 10 gallon tank. In addition to plants, rocks, heater, filter, etc., i put a "seachem ammonia alert" system into the tank. Today, the water seems partially cloudy, and the ammonia level reads less than 0.02 ppm. My question is: how long should it take for the cycle to start (ammonia spike)? I have two live plants in the tank if that helps.

  2. Wendy LubianetskyWell Known MemberMember

    Welcome to Fishlore, I love to see new people on the site.

    I have some bad news for you. I bought one of the Seachem Ammonia Alert Systems too for my tank. They don't really work. It doesn't give an accurare reading as to what the ammonia level really is. What you really need to buy is an API test kit. It test for Ammonia, Nitrite (which is the second step to the cycle) and finally nitrate (the third stage the the cycle), When the ammonia spikes depends on how much you are feeding the fish. It should only take a day or two to start showing. The nitrite will start showing up after a week or so. Good Luck with your Cycle.
  3. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    Welcome to FishLore!

    The cycle starts as soon as you put fish in a tank, since the fish start releasing ammonia immeadiately. And since you are doing a fish in cycle, you now have the task of managing the cycle so that it doesn't kill any fish.

    So forgive me if I am telling you something you already know, but since ammonia and later nitrite are toxic to fish even at low levels, you will need to perform daily water changes with an ammonia/nitrite detoxing water conditioner such as Prime until cycled. Prime has the ability to detox lowish levels of ammonia and nitrite for 24 hours and the daily water changes will ensure the levels are kept low enough to be fully detoxed.

    Also, a 10 gallon tank is really too small for a mollie. The minimum tank size recommended for mollies is 20 gallons. They can get pretty big and require more swimming room.
  4. MaineAttractionNew MemberMember

    Ok thank you for replying. I went out and bought the prime and some API test strips. How often should I test the water and how long after a water change?
  5. LupinusValued MemberMember

    I wouldn't open the strips and would instead return them. They are notoriously unreliable.

    What you want is the API Test Kit (. It will have seven liquid bottles, four test tubes, and papers (instructions, test chart, etc.). It's a little pricey but you get a lot of tests out of it.

    Test the water before a water change. The Prime can cause funny readings in the test kit, but only lasts for 24 hours. Which is why you need to do daily changes. So test, water change of about 50%, and then do water change with a tank volume dose of Prime. You need to detox the ammonia and later nitrite, which is why you want to dose tank volume not just the amount of water you are replacing.

    For right now you'll mostly need to test ammonia to make sure the level isn't getting to high and then nitrite. I wouldn't bother testing for nitrate for at least a couple of week because it is the last thing to come in your cycle.

    Another option is return the molly (you should anyway, as said above 10 really isn't big enough for it) and stick with just the platy. Then, when you return the strips get a bottle of Tetra safe start. Do a large (like 80%) water change with prime, wait 24 hours, and then dose the safe start. 1 smallish fish per ten gallons is the usual recommendation. Then do nothing but feed your platy for two week. No water changes, no gravel vacs, no nothing. Just feed the fish being careful not to over feed. In two weeks, the tank should be cycled and you can start slowly adding fish appropriately sized for the tank until you are stocked.
  6. SJ408New MemberMember

    As said above, test strips can never fully be trusted. The general purchase is the API Liquid Test Kit. I think you can find it online at Walmart for $19 (if you're willing to support them. lol:p)

    As for the cycle, it typically takes a couple weeks, even up to a month or two for a full cycle to occur. Tetra Safe Start is a good product to try out though, but just keep an eye on the parameters and readings.
  7. AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Good morning and welcomerainbow.gif to Fish Lore!

    If you still have the SeaChem Ammonia Alert, keep it and use it as a back up to the API (liquid) Master Test Kit. I use the same alerts if for nothing else peace of mind. I can't say for certain if they work as I've never had an ammonia issue in my aquariums. However, I did the test as recommended on the package by holding it over a bottle of ammonia and sure enough, it did change colors and it changed quickly. I replace mine every 6 months instead of once a year as recommended.

    These Ammonia Alerts are designed to detect ammonia at a lower level compared to kits and strips. So keep them, try them out and find out for yourself if they work or not. However, do not depend on them for your main source of testing. Use them as a back up as I mentioned above. :)

    The API (liquid) Master Test Kit will give you much more accurate results compared to the paper test strips. Too, the liquid tests are easier to read, at least for me.

    Each test in the API Master Test Kit is also sold separately which may fit your budget better. If so, I would get the API Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate and pH. The Gh and KH you can purchase later on if you feel it's necessary.

    I hope you enjoy the site!

  8. ladygoldNew MemberMember

    hey MaineAttraction. I have a 20 G tank, with one 3" oranda goldfish in it and I too did a "fish in" cycle. I've had great success using Prime in my newly cycled tank. In addition I also used Seachim Stability (a bacterial additive to help establish the bio-filter). -Some people say it works like a charm, and others say it doesn't work for them at all... But I've had no problems with it; my tank cycled in 2 weeks. Readings are currently 0, 0, 5. I also use the API liquid master test kit and recommend it - honestly its better to invest in reliable equipment then to have to learn from your mistakes later and possibly have a dead fishies!
  9. catsma_97504Fishlore LegendMember

    :;fThread moved to the Aquarium Water/Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle forum.

    Good luck with cycling your new tank.

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