Cycle finished. Now what?

ITsJake
  • #1
My tank just finished cycling. Ammonia & Nitrites are 0 and nitrates are around 10ppm. I just added some ammonia to the tank and will make sure the ammonia and nitrites still measure 0 in the morning to confirm.

Should I leave the beneficial bacteria alone for a bit before doing a water change? How long should I wait and how much water do I change before adding fish?
 
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jpm995
  • #2
Doesn't really matter at this point. The only down side is your tank will never be this perfect again. You need to start doing water changes a week or two after adding your fish. No harm in changing water now but no need to.
 
Azedenkae
  • #3
My tank just finished cycling. Ammonia & Nitrites are 0 and nitrates are around 10ppm. I just added some ammonia to the tank and will make sure the ammonia and nitrites still measure 0 in the morning to confirm.

Should I leave the beneficial bacteria alone for a bit before doing a water change? How long should I wait and how much water do I change before adding fish?
Yeah as per jpm995. No water changes actually needed. Water changes also have zero material effect on beneficial bacteria at this point.
 
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Dunk2
  • #4
My tank just finished cycling. Ammonia & Nitrites are 0 and nitrates are around 10ppm. I just added some ammonia to the tank and will make sure the ammonia and nitrites still measure 0 in the morning to confirm.

Should I leave the beneficial bacteria alone for a bit before doing a water change? How long should I wait and how much water do I change before adding fish?
Assuming your tank took the typical time to cycle (4 - 6 weeks), I’d do a water change before adding fish. Replenishes minerals in your tank, among other things.
 
ITsJake
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Okay so if the ammonia I just added shows 0 in 24 hours along with nitrite, I can do a 50% water change then I’m good to add fish?
 
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Dunk2
  • #6
Okay so if the ammonia I just added shows 0 in 24 hours along with nitrite, I can do a 50% water change then I’m good to add fish?
What level have you been dosing ammonia?
 
Azedenkae
  • #7
Okay so if the ammonia I just added shows 0 in 24 hours along with nitrite, I can do a 50% water change then I’m good to add fish?
Yes. You can also not do a water change and add fish if you like. Or a 100% water change and add fish.

So long as your parameters are good, a water change really is not necessary at all before adding fish.
 
Dunk2
  • #8
Yes. You can also not do a water change and add fish if you like. Or a 100% water change and add fish.

So long as your parameters are good, a water change really is not necessary at all before adding fish.
There are important things in water that need replenished beyond what the typical fish keeper tests for.

And there is a happy medium between no water change and a 100% change.

MidWestAquarium I want to answer your question in post #5, but I’d like to know what level you’ve been dosing ammonia to.
 
Flyfisha
  • #9
Hi all ,
No mention is made of the size of the tank or the intended stocking level or species of fish?
With only 10 ppm nitrates I would assume that’s a very low level volume of bacteria that has pooped only 10 ppm nitrates?

Yes to doing a water change . To add minerals etc. Even bacteria can’t live on poop / ammonia alone and use up minerals.

No to just saying go ahead and add fish.
Without knowing what fish I for one am not going to say the tank is ready for a full stocking of a few dozen fish. Clearly it is not.

If it’s a SMALL betta tank or similar then yes to adding fish.

Regardless of how many fish are added a close eye needs to be kept on the parameters for the next fortnight. Any sign of ammonia and it’s time for a water change and building more bacteria with a fish in cycle.

Edit .
Midwestaquarium
Welcome to fishlore.
Technically a cycle is never “ finished “ it is a group of bacteria who’s numbers go up and down as the daily poop load / bio load changes.

Should your fish have babies then the poop load will increase. The bacteria numbers will also increase without us needed to do anything.
 
ITsJake
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
It’s a 40 gallon tank. I’m looking to add 3 cories to start then 2 rams a week after. So I’m going to let my nitrates get to about 40ppm before I water change. Does that sound right?
 
Dunk2
  • #11
Hi all ,
No mention is made of the size of the tank or the intended stocking level or species of fish?
With only 10 ppm nitrates I would assume that’s a very low level volume of bacteria that has pooped only 10 ppm nitrates?

Yes to doing a water change . To add minerals etc. Even bacteria can’t live on poop / ammonia alone and use up minerals.

No to just saying go ahead and add fish.
Without knowing what fish I for one am not going to say the tank is ready for a full stocking of a few dozen fish. Clearly it is not.

If it’s a SMALL betta tank or similar then yes to adding fish.

Regardless of how many fish are added a close eye needs to be kept on the parameters for the next fortnight. Any sign of ammonia and it’s time for a water change and building more bacteria with a fish in cycle.
Well said! Among other things, I’m trying to understand what the OP has been dosing ammonia to.
 
ITsJake
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
2 1/2 tsp of ammonia every 4 days or so
Kept it around 4ppm
 
Dunk2
  • #13
It’s a 40 gallon tank. I’m looking to add 3 cories to start then 2 rams a week after. So I’m going to let my nitrates get to about 40ppm before I water change. Does that sound right?
There’s no need to wait for a certain level of nitrates before changing water. . . What’s most important is that you have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and some level of nitrates 24 hours after dosing.

What type of Corys and Rams?

2 1/2 tsp of ammonia every 4 days or so
Kept it around 4ppm
That’s plenty for your planned initial stock. I typically only recommend dosing to 2 or 3 ppm.

Have you already done some water changes? Or a bunch of plants? I ask given your low level of nitrates (the point Flyfisha made).
 
ITsJake
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
No water changes yet. Not sure on the Cory type yet. German blue rams
Ooo same in your profile picture! Very beautiful fish
I have 2 live plants in my sand substrate
 
Dunk2
  • #15
No water changes yet. Not sure on the Cory type yet. German blue rams
Ooo same in your profile picture! Very beautiful fish
Careful on your selection of Cory if you want German Blues . . With the exception of Sterbai Cory, most of them are cooler water fish. I keep my German Blue Ram‘s water temperature at 82F. Bolivian Rams (as opposed to German Blue Rams) are a cooler water Ram.

Before adding fish, my best advice is to make sure your tank is fully cycled and research the compatibility (including water temperature) of the fish you want to add. For whatever it’s worth, I wouldn’t recommend adding GBR until your tank has run for another month or 2.

I‘d suggest you dose your tank to 3 ppm tonight, test tomorrow and post the results here. What are you using to test? I’m just a bit confused by your nitrate level if you’ve been dosing ammonia to 4 ppm. How long has your tank been cycling?
 
ITsJake
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
What is GBR? I’m testing with API test kit. What do you accompany with your blue rams? I can increase my temperature to 80 if that’s required of them
 
Dunk2
  • #17
What is GBR?
German Blue Ram.

What do you accompany with your blue rams? I can increase my temperature to 80 if that’s required of them
I have 2 separate tanks with GBR only. Here’s my experience with them. . . They’ve done best at 82F+ and in a species only (no other types of fish) tank. I’ve tried them at lower temperatures and in a community tank, but they didn’t do well.

In addition to their water temperature requirement, GBR are very slow eaters and can easily be outcompeted for food in a tank with other fish.

Finally, be careful to get them from a reputable source/breeder. There are a fair number of unhealthy GBR out there.
 
ITsJake
  • Thread Starter
  • #18
Okay. I might do a tank with 3 sterbai corys and 2 GBRs. I might add another calm species later down the line. So maybe I start with the corys and then a month later add the rams.
If my levels look good tomorrow then I’m assuming I’m cycled. I’ll try and get my nitrates around 40 ppm with ammonia and nitrites reading 0. Then half water change before adding the corys.
Am I okay to adjust my tank temp from 75 to 80? Will that negatively affect the tank parameters?
 
Dunk2
  • #19
I’ll try and get my nitrates around 40 ppm with ammonia and nitrites reading 0.
Did you read my post #13?
If my levels look good tomorrow then I’m assuming I’m cycled.
Post tomorrow’s test results here. What are you dosing ammonia to tonight? And you still haven’t said how long this tank has been cycling?
Am I okay to adjust my tank temp from 75 to 80? Will that negatively affect the tank parameters?
I’d increase it a few degrees now and a few more tomorrow.
 
ITsJake
  • Thread Starter
  • #20
It’s been cycling for about 2 months. I dosed to 3ppm ammonia tonight. Yeah I saw it so water change isn’t necessary until after the fish have been added. I’ll post my results tmrw. Thanks for all your assistance!
 
Dunk2
  • #21
It’s been cycling for about 2 months. I dosed to 3ppm ammonia tonight. Yeah I saw it so water change isn’t necessary until after the fish have been added. I’ll post my results tmrw. Thanks for all your assistance!
That’s not what I said.

I suggested a water change BEFORE adding fish. I also said that nitrates don’t have to be at any certain level (you mentioned 40 ppm) before you do a water change.

I’d suggest you re-read all the posts in this thread.

Last question. . . What is your pH?
 
ITsJake
  • Thread Starter
  • #22
I’ll have to test ph tomorrow then reply with the result. Yeah sorry about the miscommunication. Lots of information to absorb here but I’m thankful for your replies!
 
Azedenkae
  • #23
It’s been cycling for about 2 months. I dosed to 3ppm ammonia tonight. Yeah I saw it so water change isn’t necessary until after the fish have been added. I’ll post my results tmrw. Thanks for all your assistance!
Since you are dosing 3ppm, that is plenty. If you see ammonia and nitrite hit zero tomorrow, and other parameters (pH, etc.) are what you want for fish, feel free to even fully stock your tank if you like.

3ppm ammonia/day means your nitrification capacity is super robust.
 
Dunk2
  • #24
Since you are dosing 3ppm, that is plenty. If you see ammonia and nitrite hit zero tomorrow, and other parameters (pH, etc.) are what you want for fish, feel free to even fully stock your tank if you like.

3ppm ammonia/day means your nitrification capacity is super robust.
Sorry, but I disagree again.

The OP has a specific stocking plan (maybe idea?) that requires some thought beyond just nitrification capacity.

Especially when we are attempting to help new fish keepers, our advice shouldn’t start and stop with the cycling process.
 
jlind9669
  • #25
Okay so if the ammonia I just added shows 0 in 24 hours along with nitrite, I can do a 50% water change then I’m good to add fish?
50% water change? when should you ever need to do that?
 
Dunk2
  • #26
50% water change? when should you ever need to do that?
If your tank is cycling with fish in the tank, possibly daily. If your tank is cycled, at least once a week.

I have 3 tanks. I do at least 50% changes every 5 or 6 days, sometimes closer to 60% or 70%.
 
ITsJake
  • Thread Starter
  • #27
Can gbr and Bolivian rams coexist in my 37 gal?
 
Dunk2
  • #28
Can gbr and Bolivian rams coexist in my 37 gal?
I wouldn’t put them together. One is cooler water, the other warmer water.
 
ITsJake
  • Thread Starter
  • #29
I think I’m going to try a combination of sterbai Corys, GBRs and Angelfish. They can all handle warmer temps at 80 degrees. I’ll start with corys for the first month
Just tested my water 24 hours after dosing ammonia. Here are the results:
Ammonia 1ppm
Nitrite 0ppm
Nitrate 10ppm
pH 7.6

At this point I figure I’m cycled?
 

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Dunk2
  • #30
I think I’m going to try a combination of sterbai Corys, GBRs and Angelfish. They can all handle warmer temps at 80 degrees. I’ll start with corys for the first month
Just tested my water 24 hours after dosing ammonia. Here are the results:
Ammonia 1ppm
Nitrite 0ppm
Nitrate 10ppm
pH 7.6

At this point I figure I’m cycled?
Your tank is not cycled with 1 ppm ammonia. The ammonia test result you posted looks between 1 and 2 ppm to me? And a low level of nitrites?

Remember the posts from yesterday? A fully cycled tank has 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and some level of nitrates.

A pH of 7.6 is fine for getting a tank cycled. Your nitrate level still seems “off” to me. Are you doing the nitrate test exactly according to the instructions?
 
ITsJake
  • Thread Starter
  • #31
Okay so at this point am I still dosing ammonia or should I wait and test again tmrw?
 
Dunk2
  • #32
Okay so at this point am I still dosing ammonia or should I wait and test again tmrw?
I would wait and test again tomorrow. You saw the part of my post above about nitrates?

I really feel like I’m missing something about this cycle? You said you’ve been cycling for 2 months, dosing ammonia to 4 ppm and have never done a water change. Your test results from today just don’t seem consistent with those things.

In your first post in this thread, you said both ammonia and nitrites were 0. When had you last dosed ammonia prior to that test and what level had you dosed to? You also said you have just a couple plants in your tank. . . What about algae?
 
ITsJake
  • Thread Starter
  • #33
Here are my results again from just a few minutes ago. Nitrite looks good but ammonia is still hovering between 1 & 2. Should I add a little more ammonia or am I just at a waiting point for ammonia and nitrite to both read zero? To answer your previous question, I added 4ppm ammonia 3 days before the levels showed 0 for both. I’ve been cycling for about 5-6 weeks trying to keep my ammonia at 3-4ppm throughout.
 

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StarGirl
  • #34
Here are my results again from just a few minutes ago. Nitrite looks good but ammonia is still hovering between 1 & 2. Should I add a little more ammonia or am I just at a waiting point for ammonia and nitrite to both read zero? To answer your previous question, I’ve been cycling for about 5-6 weeks trying to keep my ammonia at 3-4ppm throughout.
Wait until the ammonia goes to zero then re dose it to see if it is gone in 24 hours.
 
ITsJake
  • Thread Starter
  • #35
I added 3ppm ammonia yesterday in hopes it would be zero 24 hours later. However it’s at around .50. Should I wait for it to get to 0 again then re-dose the ammonia to 3ppm? Or should I be keeping up with having my ammonia dosed daily to stay around 3ppm?
 
mattgirl
  • #36
I added 3ppm ammonia yesterday in hopes it would be zero 24 hours later. However it’s at around .50. Should I wait for it to get to 0 again then re-dose the ammonia to 3ppm? Or should I be keeping up with having my ammonia dosed daily to stay around 3ppm?
Let the ammonia get down to or very close to zero before adding more. When it does add enough to get it back up to 2ppm. There is no need to add any more than that.
 
ITsJake
  • Thread Starter
  • #37
Okay. Once it’s at zero 24 hours later am I okay to add corys right away or should I give the bacterial colony time?
 
mattgirl
  • #38
Okay. Once it’s at zero 24 hours later am I okay to add corys right away or should I give the bacterial colony time?
Once both ammonia and nitrites are zero within 24 hours of adding ammonia the cycle should be complete. To be completely sure the cycle is done I would want to add ammonia 2 or 3 more days. We want to see it going back down to zero within 24 hours. If both the ammonia and nitrites aren't zero after 24 hours every time then the cycle isn't done and the tank is not ready for fish.

Once you determine the cycle is done it is time to change some of the water. I would go ahead and change out at least 75% of it. If nitrates are higher than 20ppm after the water change do another one. Be sure you temp match and add your water conditioner to the fresh water. After that it should be safe to start adding fish.
 
ITsJake
  • Thread Starter
  • #39
Thanks for your reply!
 

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