"Cycle" girl with test results!

  1. RudeeRu Member Member

    Ok, so I FINALLY got my test kits, and let me tell you I wish I had NEVER spent the $10 on the stupid strips, this is WAY more economical and was a little fun to do (I'm a Biology Major, so of course I'd find water testing fun!)! 

    I bought a freshwater master kit and a KH and GH test kit!

    Ammonia 0-0.25ppm (it was a little hard for me to distinguish!)! 
    Nitrite 5ppm!!! :eek: it was SCREAMING violet!
    Nitrate 5.0ppm
    pH 7.9 (I have mollies, although I would like to get a pitbull pleco and an upside down catfish when all this is said and done, is that ok with this pH?  Different websites I've looked at have slightly different numbers!)
    KH (Carbonate Hardness) 89.5ppm
    GH (General Hardness) 125.3ppm

    I got the water hardness kit because my old strips said my tap water was too soft so I started using bottled spring water (lucky fishies, huh? I don't even drink/swim in such clean water!).  I'm going to test my tap in the morning--I have to face it I'm exhausted, just got home from work and have still have to clean my house!

    OK, now someone please tell me what all this means!  To my knowledge I'm still waiting on that impressive cycle to hit my tank!   :-[ :-[ :-[
     
  2. RudeeRu Member Member

    Oops before I forget some specs on the tank;
    10gallon 2 mollies 1 not so live plant 3 snails that hitched a ride on the plant
    filter above tank (aquatech), bio filter, wall-o-water-bubbles-bubbler thingie, heater (temp 78degrees).

    Let me know if you need anymore info!
     

  3. EmpPleco Well Known Member Member

    How long has this tank been set up?
     
  4. Maida_gc Member Member

    Yup - still waiting for the tank to cycle. Your nitrites peaking is a good sign. As you can tell you're ammonia is almost gone - a day or so. Once it is, do a PWC (It becomes obvious when it's zero - it will not have the slightest yellow colour to it). It won't be much longer until your nitrites fall as well. I would also stop treating your fish tank with bottled water - hardness is not really an issue, and for such a small tank that will require PWC's quite frequently it's going to get unneccesairly expensive. Just remember to remove the chlorine from the tap water and you'll be fine. Let us know when you make it, and how your fish are doing. I know it's been an extra long process for you, but you came to the right place and will be on track in no time.
     

  5. RudeeRu Member Member

    Hello!  I set the tank up Jan.16th 2006.  I bought another plant today (the petco one has kicked the bucket and my bulbs haven't grown yet), and came home and saw I have ALGAE all over the place  :eek: !!!  Talk about blooming overnite!  The manager at a pet store (I was referred by a co-worker) told me to add this little phosphate blocker to my filter to help expedite the process of eliminating the nitrites!  The fish are going crazy with the algae (they seem to like it?)--pecking at everything!  Now, as I sit here and ROLL MY EYES because I swear it's one thing after another...Hopefully the nitrites crash soon so I can throw in a cory or pleco (would love that pitbull pleco, mostly because I have 2 pitbulls how nice to have a fishie that's pitbullish too--I know I know how vain...) or an oto to GO TO TOWN at my aquarium buffet! 

    Now close your eyes and imagine me standing STARING at my tank tap-tapping my foot on the floor, arms crossed, checking my watch every 15 minutes....

    PS.  Oh, do have one more question:  Should I change the regular (not the bio) filter?  It's recommended to change every 2-4weeks but with the algae should I do it now?  It's been almost 2 weeks now. 

    Thanks again to everyone esp. Maida for your help!
     
  6. Jon Well Known Member Member

    holy nitrites batman

    5ppm? are u sure it wasnt .5ppm

    5 ppm is ridiculous but i think your a few days from the end of your cycle do some water changes and scrape your algae with a credit card... dont vac ure gravel or change your filter

    you dont need to change your filter every 2-4 weeks thats just so they can take more of your money... run it under the tap if your scared and make sure it has no chlorine on it before you put it back in the tank... i doubt a new filter will change the state of your algae... live plants would help, turning off the light a lil would help, and scraping would help
     
  7. EmpPleco Well Known Member Member

    Yeah your tank is going through what all of our tanks have went through. Just be patient and do yourself and your fish a favor, and not not add any more fish until you have your levels stabilized. Ammonia and Nitrites should be at 0 ppm, and Nitrate SHOULD be 10 or less ppm. Although some people think that up to 30-35 is okay. 30% daily water changes without gravel siphoning should do the trick :)
     

  8. not4you Member Member

    Don't replace the filter media! Jon's right, that's just a huge money maker for the man!

    Just rinse it in used tank water so not to harm the bacteria.
     
  9. Gunnie Well Known Member Member

    If your nitrites are truly 5.0, you need to do a 50% water change immediately. Although you need the high nitrites to cycle the tank, anything over 1.0 is considered lethal to your fish. If you didn't have fish in the tank, I'd say to let it continue, but that is not the case. It takes a little bit longer to cycle the tank when you have to do water changes, but your fishes survival rate will be better.

    Test your ph straight out of your tap and let us know what it is. When you do your research on fish you'd like to have in the future, you will notice it usually tells you the ph level the fish is accustomed to. This is usually what they live in when they are in the wild, and will do much better in your tank with a ph that stays pretty much the same all the time no matter what that number is, rather than one you try and alter through chemicals to reduce or raise it. A stable ph is much more important than and high or low one. Most fish do just fine in most people's natural ph of their tap water. If your tap ph is more than .2 different than what your tank is reading right now, you will have to slowly acclimate your fish though by doing small water changes (like 10%) every couple of days to change the ph at a safe rate. 7.9 is fine for most fish, and would be great for african cichlids. Although I just told you not to worry about the ph, african cichlids prefer a higher ph, and since a lot of folks have a ph of over 8, they are ideal. I have some multies in a 10 gal. with a ph of 7.6 and they are just fine.

    The KH and GH are not something I pay attention to, because I'm not into high tech tanks, so Butterfly or Dino would have much more to say in that arena. Those readings are mostly used for monitoring highly planted tanks which have high light and CO2 added. My tanks consisit of low light plants and I don't use CO2, so I don't worry about it. My plants are the "easy" plants.

    Your tank is almost cycled, so keep up the good work! When your ammonia and nitrites are at zero, you are there my friend. You are already showing nitrates, which you will probably always have nitrates and that is normal. Nitrates are the by product of ammonia turning into nitrites and then nitrates, and the final by product of the cycle. Once your tank is cycled, you will know, watch your nitrates, and when they reach a level of 20, do a water change of around 30%. See how long it takes for the level to get up to 20 again, and you will know what your routine should be to keep your tank healthy. It doesn't have to be a 30% water change, it could be 50% if you prefer. That's what I do every week in my tanks whether they need it or not. Checking your nitrate levels like this is just one way to maintain your tanks and is recommended a lot on these boards. Some folks don't do maintenance every week, and may do it every 2 weeks or monthly. I think that weekly is best. I don't check my nitrates very often, and just have a routine of weekly maintenance at a level of a 50% water change/gravel vac. Also, try not to vacuum all of your gravel each time you clean the tank. Do half each time so your bacteria is not disturbed too much, and can quickly regenerate itself if you only do half of the tank at a time. Otherwise, you might get a mini cycle, and your tank could get cloudy for a day or two. ;)
     
  10. RudeeRu Member Member

    :eek: :eek: :eek: I promise it matchest the color on the card that says 5.0!!!     It was SCREAMING violet!!!  I'm amazed anything is alive in my tank!!!

     

  11. RudeeRu Member Member

    First, let me say I truly appreciate everyone's help on this board!  Honestly!  I come here at least twice a day, read old posts, new posts, etc.  It has actually saved me alot of money! 

    Secondly, no worries everyone, I'm NOT going to add fish, never had intention until my levels are normal (hence my frustration)!  I kinda feel like people may think I'm going to but I really am not (at least not yet)!

    Finally, I did a water change last week (50ish%) and a small one just the other day (vacuumed both times, added Cycle both times).  Although I didn't have the master kit yet the nitrites on my strips were still screaming.  So, I believe the water change has done nothing.  I guess I can just do another one ( and another one), not vacuum. I have to say the fish are acting normal for now despite being in toxic waters!  I am just a little confused now  ???  I really don't know what to do!  I DID add the phosphate/nitrite/nitrate remover to my filter (it's a little pouch) so hopefully that will help/kick in soon? 
    AUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
     
  12. EmpPleco Well Known Member Member

    definately do another big water change without touching the gravel or the filter media.
     
  13. Gunnie Well Known Member Member

    This may have an impact on your cycle also. These products that remove ammonia/nitrite/nitrate actually deprive the very bacteria you are trying to cultivate of their food source. I would remove that pouch, and if the water changes can't bring that nitrite level down to a safer level, I would use amquel plus which neutralizes ammonia, nitrites and nitrates so they are still available as food to the bacteria, but makes it more comfortable for your fish. Use the amquel plus as your water conditioner until the tank is cycled. ;)
     
  14. RudeeRu Member Member

    :'( :'( :'(Ok I'll take out the pouch. I did a 40% water change, will do another one tomorrow if the nitrites are still high (didn't touch the gravel). I did see amquel at the store today, luckily that pouch was only $3 so no major loss. I may just take it out and keep it in the fridge for now (vs. throw it away). I'll keep up daily (except for Friday, won't have the time with work and school) and test often! OH! I DID test my tap pH it was 6.6! I had to add some pH increaser so my fish wouldn't get shocked (the pH of my tank water was 7.8 when I tested it today). I'll keep you guys updated thanks! :-[
     
  15. Maida_gc Member Member

    Remember my note about your tank being close to your window, and how it might cause an algea bloom? I would move the tank if possible a couple feet away from the window, then use a tank friendly sponge to remove algea from the windows. Keep us up to date on progress. Good Luck

    PS - slowly lower your tanks ph with tap water until it becomes normal, easier and cheaper for you.
     
  16. RudeeRu Member Member

    Ok, I have 2 silly questions:

    I did the water change, waited 2 hours, then did another nitrite test, level still high! I shouldn't expect results that fast, right? If it's high when I get home from school tonite then I'll do another change.

    Also, I bought a plant that came in a little plastic "pot" and some type of substrate (reminds me of peat moss), do I leave the plant in there in the tank or do I remove it from the pot and "plant" it into the gravel? So far I've just left it in the pot.

    Ok that's it! Oh, moved the tank a little from the window!
     
  17. RudeeRu Member Member

    :mad: So ok, did a 40% change yesterday and a 20% change today about 1 hour ago (no vacuuming, just water change), I even left the little packet thing in my filter because I just want the nitrite levels down to at least 2.0 (then I was going to take it out), and I just checked the nitrite level and it STILL SAYS 5.0!!! So now what do I do? Wait some more? Do another change now? Tomorrow? My fish seem ok, the white one did this weird seizure-looking thing, but was still pecking at the algae after. I'm going to get the Amquel tomorrow which will hopefully get faster results. I just don't want the fish to die! :'(
     
  18. EmpPleco Well Known Member Member

    My advice would be is to keep up with the daily water changes, and go out as soon as you can to buy another (different kind of) test kit to make sure your results are accurant
     
  19. RudeeRu Member Member

    I just bought this kit! I just got it in the mail Tuesday from Petsmart; I tested the tap water and the bottled water and the readings were fine! I had the 5-1 strips and was told to buy this new test (master water test kit)! I'll just keep up with the daily water changes, buy some amquel, and just hope and pray this all is over soon. How much of a change should I do? I've done 60% over the last 2 days; should I just do 20% a day? 50%? Should I vacuum any? ??? ??? ???
     
  20. EmpPleco Well Known Member Member

    No vaccing until Nitrite levels are stable :)

    Well if the test is brand new, it's def. not that -- Just be patient, your tank is just taking extra long to cycle -- good things come with patience.

    I would suggest 30% off the top every day (no fooling around w/ filter media or gravel) But be sure to remove all uneaten food after 5 minutes of feeding, and possibly cut down on feeding until levels are stable.

    Good luck to yoU!