Cycle Trouble- Bad Quality Tap?

  1. Cody91

    Cody91 New Member Member

    Hey fishlore friends. So I recently got s 10 gallon tank (about a month ago) and I’ve been trying to cycle is without fish. To be honest, I was sold fish the next day (tiger barbs) and they quickly died off. Since then I’ve dont a lot of research to find out I can’t have barbs in a 10g and you cannot just plop fish in the next day the tank must be cycled properly. So that’s what I intend to do. That said, I found out that my tap water has about 2 ppm of ammonia in it (I use the api liquid test kit). This seems to have worked, along with the few days I had fish to start a cycle. Fast forward a few weeks and I decided to get a bubbler system, new filter cartridges and a tank heater. My levels are as follows: ammonia has been at 1ppm for as long as I’ve been testing. My nitrites were at 2ppm but have since dropped to 1ppm. HERE IS THE PROBLEM- I cannot seem to get the bacteria that converts nitrite to nitrate to flourish. I’m testing between 0-5ppm for nitrate. I’ve tested so many times I’m questioning if there is any nitrate at all. I recently turned my heater up to 86 degrees to try and help. I’ve been using API quick start as well as water conditioner. I did a 1/3 water change last week and am just playing the waiting game. Any suggestions? I do not have any plants either and I occasionally throw some fish food in to keep the ammonia going. (Not sure if I should stop this) oh and I will not be gettin tiger barbs in the future. Tetras and guppies. Maybe a Cory cat. Is there any possibility that the tap water is causing all this delay in nitrogen. Current tank is 1ppm ammonia 1ppm nitrite and 0-5ppm nitrate. Probably zero.
     
  2. Joyo15

    Joyo15 Valued Member Member

    If you are using the API test kit...Did you super dooper shake the Nitrate bottle 2 for 30 seconds before adding it? It won't show anything if you don't.
     
  3. AquaticJ

    AquaticJ Well Known Member Member

    If the nitrite dropped, it was converted into nitrate. As @Joyo15 said, you have to vigorously shake bottle two before adding it, then shake the test tube with both solutions added to it for one minute, then wait 5 minutes for the color to develop. When you changed all your filter media, you restarted your cycle. 99% of the bacteria live on your filter media. Additionally, never rinse filter media with tap water, chlorine kills the bacteria. One more thing, don’t let the bacteria go without ammonia for more than 24 hours, they’ll starve and die.
     


  4. OP
    OP
    Cody91

    Cody91 New Member Member

    Yes I’ve been shaking the heck out of hat thing and banging it on the table too

    I changed my filter yesterday and I did rinse it with tap water very quickly. But you think my whole cycle is restarting all over again now? Sigh!
    becaus
     
  5. mattgirl

    mattgirl Well Known Member Member

    Just a gentle suggestion. A wall of text is really hard to read. Paragraphs are much easier on these tired old eyes of mine. :)

    You are getting some good advice though so I will just follow along and offer help when I can.
     
  6. AquaticJ

    AquaticJ Well Known Member Member

    If you changed the filter or washed it under tap water, yes.
     


  7. OP
    OP
    Cody91

    Cody91 New Member Member

    Update- my ammonia had dropped to.5ppm and the nitrites were between .75-.5ppm and the nitrates seem to be showing a definitive 5ppm.

    So— I got some fish a few days ago and PRIME to detoxify any remaining toxic compounds.

    Two days later:
    Ammonia- 1ppm
    Nitrite- 0.5ppm
    Nitrate- 5ppm

    I lowered the temp to 76 because the tetras were going after each other.

    Any suggestions?

    If I do a water change it turns out my tap has 2ppm ammonia in it and would make everything worse.
     
  8. AquaticJ

    AquaticJ Well Known Member Member

    You should return those fish and turn the heat up and just fishless cycle.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    Cody91

    Cody91 New Member Member

    I already did that for 3-4 weeks and when the levels where dropping I got the fish
     
  10. AquaticJ

    AquaticJ Well Known Member Member

    You gotta wait until you have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and 5-40 nitrates to be cycled. Otherwise you just added too much at once and caused a spike. I just remembered that you washed your filter in tap water too. You’re gunna have to figure out a different source of waterc because you cannot safely keep fish with tap water coming out with 2 ppm of ammonia.
     
  11. OP
    OP
    Cody91

    Cody91 New Member Member

    So can you give me an example of an alternate way to change the water? I was thinking distilled water but do I need to put minerals back Into that water??

     
  12. mattgirl

    mattgirl Well Known Member Member

    Once cycled the ammonia in your tap water won't be as bad as it can be while doing a fish in cycle. You just need to do smaller water changes. If you do 25% water changes, that ammonia at 2 will be diluted down to .5 and Prime will neutralize that small amount and the cycle will take care of it.

    Even though you washed your filter media in tap water and probably killed off some of the bacteria all isn't lost because once you have some living in your tank it will grow back fairly quickly. Bacteria grows on all surfaces of a tank. It is just that the majority of it does live on the media. It is possible that your media now has bacteria back on it.

    Now you just have to give it time to grow enough to process the ammonia your new fish are adding constantly. Is it at all possible for you to get water for your water changes somewhere else until this tank finishes its cycle? If you could buy just regular drinking water I feel sure it wouldn't be long until you can go back to using your tap water.
     
  13. OP
    OP
    Cody91

    Cody91 New Member Member

    Wat if I use spring water from the grocery store. Will that work?
     
  14. mattgirl

    mattgirl Well Known Member Member

    Spring water would work but just plain drinking water would too. You don't want to use distilled water because it has none of the necessary minerals spring or drinking water has.
     
  15. AquaticJ

    AquaticJ Well Known Member Member

    Or you can buy an RO unit and remineralize it.
     
  16. OP
    OP
    Cody91

    Cody91 New Member Member

    Update***

    Did a 40% water change (4 gallons of spring water from the grocery store)

    Treated the water with prime and a little extra stress ease conditioner. Will read levels tomorrow.
     
  17. AquaticJ

    AquaticJ Well Known Member Member

    Just use a Prime, not the other too. They both have slime coat replacement in them.
     
  18. OP
    OP
    Cody91

    Cody91 New Member Member

    Ammonia 0.5PPM
    Nitrite 0.25ppm
    Nitrate 5ppm
    PH 7.8

    Added some PH down but that’s all. Thoughts? Fish are still alive too

    I was also told my water is very hard at 150...anyone know about hardness?
     
  19. AquaticJ

    AquaticJ Well Known Member Member

    Please throw the PH Down into the nearest trash can, lol. That stuff is terrible and won’t do a thing to your hardness. Your PH and hardness are fine, as long as they’re stable. Don’t play with them.
     
  20. OP
    OP
    Cody91

    Cody91 New Member Member

    Another update:

    Levels are still the same-
    Ammonia 0.5PPM
    Nitrite 0.25ppm
    Nitrate 5ppm

    I have fish in the tank so I am assuming that despite the fixed readings, something is happening to keep the levels the same. If there was no converting bacteria then I believe atleast ammonia or nitrite would spike up. The weird part is that the nitrates haven’t spiked yet

    Not sure where I am anymore on this cycle but the fish seem to be doing well aside from one of them hiding from the others in the corner but that’s a territorial ordeal and I’m focused on water right now. Any thoughts??