Cycling Question

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Ashmama, Apr 19, 2017.

  1. Ashmama

    AshmamaNew MemberMember

    Hello. I have a 55 gallon that has been set up for 1 month. I know I am going to get yelled at for not letting the tank cycle without fish and chemicals, and if I had it to do differently then I would, so please don't make this thread about that!! So I added 8 tetras and had them for 2- 3 weeks and used Quick Start to help detoxify the ammonia. I feel like the tank cycled, and I slowly added more fish. I have not lost any fish and everyone seems happy and healthy. I do weekly 10-20% water changes and everything looks great. However, my ammonia reading is always 0.25-0.5 and nitrites and nitrates are always 0. Does this mean that the tank never properly cycled? My ammonia is 0.5 today and I usually do my water changes on Sundays. I am wondering if I should go ahead and do a PWC today or leave it and alone and monitor it until Sunday and give the good bacteria a chance to grow with the higher ammonia. I have 8 tetras, 6 cories, 2 juvenile sajica cichlids, and one small pictus catfish, and several plants. Thanks.
  2. Kiks

    KiksWell Known MemberMember

    Your water parameters suggest that your tank is not cycled. It would be easier to cycle it if you were able to let the ammonia rise to at least around 1 - 2 ppm, however if you do that you risk the lives of your fish.
    It's up to you if you wanna keep changing water when ammonia reaches 0.5 and have a better chance of healthier fish, but also knowing that this process will take a long time or if you wanna let ammonia rise to maybe 1 ppm and hope for the best.
    Depending on how far you are with cycling it could take some time getting your aquarium used to the bio load.
  3. Nanologist

    NanologistWell Known MemberMember

    In short, yes, a properly cycled tank will have 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites. However, adding more fish adds to the bio-load and it may take a bit for more bacteria growth to compensate for this, although this shouldn't have been an issue if fish were added slowly as you stated.

    I really liked this "fish-in cycle" guide if you want to give it a read: The Fish-In Cycle | Adventures in Aquaria

    Main thing to take from the guide is that it would be best to keep your ammonia below .25. As Kiks stated it will take much longer but your fish will have a much better chance of surviving.

    I would recommend asking your LFS for some bio-material. Even if it's just a bag of gravel from one of their established tanks. It will speed the process up immensely.

    You can also order a "seeded" filter or material from some sites like this one:
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 19, 2017
  4. Kiks

    KiksWell Known MemberMember

    That's a good idea, Greenbonsai.

    I was also thinking that maybe you could take your fish to your local store and have them take care of your fish while you cycle. You'd probably have to pay them and I don't think it's something people usually do, but I'm pretty sure I could talk my local store into it. Whether or not I'd trust them with my fish is another thing...
  5. OP

    AshmamaNew MemberMember

    Good info, thanks. So what if I let the ammonia get up to 1-2ppm, but put in Quick Start or Prime to detoxify the ammonia? Would that keep the fish safe, but also feed the ammonia to the good bacteria and help it to finish cycling quicker?
  6. Summer22

    Summer22Valued MemberMember

    Don't feel bad, I chose fish-in cycle on 2 of my tanks. I think it is a personal preference thing. Hang in there it'll happen.
  7. Lindsay83

    Lindsay83Valued MemberMember

    Using Prime will certainly help keep the ammonia away from the fish, yes. It converts it into ammonium, which is still readily taken up By the beneficial bacteria in the filter.
  8. Nanologist

    NanologistWell Known MemberMember

    Thanks! Ha, I know I wouldn't! Even though they're leagues ahead of the big-box stores...

    The Prime will work best to bind the ammonia so it doesn't harm your fish. Prime only binds it for 24-48 hours (I would stay on the safe side of every 24 hours) and you will have to add enough for the entire volume of the tank (every 24 hours). Even then I wouldn't let it get higher than 1ppm and I would personally double the amount of Prime used. Prime can actually be dosed up to 5x the recommended amount without overdosing and harming your fish. So, for example, your 55 gallon requires 5.5ml of Prime to treat the entire tank. I would double that to 11ml, basically 2 cap fulls (technically 2 cap fulls and another just up to the first thread, since each thread is about 1ml).
  9. Al913

    Al913Fishlore VIPMember

    You do not want to bring up the ammonia to 1-2 ppm :) this will just make things worst and most likely kill some or most of your fish. Although Prime is good, it doesn't get rid of it.

    I suggest getting Seachem Stability which actually contains the BB needed to process the ammonia

    What is the exact stocking of the tank(types)? What model filter do you have?

    I suggest you do at least 20% water change to remove the ammonia.
  10. Kiks

    KiksWell Known MemberMember

    Bringing the ammonia up to 1 - 2 ppm would make the cycling a lot easier, but I do agree that if it was my tank and my fish, I wouldn't do it either, since it's very likely that it would kill them.
  11. Nanologist

    NanologistWell Known MemberMember

    As a side note on this, Stability does contain BB to process ammonia and nitrites and will help keep your water safe for the fish, but it does not replace the BB that grows naturally. It may not help speed up your cycle either. I used it according to the instructions and my tank still took 6 weeks to properly cycle. Others have cycled a tank quicker without even using a BB kick-start.

    I still think that getting your hands on some seeded bio-material and keeping your Ammonia and Nitrites below .25ppm until then is your best bet to getting a quickly cycled tank with as little harm to the fish as possible.
  12. OP

    AshmamaNew MemberMember

    I was actually going to use the Quick Start instead of Prime, but I am scared to let the ammonia get that high even with the detox. Here is the link for the Quick Start. What do you think?
    Welcome to API Fishcare: QUICK START®

    The Quick Start I was going to use also has the BB. I have 8 White Skirt (glofish) Tetras, 6 Emerald Catfish, 1 Pictus Cat, 2 Juvenile Sajica Cichlids that are only about 2 inches long. My filter is a Marineland Biowheel Penguin 350.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 19, 2017
  13. Nanologist

    NanologistWell Known MemberMember

    The Quick Start is API's version of Seachem Stability and should be used with the Prime. You want to use the Prime to dechlorinate the water going into your tank as well as using it to bind the ammonia. The Quick Start should then be used as directed to add the BB.

    Are these the same instructions on your bottle?
    If so you can see that it should be used with a chlorine remover. In this case it's Stress Coat, but Prime is basically the same thing. It removes the chlorine and chloramines while the Quick Start adds BB to process the ammonia and nitrites.

    Basically, you want to add, at minimum, the amount of Prime for your entire tank and I'd recommend double since you're already at .5ppm ammonia. This will keep your fish safe for at least 24 hours.

    Next, you want to add 55ml of Quick Start. I personally would dump the Quick Start right into your filter where the BB will eventually grow and process the ammonia and nitrites.

    *Edit - Not sure what size bottle of Quick Start you have, but if you have the 4oz. bottle then dump half of it in. If the 8oz. then a quarter of it or 16oz. an eighth of it, according to the directions on the image I posted above.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2017
  14. OP

    AshmamaNew MemberMember

    Yes, I use Stress Coat and Stress Zyme when I do my PWCs.
  15. Nanologist

    NanologistWell Known MemberMember

    Okay! Someone correct me if I'm wrong, since I only have experience with Seachem's products.

    From what I can tell, Stress Coat = Prime, so you're fine using one or the other to remove chlorine and keep fish safe from toxins like ammonia.

    Then, Quick Start and Stress Zyme are BB enhancers. I'm guessing Quick Start is marketed as a new tank BB starter, while Stress Zyme is BB maintenance. Not sure why they have two separate BB products unless it's just for the marketing reason I stated.

    If you've been using Stress Coat I see no reason to switch to Prime until you run out. You may even be able to return the Prime if you wish. So, use up the Quick Start to jump start your cycle, then add Stress Zyme during water changes to replenish BB.
  16. el337

    el337Fishlore LegendMember

    Stress Coat is a water conditioner but does nothing to bind the ammonia and nitrite like Prime does. You're better off buying a bottle of Prime. It's more concentrated as well and will last you a lot longer than any of the other products combined.

    I'd also toss the QS and stress zyme. They're not effective at cycling a tank. I'd pick up a bottle of Seachem Stability so that you can do water changes to keep the ammonia and nitrite low while it provides the bacteria to cycle the tank. Usually it will help cycle in about 2-3 weeks.
  17. Nanologist

    NanologistWell Known MemberMember

    Okay, I stand corrected. Amazon's description of Stress Coat says, "Also works instantly to remove chlorine, chloramines and ammonia from tap water.", but I don't see that on any product image or on API's site. Sorry about that. Use the Prime instead.

    As far as the Stability I could also argue it's ability to cycle a tank effectively as that's what I used and it still took over 6 weeks for my tank to cycle. I just followed the instructions on the bottle though, so if there's a different method or dosage that works better I'd also like to hear it!

    Thanks for chiming in @el337
  18. el337

    el337Fishlore LegendMember

    I should have added that even with the better bacteria supplements (which Stability does seem to have a high success rate in), even those could fail since it would really depend on many factors. Some people may have success with Stability while TSS+ will fail for them and vice versa. We won't know unless they try it but these are the two main products that I have generally seen work well from members on the forum.
  19. Nanologist

    NanologistWell Known MemberMember

    Sounds good! I'll have to remember that. I'm glad the LFS had me get Seachem's Prime and Stability to start my first Betta tank. Seems like they're top quality.
  20. PaulaMPi

    PaulaMPiValued MemberMember

    The advice I've seen about Prime is, if ammonia+nitrite is under 1.0ppm, to dose Prime daily for the volume of the tank. If ammonia+nitrite is 1.0+, do a 50% water change and dose prime. That keeps some ammonia levels so BB can grow, but not too much to hurt the fish (as Prime can detoxify up to 1.0 for 24-48 hours).