Cycling Questions

Discussion in 'Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle' started by Mothercrow, Jun 25, 2016.

  1. MothercrowWell Known MemberMember

    I have a 20 gallon tank with three very small goldfish, 2 java ferns, and 2 anubias. I've been trying to cycle for five weeks, have used TSS+ once, and I'm currently dosing with Prime and Stability. Usually, my ammonia has risen to 1ppm about every three days, at which time I do a 30% water change.

    This last 7 days, my ammonia has stayed level at .5ppm. Nitrites are 0ppm, and I haven't tested for Nitrates lately. Question 1, could this be a sign of cycling, or should I not get my hopes up? Question 2, should I do a water change, or leave it the heck alone? (I'm a fiddler, I feel like I need to mess with it.)

    Question 3, I saw these things called Bio Balls on Amazon, that supposedly give bacteria more surface area to grow on, has anyone heard of them? Does anyone use them and/or recommend them?

  2. codyrex97Well Known MemberMember

    Just thought I'd mention that those goldfish will outgrow that tank.

    You aren't for sure cycled until 0-0-20to40

    Leave it alone today. If you haven't dosed prime today do so to cover for that ammonia in there, and do your dose of stability, maybe even a double dose if you wanna help things get going.

    I've heard of bioballs but have never used them. They are one of the many filter media out there. I myself use BioHome Plus, a ceramic media with a lot of surface area. It has proved useful for me.

    Keep us posted, good luck!

  3. MothercrowWell Known MemberMember

    Yup, I'm aware that the goldfish will get much bigger. They are commons that I rescued from bowls, and the 20 was what I could afford and get quickly at the time. I started with eight fish, and there were only three by the time the tank was set up--which is also why I'm having to cycle with the fish in. But no worries, I just got home with a bigger tank and I have a lead on a goldfish pond if they get bigger than I can house.
  4. codyrex97Well Known MemberMember

  5. tokiodreamyWell Known MemberMember

    Commons do unfortunately need ponds. They will outgrow large tanks and are around 12-18in.

    I use bioballs in my filters and 1 filter has ceramic rings. Both are kind of low on the scale of biomedia. There are much better medias out there but it all depends on your budget and what's available via online or in store.

    Only huge thing you need to be careful about is getting gunk in the bio media. You can give it a light shake in old tank water or dechlorinated water.
  6. CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    Hi, what is your ph?

    Did your nitrites ever spike? This has been setup for awhile now right? If your nitrites are 0 and your nitrates are increasing before water changes then your "almost" there. I'd do a water change personally and get the ammonia down close to 0. If it's not increasing much it's possible that once you get it down to 0 the cycle will complete.

    As far as bio-media, anything meant for it will work. I've used bio-max but I found it broke down and got kind of chalky after awhile. Right now I have matrix in my filters because it serves two purposes: 1) great porous bio-media and 2) has the ability to house de-nitrifying bacteria to keep nitrates down which is a huge plus. I just leave it loose in my HOB and once a month I rinse any debris, (mostly plant) off of it.
  7. MothercrowWell Known MemberMember

    Hi, CindiL! My pH is kind of hanging out in between 7.4 and 7.6. The sea shells seem to be slowly raising and stabilizing my KH, the strips report that it's somewhere between 40 and 80 now.

    Ammonia tonight was .5ppm again, and nitrites are still very clearly 0ppm with no purple tint at all. I tested nitrates last night and they were 0ppm, but there may have been an orangey tint to the yellow.

    I visited my LFS today, an actual fish store not Petco, and they convinced me to buy some biomax. I didn't have any bio-media at all before. It was a really tight fit in my filter but I got some squeezed in there. I also set loose a TON of junk that had built up in my filter, so I did a 25% water change and rinsed everything from the filter in the drained water. (My outdoor plants are LOVING the water changes.)

    I am okay with trying to be patient and wait longer for the tank to cycle, I'm just still trying to get a handle on what I'm doing. I just don't want to do it wrong! But the fish are beautiful and shiny, and two of them have grown noticably larger.

    ETA: I forgot to say, no, I never saw a nitrite spike.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2016
  8. CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    You mentioned that your filter box put out a bunch of stuff. You should be rinsing out the hob, cleaning the filter intake tube and also the impeller monthly. It will hold food and poop etc and break down giving you an additional ammonia source.

    Just wanted to mention you're cycled when you have 0-0 and any nitrates as they will vary depending on tank size, fish load, amount of feeding, amount of plants, water change volume and frequency of water changes.

    People with heavily planted tanks will have 0 nitrates, people who do frequent large water changes may also have 0 nitrates. Those who do not do enough water changes will be in the 20-40 perhaps but even that is a bit high :)
  9. MothercrowWell Known MemberMember

    It's been just over a month, so I'll clean the filter housing at the next water change. Thank you! I am reading about fish and aquariums pretty much constantly, but I'm still missing huge chunks of information, it seems.

    ETA: Hmm...I might not actually know how to do that. Rinse the hob, as in Hang on Back filter? In tap water? I imagine I shouldn't be submersing it? I have a Whisper EX20.
  10. MothercrowWell Known MemberMember

  11. CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    You unplug your HOB and use a bucket of old tank water. It should come with directions on how to take it apart, how to remove the intake tube and get to the impeller. You'd be surprised how gross they can get and eventually slow down because they're a bit clogged. Mostly you just rinse out the hob, the intake tube and the impeller. After you've done it a couple times, you'll be a pro :)

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