Daniellee's cycling journey

daniellee

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Just decided to make a new thread specifically for the cycle on my new 5.5 gallon tank. I'm just learning the cycling process and would appreciate any advice regarding my cycle. I am using the API Freshwater Master Test Kit and I am adding the time stamp on when the readings were taken for my own knowledge.

My 5.5 gallon has one Male Betta in it, his name is Apollo. I keep the tank at a constant 79 degrees with a Zacro 50W heater and am using a Marina PowerSlI'm S15 filter.
edit: as of 10/5 I now also have a golden mystery snail

9/29
pH 7.6
High pH 7.8
Ammonia 0.25 (filter was only in 5 hours of the day since I just got it)
Nitrite 0 ppm
Nitrate 0 ppm

9/30 Started cycling with TSS+
11 am
pH 7.8
Ammonia 0.25
Nitrite 0 ppm
Nitrate 0 ppm

10/1
11 am
pH 7.8
Ammonia 0.50
Nitrite 0ppm
Nitrate 0-5 ppm (definitely not 0 but not quite 5 either. It's a darker yellow).

10/2

11 am
pH 7.4
0.25 ppm
0 ppm
0 ppm

10/3
pH 7.4
Ammonia 0.25 ppm
Nitrite 0 ppm
Nitrate 0 ppm

10/4
11 am
pH 7.4
Ammonia 0.25 ppm
Nitrite 0.50 ppm
Nitrate 0 ppm

10/5
11 am
pH 7.4
Ammonia 0.25 ppm
Nitrite 0 ppm
Nitrate 0 ppm

10/6
9 am
pH 7.4
Ammonia 0.25ppm
Nitrite 0 ppm
Nitrate 0 ppm

10/9
6 pm
pH 7.4
Ammonia 0.25 ppm
Nitrite 0 ppm
Nitrate 5 ppm

10/10
10 am
pH 7.4
Ammonia 0.25 ppm
Nitrite 0 ppm
Nitrate 5 ppm

tagging @CindiL because she was helping me in a previous thread thanks again

Here is the picture of his tank, he's hiding somewhere in the back. The placemat in the back helps with the vibration caused by the filter.


image.jpg
 

CindiL

Fishlore Legend
Member
Looks good

TSS+ bacteria is housed in an ammonium solution so probably why you see that rise today. I would not expect to see it go higher than 1.0.

They tell you not to test and just do nothing but water topoffs for two weeks but if you're more comfortable testing that's ok, I think everything will go fine, TSS+ is a great bacterial product.

Just feed sparingly, a couple of pellets twice a day max! And remove any if they fall to the bottom and he doesn't eat them.
 
OP
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daniellee

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Looks good

TSS+ bacteria is housed in an ammonium solution so probably why you see that rise today. I would not expect to see it go higher than 1.0.

They tell you not to test and just do nothing but water topoffs for two weeks but if you're more comfortable testing that's ok, I think everything will go fine, TSS+ is a great bacterial product.

Just feed sparingly, a couple of pellets twice a day max! And remove any if they fall to the bottom and he doesn't eat them.

Alright sounds good, i'm just worried about my pH mostly since it spiked last night to about 8.8 but I feel like I did too few or too many drops to cause that because now it's still the same.

I think I might just test every day as a precautionary if I have time since I have my fish in there during the cycle and I bought some freeze dried bloodworms yesterday and let him have a few but those are a treat. he ate 3 pellets this morning so I'll give him a few tonight also. I'll make sure he eats them
 
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daniellee

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When you say drops, drops of dechlorinator? is that what you mean?

Drops of the high pH tester. The sample turned bright purple (matched to be 8.8 with high pH test key on the back) which is a whole point higher than the 7.8 i've been averaging. I retested again directly after and it was back down to 7.8
 
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daniellee

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Reading for 10/2

pH 7.4
Ammonia 0.25
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0

Oddly the yellow with the nitrate matched the picture exactly this time and wasn't slightly darker like yesterday. Is it normal also to have film on top of the water? Like the water has this slightly milky (not pure white but darker than the rest of the water) layer that sits on top. It looks like film, i'm hoping it's just the bacteria.
 

CindiL

Fishlore Legend
Member
That's ok, the bioload of a betta is small, I wouldn't expect to see large rises in nitrates. so far so good!

The film is from not enough surface agitation, I would raise your filter so it splashes or creates a current on the top of the water. That will clear up the film which is a protein or bio-film.
 
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daniellee

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That's ok, the bioload of a betta is small, I wouldn't expect to see large rises in nitrates. so far so good!

The film is from not enough surface agitation, I would raise your filter so it splashes or creates a current on the top of the water. That will clear up the film which is a protein or bio-film.

Okay so the film is nothing bad? I'll up the filter a bit, I usually keep it down so it doesn't agitate the surface since the filter is really meant for a tank closer to 15 gallons.
 

CindiL

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Yeah, its nothing bad
 
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daniellee

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Good its all cleared up now. Going to keep an eye on him and make sure hes not fighting the current at all. I feel bad it messed his bubble nest up but its definitely clearing up
 

CindiL

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Can you change the direction of the outflow at all or is it immobile?
 
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daniellee

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Can you change the direction of the outflow at all or is it immobile?

it's immobile and only comes out the sole output like a waterfall. only thing I can adjust is the rate of how fast it comes out.
 

CindiL

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Member
Oh ok, well you can always turn down the flow rate if it bothers him. They usually get used to it.
 
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daniellee

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10/3
pH 7.4
Ammonia 0.25
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0

Hopefully this is normal. I'm surprised nothing has really changed.
 

CindiL

Fishlore Legend
Member
This is actually great news. It means TSS+ is working and keeping up with most of his ammonia output. People often don't ever see nitrites using it and you may not see nitrates until towards the end of the first week. Make sure to bang nitrate bottle no. 2 for 30 seconds on the palm of your hand before using it or you'll get a false negative.
 
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daniellee

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Thanks for your reassurance! I thought I was doing something wrong
 
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daniellee

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10/4
11 am
pH 7.4
Ammonia 0.25
Nitrite 0.50
Nitrate 0

hope these are normal. The nitrite startled me
 

CindiL

Fishlore Legend
Member
Just make sure you get any uneaten food out and feed sparingly.

Its part of the cycle process but I wouldn't think it would get much higher.
 
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daniellee

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I count out the pellets and feed them one a time and make sure he eats them unless he has been spitting out after I leave. Maybe its the freeze dried bloodworms that need to be cut down on?

edit: he only gets 3 max at a time and twice a day
 

CindiL

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Is he getting 3 bloodworms and 3 pellets 2x a day?
 
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daniellee

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3 pellets around 9-10 am whenever I wake up
2-3 around 6-8 pm depending on how I feel
1-2 worms every 2-3 days. He was kinda begging earlier while I did the tests so he had one today and one yesterday but he doesn't get those everyday

edit: he gets the pellets along with the worms not just pure worms
 
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daniellee

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10/5
11 am
pH 7.4
Ammonia 0.25 ppm
Nitrite 0 ppm
Nitrate 0 ppm
 

CindiL

Fishlore Legend
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Nice! Surprised you're not seeing any nitrates yet.
 
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daniellee

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Is that normal? It's kind of concerning me and i'm going home this weekend for a wedding and won't be able to take measurements again until Sunday.
 

CindiL

Fishlore Legend
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No, as long as ammonia and nitrites end up at 0, its ok.
 
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daniellee

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Sounds good. I might try to get in quick readings tomorrow before I leave but I'll try
 
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daniellee

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10/6
9 am
pH 7.4
Ammonia 0.25 ppm
Nitrite 0 ppm
Nitrate 0 ppm

edit: I did my own little test to see if nitrates were even forming (I filled the tube 1/3 of the way but did the same amount of testing solution) and found 10 ppm. So I guess that's good lol
 
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daniellee

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10/9
6 pm
pH 7.4
Ammonia 0.25 ppm
Nitrite 0 ppm
Nitrate 5 ppm

Finally seeing nitrates made me excited since i've been stuck at 0. Hopefully the ammonia comes down in a few days
 

CindiL

Fishlore Legend
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That's great. The good news is that ammonia at .25 at your ph of 7.4 is in a non-toxic form.
 
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daniellee

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Yay! So if it goes down in a few days i'm cycled? Is it normal for pH to go down in a cycled tank? My tap pH is 7.8
 

CindiL

Fishlore Legend
Member
It shouldn't drop much more unless you have low KH (alkalinity). Was that ever tested? Normal water changes replace the minerals that make up KH.
 
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daniellee

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No i've never tested that before, also how soon after i'm cycled can I do a water change? I'm having trouble telling if my water is really murky or if it's just dark since I need to buy lights
 

CindiL

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When did you add the TSS+? You can do a water change 2 weeks after.
 
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daniellee

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I added it on Friday the 30th, so it's been almost 10 days. Should I be safely cycled by then hopefully?
 

CindiL

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Seems like you are mostly now with 0 nitrites, rising nitrates and very low ammonia so yes. If its super dirty you could do a partial change before then.
 
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daniellee

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10/10
10 am
pH 7.4
Ammonia 0.25 ppm
Nitrite 0 ppm
Nitrate 5 ppm

edit: just saw your recent post, it's not super dirty but it's hard to tell since I don't have a good tank light. I plan on changing it Friday though since that's my day off
 
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daniellee

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10/11
11 am pre water change
*note the tank water sample was taken from a little cup which might have condense the particles
pH 7.4
Ammonia 0.25-0.5 ppm
Nitrite 0 ppm
Nitrate 10 ppm

11 am post water change
pH 7.4
Ammonia 0.25 ppm
Nitrite 0 ppm
Nitrate 0 ppm

Hope the nitrates being 0 is normal post water change. I changed about 50% which might have been too much.
 

CindiL

Fishlore Legend
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That just tells you that nitrates were probably closer to 5-10 to start out with.
 
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daniellee

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Okay, I think I'll continue with daily readings and stop Friday since that'll be the two week mark and maybe once a week after that.
 

CindiL

Fishlore Legend
Member
Because you still are showing ammonia readings (before the water change), I would continue testing ammonia and start dosing prime every 24-48 hours as long as you get readings for it, OR add in another bottle of TSS+.

Test the rest of this week and lets see if that ammonia stays away or accumulates.
 
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daniellee

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10/12
11 am
pH 7.4*
Ammonia 0.25
Nitrite 1 ppm
Nitrate 20 ppm? the orange is pretty dark

*For my high pH test, I always get a super basic number around 8.4-8.8 first then I retest and get 7.4.....so idk
 

CindiL

Fishlore Legend
Member
Am I reading that right that you have nitrites again? of 1.0 after the water change? Do you have nitrites in your tap water?

I would dose prime asap.
 
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daniellee

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I dosed some API ammo lock this morning but I'll put some prime in now. I don't believe I have nitrites in the tap but I'll test right now, I have a pitcher of treated water sitting on my bookshelf I use to tap the tank off every day if the water gets low so I'll test that now

edit: going to also retest the actual tank water for nitrite again

---

Tap water is 0.
Nitrites is 1. It's like halfway between 1 and 2 though....

I think I need to buy a better water conditioner or maybe I didn't put enough in when I did do the change.

----

Maybe I should do another water change sometime later tonight and see if that lowers everything? The Nitrates really spiked too from yesterday..or should I fast him tonight and tomorrow and see if that helps?
 

CindiL

Fishlore Legend
Member
You were for the most part cycled so I'm a bit confused. You didn't throw out any filter materials or rinse in tap water did you? You remembered to use prime or another water conditioner when you did the water change?

I would do another water change. In a cycled tank you will never show ammonia or nitrites so something happened over the last couple of days.
 
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daniellee

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Nope I never touched the filter during the change other than unplugging it briefly while I put the water in. Both the filter and heater had to be unplugged since the heater would burst since the water level went below the minimum line unless that did it. I had a thing of water sitting out overnight with my dechlorinator. How much water should I change out?
 

CindiL

Fishlore Legend
Member
Well you want to get those nitrites back close to 0, so I'd say 75%. Seems like you could use another bottle of TSS+! It will catch up on its own but you'll have to do lots of water changes.
 
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daniellee

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10/14
pH 7.4
Ammonia 0.25 ppm
Nitrite 0 ppm
Nitrate 5 ppm
 
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daniellee

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I'll test again tonight since Nitrate is kinda low. It almost looked yellow
 

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