Day 20 Fish Less Cycle 55 Gallon Tank

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by NoOne, Apr 17, 2019.

  1. NoOneValued MemberMember

  2. FahnFishlore VIPMember

    Test your tap water as a control and post results if you're able, though the presence of nitrates is promising.

  3. NoOneValued MemberMember

    Tap ph 6.8, ammonia 0.00, nitrites 0,nitrates 0

    My concern is my ammonia is starting to rise. For about a week it was 0.25 with 0 nitrites and 0 nitrates. Now the ammonia is 0.5 with nary a nitrite to be seen but the nitrates are rising. Shouldn't my ammonia be falling. I have done 0 water changes but have added 2 gallons of distilled water to replace evaporation.

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 18, 2019
  4. surajkValued MemberMember

    If you're using the API kit, my experience is that from time to time I get a 0.25 or a 0.5 result that I retest. Its usually related to a dirty test tube or a dirty syringe - and dirty just really means not freshly washed. I'd wash the test tube out with soap, water and a brush and rinse it really well with tap water, dry it out with a tissue and try again before worrying. This has sent me into a tizzy a few times. once I did 3 tests right after each other - test 1 = 0.5, test 2= 0.25, test 3 = 0.. I then made sure I use the same tt for Amo each time and washed them out thoroughly after and again before the next test.

  5. imbaWell Known MemberMember

  6. NoOneValued MemberMember

    I have added a very small amount of flake food. I have also left the few pieces of plant that has died due to the change from the store to my tank. There is new plant growth. I will was my ammonia test tube with soap. I have been rinsing it only. I have also been shaking the bottles thoroughly. I am not surprised the ammonia and nitrate is trending up. I am only confused that there are 0 nitrites ever

    I will retest in the morning and post. Should I do anything else besides wait?

    Oh yes, I did add a second dose of quick start. That is when I started seeing the nitrates. Also my tank is fairly clear but still a milkiness, though slight, persists.

    And thank you all for helping me understand.
  7. surajkValued MemberMember

    Well. If your tank is day 20 and you're seeing nitrates, then I would be surprised that you're still seeing some ammonia, especially persistent ammonia from decomposition of flake food and a little plant matter. The usual cycle is ammonia goes down to zero, then nitrites goes down to zero .. this is why I suspect that your ammonia reading is off + my own experience with the api kit. I would check amo again and after clean test tube and whatever you use to fill tank water in the tube. Take water sample from tank center and little below the surface.

    Even after your tank is reliably cycled, please don't fully stock it all at once with fish. Without a large source of ammonia during cycling, your filter might not be able to deal with the amount of ammonia a full stock of fish produce and you will likely see an ammonia spike while the filter catches up. If you have no choice, be prepared for water changes.
  8. NoOneValued MemberMember

    Thanks I will check it again in a bit after washing the tubes with soap. I will also get it in the middle rather than the top. I plan to only get a few fish at a time. Once I retest I will post the results.


    Just look at the last pics. Learning how to post this stuff.
    To me it appears the ammonia is now down to .25ppm, nitrates still 0ppm, and Nitrates 10ppm. So maybe it is about to complete a cycle. Washed all the tubes and caps, got it from mid tank, shook all bottles 2:30 min, timed 5min. I think I will keep monitoring daily as long as the ammonia keeps going down and not up. If it goes up again I will do a 30% water change and keep watching. If ammonia drops to 0 I will do a 30% water change and get 2 baby Rams or 2 baby Angel's and some sort of shrimps. Then wait a few weeks while monitoring.

    I think the nitrite is being skipped due to the use of quick start, ya think?

    I have posted a pic of the results
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 18, 2019
  9. surajkValued MemberMember

    Thanks. It's a little hard to tell your amo but it looks pretty yellow to me. I usually dont bother when it's that close to yellow. The nitrites being zero is a good sign and yes, it's quite possible that the quick start is dumping loads of nitrites oxidising bacteria since those take a while to grow.

    You could do either:

    If you have a way to dose ammonia using a safe ammonia source, I'd dose upto 2ppm and see if it clears down to at least 0.25 and zero Nitrites in 24 hours. If yes, that would mean that your tank is fully cycled. Do a 70%wc and then it would be fine to bring fish.

    If you don't have an ammonia source, I'd do a 50% wc and then bring a small number of hardy fish to the tank. Do an ammonia test every day and do a 30% water change if it gets above 1ppm.
    Watch the fish carefully for any signs of gasping or sluggishness.
  10. NoOneValued MemberMember

    The local fish store does not have any pure ammonia. There are two other stores in the next larger city so will check with them. If I can get it that is the way I will go. Otherwise, since none of the fish I plan are particularly hardy I may have to keep poking along at this. Unless a dwarf flame gourami is considered hardy. Or Angelfish
  11. surajkValued MemberMember

    I used ammonium bicarbonate powder. It's a baking ingredient used in traditional Chinese cooking. If you have a chinese store nearby you might find it there - ask for smelly baking powder.

    Be careful though, don't overdose. Just takes a small pinch to get to 2ppm.

    Good luck!
  12. NoOneValued MemberMember

    This is not at all relaxing. I checked. Ph7.2, ammo 0.25ppm, nitrite 0pmm, nitrates 10pmm. Did about a 30% water change and now. PH 7.0(no surprize), ammo 0.50ppm , nitrites 0, and Nitrates 5.
    I took both samples today (before and after the water change) from the center, shook all reagents 3 min before use, started with washed and dried cylinders. .
    I am ready to toss this tank completely.
  13. surajkValued MemberMember

    The only way i see that happening is If your tap water actually has ammonia in it. Tap water can have chloramine in it which is a more aggressive disinfectant than chlorine. When you use your dechlorinator, conditioner or AquaPlus, it kills chlorine but frees ammonium, which is non toxic but catches in the API test just like ammonia. To me that's the only way that you'd get more ammonia after a wc.

    If it was me, I'd roll the dice and get a fish or two. I know a lot of people would call that irresponsible, but a 0.25 ammonia reading to me is just noise. I'd watch the fish and take readings everyday for a while and do wc if it gets to 1ppm. My hunch is that the cycle is sputtering a little and needs to catch - either a fish or ammonia added would do it.

    But it's really what you're comfortable doing. I can understand if you do not want to take that risk.
  14. NoOneValued MemberMember

    Surajk, thank you for the encouragement. I took a water sample to my LFS. They use the API master test kit as well. I noticed they had 2 result cards for all the freshwater tests. I also noticed the result parameter colors were not the exact same on each parameter card. They were also different than mine. Where my ammonia card show bright yellow for 0.0ppm his shows a very pale green. I have a out decided these test kits are close to being a sham! So, I bought three cherry shrimp to watch. Since all the fish i intend to get are all not the best to start with I have decided to just go for it. I have ordered 2 platinum Angelfish to start. After a few weeks if all goes well I will add maybe a Gourami or 3 white cloud mtn minnows. Then 5 panda cories. Followed by 10 rummy nose tetras. 2 blue rams. 2 otocinclus. And lastly...maybe 2 kribs if the tank doesn't look crowded But I may not be able to get them all in there. I am afraid it will look to busy.
  15. surajkValued MemberMember

    Glad you're not tossing all your hard work. I know this can get frustrating, I've been through that .. the api ammonia test is a little twitchy. The nitrites test is usually rock solid. Also, ammonia spikes all the time - clean out your filter, you'll get an ammonia spike. Disturb your gravel, an ammonia spike.. add a fish, etc etc . I have learnt to trust my filtration to catch up quick and to watch my fishes for behavioral changes that indicate stress.

    On your stocking ideas - does not seem too much for a 55g. Note that gouramis are generally peaceful until you find that one ahole gourami who will bully everyone else. I've had one of those in my life. Angels are usually great, some people say they can get aggressive when large but I've never experienced that. Otos I've stayed away from because of their reputations as really delicate. Don't know what kribs are. Have not seen them in my part of the world.
  16. NoOneValued MemberMember

    Kribensis are very beautiful. I think the are a cichlid but still community. Rectangular body that is yellow with two wide horizontal black stripes. Somewhat clear fins with black edging. Males find are longer with some spotting on the casual fin I believe. The females belly turns deep Ruby when she is ready to spawn. They both dig a cave under a rock or such the female disappears for a few days the reappears with baby fry . If I recall she protects them when in danger by carrying them in her mouth. Very cool. My details may be bit off but something like that is correct.
  17. surajkValued MemberMember

    That sounds very cool! I have never seen those. Will check around for when I get a bigger tank.

    You might want to check for Ph and temperature compatibility across all these different fish though.