Feel like giving up.

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What am i doing wrong?
My tank has been up and running now for 4wks.
Unknown at the time about fishless cycling i started mine with fish.

The story so far is been checking my stats daily and kept a record of them.
Ammonia up and down like a yo yo between 0.ppm 0.25 to 0.50
Nitrite stable for the last 5 days or so.0.ppm
Nitrate 0.ppm been like this for ages.
PH 7.4 which can drop to 6.8 some days.
Been doing a daily water change 20%.treating new water with Amquel plus.

Checked my stats this morning

Ammonia 0.25
Nitrite 0.ppm
Nitrate 0.ppm
PH 7.4

Feeding every other day,only very small amounts.
I don't know what i am doing wrong,and i feel like i am hopeless at keeping fish.

Can someone please help me and tell me what to do, as i am starting to stress now.

Thank you for reading and look forward to your advise.
From one very stressed out fish keeper.


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More than 10 years
It doesn't sound like you are doing anything wrong. Are your fish happy and healthy? Cycling takes a while...I believe it was about 6 weeks before my most recent tank was cycled, and I cycled it with a couple danios. You may be slowing it down with the daily water changes. The good bacteria needs a source of food (ammonia), and if you are removing it daily, then it will take awhile for the good bacteria to populate. You should start to see a rise in Nitrites soon, the Nitrates should follow. Maybe you could do an every other day water change, as long as your fish are able to tolerate the ammonia....check your paramaters and make sure the ammonia isn't off the charts, if you decide to do that....
Don't give up! Next to fish getting sick, I think cycling a tank is one of the worst parts of fish keeping.
Hope this helps.


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  Hi Liz,  It really sounds like things are comming along fine.  Your fish are healthy?  I think I would feed them more than every other day.  That will produce more waste, and as you have already read, the beneficial bacteria need the ammonia to live.  I feed my fish three times a day, just as much as they will clean up in 3 minutes.  With this rule to guide you it just depends on the fish in the tank to tell you how much to feed.   I vary the kind of food.  One feeding is flake and floating pellets, one is sinking algae wafers, shrimp pellets, the last is frozen brine shrimp and bloodworms.   But then I have a wide variety of fish that have different feeding needs.   
   If your fish are eating vigorously, start small feedings twice a day.   I would also get a bacterial culture from some source.  I use Stress Zyme by API , and cycle by Nutrafin.  Other folks have suggested other products.  In the very least an old filter sponge, or some gravel from an established tank will help.     Then, if your ammonia starts climbing, do 50% water changes every day if necessary until your tank cycle starts, to keep your fish healthy.   It does take work, but you can't starve the bacteria, and they won't start growing and reproducing until they have something to eat!

Fish in the Frozen North.    8)


Fishlore Legend
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More than 10 years
You have an ammonia reading which means your cycle has started, just hang in there. If the ammonia gets any higher do a water change.


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Yah.. you could start doing every other day water changes.. or just start feeding your fish every day. Just make sure not to overfeed.

Don't feel bad though... our 28 gallon still apparently hasn't finished cycling and it's been up and running going on 2 months now... :-\ Frustrating? Yeah, but what can ya do.... It's the price we pay to have a healthy happy aquarium.
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