First Cycle Nerves And Prime False Positive Question

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by FeralGoldfishOwner, Apr 7, 2017.

  1. FeralGoldfishOwnerNew MemberMember

    20 gallon long, 9" comet and 2" common (9" being rehomed today in a 200 gal*, 2" staying to complete cycle). Minimal feeding (they're hungry), 10-15% wc daily w/gravel vac, using Prime to treat tap water.

    Prime converts deadly ammonia (NH3) to tolerable ammonium (NH4), right? And the API master test kit does not discriminate between them, so a post-Prime test shows no reduction in ammonia, even if it's all been converted to ammonium, right? (Still learning the basics and need when correction if I have it wrong).

    Test this mornings pre-wc and Prime dose was ammonia was somewhere between .25 and .50, nitrites at 0. Dosed with Prime yesterday morning to knock down a similar ammonia reading.

    Is yesterdays Prime still active and giving a false ammonia positive, or did it wear off and this morning's reading accurately reflects new ammonia?

    If I always use Prime to treat the tap water before adding during wc's, do I ever get an accurate read on what's happening? The zero nitrite read is also confusing me. Does that mean I haven't even begun to have some nitrifying bacteria set up shop, or did yesterday's Prime affect this mornings reading?

    Thank's for any advice on how to proceed analyzing this.

    * PS The 9" comet is going back to live where he has for the last five years, a galvanized horse stock tank at another location. Tested the water still in it, ammonia 0, nitrites 0, phosphates 0, pH 8 (same as tap), my kit for koi lacks a nitrate test, fixing today. I expect no issues, the tanks temp by afternoon is the same as my home tank he's in now, 62.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2017
  2. BottomDwellerFishlore VIPMember

    I'm confused about why the 2" goldfish is staying to complete the cycle?

    I would be doing at least 30% daily water changes.

    I would also add some sort of bottled bacteria (TSS worked well for me) to speed up the cycle

    Sorry can't help with how Prime would affect ammonia readings.
  3. S_Fish85New MemberMember

    Prime will not affect ammonia readings.
  4. AvalancheDaveWell Known MemberMember

    The test can't distinguish between ammonia and ammonium but Prime won't give you an incorrectly high total ammonia value. You may get one but it would be due to the inherent inaccuracy of the test kit. Contrary to their marketing, Prime doesn't detoxify nitrite but it interferes with the test. This is the opposite of what it does to ammonia.

    If your total ammonia is rising then your biofilter isn't keeping up so I would continue dosing Prime and feeding less.
  5. meyowmeowValued MemberMember

    yes i learned that the hard way :(
  6. FeralGoldfishOwnerNew MemberMember

    I got into all this because it was thought that the tank the 9" lived in was to be removed, and I was ignorant on how much water/space a 9" goldfish needed, and could set up a big enough tank here at my house.

    Got him a tankmate at the lfs. Learned better fast, no way to have a tank big enough, and decided to put him back (with his tank in a new better location a the same ranch).

    The 2" common stays because, well, I decided that fish keeping is for me, and will be using my new aquarium long term, and as long as the tank has begun it's first cycle, may as well keep the 2" here for a little while and learn by doing.

    Do you suggest not doing that, moving the 2" out as well, and completing the cycle fishless? Can do that I guess. My 20 gal will eventually be home to a school of tetras when the cycle is complete and stable.
  7. MaddieTaylahWell Known MemberMember

    I would suggest rehoming the common goldfish into the 200 gallon pond aswell and completing a fishless cycle before adding the school of tetras.
  8. BottomDwellerFishlore VIPMember

    Here's what I would do
    1) Move both goldfish to a bigger tank as soon as possible
    2) Dose the 20 gallon with ammonia or put a dead shrimp or similar in.
    3) Add TSS or other bottled bacteria
    4)Monitor ammonia, nitrite and nitrate until your tank is cycled and you have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and 0-20ppm nitrate
    5) Continue to dose ammonia or have a dead shrimp or other source of ammonia in the tank until you add fish
  9. FeralGoldfishOwnerNew MemberMember

    That sounds wise, thank you. Both fish move to the 200 gal at the ranch today (water tested PERFECT yesterday) and will do a fishless cycle in prep for the tetras.

  10. MaddieTaylahWell Known MemberMember

    Good luck!
  11. FeralGoldfishOwnerNew MemberMember

    Thanks! :) Really loving this forum and how helpful you all are.