First Family Tank

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by SaltyPhone, Oct 29, 2017.

  1. SaltyPhone

    SaltyPhoneWell Known MemberMember

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    Hello from NC. My family is in the process of starting our first freshwater aquarium. Through a ton of google searches bringing me to these forums; we decided on a 20 gal marine land kit. Included with that was tank, penguin 150 hob filter, heater, hood and light. From my research I 1. Got tank setup and running. 2. Bought ace hardware ammonia 10% (just water and ammonia) 3. Added a cap full of Prime. 4. Added a capful of ammonia a day after. 5. An hour later tested with API freshwater kit (ammonia at4-8 not sure I could tell the difference). 6. Testing every other day. It’s been two weeks at this point with no noticeable drop in ammonia levels. So my question is: Is this normal? Most articles I have read on fish less cycling suggest that within 7-14 days the ammonia oxidizing bacteria should develop. Did I miss something? What are some troubleshooting steps I could take? Any advice would surely be appreciated.
     
  2. el337

    el337Fishlore LegendMember

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    Hi and welcome!

    Can I ask what your pH and temp is? Those factors also affect how quickly bacteria can develop. Have you also tested your nitrite and nitrates yet? I would have probably started with a smaller dose of ammonia so that your bacteria has an easier time to develop and process the ammonia dosed. I would do a large enough water change to bring that ammonia down to 1ppm.

    Using a bacteria supplement like Tetra SafeStart Plus would also help speed things up.
     
  3. Paradise fish

    Paradise fishWell Known MemberMember

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    Some studies have shown that a concentration above 1 ppm of ammonia and nitrites could suppress the growth of certain strands of ammonia-oxydizing bacteria (AOB) and nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (NOB). Are you using any bacterial supplements?
     
  4. NightShade

    NightShadeWell Known MemberMember

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    Welcome to fishlore! Nice to have a neighbor on here (I'm in NC too) ;)

    I would do a water change as suggested above... bring ammonia down to 1ppm (4 & above often stalls cycles). What's your PH? I have soft water, & couldn't cycle my Betta tanks years ago, because of low PH, until I corrected the issue.
     
  5. OP
    OP
    SaltyPhone

    SaltyPhoneWell Known MemberMember

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    Currently ph is on the upper scale of the test but on the bottom of high ph so 7.5 ish. Current tank temp is I dunno warm. I have trouble reading these stick on thermometers. Thanks for the advice I’ll proceed with a 50% water change and see where that gets us
     
  6. el337

    el337Fishlore LegendMember

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    Try to aim for a temp of around 84F as that gets the bacteria populating faster. A glass or digital thermometer would also be better and more accurate. Those stick-ons factor in the room temp so it's not very accurate.
     
  7. OP
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    SaltyPhone

    SaltyPhoneWell Known MemberMember

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    Oh and

    Sorry phone crashed. Got the water changed ammonia reading looks between 1-2ppm. Petsmart had no thermometers whatsoever besides the stick on. Any recommendations on an intank that’s easy to read?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 30, 2017
  8. Fishing1

    Fishing1Valued MemberMember

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    The one I have is great. Has suction cup and seems accurate. Unfortunately I don't know what brand it was but it was under $3
     
  9. thisindianguy

    thisindianguyNew MemberMember

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    Walmart has glass thermometers for aquariums in the pet section which are like less and $4
     
  10. el337

    el337Fishlore LegendMember

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    Re-test in 24 hours to see where you are and also test for nitrite/nitrates.

    Personally, I like the digitals over the glass. Takes the guess work out of what the temp is, especially for bad eyes like mine. lol

    I like these -
     
  11. OP
    OP
    SaltyPhone

    SaltyPhoneWell Known MemberMember

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    Will do El we certainly appericiate yours and everyone else’s advice. I’ll give it another weeks patience and update the results.
     
  12. OP
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    SaltyPhone

    SaltyPhoneWell Known MemberMember

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    Update:
    Almost at another week. Still no changes in water parameters so on the way home I stopped in and purchased a bottle of Tetra Safestart and dumped it in; fingers crossed. This really stinks but has given me ample time to develop a stocking plan. I’m thinking bout maybe a single Pearl Gourami as a centerpiece fish; thoughts?
     
  13. el337

    el337Fishlore LegendMember

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    Ammonia still at 1-2ppm and no nitrite and nitrates? Good idea on the TSS+. That should help move things along. Test again tomorrow and see where you're at.

    A pearl gourami would get too large for a 20g. I'm guessing this is a 20g tall? What about 2-3 honey gouramis?
     
  14. OP
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    SaltyPhone

    SaltyPhoneWell Known MemberMember

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    Yea lol still same, same I’ll test again tomorrow. And research some other fish. My stepdaughter is so digging the neon tetras despite my attempts to steer her tword platies. I certainly welcome all input in that matter too. I will update tomorrow concerning water quality. Thanks again for all y’alls input every bit is appreciated.
     
  15. el337

    el337Fishlore LegendMember

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    Why not have both? If this is a tall, you could get 8-10 neons and 3-4 male platies.
     
  16. OP
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    SaltyPhone

    SaltyPhoneWell Known MemberMember

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    Well bad news is no change in water parameters. Still looking at ~2ppm ammonia 0ppm nitrite and nitrates. I’ve switched to test strips till I start to see some changes. On the bright side while returning a faulty heater we came home with a new friend. Its a bright orange plant (fake as with all of them) named firelight lol. We have gotten so impatient stepdaughter is now naming fake plants. Anyways a week away from a week long vacation so all other attempts at cycling this thing are gonna have to wait. Thanks again for your insight El.
     
  17. el337

    el337Fishlore LegendMember

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    It's not going to be an overnight thing. TSS+ was only just added and it needs time for the bacteria to start adhering to your media and other hard surfaces.

    Patience is definitely needed when cycling a tank. Give it a couple more days although if you're going to be going away for a week, might be a good idea to just start over but then you'd have wasted a bottle of TSS+. I would think you'd see some progress though before you go away.
     
  18. OP
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    SaltyPhone

    SaltyPhoneWell Known MemberMember

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    Thanks so much El it’s a pleasure to have a sounding board and is much appreciated. This is the game plan for the moment 1. Test water a few times (since my wife is hounding me for testing every hour lol... I don’t really). throw some fish food in to keep a trace of ammonia in there before vacation. 2. Have a great vacation. 3. Come back to a fully cycled tank. 4. Be realistic do 100% wc and start over. This time I’ll trash the filter cartridge and try other media. Speaking of which I dunno if it was the TSS or what: but now the cartridge seems gunked up and water is flowing through the bypass. 5. Give Dr Tim’s One and Only a shot.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2017
  19. NightShade

    NightShadeWell Known MemberMember

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    Geez... I'm in NC, too bad we don't know each other well enough or lived close enough (I live btwn Charlotte & Greensboro) for me to come help cycle your tank while you're on vacation!!

    You'll get it cycled though, don't stress! It's a huge pain to do the first time!!

    If I had known you were gonna leave town & it was gonna take this long, I could've shared cycled filter media (promise it's healthy & disease free!) with you, & you could've had fish in your tank while you were on vacation, so your fish would've kept your BB alive!! :( ugh... sorry... not trying to sound creepy lol... yea, tell me when you're on vacation! :confused: Lol... wow! Hope you got a laugh out of that! (That's why I didn't edit it out! :p) ...I just truly like to help ppl... and when you get back, please feel free to take me up on my offer!! It'll give you an instant cycle.

    Edit: also, there's absolutely NO point in testing more than every 12 (really 24) hours

    Also, I see you have a penguin 150... I got the same, & figured out a way to get around ONLY using the cartridge... I've got a bag of fluval biomedia that will fit your filter! Ready to go, actually. Because I always keep a spare now (because it's - as you know - a freaking headache to cycle fresh!)
     
  20. OP
    OP
    SaltyPhone

    SaltyPhoneWell Known MemberMember

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    Awsome Night that’s certainly appreciated. I grew up in Charlotte and we live in between there and Asheville now. Thanks to you all for the encouragement and will try to update after vacation.
     
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