Fish In Cycle - is this just a waiting game or do I need to change anything

Strider1520
Member
36 gal bowfront with a TopFin Silentstream 75 Powerfilter (400 gph). Stock 8 small zebra danios. You can see below the tank parameters thus far (on Day 20 since set up). I am the one who put the TSS+ on second day 15-30 minutes after Prime (so dont know if it worked or not and no real ammonia load until the next day) so also used Stability. One 25% water change thus far (see chart attached).

No real changes on anything. Ammonia stays at 0.25 ppm total (0.0137 free ammonia) but have been dosing with Prime for fish since reading 0.25 - Prime has been used throughout. I have yet to see any change on Nitrites and did get one day that I may have called it 2 on Nitrates but may have just been the test - so, let's say 0 Nitrates (API Test Kit). Strips show KH and GH of ~180 (so water is slightly hard -hard).

Kind of thought after almost 3 weeks with 8 danios in tank, I would have seen some change of some kind but water parameters have just stayed the same - 0.25,0,0. Am I doing anything wrong? Should I bring temperature up a smidge to help bacteria ? Or is this just a waiting game (seems like forever)?

Sorry to keep asking so many questions - but just want to do this right and not make the aqua babies suffer in anyway.
Test
 
Betta'sAnonymous
Member
A lot of it is a waiting game. Just remember to keep an extra sponge filter or extra media in the filter so if you want to set up another tank in the future, the wait isn't near as long!
 
mattgirl
Member
Do you shake your ammonia testing solution bottles before using? It seems some folks get a more accurate reading when doing so. I have a long standing habit of shaking any liquid before using so just naturally shake all bottles before using and paying extra attention the bottle #2 nitrate test. I do get a true 0 reading for ammonia.

It looks like you do have some nitrates so ammonia is being processed. Keep in mind, the more ammonia the more bacteria. With just 8 little fish in this tank there will not be a lot of ammonia produced.

The tank will cycle (grow enough bacteria) to process any amount of ammonia but as you add more fish the amount of ammonia will of course go up. Each time you add more fish more bacteria will have to grow to handle the higher bio-load. I will recommend you gradually start adding fish to this tank. Just keep an eye on the numbers each time you add more fish and do water changes as needed.

If you would rather not add more fish the second best option is to get a very fine netted media bag. Add fish food to this bag and hang it in the tank. It should add extra ammonia to the tank and will help grow more bacteria. Doing it this way is better than simply over feeding the tank.

I will recommend you stop adding Prime other than when you do your water changes.
 
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Strider1520
Member
Thank you sooo much - so greatly appreciated. I have read so MANY threads that you have helped people through the cycle and able to do the "happy dance" at the end. I was just concerned that I never saw any kind of nitrite spiking and the ammonia just stayed at ~0.25 ppm - which is not different than my normal tap water. I didnt know if I would ever read a true yellow since the tap water contains some ammonia/ammonium. I am posting some pictures of tap water results. I was afraid to add more fish if the tank had not cycled and then put them through a cycle as well.

Oh, and yes.....I shake all the bottles (just a good shake) before testing and the Nitrate Bottle 2 I beat against my palm and shake it vigorously up and down and over my head (haha) for 1-2 mins and then shake the test tube vigorously for 1 min after adding it. (I am old and my arm is sore and I am out of breath after the Nitrate test) - lol.

So, as of today, I will stop using Prime and any other treatments unless the ammonia or nitrites start climbing to a combination of ~0.5.

And starting next week, from what I gather, I can add a couple of more fish to the bioload and just keep testing?

* Stop the Prime and add if I see an increase in ammonia or nitrite.
* Safe to increase the bioload slightly

What about water changes? Do I just let it go for now (I have done 1 x 25% water change to see if it would help with bacterial blossom - which it doesnt - and even the 0.25 ppm of ammonia kind of scared me, but with that in my water, dont guess it would really knock it down but there is a slight decrease in ammonia in tap water. I would call tap maybe 0.15). Do I start a 20% weekly or anything now - or just let the water tell me (until I definitely get Nitrates)?
Tap water
 
mattgirl
Member
Strider1520 said:
Thank you sooo much - so greatly appreciated. I have read so MANY threads that you have helped people through the cycle and able to do the "happy dance" at the end. I was just concerned that I never saw any kind of nitrite spiking and the ammonia just stayed at ~0.25 ppm - which is not different than my normal tap water. I didnt know if I would ever read a true yellow since the tap water contains some ammonia/ammonium. I am posting some pictures of tap water results. I was afraid to add more fish if the tank had not cycled and then put them through a cycle as well.
You are so very welcome. I will try to help you :)

Try running the ammonia test on some bottled water. If you still see this hint of green you can pretty well consider it is going to be your zero reading. I don't really understand why it happens but it seems some folks never see the pure yellow.

Oh, and yes.....I shake all the bottles (just a good shake) before testing and the Nitrate Bottle 2 I beat against my palm and shake it vigorously up and down and over my head (haha) for 1-2 mins and then shake the test tube vigorously for 1 min after adding it. (I am old and my arm is sore and I am out of breath after the Nitrate test) - lol.
Good job on the nitrate testing. I basically do the same thing. I want to make sure I have broken loose the sediment and mixed it in well.

BTW: I have 10 years on you and don't consider it old. I just consider it well seasoned :D I don't move as fast as I used to and some things are more difficult to do but I still do my water changes with buckets. In fact today is water change day on the 55 gallon. I take out and replace 24 gallons each time.

So, as of today, I will stop using Prime and any other treatments unless the ammonia or nitrites start climbing to a combination of ~0.5.

And starting next week, from what I gather, I can add a couple of more fish to the bioload and just keep testing?

* Stop the Prime and add if I see an increase in ammonia or nitrite.
* Safe to increase the bioload slightly
Right. I don't think you are going to see much forward progress until you add to the bio-load.

What about water changes? Do I just let it go for now (I have done 1 x 25% water change to see if it would help with bacterial blossom - which it doesnt - and even the 0.25 ppm of ammonia kind of scared me, but with that in my water, dont guess it would really knock it down but there is a slight decrease in ammonia in tap water. I would call tap maybe 0.15). Do I start a 20% weekly or anything now - or just let the water tell me (until I definitely get Nitrates)?
Tap water
There is more to water changes than just lowering the nitrates. There are things we don't normally test for that build up in the water and other things that get depleted over time. A water change lowers the build up of those things and replenishes the depleted minerals.

Since the bio-load in this tank is so low right now there shouldn't be a build up of much but I will still recommend you do a water change each week. 25 or 30% should be enough for now. While still cycling add enough Prime with the water change to treat all the water in the tank and not just the amount you are replacing. Of course if the ammonia/nitrites go up after adding more fish you will want to do one sooner.
 
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Strider1520
Member
mattgirl said:
You are so very welcome. I will try to help you :)

Try running the ammonia test on some bottled water. If you still see this hint of green you can pretty well consider it is going to be your zero reading. I don't really understand why it happens but it seems some folks never see the pure yellow.


Good job on the nitrate testing. I basically do the same thing. I want to make sure I have broken loose the sediment and mixed it in well.

BTW: I have 10 years on you and don't consider it old. I just consider it well seasoned :D I don't move as fast as I used to and some things are more difficult to do but I still do my water changes with buckets. In fact today is water change day on the 55 gallon. I take out and replace 24 gallons each time.


Right. I don't think you are going to see much forward progress until you add to the bio-load.


There is more to water changes than just lowering the nitrates. There are things we don't normally test for that build up in the water and other things that get depleted over time. A water change lowers the build up of those things and replenishes the depleted minerals.

Since the bio-load in this tank is so low right now there shouldn't be a build up of much but I will still recommend you do a water change each week. 25 or 30% should be enough for now. While still cycling add enough Prime with the water change to treat all the water in the tank and not just the amount you are replacing. Of course if the ammonia/nitrites go up after adding more fish you will want to do one sooner.
Sorry it took me so long to reply (work). Today’s tank parameters. Temperature 77, pH 8.2, ammonia total 0.25, 0 nitrite, nitrate appears to have SOME tinge, so will call 2 ppm. Calculator shows 0.021 free ammonia so I assume it is not stressing fish. Bottle purified water (reverse osmosis) shows a slight tinge from yellow, so I guess I should call mine 0.25 total ammonia?

No prime or any treatment added since your recommendation. Will try and increase bioload this week. No water changes since 5 days ago (25%). 3 weeks on tank as of today. Bioload 8 danios.
 
mattgirl
Member
Not a problem. I do realize there is life outside Fishlore :)

Since there are fish in this tank and you are starting to see nitrates we have to think this fish in cycle is moving forward. The ammonia the fish are producing is being processed through to nitrates so you do have enough nitrite eating bacteria to keep the low amount being produced down to zero. I don't really expect to see any high spikes at this point. By very gradually stocking this tank you may never see any high spikes of either ammonia or nitrites.

In my humble opinion this is the best way to cycle a tank. By adding fish very slowly we are allowing the bacteria to catch up with the bio-load after each addition. Also by doing it this way we should never get high spikes. We need to keep an eye on the numbers but weekly water changes may be all that is needed.
 
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Strider1520
Member
Well, good news I hope. Afternoon check and ammonia is still 0.25 and no nitrite but there definitely appears to be some nitrates - or wishful thinking. Did a test on tap water and it definitely appears to have a slight orange tint versus tap. Went to two stores and looked at some more fish to add bioload but need to do more research for what I want to add - hopefully will have them for years. Did pick up a small package of Fluval aquaclear bio max. Took some tank water and washed them and put in HOB filter reservoir. Figured it would add some surface area going forward in filter (and can use if I get a second tank-haha).
 
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Strider1520
Member
mattgirl said:
Not a problem. I do realize there is life outside Fishlore :)

Since there are fish in this tank and you are starting to see nitrates we have to think this fish in cycle is moving forward. The ammonia the fish are producing is being processed through to nitrates so you do have enough nitrite eating bacteria to keep the low amount being produced down to zero. I don't really expect to see any high spikes at this point. By very gradually stocking this tank you may never see any high spikes of either ammonia or nitrites.

In my humble opinion this is the best way to cycle a tank. By adding fish very slowly we are allowing the bacteria to catch up with the bio-load after each addition. Also by doing it this way we should never get high spikes. We need to keep an eye on the numbers but weekly water changes may be all that is needed.
Test today (5-11) was the same. Solid 0.25 ppm ammonia (.021 NH3) 0 nitrite and trace nitrate. 6 days since first water change and may pick up some bioload (maybe some neon) tomorrow so did 12 gallon (so about 35%) water change and vacuumed some of the substrate to get rid of some of the poo and diatoms. Treated new water with probably double dose of Prime (2 lines in cap in each 4 gallon bucket-at tank temperature). Oh, was looking at LFS today and picked up another small bag of Fluval bio max and put in the 2nd side (2 sided power filter) so each reservoir has one now-figured it would increase surface area in HOB. Added a few things to tank and moved a few things around when cleaning.

oh, I have to share this......went to Walmart today and my wife went down the aquarium aisle !!!! Her idea - I wouldn’t have gone. She found a plant that she said she REALLY liked, so it was scrubbed in tank water while I was changing water and it’s in the tank! Keep catching her stopping and watching the fish.....bet she will eventually get into aquatics now!!!! Eventually going to to start changing fake plants for real eventually and keep waiting for LFS to get in a pretty piece of driftwood (local shop has it-just nothing stood out-but for now just trying to get water right and work on stock first. Tetras should have places to hide.
Thanks for all the help you give everyone including me!!!!!
And I guess the light green of 0.25 is going to be near my zero. Including picture after ~35% change. Still shows a green. See tomorrow.
 
mattgirl
Member
I am happy to hear your other half is showing more interest in the hobby. Hubby doesn't show a lot of interest as far as how the tanks look but supports me completely. Anytime I get excited about or concerned about anything he is right there sharing it with me. He spent hours trying to save one of my fish that had jumped out of the tank. Sadly it didn't make it but he tried so hard.

I really like what I am seeing in your tank. Although artificial it is looking so natural. Amazing how real some artificial plants can look.

One day you may see a true green in the test tube but then again maybe not. I wouldn't be overly concerned about it for now. You may want to consider getting a syringe to dose your Prime. For me it is so much easier to use a syringe and much easier to make sure none of the smelly stuff gets anywhere other than in the water. I add 1/2ml to each 4 gallons of water when doing my water changes.

Adding more bio-media is a very good idea. As long as the water flows freely we aren't going to add too much.
 
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Strider1520
Member
Well, updated the bioload. Will post if anything really changes. Today was 21 days with danios in so increased bioload with 9 neon tetra. Ammonia this morning after 12 gallon water change was lighter-less than .25 and still trace of nitrate-no nitrites.

Added an air stone in opposite corner from filter since I understand the new tank bacteria bloom I have had for the last couple of weeks takes oxygen so just wanted to make sure there was no dead zone and increase surface agitation.

Petco kept telling me that that these were cardinal because that is what they had ordered. I told them that I think they sent neon - cardinal would have red across and not halfway- instead and then they started giving me this thing about genetic cross breeding to get neon color in cardinal-I got the “neons” that were there and brought them to their new home. Research didn’t show anything about genetic breeding to get neon half red in a cardinal.... The tank that had what they were truly calling neon had dead fish in the filter. Well the “neons” have a new home. Drip (and I mean drip with an eye dropper) acclimated over 2-1/2 hours. All survived thus far.

Danio had to rush over and get in the shot-haha.

I will let you know if any issues or spikes. Thank you (as always)!!!!!!!
 
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Strider1520
Member
Mattgirl, I have to ask-dummy dummy me!!!! I hope I didn’t undo cycle. Month in today and. I wanted to change tank around and added some live plants. In doing so, I put new substrate over old and removed most of the artificial plants and decorations. I didn’t change anything with filter. One day in and reading are the same 0.25 ammonia, 0 nitrite and traces of nitrate. Am I going to have to start cycle over since I removed decorations and added substrate? I feel so stupid-just wasn’t thinking. Thinking of tank looks and not cycle........
Strider1520 said:
Mattgirl, I have to ask-dummy dummy me!!!! I hope I didn’t undo cycle. Month in today and. I wanted to change tank around and added some live plants. In doing so, I put new substrate over old and removed most of the artificial plants and decorations. I didn’t change anything with filter. One day in and reading are the same 0.25 ammonia, 0 nitrite and traces of nitrate. Am I going to have to start cycle over since I removed decorations and added substrate? I feel so stupid-just wasn’t thinking. Thinking of tank looks and not cycle........
Filter still has the bio max bead thing-didn’t touch filter. Do you think there is enough bacteria in filter to keep things going or did I mess everything up?
Strider1520 said:
Mattgirl, I have to ask-dummy dummy me!!!! I hope I didn’t undo cycle. Month in today and. I wanted to change tank around and added some live plants. In doing so, I put new substrate over old and removed most of the artificial plants and decorations. I didn’t change anything with filter. One day in and reading are the same 0.25 ammonia, 0 nitrite and traces of nitrate. Am I going to have to start cycle over since I removed decorations and added substrate? I feel so stupid-just wasn’t thinking. Thinking of tank looks and not cycle........

Filter still has the bio max bead thing-didn’t touch filter. Do you think there is enough bacteria in filter to keep things going or did I mess everything up?
Also do you think I need to get another bottle of bottle bacteria in case?
 
mattgirl
Member
You will have removed some bacteria but not enough to damage the cycle too badly. It is good that you just covered and not removed the substrate. As you already know, It is best not to remove anything during the cycling process. Adding is fine removing is removing bacteria. I like to give a tank a few months to get firmly established before making major changes.

Thankfully once we have bacteria growing in our tanks it replaces lost bacteria fairly quick so just keep doing what you have been doing. Meaning feed your fish lightly and keep up with your water changes. Now that you have both danios and the tetras in there the nitrates should start gradually going up.

I have to think the TSS+ helped this cycle since you've never seen any nitrites. It seems that is often the case when using this product. I also think the .25 or less ammonia reading is going to be your zero so wouldn't be overly concerned about it. Should it go up to a solid .25 or higher you will want to get it down with a water change and enough Prime to treat the full volume of the tank.
 
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Strider1520
Member
Mattgirl , Well i spoke toooo soon. Got home and checked. Getting a nitrite spike now - first one and a month in. 0.25+ on nitrite. Did 35% change 2 days ago and 10% yesterday. Ammonia 0.25, Nitrite 0.25+ (guess that what you would call it) and traces of nitrate. Should I add another start up of TSS+. ?
Strider1520 said:
Matrgirl, Well i spoke toooo soon. Got home and checked. Getting a nitrite spike now - first one and a month in. 0.25+ on nitrite. Did 35% change 2 days ago and 10% yesterday. Ammonia 0.25, Nitrite 0.25+ (guess that what you would call it) and traces of nitrate. Should I add another start up of TSS+. ?
Did the nitrite test twice to make sure test was good.
 
mattgirl
Member
Adding the extra fish got this cycle moving forward. Adding another bottle of TSS won't hurt but for it to work as well as it should it really needs to be used just as directed. It may help some even if you don't do it as directed but won't work as well as it should

Before adding it, first I would change out half the water. You need to wait 24 hours after the water change and adding water conditioner before pouring the TSS in there. After 24 hours add a well shaken appropriately sized bottle of TSS+ and then do nothing but lightly feed the fish for 2 weeks. You can top of for evaporation but set the water out with conditioner in it for 24 hours before pouring it in there. If all went well this tank will be cycled at the end of the 2 weeks.

You can either do this or be prepared to do lots of big water changes to keep both ammonia and nitrites down to safer levels. You want to keep the ammonia+nitrites down below one.
 
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Strider1520
Member
Whichever you think is best route. I totally trust you. The nitrate in previous picture was after 5 mins. It took me about 10 minutes to remove my first bucket from tank and when I went back through, definitely showed nitrate at 5 or so. Did a 50% water change (with Prime) and my nitrite are 0 to a trace. Call it 0. Ammonia still at 0.25 (my zero) and looks like pH drop from 8.2 to 8. So it looks like 50% change knocks my nitrite to nothing. The picture with the high nitrite and nitrate was before water change, the rest are after.

I’ll test again tonight after everything mixes through filter. Was 50% change too much?

Calculator shows free ammonia at 0.021 or 0.0137 depending on the pH-temperature 77.
 
mattgirl
Member
50% was just perfect. In my humble opinion changing out any less is a waste of effort. If we are going to get out the water change equipment we may as well do a big one. :D

Personally it would be next to impossible for me to just add bottled bacteria and do nothing for 2 weeks with fish in a tank. Adding some and going ahead and doing water changes as needed may still help but since I've never used any kind of bottled bacteria I can't say for sure. It really isn't absolutely needed though. A tank will cycle without it.

Your cycle is moving forward. the tests are proving that. Now that you have a bigger bio-load in it the bacteria is getting busy. It has more food now thus the reason for the low nitrite reading. Just keep an eye on it. If you test and see .25 ammonia and over .75 nitrite the total is over 1 so you need to get it down below one by doing a water change. If ammonia plus nitrites is below one skip the water change until it goes up again. Either way don't go over a week between water changes and your fish should come through this cycle safe and healthy.
 
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Strider1520
Member
mattgirl said:
50% was just perfect. In my humble opinion changing out any less is a waste of effort. If we are going to get out the water change equipment we may as well do a big one. :D

Personally it would be next to impossible for me to just add bottled bacteria and do nothing for 2 weeks with fish in a tank. Adding some and going ahead and doing water changes as needed may still help but since I've never used any kind of bottled bacteria I can't say for sure. It really isn't absolutely needed though. A tank will cycle without it.

Your cycle is moving forward. the tests are proving that. Now that you have a bigger bio-load in it the bacteria is getting busy. It has more food now thus the reason for the low nitrite reading. Just keep an eye on it. If you test and see .25 ammonia and over .75 nitrite the total is over 1 so you need to get it down below one by doing a water change. If ammonia plus nitrites is below one skip the water change until it goes up again. Either way don't go over a week between water changes and your fish should come through this cycle safe and healthy.

Going with water changes instead of adding even more bottle bacteria (start out was TSS and Stability routine.

So, last night (even checked before going to bed and the 50% water change left me with 0-trace of nitrite). This morning ammonia was 0, nitrite was close to .25 and trace of nitrate. By this afternoon, nitrite was solid.25 and increase of nitrate (getting close to 5.).

I was afraid that nitrite may climb to alert levels by the time I could do a water change in the morning, so I went ahead and did a 50% water change this evening-was that okay??? (Treated with Prime)

Looks like I am getting both good bacteria at least.

First picture was yesterday after WC and the rest were today-last ones were this evening.
 
mattgirl
Member
A water change is never a bad idea :) but for now you may want to hold off as long as you are seeing zero ammonia and the nitrites no higher than .25. Let's give the bacteria a chance to clean them up. Seeing the nitrates gradually going up tells us your bacteria is working.
 
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Strider1520
Member
Yesterday nitrites were reading close to .5 - little deeper purple on all 3 tests yesterday. This morning I would call it .5 so it looks like ammonia is 0.25 (my zero-so call ammonia 0), nitrite 0.5 and nitrate definitely changed- solid 5 ppm. pH is 8. Since there’s so little difference between purples on nitrite, did a dilute test with tap water and 75% tank water is still purple and 50% gave close to 0, so I would say nitrite is solid.5. Including pictures of test and dilute tests)

To err on precaution, if my ammonia 0 is truly 0, then worse case is I have 0.25 ammonia and .5 nitrite and 5 nitrate. Do you think I should do a water change or just treat with Prime today (48 hours since last prime treatment during water change)

At least I have both bacteria munching away. Just wish the nitrite munchers would get busier.
 
mattgirl
Member
If it were me i would go ahead and do a water change. Your dilution test is telling you a 50% water change will get it down closer to zero.
 
alven
Member
Okay, I know this is a little irrelevant but Strider, you have really neat hand-writing..

Just wanted to say that, so don't mind me..
 
Sb092
Member
Strider1520 said:
36 gal bowfront with a TopFin Silentstream 75 Powerfilter (400 gph). Stock 8 small zebra danios. You can see below the tank parameters thus far (on Day 20 since set up). I am the one who put the TSS+ on second day 15-30 minutes after Prime (so dont know if it worked or not and no real ammonia load until the next day) so also used Stability. One 25% water change thus far (see chart attached).

No real changes on anything. Ammonia stays at 0.25 ppm total (0.0137 free ammonia) but have been dosing with Prime for fish since reading 0.25 - Prime has been used throughout. I have yet to see any change on Nitrites and did get one day that I may have called it 2 on Nitrates but may have just been the test - so, let's say 0 Nitrates (API Test Kit). Strips show KH and GH of ~180 (so water is slightly hard -hard).

Kind of thought after almost 3 weeks with 8 danios in tank, I would have seen some change of some kind but water parameters have just stayed the same - 0.25,0,0. Am I doing anything wrong? Should I bring temperature up a smidge to help bacteria ? Or is this just a waiting game (seems like forever)?

Sorry to keep asking so many questions - but just want to do this right and not make the aqua babies suffer in anyway.
Test
It definitely is a waiting game ☺ Some tanks will take 6 weeks to cycle some even longer. As long as the parameters stay relatively goid and the fish are eating and showing no stress signs, keep chugging along. It sounds like you have researched and educated yourself on the cycling process. You seem to he monitoring and reacting appropriately. I personally do not use chemicals when cycling (except the water conditioner). I prefer water changes when things are just starting.
I started my new tank May 15th and have ammonia at 0.25, 0 nitrite, 0 nitrate as of yesterday. I added the fish on Monday. Just sit back and enjoy those pretty fish, while nature does it’s thing.
 
Cawafuoshi
Member
Remember, your bacteria are also competing against the plants and vice versa in uptake of ammonia and nitrites. As far as I have come to understand it in recent months, at an all-you-can-eat buffet plants are to take up the ammonia first before munching on nitrites and finally on nitrates if both other sources are not available in sufficient amount.
 
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Strider1520
Member
Just a FYI (to me) concerning color, the purple was a 0.5 nitrite. 50% water change (temperature matched and treated with Prime) and after 45 minutes to let everything mix, nitrite was what I would call 0.25, so will continue to monitor and do WC if it gets to .5 this evening or tomorrow. I guess if I keep near.25-.5, nitrite munching bacteria will still have food. So, as of now I would say highest exposure to fish is 0.5 nitrite (and worse case 0.25 total ammonia) or a total of 0.75 - all the while treated within 48 hours with Prime due to water changes - so aqua babies should not have suffered I wouldn’t think (I hope).
 
mattgirl
Member
I know a lot of folks fear we are starving the bacteria by lowering the numbers with water changes but the thing is, the fish are constantly adding more ammonia and the ammonia eating bacteria is constantly producing nitrites. We are simply removing the excess. Eventually everything will even out when we have enough of both ammonia and nitrite eating bacteria to keep both at a constant zero. Both are still being produced but the bacteria cleans it up as soon as it is produced.
 
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Strider1520
Member
Quick update. By the time I was going to bed last night nitrite was about 0.5 ppm and this morning, temperature was 77, free ammonia was what I would call 0 (slight tint of green), nitrite was pretty much a solid 0.5 ppm and nitrate was 5 ppm. Performed a 50% water change (temperature matched and tank volume treated with Prime -even have a prime syringe now so I can get correct drops for each bucket). 2 hours later checked and nitrite was what I would call 0.25 ppm.

So, I reckon plan will be during checks, if I get the light purple I am calling 0.5, perform 50% WC. Getting better at changes and I hope nobody sees me, but gives me time to talk to the fish.

Looks like I should have both bacteria with .5 nitrite and 5 nitrate- just wish they would hurry up and multiply! Waiting for that beautiful blue one morning on my tests.
 
mattgirl
Member
It is going to happen and I am ready and waiting to do the happy dance with you when it does. :D
 
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Strider1520
Member
mattgirl said:
It is going to happen and I am ready and waiting to do the happy dance with you when it does. :D

Before going to bed last night, did a nitrite test and it was about.25. This morning test showed ammonia at 0-0.25 (my zero), nitrite what I would call 0.5 ppm and nitrate almost 5 ppm. Did another 50% water change and after 5 hours Nitrite is close to 0 . Perhaps slight tinge (so maybe 0.1 or so) and nitrate the same (above 0 but less than 5). So looks good I guess-water changes are knocking things down. I did not touch cartridges, bio max pouches or Biofilter in HOB filter but did change out a piece of filter fiber (cotton batting? that I had put in one of the reservoirs a couple of weeks ago to help polish water). I was getting a lot of little white particulates in water column again and the batting was dirty so i drained it in reservoir and changed out. I did not touch anything else in filter such as Fluval biomax bags of media, the cartridges in filter or the blue Biofilter. Just changed out the added batting stuff after soaking it in tank water. Only using a little in first reservoir.
Oh, and I guess I should ask….I should leave bioload as is right now? I would assume that additional bioload may increase my nitrite levels until tank finishes cycle?
 
Betta'sAnonymous
Member
Strider1520 said:
Before going to bed last night, did a nitrite test and it was about.25. This morning test showed ammonia at 0-0.25 (my zero), nitrite what I would call 0.5 ppm and nitrate almost 5 ppm. Did another 50% water change and after 5 hours Nitrite is close to 0 . Perhaps slight tinge (so maybe 0.1 or so) and nitrate the same (above 0 but less than 5). So looks good I guess-water changes are knocking things down. I did not touch cartridges, bio max ouches or Biofilter in HOB filter but did change out a piece of filter fiber (cotton batting? that I had put in one of the reservoirs a couple of weeks ago to help polish water). I was getting elite of little white particulates in water column again and the batting was dirty so i drained it in reservoir and changed out. I did not touch anything else in filter such as Fluval biomax bags of media, the cartridges in filter or the blue Biofilter. Just changed out the added batting stuff after soaking it in tank water. Only using a little in first reservoir.
Poly-fiber. Yeah, it is notorious for losing white particles in the water when it starts getting worn out
 
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Strider1520
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Oh, and speaking of bioload, I have lost 5 of the neon tetra (down to 4 now and the original 8 zebra danios). Wasn’t due to water, since I lost 3 before nitrite spike. Lost 1 the second day, 2 the following, 1 the next and one last night. I think it may be just the stress with the extensive breeding of neons. I acclimated over 2 hours with drip-but what happens is they will swim away from school and usually hide near filter intake-but always off alone and then cross the bridge. Last night the one kept swimming straight up or just go upside down. Could not stay upright-kept going belly up and sinking to bottom. The last time it stayed belly up and sunk to bottom and was staying so I had to euthanize him. The others would swim up to him so I euthanized in case it was neon tetra disease. When I went to store a couple of days after getting these there were a lot of dead tetras in another tank they were keeping neons in. The 4 that are left seem fine so far.
 
mattgirl
Member
Strider1520 said:
Before going to bed last night, did a nitrite test and it was about.25. This morning test showed ammonia at 0-0.25 (my zero), nitrite what I would call 0.5 ppm and nitrate almost 5 ppm. Did another 50% water change and after 5 hours Nitrite is close to 0 . Perhaps slight tinge (so maybe 0.1 or so) and nitrate the same (above 0 but less than 5). So looks good I guess-water changes are knocking things down. I did not touch cartridges, bio max pouches or Biofilter in HOB filter but did change out a piece of filter fiber (cotton batting? that I had put in one of the reservoirs a couple of weeks ago to help polish water). I was getting a lot of little white particulates in water column again and the batting was dirty so i drained it in reservoir and changed out. I did not touch anything else in filter such as Fluval biomax bags of media, the cartridges in filter or the blue Biofilter. Just changed out the added batting stuff after soaking it in tank water. Only using a little in first reservoir.
Oh, and I guess I should ask….I should leave bioload as is right now? I would assume that additional bioload may increase my nitrite levels until tank finishes cycle?
I would like to see a firm zero nitrites without doing a water change for a few days before I would add more fish. Each time you increase the bio-load both ammonia and nitrite will show up for a while.

At some point there is going to be enough bacteria to where that should stop happening even after adding a few fish. The bio-load will have increased but there will be enough bacteria multiplying it will catch up with the higher bio-load in a few hours instead of days.
Betta'sAnonymous said:
Poly-fiber. Yeah, it is notorious for losing white particles in the water when it starts getting worn out
I agree. I use poly-fill to polish my water. I normally replace it each week since I don't depend on it for bio-media. I do rinse it before tossing it. My plants thrive when watered with water the poly-fill has been rinsed out in.
Strider1520 said:
Oh, and speaking of bioload, I have lost 5 of the neon tetra (down to 4 now and the original 8 zebra danios). Wasn’t due to water, since I lost 3 before nitrite spike. Lost 1 the second day, 2 the following, 1 the next and one last night. I think it may be just the stress with the extensive breeding of neons. I acclimated over 2 hours with drip-but what happens is they will swim away from school and usually hide near filter intake-but always off alone and then cross the bridge. Last night the one kept swimming straight up or just go upside down. Could not stayl upright-kept going belly up and sinking to bottom. The last time it stayed belly up and sunk to bottom and was staying so I had to euthanize him. The others would swim up to him so I euthanized in case it was neon tetra disease. When I went to store a couple of days after getting these there were a lot of dead tetras in another tank they were keeping neons in. The 4 that are left seem fine so far.
I was really hoping this wouldn't happen to you but sadly it doesn't surprise me. I have had the worst luck with neon tetras than most other fish. I had the same bad luck with blood fin tetras. Now that my black skirts are getting pretty old I will get more of them but will buy no more of the really small species of tetras. It is too heartbreaking watching them drop one after another. Over a couple of years I have gone from 17 neons down to 5. 13 blood fins down to one. My black skirts are well over 5 years old now.
 
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Strider1520
Member
mattgirl said:
I would like to see a firm zero nitrites without doing a water change for a few days before I would add more fish. Each time you increase the bio-load both ammonia and nitrite will show up for a while.

At some point there is going to be enough bacteria to where that should stop happening even after adding a few fish. The bio-load will have increased but there will be enough bacteria multiplying it will catch up with the higher bio-load in a few hours instead of days.

I agree. I use poly-fill to polish my water. I normally replace it each week since I don't depend on it for bio-media. I do rinse it before tossing it. My plants thrive when watered with water the poly-fill has been rinsed out in.

I was really hoping this wouldn't happen to you but sadly it doesn't surprise me. I have had the worst luck with neon tetras than most other fish. I had the same bad luck with blood fin tetras. Now that my black skirts are getting pretty old I will get more of them but will buy no more of the really small species of tetras. It is too heartbreaking watching them drop one after another. Over a couple of years I have gone from 17 neons down to 5. 13 blood fins down to one. My black skirts are well over 5 years old now.

Last night, this morning and this evening all checks show ammonia at my zero, nitrite between 0 and 0.25 - calling it 0.25 to err towards safety. Barely turns from original blue to slightly darker (with a very light purple tint) and nitrate at 0-5. No water change or prime treatment today (done yesterday with WC), so I guess my question is, unless it goes up do I need to just let bacteria do it’s thing? I am sure if I did a WC, it would read 0. So do I let it go to pure 0 on its own if it’s 0.25 ppm nitrite or do I do a WC? Thanks!!!!! You can see in picture where it’s held since WC yesterday. First two were morning check and last two were evening check.
 
mattgirl
Member
I would just let the bacteria clear out this little bit. If it goes no higher than this hold off on water changes for at least a week.
 
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Strider1520
Member
mattgirl said:
I would just let the bacteria clear out this little bit. If it goes no higher than this hold off on water changes for at least a week.
Thank you so much. Another question, do I continue with 1/2 treatments of Prime or so every 48 hours until I get solid 0 on nitrite (as long as i don’t get another spike? I did have to remove one artificial plant that fish couldn’t swim around and nowhere else in tank to move it to).
 
mattgirl
Member
Strider1520 said:
Thank you so much. Another question, do I continue with 1/2 treatments of Prime or so every 48 hours until I get solid 0 on nitrite (as long as i don’t get another spike? I did have to remove one artificial plant that fish couldn’t swim around and nowhere else in tank to move it to).
Since we are basically seeing zero ammonia I don't think we need to add any Prime other than when we do water changes.

I have to be perfectly honest. I am not convinced it does anything for nitrites. I know the label says it treats ammonia, nitrites and nitrates but Seachem admitted they were surprised by the reports that it affected all 3. They've added nothing to affect nitrites or nitrates so I have to doubt its effectiveness at detoxing either of them.

As always, just my humble opinion and I could be wrong in my thought process.
 
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Strider1520
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I spoke a little too
mattgirl said:
Since we are basically seeing zero ammonia I don't think we need to add any Prime other than when we do water changes.

I have to be perfectly honest. I am not convinced it does anything for nitrites. I know the label says it treats ammonia, nitrites and nitrates but Seachem admitted they were surprised by the reports that it affected all 3. They've added nothing to affect nitrites or nitrates so I have to doubt its effectiveness at detoxing either of them.

As always, just my humble opinion and I could be wrong in my thought process.

I spoke a little too soon (been doing that a lot lately-haha). Morning check showed a little spike again in nitrite. I may have caused this by removing large artificial plant yesterday from tank-just too big and dense for fish to swim around or through so I removed it and may have upset balance by removing whatever bacteria was on plant..but I guess cycle just wasn’t quite finished yet. Ammonia 0 (my 0), nitrite 0.5 (err to safety of fish) and nitrate 5. Did a 50% water change with Prime. 4 hours later I would call nitrite 0 to maybe trace. So, if it spikes to 0.5 (purple), will do WC and if not, let the bacteria have the munchies. As Sonny and Cher sang, “and the beat goes on “.
 
mattgirl
Member
I agree. Removing the big decor will have removed bacteria and does explain the spike in nitrites. This is just a bit more proof that bacteria grows on everything in our tanks. Once a cycle is firmly established this shouldn't happen but while cycling. as you have just discovered, it is best not to remove anything other than water. :)
 
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Strider1520
Member
Well, this is definitely a waiting game, but fun and the main thing is fish have not suffered . This morning nitrite was 0.25ppm but the good news is ammonia was a true 0 not my normal 0.25 zero (lower than my tap water)-so my ammonia munchkins are busy and trace of nitrate. By this evening, nitrite was 0.5 and nitrate a solid 5, so cycle appears to be moving on. Performed a 50% water change with prime to get levels lower for my fishy friends - should be between 0-0.25 once it gets mixed around.

Cycle appears to be chugging on-once those nitrite munchkins get busier. First two pictures were this morning and the last one was this evening prior to 50% water change.
Adding another picture of nitrite prior to water change (0.5 ppm) and after (0-trace will call 0.25 to be safe)
 
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Strider1520
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Another day, another 50% water change. This morning nitrite was 0.25 ppm and this evening was 0.50 ppm. (Ammonia 0, nitrate 5 ppm). Appears to be going up in nitrites about 0.25 every 12 hours. So, did a 50% WC with Prime. 2 hours later and nitrites are 0-0.25. I’ll call it 0.25 due to slight purple and safety.

Good news is getting a little faster at 50% water changes. Haha!
 
mattgirl
Member
Strider1520 said:
Another day, another 50% water change. This morning nitrite was 0.25 ppm and this evening was 0.50 ppm. (Ammonia 0, nitrate 5 ppm). Appears to be going up in nitrites about 0.25 every 12 hours. So, did a 50% WC with Prime. 2 hours later and nitrites are 0-0.25. I’ll call it 0.25 due to slight purple and safety.

Good news is getting a little faster at 50% water changes. Haha!
If it were me I would wait on the water change until the nitrites go up closer to one before doing a water change. Let's give the bacteria more time to get to work. I normally recommend a water change when ammonia plus nitrites get up close to one. Since we aren't seeing any ammonia you will still be below the 1ppm threshold. We want to see if the nitrates are going to go any higher than the 5ppm you have been seeing for a while. I have to think the water changes are holding it at this number.
 
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Strider1520
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mattgirl said:
If it were me I would wait on the water change until the nitrites go up closer to one before doing a water change. Let's give the bacteria more time to get to work. I normally recommend a water change when ammonia plus nitrites get up close to one. Since we aren't seeing any ammonia you will still be below the 1ppm threshold. We want to see if the nitrates are going to go any higher than the 5ppm you have been seeing for a while. I have to think the water changes are holding it at this number.
Okay - thanks! That will be the plan. I will just do a dilution test with the API to make sure it is less than 1 (hard to tell much difference on color chart between 0.5 and 1)...hahaha. Thanks again! Well, good thing is that my water has never been clearer with all the changes. Thanks again - greatly appreciated.
 
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Strider1520
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Strider1520 said:
Okay - thanks! That will be the plan. I will just do a dilution test with the API to make sure it is less than 1 (hard to tell much difference on color chart between 0.5 and 1)...hahaha. Thanks again! Well, good thing is that my water has never been clearer with all the changes. Thanks again - greatly appreciated.
just a quick update. This morning, tests showed between 0.25 and 0.5 nitrite - I would have called it 0.5. 50% dilution gave a result of 0. This evening, test was a solid 0.5 ppm and 50% dilution gave close to 0.25 ppm, so I would assume results are a good 0.5. No WC today - I'll just keep a watch if it gets darker and do another dilution test to make sure it stays at less than 1 ppm (where I will do a WC). Ammonia this morning was 0 and nitrate was a trace - will test for Nitrate (evening) a little later. Thanks!!!!!!!!!
 
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Strider1520
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Just a quick update. Both daily checks showing the same since Thursday. Ammonia 0 - 0.25 ppm, pH 8.2, nitrate trace to 5 ppm and nitrite 0.5 solid. 50% dilution test gives nitrite of 0-0.25 ppm. Monday will be 6 weeks since tank setup and almost 2 weeks since nitrite started climbing and Tuesday will be 2 weeks since I started seeing the spike to 0.5 ppm. No water change for last 2 days

So still just waiting for nitrate with fingers tapping..ps-I do organize my test kit after finish testing-haha
 
mattgirl
Member
Strider1520 said:
Just a quick update. Both daily checks showing the same since Thursday. Ammonia 0 - 0.25 ppm, pH 8.2, nitrate trace to 5 ppm and nitrite 0.5 solid. 50% dilution test gives nitrite of 0-0.25 ppm. Monday will be 6 weeks since tank setup and almost 2 weeks since nitrite started climbing and Tuesday will be 2 weeks since I started seeing the spike to 0.5 ppm. No water change for last 2 days

So still just waiting for nitrate with fingers tapping..ps-I do organize my test kit after finish testing-haha
Looks like it is still a waiting game. :)
 
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Strider1520
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Whoop whoop ! Finally! Yesterday nitrite was down from 0.5 to 0.25. Today nitrite was 0 and nitrate 5 ppm. Ammonia is my 0. One month to get nitrite and 2 weeks for it to drop to 0.
 
mattgirl
Member
Strider1520 said:
Whoop whoop ! Finally! Yesterday nitrite was down from 0.5 to 0.25. Today nitrite was 0 and nitrate 5 ppm. Ammonia is my 0. One month to get nitrite and 2 weeks for it to drop to 0.
Yay!!!!! Time for the happy dance. :) With each update I was hoping to read this. I am so happy to hear that it has finally happened. When you add more fish the nitrites may go up again but now that you have as much as you do it may not take nearly as long the next time.
 
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Strider1520
Member
mattgirl said:
Yay!!!!! Time for the happy dance. :) With each update I was hoping to read this. I am so happy to hear that it has finally happened. When you add more fish the nitrites may go up again but now that you have as much as you do it may not take nearly as long the next time.
 
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Strider1520
Member
Mattgirl, sorry I didn’t post back but work, work, work. First I wanted to thank you for talking me through this cycle. It’s so greatly appreciated!!!!!! I now have full bioload and no issues. May have gotten a spike (at most ) of .25 ammonia and then nitrite and was back at 0 within 24 hours later when adding fish. Nitrate is between 5 and 10. Changed some things in tank and changed out cartridges in HOB and no large spikes. Thank you again!!!!!!!!!!!!

I can go ahead and close this one out. Complete cycle and no fish harmed!
 
mattgirl
Member
I am so happy to read this. It has been my pleasure hanging out with you through this cycle. Now you can take a deep breath and just enjoy your water pets. Keep up with water changes and they should live long healthy lives.
 

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