40 Gallon Tank Fish-In Cycle Log (TSS)

VWTDI02

I figured that I would post my results and keep an up to date log on the cycling of my fish tank. As the days go by I will continue adding to the log and hopefully I'll start getting some nitrate readings soon...

Tank:
Marineland 40 Gallon Tall (36" x 13" x 20")

Additives:
Tetra SafeStart Plus (8.45oz) - 1/11/2014
Tetra SafeStart (3.38oz) - 2/4/2014
Aqueon Tap Water Conditioner
Aqueon Plant Food

Substrate:
Black Diamond 20-40

Filter:
Aqueon QuietFlow 75 (400 gph) - Added 6.8 oz bag of Fluval Biomax (2/8/2014)
Aqueon QuietFlow 20 (125 gph) - Added on 1/28/2014, moved to quarantine tank on 2/8/2014

Heater:
Aqueon 200 Watt Heater - Moved to quarantine tank on 2/8/2014
Aqueon Pro 250 Watt Heater - Added on 1/28/2014, will replace 200 watt heater when the quarantine tank is needed

Test Kit:
API Master Freshwater Test Kit (Yes, I shook/banged on the Nitrate Bottle #2)

Inhabitants:
6 x Red Glass Rosy Barbs (about 2" long)
30+ Malaysian Trumpet Snails - Added 2/5/2014

Plants:
Red Ludwigia (Ludwigia repens)
Water Wisteria (Hygrophila difformis)
Narrow Leaf Chain Sword (Echinodorus tenellus)
Broad Leaf Chain Sword (Echinorodus quadricostatus)
Marimo Ball (Aegagropila linnaei)

Driftwood:
Manzanita - the bigger piece
Malaysian - The smaller piece behind the manzanita. Moved to quarantine tank on 2/8/2014


40 Gallon Tank
DatepHAmmoniaNitriteNitrateComments
1/11/20147.4000Added TSS and 6 Red Glass Rosy Barbs
1/13/20147.40.2505
1/14/20147.40.2500
1/15/20147.40.2505
1/16/20147.40.2500
1/17/20147.40.2500
1/18/20147.40.2500
1/19/20147.40.2500
1/20/20147.40.2500
1/21/20147.40.2500
1/22/20147.40.2500
1/23/20147.40.2500Vacuumed sand and 8 gallon water change
1/24/20147.40.2500
1/25/20147.40.2500
1/26/20147.40.2500Swished the filter cartridges in a bit of old tank water to get leaves off of them
1/27/20147.40.2500
1/28/20147.40.2500Added Aqueon QuietFlow 20 and second heater
1/29/20147.40.250010 gallon water change
1/30/20147.40.2500
1/31/2014----Gone for weekend trip
2/1/2014----Gone for weekend trip
2/2/20147.40.250012.5 gallon water change, cleaned up poop and uneaten food
2/3/20147.40.2500Scrubbed the filters with a cleaned toothbrush to remove gunk
2/4/20147.40.2500Added small bottle of TSS after test
2/5/20147.4000Added Malaysian Trumpet Snails
2/6/20147.40.2500
2/7/20147.40.25005 gallon water change
2/8/20147.40.2500Removed 200 watt heater, Aqueon QuietFlow 20, and small Malaysian Driftwood. Added Fluval Biomax to filter
2/9/20147.40.2500
2/10/20147.40.250010 Gallon water change
2/11/20147.40.2500
2/12/20147.40.2500Added Marimo Ball, Narrow Leaf Chain Sword, Broad Leaf Chain Sword, and more Water Wisteria
2/13/20147.40.25005 gallon water change
2/14/20147.40.2500
2/15/20147.40.2505
2/16/20147.40.250015 gallon water change in the morning
2/17/20147.40.2500Switched one Aqueon filter cartridge for Marineland Bonded Filter media
2/18/20147.40.25055 gallon water change in the morning

Tank:
10 Gallon Top Fin

Additives:
Aqueon Tap Water Conditioner

Substrate:
Scattered Black Diamond 20-40 (mostly bare)
Slate

Filter:
Aqueon QuietFlow 20 (125 gph)

Heater:
Aqueon 200 Watt Heater

Test Kit:
API Master Freshwater Test Kit (Yes, I shook/banged on the Nitrate Bottle #2)

Inhabitants:
1 x Albino Bristlenose Pleco
1 x Malaysian Trumpet Snail

Plants:
Water Wisteria (Hygrophila difformis)
Marimo Ball (Aegagropila linnaei)

Driftwood:
Malaysian

10 Gallon Quarantine Tank
DatepHAmmoniaNitriteNitrateComments
2/8/20147.40.2500Added 1 Albino Bristlenose Pleco
2/9/20147.40.2500
2/10/20147.40.2500
2/11/20147.40.2500
2/12/20147.40.2500Added marimo ball
2/13/20147.40.5000Performed a 5 gallon water change after test
2/14/20147.40.50-100
2/15/20147.40.2500Two 5 gallon water changes in the morning, tested the water at night
2/16/20147.40.250.2505 gallon water change in the morning
2/17/20147.40.250.2555 gallon water change in the morning
2/18/20147.40.25055 gallon water change in the morning
 

sheilashoelady

Interesting numbers. I'm very surprised to see the consistency of the ammonia, and lack of nitrites and nitrates after 2 weeks. It looks like the TSS May have failed.
 

Nikita

As the directions say on the bottle, do not do water changes during the cycling process when using TSS. Doing a water change can affect the results of the TSS. Today marks the day that your tank should've technically been cycled. From what your results are showing, the TSS you've used has failed (no rise in ammonia or nitrite). It's possible that the batch of bacteria you received was just bad or the fish you have in the tank aren't producing enough ammonia to cycle the tank. I'd continue to monitor your parameters and do water changes accordingly. You could possibly retry in using TSS.
 

VWTDI02

Interesting numbers. I'm very surprised to see the consistency of the ammonia, and lack of nitrites and nitrates after 2 weeks. It looks like the TSS May have failed.

That is what I'm beginning to wonder but it has only been two weeks. The thing is that the ludwigia has really taken off and has actually grown about 4" since when I bought it and put it in. When I did the water change I actually had to prune I replanted most of the clippings as smaller 3-4" stems. I'm wondering if their dramatic growth helped contribute to the lack of nitrate readings. For testing I am using the API test kit and I thoroughly shook the Nitrate Bottle #2 and hit it a few times against the bench in order to break up the crystals that are supposedly in there.

I put the bottle of TSS that was supposed to be for up to 100 gallons and added the fish an hour after adding the TSS. I wonder if the TSS only partially worked and didn't help completely cycle the tank in that there has to be some good bacteria in there or else the ammonia would have definitely gone up. The six barbs are eating very well and I have been gradually increased the number of feedings per day. I'm now up to three small feedings per day that they devour in about thirty seconds to a minute.

As the directions say on the bottle, do not do water changes during the cycling process when using TSS. Doing a water change can affect the results of the TSS. Today marks the day that your tank should've technically been cycled. From what your results are showing, the TSS you've used has failed (no rise in ammonia or nitrite). It's possible that the batch of bacteria you received was just bad or the fish you have in the tank aren't producing enough ammonia to cycle the tank. I'd continue to monitor your parameters and do water changes accordingly. You could possibly retry in using TSS.

I know that I was a few days early with the water change but I didn't think that small of a water change would make that much of a difference two days early. I'm definitely going to keep checking my water daily and hope that it works. I'm debating as to whether or not to buy some more TSS but I wanted to wait a bit longer. I'm assuming the cold temperatures on the east coast can't be very good for the bacteria.
 

Claire Bear

Your readings are interesting. I never read mine the entire two weeks. At the end of that time, my tanks are almost always cycled using TSS. That being said, I have had one tank that required a second dose after the first two week period. But, I swear by that stuff!
Glad you have growing plants and healthy fish.
What are you going to do now?
 

VWTDI02

Your readings are interesting. I never read mine the entire two weeks. At the end of that time, my tanks are almost always cycled using TSS. That being said, I have had one tank that required a second dose after the first two week period. But, I swear by that stuff!
Glad you have growing plants and healthy fish.
What are you going to do now?
I decided to go to a bar.
Your plants may also be influencing the results.
Too, the following explains about testing while using TSS https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfi...your-water-for-2-weeks-in-a-new-setup.146328/
I'll go back over that again later on. I'm still a bit unclear about that last post. You were trying to only link that last post correct?
 

ryanr

Well the whole thread I linked is quite an interesting read
 

VWTDI02

Well the whole thread I linked is quite an interesting read

Alright so I read the entire thread twice and it is an interesting read. I now realize that I should have poured the TSS onto the filter media itself instead of into yhe tank but then again yhe bacteria will either be sucked up into yhe filter and colonize or will sink to the substrate and colonize there so that shouldn't make too much of a difference. Also, these barbs eat and poop a lot. When I did the water change, I pruned and replanted my ludwigia and there was so much poop all over so I know that these fish are producing plenty of ammonia. So if the tank isn't cycled then where is all that ammonia going? With the lack of water changes for a week and a half I should have gotten some sort of increase in ammonia as it built up but I haven't. I think that if I don't start seeing less ammonia within another week, I will order another bottle of TSS and dose it again.
 

sheilashoelady

The plants may be soaking up the ammonia.
 

VWTDI02

The plants may be soaking up the ammonia.

I did a bit of research and they do absorb some of the ammonia but that doesn't explain why there is still ammonia in the tank. By now the bacteria should be able to make up the difference resulting in no ammonia in the tank. The new trimmings are growing pretty well and the tops of the trimmed plants are starting to turn red on the undersides so there is some definite growth going on. The Water Wisteria still isn't showing any leaf growth but I do know that it is growing. When I pruned and replanted the plants, I pulled up the WW and surprisingly there was about 2" worth of white roots attached that weren't there when I got them originally. Hopefully in a few more weeks I will see some good leaf growth out of those.

[Tank Update]
I checked the filter cartridge today and it was brown and had a slimy texture to it. Not sure if that is a good thing or not. I think the color is coming from the tannins that are still being released from the driftwood. I changed out about 5 gallons of water to help lighten it up.

Driftwood has a white algae/growth all over it but I expected this and everywhere I have looked said that it was normal and will go away over time.

Fish are still eating, will test the water in about 8 hours or so when I feed them their last meal of the day.
 

MrFishFood

The discoloration and slimy texture is most likely from the beneficial bacteria growing. All my filter sponges turn from white to brown as the bacteria grows.

Your ammonia level is up because your tank is not cycled yes.
 

VWTDI02

The discoloration and slimy texture is most likely from the beneficial bacteria growing. All my filter sponges turn from white to brown as the bacteria grows.

That's good to hear. My driftwood has been leaching tannins so I figured it was just that. I only pulled it out of the holder to check it and them slid it back in. Hopefully when I check it tonight I will have no ammonia.
 

MrFishFood



This is an aquaclear 20 white filter sponge adapted to be a pre-filter sponge over my filter intake. The sponge was new a week ago and white. Some of the coloration is from debris, the rest is from the bacteria colony growing.
 

VWTDI02

Mine is a actually much darker than that. Like full blown brown.
 

MrFishFood

I have a different filter, but as long as the water flow is not inhibited by debris on the filter media, I do not rinse mine at all. Here is a photo of the sponge in my aquaclear 50, it was new on 12-30-2013 and has not been rinsed yet. I run 2 filters on my aquarium now.

 

VWTDI02

Well here is a quick picture of the filter. I ran it under the water output of the filter and not much water goes through it. The second picture shows it in the filter and I'm worried that the water is just going around the media. The water level behind yhe filter is about 3/4" above the water level on the other side





Should I do anything to the filters like gently rinse in old tank water or just let them be?
 

MrFishFood

Personally I would do a gentle swish in tank water, they are clogged a bit. Just enough to remove the debris.

Do wait for others to chime in. Second opinions are good.
 

VWTDI02

Personally I would do a gentle swish in tank water, they are clogged a bit. Just enough to remove the debris.

That's what I was thinking. I just bought some marineland bonded filter media that I plan on using for my quarantine tank. Eventually once this tank is fully cycled I will use it on that filter too but for now I'm definitely not replacing them.

[Edit]
I just saw your edit. That's what I plan on doing. I'm going to wait a few hours before j mess with the tank again anyways

[Edit #2]
I did a bit of research while taking a break from homework and I think I'm going to just pick up a bag of ceramic rings. The Aqueon intakes on the left side and drops the water straight down before moving over towards the cartridges so that would be a great spot to put the bag. I think I will get a couple smaller bags as well to jam in at the bottom of the filter. I'm going to keep the filter cartridges in place and try to keep the bags from impeding the flow through there. A pre-filter sponge is also something that I am going to pick up. I really hope they have one in black since it will look much better than having one turn brown over time. I found a couple of other people that also just got rid of the cartridges and the holsters all together and just run a pre-filter sponge and AqueClear BioMax inserts.
 

VWTDI02

Just wanted to give you guys an update. I got my order of new goodies for my quarantine tank. Right now I'm running the new Aqueon QuietFlow 20 in my main tank with some Marineland bonded filter media. The reason that I'm using this instead of the regular cartridges is that the cartridges use activated carbon and that would take out the medication if I needed to in the quarantine tank. I also got a new heater for my tank. The Aqueon heaters are pretty cheap and so far work really well for me so I stuck with them. The difference between the 250 and the lower ones wasn't really that much so I went with the 250. The original 200 will go to the quarantine tank when it is needed. I realize that this is complete overkill for a quarantine tank but I also wanted to have a back up heater for my main tank in case one of them breaks. Overall the fish are just fine and eating well. The driftwood is still leaching a lot of tannins so that is why I started doing more water changes. I boiled the driftwood multiple times but unfortunately I don't have a pot large enough so I ended up only being able to do one of the ends at a time. I did put the driftwood in a bucket and poured boiling water over it and let it soak for a few days. Every time the water got back to room temperature I would empty it out and then do it all over again.
 

MrFishFood

Thanks for the update. Backup heaters are always a plus.
 

VWTDI02

Oh, and I did a ten gallon water change. Here is a pic of the tank

Also, I'm going to be gone for the weekend to visit some friends so I guess we will see how the tank does with my roommate feeding the fish...
 

MrFishFood

Tank looks really nice. Keep us updated.
 

VWTDI02

Thanks. The driftwood has been leaching a lot of tannins into the water so it has that black to tint to it. My roommate is supposed to be taking care of it over break. I'm praying that without me being there it will automatically cycle and I will have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and 5 nitrates when I get there.
 

Ivoryangel

Love the tank; Beautiful
 

VWTDI02

Love the tank; Beautiful

Thanks. I'm still looking for some pygmy chain sword so that I can have a nice carpet along the bottom. It's a pretty tall tank so it should help take up more space
 

VWTDI02

Update - Post Weekend Trip

So I got back to my apt and of course the whole place was a mess like usual thanks to my roommate. Cleaned everything up and then took a look at the tank. The water was pretty dark from the driftwood but that was to be expected. The one thing that I didn't expect was the amount of poop and uneaten food that was at the bottom of the tank. I am pretty sure that my roommate was over feeding them since I found untouched pellets from "this morning". I also found a pinch worth of pellets sitting on the table that she had spilled. The fish are doing well, I vacuumed the gravel and pulled about 10 gallons worth of water. I put five gallons in and the addition of the water kicked up more poop from some hiding places so I got as much of that out as I could (ended up pulling another two and a half gallons or so). From then on I filled the tank up again and turned the filters back on.

Before I did the water change, I did do some tests and the tests came out exactly the same as usual. 7.4 pH, .25 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and 0 nitrate. I'm pretty much at a loss as to what is going on with this tank. It's been 22 days since I started this tank and aside from the first couple of days, I have yet to see any nitrates. I have a feeling that this may be due to the amount of plants that are in the tank but the constant ammonia is what is confusing to me. There has got to be some bacteria in there or else my ammonia would be through the roof but it has held steady. I'm half tempted to go to the store with the tubes full of water and have the local pet store test the water because I'm a bit skeptical that it hasn't changed at all.

I do have some changes coming to the tank. I have about 20 Malaysian Trumpet Snails that should be here this Wednesday. They should have plenty to eat and will hopefully thrive in the tank. It's a pain to try and clean where the plants are and that happens to be the place where the fish hang out the most. Aside from that the tank itself is not going to change until I stop getting ammonia and start getting nitrates. I will hopefully get a new set of lights but that will have to wait another two weeks for my next pay check. I spent just a bit too much this weekend so the lights will have to wait. Thankfully the plants are doing fine so it isn't a pressing expense.

Love the tank; Beautiful

On a side note I just noticed that you are from VB. I went to high school there since my Dad was stationed there for years before he retired.
 

VWTDI02

So I have a quick question. While I was at walmart I picked up a small bottle of TSS. It's the one that is supposed to be used for the 20 gallon tanks and I was wondering how much that would help. I plan on tossing some into the Aqueon Quietflow 20 and then most of it into my main Aqueon Quietflow 75. They didn't have any larger bottles unfortunately and I only snagged one. That sound like a good idea?

I just tested the water and it is still at 0.25 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and 0 nitrate. Attached is the picture of the ammonia reading and it may just be wishful thinking but it does look like it is somewhere in between zero and the 0.25 mark. I did wait a full five minutes before looking at the results. What do you guys think?


IMAG0097.jpg
 

Kellye8498

I wish I only have .25ppm ammonia right about now. I feel back for the fish but the TSS is definitely doing its job since I also finally have Nitrites...and not just a little. They are rising quickly.
 

VWTDI02

I wish I only have .25ppm ammonia right about now. I feel back for the fish but the TSS is definitely doing its job since I also finally have Nitrites...and not just a little. They are rising quickly.
How long ago did you put in the TSS?
 

Kellye8498

Added TSS Jan. 31

Test from 2/2


image.jpg


image.jpg


image.jpg

Test 2/3


image.jpg


image.jpg
 

Kellye8498

Sorry the pics are sideways. Not really sure why that keeps happening.
 

VWTDI02

Wow, I did not get anything close to that when I first put mine in. I think I'm going to go ahead and add that smaller bottle of TSS into the filter. Maybe I will get lucky and start seeing something tomorrow.... Also, it might just be the way that you're holding the camera/phone. If it isn't that then I have no clue.
 

Kellye8498

Yeah, not sure. It's an iPhone and I'm holding it up and down. Maybe I need to hold it sideways. Sometimes they come up just fine and others are sideways. It's strange, lol. I didn't see anything besides .25ppm ammonia until the 2/2 test. All of a sudden it just went nuts and it's obvious that the bacteria I threw in are going to work. I used a small bottle for a 15 gallon because it's all the store had and that was AFTER a store to store transfer. They had bottles of the stuff but it all had a 12/2013 expiration date. No way I was paying for expired stuff with dead bacteria in it. They removed it all from the shelf and could only get in one new bottle but it was brand new with a late 2015 expiration date. I have had the tank up and running as a fish in cycle for quite awhile anyway so I just used the small bottle to help jumpstart the already in process cycle. Looks like it's happening. I haven't tested today. I'm hoping the ammonia starts to go down really quickly. I hate worrying about the safety of my fish when a tank is cycling.
 

VWTDI02

The bottle I just added was set to expire in July of this year so it should be fine. You could always add some live plants if you haven't already. They would help lower the amount of nutrients in the water.
 

Kellye8498

I have already added my live plants and am going to be adding my mopanI wood as well as soon as it stops leeching tannins. I can't wait until I get to add that as my plecos are going to be SUPER happy, lol.
 

VWTDI02

That's great to hear. Eventually I'm going to be adding an albino BN pleco but not until I get this thing completely cycled.
 

Kellye8498

I have three albino BN plecos I love them. So cute.
 

VWTDI02

So I have some good news!!! First of all I got my Malaysian Trumpet Snails in the mail today and they are doing quite well. I wasn't expecting babies but they should have plenty of room in the tank to grow and hopefully start multiplying quickly. The snails came with some erect moss as well as some duckweed. I decided not to bother with the duckweed because my tank does have a lot of surface disturbance and it simply wouldn't survive. I did plant the erect moss in the substrate so if it grows then I'll be happy but if not, it isn't that big of a deal.

I stopped by a local store a few days ago and asked if they could order me some pygmy chain sword and they said that they could check their main list. If it happens to be on that list of available plants then they will order it for me. The two issues are that if they do happen to have the pygmy, it will be about two weeks before I get it. The other problem is that their tanks currently have the ich. I didn't originally see it as only a pair of fish in the whole display were showing symptoms but the employee said that he wouldn't sell anything in the tanks until it gets cleared up (he won't but idk about the other employees).

The last bit of good news is that I have no more ammonia in the tank!!! I tested it today when I got home from class and the ammonia test came out a nice yellow. I'm thinking this was due to the combination of cleaning a lot of the gunk off of my filters as well as adding the TSS but regardless I got a measurement of zero ammonia for the first time.

The bad news is that all of my other measurements are also 0. I've yet to get anything remotely close to a nitrite reading and the nitrate readings are still at 0. This may be the result of the fast growth that I am getting out of my ludwigia. I have had it in the tank for about 3 weeks now and I am going to have to prune it yet again. When I bought the plant, it was about 6" tall and quickly grew to be 18" tall before I pruned it for the first time. As of now some of the stalks are about an inch (at most) from the water surface so I will have to clip some of those tomorrow most likely.
 

MrFishFood

Sounds like things are coming along nicely.
 

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