Fish-in cycle questions

hydro

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Hello,
I am currently cycling a 20 gallon tank with 1 blue dwarf gourami and 6 small zebra danio.
I started 5 days ago with a little old filter media from my brothers established tank to seed the tank.
It took 3 days until i got an ammonia reading of 0.25 so I think I ended up starving the bacteria I added initally.
I added a little more filter media from my brothers tank yesterday but I do not want to take to much and cause a mini cycle in his tnak.
my readings right now are ammonia 0.25, nitrite 0, nitrate 0 and I have not done a single water change yet.
Why hasnt my ammonia continued to climb if I dont have any nitrite or nitrate? Should I increase the bio load and add more fish?

I am considering adding tetra safestart. I use to think that all bacterina in a bottle products shouldn't be used because the bacteria differed from the bacteria that naturally grow in aquariums and do not reproduce. Did a lot of research and apperently Tetra safestart is actually good. But apparently you are not supposed to use prime with TSS as it locks the ammonia and starves the bacteria. That doesn't really make sense to me as prime does not starve the bacteria in a naturally cycled aquarium. has anybody tried prime with TSS and had succsess?
Should I use TSS? if so what water dechlorinater should i use with it?
 

mattgirl

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Personally I would just give it more time. It took about a week for nitrates to start rising in a grow out tank I instantly cycled with a well seeded sponge filter I pulled from my main tank. I knew I had moved enough media so just gave it time. In my case I never got either and ammonia or nitrite spike but I didn't expect to see them knowing I had a stong colony of bacteria on the seeded sponge. If the tank you took this media from had a fairly high bio-load there should be plenty of bacteria on it to cycle your tank quickly.

Just keep a close eye on the ammonia level. If it gets up close to one do a water change to get it back down. I would also be using Prime to detox the ammonia until the bacteria from the seeded media catches up to the bio-load of this tank.

Even though you didn't get an ammonia reading right away in this tank it was there. The fish were adding it all along so the bacteria on the media should have been getting fed.
 

Momgoose56

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Hello,
I am currently cycling a 20 gallon tank with 1 blue dwarf gourami and 6 small zebra danio.
I started 5 days ago with a little old filter media from my brothers established tank to seed the tank.
It took 3 days until i got an ammonia reading of 0.25 so I think I ended up starving the bacteria I added initally.
I added a little more filter media from my brothers tank yesterday but I do not want to take to much and cause a mini cycle in his tnak.
my readings right now are ammonia 0.25, nitrite 0, nitrate 0 and I have not done a single water change yet.
Why hasnt my ammonia continued to climb if I dont have any nitrite or nitrate? Should I increase the bio load and add more fish?

I am considering adding tetra safestart. I use to think that all bacterina in a bottle products shouldn't be used because the bacteria differed from the bacteria that naturally grow in aquariums and do not reproduce. Did a lot of research and apperently Tetra safestart is actually good. But apparently you are not supposed to use prime with TSS as it locks the ammonia and starves the bacteria. That doesn't really make sense to me as prime does not starve the bacteria in a naturally cycled aquarium. has anybody tried prime with TSS and had succsess?
Should I use TSS? if so what water dechlorinater should i use with it?
I wouldn't suggest adding TSS with an ammonia level that low. It will not have enough ammonia to keep the bacteria alive. Just keep monitoring your tank. It will eventually cycle. You chose a fish-in cycle. That takes much longer than a fishless cycle because you don't have the freedom to manipulate chemical, temperature and pH levels as you would without fish in the tank. Your best tool now is patience. Right now, if you have plants in the tank, they are probably keeping the ammonia level low. You can't speed up the rate of bacteria growth by raising the ammonia level. Raising that just increases the risk to your fish. Test your ammonia level every 48 hours, add Prime and be patient. What is your pH in the tank? You may benefit from some crushed coral if your pH is less than 7.5. Also, what temp are you keeping the tank at?
You are right though, if the bacteria in the TSS is nitrosomonas and nitrobacter as the company claims, Prime should have no adverse effect on it at all.
 
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hydro

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Personally I would just give it more time. It took about a week for nitrates to start rising in a grow out tank I instantly cycled with a well seeded sponge filter I pulled from my main tank. I knew I had moved enough media so just gave it time. In my case I never got either and ammonia or nitrite spike but I didn't expect to see them knowing I had a stong colony of bacteria on the seeded sponge. If the tank you took this media from had a fairly high bio-load there should be plenty of bacteria on it to cycle your tank quickly.

Just keep a close eye on the ammonia level. If it gets up close to one do a water change to get it back down. I would also be using Prime to detox the ammonia until the bacteria from the seeded media catches up to the bio-load of this tank.

Even though you didn't get an ammonia reading right away in this tank it was there. The fish were adding it all along so the bacteria on the media should have been getting fed.
Thanks for your input. I took about half of the biomax from an aquaclear 50 which my brother has for his 20 gallon with just one jewel cichlid (ik too small of a tank but he wont listen). Do you think I can add more fish? I am testing twice daily and prepared to do daily water changes. I havent needed to do a single water change yet but I added prime every 48 hrs.
 

Momgoose56

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Thanks for your input. I took about half of the biomax from an aquaclear 50 which my brother has for his 20 gallon with just one jewel cichlid (ik too small of a tank but he wont listen). Do you think I can add more fish? I am testing twice daily and prepared to do daily water changes. I havent needed to do a single water change yet but I added prime every 48 hrs.
You know my opinion on that matter, I answered it before, and as I said, increasing yoor bioload won't make bacteria magically grow faster, it will just make you have to work harder and puts your fish in potentially more danger.
 

mattgirl

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Thanks for your input. I took about half of the biomax from an aquaclear 50 which my brother has for his 20 gallon with just one jewel cichlid (ik too small of a tank but he wont listen). Do you think I can add more fish? I am testing twice daily and prepared to do daily water changes. I havent needed to do a single water change yet but I added prime every 48 hrs.
I wouldn't add more fish yet. I would wait until you get a zero ammonia reading for several days straight. If all he has in his tank is just the one fish there won't be as much bacteria on his media as there would be in a tank with a higher bio-load. It is going to take a few days for the bacteria you moved fom his tank to yours to catch up with the bio-load of the fish you have in yours already.
 
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hydro

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I wouldn't suggest adding TSS with an ammonia level that low. It will not have enough ammonia to keep the bacteria alive. Just keep monitoring your tank. It will eventually cycle. You chose a fish-in cycle. That takes much longer than a fishless cycle because you don't have the freedom to manipulate chemical, temperature and pH levels as you would without fish in the tank. Your best tool now is patience. Right now, if you have plants in the tank, they are probably keeping the ammonia level low. You can't speed up the rate of bacteria growth by raising the ammonia level. Raising that just increases the risk to your fish. Test your ammonia level every 48 hours, add Prime and be patient. What is your pH in the tank? You may benefit from some crushed coral if your pH is less than 7.5. Also, what temp are you keeping the tank at?
You are right though, if the bacteria in the TSS is nitrosomonas and nitrobacter as the company claims, Prime should have no adverse effect on it at all.
patience is my weakness I must say. I was expecting a rather quick cycle as I added the seeded media. I have no live plants currently. ph is at ~7 and the temp is at 25 degrees to keep the danio somewhat comfortable. Also TSS is housed in ammounium as a food source. I know that prime turns ammonia into ammonium so perhaps it does something to the ammonium already in the TSS.

I wouldn't add more fish yet. I would wait until you get a zero ammonia reading for several days straight. If all he has in his tank is just the one fish there won't be as much bacteria on his media as there would be in a tank with a higher bio-load. It is going to take a few days for the bacteria you moved fom his tank to yours to catch up with the bio-load of the fish you have in yours already.
Well I would think that the bio load in my brothers tank is rather large as the jewel cichlid is like 5 inches and could swallow the danio I have in my tank whole. I guess since my ammonia isn't climbing, I do have trace amounts of nitrite and nitrate?
 

Momgoose56

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I agree with @mattgirl. But here are my thoughts, and I think and others who've seen this may agree.
From what I've seen in the short time I've been a member on this site, I've noticed that TSS seems to have very little effective ammonia 'eating' bacteria (nitrosomonas) in it. I base this on the observation that when TSS is added early in the cycle, ammonia levels do not seem to drop. However, when it's added after nitrites are being produced, there is a significant drop in nitrite levels, within a couple days. So what you might do is, once your ammonia level is dropping to 0 ppm , and/or you are seeing the production of nitrites, add 4 or 5 more danios and the TSS. You will have to keep a close watch on ammonia and nitrite levels after that and keep the total sum of the two at <1ppm -but my guess is that the TSS, added at that point in your cycle will put things in high gear and move it along much faster.

Well I would think that the bio load in my brothers tank is rather large as the jewel cichlid is like 5 inches and could swallow the danio I have in my tank whole. I guess since my ammonia isn't climbing, I do have trace amounts of nitrite and nitrate?
1 ppm ammonia produces ~2.7 ppm nitrites
1ppm ammonia, after nitrite oxidation produces ~3.6 ppm nitrates
so you could have traces of nitrites....
 
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hydro

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I agree with @mattgirl. But here are my thoughts, and I think and others who've seen this may agree.
From what I've seen in the short time I've been a member on this site, I've noticed that TSS seems to have very little effective ammonia 'eating' bacteria (nitrosomonas) in it. I base this on the observation that when TSS is added early in the cycle, ammonia levels do not seem to drop. However, when it's added after nitrites are being produced, there is a significant drop in nitrite levels, within a couple days. So what you might do is, once your ammonia level is dropping to 0 ppm , and/or you are seeing the production of nitrites, add 4 or 5 more danios and the TSS. You will have to keep a close watch on ammonia and nitrite levels after that and keep the total sum of the two at <1ppm -but my guess is that the TSS, added at that point in your cycle will put things in high gear and move it along much faster.
Sweet plan. Im just trying to make the cycle as quick as I can so I can get the fish in there. The danio are not actually part of the stock list and will be given back to the store at some point. I just used them as they are a hardy fish to cycle with. Do you think I can swap the danio for 10-12 cardinal tetras when I do this? I just don't want to lose any fish so I could also get more danio and do the swap later on.
 

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I would wait and see what happens with your ammonia readings before adding more fish. You only started 5 days ago. A little patience now will pay off in the end.
 
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hydro

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1 ppm ammonia produces ~2.7 ppm nitrites
1ppm ammonia, after nitrite oxidation produces ~3.6 ppm nitrates
hmm so safe to say 0 ammonia has been converted? I just don't understand how my ammonia hasnt spiked if I have 0 nitrite and 0 nitrate. I am using a brand new api test kit as well
 

Momgoose56

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Sweet plan. Im just trying to make the cycle as quick as I can so I can get the fish in there. The danio are not actually part of the stock list and will be given back to the store at some point. I just used them as they are a hardy fish to cycle with. Do you think I can swap the danio for 10-12 cardinal tetras when I do this? I just don't want to lose any fish so I could also get more danio and do the swap later on.
What we have been saying, be patient. A FISHLESS cycle, under the BEST conditions, takes at least 4 WEEKS. Chill, take your time.
 
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hydro

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What we have been saying, be patient. A FISHLESS cycle, under the BEST conditions, takes at least 4 WEEKS. Chill, take your time.
Yea I hear you, I'm going to wait till I have 0 ammonia and some nitrite/nitrate then add more fish and TSS. I was just asking if I could add tetras and swap out the danio or if i should wait and just add more danio at that point and do the swap when the tank is fully cycled.
 

Momgoose56

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hmm so safe to say 0 ammonia has been converted? I just don't understand how my ammonia hasnt spiked if I have 0 nitrite and 0 nitrate. I am using a brand new api test kit as well
Because bacteria don't grow overnight, organic material (fish poop) decomposes and is converted to ammonia by a whole other type of bacteria you haven't even heard of yet. That bacteria requires time to replicate too. You can't rush it with fish in the tank. Does the fish store know you're using these Danios just to cycle a tank? I can't imagine they're just loaners....
 

mattgirl

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The thing is. Your tank could very well be cycled now if there was enough bacteria on the media you moved from your brothers tank. Cycling a tank simply means growing enough of the right kinds of bacteria to process the ammonia all the way to nitrates. Give it time to see if that is happening.
 
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hydro

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Because bacteria don't grow overnight, organic material (fish poop) decomposes and is converted to ammonia by a whole other type of bacteria you haven't even heard of yet. That bacteria requires time to replicate too. You can't rush it with fish in the tank. Does the fish store know you're using these Danios just to cycle a tank? I can't imagine they're just loaners....
Well I told them they were being used to cycle the tank, but didn't tell them I planned to bring them back. I bought them and am taking care of them like I would any other fish. They are just going to be given back to the store at some point. is there something wrong with this?
EDIT: also I did not know that fish poop is converted to ammonia by bacteria. I thought ammonia was just in their waste. makes a lot more sense now. thanks
 

Momgoose56

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Yea I hear you, I'm going to wait till I have 0 ammonia and some nitrite/nitrate then add more fish and TSS. I was just asking if I could add tetras and swap out the danio or if i should wait and just add more danio at that point and do the swap when the tank is fully cycled.
You know what. You can do whatever you want. Danios are incredibly hardy, pollution tolerant fish. I don't know about any other fish as tolerant besides goldfish. If you want to risk your fish and your money, that's up to you.
Well I told them they were being used to cycle the tank, but didn't tell them I planned to bring them back. I bought them and am taking care of them like I would any other fish. They are just going to be given back to the store at some point. is there something wrong with this?
Legally? No. Ethically? Maybe. It's called 'partial truth'. Some think it's okay in advertising but not if partial truth directly affects the happiness or well being of others. I personally despise partial truth advertising.
Ask yourself this: Is the stress you are putting these Danios through going to affect their health later? If it does, will that affect the person who ends up owning them?
 
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hydro

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You know what. You can do whatever you want. Danios are incredibly hardy, pollution tolerant fish. I don't know about any other fish as tolerant besides goldfish. If you want to risk your fish and your money, that's up to you.

Legally? No. Ethically? Maybe. It's called 'partial truth'. Some think it's okay in advertising but not if partial truth directly affects the happiness or well being of others. I personally despise partial truth advertising.
Ask yourself this: Is the stress you are putting these Danios through going to affect their health later? If it does, will that affect the person who ends up owning them?
I was asking if it would be safe to swap the danio at that point or if the cycle wouldn't be stable enough to keep the tetra happy. This would be my first time using bacteria in a bottle so I don't know what the protocol is and how stable it will be. im guessing thats a no.

You are right, I am stressing the fish but I am sure they will recover and can live long healthy lives. I wont do this again but fish at the store are stressed regardless from shipping and improper care. I am testing water twice daily and will not allow ammonia/nitrite to rise above 0.5ppm. I did not know I was returning the danio at the time i bought the danio either because I was thinking about keeping kribensis instead of rams which can work with danio temperatures.
 

Momgoose56

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I was asking if it would be safe to swap the danio at that point or if the cycle wouldn't be stable enough to keep the tetra happy. This would be my first time using bacteria in a bottle so I don't know what the protocol is and how stable it will be. im guessing thats a no.

You are right, I am stressing the fish but I am sure they will recover and can live long healthy lives. I wont do this again but fish at the store are stressed regardless from shipping and improper care. I am testing water twice daily and will not allow ammonia/nitrite to rise above 0.5ppm. I did not know I was returning the danio at the time i bought the danio either because I was thinking about keeping kribensis instead of rams which can work with danio temperatures.
As I said, you can swap the danios for tetras if you want. I have no idea how that particular species handles cycling. If you keep ammonia and nitrite levels at less than 1 ppm total & treat the tank with Prime, they may do fine simply because you'll be minimizing the effect of those toxins on the fish.
 
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hydro

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As I said, you can swap the danios for tetras if you want. I have no idea how that particular species handles cycling. If you keep ammonia and nitrite levels at less than 1 ppm total & treat the tank with Prime, they may do fine simply because you'll be minimizing the effect of those toxins on the fish.
ok Thank you so much for your input. its a tough decision as I don't want to lose any fish but if I get danio that means more danio will be go back to the store. I'll do more research on cardinal tetras and make a decision by the time the tank is ready.
also what dechlorinater should I use when I get the TSS, I am assuming the tetra one should be fine. Tetra says not to use anything that locks out ammonia or removes chloramine 24hrs before and 7 days after.
 
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