Fish In Cycle, Should I Change Filter?

ivanjay205

Member
HI all,

I am probably about 4-5 weeks in cycling two tanks. Had to be fish in, as this wasn't a planned hobby.

Learned all about Nitrogen cycle and now still getting .25-.5 ammonia levels that won't drop and nitrites anywhere from .5-2 but Nitrates showing healthy amounts in both tanks for about 1 1/2 - 2 weeks now. I feel like its stuck!

The tanks are basic 20 gallon great choice tanks from petsmart. Internal filter.

I am wondering if the cheap filter is a factor and it would be wise to upgrade? Or just give it more time?
 

kallililly1973

Member
I'd leave the filter as is and do Water changes anytime the Ammonia and Nitrites get over 1ppm. Also if your looking to upgrade the filter you should set it up now and get it running and keep the other one currently in there running as well that way they will both get the beneficial bacteria growing in them. Also be sure to test your water source so its not giving you any false readings with the Nitrates, Nitrites or Ammonia
 

Mongo75

Member
Are you doing water changes? What type, and how many fish and inverts are in each tank? What are you using to test your water?

It might be the filter, but not likely. Need to know what filter it is. Most kit filters are just enough for the tank size they're sold with. Regardless, you don't want to replace the cartridge during the cycle. If you do, you're throwing away the beneficial bacteria with the cartridge, which is where the majority of them live. Best method is to do water changes, daily if necessary (I do 50-75%) and rinse the filter cartridge in the old water.

Each percentage of water you change equates to the same amount of ammonia, nitrites and nitrates being replaced. A 50% change would reduce each by 50% as well.
 
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ivanjay205

Member
I am doing water changes every time I hit combined 1 ammonia plus nitrite. Never less than every other day sometimes more. I started with 3 guppies and 4 cory's. I upped it to get more bioload to the same 3 guppies, now 6 cory's, and 3 swordtails.

My other tank has 2 goldfish.

This is the tank Grreat Choice® Aquarium Starter Kit | fish Starter Kits

Filter is Great Choice.

I of course don't want to replace the filter, but I just feel like this should have cycled already being I have had ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate for a period of tI'm .
 

Faytaya

Member
When I did an accidental fish in cycle I had readings like yours for about two and a half weeks, but they eventually normalized. Water changes are the way to go my friend, just as everyone else here says. You're getting all three cause you're in the final stages of cycling, and since you're fish-in, your readings will be hectic for a while. Water changes with prime dosings (I say double the recommended) about every two days will help until it becomes stable and mature.
 
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ivanjay205

Member
The only thing I will add is as of late the nitrite seem to be spiking higher than they were a week ago
 

kallililly1973

Member
Keep on top of your water parameter tests and anytime ammonia or nitrites get a bit high do a good size WC 60-70% but as stated before leave your filter alone and let it continue to build up the BB for your tank to cycle.
 

Mongo75

Member
What everyone else is saying, water changes.

As to the filter, I'm guessing it has the IF20 filter so forget what I said about cartridges. Just rinse the sponge really good in your old water when you do changes, and leave the rest alone.
 
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ivanjay205

Member
K, I have been all over the water changes and tests. Praying it finishes this week as we have vacation next week
 
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ivanjay205

Member
I have also been doing prime doses daily to be safe. Any harm in that?
 

oldsalt777

Member
ivanjay205 said:
HI all,

I am probably about 4-5 weeks in cycling two tanks. Had to be fish in, as this wasn't a planned hobby.

Learned all about Nitrogen cycle and now still getting .25-.5 ammonia levels that won't drop and nitrites anywhere from .5-2 but Nitrates showing healthy amounts in both tanks for about 1 1/2 - 2 weeks now. I feel like its stuck!

The tanks are basic 20 gallon great choice tanks from petsmart. Internal filter.

I am wondering if the cheap filter is a factor and it would be wise to upgrade? Or just give it more time?
Hello ivan...

There's nothing tricky about cycling a tank with fish. You just need a reliable water testing kit. Once the fish are in, you feed them a little every day or two to maintain the ammonia. You test the water every day for traces of ammonia and nitrite. If you have positive test for either, remove 25 percent of the tank water and replace that with treated tap water. Just feed a little, test and change the water when needed. That's it. You don't do anything else or add anything. When several daily tests show no traces of ammonia or nitrite, the tank is established. At this point, you simply remove and replace half the water weekly for as long as you keep the tank. This process takes no more than a month, give or take a day or two. Remember, by adding steps, other chemicals or changing out more water, you can delay the process.

Old
 

mattgirl

Member
You are doing really good. I know this hobby was kinda forced on you. (I hope you gave the folks at camp a good talking to)

It looks like you are getting close to the end of the cycling process. Keep changing water to keep the ammonia and nitrites down. Now that you are seeing nitrates it won't be long.

Personally I don't see any need to add more than a normal amount of Prime with each water change. If you are doing water changes every other day and are adding enough Prime to treat the full 20 gallons each time that should be enough to see you through to the next water change.
 
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ivanjay205

Member
Thanks, I do really enjoy the fish so not at all an issue with it. Just as you mentioned mattgirl the surprise and full time job of this was a bit unexpected...

My haste now is we go on vacation Saturday of next week for a week. So all of this due diligence is just not going to be possible. Obviously if the tank cycles by that time phew and we can put a feeder in there and we are good to go. but if not.... I am not sure what I am going to come back to.
 

Gone

Member
ivanjay205 said:
Thanks, I do really enjoy the fish so not at all an issue with it. Just as you mentioned mattgirl the surprise and full time job of this was a bit unexpected...

My haste now is we go on vacation Saturday of next week for a week. So all of this due diligence is just not going to be possible. Obviously if the tank cycles by that time phew and we can put a feeder in there and we are good to go. but if not.... I am not sure what I am going to come back to.
I'd recommend against a feeder block. Many horror stories of those fouling water over vacations. Same with asking someone to feed your fish while you're away. Most people stepping in to feed way overfeed.

Especially since you're in cycling mode, I'd recommend not feeding while you're away. Your fish will be fine for 10 days or so without eating. Keep in mind that production of ammonia doesn't depend on how many fish you have, it depends on how much food you put into the tank. Consider any food you add to be ammonia. It can do nothing but help you to reduce the amount of ammonia produced while you're on vacation.
 
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ivanjay205

Member
GuppyDazzle said:
I'd recommend against a feeder block. Many horror stories of those fouling water over vacations. Same with asking someone to feed your fish while you're away. Most people stepping in to feed way overfeed.

Especially since you're in cycling mode, I'd recommend not feeding while you're away. Your fish will be fine for 10 days or so without eating. Keep in mind that production of ammonia doesn't depend on how many fish you have, it depends on how much food you put into the tank. Consider any food you add to be ammonia. It can do nothing but help you to reduce the amount of ammonia produced while you're on vacation.
Even the goldfish? I feel like they are always so hungry they might go ravaging the tank and take on the plants for good lol
 

Mongo75

Member
GuppyDazzle said:
I'd recommend against a feeder block. Many horror stories of those fouling water over vacations. Same with asking someone to feed your fish while you're away. Most people stepping in to feed way overfeed.

Especially since you're in cycling mode, I'd recommend not feeding while you're away. Your fish will be fine for 10 days or so without eating. Keep in mind that production of ammonia doesn't depend on how many fish you have, it depends on how much food you put into the tank. Consider any food you add to be ammonia. It can do nothing but help you to reduce the amount of ammonia produced while you're on vacation.
Though I agree with you 100%, a little while ago I fed my little ones a punch of freeze dried brine shrimp and they devoured it in about 15 seconds, then came to the glass begging for more. I gave them a little pinch more and then told the to tough it, lol. Fish are always hungry!
 
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