Fish in cycle stalled?


Very new to aquariums and fish! Our 10-year old really wanted a fish tank so a couple months ago we got a 10-gallon tank. We did what I’ve since learned so many newbies do and got all our advice from the big box pet store. Needless to say, we lost quite a few fish and I quickly found myself trying to get educated on aquarium health and the nitrogen cycle!
I am starting to think we are stalled and looking for advice on what I’m doing wrong or could be doing differently.
10 gallons with 2 tetras and 3 white cloud minnows. HOB aquaclear filter and sponge filter. I’ve been using the API master kit daily or every other day with the same results for weeks:
pH 8.2
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0
Temp ~78 degrees Fahrenheit
How often should we be doing a water change?
Should I be using anything other than Prime? I’ve been using Stability as well but wondering if I should discontinue that.
One tetra is looking a little more sluggish tonight and while usually very hungry at feeding time he didn’t seem interested so I’m worried about him.
Thanks for any advice or insight!



By the looks of it, you seem to have a cycled tank, especially since you’ve set up your aquarium a couple months ago.

If you were to base off from the parameters on when you should do a water change, I’d say the spot to hit is when your nitrates hit around 40ppm. Personally for me, that means anywhere from 35-50% water changes a week.

I think you’re fine with just using Prime as your dechlorinater. If you have live plants though, you might want to start with some all in one fertilizers.

With stability, I’ve found that there really isn’t much use for it after cycling a tank. Although if anyone could check me on that.

And with the one tetra, just monitor his health over the course of a week or two and see if he gets any better or worse.


You have quite a small bioload in the tank, so with frequent water changes and a good filter there isn't much ammonia being produced. Thus the amount of nitrifying bacteria will be low, but it doesn't really matter unless you want more fish. The bacteria colonies basically adjust population based on how much ammonia is in the tank, so adding stability won't really do anything. Keep doing water changes about >30% weekly and all should be well. If you want to add more fish then you'll need to increase water changes and maybe save your stability for when you do.

The weird tetra behaviour may or may not be because of the small group. Both species you have are schooling, so they feel more comfortable and less stressed in groups of roughly six or more. Many tetra species are also not suitable for ten gallon tanks too.


How often are you doing water changes? I highly recommend you change out half of it each week if we determine if the tank is actually cycled. I have to think it is after all this time so there shouldn't be a need to do them any more often than once a week. You should be seeing some nitrites though

Are you 100% positive you are following all the steps necessary to run the nitrate test. Are you shaking bottle # 2 like your life depended on it? You have to break the sediment loose from the bottom so it will be thoroughly mixed in. Once you've added drops from both bottles are you shaking the test tube for a full minute and then wait another 5 minutes for the true color to come through?

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