fish tank still not cycled?

Discussion in 'Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle' started by 0Amanda0, Jul 26, 2015.

  1. 0Amanda0

    0Amanda0New MemberMember

    So I have been having some difficulties with my new 15 gallon tank. I set it up on 4/26/15. I did a 10 gallon to 15 gallon switch over. I used my old rocks, old plants, as well as water. I just added an additional 5 gallons of water and a new decoration or two. I also let my old filter run in the new tank while the water was heating up to temp. At the time of set up I had 7 fish and 2 shrimp. I thought it would be fine to transfer them right in since I was using most of the old stuff. After a day or two after the set up everything started dieing except for one ember tetra that now has died about 2 weeks ago. I've been testing my water periodically throughout the couple months the tank has been set up. My ph has been high at 8.2 (it was the same in the old tank, could never get it down), my ammonia at one point was 0.25,last time I checked it looked to me like 0, the nitrite is 0, and the nitrate is 5. Since I had decent last readings I decided to add a new fish to see how things went. I added a balloon molly who sadly only lasted a few days. I am not sure what my problem is with this tank. I would love any input so I can figure out my problem and have a happy healthy tank.
  2. CindiL

    CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    Hi, Welcome to Fishlore :;hi2

    What dechlorinator are you using?
    Don't worry about your ph. Its fine though ammonia even at small levels is toxic at your ph (I have the same ph).

    I would pick up a bottle of Seachem Prime and their bacteria in a bottle Seachem Stability and follow the directions.

    A balloon molly is too big for your 15g. I'd go with a few guppies and platies and thats about it.

    Your cycle is held in your filter for the most part so don't separate it out from your fish ever except to clean it. It keeps them alive, and they keep the nitrogen converting bacteria alive with their waste.
  3. OP

    0Amanda0New MemberMember

    Hello! :)
    At the moment I haven't been using a dechlorinator. I get my water from my local pet store, so I didn't think I needed to use it. Like in my 10 gallon I didn't use any and my fish did fine.
    I don't ever separate my filter from my fishtank unless it is to change it (which I do every month).
    At the point I am at now, should I wait to get any more fish? Or can I go ahead and get one and see how it does?

    Thanks so much for the input!
  4. Dom90

    Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

    Dechlorinator is necessary if you ever hope to cycle your tank. Chlorines will kill any bacteria, including the kind of bacteria you are wanting to grow in your filter.

    Sent from my iPhone using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum
  5. CindiL

    CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    What type of filter do you have? You should not be changing out your filter material each month. This might be your worst problem. I know manufacturers tell you to do this but its to make money, not because you need to. Do you know about the nitrogen cycle? The majority of your nitrogen converting bacteria live in your filter and if you toss a pad once a month then you are basically starting from scratch again. There are ways around this. You can rinse your filter in old tank water until it starts falling apart. At that point assuming its a carbon cartridge, cut off the floss, toss the carbon and insert the used floss with a new cartridge. Leave it there for a week and then throw out the old floss. This will seed your new cartridge and keep your fish safe.

    I would definitely get some Prime as your dechlorinator. So, out of curiosity why are you buying the water at the fish store? You probably don't need to.....

    Ok, so get a couple of small fish, also get some Seachem Stability or Tetra Safe Start Plus and follow the directions on the bottle. (This is basically "good" bacteria in a bottle). This will re-cycle your tank.
  6. OP

    0Amanda0New MemberMember

    I have the aqueon quite flow 10. I just had always changed out the filter that way before when I had my 10 gallon and I did not have any problems. How often do you change out your filter? I do know a little about the nitrogen cycle. I get my water from the pet store because I have well water, and I have always bought the water from the pet store and not had any problems. So even though my tank has been up and running for about 3 months I need to recycle it? I just thought it would have been cycled by now. I have used the tetra safe in the past, but since I did a transfer over from my 10 gallon to the 15 gallon I did not think it was necessary because the bacteria was already in my water.
  7. Dom90

    Dom90Fishlore VIPMember

    Bacteria doesnt live in your water, most of it lives in your filter and some on the walls and substrate. You can use well water to do water changes on your tank as long as you use something like Seachem Replenish to fill in the trace elements needed by fish. By changing your filter media out every month, you are basically resetting your cycle everytime you do this.
  8. KarenLM

    KarenLMWell Known MemberMember

    Seachem Replenish may not be necessary unless you have a softener. Well water is great for your fish and it doesn't have chlorine (unless you are in an area where it occurs naturally in ground water) so doesn't need conditioner.

    I rarely change my filter media and if I do I only change one of the three in the tank at a time. Just swish it in tank water with each WC.
  9. CindiL

    CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    I never change out my filter materials unless they're falling apart. I don't use the aqueon inserts which are pricey and not worth the money. Instead I use foam pad (fluval makes a C4 foam pad that you can trim a little bit and use it instead). The difference is that this pad can be rinsed like a sponge in old tank water and used over and over and over again as they do not fall apart. My current one I've had for 6 months at least. Those aqueon pads are super thin and don't last long at all.

    I agree with the others, many many many people use their well water and agree with Karenlm that unless it runs through a softener you won't have to add anything to it. Its still a good idea to use Prime even if there is no chlorine because it detoxifies metals also.

    And like Dom90 mentioned, your cycle is not in your water, it is on surfaces in your tank but the majority is in your filter materials. In effect you are throwing out a huge portion of your cycle when you do this and would explain why your fish died, why you're seeing ammonia and yes, in effect maybe not 100% re-cycling but a huge bump in your cycle allowing toxins to harm your fish. I am not saying this to make you feel bad as many of us made these mistakes in the beginning.

    This is what I would do:
    1) I would recommend saving yourself the hassle, start replacing your store water with your well water during normal water changes of 25% or so, using Prime.
    2) Switch out your aqueon filter pads with something that will last or at a minimum follow the instructions I gave for when you do switch them out
    3) Start again with a fish or two maximum, add in Seachem Stability following the directions on the bottle (or tetra safe start plus). I've always used Stability.

    After that you'll build your cycle back up and things will be better for you.
    Do you have the API drop tests for your testing?