Getting pretty frustrated

Makalah

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My tank is still not cycled.
So originally when I put my 8 guppies into my 20 gallon tank I had 0 ppm ammonia 0 ppm nitrites and 5 ppm nitrates so I thought, cool! I’m cycled and added my fish! I changed my substrate from gravel to sand after a few days because I wanted to add some Corydoras and didn’t want the gravel to harm their barbels. My ammonia spiked and my readings went to about 2 ppm ammonia 0 ppm nitrites and 0 ppm nitrates... so I believed at this point my tank was never really cycled and I was now in a fish in cycle. I’ve kept my ammonia around .25-1 ppm with water changes and saw my nitrites go to .25 for ONE day and then disappear. I am still at .25-.50 ppm ammonia 0 ppm nitrites and 0 ppm nitrates and I am at a complete loss as what else to do it get this tank cycled. I use prime and stability with every WC (which is 50% when ammonia reaches 1 ppm) and prime every other day along with dosing with stability per the bottles instructions when setting up a new tank. My temp is at 76 and my pH is 7.4. I thought maybe I was doing too many WCs and now dropped down until the ammonia reaches almost 1 ppm and I do have algae growing (which never happened before) so something SEEMS to be happening I am just not reading any results. Oh, and I’ve lost 4 guppies :(
 

Heron

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When you started the cycle before adding fish did you feed the bacteria with ammonia? Did you add a bacteria in a bottle product?. A fish in cycle is slower so don't expect it to be quickly fixed. Using prime all the time converts ammonia to a less harmful form but reduces the ammount available for the bacteria to feed of. How long has it been since you added the fish?. What biological filter media is in your filter?.
 

mattgirl

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Changing out the gravel in a newly cycled tank could be why you are seeing what you are seeing right now. The bacteria grows on all of the surfaces in our tanks. You removed quite a bit of bacteria when you removed the gravel.

Not to worry. There will still be bacteria on your filter media and other items in the tank so it is just going to take time to build it back up again. I am sorry to hear that you have lost some of your fish :( Hopefully we can save the rest of them.

All you can do at this point is keep a very close eye on the ammonia level. Try to keep it as close to zero as you can with water changes. If you can't keep it that low as long as it is below one just add enough prime to treat the full 20 gallons directly to the tank every other day. If it gets up to one do a water change to get it back down below one and again add enough Prime to treat the full 20 gallons.

Once your cycle catches back up you can reduce the amount of Prime to just enough to treat the new water when doing a water change.
 
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Makalah

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When you started the cycle before adding fish did you feed the bacteria with ammonia? Did you add a bacteria in a bottle product?. A fish in cycle is slower so don't expect it to be quickly fixed. Using prime all the time converts ammonia to a less harmful form but reduces the ammount available for the bacteria to feed of. How long has it been since you added the fish?. What biological filter media is in your filter?.

When I started the cycle I added ammonia drops and a BB ball that I bought at the pet store... I cannot remember the brand now. I added fish about... 6 weeks or so. I have fluval (spelling?) in my filter as well as my normal filter media that came with the tank.

Changing out the gravel in a newly cycled tank could be why you are seeing what you are seeing right now. The bacteria grows on all of the surfaces in our tanks. You removed quite a bit of bacteria when you removed the gravel.

Not to worry. There will still be bacteria on your filter media and other items in the tank so it is just going to take time to build it back up again. I am sorry to hear that you have lost some of your fish :( Hopefully we can save the rest of them.

All you can do at this point is keep a very close eye on the ammonia level. Try to keep it as close to zero as you can with water changes. If you can't keep it that low as long as it is below one just add enough prime to treat the full 20 gallons directly to the tank every other day. If it gets up to one do a water change to get it back down below one and again add enough Prime to treat the full 20 gallons.

Once your cycle catches back up you can reduce the amount of Prime to just enough to treat the new water when doing a water change.
Thank you. It seems i am doing all I can then.
 

Heron

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You seem to be doing everything right, you've just got to be patient now
 

saltwater60

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Yes removing the gravel removed a lot of bacteria. Bacteria grow on surfaces and think about all the surface area you removed when removing the gravel. Watch your feeding and do lots of smaller water changes and you will catch back up.
 
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Makalah

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Yes removing the gravel removed a lot of bacteria. Bacteria grow on surfaces and think about all the surface area you removed when removing the gravel. Watch your feeding and do lots of smaller water changes and you will catch back up.
Is the 50% WC too much? Should I be doing like 25% a few times a week?
 

Truckjohn

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My tank is still not cycled.
So originally when I put my 8 guppies into my 20 gallon tank I had 0 ppm ammonia 0 ppm nitrites and 5 ppm nitrates so I thought, cool! I’m cycled and added my fish! I changed my substrate from gravel to sand after a few days because I wanted to add some Corydoras and didn’t want the gravel to harm their barbels. My ammonia spiked and my readings went to about 2 ppm ammonia 0 ppm nitrites and 0 ppm nitrates... so I believed at this point my tank was never really cycled and I was now in a fish in cycle. I’ve kept my ammonia around .25-1 ppm with water changes and saw my nitrites go to .25 for ONE day and then disappear. I am still at .25-.50 ppm ammonia 0 ppm nitrites and 0 ppm nitrates and I am at a complete loss as what else to do it get this tank cycled. I use prime and stability with every WC (which is 50% when ammonia reaches 1 ppm) and prime every other day along with dosing with stability per the bottles instructions when setting up a new tank. My temp is at 76 and my pH is 7.4. I thought maybe I was doing too many WCs and now dropped down until the ammonia reaches almost 1 ppm and I do have algae growing (which never happened before) so something SEEMS to be happening I am just not reading any results. Oh, and I’ve lost 4 guppies :(
Whoah! Slow down on the chemical rodeo.

Please *only* use Prime as a dechlorination chemical. Don't add it to your tank - only use it in your water change water per bottle directions. It can react with the additives in the Stability and prevent it from "launching" the beneficial bacteria.

Next - use Stability per the bottle directions. I have heard good things about it but you still need to follow the specific directions.

You need these things to successfully colonize a tank:
1. Oxygenation - an air stone or a sponge filter is handy
2. Correct Bacteria - either natural or the ones in a product like TSS or Dr. Tim's. I have heard good things about Stability but I have not personally used it.
3. Correct pH range. I personally found it goes best around pH 7.
4. Don't run the Chemical Rodeo. Chemicals including excess water conditioners can quickly crash the cycle during it's most sensitive establishment period...
5. A source of ammonia - your fish. If you try to constantly remove or tie up this ammonia chemically - your bacteria won't be able to get it.
6. Do NOT over-clean. This is the #1 thing that crashes cycles.
7. You need to maintain Colonization sites. BB colonizes surfaces like your gravel, the inside of your filter, and filter media. If you are constantly cleaning or disturbing this stuff - it can't colonize....

My recommendation: Prepare your water change water a day in advance until you are sure your cycle is established. This lets it air out and allows the chemical to become less harmful to your establishing bacteria.
 

FinalFins

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Truckjohn,

most chemically ammonia lockers lock ammonia to ammonium and the bacteria dont care at all which one they eat.

and, you must be always removing ammonia. For the fishes sake. Thats why fish in cycles take so much longer than fishless.
 

Truckjohn

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I have personally crashed cycles multiple times by overdosing water conditioner chemicals. I have even done it with Prime.

These products work well when used according to bottle directions. They are not magical elixrs which fix all your problems if dosed at random/excessive amounts....

Loosing the script and jumping on the chemical rodeo is a sure way to crash your cycle and run yourself batty... Been there. Got the tee-shirt. ;) ;)
 

FinalFins

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Now I agree that they are not cure all, but prime does not crash cycles. Why would it? There are other factors when it comes to crashed cycles, so don't blame the product.
 

Truckjohn

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I did it! It absolutely will when used incorrectly.

I was freaking out because ammonia was bumping around between 0 and 0.5ppm depending on the day:.. I read about Prime and how it is "completely harmless" and how it "neutralizes ammonia" - so I sloshed in like 1/4 bottle..

The next day it was 2ppm and jumped to 6ppm the day after. I was doing daily 50% water changes to keep it at 1ppm.....

Yes - I crashed it with Prime. A little is AWESOME when used according to their dosing instructions. It is perhaps the best water conditioner on the market - but it won't save you from yourself when you brain fart like this. ;) ;).
 

saltwater60

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I did it! It absolutely will when used incorrectly.

I was freaking out because ammonia was bumping around between 0 and 0.5ppm depending on the day:.. I read about Prime and how it is "completely harmless" and how it "neutralizes ammonia" - so I sloshed in like 1/4 bottle..

The next day it was 2ppm and jumped to 6ppm the day after. I was doing daily 50% water changes to keep it at 1ppm.....

Yes - I crashed it with Prime. A little is AWESOME when used according to their dosing instructions. It is perhaps the best water conditioner on the market - but it won't save you from yourself when you brain fart like this. ;) ;).
Adding that much as you now know was a poor choice.
the web site says it smells like sulfur and likely is a sulfur based compound. You likely trashed your ph and adding that amount of prime causes your test kits to go wacky. The manufacturer says test kits won’t read proper with the use of prime. Who knows where your ammonia was and likely took sometime to convert the sulfur into sulfuric acid and your ph went into the toilet causing your crash.
https://www.seachem.com/prime.php
 
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