Greetings, no fish yet but starting a cycle

aHumanBeing

Well Known Member
Messages
642
Reaction score
8
Points
53
Experience
1 year
*API master readings in later posts
*My choice of fish is in the 18th post enjoy

Hey everyone,
My wife got me a surprise fish tank for Christmas. It's an Aqueon 36 Gallon kit with stand and i've got it up and running with the HOB AC filter, 200watt heater and light. I stuck three faux rock formations in there and four fake plants along with (2) 25lb packs of colored blue rock. However I've made a few mistakes that seem to be working out. For one I forgot to rinse the rocks...woops, but I cleaned up all the dust in the water. Another was that I filled the water up with a large cat food container that I washed with water (i'll touch on that later.) The tank has been up and running completely full for 3 full days with water and conditioner per instructions. I woke up today to slightly hazy water which I was slightly annoyed about. So when I saw the hazy water I went out to grab my ammonia test vial and test strips. The water tested for Ammonia which (correct me if i'm wrong) means that my cycle has started even without a bacteria (or fish) being added? I can only assume that the cat food container had food remnants that dissolved in the water and began my cycle? So I went and added some NutraFin cycle so the bacteria will consume the ammonia. Again I have no fish in there so I shouldn't kill anything I plan on waiting a week or longer before adding any sort of fish.

Also just to add, I won't just hop off the forum once you all respond. I frequent probably 5 different varieties of forums so don't feel i'm just here for quick answers and leaving

Main questions: (with test strip photos below)
1. Did I start my cycle by using a catfood container for water?
2. Will my nutrafin cycle clean up that ammonia even without fish in the tank?
3. Do I need to wait even longer since my ammonia reading is .50 for fishes?
4. One fish two fish red fish blue fish?


image

image

image

image
 

AshWolFF

Well Known Member
Messages
1,214
Reaction score
19
Points
83
Experience
More than 10 years
1) I don't think so. Often it can just be in your water depending on where you live. This is why I recommend conditioning with Seachem Prime which will get rid of Ammonia, Nitrites and lower high amounts of Nitrates IF there are any. Test your water with the strips and you will find out.

2) Cycling takes about 6 weeks. Most people find that cycling with fish is not the best option because it can be considered cruelty. It's all based on opinion. I usually run the tank with additive bacterial supplements and add 2 fish maximum AFTER 2-3 weeks to help along the ammonia.

3) Test every week to see how your cycle is evening. Click on the highlighted Nitrogen Cycle or go to the sticky and read up on it.

The only other advice I'd give is please do a lot of research on the fish you are considering. When the tank is undergoing preparation you can stack up on books. As people say, fill your library before your tank. Some sites are reliable but most are not so you can always come here asking or looking for proper tank sizes.

Als avoid listening to petstore advice as it does have a tendency to lead you on a wrong path.

Can't wait to see what fish you choose.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #3

aHumanBeing

Well Known Member
Messages
642
Reaction score
8
Points
53
Experience
1 year
AshWolFF said:
1) I don't think so. Often it can just be in your water depending on where you live. This is why I recommend conditioning with Seachem Prime which will get rid of Ammonia, Nitrites and lower high amounts of Nitrates IF there are any. Test your water with the strips and you will find out.

2) Cycling takes about 6 weeks. Most people find that cycling with fish is not the best option because it can be considered cruelty. It's all based on opinion. I usually run the tank with additive bacterial supplements and add 2 fish maximum AFTER 2-3 weeks to help along the ammonia.

3) Test every week to see how your cycle is evening. Click on the highlighted Nitrogen Cycle or go to the sticky and read up on it.

The only other advice I'd give is please do a lot of research on the fish you are considering. When the tank is undergoing preparation you can stack up on books. As people say, fill your library before your tank. Some sites are reliable but most are not so you can always come here asking or looking for proper tank sizes.

Als avoid listening to petstore advice as it does have a tendency to lead you on a wrong path.

Can't wait to see what fish you choose.
Ah, I wish I had known about that SeaChem Prime beforehand but maybe I can use it when I change water? For now I have Aqueon Water conditioner.

Yeah cycling seems to take a really long time from everything I've read. I just remember being a kid and setting up a tank with an under gravel filter. We went out and bought fish then dumped them into the tank with no cycling whatsoever...the fish started to die that night. I definitely don't want a repeat of that scenario again . So it sounds like I should wait a couple weeks because I really don't want to be cruel to any little hearty fish.

I pretty much avoid every store employee at all stores lol.

I can't even seem to wrap my head around which fish to buy yet, getting this tank running is confusing.
 

jdhef

Moderator
Messages
14,216
Reaction score
3,232
Points
583
Experience
More than 10 years
Welcome to FishLore!

I'm not sure where your ammonia came from, but you may have ammonia in your tap water. So it might be a good idea to test your tap water.

As you know you know, when you cycle a tank you actually grow bacteria that consumes ammonia and releases nitrites and then grow a second bacteria that consumes nitrites and releases nitrates.

Nutrifin Cycle contains bacterias that consume ammonia and nitrite, but sadly the type of bacteria in Cycle is not a self-sustaining form of those bacterias. So after a week or so the bacteria dies off leaving you with no bacteria to consume ammonia and nitrite. But while it is alive it is out competing the naturally forming, self-sustaining bacteria you really want. So I would recommend against using Cycle.

Do you know what method you are going to use to cycle your tank?
 

fishnewbie33

Well Known Member
Messages
1,376
Reaction score
18
Points
123
Experience
2 years
Welcome to FL!

Test your source water so you know the baseline for all parameters as noted in the above post.

It looks like your tank pH is around 6-6.5...cycling is difficult to unlikely the closer you get to 6.

Many on this site recommend the API Freshwater Master Test Kit (liquid) for more accurate testing.

Cycling requires a constant supply of ammonia (provided by fish, chemical, etc.). Otherwise the bacteria will die off due to starvation.

If you do fishless cycling, raising the tank temp will speed up the cycling process (around 86°).

I have used the nutrafin product for cycling, and did not have good results (no cycling). I have cycled 5 tanks with Tetra SafeStart, and never had any problems. https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfishforum/threads/q-a-with-tetra-about-tetra-safestart.58116/ If you do use TSS wait 24 hrs after using a water conditioner, or you will disrupt the bacteria process.

Nikita wrote a very informative post covering cycling, ammonia and other issues (Thanks Nikita!):


Good luck!
 

77Impala

Well Known Member
Messages
549
Reaction score
1
Points
53
Experience
5 to 10 years
AshWolFF said:
Als avoid listening to petstore advice as it does have a tendency to lead you on a wrong path.
Big box store yes do avoid their advice. But I have found that a local mom/pop store generally offers excellent advice.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #7

aHumanBeing

Well Known Member
Messages
642
Reaction score
8
Points
53
Experience
1 year
Thanks for the responses, it looks like the ammonia is from my tap water. I just did a test of it a 5 mins ago and yeah it's the water. As for cycling I don't really want to cycle little hearty fish, but I may try the TSS if this Cycle doesn't work soon then add some hearty fish after a few weeks. Then again I could go fishless but 6+ weeks is an awfully long time. Agh...decisions.

image
 

ravenlady13

Well Known Member
Messages
1,356
Reaction score
8
Points
73
Experience
Just started
1. Depending on your water source, your water may have chloramines, which, when detoxified with dechlorinator, often show up as ammonia in your tank.
2. I'm not 100% sure, as I've never used it personally, but I believe Cycle is a bacterial culture to jumpstart your cycle. However, without a continuous source of ammonia, the bacteria will eat up any ammonia in your tank and then die of starvation. Most people don't realize that when you're stocking a fish tank with living things, technically the numbers are in the billions, counting all the little bacteria lol
3. Ideally you want your ammonia to read 0, with 0 nitrites and > 10 nitrates. This is a fully cycled tank. As to weather you add fish, this depends on what cycling method you're using. I know with Tetra SafeStart, you should add fish, then add the bacteria 24 hours later so it has a food source, but I definitely wouldn't recommend fully stocking your tank immediately.

For other consideration: I personally think that the test-tune tests like you've used for your ammonia are more accurate than strips, and in all honesty, more cost-effective. I know at the LPS I frequent, a 5-pack of ammonia test strips is about $10. The API master test kit, which includes tests for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, ph, and high-range ph, is usually about $20-$30 and allows for testing up to 450 times.
A 200w heater seems like a bit much for a 36 gallon. They're rated for tanks up to 55, so keep a close eye on your thermometer until you've reached a stable temperature appropriate for your fish, usually around 78 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on your species.
Hazy water can be a sign of a bacterial bloom, not necessarily the bacteria you want. It should sort itself out on its own in a couple of days. Ammonia is clear and will not show up as clouding in the water. I had an ammonia issue and was regularly testing at 4-8ppm, and my water was crystal clear.
 

fishnewbie33

Well Known Member
Messages
1,376
Reaction score
18
Points
123
Experience
2 years
If you use TSS, you will need to add fish with 2 hrs of adding the TSS (add TSS 24 hrs after adding water conditioner).
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #11

aHumanBeing

Well Known Member
Messages
642
Reaction score
8
Points
53
Experience
1 year
Well good news, my ammonia levels have dropped to nearly zero. The color is now closer to yellow than to green in my opinion. The tank is still hazy but I have hope that I can add fish in a reasonable amount of time. I'll add a picture when I'm off work.

Edit
Photos below

image

image

image
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #13

aHumanBeing

Well Known Member
Messages
642
Reaction score
8
Points
53
Experience
1 year
Man I almost got some fish today but petsmart made sure I didn't, I was going to a local petstore today but they were closed so I will go there tomorrow. I just decided I would go look at what petsmart had and in all honesty the fish looked really healthy for the most part. With the exception of the Danio tank which had a dead guy stuck at the top. So we decided Neon Tetras would be better and they had a bazillion baby cleaner fish in there (don't remember the name) hanging out on a sandstone rock. So a disgruntled lady who didn't work in that section offered to help us which was nice. I asked if she had a valve I could use to limit water while getting them used to the PH of my water in a separate container. She looked at me like I was crazy but offered to help (I should have left then.) So she began trying to herd 6 Neons for me, she started off by taking water from the Tetra tank and dumping it into another random tank beside it. I was mortified for the other species of fish that she just dumped the water into. Then she chased the neons around the tank as fast as possible and as rough as possible. In the process she shuffled the sandstone rock around getting them all in the mix of Tetras. It was a catastrophe for her to try and deal with since she was looking at the fish through the top of the water.

My wife sat beside her nicely guiding her how to get the fish but the employee wouldn't listen and just kept moving faster and catching fish. So she got 2 sucker fish and 1 neon and asked if I wanted the sucker fish... I did not. At this point other customers are asking her if she needs help catching the fish since they had neons before. Of course employees cannot let customers do it but I really wish she had let the lady help. Moreover everytime she got a fish she would hold the poor neons in the air for like 30 seconds trying to determine if they were in the net (THEY WERE and we told her.) Eventually we got our 6 neons in a container outside the tank but not in a bag yet. She really wants us to take the little sucker fish which I really dont' want in a new tank. So she gets the bright idea to use her bare hand to scoop around inside the little container. At this point another customer and my wife suggest her use a small net to get the sucker fish out. She doesn't want to because "We always use our hands to get the fish." Oh for christ sake, I know these people have hand sanitizer all over their hands because it's in like every isle and I always see employees use it.Therefore we object and insist she use a net, which she does. But she does it 30 feet away at the cricket stand. So this lady has the poor little sucker fish in the air in a net all the way back to the tank. Then the final straw was her slamming our little neons in the faces with her little net trying to move the other fish.

At that point I have had enough, I cannot take these poor neons with all the abuse they have been put through. I'm confident they will die as soon as I get them home and feel really bad for the cleaner fish. I tell her nicely that we will pass on the fish and she looks disgusted. I don't tell her why but I hope the other customers explain why I left. They could see the look of horror on my face and they also seemed horrified. Hopefully the other customers pass on the neons as well. Those poor fish have been in the air too long, have been smacked with nets and handled with bare hands repeatedly.

But on a positive note, I got a master API test kit on sale. I do like Petsmart and feel bad that she had to endure pulling fish out only to have me leave. But I cannot sit around and let those fish die in my tank as soon as i'm home.
 

sheilashoelady

Well Known Member
Messages
822
Reaction score
11
Points
53
Experience
3 years
That's a really unfortunate situation. Neon tetras are sensitive fish, and I probably wouldn't recommend them as a starter fish anyway.

Are you planning on using the fish to cycle the tank, or to use with TSS?
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #15

aHumanBeing

Well Known Member
Messages
642
Reaction score
8
Points
53
Experience
1 year
sheilashoelady said:
That's a really unfortunate situation. Neon tetras are sensitive fish, and I probably wouldn't recommend them as a starter fish anyway.

Are you planning on using the fish to cycle the tank, or to use with TSS?
Yeah it was really saddening, I feel bad for those sucker fish and Neons. I'm going to go with fish now, most likely Danios if the local fish store has good ones. I kind of decided on the Neons at the store since they are supposed to be sort of hardy and their Danios didn't look good. But apparently Neons need lower PH than Danios? I believe my Cycle sorted out the Ammonia so I don't think i'll be using TSS for now.

image
 

sheilashoelady

Well Known Member
Messages
822
Reaction score
11
Points
53
Experience
3 years
Your pH looks to be around 8.0. Same as mine! I've had the best luck with livebearers so far: guppies, platys and swordtails for me.

I would start with 3 fish in the tank... 1 male and 2 female if you want babies, all males if you don't.

There are many color varieties and they are full of personality!
 

ravenlady13

Well Known Member
Messages
1,356
Reaction score
8
Points
73
Experience
Just started
Yes, guppies! guess my favorite? It's terrible the way that employee was treating the little neons poor little guys! I know some fish can be difficult to net, but fish are also generally pretty curious. When I need to net someone in my tank, I put the net in and hold it still. After a few minutes, they'll come to see what's appeared in their home and I can wait until the correct fish swims in front of the net and gently scoop it up. Occasionally they'll even swim into the net on their own if you aren't whipping it around and chasing them with it!
 

77Impala

Well Known Member
Messages
549
Reaction score
1
Points
53
Experience
5 to 10 years
Congrats on your cycling. Sorry to hear about your experience with the employee. I am waiting on my API FW MTK which should arrive tomorrow.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #19

aHumanBeing

Well Known Member
Messages
642
Reaction score
8
Points
53
Experience
1 year
Well I have made a decision on fishies. We went to a recommended fish shop and picked up 6 tiger barbs. I floated their bag with the top open and swapped their water every 10 mins for an hour and a half. They are super curious and pretty hilarious to watch. They follow each other around in a line around the tank. But then when lights are out they just hang out in random spots all around the tank. They have pecked at each other a bit which was scary but they calmed down. I actually ended up feeding them last night and they were ravenously hungry.

I'm a little annoyed that these fish are kind of aggressive but I'll just have to choose suitable tank mates later on. But for now theses little fishies are hilarious to watch and keep our land animals very entertained.

Below is a video of them swimming around my tank for almost the first time. The noises you hear in the background are my dog shaking her ears and my wife's 3D printer making something.




http://youtu.be/XdupURYugeQ
 
Toggle Sidebar

Aquarium Calculator

Follow FishLore!





Top Bottom