Hello, need mini cycle advise, please

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muelleh

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I just joined today after countless hours of "googling" what to do to fix this minI cycle I'm dealing with...

30 gal established planted freshwater tank w/ 2 20-40 gal filters: one Whisper in-tank and one AquaTech HOB. Am on a well, so have no chlorine problems but have used Stress Coat and Stress Zyme with each water change. Have had no problems until now (3 years).

2 angels, 8 tetras, 5 corys, 2 siamese algae eaters, snails (cull them every time I change the water)

I cleaned the tank before I went out of town for a week: cleaned both filter media in tank water -they were covered with grown gunk; replaced both carbon filters; cleaned the decorations and scrubbed off the three air bubble "things"; cleaned off the leaves of the plants. I realize now this was a mistake and probably caused all this. Fish were fed while I was gone and about 20% of the water was replaced twice.

Came back to a dying tetra (died right after I changed the water and vacced). I tested the water: .25 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 20 nitrate. Started in with the PWCs (with vac) every day to get the ammonia down. That was 14 days ago and still the ammonia creeps up to between .25 and .5 in 12 hours. I have cut back to feeding once a day. Nitrites still 0 and nitrates barely measurable after all the water changes.

From what I have read, here are my choices:

1. Continue with the PWCs with Stress Coat until problem is solved
2. Use AmQuel+ with every 24 hr water change until problem is solved
3. Use Prime with every 48 hr water change (Seachem told me that) until problem is solved.

I bought AmQuel+ about 10 days ago (LFS didn't have Prime), opened it but haven't used it. Bought Prime this weekend but haven't opened it. So would rather use the AmQuel+ rather than throw it out, but want to do what is best for my fish. But I plan to use Prime as my conditioner once I get through all this.

Thoughts? And thanks!
 

konstargirl

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HI and welcome to the forum. What I can see is that your tank is a little overstocked( Not extremely overstocked though.) Also you are going through a minI cycle. It should always be ammonia 0. Your nitritess and nitrates are fine.

What test kit are you using? Many of us here used API master test kit.
 

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Hey. welcome to Fishlore! What are you using to test your water? I also noticed your tank is a bit overstocked/has a bit to much bioload. not horrendous though. might want to look into it, however Alright. Nitrites and Nitrates are looking great. as this is a minI cycle you May want to increase stess zyme to add dailly as it will help grow more beneficial bacteria to handle the small amount of ammonia. perhaps put 5 tsps in your filter a day*you have 2. so put 2.5 Tsps in each filter dailly for a week* And continue water changes and you will go from there. and because of the fact you have ammonia present. you may want to keep a Tsp or so of aquarium salt in your tank as it does make ammonia and nitrites less toxic. will ensure your fish are safe as you slowly fix the issue. Let me know how this works out

Regards

Aquarium
 

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Use the Amquel+ for now. Change your water daily with this conditioner, it will detox the ammonia (making it safe for your fish while letting the filter remove it) for 24 hours until you change the water again.

The good news with a minI cycle is that they do not last long, but this method should sort you out! I don't know about adding salt to a freshwater tank so I will not comment on that, but the Amquel+ will do the ammonia/nitrite detoxing without adding salt and possibly stressing the fish more as they are not used to salt in the water at this stage.
 

callichma

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Sorry for your troubles. I wouldn't use salt as cories hate it. I agree with using the amquel+ with daily water changes. What is your pH? BB won't grow if the pH is too low. Also, have you been adding the StressZyme with each w/c? The bacteria in StressZyme doesn't reproduce in the water (that's why you have to add it with each w/c). You may have gotten rid of your bacteria with your frequent water changes. Personally, I'd rather have the natural bacteria that reproduces itself so you don't have to add it with each w/c. The bacteria in the StressZyme compete with the natural bacteria for ammonia, so the natural bacteria can't take hold.

Good luck with getting your cycle back. I know how frustrating it is when all is not right with your tank.
 

Kunsthure

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Partial water changes with Prime or Amquel+ every day is the best way to make it through. You could use the StressCoat in addition to them. I'd so water changes every day with whichever one you choose, don't go 48 hours.

I agree that you should stop using StressZyme for the reasons given above.

And welcome to Fish Lore!

-Lisa
 
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muelleh

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Thanks to all for your help!! I did quit using the Stress Zyme several days ago as I read (from numerous sources) that it is at best a waste of money. My ph is about 7.2.

If I use the AmQuel+ (as it is already open), will I be able to get a reasonably "accurate" reading of ammonia levels 24 hours after I use it (using the API ammonia kit for freshwater/saltwater)? If not, how will I know if the problem is solved? Will the nitrates start rising again? Right now they are barely perceptible...
 

Meenu

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Welcome to fishlore. Our members who use Amelquel+ often purchase the powder-based ammonia test kit from the manufacturer's website. However, some people have reported that if they wait 24 hours before testing, they get accurate results with the API kit.

I do know that if you contact the manufacturer, they tell you that their product is incompatible with liquid ammonia tests.
 
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muelleh

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Thank you! I contacted both Kordon and Seachem about AmQuel+/Prime (a couple of times each) and got conflicting information from their reps. One basically told me not to worry if the source of the ammonia problem was resolved because the product would take care of any ammonia (=use it forever)! All 4 tried to convince me to buy additional products. I have only used Stress Coat and Stress Zyme (which I have discontinued) up to this point and really don't want to have to rely on chemicals to keep ammonia in check except in the case of emergencies. Another one told me that ammonia levels between .25 - .5 weren't "too bad" (which relative to higher levels might be true), but I consider anything above 0 to be terrible.

And since I am new to this forum, is there a more appropriate area to be posting about cycling issues than this Welcome one? Thanks!

I am going to stay with the API kit and wait 24 hrs. Hopefully that will work.
 

Meenu

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There's a nitrogen cycle section, but you're okay... the mods will move this thread if they need to.

Letting your tank cycle is a better idea than using chemicals to maintain it, I agree.
 
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muelleh

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Thanks, Meenu!
 

potatos

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If you are having to cull the snails frequently, you may be overfeeding. they should keep themselves in check with regular gravel vacs/water changes. their population is limited to how much extra food there is. perhaps reducing the amount you deed will help with the minI cycle as well as your snail problem?
 
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muelleh

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Yes, I have been overfeeding and had hoped that having two filters would help with that. Since all this started I have cut back to once a day and am vacuuming more thoroughly. I am always amazed at how much has gotten down in the gravel! I'm keeping a few snails to help with that...

As for the overstocking issue, I had hoped to get one more albino cory (I have two and three emeralds) but won't if that will further exacerbate the problem.
 

callichma

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muelleh said:
Thanks to all for your help!! I did quit using the Stress Zyme several days ago as I read (from numerous sources) that it is at best a waste of money. My ph is about 7.2.

If I use the AmQuel+ (as it is already open), will I be able to get a reasonably "accurate" reading of ammonia levels 24 hours after I use it (using the API ammonia kit for freshwater/saltwater)? If not, how will I know if the problem is solved? Will the nitrates start rising again? Right now they are barely perceptible...
As I understand it, the API test kit measures both NH3 (ammonia) and NH4 (ammonium). Prime and Amquel+ both convert the NH3 to the safe NH4. Your test kit will still measure ammonia, but with Prime or Amquel added, it will be the nontoxic NH4. With the daily w/c with Prime or Amquel+ (add the amount to treat the entire volume of the tank) the ammonium present won't be toxic to your fish. As the tank cycles, the ammonia levels will drop, the nitrite will go up, then both ammonia and nitrite will be 0, and nitrates will be present. Whew! Did that make any sense?
 

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Good morning,

Sorry to hear about your cycling issues and fish loss.

I've moved your thread to the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle section of the forum.

I use Amquel + and have for many years. I'm also using the API (liquid) tests. I wait 24 hours to test once I've used Amquel + and I haven't had any issues with inaccurate readings.

Best of luck!
Ken
 
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muelleh

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Thanks! I put the AmQuel+ in yesterday and will test at the same time today and add more as needed. Since my tank had been running for 3 years and I do have some nitrates, do I still need to test for nitrites? I have been, JIC...
 
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