Help me cycle my tank correctly with sensitive fish in it.

Trio123
  • #1
I know this is an oxymoron and is not possible but I've got a major problem. I started 65 gallon tank. The tank cycled with three gourami's and two cory cats (I know, not the best species to have used in the first place)... I used the product Cycle as directed and the ammonia went up and back down and nitrite went up and back down. Ammonia, nitrite and nitrate stayed at 0 for a several weeks and the Dwarf Gourami died along with one cory cat. Then I added more cory cats. Those cory cats died but the water tested at 0 levels for everything. A week later I added an African Knife about 4 to 5 inches long. A week after him being in the tank the ammonia got up between 0.25 and 0.5. The level went back down after a water change and everything was 0 again so I added two more cory cats, one died while levels were 0, the other died when the nitrites were at 0.25 (three or four days ago). Now the tank has nitrite up to 0.5 and I changed the water two days ago and two days before that. Oh and I'm added an extra dosage of prime.

I am reduceing my feeding more but I can't reduce it anymore without negative effects on my fish. I feed an 1/8 of a Tetramin (cory and gourami eat that) and one pinch of mysis shrimp for the knife and the gourami (the cory cat eats it too).

I think that my tank is not cycled correctly but I can't get the African Knife out of there... nor do I have a good place to put him. I need to know if I can add Bio-Spira now? I can't find it in stores here but I can order it online. I got the hair-brained idea to a few hardy low light plants to act as a biological filter... java moss (I know it can take over you tank). I'm doing water changes every other day on a 65 gallon... I don't have time for that... so I got desperate... I'll pull them out the second they look like their dieing or someone tells me that was a horrible idea

sorry for the length... please help. Thanks


ps please see my aquarium info and profile pictures of my tank for more info.
 
SereneReyn
  • #2
wow, a lot of deaths... i'm sorry to hear that. i'm NOT an expert, but I'll tell you what I would do...

first of all take your bottle of cycle and throw it in the garbage. then order some bio-spira, and if you can afford it, get it there ASAP. the plants won't hurt a thing, and will probably help. as a short-term fix, you could use a little carbon/ammo-chip mix to help take the toxins out of your water... but i'd only recommend this until your tank is stable, and has a well established bacterial colony. BEWARE - you have to change carbon regularly, as it can only hold so much of the bad stuff. meanwhile, hold off on adding fish, and test regularly with a liquid test kit. water changes could maybe be put off to once a week, IF you do the other stuff I suggested and IF your test readings don't get bad... and then once it's fully cycled, you could maybe go to every 2 weeks.
 
Trio123
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Thank you for you response! I looked online and found out it is gonna be 70 dollars to get a bottle of biospira shipped here in seven days 20.00 for refrigerated shipping and 10 for regular shipping and 30 for the biospira.

So instead I took a tour of the local fish stores in the area to see if anyone carried it. One of them said that this is a common problem in tall tanks and what I need is more circulation... trusting this advise I got a small powerhead. She also suggested I try this product called Stability by SeaChem that should help establish the bio filter better. Last suggestion from another guy working there was to rinse my frozen food before adding it to the tank. So I'm gonna try that... hopefully it will work and if not then 70 dollars for biospira it is!

oh ps LOL yep the Cycle is in the trash now

oh and I am using carbon... not ammonia bags though... I have just been using prime to neutralize it... I will try that too... thanks!
 
COBettaCouple
  • #4
Using Prime will help. The "cycle" was causing a lot of the trouble but now your tank can cycle properly. Most likely, that was the only thing wrong. The plants should help with cycling and water changes do slow down the cycling a bit, but are necessary when doing cycling with fish.
 
angelfish220
  • #5
What it sounds like is that your water changes is preventing the bacteria from growing in the first place, that or the plants are( or 'cycle'). Biospira is what I would reccommend. Also, a warmer tank helps bacteria grow so puting your thermometer at 80 might help the bacteria along.
 
Trio123
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
Thanks guys. I will keep all this in mind and turn up the temp a little to 80. The pump I got has a QuickFilter attached and adds bubbles so increases oxygenation. So even if it is unnessacary it gives me a little extra piece of mind. Everything is 0 currently. Stay tuned to see what happens next in the land of the 65 gallon tall... not very funny am I?
 
COBettaCouple
  • #7
Once the cycle is out of it, the tank should be able to cycle normally and you should start seeing readings on the tests. Hopefully, the cycling won't take long.
 
Trio123
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
Well the tank was at 0 a week so I got a few more cory cats (3 1in and a half guys) again yesterday... stupid I know but I thought my little guy was lonely and I tested it everyday and it didnt do anything... now he'll probably wind up dead and lonely. Anyway while I'm acclimating the cory cats I tested the ammonia again (this is before their in the water). And it was slightly dark yellow on the API Master Test Kit so it is not quite 0.25 but not quite 0 either. Banging head against wall... stupid stupid stupid. So I am ordering the Bio Spira but I was surprised to read on other forums that people had had crummy luck with this product too... Supposedly it will cycle your tank in 24 hours (I have trouble believeing that) and the ammonia and nitrite should stay out of lethal ranges. But several other people were saying that their ammonia got up to 3-5 I'm such an idiot, is there any hope for me? I put in a little extra Amquel to try to bind the ammonia before I added the cory's. And I've got Prime too, just using up the extra.

Oh and ps the Stability stuff seems as worthless as the cycle.

pps The best results I've read about are when people add Bio Spira and waited on a water change for a week so I am going to try this unless the ammonia levels get lethal. Should I do a water change right before I add it? or will the bacteria have nothing to eat?
 
Trio123
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
Maybe I am just being overly paranoid. I hate playing god... I hate little fishies dieing cause I messed up But the ammonia is still at that same level and my boyfriend is yelling at me that it's yellow not green (no ammonia vs. a little)... either way... everyone looks alive and well for now. And the BioSpira will be here tomorrow.
 
Narcicius
  • #10
I would do the water change before you add Biospira, The bacteria are introduced in a massive amount most of the bacteria will die pretty soon, only enough bacteria will survive to handle the ammonia produced by the fish already in the tank. So don't worry about the bacteria going hungry as long as your fish are pooping you'll be fine.
 
Trio123
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
So I got the Bio-Spira and used it yesterday. All the cory cats are still alive (although one had a near death experience, see my "cory cats on death row" thread) but I've got another problem which I am debating how to address. My baby angel has a spot on his left fin... it could be ich but he is eating fine and acting normal. Everyone else seems alright so I don't want to go crazy. I just added the Bio-Spira (dont want to kill the bacteria) and I am leary about using Malachite Green with my African Knife in there. I put some of the BioSpira in my 10 gallon and am trying to do a fishless cycle with that tank but it won't be ready for quarentineing anybody for a while I think. I have Maracide on hand if any other spots appear but for now I am not doing anything but putting garlic in their food and waiting. What do you think?

oh my levels currently are nitrate 0, nitrite 0, ammonia somewhere between 0 and 0.25, and temperture 80. So far they are exactly the same as they have been the last week. I followed your advise Narcicius and did a water change before I added the Bio Spira.
 
Trio123
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
Whatever was on my angels fin fell off. Yeah
 
Lucy
  • #13
Hi, I hope your angel is ok.
It sounds like you are getting back on the right track.
Now that you added bio-spiro to the 10 gallon don't forget to feed it.
 
Tavel
  • #14
I don't think the problem was with the "cycle" product...I think it was lack of patience. Adding too many fish too soon, replacing dead fish, and trying quick fixes. When fish die in a cycling tank it actually helps the tank reach equilibrium. You shouldn't impulsively replace the dead fish. Wait a few weeks, THEN add more fish.

I've used cycle to start new tanks and it works well. (not as well as using water from an established tank, of course). The trick is not following their directions, they want you to use way more than you should so they can keep selling product.

it took me 3 months to get my tanks up to full stock...adding 2-3 fish every two weeks. It takes patience and great attention to detail...but it beats the snot out of paying $70 for biospira.
 
Trio123
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
My tank is three months old and is still not fully stocked. It had one pearl gourami for two weeks as my fish died (the dwarf, the two cory cats, and I returned the Gold Gourami) The Knife was in the quarantine tank during that time. I have never added more than 6 inches of fish at a time... thanks but your completely wrong.

oh and the tank appeared to be cycled before I added the knife and actually before the first cory cats died. I've never added fish when the ammonia or nitrite was anything but 0.

and for a little more detail I added the knife and waited two weeks, then two more cory cats they died (with no ammonia or nitrite present), then 3 more cory cats a week later, then an angel just a week ago. If your just trying to add insult to injury you did a great job. Mad props!

oh and the 10 gallon. Thanks I have almost forgotten several nights I hope my 15 dollars worth of bacteria don't starve!


After all these problems I think angelfish220 really hit the nail on the head. My water changes and especially my gravel vacuuming is what kept the bacteria from developing a good population. I also think that the tank has cycled but only with a small population that is slowly catching up as I add more fish (hence the small ammonia spike that was definitely light green when I added the knife). I believe this is probably because of a lack of food source (not very much waste) and me interrupting their development by gravel vacuuming and rinsing one of the filters a month in (with dechlorinated water but none the less still taking out some of their population). After a lot of research I also think that my use of Amquel and Prime may have bound up the ammonia and nitrite so that it was unavailable to the bacteria. The information I found was directly contradictory so I don't know if this is really true or not but some sources say it does and others say it doesn't so I am currently just using AquaSafe which doesn't bind ammonia and nitrite. Keeping the others for use if I have another spike. I am just trying to do everything perfectly and in so doing am messing it up.

But oh well it's just money, there are worse things than fishy paranoia that I could have thrown it away on.
 
Tavel
  • #16
My tank is three months old and is still not fully stocked. It had one pearl gourami for two weeks as my fish died (the dwarf, the two cory cats, and I returned the Gold Gourami) The Knife was in the quarantine tank during that time. I have never added more than 6 inches of fish at a time... thanks but your completely wrong.

oh and the tank appeared to be cycled before I added the knife and actually before the first cory cats died. I've never added fish when the ammonia or nitrite was anything but 0.

and for a little more detail I added the knife and waited two weeks, then two more cory cats they died (with no ammonia or nitrite present), then 3 more cory cats a week later, then an angel just a week ago. If your just trying to add insult to injury you did a great job. Mad props!

my apologies, the timescales were hard to follow. I was reading and it sounded like you were dropping 4-5 fish in every few days.

At least it's rounding out now, whatever you're doing (or not doing) is working.
 
Trio123
  • Thread Starter
  • #17
ok well now I feel bad. Sorry I snapped at you. :-[
 
Tavel
  • #18
it's ok, I did come off a little snobby.
 

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