Help. New To Cycling

Dadeso
  • #1
Hi. My name is Aidan and I think I might have screwed my fish.
I have 2 black skirt tetras, 1 golden panda molly, 2 blue platys, 1 white skirt tetra, and 1 glass catfish. I have them in a 20 gallon wide tank with black sand substrate with a little castle. I have a marineland 160 canister filter. I rushed getting the fish big time. I set up the tank and canister then about an hour or two later I got the fish. I have had the fish for about 2 or 3 days and they are still alive thankfully. I have noticed a lot of waste in my substrate and I know that can’t be good. I haven’t tested my water yet but I plan to tomorrow. I also plan to get some TetraSafeStart since I jumped the gun on getting my fish. I was just wondering is this the right plan or is there something else I need to do. If so pleas let me know.
 
violetsasha
  • #2
Definitely some big mistakes there, but it happens to the best of us. Good for you for trying to rectify the situation and get your ducks in order.
To start with:
Stocking. Your glass catfish will most likely not make it as they are extremely sensitive to water conditions. Not to mention they are schooling fish, and should be in a 30+ aquarium. I'd rehome/ give back to store if possible.
Your tetras are also schooling fish (black/white don't really matter), and should be kept in a bigger group. (Not your top concern right now though.)
I used this site help with stocking, and I find it to be a pretty useful guide:
You're not overstocked, I'd say you're actually understocked because of the shoaling requirements for some of those species. (Again, not top concern right now)

Honestly, I'd restart and try again if that's a possibility for you.

Fish-in cycles are a risk, especially for those sensitive species. A fish out cycle is what I'd recommend for any beginner.
It's important when keeping a community to consider having it planted for the fish's sake, or if you don't want to take that on, putting some silk plants in there for cover for the fish.

Trying to vacuum out some of that waste would probably be a good option at this point, and because from what I collect you have not dechlorinated the water or anything I'd grab some water conditioner to try and give your fishies the best chance for now. That chlorine and chemicals in the tap water will kill them faster then anything else at this point.
 
NYFishGuy
  • #3
Try the TSS, weekly or every 3 day 30% water changes. daily dose of prime and with water changes.
Get a apI master test kit or similar and you'll know what's going on with your tank cycle.
 
snowballPLECO
  • #4
All you gotta do is get some seachem prime and use it everyday until your tank is fully cycled and to make sure your water is dechlorinated. Don't over complicate things, just get prime and dose it every 24 hours and your fish will be fine and the cycle will run its course.
 
mattgirl
  • #5
All you gotta do is get some seachem prime and use it everyday until your tank is fully cycled and to make sure your water is dechlorinated. Don't over complicate things, just get prime and dose it every 24 hours and your fish will be fine and the cycle will run its course.
Good sound advice but we should also mention you need to keep an eye on your ammonia levels and do water changes as needed to keep them low enough not to hurt your fish. For that you will need a way to test your water. Most of us use and recommend the API Master Freshwater test kit.
 
violetsasha
  • #6
Good sound advice but we should also mention you need to keep an eye on your ammonia levels and do water changes as needed to keep them low enough not to hurt your fish. For that you will need a way to test your water. Most of us use and recommend the API Master Freshwater test kit.
Short answer, this. Long answer, what I said . To help keep that ammonia down, gravel vacuum that substrate and do lots of water changes.
 
Dadeso
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
So for the seachem prime what is the dosage for a 20 gallon tank and will I even need to use tetra safestart because it sounds like the prime stuff does the same as the safestart but a bit more as well.
 
Wraithen
  • #8
So for the seachem prime what is the dosage for a 20 gallon tank and will I even need to use tetra safestart because it sounds like the prime stuff does the same as the safestart but a bit more as well.
No, safestart and prime are vastly different. Prime will reduce things in your tank to less harmful things up to a certain point, and will also bind some things making them harmless.

Safestartplus is a cycle product. It contains beneficial bacteria. It will get your fish in cycle completed faster if that is the route you choose. It has to be used carefully in conjunction with prime. Dont let it contact prime within 24 hours. Basically, you put 2 ml of prime in, wait 24 hours, add the tss+ and wait 24 hours and then dose prime again. At that point you can dose prime daily again. You can't let your ammonia, nor nitrite levels get too high, or the prime won't be protective enough.

If you have the small bottle of prime, leave the cap on, open it, puncture the foil with a large needle. This will allow slower flow of the prime through the hole in the flip cap. 2 drops is standard, 6 drops for emergencies. (For a 20 gallon tank.)
 
Dadeso
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
Oh ok thank you. I’m glad to know I can use both.
 
NYFishGuy
  • #10
If you have the small bottle of prime, leave the cap on, open it, puncture the foil with a large needle. This will allow slower flow of the prime through the hole in the flip cap. 2 drops is standard, 6 drops for emergencies. (For a 20 gallon tank.)

I assume you made a typo here. dosing is 1ml / 10 gallon - about 2 drops per gallon.
Always double check the label
 
Wraithen
  • #11
I assume you made a typo here. dosing is 1ml / 10 gallon - about 2 drops per gallon.
Always double check the label
Nope. On the small bottles, the lid flips open and a drop from the lid is approximately 1 ml. Idk if it still says it on the bottle, but when I had the small bottles that's what it said.
 
mattgirl
  • #12
Nope. On the small bottles, the lid flips open and a drop from the lid is approximately 1 ml. Idk if it still says it on the bottle, but when I had the small bottles that's what it said.
I think maybe you aren't remembering correctly. There really is no way one drop can equal 1 ml. I am thinking the directions said the cap would hold 5 mls and one thread on the cap would equal 1 ml.

I have never and will never use bottled bacteria so I will never become an expert at how to use it but .... I have read it over and over as to how TSS+ is supposed to be used and I know it says to add it and don't do anything for 14 days other than topping off the tank with dechlorinated water so adding Prime again 24 hours after adding TSS+ would most likely just bind up the ammonia needed for the TSS to do its job.

Lives are at stake here so we need to be very precise with the information we are sharing with someone just starting out.

Fish in cycles without using any kind of bottled bacteria are perfectly doable if one is dedicated enough to the project. Test the water for ammonia. If ammonia is there but is below one add a dose of Prime for the full volume of the tank. If the ammonia is one or above do a water change to get it back below one and then dose with prime.

Using a needle-less syringe for dosing is the easiest way to do it. Syringes can be gotten at a pharmacy or even a farm supply or your vet.
 
Dadeso
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
Ok I’m quite confused on how to dose my prime for my tank. It is a 20 gallon so how should I do it
 
Wraithen
  • #14
Ok I’m quite confused on how to dose my prime for my tank. It is a 20 gallon so how should I do it
Mattgirl is right. A syringe is the best way to dose it. 1 ml per 10 gallons. Thinking about it, those would have to be huge drops to equal 1 ml. Pipettes work well also.
 
AngelTheGypsy
  • #15
Just to be clear, prime dosage is 1ml/10 gallons of water. It is approximately 1-2 drops per gallon.
When using prime and TSS together, do not dose TSS for 24 hours after prime; do not use prime for 7 days after adding TSS (I have used TSS successfully)
If you use TSS, do a large water change (50%+, get ammonia as close to 0 as possible). You may dose Prime with this water change. If you do, wait 24 hours. If you use a different conditioner that does not bind ammonia, you can dose TSS immediately. At this point, do nothing but feed lightly for 10-14 days. No water testing, no water changes. Test results will show ammonia (TSS is housed in an Ammonium solution, it shows as ammonia in the test). If you would like to keep an eye on ammonia levels, I suggest a Seachem ammonia detector. It only reads free ammonia, not Ammonium. I have found them to be quite accurate, cheap and easy to use.

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I would also return the glass catfish. It will probably not survive the cycle.
After your cycle is finished, I would add 3+ more skirt tetras. You can have any variety, Black, white, glofish, longfin, etc are all the same species.
If you would like to add glass cats in the future, I would suggest lots of hiding places, as they are very timid and will be stressed out if in the open. However your other fish may outcompete them for food.
 
mattgirl
  • #16
Just to be clear, prime dosage is 1ml/10 gallons of water. It is approximately 1-2 drops per gallon.
When using prime and TSS together, do not dose TSS for 24 hours after prime; do not use prime for 7 days after adding TSS (I have used TSS successfully)
If you use TSS, do a large water change (50%+, get ammonia as close to 0 as possible). You may dose Prime with this water change. If you do, wait 24 hours. If you use a different conditioner that does not bind ammonia, you can dose TSS immediately. At this point, do nothing but feed lightly for 10-14 days. No water testing, no water changes. Test results will show ammonia (TSS is housed in an Ammonium solution, it shows as ammonia in the test). If you would like to keep an eye on ammonia levels, I suggest a Seachem ammonia detector. It only reads free ammonia, not Ammonium. I have found them to be quite accurate, cheap and easy to use.

I would also return the glass catfish. It will probably not survive the cycle.
After your cycle is finished, I would add 3+ more skirt tetras. You can have any variety, Black, white, glofish, longfin, etc are all the same species.
If you would like to add glass cats in the future, I would suggest lots of hiding places, as they are very timid and will be stressed out if in the open. However your other fish may outcompete them for food.
Thank you for this very precise information. This young man was getting very conflicting answers and know it was stressing him out more than necessary.
 
NYFishGuy
  • #17
I will add that I used a different starter bacteria and had no issues while also dosing with prime during daily water changes.

-Invisible man signing off
 
AngelTheGypsy
  • #18
I will add that I used a different starter bacteria and had no issues while also dosing with prime during daily water changes.

-Invisible man signing off

Yes, it seems to be specific between Seachem Prime and Tetra Safe Start. Almost any other combination is fine together.

This thread contains links to very helpful threads about cycling. The bottom three are specifically related to TSS, with the Q&A one being information directly from Tetra brand.

Important Cycling Information
Important - Important Cycling Information
 
Dadeso
  • Thread Starter
  • #19
Ok thank you all. Just so I have this right. I put 1 drop to of prime per gallon, wait 24 hours then use TSF, then wait a week. I am also going to take the glass catfish back so I know he will live.
 
AngelTheGypsy
  • #20
Ok thank you all. Just so I have this right. I put 1 drop to of prime per gallon, wait 24 hours then use TSF, then wait a week. I am also going to take the glass catfish back so I know he will live.

Yes that should be fine. I use a 1 ml medicine syringe from the pharmacy (they usually will give them free, but you have to ask at the counter) and actually measure the prime for my small betta tanks. That way I know I’m using the right amount, because it’s marked by .1 ml. If not, I usually use 2 drops per gallon, just to be safe. 1 ml out of the syringe is usually 2 drops, but not all drops are made equal. With your 20 gal, you could use a 5 or 10 ml syringe, the dose would be 2 ml.

77310d7e7f4b491ec5361037921bb5fb.jpg
 
Mom2some
  • #21
Welcome- I have learned a ton here & hope you do too. Many people start out in your situation, so fear not.

Do NOT use safestart in this situation. Safestart is designed for success with a very lightly stocked tank (1inch of fish per 10gallons of water) and it sounds like you are WAY over that.
Seachem Stability will be a better bacterial booster for you since it is designed to work with Prime. Some people here on Fishlore report more success with double dosing Stability.

Get an API Master Test kit. Using it follow this formula...

If ammonia + Nitrite > or = 1.0 do a 50% water change using Prime (&Stability per instructions).

If ammonia + nitrites <1.0 add Prime (&Stabiliry).

Get some form of gravel vacuum - some of the fish you got are poop machines.

Keep coming back here to learn more!
 
Dadeso
  • Thread Starter
  • #22
Ok so I now have a bottle of Seachem prime and TSS, but I shouldn’t actually use the TSS. I also have the constant ammonia reader and I syringe. I haven’t put anything in yet. I just want to make sure I get right. Now that I’m not going to use TSS, I put in 2ml of prime every 24hrs. Where in that 24hrs, or before it, do I do a water change and how big.
 
Wraithen
  • #23
At this point, I prefer to keep ammonia plus nitrite under 2ppm. Water change any time you exceed or get close to exceeding that point. For example. If you know ammonia goes up by .5 every day, and nitrate does the same, do a water change anytime the two of them get at or above 1.0 together.
 
Dadeso
  • Thread Starter
  • #24
Ok thanks. So just put in prime let it do it’s thing. Then the next day do a water change and repeat until the cycling is done.
 

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