Help! parents ordered fish.. tank not ready!

Oso

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I have been trying to cycle my tank for about a month now using 100% pure ammonia. It is a 40 gallon tank and has a tetra whisper ex 70 filter on it. Currently I have something a little odd going on. I have been keeping my ammonia at 3ppm and have 0 nitrites. My nitrates have been sitting at 40 for about a week now. So here is the problem... my parents thought that they would help me out and said that they ordered me two panda butterfly goldfish. Right now my tank looks like someone pored a gallon of milk into it. I think this is a bacterial bloom? This is much worse than the one that I had 3 weeks ago. I don't think my tank is fully cycled yet. What should I do? I asked my parents if they could cancel the order and wait a little longer but they said they wouldn't.
 

JessiNoel21

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You could go out and get a bottle of PRIME and do daily 35% water changes with it until the tank is cycled to help protect the fish or get a bottle of Tetra Safestart and add the whole thing and follow the directions.
 
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Oso

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Okay prime and tetra safestart I will go get those. Should I do a large water change to get rid of the cloudy water and the excess ammonia before adding the fish? I feel like this is going to crash my entire cycle that I've been trying to do for the past month
 

octonaut

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Just to point out....Tetra Safe Start and Prime can't be used together. you need to wait 24hrs after adding prime before using TSS.
The instructions on the bottle isn't very clear, but here's some further info from Lucy and Shawnie https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfishforum/threads/q-a-with-tetra-about-tetra-safestart.58116/.

IME you need to really "overload" with TSS if you have goldies as they are such heavy duty waste producers, I used nearly double the ammount suggested and it still got stuck half way through the cycle as the fish overloaded the tss bacteria.
 

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It would help to know first how long it was taking for the pure ammonia to drop and what the paramitersare now. It sounds like the tank was pretty close to being cycled.
 

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I agree with LexI that it seems the tank is very close to being cycled, if not cycled.

Oso, can you test your tap water and post the results. The reason I ask this is that if you are processing ammonia and have zero nitrites and 40ppm nitrates, it would appear that ammonia has been converted to nitrites and nitrites have been converted to nitrates meaning the tank has cycled. On the other hand if your tap water contains 40ppm nitrates then no nitrite has been converted.

But one last thing, if you are using the API liquid test kit, make sure you really shake and pound nitrate bottle #2. Bottle #2 contains crystals suspended in liquid. But the crystals tend to clump together in the bottom of the bottle. If the crystals are not re-suspended in the liquid, you'll get a false reading.
 
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Oso

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My tap water has trace amounts of nitrates in it. It is somewhere between 0ppm and 5ppm. I actually did have nitrites about a week ago they were hitting 2.0ppm before they dropped to 0ppm recently. I am not sure how long it takes for the ammonia to drop to 0ppm since I have been adding more when it drops to keep it at 3ppm. I have been using the apI master test kit by the way
 

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Well, since you had a nitrite spike and now have more nitrates than your tap water contains I would say...Congratulations, it appears you are cycled.

Now you want to keep feeding the tank ammonia until the fish arrive. Then do a very large water change (to get the ammonia and nitrates down) acclimate the new fish and put them in.

Good luck and enjoy!
 
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Oso

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yay! that is great to hear. the fish should be coming either today or tomorrow. I think that I need to go and get a small quarantine tank, a fish net, and some food. Are there any other things I should have for new fish?
 

jdhef

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Since the tank has no fish in it, there is no need to quarantine. It's just preferable to quarantine fish before putting them in a tank that already has fish so if diseased they don't give it to the other fish.

You definitly need food, possibly a net.
 

JoannaB

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If you got a quarantine tank now, this tank would be an uncycled tank. Quarantine tank needs to be cycled just like any other tank. So if you were to buy quarantine tank and put fish into it now, you would be loosing the advantage of having a cycled tank. A quarantine tank is a good idea to get before you add fish in the second time around, otherwise you will be taking a risk of infecting existing fish if new fish are ill. That said, I do not have a quarantine tank, and am thus far relying on luck (with new healthy fish) - which I am sure I would regret if my luck ran out. Best!
 
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Oh for tanks that already have fish. haha I'm not sure if I want more than two goldfish.

my parents got a call saying that the company they ordered the fish from were actually out of stock! they will have a new shipment ready by next week. my tank gets a few more days to grow bacteria yay

Is it possible for a cycle to get stuck? My ammonia is still at 3, nitrites 0, nitrates 40
the ammonia hasn't gone down at all in two days. Is something wrong?
 

jdhef

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Hmmm....yes, something does seem amiss with your cycle. I would have expected the ammonia level to have dropped over the course of 3 days. Not sure what to tell you other than keep testing. You didn't change the filter cartridge by any chance?
 
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I changed the cartridge about a week ago but the old pads are just floating in the water so that shouldn't have changed anything right?
 

JoannaB

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Yes this would have made a difference: your water is not now actively moving through the old filter cartridge as part of the filtering process. I read that one should not replace the cartridge while cycling or even a month after. Once you do replace it, one should place either the old cartridge or a cut up piece of it in between the filter intake and the new cartridge so that the old filter media seed the new filter media. If I were you, I would move your old filter cartridge now, and hopefully that will help. If you have an activated carbon cartridge, I have been told by other members here that one should just cut it open and remove the carbon, but leave the outside part of the filter until it is falling apart because that is where the vast majority of the bacteria live. Best!

PS: Part of my story that may make you feel better by comparison: when I first started my fishless cycling, I read that one should ideally use old filter media from an established tank to help seed one's tank. I also heard that one should change one's cartridge every month without fail (manufacturers' ads perhaps). My friend has a10 gallon tank which she has had for quite a while longer than me, but she knows even less about fish and has not done research and usually does not have time for tank maintenance alas - many more important things to worry about. So I asked her for her old filter cartridge when she replaced hers next. She told me that she knows she should replace every month but that she had not gotten around to it for three months. Anyway, she gave me her old cartridge, and she forgot to put in a new one for a few days - most of her fish died - I felt so guilty, even though she did not think it was my fault, but I knew it was! To make matters worse: I put her cartridge just free floating in my tank and for the first week I only added enough ammonia to 0.5 by mistake. So I got 0 benefit from that used cartridge, and I would not even count that initial week as part of my cycle. I feel so bad because even though I have never killed any of my fish yet, I killed my friend's fish (she regularly has fish deaths for different reasons, but this time it was my fault). The point of this story: we all make mistakes early on, and you are doing very well to not have endangered any fish yet.
 
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Oso

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oooh okay I can probably squish the old filters behind the new ones

So I have pretty much left my tank alone with the exception of adding an entire bottle of TSS. The bottle was large enough to treat 75 gallons. I also bought another bottle to add when I actually get the fish.

Right now my tank still looks like someone pored a gallon of milk in it. I was hoping that this bacterial bloom would be gone by now. I also have some sort of white fuzzy/ slimy stuff that is clinging to the sides of my fish tank. Any ideas what this is?

Also, since I haven't been able to see my plants in the tank at all, I felt around and gently pulled up an anubias. It had one leaf on it that is turning yellow. What would cause this? I am worried that they aren't getting enough light since the tank is just so cloudy.
 

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3ppm ammonia for the fish is dangerous. The prime should have dropped the Ammonia level down hopefully to zero. With the nitrites being 0 and nitrates at 40+, that shows that there's at least some bacteria in there for the cycle. Additionally, up to a 5x dosage may be used in cases of ammonia emergencies, at least it says that on the bottle.

The cloudiness sounds like a bacteria bloom, it could be from high levels of ammonia that the bacteria is still going nuts in there, which is ok and unnecessary. I would expect that to clear up in a day or two regardless. The anubias nana should be fine, even in the dark, for a few days, they're very durable plants.
 
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Oso

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I still haven't received the fish yet so there isn't anything living inside of this tank besides the plants and a couple of pond snails that hitched a ride on them. I got the TSS instead of the prime.

edit: how big of a water change should I do?
 

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