Help w/ cycling plz...

capekate

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good morning.
I am at a loss as what to do next. I can't seem to get my ammonia levels down. My tank has been cycling with fish for 7 weeks. I have diatoms on the silk plants that started about ten days ago or more. I have live and silk plants. I have early readings with the test strips but won't go by those. I am including my API test results below. For some reason I keep showing a 0 for nitrites. I should have nitrite readings at some point? Has my tank cycled at some point when I used the test strips and I don't know it? here are my test results so far. I check them daily.
4/25
ammonia: 2.0
nitrate: 0
nitrite: 0
PH 6.4
20% water change.
4/29
ammonia: 4.0 ( 1.0 after 60% water change)
nitrate: 5.0
nitrite: .25
PH 6.0
4/30 did another 50% water change ( ammonia 2.0 before water change)
5/1
ammonia: 1.0
nitrate: 5.0
nitrite: 0
PH 6.0
5/2
ammonia: 2.0
nitrate: 5.0
nitrite:0
5/3
ammonia: 2.0
nitrate: 5.0
nitrite: 0
5/4
ammonia: 2.0-3.0 ( did another 20% water change at this point)
nitrate: 5.0
nitrite: 0
PH: 6.4
5/5 10% water change, no readings taken.
5/6
ammonia: 2.0
nitrate: 5.0
nitrite: 0
PH: 6.4
10% water change
5/7
ammonia: 2.0
nitrate: 5.0
nitrite: 0
10% water change
5/8
ammonia: 2.0
nitrate: 5.0
nitrite: 0
PH: 6.0
I don't understand why the nitrite is still showing at 0? And what can I do to lower the ammonia level? Plz help..
 

sgould

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There are a couple of things that can help with the ammonia. The first is simply to keep at the water changes...say 50% DAILY until the ammonia comes down. The secand would be to add a detoxifying chemical, such as Prime, to "bind" up the ammonia and ensure it is non toxic. The thing is, though, with your pH being so far below 7, your ammonia is not as much of an issue as it would be were your pH higher. You still do not want it and need to get it cycled through, but it is not as harmful with the low pH. Consequently, my suggestion would be to keep doing the water changes (being sure to dechlorinate, of course).
 
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capekate

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Thank you! I do use Prime or Amquell plus with every water change. I was advised that the 50% daily water change was not a good idea. I take 5 gallons out every day, but will try taking out 10 gals and see if that helps at all. If it doesn't, I will slowly build up the amount I take out daily. Thanks for your help!
 

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It's a pain in the butt sometimes to get nitrites to show up when there are fish in the tank. Each time you remove some ammonia, you are taking away some food from the good bacteria. However, in most cases you have to in order to keep the fish healthy. In your case though, with a pH at the level you are showing you can actually have more ammonia in the tank then most. At a pH of 6.4 you would have to have your tank at a temp of 77oF and have a total ammonia of more then 14ppm in order to actually have enough of it be toxic to the fish. Now of course I DO NOT suggest letting the total ammonia get that high, but what I'm getting at is that you have some room there. I would keep up with the smaller water changes (20%-25%) and just do it every day to keep the tank at a constant level. The ups and downs, even if it's going from not so healthy water to healthier water, can be just as stressful on the fish as just leaving them at the not so healthy level. The idea is to keep the level of food for the good bacteria (the ammonia) at a level that they can get what they need and keep growing. You are doing a good job, just keep at it and you will get there.
 
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capekate

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Luniyn said:
It's a pain in the butt sometimes to get nitrites to show up when there are fish in the tank. Each time you remove some ammonia, you are taking away some food from the good bacteria. However, in most cases you have to in order to keep the fish healthy. In your case though, with a pH at the level you are showing you can actually have more ammonia in the tank then most. At a pH of 6.4 you would have to have your tank at a temp of 77oF and have a total ammonia of more then 14ppm in order to actually have enough of it be toxic to the fish. Now of course I DO NOT suggest letting the total ammonia get that high, but what I'm getting at is that you have some room there. I would keep up with the smaller water changes (20%-25%) and just do it every day to keep the tank at a constant level. The ups and downs, even if it's going from not so healthy water to healthier water, can be just as stressful on the fish as just leaving them at the not so healthy level. The idea is to keep the level of food for the good bacteria (the ammonia) at a level that they can get what they need and keep growing. You are doing a good job, just keep at it and you will get there.
Thanks Luniyn~
It seems that others tanks have cycled earlier than this one that hasnt yet. I can't help but think ive done something wrong. thank you for your advice and I will do a 20% water change daily instead of the 10%. The water may change.. but the readings do not. Hopefully that is not stressing out the fish. The water that I return to the tank is always exactly the same temp* so that I don't cause anymore stress on the fish.
Loosing another platy today.. got me concerned that I wasn't doing something right. In the 7 weeks with fish I have lost 3 platy and one dalmation molly. And a dwarf gouramI that I accidently killed with the vacumn. I will not introduce anymore fish til the ammonia level shows 0.
 

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What kind of filter are you using on this tank? Have you been replacing the filter media in it at all during these 7 weeks? I'm just wondering if you are lacking in good places for the good bacteria to grow in sufficient numbers to cycle the tank. It will eventually get enough in the substrate, on the plants, etc. that the tank will cycle, but the best place for it is in the filter. Depending on your filter, you might be able to provide more surface area for the good bacteria to grow and in turn help speed the cycle along to some extent. Also if you have been replacing the media regularly during the cycle then you are getting rid of a good portion of the good bacteria each time you do that. Just trying to cover all angles here.
 
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capekate

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Luniyn said:
What kind of filter are you using on this tank? Have you been replacing the filter media in it at all during these 7 weeks? I'm just wondering if you are lacking in good places for the good bacteria to grow in sufficient numbers to cycle the tank. It will eventually get enough in the substrate, on the plants, etc. that the tank will cycle, but the best place for it is in the filter. Depending on your filter, you might be able to provide more surface area for the good bacteria to grow and in turn help speed the cycle along to some extent. Also if you have been replacing the media regularly during the cycle then you are getting rid of a good portion of the good bacteria each time you do that. Just trying to cover all angles here.
Hi,
I use a Aqua Clear power filter 50. which is used on20-50 gal tanks.It says that its a multi-stage filtration system. Stage 1 has the mechanical foam filter insert.Stage 2 chemical, activated carbon insert. Stage 3 Biological. Has a bio Max insert. says tht it increases biological efficiency by 30%. I have not changed any of the inserts and only once rinsed out the foam filter in tank water. So no I haven't replaced any of the filter media at all. I'm also trying to cover all the angles here as well, so thanks for any thoughts on this and I appreciate any suggestions! ;D
 

Luniyn

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It sounds like you are ok on the filter end and have plenty of space for the good bacteria to grow in there. Oh wait... was this the tank that was heavily planted with live plants? I wonder if they could be taking in the little nitrites you might have been getting so far? If that's the case then you could all of a sudden see some nitrites as the level grows to more then they can take in. Or its even possible that you might never see any and just the ammonia goes to 0 and you only have nitrates left. In any event, just keep up the good job you are doing and you will get there. Good Luck!
 
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capekate

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Well I lost another platy this am. It was the larger female. What a shame.. :'( Tomorrow I take a drive to the LFS and pick up the divider, or else try other places, I had no sucess yesterday finding the right kind that was suggested on DIY. :-[
 
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capekate

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OHHH on another note.. Would it be advisable at this stage of the cycle (7 wks) to just order some bio spira and add it now? When I told my husband about the bio spira and how it immediatly cycles the tank, he looked at me like I was crazy and asked me.. Why have I been going thru all this if there is a product out there that would do the trick? I said, well it costs 20 bucks! He said.. order it!! lol.. Would it warrent getting it at this time? Or should I just get some and add it to the betta tank that has been only cycling for about three weeks now?
thanks, kate
 

Luniyn

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Provided the Bio-Spira was kept in the right conditions so that by the time it gets to you there are enough live bacteria to help, then yes you can add it now. The problem is that if at any time in it's life it was not refrigerated, it won't be good by the time you add it to your tank and it won't help. If you can't get it locally then be sure to buy it from a good source like that (by the way, it's $20 just for the product, you also have to have it overnighted and the Drs charge another $20 for that). If you get a good batch, then yes it can definitely help you finish the cycle. If you don't then you won't see any difference as some members have also found. Good Luck on whatever you decide to do!
 
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capekate

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Luniyn said:
Provided the Bio-Spira was kept in the right conditions so that by the time it gets to you there are enough live bacteria to help, then yes you can add it now. The problem is that if at any time in it's life it was not refrigerated, it won't be good by the time you add it to your tank and it won't help. If you can't get it locally then be sure to buy it from a good source like that (by the way, it's $20 just for the product, you also have to have it overnighted and the Drs charge another $20 for that). If you get a good batch, then yes it can definitely help you finish the cycle. If you don't then you won't see any difference as some members have also found. Good Luck on whatever you decide to do!
HI Luniyn~
thanks... I did forget about that over night charge when considering buying the bio spira. I can't seem to find a fish store around here that sells it. I know that petsmart doesn't, which is a shame, since they do have refrigerated fish products. I'm sure they would have a big call for that item if they had it in stock. I will talk to the manager tomorrow when I go and see if he can either special order it, or possibly consider stocking it. Cant hurt in the trying! ...
I would like to set up my 2.5 gal tank possibly for a betta or maybe put my BAD..BAD.. behaved dwarf gouramI for a time out!! Would be nice if I had it cycled asap tho..
 

Luniyn

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I've only found it locally in mom and pop type stores, but it certainly doesn't hurt to try the manager at PetSmart. You might want to bring in some literature explaining exactly what you are talking about because chances they won't have a clue .
 

gilly2402

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there is a saying that patience is a virtue it will all come together in the end good luck
 
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capekate

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Luniyn said:
I've only found it locally in mom and pop type stores, but it certainly doesn't hurt to try the manager at PetSmart. You might want to bring in some literature explaining exactly what you are talking about because chances they won't have a clue .
thanks! I will print out some info for them. I know when I asked the sales help in the fish dept they had no clue what I was talking about. :
 
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capekate

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gilly2402 said:
there is a saying that patience is a virtue it will all come together in the end good luck
LOL yep that's true! ;D thanks for the encouragement... BUT WHEN is this tank going to cycle?? UGGHHHHH.... <lol>
 

gilly2402

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look at my thread I started when cycling my tank under ...levels for new tank it may help
 
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capekate

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gilly2402 said:
look at my thread I started when cycling my tank under ...levels for new tank it may help
Thank you Gilly~
I will check it out, can you tell me which category it is in?
 

gilly2402

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its under general discussion on this page I not good on computers so I don't know wat link to give you sorry....
 
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capekate

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gilly2402 said:
its under general discussion on this page I not good on computers so I don't know wat link to give you sorry....
thanks!
 

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