Help With Cycle

brirenae23

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I have not had my tank for long, and before I put my fish in, my local petsmart said my numbers were amazing and I went ahead and got fish. Fast forward to now, I have number issues.

I have a 20gal tank, with 3 guppies, 2 platies, and 1 clown pleco. I have 2 live plants, 2 bigger pieces of driftwood.

My problem -
PH is low 7.4, high is 8.4
Ammonia is sitting at 1.0
Rite is 0
Ate is 20

When I added the fish it seems like my numbers went crazy. I use Seachem Prime.

What can I do?
 
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brirenae23

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Tony M said:
Until your cycle is complete I wouldn’t worry about PH. Do daily water changes until you ammonia and nitrite stay at zero. Nitrate at 20 isn’t bad and will probably start to drop with water changes. 5 to 20 for nitrates is fine.
Thank you, i just want my fish to be safe! Should I still do 25% water changes daily? Or higher?
 

GuppyDazzle

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I agree with Tony M.

Your tank was probably cycled for a smaller load, but couldn't quite keep up with a larger load. The good news is you started with a cycle, but the fish outran your beneficial bacteria. It doesn't mean starting over. Don't panic. IMO if you do 25% water changes every day, or even every other day, you should be fine. The bottom line is to keep testing and let your readings dictate what your water change percentage and schedule need to be. I've always done a schedule of 25% every other day, and testing on the days I didn't do water changes.
 

jack22

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Sounds like you added everything all at the same time? If so, then it explains your water parameter fluctuations. pH consistency is very important; to get it stable, you can do water change with aged water (i.e. add your water conditioner to the bucket, then still let it sit for a day).

I've never used driftwood so don't know how it affects pH. But there are pH buffering products that will stabilize your pH (it may raise it to some stable number, just make sure the result is within your target).

brirenae23 said:
Thank you, i just want my fish to be safe! Should I still do 25% water changes daily? Or higher?
Because your ammonia level is at 1ppm, I would do 50% water change to get the ammonia level down. I might even be tempted to do 75% the first time. It is a decision between certain fish death (definitely too high ammonia) vs possible fish death (possibly too rapid water chemistry changes).

At 25% WC, you'll have .75ppm ammonia after the WC (still very high); assuming your fish produced 1ppm in 3 days (for .3ppm added per day), the next 25% WC will actually leave you with > .75ppm ammonia (assuming your BB stays constant).

Also, feed your fish less. Only enough food that they can finish within 1 minute once per day. Then, after everything stabilizes, you can feed them 2x per day (still with just enough food to finish in 1 min).
 
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brirenae23

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WhoKnows said:
I agree with Tony M.

Your tank was probably cycled for a smaller load, but couldn't quite keep up with a larger load. The good news is you started with a cycle, but the fish outran your beneficial bacteria. It doesn't mean starting over. Don't panic. IMO if you do 25% water changes every day, or even every other day, you should be fine. The bottom line is to keep testing and let your readings dictate what your water change percentage and schedule need to be. I've always done a schedule of 25% every other day, and testing on the days I didn't do water changes.
Thank you, I will do this then and see where it takes me! Should i feed them like normal as well or should I do something different to help the process?

jack22 said:
Sounds like you added everything all at the same time? If so, then it explains your water parameter fluctuations. pH consistency is very important; to get it stable, you can do water change with aged water (i.e. add your water conditioner to the bucket, then still let it sit for a day).

I've never used driftwood so don't know how it affects pH. But there are pH buffering products that will stabilize your pH (it may raise it to some stable number, just make sure the result is within your target).
Thank you. We added our 2 platy and 1 clown pleco and then about a week after added our 3 guppy, but it does sound like I did way too fast. I will try the aged water!

jack22 said:
Because your ammonia level is at 1ppm, I would do 50% water change to get the ammonia level down. I might even be tempted to do 75% the first time. It is a decision between certain fish death (definitely too high ammonia) vs possible fish death (possibly too rapid water chemistry changes).

At 25% WC, you'll have .75ppm ammonia after the WC (still very high); assuming your fish produced 1ppm in 3 days (for .3ppm added per day), the next 25% WC will actually leave you with > .75ppm ammonia (assuming your BB stays constant).

Also, feed your fish less. Only enough food that they can finish within 1 minute once per day. Then, after everything stabilizes, you can feed them 2x per day (still with just enough food to finish in 1 min).
I did a 50% water change, added my Prime, and then tested an hour later and the ammonia did not budge did I do it wrong?

I will pay attention to the amount of food and switch to once a day then!
 

jack22

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Could you be testing it wrong? Just a thought.
Mathematically, you should get 50% less ammonia after a 50% WC.

Oh, test your source/tap water.
 
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brirenae23

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jack22 said:
Oh, test your source/tap water.
Tested our tap water and it read 0 ammonia.

I will do my test again and post my reading in case I am doing it wrong. Using the api master test kit.

jack22 said:
Could you be testing it wrong? Just a thought.
Mathematically, you should get 50% less ammonia after a 50% WC.

Oh, test your source/tap water.
Here is my test now

My guppy is now doing this :'( he moves if he sees me and is eating. Fins are moving.
 

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Mom2some

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That looks like 0.5 ammonia to me. You are making good progress. I would recommend a couple of things.
1. Run a full set of tests on your source water. Having this as a baseline helps (don’t ask how I know)
2. Follow this guideline:
If ammonia # + Nitrite # are > or = 1.0, do a 50% water change, dose with Prime & recheck in 24 hours.
If ammonia + nitrites <1.0, dose with Prime & recheck in 24 hours.
 
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