Help with cycling

annlat

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Hi. I have a new 45 gal tank that I am cycling. I put a few plants and took the old filter cartridge out of my present tank and put it in the new filter. I used Dr Tim's ammonia, got a rise to 3ppm ammonia. It came down in about a week, and the nitrites went up to 2 for about a week. When the nitrites were up, I started getting nitrate 30 and 40. Since my ammonia was down to 0, I added more ammonia. I had ammonia hanging around 1 and nitrite of 2 for 3 days. I did a pwc at that time. That was a week ago. Everything stayed the same... 0.5 ammonia and no nitrites. I still have nitrates around 40, so I did a pwc about 40% today. My ammonia won't seem to drop to zero. It hangs around 0.5. I think I'm being impatient, being stuck in the house, but shouldn't the ammonia drop to zero now that my nitrates are 20-30? And should I keep dosing ammonia now? From what I understand, that shouldn't interfere with anything and the beneficial bacteria needs ammonia. This whole process started 30 days ago...it just feels like longer. Sorry this is so long, but I know there are some really experienced aquarium folks on here.
TIA and everyone stay safe and healthy out there!
 

mattgirl

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What size is your present tank? How many fish are it it? The more fish the more likely one can use media from it to quickly cycle another tank. I would go ahead and dose the ammonia up to at least 2ppm each time it drops down to .5 I don't expect you will see nitrites again. Once they have spiked and then gone back to zero they usually don't show up again. I wouldn't do another water change unless the nitrates spike up to at least 80.
 
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annlat

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Thank you so much for answering so quickly! My present tank is 29 gal with 2 goldfish. I know they need a bigger tank, hence the cycling the new one. I will dose the ammonia again this evening. And I guess the nitrates just worried me, but no fish in there yet!
 

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annlat said:
Thank you so much for answering so quickly! My present tank is 29 gal with 2 goldfish. I know they need a bigger tank, hence the cycling the new one. I will dose the ammonia again this evening. And I guess the nitrates just worried me, but no fish in there yet!
If you are just upgrading them to a new bigger tank and plan on breaking down the smaller tank you could just move the cycle in the smaller one over to the bigger one and not have to go through this long drawn out cycling process.
 
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annlat

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Yeah, but I think I might get something to put in the smaller tank. Every time I go to the LFS, I get excited!
 
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annlat

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Mattgirl-
I added ammonia to get it back to 2. (5 days ago) It is barely coming down, still between 1-2. Should I do something else? I have nitrates.....is my bacteria just not strong enough? Sorry for all the questions but being stuck at home is making me pay more attention to it.
 

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annlat said:
Mattgirl-
I added ammonia to get it back to 2. (5 days ago) It is barely coming down, still between 1-2. Should I do something else? I have nitrates.....is my bacteria just not strong enough? Sorry for all the questions but being stuck at home is making me pay more attention to it.
It is strange that your ammonia isn't going down. You may need to do another water change being sure to temp match and dechlorinate the new water. Quite often doing so will get a cycle moving forward. Do you have anything else in your cycled tank that you can move over to this one? Since bacteria grows on everything in our tank anything you can move over should help this tank.
 
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annlat

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Ok, water change with temp match and Prime is done. I added a bunch of rocks from the existing tank. I'm glad my fish aren't in a hurry! So is this starting the cycle over, or just midway? Since I had nitrites once, I won't get them again, right? Arghhh.....I've been dealing with a flat tire today, so I'm a little moody. Thank you for all of your help
 

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annlat said:
Ok, water change with temp match and Prime is done. I added a bunch of rocks from the existing tank. I'm glad my fish aren't in a hurry! So is this starting the cycle over, or just midway? Since I had nitrites once, I won't get them again, right? Arghhh.....I've been dealing with a flat tire today, so I'm a little moody. Thank you for all of your help
Great. The rocks from the established tank should help this cycle along. If you've not already done so get your ammonia level up to about 2ppm and we will go from there. Right, now that your nitrites have spiked and gone back to 0 you shouldn't see them again.

Flat tires are no fun. Neither are dead batteries. Hubby went to start my car yesterday and discovered that the battery was stone cold dead. He put the battery charger on it and for now it is charged up but it is time to get a new one. We realized that this battery has been in there since 2012. Sure doesn't seem like it has been almost 8 years since we put a new battery in it but time flies faster and faster each year.
 
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annlat

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Thanks again, Mattgirl! Car problems are bad enough without having this Covid thing around!
And yes, time flies too fast!

And I'm thinking about throwing in a bottle of TSS...any thoughts?
 

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annlat said:
And I'm thinking about throwing in a bottle of TSS...any thoughts?
I have never used any of the many brands of bottled bacteria so have no first hand experience with any of them. Some folks say they really help. Others not so much. Adding some shouldn't hurt anything other than giving off some unexpected numbers. The bacteria from your cycled tank should work better than anything you can get from a bottled.

Personally if I needed something to jump start a cycle I would look into seeded sponges from AngelsPlus before relying on bottled bacteria. These sponges should have the exact kind of bacteria we are growing in our tanks.
 
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annlat

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I added Seachem Stability and finally my ammonia is going down! I need to get this tank cycled so I can put Ziva and Barnabas in a bigger home. I have been doing 30% wc about every 5 days, but the nitrates still go too high. Ziva has a few red spots on her fins, which seems to clear up after changing the water. So I added Melafix and I'm going to do a small change again tomorrow. Thank you for all of your help. I'm hoping things will be better tomorrow.
 
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annlat

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annlat said:
I added Seachem Stability and finally my ammonia is going down! I need to get this tank cycled so I can put Ziva and Barnabas in a bigger home. I have been doing 30% wc about every 5 days, but the nitrates still go too high. Ziva has a few red spots on her fins, which seems to clear up after changing the water. So I added Melafix and I'm going to do a small change again tomorrow. Thank you for all of your help. I'm hoping things will be better tomorrow.
Hi Mattgirl.
I haven't put Ziva and Barnabas in the new tank yet. I keep reading .5 ammonia. Everything else is good. I changed 50% water yesterday and a little more this morning. I bought a Seachem Ammonia Alert, and it reads safe. I'm thinking my low (6.0-6.2) pH has something to do with it. I think I can move them now, and the tank they are currently in is reading more ammonia than the tank that has been cycling. Ziva is bottom sitting some and zooming around like a crazy fish sometimes.
I am so scared to move them. I have had them for 4 yrs and I don't want to do anything wrong. What are your thoughts? You seem very educated about fish and cycling.
I'm making myself crazy with all of this, esp since I am stuck at home!
Thank you for all of your help. I hope you don't mind that I started following you. And I can't figure out how to do a private message.
ann
 

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Good Morning annlat I don't mind at all. I am thinking you have to have at least 50 posts before you can PM (start a conversation).

Since you are seeing ammonia in both tanks I highly recommend you move everything from the small tank over to the bigger tank. Even though the smaller tank isn't fully cycled there will be some bacteria in there. You want to save as much of it as possible. Check the PH in the smaller tank before moving your water pets though. If it is much higher than it is in the bigger tank we need to get them closer to the same number.

The good thing about you PH being that low is the ammonia you are seeing is ammonium. The good thing about ammonium, it is not as harmful to your fish. The bad thing, bacteria has a hard time eating it so it just continues to build up and bacteria doesn't grow.

Have you run the PH test on your source water? Is the PH in the tank the fish are in now as low as it is in the bigger tank? I am trying to figure out if it is the cycling process causing the PH crash or if your source water doesn't contain buffers that help the PH remain stable.

The PH needs to be up to at least 7 to get this cycle moving forward.
 
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annlat

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Thanks for replying so quickly! I moved the fish...some anacharis and I'm planning to move another plant. My pH is a mystery to me....from the tap it is high, around 8. But if I let it sit 24 hrs, it drops to 6.2, which is what it stays when it's in the tank. I thought about adding some crushed coral.
I am leaving the old tank up and running for now. I'm hoping they will adjust to the new tank and sand instead of rocks. I figured it was worse in the old tank since the ammonia measured higher. I'm very nervous about it all, but so far, things are ok.
Thanks again!

Oh yeah, the pH is the same in both tanks...6.2
 

mattgirl

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It sounds like your tap water lacks the buffers necessary to hold your PH up. I highly recommend you get some crushed coral. I am afraid you will be constantly getting an ammonia reading as long as your PH stays this low. Granted the ammonia isn't as dangerous when the PH is this low but you will constantly struggle with the cycle. The bacteria needs ammonia instead of ammonium to grow and thrive.

I run crushed coral in all of my tank so am comfortable recommending it. I can't tell you exactly how much you will need to control the PH level in your tank so it will take some experimenting. Start with 1/2 cup in a media bag. Rinse it well and them put it in your filter. It isn't going to instantly raise the PH so give it a couple of days. If the PH isn't up to at least 7 add a bit more CC to the media bag. Repeat until your PH holds steady at close to your tap water. The amount it is going to take to get the job done depends on the chemistry of your source water. That is the main reason I can't tell you exactly how much it is going to take. You don't have to worry about it rising too quickly so please don't be afraid to do this.

Time for me to go out and get some grass mowed so I will be away from my computer for a while.
 
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annlat

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Thanks again! I wish I had a mower! I'm going to the lfs soon.
 

mattgirl

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annlat said:
Thanks again! I wish I had a mower! I'm going to the lfs soon.
You are very welcome. Many many years ago I managed to talk my hubby into letting me buy a mower. We have a lawn tractor/mower and he usually did all the mowing. I know he thought it was a passing thing and I would soon tire of it. I have worn 2 of them out since then. The one I have now is self propelled so thankfully I am still able to get out there and get some exercise. I don't mow as much area now as I did when I got my first one but I am also 30 years older so sadly don't have as much energy now as I did back then.

Hopefully your LFS will have some crushed coral. I bought my first supply of it through ebay. I was able to get chunks of it. When i needed more I found the chunks were hard to find so i bought a 10 pound bag of aragonite through amazon. This is the one I bought but I see the chunks are available through amazon now.
 
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annlat

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Well, I don't particularly want to cut the grass myself, but it's very expensive to pay someone. If I had a mower, I would do it myself.
I bought a chunk of lace rock, which they said would do the same as coral. I smashed some with a hammer and put it in a bag in the filter. Overall, things are looking pretty good. And the fish seem happy!
 

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