How often to change water during initial tank cycling?

Discussion in 'Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle' started by bigdognj, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. bigdognj

    bigdognjNew MemberMember

    I am cycling a new 45g tank with 5 giant danios, about 1.25" each, in it. (I know, I know, I should have read the threads about fishless cycling BEFORE starting). I seeded the tank with Microbe Lift Special Blend before adding fish. The fish have been in for about a week. They seem pretty happy and healthy thus far.

    I am using Tetra Easystrips and Seachem Ammonia Test for daily testing (I'll be switching to API MTK this week... live and learn).
    pH is about 7.2
    GH is 150ppm
    KH is 80ppm
    Free Ammonia (NH3) is less than 0.02 mg/l
    Total Ammonia (NH3+NH4) is about 0.05 mg/l)
    Nitrites 0
    Nitrates 0
    Temp 77F

    I used Aqueon water conditioner to set up, when I added the fish, and when I did a 25% water change today.

    Looking at the numbers, it doesn't seem like the Microbe Lift did anything to get the cycle going. Anybody have better luck with this product? Would Tetra SafeStart be a better choice?

    My biggest question is, how high can I let the ammonia level get before doing a water change? Is there a good balance level between providing enough ammonia for the bacteria to feed on and preventing toxic reactions in the fish? Any thoughts would be appreciated.
  2. Yeoy

    YeoyWell Known MemberMember

    Carol posted 2 great threads a few days ago, one on fishless cycling and the other on fish-in cycling. If you can read the fish-in one it should cover it. Always err on the side of caution and change water more frequently rather than less.
  3. Aquarist

    AquaristFishlore LegendMember

    Good morning and Welcome to Fish Lore!

    If you choose to use a bacterial additive, I would suggest Tetra Safe Start (TSS):
    Follow the directions to the letter!

    Cycling with fish and no bacterial additive, then daily water changes of at least 50% and adding Prime or Amquel + to detox your levels for 24 hours will be necessary to keep the fish alive. Any amount of ammonia can be harmful even fatal to your fish.

    Keep up with the daily water changes and Prime or Amquel + until you have 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrites and under 20 Nitrates.

    Note: The above water conditioners do not remove ammonia but they detoxify the ammonia putting the ammonia into a safe state. This will not prevent the tank from cycling. However, it may delay the process but it's necessary for the survival of the fish.

    Best wishes for your tank and fish!

    I hope you enjoy the site.

  4. OP

    bigdognjNew MemberMember

    Thank you for the responses, they are very helpful. Kudos to Carol for the great post on fish-in cycling as well.