20 Gallon Tank How’s my cycle?

TazednConfused

Member
Hello all. I’ve had this 20L for at least 8 months. I’ve had numerous deaths. I started with a fish in cycle. I know that I have constantly broken the cycle which caused most of the deaths with my neurotic cleaning regiments. I would pull the HOBs & clean the heck out of them, getting rid of the slime every couple of weeks. I never used an API master kit. I was just winging it. I was cleaning the foam & sponge with tank water. Now the fish were never dying in bunches. It would be just one here one there weeks apart. The plecos would kill & eat the snails until the plecos died even though I fed them algae flakes. I must admit not all the fish would die just the least hardy ones. The angel fish & the gold fish never winked an eye at me, the worst fish keeper. I was using a water conditioner but it wasn’t Prime. I recently received an API master kit from my mother in law when my brother in law moved out she asked if I wanted it & I said sure. I tested my water & I almost died. PH was at 6 or less, ammonia at 2 ppm & no nitrates. I kicked myself in the ass. I tested the tap water & the ph is 7.5 but after it hits the tank in 24 hours it drops to 6 or less. I have 2 hobs & 1 aquarium co-op medium sponge filter. I said ok let’s fix my mistakes. I left the sponge filter alone since I just cleaned it the week prior. I replaced the foam sponges in both the aquaclear 50 & 20. I was using 2 foams each in both, filter floss but no bio media rings plus the foam was literally falling apart & super soft. I cut a piece of coarse foam I purchased from aquarium co-op, the big black coarse foam square that is around 1” thick. I placed 1 new aquaclear foam on top of that, a sheet of floss & I bought the aquaclear bio-media, placed on top of that floss. Told myself not to touch it for at least a month but I did swap the floss once a week. I do have about 8 live plants in the tank. Some Amazon sword, Java fern & some others that I forgot what they are. I also noticed that they were getting brown & yellow leaves recently so I had to trim them to get the bad ones out. I kept reading about my ph problem. I didn’t have kh/gh test but by reading these forums I figured my city water is junk on gh/kh after 24 hours. I purchased a large Wonder Shell & some crushed coral. I have pool filter sand as my substrate so I sprinkled the crush coral all over the bottom, at least 3-4 cups worth. It was rinsed before I put it in the tank. I have been doing 25-45% daily water changes for a week then I cut back to changing water every other day. I have been testing the water everyday & I have been seeing some great improvements. Now I must say my city uses chloramine & there is ammonia present, .50-1ppm out of the **** tap. Thank god we always drink ro water bottles & there is a filter on the fridge for ice. After about two weeks of testing & leaving the hobs & sponge alone here are my results today. I did a 35-45% water change yesterday. None today. I started using Prime once I found ammonia coming out of the tap.
 

Cherryshrimp420

Member
Oh wow....that is a lot of text

First off, are you using tap or RO water? Do you know the KH of your tap?

It seems like your water has low KH and pH is swinging wildly... I would try to find the GH and KH of your source water first before doing anything drastic
 
  • Thread Starter

TazednConfused

Member
Cherryshrimp420 said:
Oh wow....that is a lot of text

First off, are you using tap or RO water? Do you know the KH of your tap?

It seems like your water has low KH and pH is swinging wildly... I would try to find the GH and KH of your source water first before doing anything drastic
I am using the tap water that has chloramine & ammonia but treating it with Prime. My ph has improved drastically by using the crushed coral & the Wonder Shell.
 

Cherryshrimp420

Member
TazednConfused said:
I am using the tap water that has chloramine & ammonia but treating it with Prime. My ph has improved drastically by using the crushed coral & the Wonder Shell.
Ah ok, seems like your tank is on the right track then. No need to water change so much and don't clean the filters. Other than that, feed minimal amounts and everything should be ok
 

mattgirl

Member
TazednConfused said:
I am using the tap water that has chloramine & ammonia but treating it with Prime. My ph has improved drastically by using the crushed coral & the Wonder Shell.
Welcome to Fishlore

I am almost as happy as you are that you are finally testing your tanks water and also realized you were way over cleaning your tank. It is the one thing in our homes than we don't want to keep bacteria free. It sounds like you are well on your way to a fully cycled tank and a healthy home for your water pets.
 
  • Thread Starter

TazednConfused

Member
Here is a water parameter update on my cycle. I think I’m doing good, right?
 

mattgirl

Member
I don't see the nitrite test but if you aren't seeing any then yes, you are doing very good. Now that you have your pH up and stabilized things should keep going well.
 
  • Thread Starter

TazednConfused

Member
mattgirl said:
I don't see the nitrite test but if you aren't seeing any then yes, you are doing very good. Now that you have your pH up and stabilized things should keep going well.
I didn’t test for Nitrite since I have Nitrates. I assumed it would be redundant. I will go test now.
Here is the Nitrite test.
 

mattgirl

Member
Seeing no nitrites is good but at times during the cycling process we often see all 3 (ammonia, nitrites and nitrates). That just means we have enough bacteria to produce nitrates but not quite enough to clean out all of the ammonia and nitrites. Since you've not been able to test from the beginning of this cycle we can't know whether or not you have gone through the nitrite phase of the cycle. I would go ahead and run the test every few days.

If the ammonia starts going down quickly and the nitrates steadily rise we can assume you have gone through the nitrite spike. We aren't going to know that for a fact though until this tank grows enough ammonia eating bacteria to clear it out within 24 hours of adding it. If it goes straight through to nitrates we can assume you have enough nitrite eating bacteria if your tests come back zero.
 

Latest threads

Top Bottom