Levels Not Moving

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jazmin

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hi all,

long story short my family and i started a tank on april 11th, we let it run for two days and then added tetra safestart and let that run for 24 hours before adding 3 glofish tetras. after about 2 weeks of letting the safestart run it’s course we finally saw a rise in the ammonia levels to .50, and nitrate levels to 4-5ppm 3 days ago my mom is refusing to do a water change because “petsmart” told her to just wait it out until it rises to the last reading on the ammonia chart(which i KNOW is deadly). fish are acting perfectly normal. i’ve gotten the readings of the .50 and 4-5 for about 4 days now. should i do a water change if they’re acting normal? do you guys think my tank is close to cycling? do you necessarily need to see a high rise in nitrates for a tank to be cycled? hope this makes sense
 

kallililly1973

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If your saying your ammonia is .50 .. are you possibly confusing nitrates for nitrites? If nitrites are 4-5 your fish are being poisoned and a WC is absolutely necessary right away.. once cycled you should have zero ammonia and nitrites and between 5-20 or so nitrates... then weekly 50% WC’s should be done weekly
 

Morpheus1967

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How large is your tank?

Nitrates of 5 are nothing. Alot of people (myself included) have that straight out of the tap. I did not see any mention of nitrite. Have you tested for that? Don't be alarmed if you haven't seen a reading for nitrite, because some folks who use the Safestart report skipping the nitrite phase altogether.

Until you eventually get a reading of zero ammonia, your tank isn't cycled. What are you using to dechlorinate your water? Prime?
 

nikm128

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Will your mom let you do a water change? That's honestly the stupidest advice I've heard so far, they told you to wait until ammonia and nitrites are max readings!? That'd be 8.0ppm(death) ammonia and 5.0ppm nitrites(slightly slower death)!!
First thing you'll need is some seachem prime, a complete cycle does not require a nitrate spike, just 0 ammonia 0 nitrites and some nitrates
 

oldsalt777

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jazmin said:
hi all,

long story short my family and i started a tank on april 11th, we let it run for two days and then added tetra safestart and let that run for 24 hours before adding 3 glofish tetras. after about 2 weeks of letting the safestart run it’s course we finally saw a rise in the ammonia levels to .50, and nitrate levels to 4-5ppm 3 days ago my mom is refusing to do a water change because “petsmart” told her to just wait it out until it rises to the last reading on the ammonia chart(which i KNOW is deadly). fish are acting perfectly normal. i’ve gotten the readings of the .50 and 4-5 for about 4 days now. should i do a water change if they’re acting normal? do you guys think my tank is close to cycling? do you necessarily need to see a high rise in nitrates for a tank to be cycled? hope this makes sense
Hello jaz...

You don't need to use any chemicals in the water other than the standard water treatment. Seachem's "Safe" is a good product. You set up the tank and add some floating plants like Hornwort and let the tank run a couple of days. You add some hardy fish like Guppies, Danios or Minnows. Tetras not so much, but since you have them already, then okay. Add 3 to 4 for every 10 gallons of water. Feed the fish a little every day or two and test the tank water daily for traces of ammonia and nitrite. If you have a positive test for either, remove 25 percent of the water and replace it with treated tap water. That's it. Just test every day and change one-quarter of the water when you have a positive test for ammonia and nitrite. A 25 percent water change is the best, because it makes the water a bit safer for the fish and grows the bacteria colony your tank will need once the tank is cycled. When you have several daily tests with no traces of ammonia or nitrite, the tank is cycled. This process takes about a month. Then, you do a 50 percent water change every week for as long as you have the tank.

Pretty easy,

Old
 
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jazmin

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nitrites have always been 0 from the very start. tank is a 29 gallon. i believe it skipped over that phase and went straight to nitrates. i use api stress coat for my water conditioner. so do i do a water change to get it back down to my baseline of .25 ammonia since that’s in my tap? and just keep testing to see if it’s cycled?

nikm128 said:
Will your mom let you do a water change? That's honestly the stupidest advice I've heard so far, they told you to wait until ammonia and nitrites are max readings!? That'd be 8.0ppm(death) ammonia and 5.0ppm nitrites(slightly slower death)!!
First thing you'll need is some seachem prime, a complete cycle does not require a nitrate spike, just 0 ammonia 0 nitrites and some nitrates
pretty much yea that’s what they said and she’s believing them because they “work in a pet store” and “they should know what they’re doing”. i use api stress coat for my water conditioner
 

Morpheus1967

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Do you use Prime as a water treatment?
 

nikm128

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Well I hate to break it to you (not really) but the majority of the people working at a chain store like that will have minimal knowledge of the pet they're selling. There are some people that actually keep fish themselves and know what to do, but they're too rare. So yes, they should know, but they don't.
If their advice is your only option, you will 100% need prime to detoxify the ammonia and everything so your fish can survive while the tank cycles.
Again, are you allowed to do water changes?
 

Sarcasm Included

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jazmin said:
pretty much yea that’s what they said and she’s believing them because they “work in a pet store” and “they should know what they’re doing”. i use api stress coat for my water conditioner
You would think, but it is usually just someone who was looking for a job and gets no training and minimum wage.
 
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jazmin

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oh yea that i know, i’ve told her not to listen to anyone there but she doesn’t listen. i am physically not able to do the water changes as i am disabled so it’s hard to lift a lot of water that i would need. i’m gonna try to convince her to let my dad change the water and see if it goes back down to my .25 baseline
 

Morpheus1967

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We really also need to know if you have Prime, as it can help detoxify small amounts of ammonia and nitrite for 24-48 hours.
 
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i do not have prime. i’ve just been waiting it out and watching my levels.
 

nikm128

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Sounds like a good plan, and once the tank is fully cycled your baseline of 0.25 from the tap won't matter as the cycle will remove that quite quickly.
If you don't have prime, or can't get any, please do everything you can to keep the ammonia below 1ppm
 

Morpheus1967

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jazmin said:
i do not have prime. i’ve just been waiting it out and watching my levels.
Ok, so what do you use to dechlorinate your water? Just trying to come up with ideas if your mom still is against water changes at this point.

Any chance you get get her to read this thread?

"Hey Mom! Change some of the water! Your fish will be happier for it."
 
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jazmin

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Morpheus1967 said:
Ok, so what do you use to dechlorinate your water? Just trying to come up with ideas if your mom still is against water changes at this point.

Any chance you get get her to read this thread?

"Hey Mom! Change some of the water! Your fish will be happier for it."
i use api stress coat. and i’ve been trying. she honestly came into this thinking you can just throw fish into a tank and they would be fine. she got a real wakeup call when she had to buy all this stuff just to keep them happy. i knew from even before setting up the tank that that isn’t true. i’ve learned most of my knowledge from this forum.
 

oldsalt777

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jazmin said:
nitrites have always been 0 from the very start. tank is a 29 gallon. i believe it skipped over that phase and went straight to nitrates. i use api stress coat for my water conditioner. so do i do a water change to get it back down to my baseline of .25 ammonia since that’s in my tap? and just keep testing to see if it’s cycled?
jaz...

I'm hoping you don't get confused with all this information. But, you don't need to worry about nitrates. They won't bother your fish. Ammonia and nitrite are toxic, so you need to limit your testing to these two. If you have a trace of either, you should be removing and replacing one-quarter of the tank water. Consistently feeding the fish is needed to maintain a steady ammonia source and testing every day and doing the water changes is very important, so your tank cycles in roughly 30 days.

Old
 

nikm128

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jazmin said:
i use api stress coat. and i’ve been trying. she honestly came into this thinking you can just throw fish into a tank and they would be fine. she got a real wakeup call when she had to buy all this stuff just to keep them happy.
I'm sorry, that's really unfortunate. Really glad CaptainAquatics Momgoose56 and I are writing an article on how to handle an emergency fish-in cycle
 
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jazmin

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oldsalt777 said:
jaz...

I'm hoping you don't get confused with all this information. But, you don't need to worry about nitrates. They won't bother your fish. Ammonia and nitrite are toxic, so you need to limit your testing to these two. If you have a trace of either, you should be removing and replacing one-quarter of the tank water. Consistently feeding the fish is needed to maintain a steady ammonia source and testing every day and doing the water changes is very important, so your tank cycles in roughly 30 days.

Old
i’m definitely going to start doing water changes to get my levels back down to the .25 as my baseline and test it daily to see if if rises
 

Meganrae8148

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jazmin said:
hi all,

long story short my family and i started a tank on april 11th, we let it run for two days and then added tetra safestart and let that run for 24 hours before adding 3 glofish tetras. after about 2 weeks of letting the safestart run it’s course we finally saw a rise in the ammonia levels to .50, and nitrate levels to 4-5ppm 3 days ago my mom is refusing to do a water change because “petsmart” told her to just wait it out until it rises to the last reading on the ammonia chart(which i KNOW is deadly). fish are acting perfectly normal. i’ve gotten the readings of the .50 and 4-5 for about 4 days now. should i do a water change if they’re acting normal? do you guys think my tank is close to cycling? do you necessarily need to see a high rise in nitrates for a tank to be cycled? hope this makes sense
Let me start in general from experience and I'm a beginner. But Personally I got a tank 3 months ago my first ever I'm 17 I had no clue about fish. I bought the tank decor and freaking neons didn't cycle. In a week they all died. Since then I'm a firm believer in fishless cycling... it can take 3 weeks to 4 months or more to cycle safely... since you already got the fish I suggest you go to petsmart get some prime u can get a small bottle for 5$ n literally a mml goes a long way. When u first buy prime I don't see harm in not doing a water change just adding in enough for your tank size then the next day preform a water change. Since you have fish in the tank a 25 percent water change wouldn't destroy your cycle I've done it I'm doing it now for guppys did it for a betta. It'll delay the cycle maybe but keep the fish alive if things spike. Personally I have 40 nitrates in my tap water and 2ppm ammonia. I use a filter thing for removing toxins for aquarium water its expensive I'll leave a pic. My nitrates stay around 20 honestly my fish are fine its ammonia and nitrites I get concerned over or if my nitrates reach red. They have didn't kill or harm anything but I did preform a water change. And another thing with my tanks I can't get non of them at all to be 0 ammonia. I test with api test I believe its maybe how I see the color also bc my tanks are cycled and have been for a while now expect one and they all have 0 nitrites 10 to 20 nitrates and ammonia always looks yellowish green but not as green as the 0.25 color shows confusing. I've started to learn as long as nothing is at 1ppm no nitrates are in the red zone and no fish are dead or acting weird... staying at the top of the tank or bottom not moving not eating kind of weird then they're okay
 

bizaliz3

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I highly disagree with Oldsalt on that one....Yes, lower nitrates are not a problem for fish, but if they get too high, they absolutely are an issue. Even high nitrates are not "as bad" as ammonia and nitrites. But high nitrates is still something you want to avoid.

Case in point....growing out angelfish...yes I am talking about babies and juveniles here...but still.....zero ammonia and nitrites are essential for fry (or any fish), but so are low nitrates. If the nitrates get too high, the young angelfish will develop bent unhealthy fins. If high nitrates did not have negative effects on fish...then they would grow out beautifully even if the nitrates got really high.

Nitrates are easy to keep low though. Just weekly water changes and not overstocking and not overfeeding and high nitrates will never happen in the first place.
 
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