20 Gallon Tank Need Help: Tank Cycled or Not??? (First Aquarium)

Drafe
  • #1
Hey guys, this is my first post. I recently got a 20g tank kit from PetSmart and set everything up. I have been asking for an aquarium and finally got one after 3 years :) I decided to go with a fishless cycle at first, but my friend who is an ex-aquariumist told me it would be fairly faster if I went through the fish-in cycle route. I added API stress coat + and API quick start along with some fish flakes to ghost feed the tank. For some reason, my nitrites and nitrates were present with no ammonia. I figured this was the stuff from the tap water and waited for it to die down. It didn't die down after a week so I switched to Seachem Stability as my BB starter. It went down after I added stability and decided to add 4 Zebra Danios for fish in the cycle process. Unfortunately after 3 weeks, 3 danios died and 1 lives to this day (There was .25 ammonia present at that time). I thought the cycle was finally starting and kept dosing the stability every day. 2 weeks passed and there is no ammonia, no nitrite, and no nitrate. I thought it was cycled and went ahead and got 4 plays ( 2 sunburst and 2 mickey mice). I tested the water today and there is still no ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate present. Is it cycled?? or is it not cycled?? It has been a little over a month since I bought the tank if you guys wanted to know (There was also some algae forming but when I added the platys, I woke up and found out the platys had eaten the algae)

My plan is to have 4 plays, 3 mollies, and 1 dwarf gourami in the 20g tank.
I use the API Fresh Water Master test kit
1 live plant - Lucky bamboo
 

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StarGirl
  • #2
Usually when tanks are cycled there will be no Ammonia or Nitrite but a Nitrate reading of some kind. Being all zero I have have to guess it is not cycled. Did you follow the nitrate test correctly? It is a trickier test than the others.

All you can really do is keep a eye on the tank closely and do water changes if ammonia or nitrites jump at all. When you have fish-in you have to keep a good eye on the water until you know for sure it is cycled to protect your fish. Since you have fish in there there really is no need for any more Stability unless you just want to use the bottle up.
 
Drafe
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Usually when tanks are cycled there will be no Ammonia or Nitrite but a Nitrate reading of some kind. Being all zero I have have to guess it is not cycled. Did you follow the nitrate test correctly? It is a trickier test than the others.

All you can really do is keep a eye on the tank closely and do water changes if ammonia or nitrites jump at all. When you have fish-in you have to keep a good eye on the water until you know for sure it is cycled to protect your fish. Since you have fish in there there really is no need for any more Stability unless you just want to use the bottle up.
Hmm, I will do that for sure. I am also pretty sure I did the nitrate test correctly: Shake the 2nd bottle vigorously and invert and stuff, but if it is not cycled then what happened to the nitrates that came from ammonia present in the tank when there was 1 zebrafish survivor. Could it have been consumed by the live plant and that my tank is actually cycled but the live plant just consumes the nitrate? Is that a possibility
 
StarGirl
  • #4
Did you shake bottle 2 for 30 sec. and then the vial for 60 sec?

I guess it is possible for a plant to soak up nitrates from one fish.
 
Drafe
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Did you shake bottle 2 for 30 sec. and then the vial for 60 sec?

I guess it is possible for a plant to soak up nitrates from one fish.
I did exactly that, maybe longer. But there was a time where I didn't do that and tested my water in the tank and I still got nitrate readings in the 10-20 ppm range. This was when I realized it was from my tap water and not from the actual cycle since the cycle never started.
 

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