New Aquarium / freshwater fishless cycle - Page 2

  • Thread Starter
Kwinsee
Member
Hmm are there any other options other than oyster shells or coral?
I read here that using reverse osmosis water may help? Believe it or not, I actually have a reverse osmosis water filtration system.

Aquarium pH: How to Safely Adjust pH


I’ll wait before adding more ammonia as you suggest.
 
  • Thread Starter
Kwinsee
Member
Hi
Today’s update

Ammonia 0.25-0.5.
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 10-20ppm

Maybe wait one more day to see if it goes down to 0? Or pump it back up?


thanks
 
mattgirl
Member
Kwinsee said:
Hmm are there any other options other than oyster shells or coral?
I read here that using reverse osmosis water may help? Believe it or not, I actually have a reverse osmosis water filtration system.

Aquarium pH: How to Safely Adjust pH


I’ll wait before adding more ammonia as you suggest.
I have no idea as to why I didn't get an alert for this question :(

Some folks recommend limestone. Others recommend adding baking soda. I've never used it so am not comfortable recommending it. Since this is a fishless cycle though adding a tiny bit of it to raise the kh/pH won't be harming any fish so may not be a problem. Keep in mind, a little goes a long way so start out low, test and add more if needed.

The problem with using the RO water is you will have to remineralize it. Lots of folks do use it but as long as your tap water is usable I won't recommend you go down that rabbit hole.
Kwinsee said:
Hi
Today’s update

Ammonia 0.25-0.5.
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 10-20ppm

Maybe wait one more day to see if it goes down to 0? Or pump it back up?
thanks
Let's get the pH up, once done get the ammonia back up to 2ppm. I suspect if we can stabilize the pH the ammonia will start going down like it should. We have been adding ammonia for about 2 weeks now so I do expect you will see 0 ammonia very soon. I actually expected it before now since nitrites went up and back down but the unstable pH may be causing issues.
 
  • Thread Starter
Kwinsee
Member
I went to the pet store and they had no crushed coral. They sold me some
Alkaline buffer. Should I use that to raise the PH or should I try to find crushed coral first. Also, how long does it take for the coral to raise the PH? I assume I would put the coral in a stocking and add that to my filter?
 
mattgirl
Member
Kwinsee said:
I went to the pet store and they had no crushed coral. They sold me some
Alkaline buffer. Should I use that to raise the PH or should I try to find crushed coral first. Also, how long does it take for the coral to raise the PH? I assume I would put the coral in a stocking and add that to my filter?
I have never used that product so don't know if it would help or not. If you don't rinse the CC first it will almost immediately raise the pH. Since this is a fishless cycle that wouldn't be a problem. When fishes lives are at stake I always recommend rinsing the coral dust off first so it goes up much slower. If you can't get crushed coral oyster shells or limestone will work about the same.

Yes, put some in a media bag and if there is room for it put it in your filter. If there isn't room in the filter situate the bag where water is running over it. We want water running over/through it. It very very slowly dissolves and stabilizes the pH. I can't tell you how high it will stabilize your pH at. It depends on the chemistry of your water so what it does for mine will probably be different for you. It will only raise it so high though and no more so don't be concerned that it will go too high. If not rinsed it can take several days to start seeing results.
 
  • Thread Starter
Kwinsee
Member
I went to another pet store near by and they didn’t have the coral either. They ALSO recommended Alkaline Buffer (Seachem - Alkaline Buffer). I took a chance and added the recommended dosage as per Seachems site (I hope I don’t regret it later) and tested an hour later. The PH is now between 7.2 - 7.5
I’ll test it again tomorrow morning.
Should I add the ammonia now or wait until tomorrow ?
 
mattgirl
Member
Kwinsee said:
I went to another pet store near by and they didn’t have the coral either. They ALSO recommended Alkaline Buffer (Seachem - Alkaline Buffer). I took a chance and added the recommended dosage as per Seachems site (I hope I don’t regret it later) and tested an hour later. The PH is now between 7.2 - 7.5
I’ll test it again tomorrow morning.
Should I add the ammonia now or wait until tomorrow ?
I don't think adding it is going to cause a problem. I prefer natural but sometimes we have to do what we have to do. I would go ahead and add ammonia. Hopefully now that the pH is up you will see the ammonia down to or very close to 0 in 24 hours.
 
  • Thread Starter
Kwinsee
Member
Update

added ammonia 24 hours ago

today:
PH 7.2
Ammonia 0.5 (lower than I expected)
Nitrite 0.5 (higher than I expected)
Nitrate 20ppm

should I wait again before adding more ammonia? If so, how much longer should i wait?

should I be concerned the Nitrite is higher today?

thanks
 
mattgirl
Member
Kwinsee said:
Update

added ammonia 24 hours ago

today:
PH 7.2
Ammonia 0.5 (lower than I expected)
Nitrite 0.5 (higher than I expected)
Nitrate 20ppm

should I wait again before adding more ammonia? If so, how much longer should i wait?

should I be concerned the Nitrite is higher today?

thanks
Seeing the ammonia lower than expected tells us getting the pH higher is helping. Seeing the nitrites higher tells us things are working well too. Both of these numbers are good things. Now it is just waiting game. Adding ammonia every 48 hours instead of 24 will be often enough at this point. I am really expecting to see 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites any day now.
 
  • Thread Starter
Kwinsee
Member
48 hour update

Ph 7.2
Ammonia 0.25 (still not a clear zero/yellow)
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 20

should I add the 40 drops of ammonia now?
 
mattgirl
Member
Kwinsee said:
48 hour update

Ph 7.2
Ammonia 0.25 (still not a clear zero/yellow)
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 20

should I add the 40 drops of ammonia now?
I am beginning to think this cycle is done and .25 is the lowest you are going to see until this tank is stocked and established. You may want to add the ammonia one more time but that is totally up to you. You have been amazingly patient. At this point if this was my tank I would do a 50% water change being sure to temp match and add Prime and then get the fish your daughter has been waiting so long for.

start with one goldfish. watch the numbers. If you see no spike in a week add the second one.
 
  • Thread Starter
Kwinsee
Member
Ok :)
I’ll do the 50 WC / add prime if that’s what you would do at this point.

I had to be extra patient because I don’t want to buy fish again to put them through the agony the last 2 probably went through :(

my daughter will be a happy camper tonight when I tell her we’re going shopping for fish :)

Fingers crossed!

I’ll keep you posted
Thanks a million
 
mattgirl
Member
Kwinsee said:
Ok :)
I’ll do the 50 WC / add prime if that’s what you would do at this point.

I had to be extra patient because I don’t want to buy fish again to put them through the agony the last 2 probably went through :(

my daughter will be a happy camper tonight when I tell her we’re going shopping for fish :)

Fingers crossed!

I’ll keep you posted
Thanks a million
Please do keep me updated. If ammonia spikes (I really don't expect it to do so) just keep up with water changes should it go above the .25 you are seeing in the test tube. If it goes no higher it will be time to go to the weekly water changes. :)
 
  • Thread Starter
Kwinsee
Member
I guess I’m just paranoid, but an hour after the WC I just checked and it’s still the exact same readings as before the WC.

I thought the WC would have brought the ammonia to a more definitive yellow or lower the nitrate but it didn’t.
Oh well :)
 
mattgirl
Member
Kwinsee said:
I guess I’m just paranoid, but an hour after the WC I just checked and it’s still the exact same readings as before the WC.

I thought the WC would have brought the ammonia to a more definitive yellow or lower the nitrate but it didn’t.
Oh well :)
Have you run the nitrate test on your tap water? If the water change didn't lower them you may have some in your tap water.
 
  • Thread Starter
Kwinsee
Member
I just checked my logs and I made a mistake.
Nitrate was 20 ppm before WC, now it’s somewhere between 5-10. So I guess it did go down.

I think I’m still ok :)
 
  • Thread Starter
Kwinsee
Member
Hiya
So we finally got the little guy. Things are going well so far except the ammonia is still hovering at 0.25. Not a clear yellow. I found the attached picture online which breaks down the readings into a more comprehensible chart. According to the chart, they suggest I add prime at this point. Thoughts?
Should I just wait, or should I take any action?
 
alven
Member
In my humble opinion, I don't believe that there's any harm in still doing a 50% WC to get the ppm closer to 0 than to .25 .
 
mattgirl
Member
Kwinsee said:
Hiya
So we finally got the little guy. Things are going well so far except the ammonia is still hovering at 0.25. Not a clear yellow. I found the attached picture online which breaks down the readings into a more comprehensible chart. According to the chart, they suggest I add prime at this point. Thoughts?
Should I just wait, or should I take any action?
Does it look like a solid .25 or is it just not a bright yellow? If you are having a difficult time determining if there is any ammonia then I think we determined that is what you are going to always see in he test tube. Or at least see until this tank is firmly established. If you are shaking the ammonia testing solution bottles and you still see this each time I have to think it is going to be what you will always see.

It is time to go to the 50% weekly water changes. You can continue using Prime with your water changes for the life of this tank but at this point any of the many water conditioners that removes chlorine/chloramines and some heavy metals will work just as well.

Of course should you see spikes in ammonia or nitrites you will want to do a water change sooner than once a week. I really don't expect that to happen though.

I have never seen this chart. Is it something that comes in the kit now or is it just something someone created and posted online? Meaning just someone's opinion. If it is now coming with the kit it would seem API and Seachem are collaborating. I can't see that happening but stranger things have been known to happen. I know I don't agree with the recommendations on the 100% water changes or some of the the fine if stable pH numbers specially if someone is trying to cycle a tank.
aIvinn said:
In my humble opinion, I don't believe that there's any harm in still doing a 50% WC to get the ppm closer to 0 than to .25 .
I agree, there is no harm but in this case it might not be necessary right now.
 
  • Thread Starter
Kwinsee
Member
To me, it’s a clear 0.25.
I hadn’t been shaking the solution bottles before adding the drops, so I shook them well and tested again. Then I thought maybe it’s because I haven’t been shaking the bottles, so I just went out and bought another API ammonia testing kit , shook the bottles well, added the solution and it’s still 0.25.

You’re probably right in that these are the numbers I’ll always see or maybe one day it’ll be a more defined yellow as the tank continues to stabilize.

I found the chart online so it’s likely just something someone put together. I thought maybe it could be useful, but I guess not lol.

We got the fish on Sunday (yesterday), so I’ll do the 50% WC next Sunday. Should I be testing the water daily? Weekly?

We plan to get another fish sooner than later.

Attached you’ll find a pic of the most recent reading. I know these pics are hard to read, but it’s pretty much what I’m seeing now.
 
mattgirl
Member
Getting another test kit was a good idea. It tells us the .25 ammonia reading is accurate.

I would go ahead and run the test daily. If the ammonia is going to go up we want to catch it early and control it with a water change. As long as it stays at this level waiting until next Sunday to do the water change is perfect.

I would wait at least a week before adding the second fish. Even longer though if the ammonia starts going up with just the one. If t goes up with just the one we want to wait until enough bacteria has grown to keep it down to your normal reading. Once it does you can add the second one. Again test the ammonia level daily and do water changes if needed.
 
  • Thread Starter
Kwinsee
Member
Hi
Took the readings today and it looks like the ammonia is actually yellow now. Or as close to yellow as I remember seeing it.

pH 7
Ammonia 0-0.25
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 20ppm

Do you still think I should wait until it’s been a week before doing the WC? Is 20ppm a bit high?
If I WC, 50%?

Thanks
 
mattgirl
Member
Kwinsee said:
Hi
Took the readings today and it looks like the ammonia is actually yellow now. Or as close to yellow as I remember seeing it.

pH 7
Ammonia 0-0.25
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 20ppm

Do you still think I should wait until it’s been a week before doing the WC? Is 20ppm a bit high?
If I WC, 50%?

Thanks
This is really great news. 20 really isn't that high but if it would make you feel more comfortable go ahead and change some water. 50% should get it down to 10. When I said it is time to go to weekly water changes I didn't mean you had to wait that long. I just meant you probably wouldn't actually HAVE to do one sooner. :)
 
  • Thread Starter
Kwinsee
Member
Hi again
We added a 2nd goldfish last week since all the numbers looked good. The ammonia is the only one that fluctuates. It’s usually around .25 but when I tested it today it’s closer to .5 or even 1.
Ph/nitrite/nitrate are all good
I did a 50% WC and then tested 2 hours later but it seems the ammonia is still hovering at the same .5-1
Should I do another 50% WC right away or wait until tomorrow?
Not sure what to make of this.
 
mattgirl
Member
Kwinsee said:
Hi again
We added a 2nd goldfish last week since all the numbers looked good. The ammonia is the only one that fluctuates. It’s usually around .25 but when I tested it today it’s closer to .5 or even 1.
Ph/nitrite/nitrate are all good
I did a 50% WC and then tested 2 hours later but it seems the ammonia is still hovering at the same .5-1
Should I do another 50% WC right away or wait until tomorrow?
Not sure what to make of this.
If you added Prime for the full tank when you did your water change just wait until tomorrow. Let's give the bacteria a chance to do its job. If you didn't add enough for all the water in the tank go ahead and add enough to make up for it.

Have you run the ammonia test on your tap water? Some folks have ammonia in their tap water 'specially if the water company adds chloramines instead of just chlorine.
 
  • Thread Starter
Kwinsee
Member
I did test my tap water and it seems it’s also at 0.25. Not a clear yellow. Does that make a difference?

I did add enough prime for the whole tank, so I guess I’ll check tomorrow :)
 
mattgirl
Member
Kwinsee said:
I did test my tap water and it seems it’s also at 0.25. Not a clear yellow. Does that make a difference?

I did add enough prime for the whole tank, so I guess I’ll check tomorrow :)
Water changes will add a bit of ammonia but a strong cycle will be able to handle it. It is good that you added enough prime. Hopefully this is just a little glitch and will soon work itself out.
 
  • Thread Starter
Kwinsee
Member
I started the cycling process with fish food, but then moved on to ammonia drops.
If it’s still higher tomorrow should I do another 50% change?
 
mattgirl
Member
Kwinsee said:
I started the cycling process with fish food, but then moved on to ammonia drops.
If it’s still higher tomorrow should I do another 50% change?
I remember now. Another water change might be best. Since you have some ammonia in your tap water you can't get it down to zero in the tank but it will be better if you can keep it below .5 I would rather see .25 but that may be difficult.

Have we discussed your filtration. Is it possible this tank is underfiltered for goldfish? How much are you feeding them? The less you feed the less ammonia there will be. Once daily of even every other day until the cycle settles down will be enough.
 
  • Thread Starter
Kwinsee
Member
I have an Aquaclear 50 HOB. My tank is 30 gallons. I’ve been told that it’s a good combo.
I’m gonna try feeding them a bit less. I just don’t get exactly how much I’m supposed to feed them. I have grains that sink and I feed them about 8 grains each per day split into 2-3 feedings. The info on the internet is so ambiguous about how much to actually feed them. Some say as much as they can eat in 2 mins (but that is difficult to measure since there are 2 fish and sometimes 1 fish eats all the food before the other). Some say to feed as much as the size of their eyeball. But again, difficult to measure. I’m probably overthinking all of this and should just put 4 grains per day and walk away and whatever happens happens, but I don’t want to underfeed them either.
 
mattgirl
Member
This brand of filter is often recommended but I am going to suggest you upgrade it to one that says it can handle a much bigger tank or add another one a step or two up from this one and run both. When a filter is recommended for a tank 20 to 50 gallons it is about enough for the lower number. I have found through the years that these folks tend to over rate the effectiveness of their filters. Add in goldfish and the filter is overwhelmed. I am thinking under-filtration may be why you are experiencing this ammonia spike where there should be none.

I actually run 2 HOB filters rated for tanks 55 to 100 gallons plus 2 sponge filters in my fully stocked 55 gallon tank. One can never have too much filtration. Too much water movement is possible but never too much filtration. I run a filter rated for a tank up to 33 gallons on my 5.5 gallon tank. Right now I am growing out some mystery snails in this tank. Over filtration is necessary since I feed them so much.

When it comes to feeding, I agree. This is one of the most difficult things to fine tune. I've never kept goldfish but I am thinking their food is more on the vegetarian side. I've read that folks can't have a planted tank because the fish eat their plants. Maybe you could feed them some kind of veggie based floating pellets. If it floats you will know all has been eaten and not somewhere in/on the substrate. Maybe once or twice a week you can give them some kind of fresh veggies.
 
  • Thread Starter
Kwinsee
Member
It seems the ammonia has finally leveled off. It’s been a clear yellow for the last couple of days.
Hopefully this means I’m finally a successful fish keeper :)

Just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for all of your advice. I probably would have abandoned this long ago had it not been for your help and those who helped before you.
Hopefully with more experience, I’ll be able to pass on what I learn to the next rookie.

Again thanks so much.
 
mattgirl
Member
Kwinsee said:
It seems the ammonia has finally leveled off. It’s been a clear yellow for the last couple of days.
Hopefully this means I’m finally a successful fish keeper :)

Just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for all of your advice. I probably would have abandoned this long ago had it not been for your help and those who helped before you.
Hopefully with more experience, I’ll be able to pass on what I learn to the next rookie.

Again thanks so much.
I am so happy to hear this. It has been my pleasure to help guide you through the process. Hopefully you will enjoy this wonderful hobby for many years to come. Please do stick around and share what you've learned with others.

I wanted to change one suggestion I made earlier about what to feed your little guys. It was brought to my attention feeding floating foods to fancy goldfish isn't a good idea. It seems by feeding from the top they tend to gulp more air and it can lead to serious problems. A veggie based diet still stands though :)
 

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