20 Gallon Tank New hobby and need help! - Page 2

AliX33x

Hey there! So happy to join fishlore! I look forward to being here! I set up a 20 gallon fish tank 10 days ago. I decided I wanted to do fish less cycle and I’m not sure I’m doing it correctly. When I first set up the tank my levels were:
PH- 8.2 ppm
AMMONIA- 8 ppm
NITRITES- 0 ppm
NITRATES- 0 ppm

Because the ammonia was so high already I wasn’t sure if I was still supposed to add ammonia to it. I’ve been checking numbers every other day and they have stayed the same. Last night I did a 50% water change and checked the water today. The levels were:

PH 8.2 ppm
AMMONIA- 4 ppm
NITRITES- 0.25 ppm
NITRATES- 0 ppm

I know it’s only been 10 days and a fish less cycle takes longer than that but was I supposed to add ammonia to the tank initially even though the ammonia was already so high? Any help/advice would be great appreciated!! Thanks so much!!
 

Baasy

ive been useing fluval biological enhancer
and dosing with pure ammonia, I'm only say 10 days in and already see nitrites and nitrates, got nitrite my 3rd day, are you using any BB? I've also got dirty filter spibg off my LFS, ask the guy who sold you those block,ask him for a old filter out of an established tank or a cup of gravel, take it him in a fish bag if tank water from the established tank,add it to your filter in your own tank, that should speed things up.
How far along are you now,did it cycle?
 
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AliX33x

ive been useing fluval biological enhancer
and dosing with pure ammonia, I'm only say 10 days in and already see nitrites and nitrates, got nitrite my 3rd day, are you using any BB? I've also got dirty filter spibg off my LFS, ask the guy who sold you those block,ask him for a old filter out of an established tank or a cup of gravel, take it him in a fish bag if tank water from the established tank,add it to your filter in your own tank, that should speed things up.
How far along are you now,did it cycle?
I started my tank on May, 23rd. I was having a lot of trouble in the beginning with the nitrogen cycle not even starting and the ammonia level going above 8ppm without even putting any ammonia in so I did some “experiments” on my tap water and when I let it sit out (covered and uncovered) the ammonia would rise. I tried putting tap water outside to test it too just for the heck of it and the same happened. So mattgirl suggested I just use bottled water, so I did. I’m seeing the ammonia drop but still no nitrites or nitrates. I used the TSS+ but I don’t know anyone I can get tank water or gravel from.
 
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mattgirl

I started my tank on May, 23rd. I was having a lot of trouble in the beginning with the nitrogen cycle not even starting and the ammonia level going above 8ppm without even putting any ammonia in so I did some “experiments” on my tap water and when I let it sit out (covered and uncovered) the ammonia would rise. I tried putting tap water outside to test it too just for the heck of it and the same happened. So mattgirl suggested I just use bottled water, so I did. I’m seeing the ammonia drop but still no nitrites or nitrates. I used the TSS+ but I don’t know anyone I can get tank water or gravel from.
Just continue doing what you are doing and I feel sure this tank will cycle. :) Some folks are fortunate enough to have a local fish store or a friend they can get seeded media from but when we don't have that we just have to do it the harder way.
 
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AliX33x

Just continue doing what you are doing and I feel sure this tank will cycle. :) Some folks are fortunate enough to have a local fish store or a friend they can get seeded media from but when we don't have that we just have to do it the harder way.
Okay, I will :)
 
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Baasy

Any help..I just tested my water and the 4.0 ppmammonia I dosed say 30 hours ago is down to 0.50-1.0ppm..nitrites up to5.0 dark purple and nitrates up to 80 ppm..PH sitting nice 7.4 on high PH 7.6ish on PH
Do yo think I should dose it up to 2.0 ammonia again or leave it till the morning and should I do a water change???
 
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mattgirl

Any help..I just tested my water and the 4.0 ppmammonia I dosed say 30 hours ago is down to 0.50-1.0ppm..nitrites up to5.0 dark purple and nitrates up to 80 ppm..PH sitting nice 7.4 on high PH 7.6ish on PH
Do yo think I should dose it up to 2.0 ammonia again or leave it till the morning and should I do a water change???
I wouldn't do anything right now. Let the ammonia get closer to zero before adding more. Now that you are seeing both nitrites and nitrates this cycle is moving forward. Since this is a fishless cycle we can let the numbers get fairly high without fear of hurting living creatures.

when it is time to add more ammonia only add enough to get it up to 2ppm. You don't need 4ppm in a 20 gallon tank.
 
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Baasy

My small 5 gallon is cycling now as well it was sitting high last nite only after 5 days
Ammonia 8.0 ppm ..nitrite 5.0 ppm ..
nitrate 80ppm , a topped up up with conditioned water but will do another test later tonight once its been 24 hours
What you think??
 
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mattgirl

My small 5 gallon is cycling now as well it was sitting high last nite only after 5 days
Ammonia 8.0 ppm ..nitrite 5.0 ppm ..
nitrate 80ppm , a topped up up with conditioned water but will do another test later tonight once its been 24 hours
What you think??
8ppm ammonia is way too much for a 5 gallon tank. I would get it down to no more than 1ppm with a water change. I edited my previous post but will repeat here. When it is time to add more ammonia only add enough to get it up to 2ppm. You don't need 4ppm in a 20 gallon tank.
 
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Baasy

I wouldn't do anything right now. Let the ammonia get closer to zero before adding more. Now that you are seeing both nitrites and nitrates this cycle is moving forward. Since this is a fishless cycle we can let the numbers get fairly high without fear of hurting living creatures.

when it is time to add more ammonia only add enough to get it up to 2ppm. You don't need 4ppm in a 20 gallon tank.
I remember you saying that to me yesterday, so once its closer to zero then add 16 drops ammonia to get it to 2.0 and just let the nitrites & nitrates rise as there's no fish, when shall I freshin up the water to put the minerals back in so its not dead water, I bought filter booster & api stress coat today, could I filter boost the water or not?
8ppm ammonia is way too much for a 5 gallon tank. I would get it down to no more than 1ppm with a water change. I edited my previous post but will repeat here. When it is time to add more ammonia only add enough to get it up to 2ppm. You don't need 4ppm in a 20 gallon tank.
I think its because I had "bait" river shrimp and left the water in to start the cycle,should I water change IR then test later, OK cool ..should I filter boost any the tanks??
 
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mattgirl

I remember you saying that to me yesterday, so once its closer to zero then add 16 drops ammonia to get it to 2.0 and just let the nitrites & nitrates rise as there's no fish, when shall I freshin up the water to put the minerals back in so its not dead water, I bought filter booster & api stress coat today, could I filter boost the water or not?

I think its because I had "bait" river shrimp and left the water in to start the cycle,should I water change IR then test later, OK cool ..should I filter boost any the tanks??
If filter boost means adding bottled bacteria I really don't think either tank needs it. Both tanks seem to already have both ammonia and nitrite eating bacteria so don't need to have any more added.

As long as your pH is holding steady and the ammonia is going down a water change isn't needed. The small tank does need one to get the ammonia down though. Doing a water change to get both nitrites and nitrates down in the 20 isn't a problem but isn't totally necessary right now.

Should the ammonia stall and stop going down then a water change will get it moving forward again.
 
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Baasy

If filter boost means adding bottled bacteria I really don't think either tank needs it. Both tanks seem to already have both ammonia and nitrite eating bacteria so don't need to have any more added.

As long as your pH is holding steady and the ammonia is going down a water change isn't needed. The small tank does need one to get the ammonia down though. Doing a water change to get both nitrites and nitrates down in the 20 isn't a problem but isn't totally necessary right now.

Should the ammonia stall and stop going down then a water change will get it moving forward again.
I just done a 70% water change on the small tank, will test it later for the stats..thanks, you've been a big help, this fishlore is a great forum , I've done a lot of research but actually talking to someone first hand puts all the piece's together like a great puzzle, feel like I'm achieving something now...thanks to you mattgirl
 
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AliX33x

Just continue doing what you are doing and I feel sure this tank will cycle. :) Some folks are fortunate enough to have a local fish store or a friend they can get seeded media from but when we don't have that we just have to do it the harder way.
I was able to find a friend with a fish tank and he gave me about a cup (maybe a little less) of substrate. I’m hoping it will help!
 
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AliX33x

Nitrites FINALLY showed up when I tested the water today @mattgirl!!! :D Pardon my excitement haha. It just seems like it’s been forever since I started this and I needed to share :p
 
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Baasy

Are you dosing with any sort of bacteria? Fluvial cycle biological enhancer...that gave me a quick start in Nitrates
 
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mattgirl

Are you dosing with any sort of bacteria? Fluvial cycle biological enhancer...that gave me a quick start in Nitrates
Nitrates will come in time. Seeing nitrates is something to look forward to but there is no need to try to rush it.
 
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AliX33x

Are you dosing with any sort of bacteria? Fluvial cycle biological enhancer...that gave me a quick start in Nitrates
No, I’m not. I’m just happy I’m seeing nitrites at this point because it’s taken such a long time!! At this point waiting a little while longer for the process to get nitrates isn’t going to kill me haha
 
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AliX33x

mattgirl should I wait for the ammonia to get close to 0 ppm before I add more? It gets to 1 ppm overnight. So do I add more to get it to 2 ppm or let it drop more? I’m not sure if I already asked this, sorry if I did!
 
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mattgirl

mattgirl should I wait for the ammonia to get close to 0 ppm before I add more? It gets to 1 ppm overnight. So do I add more to get it to 2 ppm or let it drop more? I’m not sure if I already asked this, sorry if I did!
I would wait for it to drop closer to zero before adding more.
 
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AliX33x

mattgirl omgosh I’m so close now! Haha. My levels are

Ph- 8.2
Ammonia- 2ppm
Nitrite- 0ppm
Nitrate- 80 ppm

Should I just wait for the ammonia to go down at this point? Or is now a good time to do a water change? The nitrites just got down to 0 ppm after spiking.
 
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mattgirl

mattgirl omgosh I’m so close now! Haha. My levels are

Ph- 8.2
Ammonia- 2ppm
Nitrite- 0ppm
Nitrate- 80 ppm

Should I just wait for the ammonia to go down at this point? Or is now a good time to do a water change? The nitrites just got down to 0 ppm after spiking.
How long has the ammonia been sitting at 2ppm? Since the nitrites have spiked and then gone back to zero I would have expected the ammonia to be at zero. If that isn't happening then yes, it is time to do a water change. Change out at least half the water. Once done get the ammonia back up to 2ppm.
 
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AliX33x

How long has the ammonia been sitting at 2ppm? Since the nitrites have spiked and then gone back to zero I would have expected the ammonia to be at zero. If that isn't happening then yes, it is time to do a water change. Change out at least half the water. Once done get the ammonia back up to 2ppm.
It’s been sitting at 2 ppm for around 48-72 hours.
 
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mattgirl

It’s been sitting at 2 ppm for around 48-72 hours.
Definitely time to do a water change then. Since nitrites have spiked and gone down to zero the ammonia should be going down. the water change will get things moving forward again.
 
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AliX33x

Definitely time to do a water change then. Since nitrites have spiked and gone down to zero the ammonia should be going down. the water change will get things moving forward again.
Okay!! I’ll have to do that first thing tomorrow. I need to pick more water up!
 
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AliX33x

Ahhh mattgirl I’m so discouraged. It took me a couple of days to get water to do the change. I did about a 70% water change last night and there is still 1 ppm ammonia in the tank. There are also nitrites showing up again! 0.25 ppm. I don’t know what’s going on. What do I do?
 
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mattgirl

Ahhh mattgirl I’m so discouraged. It took me a couple of days to get water to do the change. I did about a 70% water change last night and there is still 1 ppm ammonia in the tank. There are also nitrites showing up again! 0.25 ppm. I don’t know what’s going on. What do I do?
I know it can be frustrating but now that the water change has been done just give it more time.Have you kept an eye on the pH level since you switched over to bottled water? As long as the pH in the tank is up to at least 7 the bacteria should get busy. If using the bottled water has dropped it too low the cycle can stall.

Don't add any more ammonia right now. Let the bacteria clear out the ammonia and nitrites.

If that doesn't happen in a couple of days and your pH is holding at 7 or above it may be time to add another bottle of Tetra Safe Start Plus. Some folks have been able to successfully finish up their cycle by doing so. I really don't know why this cycle is struggling to finish up.
 
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AliX33x

I know it can be frustrating but now that the water change has been done just give it more time.Have you kept an eye on the pH level since you switched over to bottled water? As long as the pH in the tank is up to at least 7 the bacteria should get busy. If using the bottled water has dropped it too low the cycle can stall.

Don't add any more ammonia right now. Let the bacteria clear out the ammonia and nitrites.

If that doesn't happen in a couple of days and your pH is holding at 7 or above it may be time to add another bottle of Tetra Safe Start Plus. Some folks have been able to successfully finish up their cycle by doing so. I really don't know why this cycle is struggling to finish up.
Yeah the pH is at 8.0 right now. I haven’t added any ammonia is probably 5 days or so that’s why I was concerned it wasn’t decreasing. And then after the nitrites zeroed out and now are showing up again I didn’t know what was up. I’ll check everything in a couple of days and then check back here to get your opinion if you don’t mind.
 
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AliX33x

Hi mattgirl me again! My tank is finally cycled but I do have one final (I think) question! Now that it is cycled can I take the seeded substrate out that I put in a while back? Or should I wait until fish are in and settled.
 
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mattgirl

Hi mattgirl me again! My tank is finally cycled but I do have one final (I think) question! Now that it is cycled can I take the seeded substrate out that I put in a while back? Or should I wait until fish are in and settled.
I am very happy to hear this is finally behind you. :)

Where is the seeded substrate located? Are we talking about a handful of gravel? I don't think it will be a problem removing it now that the cycle is finally done but if it isn't an eye sore in the tank I would probably leave it in there.
 
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AliX33x

I am very happy to hear this is finally behind you. :)

Where is the seeded substrate located? Are we talking about a handful of gravel? I don't think it will be a problem removing it now that the cycle is finally done but if it isn't an eye sore in the tank I would probably leave it in there.
I am very happy to hear this is finally behind you. :)

Where is the seeded substrate located? Are we talking about a handful of gravel? I don't think it will be a problem removing it now that the cycle is finally done but if it isn't an eye sore in the tank I would probably leave it in there.
I have it hanging in a mesh bag on the side of the tank, so it is quite the eye sore haha. It’s not the same gravel that I have in my tank or I would just put it in there.
 
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mattgirl

I have it hanging in a mesh bag on the side of the tank, so it is quite the eye sore haha. It’s not the same gravel that I have in my tank or I would just put it in there.
I think it would be safe to go ahead and remove it. Although probably not necessary but is there any chance room in your filter for it. If not then I really don't think removing it will affect your cycle. You shouldn't be removing enough bacteria to affect the cycle and the small amount you will be removing will be replaced quickly. .
 
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AliX33x

I think it would be safe to go ahead and remove it. Although probably not necessary but is there any chance room in your filter for it. If not then I really don't think removing it will affect your cycle. You shouldn't be removing enough bacteria to affect the cycle and the small amount you will be removing will be replaced quickly. .
I checked and there isn’t any room in the filter for them. Hopefully it won’t remove too much BB.

I do have another question. My nitrates are 80 ppm. I did a 50% water change and they didn’t change? How’s that possible.

everything else is

pH- 7.8
Ammonia- 0ppm
Nitrite- 0ppm
 
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mattgirl

I checked and there isn’t any room in the filter for them. Hopefully it won’t remove too much BB.

I do have another question. My nitrates are 80 ppm. I did a 50% water change and they didn’t change? How’s that possible.

everything else is

pH- 7.8
Ammonia- 0ppm
Nitrite- 0ppm
Have you run the nitrate test on your tap water? As you already know the 50% water change should have lowered them to 40 if they were 80. Since it is difficult to know the exact number by just going by the color chart if you have no nitrates in your source water I have to think they were higher than 80 in the tank before the water change.

If you have none in your tap water another 50% should get them down to 40 and another one should get them down to a safer level. Fortunately nitrates have to get pretty high before causing issues but it is still best to keep them down somewhere around 20.
 
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