New Tank Not Cycled But I Have Fish Already Help

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Fernanda, May 23, 2019.

  1. Fernanda New Member Member

    hello I was recently gifted a ten gallon starter kit and my only experience with fish is owning a beta. Sadly I bought the fish before cycling my tank and have educated myself on the nitrogen cycle. I own three ghost shrimp, two of which are pregnant, a cherry shrimp, two guppies and a corydora. I don’t plan on getting any other fish anytime soon as long as my tank is not cycled. But my question is where do I go from here? I plan to order the API testing kit soon and from my understanding if I have fish already I should do 20% water changes every 2-3 days to keep the ammonia levels down. I want to do everything in my power to keep my fish happy and healthy. Some other questions I have are how to properly use these two products the person at Petco suggested I buy. The first is a Tetra cleaning bacteria and the other is the API pH up liquid. Are these safe? Can the cleaning bacteria jumpstart my cycle? And is the pH up necessary. Thank you and I understand I should have done the extensive research before buying my fish.

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  2. Mermish Valued Member Member

    I would add the cleaning bacteria it should help you to keep the ammonia down and should help to kickstart the cycle. I wouldn't change the pH of my aquarium unless I already knew what It was since it might already be okay. If you think you need it once you get your test kit then it might be okay, let's see what everyone else says. I hope this helps you!

  3. bettaf1sh 7789 Valued Member Member

    I wouldn’t use the ph up, it’ll just cause fluctuations with the ph and you don’t want that. What’s the ph now? I have no idea what cleaning bacteria is, sorry. The only thing that comes to mind is something like tetra safe start which is a bacteria supplement that cycles the tank faster, but I’ve never cycled a tank this way. I’ve never heard of the product you have, I would maybe see if you can exchange for some tetra safe start if the employee was recommending you cycle that way. I would also buy some prime water conditioner, it will make ammonia and nitrite non toxic for about 24 hours. I would test the water daily, and do water changes according to the results. Any ammonia or nitrite means it’s time for a water change to keep the water safe, I assume these would be needed once a day, possibly once every other day. The prime will keep water safe between changes. Do you have a local store other than petco? I don’t know how much I would trust their advice on cycling the tank.
  4. Fernanda New Member Member

    I do not know the ph as I do not own any sort of testing kit or strips. I will get the amazon testing kit very soon but tomorrow i will swing by the pet store and grab the strips to have an idea. I did a 30% water change today and will keep doing them daily or every other day. I will also pick up the tetra safe start and prime. There is a local pet store around that seems to know more as they have bigger aquariums with larger fish and overall better aquariums (larger variety, many tanks with live plants in them etc.) should I ask to purchase a plant they have in their tanks already? Will this help
  5. GuppyDazzle Well Known Member Member

    The toxins you need to worry about are ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. Ammonia and nitrites are very toxic, nitrates are much less toxic unless levels get very high. You're working toward a cycled tank which has zero ammonia, zero nitrates, and a medium to low nitrate reading.

    You have the right idea that the key is water changes. The question is how much and how often. You're on the right track with 20%, I'd recommend that every other day. How much ammonia and nitrites you're fighting will depend completely on how much you feed. Feed lightly, and that will reduce the toxin levels.

    In my opinion (and you'll get lots of different opinions), once you get your test kit you should track your ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels daily until your tank is cycled, and control the toxin levels with water changes. Cycling with fish in works fine if you watch your water readings and control the toxin levels with water changes. Keep combined ammonia and nitrites at 1 ppm or below, and your fish will be fine. That will also leave enough ammonia and nitrites to feed the cycle. If you add live plants it will speed up the cycling process because live plants provide a seed for the exact bacteria you need for a cycled tank. If you add live plants with fish in, cycling should take about a month.

    I do not use bottled bacteria. It does not work as advertised. They say, "Add fish immediately," or "Instant cycle," which is not true. With bottled bacteria it's sold as some kind of magic shortcut. You'll find that shortcuts in fishkeeping are usually a recipe for disaster. With bottled bacteria you can't watch your water readings and control the levels with water changes, because bottled bacteria will send your water readings haywire and you're not supposed to do any water changes while the magic potion works. You just have to dump in a bottle and pray, then dump in more and pray, lather, rinse, repeat. You're counting on dumb luck to see if your fish are still alive and your tank is cycled in a couple months.

    Unless your pH is wildly out of whack, don't chase a particular pH reading. PH swings are much more harmful to your fish than being a little high or low on the scale.

    Fish stores have shelves upon shelves of chemicals and additives that are supposed to solve every problem you have with your tank, and most of those solutions do nothing but guarantee a reliable income stream for the manufacturers. Add magic bacteria, add salt, add slime coat, add pH balancer, add "stability," (whatever that means), and you walk out with your arms full of chemicals you need to dump into the water to make it perfect for fish. When it doesn't work, buy another armful, dump it in, and pray.

    Eventually you'll learn that your initial concept was correct. Test the water to keep an eye on your parameters, and do frequent partial water changes to create the "stability" in your tank where your fish can thrive. Most additives, with the exception of water conditioner like Prime, are nothing more than attempts to cover up a problem instead of providing a solution.
  6. Momgoose56 Well Known Member Member

    I agree with @GuppyDazzle for the most part. The only exception might be your pH. But before you even THINK of doing anything to your pH, you have to know what it is. So as he said, keep up with the good water changes until you get your test kit then check all your parameters. A very low pH can inhibit nitrifying bacterial growth. That can be addressed very easily without throwing a bunch of chemicals at it.
  7. H2oAngels Valued Member Member

    The test kit is the single most important aspect of fish keeping specially in the midst of a fish in. Since you are technically flying blind I would do a 50 percent change daily to be safe. Also Corydora do not do well on their own. I’m fact most reputable fish stores will refuse to sell a single Cory. Given your tank size I would try to get at the bare minimum 2 more Corys. Make sure they are the same species. I have 10 emerald Corys in my 65. Currently have 5 Corys in my 29 gallon. However the 5 in the 29 are two separate species. (2x panda) (3x albino) I have since learned that Corys do need to be the same species so I will be adding 1-2 of each in that tank.