Newbie - Fish in cycle

evestar
Member
Hello, so I made the newbie mistake of setting up a fish tank and getting fish before I knew anything about the nitrogen cycle. I have a 10 gallon with 1 male Betta, 2 Dalmation Mollies (male & very pregnant female), and 2 Dwarf Gouramis (thought one was female, but now I'm pretty sure they're both male). And yes, I now know these aren't the best tank mates, and mollies should be in a bigger tank with a couple more females, but the guy at the pet store said they would all be fine together, so I'm hoping for the best until I can get a bigger tank. Luckily they all seem to be doing really well. All are active and eating. Only a little bit of chasing, mostly from the pregnant Molly. I've had them for about a month now, and for the last week I've been doing daily 50% water changes with Prime and testing with the API freshwater kit. Today's readings are pH: 7.4, ammonia: 0, nitrite 2.0, nitrate 10.
I think everything is going in the right direction. I guess I just wanted to introduce myself and my situation for any helpful feedback you can provide. I've read tons of other posts and info here, which I really wish I had done before we got our fish, just want to be sure I'm doing the best I can for our little guys now.
 
JettsPapa
Member
Welcome to the forum, and many (maybe most) of us started out much the same way. You gave today's parameters. Was that before or after the water change? If it was after I'd do another one of at least 50%.
 
  • Thread Starter
evestar
Member
Thank you It was before. I've got the new water ready, just letting it sit for a bit before changing.
 
JettsPapa
Member
evestar said:
Thank you It was before. I've got the new water ready, just letting it sit for a bit before changing.
Why? I'd want to go ahead and get those nitrites down.
 
  • Thread Starter
evestar
Member
I thought after you dose the water with prime it needs to sit for a little while? The change is done now and nitrite is still reading 2.0. Should I do another 50% water change?
 
JettsPapa
Member
evestar said:
I thought after you dose the water with prime it needs to sit for a little while? The change is done now and nitrite is still reading 2.0. Should I do another 50% water change?
No, after dosing with Prime you can add the water immediately. And yes, do at least one more water change. Try to keep the combined ammonia and nitrites below 1.0 ppm, and 0.5 ppm would be better.
 
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evestar
Member
Ok, that's good to know. I will do another change now. Thank you so much! If it still hasn't dropped enough, is it ok to do back to back water changes until I reach those levels?
 
Nickguy5467
Member
if you have a friend that is and has been fish keeping you could ask if you could bum some of his media to put in your filter temporarily to help your progress
 
  • Thread Starter
evestar
Member
Nickguy5467 said:
if you have a friend that is and has been fish keeping you could ask if you could bum some of his media to put in your filter temporarily to help your progress
Unfortunately, I do not. The only one I knew just sold all of his tanks a few months ago.

After the 2nd water change today the nitrites looked to be between .25 and .50 so that's good! I will test again in the morning and see where we're at.
 
Nickguy5467
Member
i dont do a lot of reading but you probably wont see much nitrates until you have your nitrite spike up.. i had a tank leak in which i had to grab a tank i had on the back burner 29g but i was also able to use my old media but my cycle started over ish. my levels were wierd for a while and i couldnt figure out why but aparrantly(i cant spell) I needed to dose in more ammonia to kick start my nitrites , then i ended up with more nitrates and everything just started going from there.. someone told me you need like 3ppm ammonia to jump start your cycle so thats what i did and it seemed to work. but... it was a fishless cycle. so that was my shared recent experience at least. not sure what i would have done if i had moved my fish in early. they waited in the old tank for a while
 
  • Thread Starter
evestar
Member
When I learned about cycling and got the test kit, the ammonia was at 4, nitrites was at least 5 (hard to distinguish between the colors above that), and nitrates were 5. Now since I've been checking it daily and doing water changes, ammonia is staying at 0-.25, nitrite is 1-2 before water change and .25-.50 after, and nitrates is 10. As long as I keep doing what I'm doing, it's going good, right?
 
JettsPapa
Member
evestar said:
When I learned about cycling and got the test kit, the ammonia was at 4, nitrites was at least 5 (hard to distinguish between the colors above that), and nitrates were 5. Now since I've been checking it daily and doing water changes, ammonia is staying at 0-.25, nitrite is 1-2 before water change and .25-.50 after, and nitrates is 10. As long as I keep doing what I'm doing, it's going good, right?
Yup.
 
  • Thread Starter
evestar
Member
Update:
Yesterday I did not do any water changes because morning test showed ammonia 0 nitrites.50, and evening test was ammonia 0 nitrites .25. This morning ammonia and nitrites were both at 0 (yaaaayyyyyy!!!) Nitrates are at 5. My question is, is it normal for Nitrates to have gotten lower at this point? They had been at 10 the last couple of days. I figured they would have gone up. Is that anything to worry about, or can I officially celebrate now? Lol
 
mattgirl
Member
I think you can officially celebrate now. As to the nitrates. The test can be kinda tricky. It is possible that the drops were bigger or smaller or maybe bottle number wasn't shaken well enough. Hard to say why it was 10 and is now 5 but I don't think it is something to stress over.

You may be able to go to your weekly water changes now. Just go ahead and test once a day for a few more days to make sure both ammonia and nitrites stay at zero.
 
  • Thread Starter
evestar
Member
Awesome! Will do exactly that. Thank you mattgirl
 

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