55 Gallon Tank Not Sure If I Messed Up The Cycle

Fljoe

Member
HI all 2 weeks ago today I purchased a top fin 55 gallon starter kit. It came with a silent stream 75 HOB filter. And a 200 watt heater(not used yet) it also included a two piece lighted hood with very bright white LEDs.
I rinsed 50lbs of gravel added some fake plants and a couple decorations.
Filled the tank and added top fin water conditioner and bacteria starter.
The next day I tested the water with API strip test( already replaced with API master kit).
PH 7.4 ammonia 0 nitrate and nitrite both 0
So I added 4 black neon Tetra.
After one week all test had same results except ammonia was at .25! So I went overboard and added fish 2 more times for a total of 10 black mollies and 7 black neons.
All fish are doing well and seem happy. I’m only feeding once a day small quantities last less than 2 minutes.
Because all water test have same result I assumed I was better to not do a water change while beneficial bacteria was growing. On Thursday ammonia hit 2.0 and nitrate and nitrite still at 0! So I did a 25% water change. Retested water on Friday. Ammonia back at .25 nitrate and nitrite still 0!
Did I interfere with the cycle process?
Sorry for the long post, just wanted to give as much information as possible.
Thanks joe
 

StarGirl

Member
You probably didn't interfere Its just not cycled yet. AND do water changes to protect your fish. Ammonia and Nitrite are bad for fish. Get some Prime to lock the ammonia.
 
  • Thread Starter

Fljoe

Member
StarGirl15 said:
You probably didn't interfere Its just not cycled yet. AND do water changes to protect your fish. Ammonia and Nitrite are bad for fish. Get some Prime to lock the ammonia.
Thank you, I did buy prime, used it when I did the water change on Thursday. So is the .25 ammonia even to high? Water temperature runs 78 to 80 without the heater on.
 

StarGirl

Member
Fljoe said:
Thank you, I did buy prime, used it when I did the water change on Thursday. So is the .25 ammonia even to high? Water temperature runs 78 to 80 without the heater on.
The ammonia and Nitrite will spike while it cycling. Water changes are going to help your fish make it through it. Maybe someone that knows a lot more will help too. Momgoose56 mattgirl excel at cycling issues.
 
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Fljoe

Member
StarGirl15 said:
The ammonia and Nitrite will spike while it cycling. Water changes are going to help your fish make it through it. Maybe someone that knows a lot more will help too. Momgoose56 mattgirl excel at cycling issues.
Ok thanks
 

mattgirl

Member
You are doing a fish in cycle. The most important thing you can do to protect your fish is keep the ammonia down as low as possible with water changes. It is good that you have Prime. It will help protect your little guys.

Try to keep ammonia plus nitrites (when they show up) down to less than one with water changes. Add enough Prime to treat the full 55 gallons each time while the tank is cycling. Once the cycle is finished you only have to add enough to treat the water you are replacing.

Which bacteria starter did you use?
 
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Fljoe

Member
mattgirl said:
You are doing a fish in cycle. The most important thing you can do to protect your fish is keep the ammonia down as low as possible with water changes. It is good that you have Prime. It will help protect your little guys.

Try to keep ammonia plus nitrites (when they show up) down to less than one with water changes. Add enough Prime to treat the full 55 gallons each time while the tank is cycling. Once the cycle is finished you only have to add enough to treat the water you are replacing.

Which bacteria starter did you use?
Thanks. I used Top Fin readistart nitrifying bacteria starter.
 

mattgirl

Member
Fljoe said:
Thanks. I used Top Fin readistart nitrifying bacteria starter.
I've not read much about that one. I do know when some of them are used it isn't unusual to not experience the nitrite spike. The main one is Tetra Safe Start Plus.

The one you used may speed up the cycling process but don't be surprised if it still take a month or more to complete it. As I said before, as long as you keep the ammonia and eventual nitrites down as low as possible with water changes your fish should come through this just fine.

Test daily for ammonia and nitrites. Keep an eye on your PH too. You want to be sure it is at least 7. The cycling process has been known to lower the PH in some cases so it is a good idea to keep a close eye on it. If the PH goes below 7 the cycling process can start slowing down. Water changes should keep yours steady but if it doesn't there are natural ways to stabilize it.
 

Momgoose56

Member
Fljoe said:
HI all 2 weeks ago today I purchased a top fin 55 gallon starter kit. It came with a silent stream 75 HOB filter. And a 200 watt heater(not used yet) it also included a two piece lighted hood with very bright white LEDs.
I rinsed 50lbs of gravel added some fake plants and a couple decorations.
Filled the tank and added top fin water conditioner and bacteria starter.
The next day I tested the water with API strip test( already replaced with API master kit).
PH 7.4 ammonia 0 nitrate and nitrite both 0
So I added 4 black neon Tetra.
After one week all test had same results except ammonia was at .25! So I went overboard and added fish 2 more times for a total of 10 black mollies and 7 black neons.
All fish are doing well and seem happy. I’m only feeding once a day small quantities last less than 2 minutes.
Because all water test have same result I assumed I was better to not do a water change while beneficial bacteria was growing. On Thursday ammonia hit 2.0 and nitrate and nitrite still at 0! So I did a 25% water change. Retested water on Friday. Ammonia back at .25 nitrate and nitrite still 0!
Did I interfere with the cycle process?
Sorry for the long post, just wanted to give as much information as possible.
Thanks joe
Excellent advice from Mattgirl and StarGirl15. Beneficial bacteria don't float in the water, they attach to your filter media, substrate, wood and any decorations in the tank. Once added bacteria have had a couple days to become 'attached', water changes are fine. It's important that you don't remove anything you currently have in the tank while it's cycling, don't scrub or scrape anything. If your filter media gets gunky, just rinse it in dechlorinated tap water or drained tank water and re-place it in your filter.
 

TheFishmonger

Member
Tetra safe start plus. I agree. I cycled my tank in two weeks with it and you will cycle the tank in two weeks with it. Just do a water change with prime, wait 24 hours then add the tetra safe start. Feed every other day and lightly. At the end of week one, if you want to prime you can. By the end of week two you will be cycled.

In my case live plants that grow in sand, kept the ammonia down to 0.25 ppm and I had bigger fish in a smaller tank than you. So you might want to consider on the benefits of plants, instead of fake plants. Petco gravel works with them, all you have to do is look if the plant you are adding is okay with any gravel/sand that does not have nutrients. Such plants are Valisteria, moss balls, gupy grass, amazon swords, java moss, hornwort.. etc etc.. They will help keep the ammonia very low.
 
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Fljoe

Member
All good advice! Thanks everyone. Will be doing another 25% water change today with prime. I do test water everyday. PH is always 7.4 I will be adding some live plants.
 

Islandvic

Member
Fljoe , congrats on the new tank!

We purchased the exact same 55 gallon kit back in July.

I use the included LED's built into the hood as well. If you haven't done so already, find an inexpensive mechanical timer you can plug them into. I'm lazy ans forgetful, so it helps out a lot !

Did you already have a stand or build one ?

The included Silenstream filter is actually a great HOB. It has a lot of flow and it can be reduced when feeding for example.

With its two large reservoirs, there is plenty of room to add extra media.

I would suggest to look at the Fluval/Aquaclear 3-pack refill of foam sponge blocks for the AC70. I buy them from PetSmart and have the cashier price match their online price, which is probably $5-$6.

They can be inserted into the reservoirs.

Using something like the foam blocks will exponentially increase the surface area available for the beneficial bacteria to colonize on, plus they will hold a ton more muck without a large reduction of flow versus the cartridges.

If you can increase the surface area for the BB to colonize on, it may help your tank cycle faster, and help with keeping your cycle going in the future.


For reference, here is a pic of the sponges for the AC50 model. The ones for the AC70 are slightly larger.

You can cut off the white felt looking material from the current cartridges, and place them in the reservoir along with the foam blocks, to transfer over any beneficial bacteria that has already started to colonize on in.

Another option, is cut the foam blocks to fit the space behind the cartridges.

They will catch all the large to medium sized muck and still colonize a ton of beneficial bacteria, leaving the cartridges to catch all the fine muck and help polish the water.

There is an infinite amount of variations of adding your own media to your filter.
 
  • Thread Starter

Fljoe

Member
Islandvic said:
Fljoe , congrats on the new tank!

We purchased the exact same 55 gallon kit back in July.

I use the included LED's built into the hood as well. If you haven't done so already, find an inexpensive mechanical timer you can plug them into. I'm lazy ans forgetful, so it helps out a lot !

Did you already have a stand or build one ?

The included Silenstream filter is actually a great HOB. It has a lot of flow and it can be reduced when feeding for example.

With its two large reservoirs, there is plenty of room to add extra media.

I would suggest to look at the Fluval/Aquaclear 3-pack refill of foam sponge blocks for the AC70. I buy them from PetSmart and have the cashier price match their online price, which is probably $5-$6.

They can be inserted into the reservoirs.

Using something like the foam blocks will exponentially increase the surface area available for the beneficial bacteria to colonize on, plus they will hold a ton more muck without a large reduction of flow versus the cartridges.

If you can increase the surface area for the BB to colonize on, it may help your tank cycle faster, and help with keeping your cycle going in the future.


For reference, here is a pic of the sponges for the AC50 model. The ones for the AC70 are slightly larger.

You can cut off the white felt looking material from the current cartridges, and place them in the reservoir along with the foam blocks, to transfer over any beneficial bacteria that has already started to colonize on in.

Another option, is cut the foam blocks to fit the space behind the cartridges.

They will catch all the large to medium sized muck and still colonize a ton of beneficial bacteria, leaving the cartridges to catch all the fine muck and help polish the water.

There is an infinite amount of variations of adding your own media to your filter.
Thanks, I am enjoying this set up very much so far. The red float on the filter cover already came on after week and a half. I am going to modify the media. I only have the light on for a about 6 or 7 hours. So I probably will need a timer for when I add live plants.
 

Islandvic

Member
Although not our first tank, the 55 gallon was our first tank where we painted the back glass.

We felt it made a HUGE difference in the way the tank looks, compared to our other tanks with the back glass you can see through.

You may want to consider doing the same.

We used gloss black acrylic arts and crafts paint. After masking off the black frame, we used a small roller brush to apply multiple light coats.

If there is enough room behind your tank and the wall, it may be a good project to consider.

We're going to use a light blue color on the back glass on a "new to us" 65g tank my friend have me yesterday.

In my opinion, painting the back glass of a tank is one of the best "bang for your buck" DIY projects a hobbyist can do, with the largest impact on the way the tank looks. Plus it can be easily removed with a razor blade scraper.
 

J. MacGregor

Member
there are all kinds of videos on youtube about how to maximize your filter if your curious look them up!
 

Momgoose56

Member
Islandvic said:
Although not our first tank, the 55 gallon was our first tank where we painted the back glass.

We felt it made a HUGE difference in the way the tank looks, compared to our other tanks with the back glass you can see through.

You may want to consider doing the same.

We used gloss black acrylic arts and crafts paint. After masking off the black frame, we used a small roller brush to apply multiple light coats.

If there is enough room behind your tank and the wall, it may be a good project to consider.

We're going to use a light blue color on the back glass on a "new to us" 65g tank my friend have me yesterday.

In my opinion, painting the back glass of a tank is one of the best "bang for your buck" DIY projects a hobbyist can do, with the largest impact on the way the tank looks. Plus it can be easily removed with a razor blade scraper.
Sorry to hijack your thread OP, but what kind of paint works best, -in your opinion and is fairly easily removable Islandvic?
 
  • Thread Starter

Fljoe

Member
Islandvic said:
Although not our first tank, the 55 gallon was our first tank where we painted the back glass.

We felt it made a HUGE difference in the way the tank looks, compared to our other tanks with the back glass you can see through.

You may want to consider doing the same.

We used gloss black acrylic arts and crafts paint. After masking off the black frame, we used a small roller brush to apply multiple light coats.

If there is enough room behind your tank and the wall, it may be a good project to consider.

We're going to use a light blue color on the back glass on a "new to us" 65g tank my friend have me yesterday.

In my opinion, painting the back glass of a tank is one of the best "bang for your buck" DIY projects a hobbyist can do, with the largest impact on the way the tank looks. Plus it can be easily removed with a razor blade scraper.
I like that idea. I have one of those printed backgrounds on it. I don’t like the effect. A nice blue would be nice.
 

mattgirl

Member
Fljoe said:
I like that idea. I have one of those printed backgrounds on it. I don’t like the effect. A nice blue would be nice.
I agree. I have a printed background on my 55. It looked fine when I had silk and plastic plants in there but now that I am transitioning to real plants it no longer works. Looks a bit gaudy to me now.

I had a printed background on my 5.5 gallon tank. Thankfully it was just printed on one side. The other side is black. I turned it around and now the plants really pop.
 
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Fljoe

Member
I will definitely do a dark blue or black. I’ve been trying to post a picture, but it won’t work? It loads to 25% then stops?
 

Islandvic

Member
We cleaned the glass first with ammonia free glass cleaner then wiped it down with rubbing alcohol on a microfiber towel.

I don't recall the brand, but it was from a crafts store like Hobby Lobby, Michael's or Jo-Ann's.

Just basic acrylic arts and crafts paint.

It was old and from a bin full of assorted colors and brands we already had. I think a new fresh container of it would have applied better.

From what I recall, we did 3 light coats with slate small (3" -4" size) roller brush. Then we used a flashlight shined from the back to find all the spots to touch up with using a brush.

Multiple light coats will go on better than heavier coats.

It comes off relatively easy. The initial bond of the first couple of coats to the glass is not very strong. The additional coats gives it uniform coverage, and the layering bonds to each other.

Be very cautious removing the masking tape. On the right side the tape actually pulled off some paint very cleanly. I still haven't touched it up yet, but I can easily do so.

I think very minimal effort would be needed to fully remove it, if the color wasn't right or a complete color change was wanted. A razor should take it right off.

If I did black again, I probably would go with a flat or matte black.

Fljoe , the picture file size limit may have been exceeded. Try taking a screenshot of the pic displayed on the phone, and crop it. That will reduce the file size, it may upload that way.
 
  • Thread Starter

Fljoe

Member

B513EFC4-47AC-412C-BFF8-8FC5C9B4602E.jpeg
Islandvic said:
We cleaned the glass first with ammonia free glass cleaner then wiped it down with rubbing alcohol on a microfiber towel.

I don't recall the brand, but it was from a crafts store like Hobby Lobby, Michael's or Jo-Ann's.

Just basic acrylic arts and crafts paint.

It was old and from a bin full of assorted colors and brands we already had. I think a new fresh container of it would have applied better.

From what I recall, we did 3 light coats with slate small (3" -4" size) roller brush. Then we used a flashlight shined from the back to find all the spots to touch up with using a brush.

Multiple light coats will go on better than heavier coats.

It comes off relatively easy. The initial bond of the first couple of coats to the glass is not very strong. The additional coats gives it uniform coverage, and the layering bonds to each other.

Be very cautious removing the masking tape. On the right side the tape actually pulled off some paint very cleanly. I still haven't touched it up yet, but I can easily do so.

I think very minimal effort would be needed to fully remove it, if the color wasn't right or a complete color change was wanted. A razor should take it right off.

If I did black again, I probably would go with a flat or matte black.

Fljoe , the picture file size limit may have been exceeded. Try taking a screenshot of the pic displayed on the phone, and crop it. That will reduce the file size, it may upload that way.[/QUOTE
I will try that. Thanks
 

J. MacGregor

Member
Paint on glass is very easy to remove as islandvic said just a razor blade or a painters scrapper would remove it of course being careful around joints. On acrylic it would be slightly harder due to how easily acrylic scratches but I don't know any other way to remove paint other than paint remover which might cloud the acrylic/
 
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Fljoe

Member

DA657C2C-DDCB-4D02-AD33-F4993B3DBDCB.jpeg
Good thing paint comes off easy. Mine looks more slate gray than black. I don’t like it!
 

J. MacGregor

Member
I have always wondered what it would look like with the back panel being a mirror! would it help reduce stress on schooling fish?
 
  • Thread Starter

Fljoe

Member
J. MacGregor said:
I have always wondered what it would look like with the back panel being a mirror! would it help reduce stress on schooling fish?
Probably wouldn’t be to hard to test it if you have a wall mirror. I’m not sure how light reflection would affect the look!?
 

StarGirl

Member
Fljoe said:

DA657C2C-DDCB-4D02-AD33-F4993B3DBDCB.jpeg
Good thing paint comes off easy. Mine looks more slate gray than black. I don’t like it!
I didnt like my black at first either but you get used to it. I love it now because it hides wires and the fish colors POP! My Cardinal tetras look like little neon lights swimming around!
 
  • Thread Starter

Fljoe

Member

1930B41F-F970-4854-B6CD-8AB4BC99748C.jpeg
Islandvic said:
Although not our first tank, the 55 gallon was our first tank where we painted the back glass.

We felt it made a HUGE difference in the way the tank looks, compared to our other tanks with the back glass you can see through.

You may want to consider doing the same.

We used gloss black acrylic arts and crafts paint. After masking off the black frame, we used a small roller brush to apply multiple light coats.

If there is enough room behind your tank and the wall, it may be a good project to consider.

We're going to use a light blue color on the back glass on a "new to us" 65g tank my friend have me yesterday.

In my opinion, painting the back glass of a tank is one of the best "bang for your buck" DIY projects a hobbyist can do, with the largest impact on the way the tank looks. Plus it can be easily removed with a razor blade scraper.
So I scraped off the black paint today when I got home from work. It looked gray. I bought some some black poster board and this is the result!
 

Islandvic

Member
Looks good !

Too bad about the paint looking like slate.

Here is what mine turned out looking....


There is probably some algae on the back glass, so it looks a little hazy.

Yeah it mine doesn't look deep black either, but it is a world of difference compared to our 75 gallon community tank with bare glass.

We will eventually paint the 75g, probably some shade of blue.
 

J. MacGregor

Member
Islandvic said:
Looks good !

Too bad about the paint looking like slate.

Here is what mine turned out looking....


There is probably some algae on the back glass, so it looks a little hazy.

Yeah it mine doesn't look deep black either, but it is a world of difference compared to our 75 gallon community tank with bare glass.

We will eventually paint the 75g, probably some shade of blue.
The only thing I don't like is how all the stuff that isn't black pops out at you.
 
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Fljoe

Member
I was confused about your comment, because the black makes the tank pop. But I think you mean the equipment? That I agree with.
 

J. MacGregor

Member
Fljoe said:
I was confused about your comment, because the black makes the tank pop. But I think you mean the equipment? That I agree with.
I do like the wat that it makes the fish look. But I don't like the way it makes the equipment pop as well. When I get around to painting my tank back I think in going to go with a gray or somethingthat will help blend all the equipment.
 
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Fljoe

Member
I originally painted the back glass black, but through the tank it looked gray and I didn’t like it. I scraped the paint off and just used black poster board. One idea might be to use tall plants, live or fake to hide the equipment.
 
  • Thread Starter

Fljoe

Member

BB1A4A6A-DBCF-46C1-B7E2-566ADF154882.jpeg
Islandvic said:
Looks good !

Too bad about the paint looking like slate.

Here is what mine turned out looking....


There is probably some algae on the back glass, so it looks a little hazy.

Yeah it mine doesn't look deep black either, but it is a world of difference compared to our 75 gallon community tank with bare glass.

We will eventually paint the 75g, probably some shade of blue.
How are you? I added some more plants yesterday. I love the black even more now!
 

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