Opinions Needed - Water Change

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Dunk2, Jul 19, 2019.

  1. Dunk2

    Dunk2New MemberMember

    My wife and I set up our Fluval Flex 123L 3 weeks ago tomorrow. We’ve been pretty diligent (I think) with testing (API Master) and water changes to keep ammonia levels in check. We are using Eco-Complete substrate and have 4 live plants in the tank.

    We’re also using Prime to protect 6 danios (next aquarium will be a fishless cycle!) and have used Fluval biological booster with each water change. Our last water change was 4 days ago at about 50%. We haven’t touched/cleaned the filters since setting up the tank.

    Since the last water change, the ammonia level has been between .25 and .50 with no nitrites or nitrates. pH level is about 7.6 and the water temp is 75. Although we noticed a small amount of nitrite, we haven’t seen what I’d consider a spike. And we haven’t seen any nitrates at all! So, I haven’t a clue where we’re at in the cycling process! Sorry for the long introduction!

    My question. . . Is a water change recommended at this point?
  2. Kiks

    KiksWell Known MemberMember

    Where you seem to be at is the beginning of the cycle.
    First comes the ammonia, then nitrite and later on nitrate. When there's very little ammonia present there isn't much to be converted to nitrites and later to nitrates. This is why cycling with fish can be a longer process than cycling without. When done without you can add ammonia to really feed the bacteria well. This seems to cause nitrite to be present much faster and spike.
    Keep doing what you're doing and don't let ammonia get above .50 ppm while you have fish in the tank. Eventually it should cycle, but it may take a while.
  3. CheshireKat

    CheshireKatWell Known MemberMember

    To clarify:
    Currently, you have ammonia but no nitrites or nitrates.
    Before last water change, you did have nitrites but no nitrates.
    You have never seen nitrates.

    Hm. When was the last water change? Did you test right before changing the water? The fact that you saw a little nitrite means there was some conversion from ammonia. It's possible the plants are using any little amount of nitrate converted before you see it show on the test, if the nitrites were converted at all.

    What's confusing to me is why there aren't any nitrites now, which is why I ask when you last did the water change. The bacteria should still be there unless they didn't get enough food and died out. Instead of another water change, maybe another shot of the biological booster?
  4. OP

    Dunk2New MemberMember

    Everything you said is correct, that’s why I’m confused. The last water change was 4 days ago. I did another shot of the biological booster last night. Pretty much same test result today as yesterday. The API test is fine/not expired.

    P.S. Thanks for the replies! :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 20, 2019
  5. mattgirl

    mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

    Quite often when using bottled bacteria the nitrite phase is just a quick spike and then it is seen no more or in some cases it is never seen. You are still fairly early in the cycle. As long as you keep the ammonia as low as possible your fish will be alright and your cycle will grow.

    If you don't already have it I do recommend you get a bottle of Prime. It is first and foremost a water conditioner but has the added benefit of detoxing low amounts of ammonia. It will still be there, will still show up in your test and is still available as food for your bacteria to feed on but will be in a safer form.

    You can add enough to treat the full volume of your tank every 24 hours. If the ammonia gets up to one or above do a water change to get it back down below one and add prime to detox what is left.
  6. OP

    Dunk2New MemberMember

    Thank you. And yes, I’ve been using Prime.
  7. Donthemon

    DonthemonWell Known MemberMember

    Since you are using prime, let the ammonia rise to at least 1 -2 before doing a water change and see if that helps jump start it. Or add some Safestart. I have always had good results with that and fish in cycling.