Please Help, I Thought Cycle Was Complete.

  • #1
Hey Everyone my name is Jesse, I'm completely new to the whole aquarium game but out of nowhere got so interested and started doing lots of research. I thought I new about the whole nitrogen cycle but I guess not. Here is my problem and where I need help, tank was cycling and finally got a reading of

Ammonia 0 ppm
Nitrite 0 ppm
Nitrate 10ppm-20ppm
(I though Yay finally )

So I decided to add 2 Cory catfish

Now I waited a couple hours and did another test and is now reading

Ammonia 0.50ppm
Nitrite 0ppm
And nitrate 10ppm- 20ppm

Did I do something wrong? Did I forget a step before adding the fish? Should I switch to Prime? (Currently I'm using nutrafin aquaPlus). Should I perform a water change?

Any help would be appreciate, I don't know if I'm hurting Baggett and Francois ( my 2 newly aquired Cory fish ). They seem to be moving a lot swimming like crazy, like they have so much energy and every so often they go up and gulp for air (every 5 min or so)

Thanks in advance

P.s I'm new to this forum to.
  • #2
Assuming u did a fishless cycle, yeah parameters will spike after adding fish, its normal and should go back to normal in awhile.

What you're describing about the cories is pretty natural. they do go up to the surface to gulp for air everynow and then.

What's your tank size btw? is it a planted tank? cories should be kept in groups of at least 6, in a 20g
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Thanks for the reply, I feel a little better now I thought maybe I was hurting them. And yes I did a fish-less cycle.

It's a 20 gallon tank I only currently have 2 because I wanted to make sure everything would be okay. I have one real plant and 1 fake plant. As well as a drift wood.

Would u recommend switching to Prime? And water changes more frequently or the once a week should be fine?
  • #4
Water change would be helpful! What type of cory do you have and is this a 20 high or long?
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Okay perfect I will do a water change, how long after a water change should I do another test?

And I no I'm annoying but should I switch to Prime unstead of nutrafin AquaPlus?

They are Corydoras reticulatus

And it's a 20 gallon long


Sorry another quick question how big of a water change should I do?
  • #6
Do a 30-50% change. Test again after and post results here.

Corys need to be kept in groups of 6+ of their own kind, so once you're happy with your levels, consider getting four more of the same kind. I understand why you only have the two for now.

It definitely sounds like you've done your research and completed a successful cycle, so don't be too alarmed. As above: adding new fish will cause a spike. This will become less noticeable as you build and mature your tank.

Sounds like you're doing a good job though so well done.
  • #7
Could I ask what your source of ammonia was when you were doing your fishless cycle? Pure ammonia? Fish food? What level of PPM were you dosing to?
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
Currently doing my 40% water change will post my results once I'm done. Hopefully the ammonia goes down!!

Btw I just used fish food , took a while for it to cycle but if I learnt anything through my research is that patient is key. Haha

I've noticed a deference in my Corys, they seem happier then yesterday they kinda looked stressed swimming like crazy. The breathing seemed very hard. But now they look like their breathing normal for a fish as well as their still very active cleaning the bottom of tank swimming around together.

Anyways I'll post my results after the water change.

Before I did the water change I tested to compare and I had Ammonia 0.75ppm, nitrite 0.25ppm and nitrAte 10ppm-20 ppm

After water change 40% I now have

Ammonia 0.50 Ppm
Nitrite 0.0 Ppm
NitrAte 10 Ppm-20 Ppm

I went and bought Prime cuz I did some research and it said it helps make the Ammonia and nitrites non toxic for a 48 hour period. Hopefully this helps in tell I could get the Ammonia down. I'm trying my best to keep everything running smoothly, even my girlfriend said what's the Sutten love for fish, I answered "just look at them" ☺.

Should I perform daily water changes? Or every 2-3 days? Intel ammonia drops.

And finally I bought a food called Wardley shrimp pellets, if I have 2 corys how many pellets should I feed them? ( these pellets when dropped in water make a huge mess they expand ND go everywhere) any other food that wouldn't do this?
  • #9
HI Jesse! Really glad to have you here.

I guess theoretically Prime could help although I'm not familiar with the product. The thing is, like any ammonia neutralizers, they neutralize ammonia but do not remove it. So, even with Prime added, either your filter has to do its job with the trace amount of (temporarily neutralized) ammonia or you yourself have to do maybe 20-30% daily water changes if it remains high after, say, the stated 48-hour period.

Your parameters suggest that you did a good job with the cycle though and I wouldn't be too concerned with .5 ammonia given that you just put some fish there. Maybe give it a day or two and test the paramaters again then? Two newly bought, juvenile cories shouldn't give you a dangerously high ammonia spike that a properly cycled filter can't handle (assuming your filter's max filtration rate is about 200 gph).

And lol take a deep breath and slow down a bit; I don't think double posting within such a short time to get more responses is allowed here. Either way, we know you're really excited over your newly inhabited tank but it actually seems like everything is in fact working out reasonably so put your worries to bed for now and rest easy, anxious soul.
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
So sorry, I'm the type of person where when I do something I want to do it as accurate as possible, so I'm new to all of this. Fish don't talk so it's hard to understand if their feeling good or not haha. but thanks for the reply and the reassurance

I'll do another water change tmr since I already completed one today and I'll test the water in 48 hours ND see how everything is going.
  • #11
HI and welcome

I think what might have happened is that the fish food you used in your fishless cycle wasn't producing enough ammonia to establish a large enough bacteria colony to support the corys you added. What I would also do is test everything out of your tap water - pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. You want to know your baseline levels to see if any of the tank levels are coming from there.

Good job on getting Prime. It will definitely help detox the ammonia for 24-48 hours until your bacteria colony multiplies. Assuming you don't have any ammonia in your tap, doing a large enough water change to keep the ammonia below 1 will be a good idea. After you're cycled, I would then add at least 4 more corys of the same species.

By the way, I'd look to switching brands to Omega One or a better quality than Wardley's after you run out of those. Wardley's has a lot of fillers. Varying the diet will be good for them too like feeding live/frozen foods and catfish wafers.
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
Okay perfect thanks a lot, I will test my tap water and post results.

And yeah I've heard of omega one , does it explode after 30 seconds of being in water?

Results from tap water was: Ammonia 0ppm, nitrite 0ppm and nitrate 0ppm as well
  • #13
And yeah I've heard of omega one , does it explode after 30 seconds of being in water?

No, it doesn't.
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
Oh okay I might just get omega one and just toss wardley shrimp pellets in the garbage (or keep it as a side for emergency or something ).

Would you recommend daily water changes of 20% -30% intell ammonia goes to 0?

I just tested it and Ammonia dropped to 0.25 ppm cause I did a 40% water change.
  • #15
Since Prime can detox up to 1ppm of ammonia and nitrite combined, you can dose for the full tank volume right into the tank. If you test and see that it's 1 or above that day, I would do at least a 50% water change.
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
Perfect thanks will do.

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