Please help with cycling? 20 Gallon Tank

Discussion in 'Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle' started by Wrtbrgr87, Dec 26, 2009.

  1. Wrtbrgr87Valued MemberMember

    I'm cycling my tank with 4 corydoras (emerald green) and 2 honey sunset gourami. I've been monitoring the ammonia and nitrite levels constantly and the ammonia is around 1 ppm and nitrites are just starting to appear. It's been about two weeks and I've been changing about 15-20% of the water every 2-3 days in order to keep up with the ammonia buildup. I know it's a lot of fish for a cycling tank but I guess I didn't think cories could cycle a tank by themselves. I have added the appropriate dose of Amquel in order to detoxify the ammonia but i'm wondering how often i should continue the frequent water changes until it cycles completely? It's a royal pain in the butt trying to get a new tank to cycle safely with fish! The water is slightly hazy but not too bad. What else should I be doing right now? I'm trying not to feed too much but the gourami eat one of the hikari sinking wafers meant for the cories so i have to drop in another once a day so the cories can eat it while the gourami are distracted. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks in advance!??????

  2. flyin-loweWell Known MemberMember

    Gourami's are not the best fish to use to cycle a tank. (no fish are great for it but some handle it better then others.) The best advice I can give you is to:
    A: return the fish you have temporarily and do a fishless cycle. This will be better for the fish and you will not have to do any water changes.
    B: Get a bottle of Tetra Safe Start. It is a bacterial additive that will cycle the tank in about 7-10 days. The key to this is to get Tetra Safe Start and not some other product. It is the only brand that has the correct bacteria in it and it is the only one with a track record that has worked. I used it to cycle a 75 gallon a month or so ago. Check around at your local fish stores and don't let them sell you any other product or any other brand.
    Once you get a bottle that is right for your size tank make sure you have not added any water conditioner for at least 24 hours (48 is better). Shake the bottle of TSS very well and then add the entire bottle to your tank. Do not test the water or change it for 7 days. After day 7 test it and you should have a cycled tank. If not wait another 3 days and check again. You can search this site or Google for more info on TSS but it has worked for a lot of people. Even if your fish do survive the cycle they are not out of the woods yet. The stress can still shorten there life span considerably. When I cycled my tank with TSS a gourami was the only fish that did not survive. It won't hurt anything if you go up to the next size bottle of the TSS. I used a dose for 90 gallons in my 75 gallon tank.
    Good luck

  3. callichmaWell Known MemberMember

    Welcome to FishLore. It's good that you are doing frequent water changes and using Amquel + (it is the +, isn't it?) to handle the ammonia. The Amquel only lasts for 24 hours, so you have to do daily water changes (50% is recommended) in order to protect your fish.

    Flyin-lowe mentioned Tetra Safe Start. If you can find it, it must be used with fish in the tank. (Or you could speed up a fishless cycle, I guess.) But since you already have fish in your tank, that's not an issue unless you take the fish back to the LFS. I have had good luck in a 5g with TSS. Otherwise, continue with the daily water changes and Amquel + or Prime. Check your water parameters and when your readings are
    Ammonia 0; Nitrite 0; Nitrates present for several days in a row, then you are cycled.

    I noticed you mentioned aquarium salt. Your cories will absolutely hate the salt. (I know from personal experience). I would recommend you not use it. Good luck with your tank.

  4. Wrtbrgr87Valued MemberMember

    I'm sad to report one of my gourami just died.... I can't return the fish because the corydoras have been in there for more than a month (i just moved so I had to restart the cycle and I don't want to return the remaining gourami because Petsmart will have a fit. I will have to cycle the tank with what I have... Please give me advice on how to do so. I think I killed the gourami with aquarium salt. I will never use aquarium salt ever again. The myth that it is good for the tank is terrible. I fell right into it. What can I do now to ensure the other fish survive? Please help I'm heartbroken :( I don't like killing living creatures.
  5. Wrtbrgr87Valued MemberMember

    Also, wouldn't a 50% water change daily just put me further back in the cycle process?
  6. MeenuFishlore VIPMember

    Yes, absolutely. It's part of the reason fishless cycling is best. We do the water changes to keep the toxins low so our fish aren't damaged as much. But a cycle needs the toxins. Fishless cycling means no water changes, so a faster cycle. However, once you have the fish, you really should do what's best for them, which means pain in the back water changes for you.
  7. callichmaWell Known MemberMember

    No because most of your bacteria is in your filter media. Some is on solid surfaces in your tank, very little is in your water. Sorry about your gourami. Maybe the other one can make it.

    Just do the water changes. That should keep your fish safe.
  8. MeenuFishlore VIPMember

    I would respectfully disagree with a bit of this. It's true that the bacteria is mostly in your filter, and only negligible amounts are floating in the water. However, the bacteria's food source is ammonia and nitrites, which is in the water.

    Are you using Amelquel or Amelquel plus? Also, it may have been the salt, or the stress of a cycling aquarium, or any number of things. I'm really sorry you lost him. It's hard to lose a fish friend. We can only learn from our mistakes and do better, and pass on the knowledge to others.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2009
  9. Wrtbrgr87Valued MemberMember

    That's what I was thinking...
  10. MeenuFishlore VIPMember

    You should still do the water changes daily. It isn't fun, but it really is better for the fish. Exposure to ammonia is so hard on them. It burns their gills, shortens their lives.
  11. Wrtbrgr87Valued MemberMember

    So how much water changing should i do?
  12. MeenuFishlore VIPMember

    50% every day until the tank is completely cycled.

    Are you using Amelquel or Amelquel Plus?
    Hmm.. stress coat is fine, salt you're stopping. You aren't using Cycle or stability or stresszyme...

    Which test kit are you using? I ask because Kordon, who make amelquel plus, say that api ammonia test isn't compatible.
  13. Wrtbrgr87Valued MemberMember

    I'm using stress coat as a water conditioner and stresszyme to cycle the tank. Stresszyme seems to work great. I use api test tube for ammonia and jungle labs for the nitrite and nitrate testing. I'm using amquel PLUS

    This cycling process is seriously so stressful it's insane!!!!

    :animal0068:Hello. I have merged your posts to save some space. There is an Edit key at the bottom of every post that you can use for corrections and additional thoughts should there be no responses. Thanks!
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 27, 2009
  14. MeenuFishlore VIPMember

    you are SO right about that! But I can tell you that once it is over, it's totally worth the work it took to get there.

    If you could completely fill out your aquarium info so it includes all products used in your tank, it'll help members give you better advice. Stresszyme won't cycle your tank. I would stop its use immediately if I were you. It doesn't contain nitrifying, aquatic bacteria. You'll have to add it for the life or your tank, which won't cycle with that stuff in it. If you stop adding it, your tank can crash, because it was never cycled.

    TThe problem with it is that the bacteria it contains is terrestrial. It drowns. So while the stuff is in the tank, it is eating the ammonia (which is why you think it is helping). But that means the good bacteria you need isn't eating the ammonia, so it isn't growing. Then the SZ bacteria drowns, and you add more. If you cycle the tank letting the good bacteria grow and colonize, then you'll never have to add another cycling product.
  15. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    I'm sorry that you lost your Gourami. It's always sad to lose a fish.

    You will get a false positive for ammonia when using the API Ammonia test and Amquel+. I purchased a powder based ammonia test kit off of Kardon's website because of this incompatability.

    Good luck!
  16. Wrtbrgr87Valued MemberMember

    Wow it's so hard to find tetra safestart too... Isn't that what's recommended? So in other words just stop using stresszyme and let it cycle by itself. I must say i disagree with the false positive because i just used the api test tube kit (not the test strips) and it shows no ammonia as of yet since the huge water change, but the nitrites and nitrates are still present. hopefully this means the tank is going to break the cycle soon.

    So I don't have to technically use anything to cycle the tank since the bacteria i need are ubiquitous, right?
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2009
  17. MeenuFishlore VIPMember

    You don't need to use any cycling products to cycle a tank. :)
    As far as the false positives, some members report successful tests, others report problems. Kordon, the manufacturer of amelquel, has responded to members' emails stating the incompatibility.

    I remember someone saying if you shake the water well with the amel+ before adding to the tank, the results are fine. Others say if you wait 24 hours first.
  18. Wrtbrgr87Valued MemberMember

    I ordered a bottle of tetra safestart just to try and speed things up for my fish so they aren't so stressed. I did a 25% water change today and so far so good. My cories are stressed tho, u can tell. THey are super lethargic and they don't swim around at all. They all hide. I hope they make it. Next time I don't care what anyone says I'm doing a fishless cycle. My cories won't eat now so i am gonna wait a couple of days before i feed them again to see if they get hungry.

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