Question on Cycling

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mattyluke

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Hello there,
I posted in another topic about how I messed up my cycling and learned alot and received excellent, appreciated feedback thanks to your kindness.

My Ammonia shot up through the roof to about 5.0, about 11 days ago due to various reasons. This was about 5-6 weeks after I started the tank. When I started it, I was testing every day and seen the ammonia go slightly up, then down and the nitrites go up slightly then down. Then all of a sudden my Ammonia skyrockted. Since this was discovered, I have been doing a 10% water change (20 gal. tank) every single day mixing it in with a 25% change here and there along with feeding very, very conservatively. The ammonia is now around 2.5 and I'll continue with the water changes until it hits 0%. The Nitrite however, has remained at a constant 0.

My questions is, how do I know if my tank has truely cycled and when I finally get the Ammonia to 0%, will it be safe to add a couple more fish? Right now I have 2 Zebra's, 4 Neons, a Cory Catfish and Snail. Oh, also should I be vaccuming the gravel signifigantly during every water change?

Thank you in advance!

Matt
 

Isabella

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If you have ANY fish in your tank, and if you have ANY ammonia or nitrite readings (however small these readings are), you should be performing DAILY 50% water changes until ammonia = 0 and nitrite = 0. This is the only way to increase the changes of your fish surviving the ammonia and/or nitrite presence in your water.

NEVER clean the filter media in TAP water. ALWAYS clean them in TANK water. Simply take some tank water in a bucket and clean the media there. Chlorine in tap water kills the beneficial bacteria from your filter, and that is how your tank will keep cycling "forever".

Your tank will be cycled when ammonia = 0, nitrite = 0, and nitrate is showing. If your nitrate is above 20, do a water change. Try to keep nitrate below 20 (and - of course - as low as possible, 0 at best). If nitrate goes beyond 20, it can be dangerous to your fish too.

When you perform a water change, vacuum your gravel with a siphon tube. This way you're not only removing water but also fish wastes. If fish wastes are not vacuumed out regularly, they accumulate and increase your nitrate to toxic levels. They may also cause ammonia and/or nitrite spikes if they're out of control.

I hope this helps you somewhat. Good luck

P.S. After your tank has cycled, you do not need to perform 50% water changes. Just perform regular weekly water changes. They can range from 10% to 30% water changes, depending on the stocking level of your tank. But of course do not overstock, as it is not healthy for fish.
 
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mattyluke

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Thank you Isabella very much. That helps a great deal. My question now is starting a 50% water change. I have 5 gallons that I've been rotating. Is it alright to go home tonight and get another 5 gallons of spring or tap water treated w aquasafe and use that for a 50% change tonight?

Thanks again.

Matt
 

Isabella

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You're welcome

I'm not sure what you mean by "rotating" of 5 gallons of water. You've a 5 gallon bucket that you use for water changes? Or something else? LOL ... sorry for my misunderstanding

When I had only one 10 gallon tank, I used bottled Spring water for weekly water changes (that wasn't a lot of Spring water - about 3 gallons a week only). But now that I have a 30 gallon tank + a 75 gallon tank (just about to be set up), I can't really use bottled Spring water for water changes. I use tap water that I dechlorinate either with Aqua Plus or Prime.

Maybe it will be too much for you to be buying bottled water for daily 50% water changes in a 20 gallon tank ... don't you think? But, of course, it is up to you. If you decide to use bottled water, make sure that it is the same or similar temperature as that of your tank temperature, when you're pouring it into your tank. Also, check the pH of the bottled water and the pH of your tap water - they should be the same or similar as well.

I don't see why you can't use tap water and simply dechlorinate it before you add it to your tank. Make sure that you have the right dechlorinator. Some water supply companies use chlorine, while others use chloramine. If you do not know which one your water company uses, get a dechlorinator that removes BOTH chlorine and chloramine. Also, make sure the tap water's temperature is the same as that of your tank's temperature. And the same with pH ... check it out to stay on the safe side.

New water that you're adding to your tank that has a very different temperature and pH from those of your tank can cause a shock to your fish, which is why I stress the importance of checking everything before doing anything.

Good luck
 
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mattyluke

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Isabella, thanks again and sorry for the confusion. What I ended up doing was starting off using two (2) one (1) gallon jugs every day to do a water change. Then as I did more reading, I started to increase the amount of water I changed daily. Now I am up to six (6) one (1) gallon jugs. The reason I did this was because I thought you had to let the water sit for 24 hours even after you added the de-chlorinator.

Thank you.
 

Butterfly

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If a dechlorinating agent has been used in the water it can be used immediately. Dechlorinated tap water is really better for your fish and plants than spring water because it adds minerals back into your tank that they need. It's also cheaper
Carol
 

Isabella

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Yup, Carol is right

And Mattyluke ... do you have at least a 5 gallon container or bucket? This should make your water changes much easier than having five 1-gallon bottles.
 
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mattyluke

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Isabella/Carol,
Thank you for the info. on the dechlorinates. The one I have does say it removes everything (Chlorine and Chloramine). I do have a 5 Gallon bucket and that's what I use when removing the water. It looks like I'll be taking a trip to the Depot to buy another one tonight. HAHA, man I feel like a moron now using all them empty gallon containers because I thought you had to let the water sit for 24 hours.

Just for an update since I've increased the percentage of daily water change: The ammonia is now down to about or under 2 and the Nitrites are still at 0. I need to purchase at Nitrate tester.
 
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mattyluke

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Hi Isabella/Carol,

One other question, the test kit I use for Ammonia has 2 steps. First you put in Reagent A which is a powder substance and then B which is liquid. Ever hear of using this powder before? I have some weird feeling that the kit I am using in inferior.

Thank you,

Matt
 

Isabella

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LOL ... never heard of an aquarium test with a powder, so I can't really comment on that as I know nothing about it. What I can tell you though, with a 100% certainty, is that the tests that I personally use (as well as many people on Fish Lore) are very accurate and I have never been disappointed by them so far. I use Aquarium Pharmaceuticals tests for Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, and pH. If you want them, you can buy them separately. But you can also buy a test kit from AP that has all these tests in it and that is very cheap. I mean, at your local fish store it may be expensive (in my LFS, for example it's $30 - 60 - can't remember exactly, but for sure at least $30). But here: (on Big Al's Online) it is only $16. It used to be $13 on this website before. So, this is where I order quality tests at a cheap price.
 
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mattyluke

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Isabella and Butterfly, I posted another topic about how much I appreiate you and this site. In that post, it explains that I got the Ammonia amd Nitire down to 0. I coudln't Have done it without you. Thank you very, very much.

Regards,

Matt
 
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