restarting an old tank

sterling star
  • #1
I bought a Oceanic 30 gal hex It has a penguin 550 powerhead with tube and under gravel filter. The gravel came with the tank and it had been washed and bagged. I bought a couple of things to go in the tank a house,a palm tree, some bamboo, and a skull I rinsed and dryed them before I put them in the tank. I filled it with water added the 30ml of water conditioner and all was good the water was clear. Then I went and bought a fluval M-100 heater and a thermometer and a API master test kit. I thought I was good to go then the water got cloudy. I preformed all the test and all test were perfect except the high ph. Do I need charcoal filter? Do I need to let it cycle more? Do I need chemicals? I started the tank 5/30 I added the heater on 5/31 I noticed the water cloudy 6/1 tested water and like I said all are in good range except ph Thanks for your help
  • #2
In my experience the cloudy water is a bacteria bloom it's all the stuff that your tank needs forming... I would just keep doing what you are doing and it will clear up on it's own As far as high pH goes my tank has always been high and I don't do anything to mess with it.. I would rather have consistency than irregularity from trying so hard to get it right and keep it right...
  • #3
Are you planning on a doing a fishless cycle? If so, you need a source of ammonia. If you look up nitrogen cycle, it will explain and teach you how to do it.

When you said the numbers were all good, what were the actual readings? Unless it was seeded from previous filter media, I don't think it would cycle that quickly. If you posted the actual numbers, that would help us!
sterling star
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
high ph=8.8
ammonia=0 ppm
nitrite no2 =0 ppm
nitrite no3=0ppm Everything is good except the high ph and the cloudy water. Should I add some fish and if so how many and what kind? thanks
  • #5
A tank that has finished cycling will show 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and some nitrates (less than 40 though). Fish waste produces ammonia. The beneficial bacteria that live in the filter change ammonia to nitrite, and nitrite to nitrAte. Nitrite and ammonia are both very toxic to fish. If you click on the underlined words nitrogen cycle , it will take you to a page that teaches you more about it. With a tank that was not seeded, you don't have any of the bacteria necessary to convert ammonia to nitrate.

There are two ways to cycle the tank, fishless, and with fish. A fishless cycle is supposed to be the most humane, since the fish are not subjected to the ammonia and subsequent nitrite spike. To do a fishless cycle, you need a source of ammonia though. People either use pure ammonia from the hardware store, or a raw shrimp, or fish food. The drawback of this type of cycling is that you'll be staring at an empty tank for awhile (think weeks). If you can get some filter media or gravel from a friend with an established tank, it can help the process go a little quicker.

Fish in cycling - There is a product called Tetra Safe Start that I have used with success, but others on this forum have used it without success. I guess it is hit or miss. It is the beneficial bacteria in a bottle, and it is also is supposed to keep your fish safe while the cycle establishes. The other way to do fish in cycling is by doing frequent, large water changes. This dilutes the toxins. However, you will subject the fish to the toxic effects of ammonia and nitrite.

The other thing that is kind of odd is the high pH. API only reads to 8.8, so I would take it from your tap to check if its that high coming out or if that's just a byproduct of the beginning of the cycle.
  • #6
Welcome to FishLore! Contrary to what you were probably told at the fish store, running a tank for a set amount of time with no fish is not cycling a tank. Cycling a tank is actually a biologial process that occurs. What happens is:
1. Fish produce waste that turns into ammonia. Ammonia (even at low levels) is very toxic to fish.
2. After a few weeks of ammonia being in the water a bacteria grows in your filter media that consumes the ammonia, but releases nitrites as a waste product.
3. So now your ammonia levels drop to 0ppm since the bacteria is consuming it, but your nitrite levels begin to rise.
4. Nitrites even at low levels is extremely toxic to fish.
5. After a few weeks of nitrites in the water a second bacteria grows in your filter media that consumes nitrites and releases nitrates as a waste product.
6. Once enough of this bacteria forms, nitrite levels will also drop to 0ppm, but nitrates will start to rise.
7. At low levels nitrates are not harmless, but because the fish produce a steady stream of ammonia, the ammonia consuming bacteria produces a steady stream of nitrites, and the nitrite consuming bacteria produces a steady stream of nitrates you need a way to keep nitrates from getting too high. This is done thru weekly partial water changes.

Also, I think something when wrong with your pH testing. Your tank only has one pH. But the API test kit cannot test from 6.0-8.8. So it has broken the test into two. One tests from 6.0 to 7.6 (I think, don't have my test kit handy to check). The high pH tests from (maybe) 7.4 to 8.8. It would be like having two thermometers one that tested form 0 to 60 degress and a second that tested from 50 to 100 degrees. If it were 80 degrees, the first thermometer would max out at 60, but the second would give the true temperatue of 80. And conversely, if it were 30 degrees, the first thermometer would read correctly at 30, but the second would read at it min temp of 50.
  • #7
Great advice from ucdcrew and jdhef! I just wanted to Welcome you to Fishlore!
sterling star
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
Thanks to all I will retest water today and post the readings I did not know there was so much to learn about a tank. I thought all you did was fill whith water plug in and enjoy. Sterling
sterling star
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
ok retested water!
nit#3=0ppm The water is still cloudy but it looks a little better. Should I put some fish in? And if so what kind
  • #10
No, you're not cycled.
  • #11
Fishkeeping has a surprisingly steep learning curve, but once you get over it, it gets much easier.

Read ucdcrew and jdhef's posts, They do well in explaining the nitrogen cycle. Then read this until you understand it fully. It's *very* important.

If you have no ammonia, no nitrite and no nitrate, you haven't even started the cycle yet. You need to add an ammonia source to the water.
sterling star
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
Thanks yesterday I dropped a peice of shrimp into the tank 2"x1/2" is the correct? The water has cleared up. I think I get it now. I did not put the shrimp in panty hose like I read. It is just laying on the bottom. Now I wait a couple of days and then I have boiled shrimp ha ha

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