Started New Tank and how to cycle it?

  • #1
HI there,

We are new to fish keeping and got our main tank about 2 weeks ago now. We were not informed about cycling a tank (60 gallon) so we started up just using dechlorinator and a starter bacteria that was recommended. everybody did reasonably well (no deaths) until we hit an ammonia spike. We quickly did a 50% water change and AFTER the water change we lost a group of fish. We are now a few days after the group of fish died and we have lost a few more sporadically but the majority are doing well. Now we come to find out about cycling, which is a very confusing process to us. A fish breeder friend said to use seachem stability to help. We don't want to lose anymore fish and need to figure out how to accomplish cycling the tank...any advice greatly appreciated!! Very lost and discouraged. No one told us it would be this complicated.
  • #2
Fish, waste, food, and any organic matter breaking down create ammonia.

In the beginning, water changes dilute the ammonia. 50% every other day or two is usually enough.

After a while, aerobic bacteria form in your filter media that process ammonia into nitrites.

Nitrites are still toxic, so water changes should be continued to be performed.

Eventually, another aerobic bacteria will colonize the filter media. These convert nitrites into nitrates.

Nitrates are much less toxic, and are removed by water changes.

Once your tank consistently testes for 0ppm ammonia, 0ppm nitrites, and >0ppm nitrates, you are fully cycled.

Seachem Stability is a bottled bacteria that helps speed up the colonization of your filter media. It is virtually impossible to overdose and when setting up new tanks I just keep dosing until the bottle is empty.
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Thank you so much...we are so discouraged right now. No matter what we do it seems doomed to failure. We will do another 50% water change and add the stability. See where we are after that. It's on top of everything it looks like some of our fish have Ich so we need to figure out what to do for that now.

We have mollies, platties, loaches, pictus catfish, cory's, a pleco, a gourami, swordtails, guppies, glow fish and tetras. I like the idea of adding aquarium salt and raising the water temp but I read somewhere that loaches and catfish are sensitive to the salt and or the ich medication... what are some good options? We don't want to lose anymore fish
  • #4

Whew.... where to start?
Your ammonia/nitrite/nitrate/ph readings would be helpful if you have a test kit.
Without knowing that though, you can use the method Fahn described above (personally I would dose with prime each time you water change if you use this method. The cycle may take longer, but its safer).
I have also cycled tanks using stability. You're call. The water change method is fool proof though. If you're going to do that I would look into getting a Python water change system.

Sorry about your luck so far.

Sounds like your fish are in a stressful environment as is. I'm not sure a big temperature change is your best bet right now, although I am a fan of the heat and salt method.
I would probably go with something like Ich-X at this point. That's coming from someone who hates medications haha.

Don't beat yourself up too bad. Most people take advice from the teenagers and fish experts at Petsmart. Makes sense that the pet store personnel would be knowledgeable about pets... They're not. Just come here for advice, like you have!

Can I ask how big that tank is, and how many of each of those fish you have?
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
HI SeanyBaggs123,

I did order some ich-x that will arrive Wednesday. And I do have Stability on hand for speeding up the cycling.

This is my daughters aquarium and I honestly don't know how many of each type of fish there is. Except the Gouramis, which there are two of. The rest there is between 2 to 6 of each type. I also forgot she has a pair of African dwarf frogs and a handful of ghost shrimp.

the tank is a 60 gallon freshwater tank. The last readings after a 50% water change were
Ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrites: 0ppm
Nitrates: 0ppm
PH: 7.6
High PH:7.8 to 8
  • #6

I will say you should expect to lose the ghost shrimp with the meds. If you don't... Bonus.

Great choice getting such a big tank. I'm not sure if you are overstocked or not. Can plug your tank/filtration/stocking parameters intoto find out.
Also not sure about gourami's but they may be a fish you should only keep one of. Someone else can weigh in on this as I've never kept them.

I would stick to either the stability method or water changes with prime. If you're sure its ich, I would probably go the stability and ich-x route until you're cycled and disease free.

Do you have pictures of the fish you think have ich?
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
The ghost shrimp we could easily move to our small 10 gallon tank if need be. They're very easy to replace.

So just frequent water changes and adding seachem stability to finish cycling our tank? We started the tank 2 weeks ago now. And does it have to be 50% changes or can we do smaller changes more often?

We will add the Stability at each water change until the bottle is gone.

Ich-x it is...and yes were 98% sure its Ich. It's nearly impossible to get pictures of them as they aren't still long enough.

There is one Gourami swimming free in the 60 gallon aquarium right now, and we also have 1 in a breeder net awaiting the 10 gallon tank being ready for my fish to be added. So the 2nd Gourami won't be staying in the 60 gallon tank permanently.
  • #8
You're going to have to read the directions on the Ich-X and Stability Bottles. If I remember correctly, you dose Stability for a week and then water change (the bottle tells you how much to change.
So, if you go the stability route, I wouldn't water change every other day.

Sounds good! Yes, I would move the ghost shrimp before you medicate if you can.

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