20 Gallon Tank Struggling with new tank syndrome. Help please

Caterpie

Hello! I am very new on having an aquarium, and sadly I got to know about the new tank syndrome after I put my fishes in the water (my bad). Now I’ve been struggling a lot trying to save their life and keep them as healthy as possible. My parameters are: ammonia 0.50ppm, nitrite 0.25, nitrate 5.0. PH 7,6, temperature 80F. I have added quick start and now I added aqueon live beneficial bacteria. I have done 2 changes of water (first 50% and second 25%, two day consecutive and without vacuuming on the second 25% and always adding dechlorinator). I have 4 albino corys and they spends so much time swimming together on the surface than on the gravel, I don’t know if this is part of the ammonia levels or they’re just playing? It’s been more than 24 hours they do the same thing. I fed my fishes yesterday (very little), but today I won’t feed them. I have some live plants and I’m waiting to get in a few days some frogbit. I tried to get a sponge filter from Petco, but they said they wouldn’t do it (I tested their water and it was cycled). My aquarium is 6 days old so far. Can somebody guide me a little bit about what else I can do, what shouldn’t I do and guide me about the albino cory’s behavior? I just want my crew to survive. Thank you in advance
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awilkinson871

Cories are very sensitive to any changes in water parameters and struggle in an uncycled tank. Make sure you feed them just do not add too much. Keep doing water changes and vacuum the gravel regularly to remove uneaten food and poo. Leaving it just adds to the ammonia. It takes weeks to cycle a tank so don't mess with filter or clean any decor. Just vacuum gravel and do water changes and test daily.
 
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Caterpie

Thank you for your answer! I’ll vacuum the gravel every day in every water change and test it. I saw somebody mentioned the product “seachem prime”, should I use it daily on every water change until ammonia is gone? Another question, what percentage of water should I change every day?
 
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Teahaus

Just a piece of advice........make sure once you're cycled to lower the temperature to about 23C (73F) unless you enjoy looking at a lot of algae. I learned the hard way by keeping my temps up while cycling (helps with building up bacteria) but then kept the same temperature and had a huge outbreak of algae. My current tank has none of that since I kept a lower temperature. Yes, it takes much longer to cycle but I have a lot of time and am in no rush. Water changes are good and necessary. I'm in the middle of a 50% every two days right now (using an active substrate). I use the drained water to water our garden. Garden has never looked better!!
 
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BettaBabe713

I would buy Seachem Prime immediately. This stuff can be your best friend when Nitrite levels spike. Nitirite levels over 5.0 can and will kill your fish. Prime binds the nitrite, so even when it's present it will not be harmful to your fish. Continue with water changes and dose with prime daily unitl those nitirites are out of there! Dealing with a nitrite spike when cycling a tank can be a pain and may take a few weeks to get the levels down even with water changes daily, so you'll want to protect your fish and this stuff does just that. Best of luck to you!

P.S Prime also protects your fish from ammonia as well!
 
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jdhef

Welcome to FishLore!

If you're not totally aware of the nitrogen cycle, I highly recommend you read up on it and fully understand it (words should be link to article about it).

So now that you have fish in the tank you are going to be doing what is refered to as a fish-in cycle (as opposed to a fishless cycle where you add ammonia to the tank to simulate the ammonia the fish release into the water).

There are a few options for completing the fish-in cycle and keeping your fish alive, but in my opinion here are the best two.

Method 1:
Buy a bottle os SeaChem Prime. A standard dose of Prime will detox up to 1ppm of ammonia and/or nitrite for 24 hours. (Detox means to put the ammonia and/or nitrite in a form that is not toxic to the fish, but also in a form that will feed the bacteria you are trying to develope in order to cycle the tank). If you do not have an API master Test Kit for Freshwater I highly recommend you get one. They are very accurate and you really want accurate test results.

Test your water every 24 hours. If ammonia+nitrite is less than 1ppm add enough Prime to treat the entire tank. If ammonia+nitrite is equal to or greater than 1ppm perform a 50% water change using enough Prime to treat the entire tank volume. Keep this up until tank is fully cycled. (Could be 6 weeks or more).

Method 2:
Buy a bottle of Tetra SafeStart+ (TSS+) that is large enough to treat a tank of you size or larger (don't worry, you cant overdose). Then do the following:
1) Do a large water change to get the ammonia and/or nitrite levels as close to 0ppm as possible.
2) Wait 24 hours. (this is very important, using TSS+ less than 24 hours after a water conditioner (i.e.Prime) was used will cause the TSS+ to fail)
3) After the 24 hour wait, pour in the entire, well shaken bottle of TSS+
4) Do nothing for the next 14 days other than lightly feed your fish. No water changes or adding any chemical...nothing.
5) On day 14 test your water and if all worked as it should...congrats, you've got a cycled tank!

I have used TSS+ several times in the past and was successful each time, so needless to say I'm a big fan of TSS+

Best of luck!
 
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Caterpie

Welcome to FishLore!

If you're not totally aware of the nitrogen cycle, I highly recommend you read up on it and fully understand it (words should be link to article about it).

So now that you have fish in the tank you are going to be doing what is refered to as a fish-in cycle (as opposed to a fishless cycle where you add ammonia to the tank to simulate the ammonia the fish release into the water).

There are a few options for completing the fish-in cycle and keeping your fish alive, but in my opinion here are the best two.

Method 1:
Buy a bottle os SeaChem Prime. A standard dose of Prime will detox up to 1ppm of ammonia and/or nitrite for 24 hours. (Detox means to put the ammonia and/or nitrite in a form that is not toxic to the fish, but also in a form that will feed the bacteria you are trying to develope in order to cycle the tank). If you do not have an API master Test Kit for Freshwater I highly recommend you get one. They are very accurate and you really want accurate test results.

Test your water every 24 hours. If ammonia+nitrite is less than 1ppm add enough Prime to treat the entire tank. If ammonia+nitrite is equal to or greater than 1ppm perform a 50% water change using enough Prime to treat the entire tank volume. Keep this up until tank is fully cycled. (Could be 6 weeks or more).

Method 2:
Buy a bottle of Tetra SafeStart+ (TSS+) that is large enough to treat a tank of you size or larger (don't worry, you cant overdose). Then do the following:
1) Do a large water change to get the ammonia and/or nitrite levels as close to 0ppm as possible.
2) Wait 24 hours. (this is very important, using TSS+ less than 24 hours after a water conditioner (i.e.Prime) was used will cause the TSS+ to fail)
3) After the 24 hour wait, pour in the entire, well shaken bottle of TSS+
4) Do nothing for the next 14 days other than lightly feed your fish. No water changes or adding any chemical...nothing.
5) On day 14 test your water and if all worked as it should...congrats, you've got a cycled tank!

I have used TSS+ several times in the past and was successful each time, so needless to say I'm a big fan of TSS+

Best of luck!
I think I’ll follow your advice! I saw many good comments about the TSS+ and I’ll definitely try it. I’ll do a 50-60% change of water today, I’ll use API stress coat (dechlorinator) and after 24 hours I’ll add TSS+. Then, I’ll wait 14 days and I’ll give very little food to the fishes on those days. I already have the API water test kit, so I’ll just keep checking. I put all my hopes on this method Thank you all guys !
 
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awilkinson871

Thank you for your answer! I’ll vacuum the gravel every day in every water change and test it. I saw somebody mentioned the product “seachem prime”, should I use it daily on every water change until ammonia is gone? Another question, what percentage of water should I change every day?
You don't need to vacuum daily. Depending on how many fish and how much you feed 1-2 times a week is fine. You need poo and food to turn to ammonia to continue the cycle. If you notice your ammonia gets high and you see stuck sitting on the bottom then do a good vacuum. Removing it all immediately will stall the cycle. The % of water change will depend on your readings. I aim to keep ammonia and nitrites at or below .25 each. So if ammonia is .50 do 50% change. If ammonia is .25 then wait til the next day. Just try to keep both of the number at .25 to keep the fish healthy. I have done fish in cycling and never used prime except when I did the water change. I believe in water changes to remove ammonia and nitrite not holding it with a chemical. It can only hold for so long and is then released into the water so clean water is better IMO. I have found water changes to be helpful for fixing a lot of different things that some people are quick to throw chemicals/medications at.
 
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