Topping up during cycle with TSS

baconator

Member
Hi everyone.

I have a 5.5G freshwater that was treated with TSS and DrTims ammonium chloride solution on the 20th. Giving that it's a small tank, am I OK to use tap water to top up the tank if I let the water sit for 24 hours before topping?

Attached are my readings if needed.
 
Best Answer - View mattgirl's answer

jkkgron2

Member
baconator said:
Hi everyone.

I have a 5.5G freshwater that was treated with TSS and DrTims ammonium chloride solution on the 20th. Giving that it's a small tank, am I OK to use tap water to top up the tank if I let the water sit for 24 hours before topping?

Attached are my readings if needed.
I would just use some dechlorinator. Sometimes there are chloramines in the water that won’t go away after 24 hours.
 
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baconator

Member
jkkgron2 said:
I would just use some dechlorinator. Sometimes there are chloramines in the water that won’t go away after 24 hours.
Hey, thanks. I presume after adding prime, I can just add top to tank and not have to wait 24hrs? Will adding prime effect the cycle at all?
 

NoahLikesFish

Member
It removes ammonia, people use as alternative to wc in cycling you gotta export nutrients b/c some levels of ammonia can be too high for beneficalnbacteria
 

jkkgron2

Member
baconator said:
Hey, thanks. I presume after adding prime, I can just add top to tank and not have to wait 24hrs? Will adding prime effect the cycle at all?
Yeah, you can add it right away . I don’t think it will affect your cycle, just make sure to keep adding in ammonia to feed the bacteria.
 
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baconator

Member
jkkgron2 said:
Yeah, you can add it right away . I don’t think it will affect your cycle, just make sure to keep adding in ammonia to feed the bacteria.
Ok, will do. I was told specifically not to add anymore ammonia after the initial dose at the beginning of the cycle. I'm glad you've said otherwise.

How often should I be adding during my cycle? Sorry, I know that's a simple question. I've read plenty on the fish less cycle but there isn't much out there to read about TSS and ammonia cycling.
 

jkkgron2

Member
baconator said:
Ok, will do. I was told specifically not to add anymore ammonia after the initial dose at the beginning of the cycle. I'm glad you've said otherwise.

How often should I be adding during my cycle? Sorry, I know that's a simple question. I've read plenty on the fish less cycle but there isn't much out there to read about TSS and ammonia cycling.
I actually always do fish in cycles so I would get a second opinion before you do this but... I would dose 1ppm ammonia every 24 hours and once the bacteria can convert it to nitrites and then nitrates within 24 hours you’ll be finished. I could be wrong though and I’d wait for a second opinion.
 

mattgirl

Member
Ammonia is the food your bacteria needs. Add more each time it gets down close to one. As long as you use your water conditioner and temp match the water you can top off the tank with your tap water when needed.
 

Pfrozen

Member
NoahLikesFish said:
It removes ammonia, people use as alternative to wc in cycling you gotta export nutrients b/c some levels of ammonia can be too high for beneficalnbacteria
prime does not remove ammonia just so you know.

and OP chlorine will typically dissipate after 24 hours but like others have said that may not be the case if your treatment center uses chloramine. I would just use the conditioner. I like to stir my top-up water after adding Prime but you can add the water right away without any problems.

also, it looks like your tank is cycled. your bb colony isn't overly strong with that 0.25 ppm ammonia but it is cycled. you can probably add fish in a week or less
 
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baconator

Member
mattgirl said:
Ammonia is the food your bacteria needs. Add more each time it gets down close to one. As long as you use your water conditioner and temp match the water you can top off the tank with your tap water when needed.
Ok great. Thanks for replying. Adding the prime won't effect anything, good to know.

Pfrozen said:
prime does not remove ammonia just so you know.

and OP chlorine will typically dissipate after 24 hours but like others have said that may not be the case if your treatment center uses chloramine. I would just use the conditioner. I like to stir my top-up water after adding Prime but you can add the water right away without any problems.

also, it looks like your tank is cycled. your bb colony isn't overly strong with that 0.25 ppm ammonia but it is cycled. you can probably add fish in a week or less
Great thank you. Will add prime, stir and top off.

I thought the same, however I was unsure because it's literally been 4 days since I started the cycle. I imagine it looks this way because I haven't added any additional ammonia since day 1. Considering this, do you think I should not add any additional ammonia and wait a week to add fish?
 

Pfrozen

Member
baconator said:
Ok great. Thanks for replying. Adding the prime won't effect anything, good to know.



Great thank you. Will add prime, stir and top off.

I thought the same, however I was unsure because it's literally been 4 days since I started the cycle. I imagine it looks this way because I haven't added any additional ammonia since day 1. Considering this, do you think I should not add any additional ammonia and wait a week to add fish?
If its only been 4 days I would re-dose with ammonia just to establish a stronger colony. looks like you cycled fast if all goes well then the second round should be even faster
 

mattgirl

Member
Have you run all the tests on your tap water? I have to think you have at least nitrates in it. You've not processed enough ammonia to have produced this much nitrates. It is possible the low reading for nitrites you saw was the results of adding TSS. It is always a good idea to run the tests on our source water so we know what we are working with.

Tanks don't normally cycle in this length of time unless you added seeded media from a cycled tank.
 

DoubleDutch

Member
How often do you need to top up a 5,5 G tank ?
 
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baconator

Member
mattgirl said:
Have you run all the tests on your tap water? I have to think you have at least nitrates in it. You've not processed enough ammonia to have produced this much nitrates. It is possible the low reading for nitrites you saw was the results of adding TSS. It is always a good idea to run the tests on our source water so we know what we are working with.

Tanks don't normally cycle in this length of time unless you added seeded media from a cycled tank.
The only tests I had done was the Ph on the unconditioned tap water. I hadn't thought to test the water for anything else initially. I think i was so focused on trying to get things right for the cycle! I've tested and added the unconditioned water tests at the top. Though it's all come back at 0 ppm on just my tap water unconditioned.

I understand what your saying and it makes sense that it's not cycled. I didn't add any seeded media unfortunately.



DoubleDutch said:
How often do you need to top up a 5,5 G tank ?
I wouldn't know, this is my first tank.

I presume because water had evaporated by a quarter after 4 days and I'm not doing any water changes during the cycle, that by the time it was nearing the end it would have evaporated a considerable amount more. I was also worrying about the plants that were already above water level. I'f I'm wrong then please let me know.
 

mattgirl

Member
baconator said:
The only tests I had done was the Ph on the unconditioned tap water. I hadn't thought to test the water for anything else initially. I think i was so focused on trying to get things right for the cycle! I've tested and added the unconditioned water tests at the top. Though it's all come back at 0 ppm on just my tap water unconditioned.

I understand what your saying and it makes sense that it's not cycled. I didn't add any seeded media unfortunately.
I am not clear on what you are saying. Are you saying you have now ran all the tests on your tap water and are coming up all zeros? Those nitrates had to have come from somewhere. Are you adding any kind of ferts for your plants? Some of them will shoot the nitrate level up and could be where yours are coming from.

I presume because water had evaporated by a quarter after 4 days and I'm not doing any water changes during the cycle, that by the time it was nearing the end it would have evaporated a considerable amount more. I was also worrying about the plants that were already above water level. I'f I'm wrong then please let me know.
I would go ahead and top off this tank and try to keep it filled. Some folks recommend using distilled water for top offs but while cycling a tank the original minerals in our tap water tend to get used up. While cycling I recommend topping off with your tap water. As long as you add your water conditioner to the tap water before pouring it in the tank your cycle will continue to move forward.
 
  • Thread Starter

baconator

Member
mattgirl said:
I am not clear on what you are saying. Are you saying you have now ran all the tests on your tap water and are coming up all zeros? Those nitrates had to have come from somewhere. Are you adding any kind of ferts for your plants? Some of them will shoot the nitrate level up and could be where yours are coming from.


I would go ahead and top off this tank and try to keep it filled. Some folks recommend using distilled water for top offs but while cycling a tank the original minerals in our tap water tend to get used up. While cycling I recommend topping off with your tap water. As long as you add your water conditioner to the tap water before pouring it in the tank your cycle will continue to move forward.

Thanks mattgirl. Yes correct. When you said about doing tests on the tap water, I carried those out today. I'm not currently using any ferts but I will be when the plant growth arrives on Friday. Could the high nitrate be from the fluval substrate or the bio media in the filter (not seeded)? I have no idea where else they would have come from.

Thanks for the clarification on adding the tap water to top off with conditioner. I did this yesterday.
 

mattgirl

Member
baconator said:
Thanks mattgirl. Yes correct. When you said about doing tests on the tap water, I carried those out today. I'm not currently using any ferts but I will be when the plant growth arrives on Friday. Could the high nitrate be from the fluval substrate or the bio media in the filter (not seeded)? I have no idea where else they would have come from.

Thanks for the clarification on adding the tap water to top off with conditioner. I did this yesterday.
Since the substrate you are using is supposed to be good for plants I have to think that is where these nitrates are coming from. That is the only explanation for them being in this tank this early in the cycle.

I have to be perfectly honest with you. If you are cycling this tank for a single Betta I think you are putting yourself through more stress than necessary. Cycling a tank is actually more for us than it is for the fish. Once cycled we can go longer between water changes because the bacteria is working for us.

I know a lot of folks frown on doing a fish in cycle but if done right the fish are never in any real danger. As long as you keep the ammonia level down to no more than .25 your water pet will be fine. The fact that you are also going to be adding live plants will help too. They will help keep the ammonia down.

I will do my best to help you either way but you may want to consider doing a fish in cycle in this tank.
 
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baconator

Member
mattgirl said:
Since the substrate you are using is supposed to be good for plants I have to think that is where these nitrates are coming from. That is the only explanation for them being in this tank this early in the cycle.

I have to be perfectly honest with you. If you are cycling this tank for a single Betta I think you are putting yourself through more stress than necessary. Cycling a tank is actually more for us than it is for the fish. Once cycled we can go longer between water changes because the bacteria is working for us.

I know a lot of folks frown on doing a fish in cycle but if done right the fish are never in any real danger. As long as you keep the ammonia level down to no more than .25 your water pet will be fine. The fact that you are also going to be adding live plants will help too. They will help keep the ammonia down.

I will do my best to help you either way but you may want to consider doing a fish in cycle in this tank.
The tank is for a single Betta, yes. If that's the case then I can arrange for my Betta to arrive tomorrow. I wasn't going to do a fish in cycle for the obvious reason you stated that a lot of people advise not too. Given your advice so far, I'd much prefer to do a fish in cycle. I'll read up in the mean time.
 

mattgirl

Member
baconator said:
The tank is for a single Betta, yes. If that's the case then I can arrange for my Betta to arrive tomorrow. I wasn't going to do a fish in cycle for the obvious reason you stated that a lot of people advise not too. Given your advice so far, I'd much prefer to do a fish in cycle. I'll read up in the mean time.
This thread is a little thing I wrote for those that want to do a fish in cycle. It says no bottled bacteria added but adding it won't change my advice for doing a fish in cycle. Fish in cycling takes a bit more work but in the long run your fish should be fine and instead of looking at an empty tank you are enjoying your water pet(s) during the process.

since you have already started with a fishless cycle go ahead and change out no less than 75% of the water that is in the tank before putting your fish in there. You want to start him/her out in fresh clean water. You will have grown some bacteria in this tank so don't do a lot of cleaning. I would just siphon the water out and if you have gravel lightly gravel vac it but don't wipe down the walls of the tank, clean decor or clean your media.

Be sure you temp match and add your water conditioner to the fresh water before pouring it in there. We can't see the bacteria but it is a living thing so we want to treat it just as we would if fish were in there.
 
  • Thread Starter

baconator

Member
mattgirl said:
This thread is a little thing I wrote for those that want to do a fish in cycle. It says no bottled bacteria added but adding it won't change my advice for doing a fish in cycle. Fish in cycling takes a bit more work but in the long run your fish should be fine and instead of looking at an empty tank you are enjoying your water pet(s) during the process.

since you have already started with a fishless cycle go ahead and change out no less than 75% of the water that is in the tank before putting your fish in there. You want to start him/her out in fresh clean water. You will have grown some bacteria in this tank so don't do a lot of cleaning. I would just siphon the water out and if you have gravel lightly gravel vac it but don't wipe down the walls of the tank, clean decor or clean your media.

Be sure you temp match and add your water conditioner to the fresh water before pouring it in there. We can't see the bacteria but it is a living thing so we want to treat it just as we would if fish were in there.
Thank you. I've read your other thread as well, thanks for linking that. I'll be doing a 75% water change in the morning and will carry out the tests and 30% water changes daily or every other day. I sincerely appreciate you helping me out!

Just a quick note, something odd happened today while testing. My ammonia was at 0.25 ppm, nitrites 50 ppm and nitrates at 40 - 80 ppm. Does this look as though it's the next stage of the cycle or would you recommend I still carry out the 75% change and then go from there with daily changes? I found it odd how nitrites went from 0 to 50 so fast but can only put this down to the cycle.
 

mattgirl

Member
baconator said:
Thank you. I've read your other thread as well, thanks for linking that. I'll be doing a 75% water change in the morning and will carry out the tests and 30% water changes daily or every other day. I sincerely appreciate you helping me out!

Just a quick note, something odd happened today while testing. My ammonia was at 0.25 ppm, nitrites 50 ppm and nitrates at 40 - 80 ppm. Does this look as though it's the next stage of the cycle or would you recommend I still carry out the 75% change and then go from there with daily changes? I found it odd how nitrites went from 0 to 50 so fast but can only put this down to the cycle.
It sounds like your cycle is very very close to complete. Once you do the one big water change you may very well find it is done. Run your tests a couple of hours after the water change. If you see 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and are still seeing nitrates. I have to think you are finally there.

I don't know if daily water changes are going to be necessary. You will want to let your numbers be your guide. If you add your fish after the 75% and your numbers hold where they should be (0 ammonia and 0 nitrites) you may only have to do weekly water changes.
 
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baconator

Member
Ok, great. 75% water change done. Giving it a couple hours now and letting my Betta acclimatise for on the side and will carry out tests shortly! Cheers.
 

mattgirl

Member
As long as you run your tests daily for the first week or so and be prepared to do a water change if your ammonia goes over .25 your little guy should be fine. I wouldn't stress out over a .25 reading. I can't remember if I've asked. Do you have Prime? If you don't I will recommend you get a bottle of it.

It is first and foremost a concentrated water conditioner but goes one step farther and detoxes low levels of ammonia. The ammonia will still show up in your test but it will be in a safer form.
 
  • Thread Starter

baconator

Member
mattgirl said:
As long as you run your tests daily for the first week or so and be prepared to do a water change if your ammonia goes over .25 your little guy should be fine. I wouldn't stress out over a .25 reading. I can't remember if I've asked. Do you have Prime? If you don't I will recommend you get a bottle of it.

It is first and foremost a concentrated water conditioner but goes one step farther and detoxes low levels of ammonia. The ammonia will still show up in your test but it will be in a safer form.
I have prime thankfully and have been using it since day one. After a couple hours of the 75% change, the readings are at 0.25ppm ammonia, 0 ppm nitrite and 40 ppm nitrate. So I'll keep testing daily and I'm confident in doing 30% daily changes if needed, no problem. Should I be worried about that nitrate level or is it OK as long as I keep the ammonia at 0.25 and below?

I've introduced our new little guy, Walter, to his new home and he seems to be very inquisitive to his surroundings! Loving his floating plants.
 

mattgirl

Member
baconator said:
I have prime thankfully and have been using it since day one. After a couple hours of the 75% change, the readings are at 0.25ppm ammonia, 0 ppm nitrite and 40 ppm nitrate. So I'll keep testing daily and I'm confident in doing 30% daily changes if needed, no problem. Should I be worried about that nitrate level or is it OK as long as I keep the ammonia at 0.25 and below?

I've introduced our new little guy, Walter, to his new home and he seems to be very inquisitive to his surroundings! Loving his floating plants.
I would like to see the nitrates lower. Your water changes should take care of them as long as there are none in your source water. Some folks recommend keeping them 20 or less. As long as I see orange in my test tube I call it close enough. If I see red it is time to do a water change to get them down.

I wouldn't be concerned about the .25 ammonia reading. Some folks that use the API test seem to never see a true 0 reading. Seeing no nitrites now tells us that this cycle is done. It is still a new cycle so still needs to be handled with care. Only rinse media or gravel vac when absolutely necessary. I would give it a good solid 6 months to get firmly established. During that time bacteria is getting a good foot hold on every surface in the tank so it would take something drastic to disrupt the cycle.
 
  • Thread Starter

baconator

Member
mattgirl said:
I would like to see the nitrates lower. Your water changes should take care of them as long as there are none in your source water. Some folks recommend keeping them 20 or less. As long as I see orange in my test tube I call it close enough. If I see red it is time to do a water change to get them down.

I wouldn't be concerned about the .25 ammonia reading. Some folks that use the API test seem to never see a true 0 reading. Seeing no nitrites now tells us that this cycle is done. It is still a new cycle so still needs to be handled with care. Only rinse media or gravel vac when absolutely necessary. I would give it a good solid 6 months to get firmly established. During that time bacteria is getting a good foot hold on every surface in the tank so it would take something drastic to disrupt the cycle.
Ok, so I'm at 0 ppm everything apart from nitrate at 20 ppm stable. Gonna do a water change today, maybe the last for a week and will read levels after and then tomorrow. I think as you say, I'm very close.

I genuinely appreciate you stepping into the thread and everybody else. You've made it extremely clear how to handle things, what to look for and how to action. From what I can see from other threads around the internet and including myself, the cycle is made out to be overly technical, scary and very daunting. I won't discredit the fact that it probably can be!
 

mattgirl

Member
baconator said:
Ok, so I'm at 0 ppm everything apart from nitrate at 20 ppm stable. Gonna do a water change today, maybe the last for a week and will read levels after and then tomorrow. I think as you say, I'm very close.

I genuinely appreciate you stepping into the thread and everybody else. You've made it extremely clear how to handle things, what to look for and how to action. From what I can see from other threads around the internet and including myself, the cycle is made out to be overly technical, scary and very daunting. I won't discredit the fact that it probably can be!
I am so happy I was able to help you and to hear that the cycling process is now behind you and soon you will get to start enjoying your water pets.

The cycling process really is a simple process. Give it an ammonia source and bacteria will grow. The three things necessary when fishless cycling a tank are an ammonia source, time and patience. When doing a fish in cycle we can add in water changes, lots of water changes.
 

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