Water changes and the cycle

  • #1
Hello all! Been lurking around here for awhile now and finally had time to post. So here goes..let me preface everything bought and/or done was before I happened across this site. So I bought a 10 gallon for starters, just to get acquainted withe the set-up,etc. After setting it up, filling it up, I turned everything on and let it go for about 3 days, then the "gotta have fish right now" bug bit and I went out to get some. I ended up with 7 tiger barbs, and 2 Corys. Yes I know, lol, like I said, "before" I found this info-laden site.
So, as the story goes, after a day or 2 with all the fish in, the barbs started dying off one by one, leaving me with the 2 Corys. So it's been 3 weeks now and they seem to be doing fine. I feed them a shrimp pellet EOD. I have not did a water change as I am skiddish about changing stuff around since they are doing ok. Also, I have not added any water from evaporation either, probably about 2 inches down from top. So my question is, do I do a water change or simply refill water loss and wait until I know for sure tank is fully cycled? I am going to get the API master kit, so I don't know specific water parameters. Now as far as products to add to new water, I have "aquasafe" "API quick start" "stress coat" . I did buy the strips to test with, even though they are not accurate, I would at least know if something were extremely wrong.
So 2 corys, 10 gallon, no water change as of yet, no replaced water for evaporation. Hmm I may be leaving something out, but I really have no idea on which to do or not to do. And yes the water test kit is on the way! Any steer in the right direction would be most appreciated!!!

Thank you in advance!!!
  • #2
There are very few times when water changes are a bad idea, and yours is not one of them.

In fact in an aquarium that you suspect may not be cycled yet, unless you are using a product called Tetra Safe Start (and in this case no other brand will do because this is the only brand of beneficial bacteria in a bottle that is known to work as intended), unless you are using that particular product, daily water changes are recommended.

Cycling an aquarium usually takes roughly a month (give or take some time), so unless you have had these fish for about a month (and the time before fish does not count) then you are probably not cycled, and should be doing daily water changes.

Changing water during a cycle won't harm it, since there are actually few beneficial bacteria in the water itself. Most beneficial bacteria live in the filter, so do not change the filter, ever, unless it is so old that it is falling apart, and disregard the directions of filter manufacturers who recommend monthly filter changes - they are trying to make money.

Do use AquaSafe or Stress Coat as directed on label while doing water change. I believe they are both water conditioners, and both equally good, though not as good as AmquelPlus+NovaAqua or Prime water conditioners. However, both of the water conditioners you own are good enough, so use one of them for now during each water change.

Do not use the API Quick Start. Buy Tetra Safe Start instead if you can.
  • #3
Just be sure to try to get the temperature of the water you're adding near the temp of what's already in the tank. It's best to use the conditioners on the new water in a bucket before you put it into the tank. I think your main problem was too many fish before the bacteria colony was ready to accept the load.
  • #4
Welcome to FishLore!!
  • #5
Good morning and
welcomerainbow.gif to Fish Lore!

I hope you enjoy the site.

  • Thread Starter
  • #6
Ok, thanks so much. So since it's a 10 gallon, change maybe 2? Not sure how much I would need to change.
  • #7
Welcome to fishlore...You can change 2 or 3 gallons. I personally would do 3 gallons. Don't forget to treat the water.
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
One more thing! How do I measure the Aquasafe as I would need to treat only 3 gallons? Or do I just add the water and treat the whole tank? Not sure how to go about it. I appreciate everyone's replies!
  • #9
Welcome to FishLore!

When cycling with fish, it is imperitve to keep ammonia and nitrite levels low and detoxed. As you should know (since you are familiar with the nitrogen cycle) fish produce ammonia which is highly toxic. Since fish constantly produce ammonia, your ammonia levels will continue to rise until such a time that the bacteria that consumes ammonia and releases high toxic nitrites forms in your filter. At that point nitrites will continue to rise until such time that the bacteria that consume nitrites and releases nitrates grows in your filter. At that point all ammonia and all nitrite will be processed and your fish will be safe (i.e your tank will be cycled).

But until that time, in order to keep the ammonia/nitrite levels low (and keep your fish safe from toxin exposure) you should be doing daily partial water changes. Idealy, you want to keep the ammonia/nitrite levels below 1ppm if you are using a detoxing water conditioner such as "Prime", much lower if you are using a standard water conditioner. Prime has the ability to detox lowish levels of ammonia/nitrite for 24 hours (at which point you will be doing another water change).

Good luck!
  • #10
One more thing! How do I measure the Aquasafe as I would need to treat only 3 gallons? Or do I just add the water and treat the whole tank? Not sure how to go about it. I appreciate everyone's replies!

I usually treat the new water in a bucket before I put it in...it should say on the bottle what the proper dosage is.
  • #11
One more thing! How do I measure the Aquasafe as I would need to treat only 3 gallons? Or do I just add the water and treat the whole tank? Not sure how to go about it. I appreciate everyone's replies!

I generally use a small measuring spoon, which I do not use for any other purpose other than measuring stuff that goes into the acquarium. The spoon that I use is small enough to allow me to accurately measure the amount that the label says that I need.

When in doubt with water conditioner, it is safer to add a bit too much than to add too little, and it is ok to add the amount needed for the entire tank even if you are changing only part of the water. I do this for example when I am experiencing a mini-cycle so if I have measurable ammonia or nitrites, then I add the amount of conditioner for the entire tank, but this is because I use Amqual as my water conditioner, and Amquel detoxifies Ammonia and Nitrites for 24 hours. Since your water conditioner does not detoxify Ammonia or Nitrites, I believe, there is no reason to add the amount of water conditioner for full tank, but this amount will not hurt your fish either.
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
Thank you all for your replies. Changed out roughly 2 gallons and everything seems to be going swimmingly, (pun intended). Now if I can just get my hands on the API water kit, kinda anxious to put a couple more fish in, just have the "Two Coreys" in there as of now.

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