well we're moving on up!

  1. JohnDuffy Initiate Member

    ...from a 10 gallon to a 20. after nearly three months of off the charts ammonia levels and a cycle that never seemed to get started and reams of contradictory advice from lots of well-meaning people, i'm going to move five glo-fish (lost two guppies along the way) into a 20 gallon. as of right now, we're doing weekly 20% water changes just to try to keep ammonia levels low as we can.

    what i'm hoping for is some advice on how best to cycle this new tank once we get it set up. if these little buggers now seem to be doing okay with toxically high ammonia levels, is there a chance they'll do okay just plonked into the new tank to start the cycle on their own? should i try to colonize bacteria in the water/filter before they go in? for how long? or is a fishless cycle the quicker option. basically, i would like to avoid having two tanks running for several weeks if that is possible.

    after things get cycled/settled (by whichever means) and the fish seem to be happy and adjusted, whats the best method to introduce new livestock with minimal risk of tank instability. daughter wants a snail. i want an oto. ideas? thanks to any and all who respond. your help is much appreciated.
     
  2. jdhef Moderator Moderator Member

    With off the chart ammonia levels, it little wonder your tank would not cycle. Too much ammonia will actually kill the bacteria. I really do not think 20% weekly when cycling a tank with fish is anywhere near enough. You should really be doing 30%-50% daily using a detoxing water conditioner like Prime.

    But that's all water under the bridge at this point.

    Fishless cycling would really be the best way to cycle the new tank, but it does not seem like you are too keen on the idea of waiting 6 weeks or so for the new tank to cycle.

    So I think using Tetra SafeStart to cycle the tank may be the option best suited to you. With SafeStart all you need to do is fill the tank with water treated with Tetra AquaSafe (detoxing water conditioner such as Prime will cause the SafeStart to fail. But once cycled they are fine to use). Then pour in the whole bottle of SafeStart and put your fish in at the same time. Then just do nothing but feed your fish for 14 days. (No water changes, no chemicals etc, I recommend not even testing the water). Then on day 14 test your water and you should be cycled.

    Good luck!
     

  3. Wendy Lubianetsky Well Known Member Member

    I had a lot of luck with my last 20 gallon with TSS. It is actually a very god product.:;2cents:;2cents (inflation you know)
     

  4. JohnDuffy Initiate Member

    sounds like a good idea to cycle with fish as you suggested. not at all doubting your advice (your record speaks for itself) but can a tank really cycle in 14 days?! thats astounding. if it were any other fish besides these little danios it doesn't seem possible. will give it a try. a friend also recommended going ith a 'higher octane' filter, like something rate for a fifty gallon. is that helpful or unecessary overkill? and in the future, would you recommend a real plant or two to help absorb ammonia should we decide to add a few more species in the future? sorry to innundate you. thanks for all your advice thus far.
     

  5. Wendy Lubianetsky Well Known Member Member

    Yes, TSS actually cycles the tank in 14 days. The rule of thumb when it comes to filtering is 10x the gallons of your tank. I bllieve you are moving on up (to the west side:;laughing) a 20 gln tank. So your minimum glns per hour should be 200. I personally like to " over filter " since I stock a lot of fish that are messy fish. In my 60 gln tank I run 1000 gallons per hour. So, there really is no such thing as over iltering as long as your fish are not getting pushed around the aquarium. With HOBs you can alleviate this problem by keeping your water level high.

    Plants to not absorb ammonia. Plants like the nitrates in the water and helps keep the nitrate level down. Once your tank is cycled, the nitrate levels will go up and a few lovely plants will help with that all though they are not necessary. As a good fish keeper you will be doing a minimum of a 25% water change to keep the nitrates down and to keep from getting old water syndrom.

    Wendy:cool:
     
  6. jdhef Moderator Moderator Member

    Wendy, I posted those exact same words a couple of years ago, and was corrected.

    Apparently plants would prefer ammonia over nitrates. I can say that I was corrected/told this by a member who was very knowledgable (but I haven't seen on the forum for a really long time now.)