When to do the first water change?

  1. dawnearly Initiate Member

    I have had my tank for 2 weeks. I got the "freshwater master test kit" today and did my first tests. The ph was at 7.2 the nitrates were at 0 the nitrites were at 0 and the high ph was between 7.4 and 7.8. Ok I think that is good, from what I understand from the booklet. I don't know how to tell though when my tank is done "cycling". When I do my first water change can I leave the fish in there, or do I need to take them out? And do I want to get a hose cyphoning kit? So many questions....hopefully someone with more knowledge than me will be able to help !!!
     
  2. Janmitch22 Member Member

    I'll try to help, but I'm a beginner as well. Are there fish in your tank right now? Because at the end of cycling, the nitrates should be up there, but your nitrites and ammonia should be around 0. Am I right, y'all?

    Did your tank water go all foggy? I think that's a good sign that your tank is cycling. Sometimes it takes a little while to build up enough waste to kickstart the cycle. If your nitrates and nitrites are both at zero, I think maybe you haven't started yet. Did you see the cycling link from fishlore's homepage?

    But when you do your water change, you can leave the fish in. Just maneuver around them. It's always a hassle moving fish, especially the fast ones!

    It's much easier to get a gravel syphon. You can really get the poop and old food out with it. Once you get the suction going, you've got your bucket ready to receive, then you dump the old water and refill and so on.
     

  3. Butterfly Moderator Moderator Member

    Janmitch22 you covered everything right down the line. Good info all.
    Dawnearly it usually takes four to six weeks to cycle a tank with fish.
    Carol
     

  4. Janmitch22 Member Member

    Whew, didn't want to lead her astray.

    dawnearly, I've had a 55 gallon tank for a couple of weeks and my cycle hasn't started yet. I've put in a bit of gravel from other tanks that I have; I've also put in an old betta.  He looks so lost, he's been in a 2.5 gallon since I've gotten him. Even then he's only had half of the space because I use a tank divider and I have another betta on the other side! I wonder if he'll go through withdrawal once I put him back in his old home....

    Anyway, my tests show that my ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite are all at or around zero.  It'll take some time.  It's kind of boring staring at an empty tank, come to think of it. lol
     

  5. dawnearly Initiate Member

    Thank you both for your help. I do have fish in there right now. I have lost a couple of neons, but I think they looked a little peaked to begin with. I took some advice from the Petco where I got the tank. I put the fish in 48hrs after I set up the tank. I have 6 neons, 1 Dwarf Gourami, 3 guppies, and a Platy. I really wish I would have found your site before I did all that and I wouldn't have started out with that many fish. I have a 38 gallon tank. I went into the local Fish Gallery to purchase my test kit, and they suggested I keep what I have in there now, but not to add anymore until the tank finishes cycling and after the first water change. I think they seem more knowlegable than the Petco chick. I will wait until the nitrAtes come up. Again thanks soooooo much for all your help. When we got the tank for our daughter for Christmas I didn't think about reading up on fish care. I was listening to just what the pet store was telling me and I think now that they were just trying to sell me fish and accessories. The local fish gallery people seem to really care about the sucess of my tank !!! Again thanks for the help, and I am sure I will be asking for more before I become a "pro" xoxox
     
  6. Gunnie Well Known Member Member

    Sounds like you are on the right track now. When you start seeing ammonia and nitrites, please post your readings so we can help you get through this cycling period and hopefully not lose any more fish. You will probably have to do water changes when the levels get too high since you have fish in the tank. Also, they may be more expensive, but try and stick with the Fish Gallery folks. They seem more concerned about your tank being healthy than about selling you more fish. We also encourage that you support your independent local fish stores rather than a chain store if possible, because if you lose the mom and pop stores, you lose that personal touch of service and support. Support them when you can. ;D
     
  7. dawnearly Initiate Member

    ok it is my second test !!! I have Ph..7.2, High ph...between 7.4 and 7.8, ammonia .025 (yikes) and both nitrIte and nitrAte at 0. Should I do a 25% water change now, or wait. I don't know how much ammonia is toxic, or is any ammonia trace toxic? I am using the Aquarium Phamaceuticals Freshwater master kit !!
     
  8. dawnearly Initiate Member

    Oh yeah, and a couple of days ago my water got a "white cloudy" look to it....today it looks clear as a bell....I don't know what that is all about !! :-\
     
  9. Butterfly Moderator Moderator Member

    It's all part of the cycling process ;)
    Carol