Will My Tank Cycle?

Klever
  • #1
I am new to fiahkeeping, and several weeks ago bought a 14L and a betta, under the assumption I could put a few small fish in with him. 3 different fish shops said I could, so got 4, had aggression issues and got advised to add 2 more and that would be slightly overstocking, but it fixed the aggression . After further research I realised I am quite over stocked. But do 2 40% water changea per week and monitor ammonia, nitrite and nitrate daily (if not twice as I'm a little paranoid now) and all are in normal parameters. I know I am overatocked and as of the moment, I can't return any of them and funds don't allow a new tank and even so don't really have space. I took my stockists word, so please don't say not to listen to the. But I just need to try and see if its possible to cycle. As I'm surprised I'm not seeing ammonia. Suggestions?
 
oldsalt777
  • #2
I am new to fiahkeeping, and several weeks ago bought a 14L and a betta, under the assumption I could put a few small fish in with him. 3 different fish shops said I could, so got 4, had aggression issues and got advised to add 2 more and that would be slightly overstocking, but it fixed the aggression . After further research I realised I am quite over stocked. But do 2 40% water changea per week and monitor ammonia, nitrite and nitrate daily (if not twice as I'm a little paranoid now) and all are in normal parameters. I know I am overatocked and as of the moment, I can't return any of them and funds don't allow a new tank and even so don't really have space. I took my stockists word, so please don't say not to listen to the. But I just need to try and see if its possible to cycle. As I'm surprised I'm not seeing ammonia. Suggestions?

**** Klev...

You're simply doing a "Fish-In" cycle. There's nothing wrong with this method. You need to test the tank water every day. Test for ammonia and nitrite and if you have a positive test for either of these forms of nitrogen, remove 25 percent of the water and replace that with tap water treated with a product that removes chlorine and cloramine and detoxifies ammonia and nitrite. Seachem has some good products that do this. Just test and remove the water when needed. When you have several tests that show no traces of ammonia or nitrite, your tank is cycled. Once cycled, change out half the water every week to keep the water safe for your fish. The process takes roughly 30 days.

Old
 
Klever
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
I am testing every day using a apI freshwater tester. I'm using prime every water change. Should I do smaller changes or still do 40% changes twice a week. There is just so much conflict between stockists and hobbiests. I'm not sure what I'm doing right, as on another forum got told I was doing pretty much everything wrong and should rehome all my fish... the qeird thing is I have read up on the nitrogen cycle, and rarely get ammonia readings at all. Even before my biweekly changes. Should I only chnage when the parameters change?and ive had the betta maybe a month and the tetras a couple weeks.
Klev...

You're simply doing a "Fish-In" cycle. There's nothing wrong with this method. You need to test the tank water every day. Test for ammonia and nitrite and if you have a positive test for either of these forms of nitrogen, remove 25 percent of the water and replace that with tap water treated with a product that removes chlorine and cloramine and detoxifies ammonia and nitrite. Seachem has some good products that do this. Just test and remove the water when needed. When you have several tests that show no traces of ammonia or nitrite, your tank is cycled. Once cycled, change out half the water every week to keep the water safe for your fish. The process takes roughly 30 days.

Old
 
mattgirl
  • #4
Welcome to fishlore.

Hopefully my experience 2 1/2 years ago will help put your mind yo rest.

I was cycling a 55 gallon fully stocked tank. Like you I did a fish in cycle. I was doing a 30% water change every other day. Not once did I get an ammonia reading. After about 4 weeks (If I am remembering correctly) it could have been 5 weeks, my nitrites went off the chart over night. At that point I was doing 30% water changes every day. I did that 5 days in a row. After the 5th water change my nitrites dropped to zero and my nitrates started showing up.

All of this to say, I never saw an ammonia reading in my tank and still haven't even 2 1/2 years later. I am sure some folks would consider my tank over stocked but it works for me. Some folks will say yours is too.

You didn't say what kind of small fish you have in there with your Betta but hopefully they are temp compatible with your Betta. He will enjoy temps close to 80 degrees. A lot of tetra species are more comfortable in lower temps.

Hang around and we will help you as much as we can.
 
Klever
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
I am so grateful to get a helpful not judgrmental response. This tank, I got for my son as our first pet, has started to give me anxiety because all I have got has been judgement when on forums, even though ive gone to fish stockists and gone by what they've said. I have a betta and 6 neon tetras. My tank is usually 25'c. Its quite planted as I got told the tetras needed hiding places. I try to test morning and night incase of spikes (as I said its been giving me anxiety). I had a spike of aome description 3 weeks in when I introduced rhe tetras but only got a testing kit the next day after id spent the night doing a complete flush of the tank over 4hrs...my betta was turning black snd the tetras went white. And haven't had anything even close.
My test hasnt picked up any ammonia or nitrite. So should I continue daily tests and change when I see change?to allow the ammonia/nitrite to build a littlw and dose with prime every other day? (Some places say that others say don't touch the tank, so I'm a little confused)
Welcome to fishlore.

Hopefully my experience 2 1/2 years ago will help put your mind yo rest.

I was cycling a 55 gallon fully stocked tank. Like you I did a fish in cycle. I was doing a 30% water change every other day. Not once did I get an ammonia reading. After about 4 weeks (If I am remembering correctly) it could have been 5 weeks, my nitrites went off the chart over night. At that point I was doing 30% water changes every day. I did that 5 days in a row. After the 5th water change my nitrites dropped to zero and my nitrates started showing up.

All of this to say, I never saw an ammonia reading in my tank and still haven't even 2 1/2 years later. I am sure some folks would consider my tank over stocked but it works for me. Some folks will say yours is too.

You didn't say what kind of small fish you have in there with your Betta but hopefully they are temp compatible with your Betta. He will enjoy temps close to 80 degrees. A lot of tetra species are more comfortable in lower temps.

Hang around and we will help you as much as we can.
 
mattgirl
  • #6
I believe neon tetras would prefer cooler water and sadly it is possible that your betta will eventually decide he doesn't want them in his space but for now you have to deal with the situation you find yourself in when following advice from someone that should have known better.

What I would do is let your tests dictate water changes. It is good that you have prime. It is going to be the best thing you could have to keep your fish safe during the cycling process.

Are you using any kind of bottled bacteria? The answer to this question will determine my answer to your questions.
 
Klever
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
The fish shop I got my betta from had several tanks with bettas and neons and said that if the temp isn't any higher they'd be fine, but again I don't know what to listen to these days. I used bottled bacteria initally, but then had to do almost a complete flush and got told to stop using it, so have only been dosing with prime during water changes

He's been with the tetras for several weeks now, and there was a bit of chasing at the beginning but he keeps to himself most of the time. I wish I hadn't gotten the tetras if I'm honest. But my 5yr old has now named them as well so subtlely removing them to I don't know where isn't possible even if the logistics worked out. Again 3 fish (not pet but specifically fish stockists) said I could put them in, and that amount. I'm atleast glad the aggression between the tetras has calmed down...
 
mattgirl
  • #8
OK, It is possible that you are well on your way to cycled.

Are you seeing any nitrates?

It would really help if you could post your exact test kit readings from both the tank and your source water. That way we would both be on the same page and could possible tell where you are in your cycle. What some folks don't understand. The cycle is going to happen whether one watches what happens or not. It has no choice. If one has and ammonia source (fish waste) and filter media to house the bacteria nature will take its course.

In simple terms. Ammonia will turn to nitrites and nitrites will turn to nitrates. Nitrates will be removed with water changes.

You said you have a 14L tank. Is that 14 liters? or 14 long? If 14 liters It would be good if you could get a bigger tank. It can work but it is going to take a lot of water changes even after the cycle if finished.I do understand not being able to do it at this point though.

From all I have read it is harder to keep a cycle stable in smaller tanks because with such a small amount of water small changes in the water chemistry can cause problems quicker.

The very best thing you can do at this point is exactly what you have been doing. Keep testing your water. We can't know if you have had a nitrite spike. It could have happened before you got your test kit but if you are seeing nitrates and there are none in your source water we can assume you are already through the nitrite phase and well on your way to a cycled tank.
 
Gone
  • #9
It sounds like you're on the right track in terms of monitoring your water and adjusting your water change schedule. If you have zero ammonia, zero nitrite, and low nitrate reading, I'd say you're cycled. As to your question about whether to keep doing what you're doing until you see changes in your water readings, yes. You'll see lots of different methods from lots of different people, some are successful and some aren't. The takeaway should be that you do what works for you. If you're doing 40% water changes twice a week, and you get zero ammonia and nitrites, seems to me that's working. The water changes might be a little more aggressive than I do, but when you factor in that you might be overstocked, it seems perfectly appropriate.

With fish stores you're going to find wildly differing levels of knowledge. Sometimes you might speak with an owner who has 138 years of experience and knows everything. Then you might speak with someone who is just working there not making much money. Fish stores would all go out of business if they had to hire experts to staff their stores. Again, it's a matter of looking at all the seemingly conflicting opinions, and sort through it and do what works for you.
 
Klever
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
Thank you for all your help. I appreciate it. I might slow down on the changes and see what changes. I did wake up this morning to a sick/dying tetra with a guage out of his belly this morning. I don't know what happened. But he was the tetra causing the most problems as he was attacking everything. I'm thinking he got in the way of the betta, as the others all sort of school but he would kinda patrol like the betta. He was the smallest fish by far, which is interesting. I get putting anything with the betta is an experiment so we'll see what he does.
My readings from this morning
Ph. 7.2
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0

So got nothing, and its been 2.5 days since a change. I usually change Saturday mornings and tuesday evenings as I work the last portion of the week. So I might leave it a little longer and see if I get readings at all. As I'm off tomorrow I can monitor the tank and see if I was missing anythijg when I did regulalry water changes. Some places to dose with prime everyday straight into the tank but I'm not getting readings so guess we'll see. Any thoughts?
 
mattgirl
  • #11
I don't think you need to be dosing Prime when you are not reading any ammonia, nitrites or nitrates. As long as you are getting those readings you should only add prime to the water you are replacing during a water change.

I would hold off on water changes until you see some readings other than zero. It really is possible that your tank is cycled and the reason you are not seeing nitrates is because of all the water changes and plants eating them.
 
Klever
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
Plants eat nitrates?
 
mattgirl
  • #13
Plants eat nitrates?
Yep

You should see my houseplants now that I water them with the water I remove from my tank during a water change. Plants LOVE nitrates.
 
Klever
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
Huh well that is something new about the cycle I learnt. As I do have several plants so that would make sense. I'm going to slow down on water changes and see if the parameters change. I really appreciate the gentle help. I know I'm not in the best situation, but I want to do what I can
 
mattgirl
  • #15
I am happy that I was able to help you. Please keep us updated. I would love to hear how your tank in coming along.

I should have said something sooner. I was really sad to hear that one of your little guys got hurt Some folks are able to keep other fish with their Bettas but it seems it is always a gamble. Things can be going along fine and then they aren't. They will wake up to mayhem in their tanks and find the Betta is the only one left alive. Hopefully that won't happen in yours but I just wanted to kinda prepare you for it in case it does happen.
 
Klever
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
Thank you. I knew of the trials ans tribulations trying to do a compunity tank. I assessed his behaviours and he seemed docile so I thought id give it a shot. But the quantity in that tank was obviously where information was wrong. Ever since I added the tetras first 4, which caused fighting between themselves (the betta left them alone) and was encouraged to get 2 more. The most aggressive one was the one who died so it kinda solved one problem as the betta is still leaving the others alone.
 
Jenoli42
  • #17
Huh well that is something new about the cycle I learnt. As I do have several plants so that would make sense. I'm going to slow down on water changes and see if the parameters change. I really appreciate the gentle help. I know I'm not in the best situation, but I want to do what I can

mattgirl is a gem! she's one of the most patient, helpful, insightful and humble people on this forum and I remember to keep my impatience at bay when I see her lead by example with her responses. i'm so glad she helped you but I must say i'm not surprised
 
Klever
  • Thread Starter
  • #18
That she is! Honestly on several other forums people have pretty much said I should have done my research and never trust stockists and that I would never succeed in the hobby because I trusted them and should rehome all my fish. That doesn't help when I'm stressed about ammonia spikes nor if I need help kust managing the situation. So thank you mattgirl for being clear, helpful and supportive! It is much appreciated!!!
mattgirl is a gem! she's one of the most patient, helpful, insightful and humble people on this forum and I remember to keep my impatience at bay when I see her lead by example with her responses. i'm so glad she helped you but I must say i'm not surprised
 
mattgirl
  • #19
Thanks guys, Those were some beautiful words to wake up to this morning. They made my heart sing.

I try to remember where I was when I first started keeping aquariums many many years ago. There were a lot of trials and tribulations way back then. The trials and tribulations haven't changed but the way to get information certainly has

I occasionally see mob mentality surface and when it does I do try to talk it down to the best of my ability. Sadly it seems some tend to forget that they are dealing with folks that are trying their best but have gotten bad information. It is up to us to try to counteract that bad information the best we can and jumping on someone when they are down just isn't the best way to do it.

and as always, just my humble opinion.
 
Klever
  • Thread Starter
  • #20
Encouraging while informing is always the best option.
Follow up question, tested this afternoon, tge only thing different was ph which was up to 7.4.... I don't know why it shifted but its not alot. The snail has been making an aweful mess, should I clean up or leave it to see if the tank is cycling....
Thanks again
 
mattgirl
  • #21
That small change in PH could be just the time of day. I don't fully understand the chemistry of that statement but I have read that it can change from nighttime PH to daytime PH so I wouldn't be concerned. Keep an eye on it and if it drastically changes you may need to find out why.

What kind of mess is the snail making? If it is poo then yes, clean it up.
 
Ms rose
  • #22
mattgirl is a gem! she's one of the most patient, helpful, insightful and humble people on this forum and I remember to keep my impatience at bay when I see her lead by example with her responses. i'm so glad she helped you but I must say i'm not surprised

Mattgirl talked back and forth with me for THREE hours the other day helping me threw a problem, that I'm still having, but everyone has been great. Op, you are in great hands.
 
mattgirl
  • #23
Mattgirl talked back and forth with me for THREE hours the other day helping me threw a problem, that I'm still having, but everyone has been great. Op, you are in great hands.
I'm really am sorry that I couldn't help you more
 
Ms rose
  • #24
Oh you did!!! Idk what is going on, so I decided to take out snails and frog and put into 10 gallon cycled tank and maybey that will help my main tank which will be just the 10 fish, 8 of the 10 are two week old guppy fry. So that's happening today, within a week if things don't get better ill be back for more help
 
Klever
  • Thread Starter
  • #25
So I tested my water this morning,
Ph 7
Amm .25
Nitrite .25
Nitrate between 0-0.5

I did a a 25% water change and cleaner up snail poo (must be heaps of low grqde algae as he is pooping HEAPS!) but certainly more active than he was for a while. Turns out I may not hsve cycled, just keep missing the peaks. I did a smaller change but it stirred a lot of crud from the gravel.
 
mattgirl
  • #26
I discovered my previous pest snail infestation because of their poo. The water I siphoned out was almost black from so much of it. I almost lost my cycle trying to get rid of them. Thankfully it was just a temporary glitch and I was quickly back on track. Once I put assassin snails in there to get rid of the pest snails I could stop cleaning so much.

Just continue doing what you are doing. The prime will keep those numbers safe for your water pets. Now that you are seeing nitrates I feel confident that you are almost there. Even with good numbers I wouldn't go over a week without a water change in a tank that small. Once it has completed its cycle you may be able to go longer or with as many fish as you have in there you may have to do it every 3rd or 4th day. Let the tests be your guide.

You may want to keep your eye out for a bigger tank. Maybe check craigs list or whatever you have in your area for folks wanting to sell or even give away stuff. You may manage to get something bigger for just a small amount of money. You wouldn't have to start fresh with a new tank because you can move this cycle over to a different tank. A bigger tank really is easier to take care of.
 
Klever
  • Thread Starter
  • #27
Thanks again for the help,
I have a mystery snail, who I'm thinking of getting rid of as he is making such a considerable mess.
I've been keeping an eye out. I couldn't fit much more than a 20L (which I had ummed and ahhrd about originally). I know its not much bigget but I don't really have the space. And everything I've seen has been 50L+ and new the cheapest ive seen has been $70 which sucks.

On a side note my tetras don't seem as brightly colored as they were. Would that be stress or something else? They still hsve their color, but just not looking as I did when I first got them
 
mattgirl
  • #28
I understand the space issue and also the cost issue. Going bigger is not always possible and we just have to do the best we can.

That is probably what is going one. A lot of times fish can lose some of their color if they are stressed or scared. My long finned black skirt tetras turned almost white shortly after I got them. I realized I had upset them while cleaning the tank. Now that they are used to me they no longer fade.
 
Klever
  • Thread Starter
  • #29
HI again, the fish seem fairly well colored today. I have started feeding them twice a day as that seemed to have been a issue. Question, how do I clean my algae overrun filter and the tank as a whole. Algae is going nuts. Probably cause I leave the light on 9hrs a day while I'm at work. How do I clean the tank without 1. Stressing my fish, and 2. Messing up whatever progress I have made on the cycle?
 
Klever
  • Thread Starter
  • #30
Also second question, I'm worried I've got an outbreak of NTD as one of my tetras has developed a crooked back. His tail bends about 45 degrees to the rest of his body (that is looking from above). I will take a picture in the morning. He has not presented with any other symptoms that I'm aware of, I had to put him in a litre tupperware container as I don't have spare space for him. Should I remove all the tetras and hope my betta doesn't contract it too and scrub down my tank? Is there a way to get ahead of it if it id NTD to prevent any or the parasite remaining in the tank or is the whole tank a sacrifice?

Mattgirl any suggestions on any of the above?

Sorry posted a couple od questions, not sure if they connected to the same thread. Could you let me know if you have anu suggestions?
I understand the space issue and also the cost issue. Going bigger is not always possible and we just have to do the best we can.

That is probably what is going one. A lot of times fish can lose some of their color if they are stressed or scared. My long finned black skirt tetras turned almost white shortly after I got them. I realized I had upset them while cleaning the tank. Now that they are used to me they no longer fade.
 
mattgirl
  • #31
Sorry posted a couple od questions, not sure if they connected to the same thread. Could you let me know if you have anu suggestions?
I could be totally off base but I really think this is happening because of their living conditions. I know you say you can't do anything about rehoming the neons but, and I am sorry to have to be so blunt, they can't possible live a healthy life in the conditions they are living in. They will slowly get sick and then they will die.

Sadly these beautiful little guys are living in a very stressful situation. The tank they are in is at the lowest end of what a Betta needs. the neon need much more. Doing anything to the tank is going to cause them even more stress.

You should turn the light off when you are not there. The fish don't need the light. I know your plants need it but it is the reason for the algae taking over the tank. I don't know much about taking care of a planted tank because I've never had one. Hopefully someone else can help you with that.
 
Klever
  • Thread Starter
  • #32
Thanks, and I know you're entirely right and I feel horrid. The remaining 4 seem ok and pretty docile thankfully, prt shops will not take them back 3-5 days after purchase, so I don't know what to do with them otherwise I would havr returned them. The betta seems fine at the moment too. If it is ntd would the betta contract it?

I could be totally off base but I really think this is happening because of their living conditions. I know you say you can't do anything about rehoming the neons but, and I am sorry to have to be so blunt, they can't possible live a healthy life in the conditions they are living in. They will slowly get sick and then they will die.

Sadly these beautiful little guys are living in a very stressful situation. The tank they are in is at the lowest end of what a Betta needs. the neon need much more. Doing anything to the tank is going to cause them even more stress.

You should turn the light off when you are not there. The fish don't need the light. I know your plants need it but it is the reason for the algae taking over the tank. I don't know much about taking care of a planted tank because I've never had one. Hopefully someone else can help you with that.
 

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