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Author Topic: Cycled tank advice  (Read 908 times)
splash
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Cycled tank advice
« on: April 16, 2012, 10:37:47 PM »

Hi everyone,

After 28 days I think my tank is finally cycled, however I still have slight ammonia. My readings are as follows ph 7.4 GH 196 Ammonia 0.25ppm Nitrite 0ppm Nitrate 20 ppm. These results are 3 days post a 50% water change due to Nitrate levels being 80ppm.

I cycled with shrimp in a net and removed debris after 3 days. I have had snail issues, I keep removing them. There is some ?brown algae on ornaments/plants but none on the tank itself. The temperature is set at 25, with the water temp measuring 23-24 Celsius when checked several times a day.

Even before I commenced fishless cycling the water has always tested 0.25ppm to ammonia. Should I be doing something about it? Is my tank, given that nitrite are zero and nitrates are present, cycled? Is it safe to consider adding fish? Just
wanted to check before I talked to my lfs because they don't have the same level of expertise as experienced aquarists do.

Another question, instructions for the filter say to change the charcoal filter media monthly. Is this necessary to do it so often. Wouldn't it disturb the good bacteria load? So confusing. I know to clean the media in tank water.

Would it be better for me to add ?copper to the water to get rid of the snails now prior to adding fish? Lettuce isn't working. I do hear they clean up algae. And I an finding them on the ornaments a lot!

Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.
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Skwishee
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Re: Cycled tank advice
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2012, 08:48:04 AM »

Hi Splash,

When you say 'cycled with shrimp' I assume you mean a piece of prawn and not an actual live shrimp right Wink

Okay if you're water has a constant reading of ammonia, I would suggest you test your tap water.
My tap water has a reading of 0.25ppm, so when I am readying buckets for water changes, I add a 1.5x dose of the Prime water conditioner I use to help deal with it  Smiley Not sure what water conditioner you are using? Perhaps contact the company about what would be a safe dosage? Sometimes it will say on the bottle.

Do not add fish, if there is ammonia present! You want to get to the bottom of what's causing the ammonia before adding anything. If you add fish now, they could get stressed and/or poisoned by the ammonia, which in turn can make them ill.

As for the carbon media, the purpose of it, is to remove heavy metals, med's among other things, from the water. It has a dispensable life time, usually of around 8 weeks. But after this time, it is quite common for bacteria to then grow on it and it can become part of the filter media. I have carbon in my filter, which I will probably swap out for some bio-rings at some point. My carbon has been in my filter since the end of January and I've left it as it is.

What snails is it your having problems with? I assume bladder snails? They look like this:
[image]


The snails are from my experience pretty harmless, the worst they will do is possibly nibble on a plant or over populate the tank if there is enough food and resources for them to do so, this can cause an 'eye sore' to some people and I have heard in some cases that the snails have blocked the impeller on a filter. I have a tank of these little guys and I quite like them!

I find that they tend to like brocolli more than lettuce Wink So perhaps give some blanched brocolli a try?
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splash
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Re: Cycled tank advice
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2012, 06:03:42 PM »

Hi skwishee,

Yes I cycled with a prawn.

I have bio rings, bio balls and wool as well in the filter. I will change the charcoal as directed.

The snails could be bladder snails, they are quite small version of your picture. Most times I get them out of the tank when they are translucent baby looking snails. I'm not overly against them anymore. I was at first, but maybe I can use them to my advantage.

The ammonia *sigh* I've tested my tap and filtered tap water and both have a 0.25ppm reading. I think I might take a sample to the lfs to make sure I haven't been determining levels wrong. I would have thought filtered tap water would not have ammonia.

In the event the lfs detects ammonia I know they are going to suggest ammolock or ammoniaclear to put in the filter media. So I would love to know my other options. You mention water conditioner. I use API tap water conditioner 1 drop per gallon to remove chlorine and detoxify heavy metals.

There is another dosage for detoxifying chloramines which is 3 drops per gallon. Should I try this dose?  I am willing to try another water conditioner if you have a better experience eliminating ammonia with it.

Thanks for your help skwishee, much appreciated!
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Skwishee
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Re: Cycled tank advice
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2012, 06:16:45 PM »

Glad to hear it was a prawn Cheesy I just had insane mental images of live shrimp in a net for a second there!

The snails are much smaller than the picture Grin The ones I have range from a few millimetres (babies) up to about 2 cm's or so? I think is the size of my bigger adults.

I've personally started using Prime water conditioner, because it was the one most recommended to me (someone on another forum who has 0.25ppm ammonia in their tap water, suggested I do 1.5x dosage, as they found it helped), I was previously using Stress Coat water conditioner. I've had no issues with it thus far, other than it can skew my ammonia readings when it come's to testing, so I sort of have to trust the product is doing it's job! Cleverly their only way to test ammonia correctly is to use their own brand of test kit Wink

I have no personal experience with API Tap water conditioner, when it says it detoxifys chloramines, does that include chloramines associated with ammonia? Perhaps something to look for on the bottle or their website Smiley I would say by all means give the slightly higher dosage a go and see if it helps, it shouldn't do any harm Smiley
Saves you having to spend money on another water conditioner or other product!

Hope the ammonia clears up soon!
« Last Edit: April 17, 2012, 06:21:32 PM by Skwishee » Logged
splash
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Re: Cycled tank advice
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2012, 09:13:21 PM »

Thanks skwishee. After reading a review online on API conditioner it appears it does not detoxify ammonia in tap water. It suggested using seachem prime. I think I might try and find a more specialized fish store to see if they have the seachem prime. Will I need to do a 90% water change to eliminate the ammonia or will a 50% with the new conditioner be okay?

Thanks for reassuring me about my snail issue. I know if I overfeed or have poor water quality I will have problems. So It will teach me not to overfeed and keep good water quality.

Off to research seachem prime now!

Thanks  Smiley
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Nossie
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Re: Cycled tank advice
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2012, 04:53:29 AM »

If the tank just recently cycled it might still take a little while before the ammonia goes away, the filter bacteria are working on that Wink
I didn't catch the size of your tank?
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cdale
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Re: Cycled tank advice
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2012, 08:33:39 AM »

I use prime too and it seems to be doing its job! Smiley I don't have ammonia in the tap water but I have had ammonia problems.
I ordered mine on-line so you could consider that option if you don't find it in shops? Smiley
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splash
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Re: Cycled tank advice
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2012, 08:53:27 PM »

Hi nossie and cdale,

My tank is around 18.5 gallon (75litre). I spoke to the lfs (a new one) and they suggested API stress coat instead of the tap conditioner. They weren't too concerned with the ammonia level at 0.25ppm given it's in the tap water to. They have the same issue. They showed me their samples, I showed them mine and they said they would almost consider mine negative. They honestly looked at me like I'm a nut job when I told them my ammonia concerns. So... I plan on using the stress coat. The lfs said they could order the sea chem prime for me but stress coat does the same thing.

Having had the tank 5 weeks (I think) now, I've needed to change the charcoal media this week. So I did a 50% water change. Rinsed the bioballs and noodles (whatever they are) in the removed tank water gently and returned them. I changed the cheaper charcoal to bamboo carbon? As suggested by the lfs (they said I could wait till I've had fish for 5 weeks but I figured I'd just do it now) They said I
can change the bamboo carbon 12 weekly now. Do I need to replace the wool? I just rinsed it. I didn't think to ask the lfs.

So they think I'm ready for fish now. I'm nervous! Worried I'll kill another couple of fish. I've done everything right this time and it will put a huge dent in my confidence if it doesn't work out.

Wish me luck, and thanks to everyone for getting me this far! I really appreciate it.

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Nossie
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Re: Cycled tank advice
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2012, 03:30:16 AM »

You don't need to exchange the filter media that often, I exchange mine when it becomes really really soggy and the usual cleaning won't do the trick Wink If you rinse the media in tank water every other week, it should be alright to use for several months at a time Smiley

Your tank is relatively small. If you intend to keep goldfish, don't put any more than one in there, they grow really fast and they need space! They progressively create more waste as they grow as well and in the end, the small tank and weak filtration wouldn't be able to handle it, leading to various problems. One fancy goldfish should be able to live somewhat comfortably there. But I'd strongly suggest keeping smaller fish instead, possibly some tropicals?
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splash
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Re: Cycled tank advice
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2012, 04:27:35 AM »

Thanks nossie.

I am planning on tropical fish now instead of goldfish after getting advice here. The lfs suggested African cichlids but I've researched them and it appears I need a bigger tank than what I have, due to their aggression. I don't understand why even the most experienced lfs keep giving me rubbish advice. I'm starting to get disheartened even before I stock my tank. I now have a high KH, high GH and high ph all ready for cichlids as suggested by the lfs only to now read that my tank is too small. They meet the inch per gallon rule but due to their aggression it appears that rule is not applicable. Not sure what I'll do now  Sad why can't people be honest.
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cdale
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Re: Cycled tank advice
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2012, 05:06:10 AM »

Yeah I suppose sometimes all they're are trying to do is get money?! My local is like that...  Undecided

Good luck though, let us know what you choose Smiley I'm sure you'll be fine, you've got loads of knowledge now Smiley
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Skwishee
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Re: Cycled tank advice
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2012, 09:05:46 AM »

Hi Splash,

A site I have come across, to help with stocking is this one; (Link is not visible to guests. Please register to view.)
If you put in the filtration and tank details, then click 'Display Suitable Species for This Tank', it will give you a list of fish that should be suitable. It's a handy tool as it will tell you if any fish requirements clash, or if they won't get along.

I would still suggest researching any individual species you wish to keep, but it might be a good as a starting point Smiley
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Nossie
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Re: Cycled tank advice
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2012, 03:20:12 PM »

Well, the water hardness and pH can easily be changed with the water Smiley It's no biggie, especially if you had to tweak it to get those results Wink Lots of cute colorful livebearers enjoy harder water Smiley
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splash
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Re: Cycled tank advice
« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2012, 05:29:14 AM »

Thanks skwishee, using that link gave me over 200 choices of fish!!! I quite like the celestial pearl danio and guppies. But I don't like the thought of babies everywhere with guppies! Lots to think about and research.

Yes nossie, I've managed to restore  the ph and GH back to an appropriate level for a tropical community tank.

Cdale, I'm starting to think I have more knowledge than some of the kids at the lfs that are employed  Roll Eyes I will certainly let you all know what I choose.
 
 Smiley
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Nossie
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Re: Cycled tank advice
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2012, 04:46:34 AM »

The Danios would most likely eat the guppy babies, however, I see nothing wrong  with bringing them to pet shops and getting discounts... Wink That my plan with my platies Wink
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Skwishee
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Re: Cycled tank advice
« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2012, 01:08:38 PM »

I remember when my Dad had guppies, they just had their own little population going Cheesy

I quite like some of the Tetra's myself, I never knew they came in so many different colour combinations until now!
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splash
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Re: Cycled tank advice
« Reply #16 on: April 25, 2012, 07:30:45 PM »

Just thought I would update you all about my new additions to the tank finally. I got some guppies yesterday! Lfs tested the water. 0 ammonia 0 nitrite, almost zero nitrate. Ph was 7.2 and water hardness just over 100. Plan in the future is to add danios and tetras. My patience, and all the fantastic advice I received, has paid off. Thanks all!
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Nossie
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Re: Cycled tank advice
« Reply #17 on: April 26, 2012, 03:37:28 AM »

Congratulations! Smiley Are you going to post photos of your tank later? Wink
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Skwishee
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Re: Cycled tank advice
« Reply #18 on: April 26, 2012, 03:54:50 AM »

Awww awesome, I look forward to seeing the photos!

What type of Tetra and Danio's were you thinking of getting?
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splash
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Re: Cycled tank advice
« Reply #19 on: April 26, 2012, 08:14:35 PM »

I've been trying to post photos but I'm having trouble. I've reduced the size and managed to upload a picture as my avatar but it's difficult to see. Hopefully my next attempt at uploading a picture works in the reply section. If not, does anyone have some tips for uploading pictures. Thanks.

« Last Edit: April 26, 2012, 08:22:07 PM by splash » Logged
splash
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Re: Cycled tank advice
« Reply #20 on: April 26, 2012, 08:18:44 PM »

Well it appears I've posted two of the same pics in all my efforts! I'm new to all this.

Feel free to give me any advice on any improvements I can make to the tank. Hopefully you can find the guppies in the picture.

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sajacobs
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Re: Cycled tank advice
« Reply #21 on: April 26, 2012, 08:35:02 PM »

Very nice Grin

Looking good.
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orandagal
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Re: Cycled tank advice
« Reply #22 on: April 26, 2012, 09:22:59 PM »

OH, I really like that! Looks very, very nice. Great job!
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Nossie
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Re: Cycled tank advice
« Reply #23 on: April 27, 2012, 02:28:50 AM »

It looks very nice!! Cheesy

I'd remove the pots and the foamy stuff from the plants though, it'll look a bit nicer and more natural that way, and the plants will also get more space for their roots Smiley
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