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Hardstuff 12-07-2012 05:33 AM

How long can a fully cycled fishless 10 gallon tank go without ammonia source?
I have high nitrates from a long run time of fishless cycling, 3 months. It cycled 2 months ago, although I did water changes I lost track of nitrates at a point. I used a lot of r/o water so it was some work for the changes. Now this tank is supposed to be my q.t tank for quarantining fish. I am ready for fish but I have done 3 50% water changes in 24 hours & the Nitrates are still over 80 ppm or higher. The big question is can this tank run more than 24 hours without ammonia source??? It is fully cycled but I am concerned about crashing the system. Input please since I am not sure & do not want ammonia & nitrite spikes for new fish, thanks.

Diana 12-07-2012 05:45 AM

A few days will not be a problem.
A week, and the population will start to drop.
Several weeks and the population will be quite low.

Depends on how many fish you will be quarantining. If you are getting a large order of fish, anything like a full bioload, then keep adding the ammonia, though it is OK to do really big water changes a day or two before the fish come, then not add any more ammonia.

If it is just a few fish, then you could allow quite a bit of the bacteria to die, and there would still be plenty to deal with the waste from just a couple of fish. Again, do as many or as large water changes as needed to get the NO3 way down. Water changes will not affect the bacteria (just remember the dechlor!)

Hardstuff 12-07-2012 06:09 AM

Thanks Diana. I use Prime water conditioner. It yields false amounts of ammonia after dosing. Usually less than there really is. But since I will be bringing in fish soon I will just try & bring the NO3 down. Will a slow drip be ok for fish kept at high Gh & Kh. Should I try to match the Gh , the Kh will be difficult because it will raise my ph sky high. I was shooting for Gh of 10 & kh of 4 since the shop has Gh 20 Kh 21 . A direct match would make very high ph & massive amounts of conditioner for I run soft water planted tanks with CO2. Thanks

Diana 12-07-2012 06:11 AM

If you have a TDS meter, then make that match.

If not, then all you have to go by is GH and KH.
Make those match.

Get close, then drip acclimate.

While the fish are in quarantine do enough water changes to drop the GH and KH to match your main tank, but let that happen over about a month. The fish can handle it that slowly. They cannot handle that big a drop in just an hour or two.

Hardstuff 12-07-2012 06:15 AM

I agree. The one thing I do not understand is the Kh. If I were to match that then my ph will be like 9.0? I run 4 Kh & that is around the limit without co2. That Kh is about 7.0 for me.

HD Blazingwolf 12-07-2012 11:26 AM

Match they kh in the Q tank, and over time drop it down to where u want to be.. say over a month's time

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