First test: bad news *Update: good news - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-06-2009, 06:32 PM Thread Starter
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First test: bad news *Update: good news

*Update on Page 3, post #41*

I received my test kit yesterday afternoon. So I run home from the office to try it out and see how well the tank was cycling.

Stock:
5 Tiger Barbs
2 (baby) Plecostomus

Tank:
Standard 10 Gallon tank
15-20 gallon H.O.B. filter
no-name 50W heater
2 X 10W CF lighting
Standard aquarium gravel
Water conditioner is "Start Rite" or something (from wal-mart)
API Leaf Zone plant fertilizer http://www.petsmart.com/product/inde...ductId=2754007
TetraMin flake food
Hikari algae wafers


The history of the tank:
Week 1 - ran filter, heater, and lights. water treated with Start Rite
Week 2 - added 5 Tiger Barbs
Week 3 - added 3 Petsmart "Peacock Ferns" and 1 very small Plecostomus
Week 4 - added Crypt and Java fern (after removing the non-aquatic "Peacock Fern") began fertilizing with Leaf Zone
Week 5 (current) - changed 50% water and added a second very small Plecostomus

The water change was on Tuesday night (2 nights ago). I was expecting much better test results.

The first test I did was pH. It was between 7.8 and 8.0. This was ont he high range after it had "maxed out" the standard range test.

Next, came the Ammonia. It read between 4.0 and 8.0, guessing close to 5 PPM.

Both nitrites and nitrates read nothing at all.


This tells me that i have no bacteria growth, right?

I plan to do another 50% water change tonight. I also have a large bottle of Aquel+ that I had ordered for the 50G that I am still laying the groundwork for. This is supposed to remove ammonia, so would it be safe to treat the already treated water with Aquel+?


Note: the plecos were never intended to stay in this small tank as they were going to be moved to my 50G in less than a month. One may be going to a friend as I would like to get a few Ottos and just keep 1 Plecostomus.

Last edited by DevinWolfe; 08-17-2009 at 05:29 AM. Reason: Update
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post #2 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-06-2009, 06:42 PM
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I'm not guaranteeing that this is the gospel truth or whatever, but I think you are changing too much water out. 50% water changes are pretty drastic, especially on smaller tanks. Your nitrites are at zero, and that's a good thing of course, but the ammonia spikes are either due to a still-cycling tank (in which case doing a 50% water change might take out too much of the good bacteria) or your tap water not being dechlorinated fully.

Amquel should be fine, but instead I would recommend filling your tank with fast-growing stem plants (rotala and wisteria come to mind), because they actually take that ammonia and convert it into nitrates for photosynthesis. I don't think crypts or java fern grow fast enough to accomplish this.
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post #3 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-06-2009, 06:52 PM
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I agree with Church...
do smaller water changes... like 15%-20%. Large water changes will increase the time it takes to cycle the tank.
more fast growers.
You can also try and get a used filter pad from a LFS and seed your filter.


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post #4 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-06-2009, 06:56 PM
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I would use the "Cycle" water conditioner (sorry but I donīt remember if it is HAgen or what brand, maybe Nutrafin). It works great. add it with your water change and add it to your filter. It should boost the bacteria real quick. Also add an ammonia remover to your filter and that will solve your problem.

As mentioned previously 50% wc seems to much. Iīd do a 20% two times a week until tank matures, then depending on the fish load you could live with 25% weekly wc
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post #5 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-06-2009, 07:14 PM
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Your tank is still cycling so the ammonia should still be spiking. The best thing you can do in my opinion is go back to petco/petsmart/lfs and buy as many fast growing plants (or any plants) and dump them in even if your not going to keep them in the tank long term that will get the ammonia down to reasonable levels for your fish to survive.

I'd also put a sponge on the intake of your HOB to help trap and grow bacteria.

Hagean's Cycle is a good product I use it myself but it's not a magic tonic it won't grow beneficial bacteria from scratch for you what it does is activate short lived bacteria in the water column to help reduce the ammonia spike but you have to keep using it everyday or they die but short term it works until your sponge/canister/hob grows enough to do the job.

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post #6 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-06-2009, 07:26 PM
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dont even bother with the "cycle" its a waste of time and money
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post #7 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-06-2009, 07:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jreich View Post
dont even bother with the "cycle" its a waste of time and money
Cycle is ok as long as you know how to use it. Usually when I read a statement like this I tend to think the poster thought it would cure all of his/her cycling issues so they could use the tank on day one.

That's just not the case, what it will do for you is help reduce the tank cycle down to 1.5~2 weeks if used properly. But that also requires a bit of knowledge on water and that usually takes allot of reading on this and Tom Barr's website.

The best thing you can do to fast cycle a tank is plant a ton of plants. Go buy as many plants as you think is "allot" then turn around and buy that much again the next day and your probably close. Put a good sponge filter on your HOB/Canister intake and add a secondary airline with a diffuser. You also need to start fertilizing on day one along with C02 if your going the high-tech method. After all of that I add a cap-full of Cycle to the mix to spur bacteria right away instead of ammonia. While it's not a cure all it does help.

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post #8 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-06-2009, 07:46 PM
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Don't bother with Cycle, don't bother with any water changes. That's my $.02.

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post #9 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-06-2009, 09:43 PM Thread Starter
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So does that mean I should not change any water tonight, or just a smaller amount like the 25% that was mentioned? Bascially, should I Just "leave it alone" for a little while?

I thought anything over 1 PPM could be very dangerous. I had been reading on the page below and it shows that effects can be worse with pH above 7.0. I thought I may have some reason to panic, but no one seems to be too freaked out, so I suppose it is relatively normal?

http://freshaquarium.about.com/cs/di...oniapoison.htm


I actually waited to connect my DIY CO2 until after I tested just so I could monitor my pH fluctuations as before/after. Now that I have my DIY CO2 hooked up, wouldnt an airline degas my CO2?
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post #10 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-06-2009, 10:10 PM
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7 replies, 7 different answers. Bottom line is this- Ammonia is BAD for your fish. Water changes are necessary to lessen the toxicity and damage to your fish. I'm with brad on the plants, not on the 'Cycle'. A heavy load of fast growing plants will eat up ammonia and negate the time needed for a cycle. So as long as there are fish in the tank, first- daily water changes until your ammonia is reduced, second go buy a bunch of fast growing stem plants and use the money you were going to spend on 'Cycle' and buy more plants with it instead. Do it. Now. Your fish are suffering. Go.

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post #11 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-07-2009, 12:24 AM
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Or just use Prime as a declorininator. It detoxifies the ammonia so it won't harm the fish but does not interfer with the nitrogen cycle. You will still read the ammonia on your test kit as it tests total ammonia (unless you spend the money for a free-ammonia and total ammonia test, and you can see what amount of ammonia is the harmful type).

You can also overdose Prime (read the label directions carefully) to detoxify nitrites.

Stuff it full of fast growing stem plants (assuming you have good light for plants) and you can do a silent cycle. Plants can consume ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.
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post #12 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-07-2009, 12:32 AM
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plecos get too big for your 10G anyway. Return them.


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post #13 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-07-2009, 12:46 AM
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I just re-read this and saw it is a 10 gallon. Once those barbs grow a little, you will be overstocked, and the pleco is just adding to that. Since you didn't say which pleco you got, I assume it will grow too large for that tank.

Water change or not (I say not) it's going to be a moot point as this tank ages. You're going to lose fish.

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post #14 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-07-2009, 01:07 AM Thread Starter
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My original post says that the plecos were never intended to stay in this tank, they will be out in a matter of weeks, if I even keep both. The barbs are very small as well. All of these fish are intended for my larger tank when that time comes. I will be keeping Neon Tetras in the 10G at the office after my 50G is running at home. I assure you all, I planned for that part and will not overstock the 10G.

Anyway, on to the plants.

I picked up 2 Anubias Nana, 1 Anubias Hastifolia (large), and 2 small "bunches" of Wisteria. These are in the tank now in addition to the original Crypt and Java Fern.

I do not think I could fit anymore plants in there and still leave the fish room to swim. It is still cloudy from the planting, but I will get a picture when it clears. I was planning to do a 25% water change tomorrow per some of the posts.

Edit: actually, I may just try my Amquel+ to get rid of the ammonia, instead. I will check ammonia levels tomorrow before messing with it.

Last edited by DevinWolfe; 08-07-2009 at 01:15 AM. Reason: Changed my mind.
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post #15 of 43 (permalink) Old 08-07-2009, 03:37 PM
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Well I had never used bacterial colonies supplements ever and my tanks always took an average 2 - 3 weeks to cycle. This last tank I used cycle along with a bunch of amazon swords and "magically" it cycled in one week! So for something that doesnīt work and is a waste of money, Iīm quite happy I wasted the money on it.

BTW is you want a fast solution, you could also add a bag of ammonia remover to your filter. Thatīll take care of the problem quickly. Keep on the water changes but in smaller % also
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