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Just a quick question. I started a 20 gallon tank on 11/24 and havent seen spikes on any test. I am running a rena xp4 on this tank so could this have anything to do with the massive filtration? I have one zebra danio in the tank. I haven't been able to buy any lights for this tank yet but that doesn't really matter yet.

Stats.
Ammonia- saw negligible amount like 2 days in
Nitrites- 0
Nitrates-0
Ph- 7.6
Temp- 78...little higher than i want.

I only did a small water change just to clear the water right after filling and just today topped it off.

Thanks!
 

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Try getting the LFS to give you some used gravel. That way you "seed" your tank with the two types of bacteria you need. Then with only a single fish in a 20-gallon, your tank will cycle very slowly. I still prefer fishless cyclcling, that hard part is finding pure ammonia - you don;t want any soap in there!
 

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You could just throw a cocktail shrimp in the tank and wait, the cycle will go just as quickly as using live fish and you won't be subjecting live fish to months if not a lifetime of pain from ammonia and nitrite poisoning.

I'm an avid fisher, too, but IMO catching and eating a fish is very different from catching one and intentionally throwing it live into a cesspool.

I used to cycle all my tanks with fish, too. Now that we know how to do it in a safer, more humane way, there's simply no reason not to.
 

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We can take advantage of our aquatic plants taste for ammonia and just avoid cycling entirely. If we heavily plant the tank from the beginning, begin fertilizing right away, and get the plants growing, they will eat any ammonia that shows up long before it can build up to toxic levels. After a week or so you can add a few fish, wait another week and begin stocking the tank a few fish per week. That method has never failed me.
 

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Calibrate your test kit. By my calculations, 1 drop of a 10% ammonia solution (which is what you get from ACE) in 1 gallon of water should yield about 1ppm. Regardless of the reading you get for 1 drop in gallon, I'd suggest taking 1 cup of this solution and mixing it in turn with 1 gallon of water. This should give you .0625 ppm. You should be able to detect this (just barely). You'll need to compare side-by-side with a test containing no ammonia.

Are still detecting ammonia? If so, do water changes, add plants as Hoppy suggests, or use Ammo chips. Also reduce food. Do this until the reading goes back to 0. However, all of these will slow down the cycling process. I hear you can also use Amquel, wish supposedly neutralizes the harmful affects of ammonia while still leaving it available to the nitrogen eating bacteria (I'm not 100% sure of this myself).

One last suggestion is borrow anything (gravel, filter material, ornament) from a well cycled tank and put it in yours (in the filter if possible). Chances are that alone will handle the ammonia waste produced by your one danio.

I've done fishless cycle fairly quickly. Using ammonia and seeding with some mulm, I've cycled a number of tanks (consuming 5ppm of ammonia in less than 24 hours) in 10 to 21 days. If you're just cycling for a lightly stocked tank, you can get away with far less than the 5ppm rule before introducing fish. With 1 Dania in 20 gallons, I'd stop cycling once any indication of ammonia consumption was visible. Start with 2-5ppm of ammonia. Once you see a dip, replace all your water and put the Danio in. [Yes, I know, the nitrite eating bacteria will trail the ammonia eating bacteria, but once the ammonia eating bacteria are established enough to measure their consumption, the nitrite eating bacteria should be far enough alone to handle to waste from one Danio. But, if you want to be sure, add about .25ppm of ammonia and check that there is no ammonia or nitrite 24 hours later.]
 

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We can take advantage of our aquatic plants taste for ammonia and just avoid cycling entirely. If we heavily plant the tank from the beginning, begin fertilizing right away, and get the plants growing, they will eat any ammonia that shows up long before it can build up to toxic levels. After a week or so you can add a few fish, wait another week and begin stocking the tank a few fish per week. That method has never failed me.
AMEN! This is a great method that allows you to have livestock in a tank from the get go without causing any major undue harm. No need to mess around with adding ammonia to your tank.
 
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