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Ammonia not dropping and still no nitrites

Discussion in 'Cycle your Tank' started by Hilary13, Sep 13, 2019.

  1. Hilary13

    Hilary13 New Member

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    Hi All,

    I have a 10 gallon tank and unfortunately believed the PetSmart employs that using quick start was enough before adding fish. So I'm trying to get fish tank cycle going in 10 gallon with 2 danios and a red tail shark. Yes, I am also now aware that this fish is too big for such a small tank. Again, this was bad advice given to me at the pet store.

    I've since gotten the API test master kit and using Seachem Prime daily. I'm testing for ammonia and nitrites. It's been almost three weeks and my ammonia stays at 1.0ppm and no nitrites what so ever. I am dosing 2ml seachem prime daily. I've tested my tap water, but it didn't show any ammonia. Any ideas on why things are moving along? Is there anything else I can do? The guidance I had read when using Prime was to do a 50 % water change if/when ammonia reaches 2.0 ppm which it never has. Is it worth doing even a 25% water change now to help things along or will I just be starting the process over again?

    The water is cloudy. The shark has also started flashing/rubbing its body on aquarium decor. Should I test for PH too? Thanks for your help with this bad situation. I'm trying to get it back on track!
     
  2. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    Hi and welcome to the forum :)

    Cloudy green water is caused by algae and can be controlled with daily water changes and reducing the light, or adding more live plants to use the excess light.

    Milky cloudy water is caused by uneaten food rotting in the substrate, which causes bacteria to bloom. Reduce the feeding and doing big daily water changes and gravel cleaning the substrate will fix the problem.

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    Filters take around 4-6 weeks to develop. If the tank has been running for about 3 weeks, the ammonia should drop soon and the nitrites will start to go up.

    Do not clean the filter for the first 6-8 weeks otherwise you can wash out the bacteria and cause the cycle to start again. If you tell us what sort of filter you have, we can advise on how to clean it after the tank has cycled.

    If you're doing a fish in cycle, feed the fish 2-3 times a week and do a 75% water change and gravel clean the substrate 4-8 hours after feeding. Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it's added to the tank.

    You should also do a 75% water change any day you have an ammonia or nitrite reading above 0, or a nitrate reading above 20ppm.

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    Any chance of a picture and short 30 second video of the fish rubbing on objects?
    If the pictures are too big for the website, set the camera's resolution to its lowest setting and take some more. The lower resolution will make the images smaller and they should fit on this website. Check the pictures on your pc and find a couple that are clear and show the problem, and post them here. Make sure you turn the camera's resolution back up after you have taken the pics otherwise all your pictures will be small.

    If the video is too big for this website, post it on YouTube and copy & paste the link here. We can view it at YouTube. If you are using a mobile phone to take the video, have the phone horizontal so the video takes up the entire screen. If you have the phone vertical, you get video in the middle and black on either side.
     
  3. Bettapuppy

    Bettapuppy New Member
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    Quick start actually can help. I used it after doing several rounds of medicine in my tank and it worked. If it’s stored improperly though the bacteria can die. That can happen during shipping.
     
  4. Clb

    Clb New Member

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    I have been in your shoes, small tanks are a nightmare to cycle. 1st thing, return the shark. They should take it back. At the very least give it back. Or commit and get a 30 gallon too. Danios are super hardy, they should live through the cycling. But leave it at 2 fish only till it's cycled .. everyone has a different opinion, but if you do this, it will fix the problem much more quickly. First do a large water change. I did 70% down, then refilled, to 50% ,then took it back down again to 30 percent. Pretty much changed most of the water, however, I had used ammonia lock and it was giving me false test results at 8ppm! If that were true, everything would have been dead. You need only 2 or 3 things for adding to your tank, (I had soo many different things) I now use Api stress coat for water changes, ph up or down if needed, and the most important thing, culture plus and culture max from matrixaquatics.com
    If you don't have one, I recommend aqua tech filter pump for up to 20 gallons, it has a bio bag for stones to hold good bacteria, as well as a plastic grid that also holds good bacteria and a charcoal filter replace the rocks in the filter for the rocks in the culture max and rehang your HOB filter. Don't waste the fluid the culture max media comes in! You can reseal the bag with the liquid in it until you get another tank, which you will! Lol! Use a fair amount of said liquid for the rock media, don't rinse the media! Keep it from going dry by being prepared to hang the filter and then pour the liquid from the bag into the filter, leaving enough to keep the rest of the bag wet. The liquid contains strong amounts of good bacteria! Buy a full gallon of the culture plus. You will use it, it fixes everything. New fish, water changes, etc.
    Use double the recommended dosage for a new tank. You cannot overdose this! The owner of this company told me how much to use, he's super helpful if you get to talk to him. From here just do your weekly water change and watch your test results. If your ammonia spikes to.50, do a water change. Each time you do a water change double the dose for a few weeks. I have had few spikes, first it will be ammonia, then nitrites, then nitrates. Don't be afraid to use the culture plus to help things move forward. Many say a tank can be cycled in days with this, it took mine a few weeks, but no more scary spikes happened. Good luck! Oh, btw, if you haven't heard it yet, small tanks are much harder to manage. I bought 2 additional 30 gallon tanks. So much easier to manage.
     
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  5. Deanasue

    Deanasue Moderator
    Staff Member Moderator Global Moderator Tank of the Month Winner!

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    API Stress Coat + works very well to kick start a tank. The only catch is that if you use Seachem Prime as your dechlorinator, you can’t use it for 24 hours as it will destroy the good bacteria. Use another dechlorinator during that time. Then you can go back to Prime. If you know anyone that has an established tank and they will let you have some of their filter media then that will seed your tank and get you going almost immediately with a cycle. I keep extra sponges in all of my filters so I have them when I want to start a new tank or quarantine tank. Just be sure to put the media in a container of tank water while bringing it back to your house. Don’t let it dry out and never wash your filter in tap water. Just drop the used media behind yours in your tank. Good luck!
     
  6. Clb

    Clb New Member

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    Oh yeah, don't overfeed! Once a day , turn off filter for 5 minutes and only feed what they can eat. If they don't get it all sweep it out with a net. After tank is showing fully cycled consistently for a full week of daily testing, go get a small bottom feeder. Research what you want and buy from a reputable aquarium only shop. Some need friends, some need to be solo, or get too big. I have a bumble bee cat in my 10 gallon, but he's a loner and didn't eat any of my other fish. Thay can cuz they have big mouths. Find some healthy fat bellied otocinclus for algae. Gotta be healthy cuz they are all wild caught. Again, research! Loaches are fun too, but not hillstream loaches. They don't like a warm tank and need fast moving water. Tankmates are not easy to find.
     
  7. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fish Crazy
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    Ok, get used to it or skip my posts - they are always ridiculously long. Colin is a saint because I think he actually reads at least part of them. He and I also often disagree - so while he is certainly FAR FAR more experienced then I'll ever live to be I think some people on the forum get a little uptight and anal about what they are doing. I say that as a GOOD thing to be - especially if you're helping somebody. Experts may cut corners on their own stuff but if your an expert and advising somebody you want to give them only the BEST information you have even if it is going to physically kill old disabled ladies like me.

    I'm currently cycling 1 tank with Ammonia and 3 tanks with fish in it. 2 of the 3 with fish had been cycled at one time, then after I added a lot of fish at once both lost their cycle, so it's like cycling all over again and it's far tougher with fish in it. But my issue at the time was that I was purchasing these fish online because I have zero trust in our local fish stores as far as selling healthy fish. I have a 50% survival rate from the so called sweet old local fish stores while I have nearly 100% survival rate from a couple of online stores. The problem? Shipping is expensive, like about $50 whether you're buying one fish or 15. That's why they arrive alive and healthy.

    DeanaSue - I have never heard that Prime kills cycle media if you use it every day. I know part of their instructions for just general use was to put a bunch in day one, then a smaller amount in every other day but it does not say why to do that. I just assumed it was because it worked for 48 hours so you didn't need to add daily. Where did you hear it kills biofilter media? That really concerns me since I use prime a LOT for different things. Right now I'm fighting Ammonia levels of 4ppm to 8pmm and am using prime daily to keep the ammonia down - which it does, especially when I use it with AmGuard (ignore this Hilary since it's not directly related to cycling - I'm only trying to reduce the ammonia down to something less dangerous to the fish and 4-8pmm would likely kill them if I did nothing - if you DO get into a situation like this you will have to use AmGuard or many will say that you'd better do a water change with Prime to get your ammonia down to about 2 ppm or lower while you're cycling).

    I have nearly successfully cycled one tank with A LOT of fish in it - I'm just waiting for it to show 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites 2 days in a row - so far it's only done it one day in a row and then something will pop up the second day 0 it's done that about 3 times. I haven't had to add prime except when I do my weekly water change. But I felt it was close to being cycled enough to put some of it's substrate in my new tank I'm cycling with ammonia and - it's been about 19 days and that tank is likely cycled in record time due to the substrate. I'd be happy to mail you some of my substrate if you would like some from either my old tank (fishes, black clay substrate made by Seachem) or my new ammonia cycled tank with no fishes (yet) and dark brown clay substrate). I assume there is some way to send a private message here somewhere if you don't want your address in public. I could also send you 1/4 of my sponge from my foam filter (I still need most of it). I can send it and hopefully keep it wet.

    I think if you have an ammonia level of 2 ppm then try putting nothing in the tank and check your readings the next day. Continue this until you start to see some nitrites (less than 2 ppm), and once you see that, just leave it alone and let nature take over. Then start measuring nitrates to see if the cycle is being completed. Once you have zero Ammonia and zero Nitrites and have seen at least a little Nitrate activity then consider your tank cycled. Sounds so easy doesn't it?

    But IF Ammonia starts reading like 4 ppm or 8 ppm which it will eventually if the fish poop isn't getting turned into nitrites, then you have an emergency. Personally I would get some AmGuard and Prime and add it to the tank. It should reduce your ammonia back to 2. If your Nitrites get super high you have another emergency - you can try just adding a large dose of prime or do a water change.

    Other people might recommend to you that in these types of emergencies you need to do a massive water change. Personally I don't recommend water changes while you're in the middle of cycling because you're going to mess up your cycle, especially if you are adding prime or other chemicals - plus even if you do a water change you'd be adding prime to get rid of the chlorine.

    The other reason is that as nice as it would be for all of us live completely in fish world many of us can't just drop everything on a particular day and do a water change. The AmGuard will protect your fish. Better living through chemistry.

    If you return the shark seriously consider keeping the shark and buying a 29/30 gallon tank. Any bigger would be lovely but would be a monster to handle. The 29 gallons don't cost much more and allow you to get so many more fish. If you go by the "old" (and messed up) rule of 1" of fish per 1 gallon of water you can quickly see why you aren't going to be happy with a 10 gallon. Plus I hate danios (I have good reason, I'm currently housing a serial killer long-finned zebra danio who has killed 7 fish in his short little life - I've considered execution but I'm hoping to rehabilitate him -he's still not allowed access to any other danios). But if you're keeping the danio (and usually they are exceptionally peaceful fish, mine is a defect) you need about 5 or 6 more. Then you'll probably want some kind of adorable bottom feeder to keep everything clean - I'd recommend a Bristlenose Lemon or albino Pleco. You only need one and they are expensive but adorable - you'd probably have to order it. But any kind of smaller Pleco bottom feeders labeled as "peaceful" are likely to do a great job on Algae. At that point you're done - no more fish in that 10 gallon. Most people get CoryDora's as bottom feeders - they have great personalities, most are inexpensive, easy to find and all are peaceful and many are good at algae eating but mainly it's excess food you want them to eat. Problem is with the Cory's is that you need 3-5 of them since they like their little social groups, just like the Danio's and that might make the tank too crowded although it could be argued that since each fish group lives in a different level of tank that it's OK to be overstocked just a little. So next time you're at the fish store take a peak at their corydora's - they should have quite a number of varieties but from a distance they kind of all look alike. I usually keep 3 Cory's together, then I have my Pleco's and my Dojo Loaches (beautiful little snake like guys) to take care of the rest of algae and leftover food.

    Finally check the PH at some point in your water. You can also look online for your City's annual Water Quality Report and it will give that to you. I fight a serious PH problem where I live because the average PH is around 10. With it ranging from 8.8 to 12.2 - that's a hugely alkaline PH and one that's outside most fish needs. I generally do this without fish in the tank but if you have to change your PH to get it between about 6.8 and 7.8 then you can use PhUP or PHdown. Just a couple of drops, then wait a day and retest. Fish don't handle big PH changes very well. Other will probably like to cut my fingers off for typing that but sometimes it's the only way. There is some chemistry issues behind it though - because depending on how acid or base your water is makes it have more or less free hydrogen ions which will quickly grab onto other things (like the water) and totally upset your PH again! It may take a while but one day you'll test on a whim and find that your PH has dropped a full point. I still think it's worth using the chemicals to at least START with the correct PH -fish can handle small migrations down or up that happen later.

    Best of luck - there are a ton more people here smarter than I am about these problems and some disagree with each other but I've seemed to have every kind of tank problem you can have (NEVER have had a sickness - knock on wood). So I've found them all to be very valuable friends. I'm 58 and on oxygen 24/7 and have been told for the last 15 yrs that I have 5 or less years to live because one bad cold or the flu could easily kill me, my immune system is very poor - so my body doesn't always respond to vaccinations like the flu shot - 3 yrs ago when I did get the flu I was in critical condition for almost 2 weeks and it shot what lung function I had left even though I had the flu shot that year- my body failed to produce antibodies to it so I wasn't immune like I thought. So I'm a homebody for the most part - but if I'm having "issues" then sometimes I have to put off water changes for an extra day or two. But overall I've become really devoted to my fish.
     
  8. Colin_T

    Colin_T Member

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    I am preparing you for Miss World Bodybuilder. Now start lifting buckets of water :)

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    If the ammonia level goes above 4-5ppm, the bacteria that break it down will stop processing ammonia and the cycle will stall. Nitrite is similar and if the level gets too high, the bacteria stop processing it and the cycle stalls.
    The cycling process can also stall if the pH drops too much.

    If the cycling process has stalled, do a 90% water change to drop the levels and get the pH back to wherever it is and it should get going again.

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    If you are having problems with the cycling process, you can add liquid bacterial supplements to inoculate the tank and filter with beneficial filter bacteria. You buy them from any pet shop or online.

    I recommend doing a double dose every day for a week and then either pouring the rest of the bottle into the tank or keep the remainder in the fridge and use it on another tank. Try to add the bacteria to the tank near the filter or filter intake so it gets drawn into the filter.

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