Fish-in cycle, almost there (hopefully)?

Chris1212

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20g, 2 male Platy, 1 male swordtail, aquarium has been running for 3 weeks. Finally got the liquid test kit 5 days ago and have been testing daily along with water changes and dosing with Seachem Prime and Stability. Used Tetra safestart 3+ weeks ago a couple days before adding fish.

Today's test results
Ammonia: zero/yellow (if not zero then very very close). Has been consistently .25
Nitrites: zero (has been consistently zero)
Nitrates: 5-10 (also has been this consistently)
pH: 7.8ish
Temp: 77.5-79 depending on room temp

So now that I got to zero ammonia, my next steps are to keep testing daily, water change as necessary if ammonia goes up, and try to get zero ammonia for a week?
 
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Chris1212

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Maybe I spoke too soon. Tested again today. Ammonia still at 0 (or close to it depending on yellow) and nitrites still at 0 (not sure I've ever tested for anything else), but my nitrates in the tank water came out the same as in my tap water (both same shade of orange - 5-10ppm). Hmmm, not sure how to interpret that. I suppose it means my BB aren't producing nitrates yet or at least not enough to be higher than the tap.

Left is tap; right is tank
IMG_20200924_120355.jpg
 

HoldenOn

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Maybe I spoke too soon. Tested again today. Ammonia still at 0 (or close to it depending on yellow) and nitrites still at 0 (not sure I've ever tested for anything else), but my nitrates in the tank water came out the same as in my tap water (both same shade of orange - 5-10ppm). Hmmm, not sure how to interpret that. I suppose it means my BB aren't producing nitrates yet or at least not enough to be higher than the tap.

Left is tap; right is tank
View attachment 117532
Do you have any plants?
 
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Chris1212

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No live plants just fake ones. Don't have it in me to add another dynamic to this (even if they are relatively low maintenance)
 

Ch4rlie

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Hmm, am not sure. Got a feeling you’re still doing a fish in cycle.

I say this because your nitrate reading is the same as the tap and with having no live plants then there’s nothing producing nitrate meaning no nitrfying bacteria.

I can see form the test tube in your picture that this the API test kit you’re using.

Are you taking water samples from at least one to two inches below the water surface.

Water surface can have contaminations that can affect the test results.

So always ensure you have clean test tubes, water sample take BELOW after surface, use the cap provided to shake the test tube and not your thumb or finger over the end, the right amount of drops, shaking the test bottle pretty hard before adding drops.

One of the most common thing to happen is false readings from test kits especially if you’re very new to testing water parameters.

Keep a eye on your water parameters, test every day once or twice a day at around same times, make it a routine for now so you know exactly what’s happening. Helps if you keep a record of this, API provides a book for keeping notes and results on, use that.

One of the things I will recommend, especially for fish in cycles, is the addition of floating plants, silvinia Nathan’s, water lettuce and frogbit, one of those varieties will help greatly in reducing ammonia and nitrates and also the fact they help relive stress in your livestock, easiest thing to care for, floating plants,
Chuck them into water, leave it. Job done! :lol:

Not essential and you don’t HAVE to, up to you

EDIT- missed the fact you’re doing daily water changes, how much water do you change every day?
And do you test the tank water before changing the water?
 
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Chris1212

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Thanks. Just checked out my city water report and it lists Nitrate as 1.3ppm.

Interesting, I had no idea I was supposed to be a few inches into the water for the sample. I've been taking it right from the surface (always funny how quick my three fish start hovering around the tube and my fingers - greedy guys!). I think I've done a good job following the directions for the nitrate test, I know that gets people sometime.

I was doing daily water changes (1/3 to 1/2) and treating daily with prime and stability until I got zero ammonia 3 days ago, then I stopped. I planned to do water changes every 3-4 days while I was at 0 ammonia. I typically test a few hours after the water change and prime/stability doses.

I'll test again tomorrow below the surface of the water but assuming my tests (all done at the surface) are close to accurate and I'm at essentially 0 nitrates, then I'm at 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 0 nitrates.
 

Ch4rlie

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I'll test again tomorrow below the surface of the water but assuming my tests (all done at the surface) are close to accurate and I'm at essentially 0 nitrates, then I'm at 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 0 nitrates.
Its fairly common to have some sort of readings for ammonia or nitrate fro water supply so that not much to worry about, not a that you can anything do about it anyway :lol:

You are actually looking for some nitrates in your test results as this tells us your bb is actually producing nitrate which is the end product after bb has consumed ammonia AND nitrite.

0 nitrate essentially means no or very little bb at all.
 
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Chris1212

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0 nitrate essentially means no or very little bb at all.
Yeah, agreed. I'm surprised though after 3+ weeks of this I don't have any BB, especially since my ammonia is essentially 0 now (was .25-.5 last week) and I use Stability.

Edit: Just did a test with water further down from the surface and got the same results for ammonia and nitrate. Will keep on plugging away with my fish-in cycle. The fish seem happy...for fish.
 
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AdoraBelle Dearheart

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Learn something new every day! :)
I only learned that the other day too, from seeing @Ch4rlie mention it somewhere! I already used a syringe to pull water for a sample just 'cos it's easier to get the water to the white line that way, but began taking the sample from lower down in the tank since then, I used to take samples from the surface too. API should include a syringe and a note about that in the instructions I reckon.
 

Ch4rlie

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What I would suggest is to test the water daily at a set time every day, only change the water if you see ammonia above 0.25ppm or nitrite anytime over 0.5ppm.

Make notes of each test every day and that way you can compile a basic datum to work out where you are in your cycle.

I can not tell at this time if you actually have any bb or not for certain until we have some data over a set amount of days and when you do water changes etc.

The more information we can gather, the better the picture of what’s happening with your tank and filter will be.

Never simple or easy eh! :lol:
 

Ch4rlie

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Oh by the way does your filter agitate the water surface ?

Its important that there is oxygen exchange for your bb.

Do you happen to know what your ph and kH are at?
These can play a part in speeding up or slowing your cycle.
 

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