Need help

FishForums.net Pet of the Month
🐶 The Poll is Open! 🦎 Click here to Vote! 🐰

Fish2468

New Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2023
Messages
11
Reaction score
1
Location
Nj
What do I do?? 30 gallon tank I had been cycling with no fish for 6 weeks. Added 2 platys last week. Testing my water shows high nitrites. Over the last week I have done (3) 50% water changes, dosed with prime,added api quick start for good bacteria, and changed the hang on back filter Cartage. All have done little to lower my nitrites. The levels are 3.0 on the tetra strips, and 1.0 on the api test strips. The tank is well filtered, and well arrayed. What should I do???
 

Alice B

Fish Addict
Joined
Feb 20, 2022
Messages
963
Reaction score
807
Location
Fort Worth, TX
if you still have old cartridges, put in aquarium with fish, they should have bacteria on them. For future never change both cartridges at same time as large water change. I never change both at one time.
 
OP
OP
F

Fish2468

New Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2023
Messages
11
Reaction score
1
Location
Nj
Thanks for the input. When changing the filter cartridge I usually leave the old one in for a week in addition to the new one I install. Super frustrated. My guess is that I didn’t let the tank cycle long enough from the start.
 

Alice B

Fish Addict
Joined
Feb 20, 2022
Messages
963
Reaction score
807
Location
Fort Worth, TX
Possibly. The only bacteria I buy is FritzZyme 7 or Fritz Turbo but big stores don't carry it and I don't know how fresh on Amazon
 

jaylach

Supporting Member
Pet of the Month!
Joined
May 19, 2022
Messages
1,499
Reaction score
1,692
Location
Somewhere in space... Wyoming for mail.
Something to think about when adding bacteria starters is that the bacteria in the bottle is probably dead as it has nothing on which to feed while in the bottle.

In my humble opinion the only way you can 'quick cycle' a tank is to add filter and substrate media from an established tank. Other than that I think it best to do a long term fish-less cycle.
 

Alice B

Fish Addict
Joined
Feb 20, 2022
Messages
963
Reaction score
807
Location
Fort Worth, TX
I have the advantage of actually living close to Fritz, so I can get fresh product. I still start my tanks by running extra sponge filters in my established tank for a few months, then taking some water and that sponge and putting in my new tank. No real cycle required
 

Playsander

Fish Fanatic
Joined
Oct 12, 2021
Messages
178
Reaction score
163
Location
Essex
I have often donated mature media to help kick start a cycle. It's the only way to speed it up.
 

ricospook

New Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2022
Messages
7
Reaction score
2
Location
66207
Congratulations on the nitrites, that means you have Nitrosomonas bacteria converting the ammonia and soon you will have Nitrobacter bacteria converting the nitrite to nitrate. I’m trying to figure out why you would need to change a filter cartridge in the first place on 30 gallon tank that’s been cycling for 6 weeks with no fish except for 2 Platies added last week. Are you cycling the tank with fish food for your source of ammonia? If it was me I would not change any more water or filter cartridges and feed your fish very little. Your Platies will feed from the surface. Divide their meal into portions they can eat before any sinks to the bottom. For people new to the hobby, I recommend to turning off all their filters and bubblers when feeding, the food will float longer and it’s easier to keep track of the food. Uneaten food accumulating at the bottom over a period of time can cause you trouble. You might lose some fish due to the nitrites but that’s the risk everyone takes when cycling an aquarium with fish. Some people can change all their filter cartridges at once and do a thorough cleaning on a sponge filter, that’s because they have a well-established aquarium with enough of nitrifying bacteria living in the gravel bed. You can cycle an aquarium with no filter, the gravel bed on its own will have enough bacteria to support a certain number of fish, and you would be surprised of the amount you could have. I have done this many times in the past. If fact you don’t even have to agitate the water, the aquarium will automatically hold so much oxygen to support a certain number of fish. But I would recommend to agitate the water because of its added benefits. Have patients, your tank will get there.
 

sharkweek178

Fishaholic
Joined
Aug 3, 2022
Messages
656
Reaction score
605
Location
Pittsburgh
What do I do?? 30 gallon tank I had been cycling with no fish for 6 weeks. Added 2 platys last week. Testing my water shows high nitrites. Over the last week I have done (3) 50% water changes, dosed with prime,added api quick start for good bacteria, and changed the hang on back filter Cartage. All have done little to lower my nitrites. The levels are 3.0 on the tetra strips, and 1.0 on the api test strips. The tank is well filtered, and well arrayed. What should I do???
What kind of cartridge are you changing? If it's carbon, you're better off replacing it with foam. And then you don't have to change the foam. Just rinse it out in used tank water every once in a while.
 

TwoTankAmin

Fish Connoisseur
Joined
Dec 31, 2004
Messages
5,196
Reaction score
1,174
Location
USA- NY
Once again I am suprised by the l the misinformation in this thread.

1. The nitrite oxidizers in Aquariums are not nitrobacteria they are Nitrospira. The former thrive on high nitrite levers and the latter on lower.
2. Neither Fritz nor API contain Nitrospira. The only proc=ducts that do are Dr. Tim's One and Only and tetra Safe Start. The reason is simple, nitrospira are protected by a patent.
3. The bacteria in the bottle, if they are the right ones, are not dead. They are dormant. There is a ton of science on this. The nitrifying bacteria do not form spores, they divide. So they need a strategy for surviving bad times and that is they can go dormant. As soon as ammonia etc, is present, they wake up and go back to work.
4. Using the wrong bacteria to start can aid a cycle a bit. What it does is provide food to the other heterotrophic bacteria that also live in the biofilm with the nitrifyers.
5. The things added like Prime and API bacteria did not help. I do not care what the makers claim for these products., If they worked as advertised, you would not be having the issues you report. Prime actually slows cycling it does not speed it up. Why? Because ammonia as NH3 is what the bacteria need to reproduce and make a tank cycled. Prime turns it into something the bacteria cannot use with the same efficiency. The best dechlor to use during cycling is one which DOES NOT CLAIM TO DETOXIFY AMMONIA. Ammonia as NH3 is what drives the cycle.

For the curious when the research was being done into the exact bacteria in tanks and then to creating a starter bacteria solution, they actually tested the Fritz product at the same time. The result was it did not accelerate the cycle and when the cycle was established, the Nitrobacter from Fritz was basically not there, it had been replaced by Nitrospira.

There is a ton of science out there on all of this. There is also a ton of anecdotal information out there which is not really accurate.

Next,
@Fish2468

First. please read this article here on how to help your fish and fix the problem: Rescuing a Fish-in cycle gone wild Part II

Next, how exactly did you cycled the tank? 6 weeks should be enough to cycle most tanks so they can be fully stocked. And the way you know it is done right is that you add ammonia between 2 and 3 ppm and in 24 hours you have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and (with no live plants in the tank) some level of nitrate.

When I ask how I would want to know your tap water params, what ammonia you used and some of your test results along the way, i would like to see info re water changes if you did them during the cycle and why.

edited to fix the link so it doesn't have a smiley face which makes it not work
 
Last edited:

TwoTankAmin

Fish Connoisseur
Joined
Dec 31, 2004
Messages
5,196
Reaction score
1,174
Location
USA- NY
Here is a factoid that can help one understand the difference between ammonia in a tank and in a wastewater treatment plant. Consider when we cycle a tank we are told to dose 3 ppm (or less) of ammonia. We are also told to insure that ammonia is never over 5 ppm during the cycle. (actually the 5 number is for ammonia as nitrogen. On an API test kit the number would be more like 5.6 ppm.)

Average NH4 concentrations in domestic sewage influent are about 40 mg/L. However, there is a large caveat on this figure. Where water usage is less than average, concentrations can shoot up. For example, previous experience in French villages has shown inlet ammonia concentrations up to 100 mg/L!
from https://butlerms.com/sewage-parameters-5-ammonia-nh4/

For those who do not know this, 1 mgl = 1 ppm.

This is why there are different strains of nitrifying bacteria dominate in our tanks than those which dominate in wastewater treatment plants .

Finally, to understand why so few bacterial starter products for our hobby contain the right strains of bacteria, take a look here
https://www.drtimsaquatics.com/resources/library/patents/

edited to fix one typo
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
F

Fish2468

New Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2023
Messages
11
Reaction score
1
Location
Nj
Wow, lots of technical info to digest. Thanks for all the replys. Based on what a few people said I think I’m going to add tetra Safe Start to help the cycle along.
 

emeraldking

Moderator
Staff member
Global Moderator ⚒️
Joined
Sep 13, 2016
Messages
3,636
Reaction score
5,416
Location
NL
There is a ton of science out there on all of this. There is also a ton of anecdotal information out there which is not really accurate.
Do you know what the problem is with information on the internet? A lot of texts to be found (and I don't mean the scientific papers) on the internet are copied texts from commercial books. Commercial books use a lot of generalizations and shallow texts. And when such texts are copied and put on the internet, you'll notice that a lot of people just copy those texts as being true. And this is one of the reasons why people argue on the internet because they've found different information about a certain issue. So, I definitely understand what you mean. Sadly, not everyone is willing to accept that. Especially those "who think" that they know it all while they're just starters. Fortunately, most starters are willing to listen.
 

TwoTankAmin

Fish Connoisseur
Joined
Dec 31, 2004
Messages
5,196
Reaction score
1,174
Location
USA- NY
I developed a saying that is a varistion of that old one about leading a horse to water. You can lead a fishkeeper to water but you can't make them think.

I was like most newbies and I took what I read on forums etc. as fact. And then one day I asked myself if there might be any science to back up what everybody was saying. And that was when I discovered Google Scholar. And then I also discovered that if i was not arrogant I could actually contact the lead researcher if i had a Q and they mostly would answer.

Over the years I have crresponded with a number of Ph.D.s who actually do the research into related topics. Because i was a Psych major in college I had some training in experimental design. What I lacked was a knowledge of the methodologies used. I cannot tell you the beast way to assess what strains of bacteria are in a sample, but I can read the results and conclusions. However, I could ususally ask a scientist about the validity of the testing and equipment used.

One of the very first papers I read was Dr. Hovanec's Ph.D. thesis which was later published. He set out to prove the bacteria in tanks were the ones that had been assumed to be there for some time. However, his results showed this was not the case. When doing a Ph.D. thesis one works very closely with a professor. When Dr. H. showed his results to his, the professor said, that this was Dr. H's first go at this stuff and he must have made a mistake, Dr. H was told to do it all again, He did and he got the same results. It had been assume by science that aquariums had the same nitryfiers as dod waste water treatment. Dr. H. showed this was not the case.

And then Dr. H went to work For Aquaria Inc, owner of Marineland and a few other names we know, Dr. H wrote two more seminal papers where he identified both the ammonia and nitrite oxidizers. And from there is was a short step to all the patents as he and his co-researchers discovered what the actual strains of bacteria in home aquariums are. And this is why most bacterial starter products do not contain Nirtrospira, they have to use Nitrobacter. And these do not persist in tanks, By the time a tank is cycled it has few or no Nitrobacter cells but it does have lots of Nitrospira.

Starting with these papers my curiousity expanded and I have papers book marked on ammonia and nitrite toxicity, bacterial survival strtageies. I have a folder filled with studies on how aquatic plants feed, on fish acclimation and transport. I think I must have 150 papers bookmarked in various related areas for fish keeping.

One reason I love Planetcatfish, aside from being nuts about B7W hypancistrus plecos, is that they have this sub-forum
Taxonomy & Science News

edited for typos and spelling
 
Last edited:

Most reactions

Top