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Should I do a water change?

PackardG00SE

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I just set up my first fish tank about 2 weeks ago. I added fish to it 10 days ago. I tested the water. It is low in ammonia, nitrates and nitrites, but relatively high in minerals like copper and iron. I had planned to do my first water change tomorrow, but now I’m not sure if that’s such a good idea. Should I wait a few more days?

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I just set up my first fish tank about 2 weeks ago. I added fish to it 10 days ago. I tested the water. It is low in ammonia, nitrates and nitrites, but relatively high in minerals like copper and iron. I had planned to do my first water change tomorrow, but now I’m not sure if that’s such a good idea. Should I wait a few more days?

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I'm sure the real pros will be along soon, but this isn't a great sequence of events to start a tank. You are basically cycling your tank with fish. It's been done successfully before, but it's not ideal and I doubt the fish are liking it. Can you post numerical test results, tank size, and what is stocked in it right now?
 
Aquarium - 82 gallon tank w/ 33 gallon sump. 3’x2’x2’

Fish - 4.5 inch Blood Parrot, 3 inch Blood Parrot, 1.5 inch Severum, 2.5 inch Angelfish.

I used test strips I purchased this week to test the water. I have bottled test kits that came with my aquarium, but they seem more complicated to use, so I’ll probably just sell them.

The fish seem like they’re doing well. The mucus around the Angelfish’s mouth is gone, and the 2 Blood Parrots are super active. The Severum hides a lot, but I think that’s because he’s the smallest fish in the tank.

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Aquarium - 82 gallon tank w/ 33 gallon sump. 3’x2’x2’

Fish - 4.5 inch Blood Parrot, 3 inch Blood Parrot, 1.5 inch Severum, 2.5 inch Angelfish.

I used test strips I purchased this week to test the water. I have bottled test kits that came with my aquarium, but they seem more complicated to use, so I’ll probably just sell them.

The fish seem like they’re doing well. The mucus around the Angelfish’s mouth is gone, and the 2 Blood Parrots are super active. The Severum hides a lot, but I think that’s because he’s the smallest fish in the tank.

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Ammonia and nitrite levels should be zero or your fish will not last long. Did you add nitrogen metabolizing bacteria like Tetra Safe Start Plus to jump start cycling?
 
Aquarium - 82 gallon tank w/ 33 gallon sump. 3’x2’x2’

Fish - 4.5 inch Blood Parrot, 3 inch Blood Parrot, 1.5 inch Severum, 2.5 inch Angelfish.

I used test strips I purchased this week to test the water. I have bottled test kits that came with my aquarium, but they seem more complicated to use, so I’ll probably just sell them.

The fish seem like they’re doing well. The mucus around the Angelfish’s mouth is gone, and the 2 Blood Parrots are super active. The Severum hides a lot, but I think that’s because he’s the smallest fish in the tank.

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At this stage, your best answers are here IMO. https://www.fishforums.net/threads/rescuing-a-fish-in-cycle-gone-wild-part-i.433769/ Bottom line is it's difficult to speed up a cycle with fish in the tank. As the article suggests, you lessen your risk to you fish by adding an appropriate amount of bottled bacteria, and introducing some cycled media or substrate from an established donor tank. The challenge is cycling a new tank requires ammonia in the water, and some time. Of course ammonia and nitrites in even low amounts is potentially fatal to fish. Your tank is not wildly overstocked IMO. I'm afraid that's the only optimism I have to offer. To your original question, your fish would probably appreciate a water change. Your new cycle progress may be slowed by a water change. I would learn to use your liquid test kit. It is more accurate and you could learn to use it properly in minutes.
 
Ammonia and nitrite levels should be zero or your fish will not last long. Did you add nitrogen metabolizing bacteria like Tetra Safe Start Plus to jump start cycling?
Yes. I did add a bottle of bacteria, and I add a few drops of this other bacteria every day.

My ammonia, nitrites and nitrates did read zero, but I figured that just meant they were low. I didn’t think they could actually be zero.

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At this stage, your best answers are here IMO. https://www.fishforums.net/threads/rescuing-a-fish-in-cycle-gone-wild-part-i.433769/ Bottom line is it's difficult to speed up a cycle with fish in the tank. As the article suggests, you lessen your risk to you fish by adding an appropriate amount of bottled bacteria, and introducing some cycled media or substrate from an established donor tank. The challenge is cycling a new tank requires ammonia in the water, and some time. Of course ammonia and nitrites in even low amounts is potentially fatal to fish. Your tank is not wildly overstocked IMO. I'm afraid that's the only optimism I have to offer. To your original question, your fish would probably appreciate a water change. Your new cycle progress may be slowed by a water change. I would learn to use your liquid test kit. It is more accurate and you could learn to use it properly in minutes.
Ok. Thanks for the advice. Maybe I’ll change one bucket worth of water tomorrow.

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Yes. I did add a bottle of bacteria, and I add a few drops of this other bacteria every day.

My ammonia, nitrites and nitrates did read zero, but I figured that just meant they were low. I didn’t think they could actually be zero.

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Yes zero is the goal for ammonia and nitrite, and stay there. You want the nitrates to be low as well, but after the fish are in the water long enough nitrates will slowly build as their excrement breaks down, which is why most people do regularly scheduled water changes the tank. Changing one bucket of water in an 82G aquarium won't be significant. Test your water everyday. If ammonia and nitrites move higher at all, then you aren't cycled yet and cause for alarm. If you added sufficient bacteria you have done what you can with fish in the tank.
 
Yes zero is the goal for ammonia and nitrite, and stay there. You want the nitrates to be low as well, but after the fish are in the water long enough nitrates will slowly build as their excrement breaks down, which is why most people do regularly scheduled water changes the tank. Changing one bucket of water in an 82G aquarium won't be significant. Test your water everyday. If ammonia and nitrites move higher at all, then you aren't cycled yet and cause for alarm. If you added sufficient bacteria you have done what you can with fish in the tank.
Ok.

-Thank you.

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Yes. I did add a bottle of bacteria, and I add a few drops of this other bacteria every day.

My ammonia, nitrites and nitrates did read zero, but I figured that just meant they were low. I didn’t think they could actually be zero.

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If you've not done a water change since adding fish to an uncycled tank there's no way your readings could be 0. Test strips are not very reliable, liquid kits are much more reliable, definitely have a read of that link, you need lots of big water changes any time ammonia and nitrite go above a certain point. What brand of liquid test strip do you have?

I don't meant to be harsh here but I'm a bit concerned that this is the third thread you've started asking similar questions and similar advice has been given in all of them - you're essentially doing a fish in cycle, so you have to stay right on top of accurate testing and water changes. I'm not an expert by any means but please take the advice of more knowledgeable members on here for best chances of success here.

If you don't want to use the liquid test kit then at least do 50% daily water changes to help get rid of the waste build up and give your fish a chance while the bacteria builds up. A fish in cycle is stressful on them so it's up to us to practise good husbandry to help them through it. I'd chuck those test strips as they don't seem to be giving you accurate readings.

Edit - sorry I have reread this and feel I have been harsh. We are all learning, nobody knows everything there is to know and its a steep learning curve at the beginning. I still recommend reading the thread linked above as it is really comprehensive and helpful.
 
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My rule is if you ask yourself if a water change is needed, it is needed immediately. You never wait.

I had to "cold start" 2 fish in tanks to deal with a damage from tankmates issue yesterday - hospital tanks with mostly uncycled filters. I added a lot of plants , including some roots in terrestrial plants to help, but I will be doing 30% every second day til the tank comes to life. With many tanks here, I have the luxury of being able to cycle filters on established tanks, but this time I had to move too quickly.

So like every cycle I have ever done, it will be fish in, but with 5 1.5 inch fish in each 20 gallon, plants galore, and plant roots. And water changes.

Starting with parrots is a scary idea, as they are tubby fish. Big bodies are big waste producers. You're going to have to be a hard working filter for a bit, with water changes.
 
Yes zero is the goal for ammonia and nitrite, and stay there. You want the nitrates to be low as well, but after the fish are in the water long enough nitrates will slowly build as their excrement breaks down, which is why most people do regularly scheduled water changes the tank.
To add to this, the waste from fish and dieing plants produce ammonia which then converts to nitrites and then the nitrites convert to nitrates. In an established (cycled) tank the ammonia and nitrites will be converted very quickly to nitrates so fast that you don't detect them at all during a test.

Ammonia and Nitrites are not good for the health of the fish and therefore the goal is to have a fully cycled system. Hence the urgency to make sure to keep up with water changes during a fish-in cycle. Which, btw, I do think casues the cycling of the system to take longer, since you're having to get rid of the ammonia/nitrites instead of letting the bacteria that converts to nitrates build up quicker.
 
Just as an FYI and the fact that this is how I choose to do things.

At almost all times I have a bottle of Dr. Tim's One and Only in my fridge. It is good for one year from the bottled date on it. I do this despite having a tonn of cycled tanks I can use to seed a new tank. I do it even though I can cycled filters for 6 -8 tanks in a bio-farm in about 12 days.

Live plants are a big healp in making a tank safe from the nitrogen complex. But not all tanks work well with them and not all fish keeperer want to be tank gardeners as well. I do both planted and non-planted tanks. And I keep that bottle in the fridge. One trick I do use to need less of the bottled bacteri to jump start a tank is that I will use 1/2 the needed amount of bacteria. The I will dose ammonia for a day or two and that will set the bacteria to reproducing and pretty quickly I have enough. But I have been doing this for many year snow.

If you are uncertain about doing t my way, do not have ammonium chloride or whatever reason, Just add the amount of becteria suggested to a tank of your size. If you are using a good brand, you should only need a single addition of the bacteria to do the job if you are following the instructions.

Understand that the people who sell baottled bacteria, whether it is the proper strains of live bacteria or not, want you to use more of their products than are really needed. I have been changing water on over 20 tanks weekly for a long time. Not once in all that time did I add any bacteria nor did I need to. And neither to any of the people reading this. In fact it should never be needed unless a gross error or incolntrollable situation cause the bacteria we already have to die off. This is not so easy to have happen, but it does in rare insttances.

It is also not usually needed to add more bacteria when one adds new fish. This assumes you are adding them to an established cycled tank. The bacteria will increase when ammonia levels increase and vice versa. In an established tank the bacteria can easily double in 24 hours and usually faster. So if obe increase their fish load by 25%, the bacteria will respond in a matter of hours.

Finally, there is a lot of misinformation out there on when one should do a water change to deal with ammonia and especially nitrite. The chemisrty involved means that the same concentration in one tank is safe for a bit while in another tank with different pH and temperature will be killing fish with the same concentration. There is an explanation of this in the articles here on dealing with a fish in cycled gone wild. But the chemistry is also applicable in a cycled tank that develops an issue which creates ammonia and/or nitrite.
 

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