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Starting A New Tank

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Offline Baz

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Starting A New Tank
« on: February 27, 2017, 12:08:25 AM »
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Hi,

I have just initiated a fishless cycle for my tank (3 days up). The tank size when empty is L82cm x W34cm x H55cm which is approximately 144lts! With substrate and some Bogwood and a few rocks I estimate the water volume at around 120lts! I have also planted the tank with new "yet to grow fully" plants. I wish to have a mix of fish species (not all at the same time) which are listed below along with water details. Your input to my "wish list" as to its "viability or not" would be greatly appreciated as I want to get this as correct as possible.

5 x Cherry Barbs
10 x Bloodfin Tetras
10 x Cardinal Tetras
5 x Panda Corys
10 x Rosy Tetras

Water
Tap water through a Nitrate filter and "cut" 50/50 with RO water.
KH = 6
GH = 8
Ph = 7.6+

Offline MarquisMirage

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2017, 09:36:11 AM »
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Looks like you've done your research, Baz.  All these fish would go together within the water conditions you've created.  As you say not all at the same time (though even that would be possible if you're willing to do around 25% water changes each day).  I guess you're going with one group of barbs and a group of tetras with the corys at one time.  If you are you may as well increase the barbs and corys by 1 each for happier fish.

Offline Baz

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2017, 10:05:18 AM »
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marquisemirage,

Thanks for your reply and comments. I was thinking of starting with the Cherry Barbs and the Bloodfin Tetras as these are, I think, the "hardiest" of the group, then add the others over a period of time with the Panda Corys probably being the last? As I said, this is my "wish list" but, I may reduce the species to 4 or even 3 and have more of each? I have plenty of time to consider this whilst my tank is "cycling".

Offline Sue

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2017, 12:05:39 PM »
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I agree with marquismirage, if you have all the fish in the tank the community creator puts that at 112% stocked. And I prefer to stock a bit less than the CC says you can have, maybe 90% at the most.

The cories would do better with more than 5, so I would drop one of the species and get more cories. The bloodfin tetras take up more stocking allowance than the other species so if this was my tank, that would be the species I would drop.

If you are doing a fishless cycle using ammonia as per the method on here, you can add everything except the cories as soon as the cycle has finished. I would wait a few weeks before getting cories though as they tend to be more delicate.
And just to check - you do have sand or smooth gravel on the bottom of the tank? Rough gravel can cut cories barbels and allow infections in if the gravel is not kept nice and clean.




Did you know there is a yellow colour morph of cherry barb? The males are orange and the females yellow. The only place I've ever seen them is Maidenhead Aquatics though.

Offline Baz

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2017, 12:46:09 PM »
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Sue,

Thank you for your reply, and in response, when I use the Community Creator and enter the details of tank and filter (Fluval 306) which I believe is over sized for the tank volume, and species/quantity it indicates that it will be 60% stocked (135cm), am I doing something wrong? Regarding the gravel, it is "Aqua Substrate" black in colour, from Maidenhead Aquatics, its very small 1 - 2mm rounded gravel.

Offline Sue

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2017, 01:22:57 PM »
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Ah, I used internal filter, which explains it. And even with a standard external and increasing the cories to 10 it still comes to only 80%.

Personally, I prefer tanks with fewer species that in your list.

Stocking a tank is a personal thing; we tend to fall into one of two groups - minimum numbers of lots of species or fewer species but lots of each. I used to be in the first group but I'm now in the second. When I restocked my tank 8 months ago after the occupants were wiped out, I had just 2 shoals in 180 litres (15 hengels rasboras and 18 rice fish) plus 2 smaller non-shoaling groups. Ignore the cories, boraras and shrimps in my signature, they weren't supposed to be in this tank. I had to close the tank they were in and they had to go somewhere.

Offline Baz

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2017, 01:40:52 PM »
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Sue,

A small mistake but not to worry. As I said in "post 3", whilst my tank is "cycling" I will be considering which species I will eventually settle upon and purchase, which is something I am looking forward to. Overall I just wanted to be sure that my "stocking proposal" was viable and not seriously detrimental to the fish.

Offline Sue

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2017, 03:29:13 PM »
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@Baz have you been round all your local shops yet? If not, you may well see fish you like the looks of as well as the ones on your wish list. But don't mention the fishless cycle as most shops don't believe in them.

Offline Baz

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2017, 03:40:09 PM »
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Sue,

I live in Oxfordshire with a choice of 3 Maidenhead Aquatics and one independent all within a 20 - 30min drive from my home. There are also the P@H stores which I would not particularly buy from but will peruse their stock. So, in answer to your question yes I have been round and looked, and in some ways it makes the choice harder given the variety of species.

Offline Sue

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2017, 03:44:36 PM »
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This is something we all go through, trying to choose the fish we want  :)

Even Littlefish with her severe multi-tank syndrome (we've lost count of just how many tanks she has) has problems narrowing down the choice for her next tank  ;D

Offline Baz

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2017, 03:57:04 PM »
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Sue,

All part of the fun and expectation.

Offline MarquisMirage

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2017, 05:47:30 PM »
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I don't think the stocking calculator on this website is the best one.  Below I'll demonstrate using the maximum size your fish would reach.

5 x Cherry Barbs = 5 x 5 cm = 25 cm
10 x Bloodfin Tetras = 10 x 5.5 cm = 55 cm
10 x Cardinal Tetras = 10 x 3.5 cm = 35 cm
5 x Panda Corys = 5 x 5 cm - 25 cm
10 x Rosy Tetras = 10 x 4 cm =40cm

Total cm = 180

120 l/180 cm = 0.66 l per cm of fish

That's the equivalent of giving each cm of fish two cans of coke to swim around in.  That's not very much.  However, you could argue that the living space of the fish is fluid (sorry, bad pun) and they have the whole length and breadth of the tank to swim in.  So what it really boils down to is that each cm of fish has 660 cl of water to poop in and poop means ammonia and nitrites and nitrates and all the not good for fish things.   That's why I recommended lots of water changes if you wanted to keep all of those fish at once.

I find a better stocking calculator is aqadvisor.com as it takes more factors into account (i.e. how dirty a particular fish is).  Using this calculator your aquarium would be at 135% stocked.

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2017, 06:12:03 PM »
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This is something we all go through, trying to choose the fish we want  :)

Even Littlefish with her severe multi-tank syndrome (we've lost count of just how many tanks she has) has problems narrowing down the choice for her next tank  ;D

So true.  ;D


Offline Andy The Minion

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2017, 08:12:15 PM »
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Ay Carumba!

AqAdvisor has an aggressive stocking policy.
I just ran it for my 500litre tank with a sump stocked with a potential 230cm full grown length and it says I am at 120% and I need to increase my filter capacity, that was with the tanks 140 litres of biological media in the custom filter section.
Seems a little conservative even if I only allow for a conventional internal filter and 1cm/litre.
There are a lot of warnings for a for a tank with every fin and scale in perfect condition - but I would argue about there being warnings given they are Cichlids.
It got the temperature, pH and hardness spot on though.

Offline MarquisMirage

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2017, 10:50:49 PM »
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@Andy the minion  I don' know much about larger cichlids as their reputation for aggression keeps me away.  Are they messy feeders?  That kind of thing is taken into account too.  Your filter is fine the info was just entered incorrectly.  You have 140 litres of bio media but you should have entered how much water that bio media can filter in an hour which is going to be way more than the 35 g you entered.

To compare the stock calculators head to head on my 90 l aquarium (say 75 l after aquascape materials).  Thinkfish says I can keep 10 peacock gobies and 20 threadfin rainbows (proxy for the forktail blue eyes as they have the same size) and be at 88% stock.  Aqadvisor says with 6 peacock gobies and 9 forktail blue eyes I'm at 90% stock.

Looking at just the 6 peacock gobies in the tank currently and imagining 9 fully grown forktails I think the aquarium will be busy enough.

Offline Andy The Minion

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2017, 11:27:24 PM »
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@marquismirage I did briefly consider flowrate, but it asked for US gallons so I entered a volume. I reasoned that the amount of media is the more important factor for a filters capacity than the flow (that's important as well but not strictly for bio load reasons)
I fully agree on the bio load of the fish being important in system sizing, in fact that is why I went with a sump.

Anyhoo, the tank is clean and running like it is at 50% rather than 120% so I'm happy either way :)

Offline Baz

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2017, 11:11:23 AM »
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Hi,

Thank you all for your input. I am a little bewildered by the differences in the "stocking calculators" but think I get it! Would any three or all of the below be a better choice?

5 x Cherry Barbs = 5 x 5 cm = 25 cm
10 x Cardinal Tetras = 10 x 3.5 cm = 35 cm
6 x Panda Corys = 6 x 5 cm = 30 cm
8 x Rosy Tetras = 8 x 4 cm = 32cm

Offline Sue

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2017, 11:28:13 AM »
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I think you could have all those, with a few more of eveything except the cardinals as you already list 10 of those. The smaller cories do like to be in a shoal bigger than 6.

10 cardinals and 10 cories, with 8 cherry barbs and 8 rosy tetras would be easily do-able in my opinion. That would only be pusing it to the limit if you had a standard internal filter, an external allows for the higher numbers.



Offline MarquisMirage

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #18 on: March 01, 2017, 03:40:08 PM »
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I am a little bewildered by the differences in the "stocking calculators" but think I get it!

Stocking calculators can be quite confusing as demonstrated here.  They are just tools at the end of the day and it boils down to what the individual fish keeper is comfortable with and has experience with in an aquarium.  If you try something different and it works for you then that's great!  Conventional reading/opinion may say something different and can lead to some hobbyists remaining quiet.   I find that here at Think Fish everyone is open minded and ready to discuss different angles without being judgemental as well as generally being nice.  :D

Offline Baz

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #19 on: March 01, 2017, 03:57:13 PM »
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Hi,

Okay, I think I will stay with my four choices and decide, using Sue's advice, on the quantities and which species to have, either all four or maybe only three? This I can do at "my leisure" whilst my tank is cycling, which seems to be taking a long time to start, almost five days now and no apparent change in the ammonia level of 3 - 4ppm?

Thanks once again for all the input :)

Offline Sue

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #20 on: March 01, 2017, 03:59:52 PM »
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When I did a fishless cycle last year it took 4 weeks to see a srop in ammonia  :-\

Offline Baz

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #21 on: March 14, 2017, 09:24:52 AM »
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Hi,

I am now in to the third week of a fishless cycle. My readings from the tank are as follows: -

GH = 9
KH = 7
Ph = 6.5 (approx.) Bog wood & Mopani in tank
Ammonia = 0 (after 6 - 8hrs)
Nitrite = 5+
Nitrate = 80+

I am adding 2 - 3ml of ammonia each day which is rapidly being dealt with in about 6 - 8hrs. My questions are, should I keep feeding the ammonia, should I do any water changes to lower the nitrite and nitrates, or is everything going as it should?



Offline Paddyc

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #22 on: March 14, 2017, 12:37:50 PM »
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Unfortunately your cycle is still not complete until both ammonia and nitrIte both drop to zero within 24 hours of adding a full dose of ammonia.

But on the upside the cycle seems to be moving along nicely, ammonia eaters always develop quicker than the nitrite eaters due to the nitrogen cycle process.

Not long now! Nearly fishy time!  8)

Offline Baz

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #23 on: March 14, 2017, 01:34:15 PM »
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Thanks Paddyc,

I realised the cycle was not complete, but my concern was / is, that the cycle had "stalled" possibly due to the "lower" Ph and obviously high nitrite and if I should make a water change and or stop adding ammonia?

Offline Sue

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #24 on: March 14, 2017, 02:14:49 PM »
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Stop adding ammonia. Adding it daily will push the nitrite up so high it'll inhibit the nitrite eaters and stall the cycle.

If you read the method written up on here, you only add ammonia sparingly until nitrite drops below 1.0. You are at the stage where you test every 2 days and if you get zero ammonia after the first second-day test, then zero again 2 days later, add enough ammonia to give 1ppm. You carry on like this, testing every 2 days and only adding 1 ppm ammonia every 4th day until nitrite drops below 1.0 ppm.

If you've been adding ammonia every day your nitrite could be sky high. 15 ppm is where it inhibits the nitrite eaters.
I would do a dilution test. It won't be terribly accurate because that needs pure water and very accurate measuring equipment, but it will give you an indication. Mix 1 part tank water with 9 parts tap water ( a 1 in 10 dilution) and test that for nitrite. If the reading is below 5, multiply it by 10 to see what your nitrite level really is. If it works out at over 15 ppm, do a big water change to get the tank nitrite down to somewhere on the scale, add 3 ppm ammonia and go from there, adding just 1 ppm ammonia every 4th day till the nitrite reading drops. If the dilution test is  also off the sclae (ie over 5) that means your tank nitrite is over 50 ppm!
If by any chance the dilution test gives a reading at 1 or below (ie undiluted 10 or below) you won't need to do a water change, but still add 1 ppm ammonia every 4th day until the nitrite reading from the tank is below 1.0.



I also notice that your pH is low. This will also slow down the rate at which the bacteria multiply - they like it in the high 7s. How do you feel about removing the wood until the cycle has finished?

Offline Baz

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #25 on: March 14, 2017, 02:35:40 PM »
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Sue,

Thanks for your reply. I will attempt to carry out your "dilution" instructions regarding the Nitrite test. When you say "If the reading is below 5" do you mean below 5 on the "API colour chart"?
I have no issue in removing the wood from the tank to complete the cycle.

Offline Sue

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #26 on: March 14, 2017, 02:45:14 PM »
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Yes, if the 1 in 10 diluted water gives a reading below 5 on the scale, you can mulitply it by 10 to see what undiluted tank water would be if the scale went high enough. If the diluted water is still over 5, you'll know that undiluted tank water is over 50 ppm and you'll need to do a big water change to reduce that amount down to something sensible - that is, well below 15 ppm.

Basically, if the diluted tank water shows more than 1.5, the undiluted tank nitrite is over 15 - above stall point. You need to do a water change to get undiluted tank water way under 15, preferably under 5.
If after a water change undiluted tank nitrite is still above 5, do another water change until it is somewhere on the scale. Then add 3 ppm ammonia and go from there,testing every 2 days and adding 1 ppm ammonia every 4th day till you get under 1 ppm nitrite

Offline Baz

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #27 on: March 14, 2017, 03:08:32 PM »
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Sue,

Once again thanks for your help, I'll give it a go and hope everything turns out okay.

Offline Paddyc

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #28 on: March 14, 2017, 08:37:31 PM »
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I encountered a stalled nitrite cycle when cycling my spare tank, a big water change (over 50%) sorted it out and the nitrite readings dropped in the following week. Best of luck  ;)

Offline Baz

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #29 on: March 14, 2017, 11:09:11 PM »
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Sue,

I have just finished carrying out your instructions. I determined that the nitrite levels were over 1.5 albeit subjective as you say, but, erred on the side of caution and did a water change of 80 litres and removed the "wood". Testing the tank water about 1 hour after the water change the readings are as follows: -

Ph = 7.4 approx. (more blue than green)
Nitrite = 0.25 - 0.5 (very light purple)

I then added 3ml of ammonia which gave a reading of 3+ppm.
I will now test again in two days (Thursday eve). If the ammonia is zero and the nitrite test indicates more than 1ppm on Thursday I add the 1ppm of ammonia, yes? If it is lower than 1ppm I add 3ppm and test 24 hrs later. If after 24hrs either the ammonia or nitrite is above 1ppm do I still add 1ppm of ammonia or not?

Again, thank you for your help.



Offline Sue

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #30 on: March 15, 2017, 11:34:47 AM »
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Not quite  :)

Test on Thursday then again on Saturday. If on both those days, ammonia is zero and nitrite above 1.0, add a 1 ppm dose on Saturday. Then test again on Monday and Wednesday, and if nitrite is still over 1 ppm, add another 1 ppm dose ammonia on Wednesday.
However, if on any day you have zero ammonia and nitrite below 1.0 add 3 ppm ammonia and test next day. Then go from #12 in the method on here.

Until nitrite drops below 1.0, only add ammonia every 4th day. Once it drops below that number, you can move on even if it's only 2 days since the last addition of 1 ppm ammonia.

Offline Baz

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #31 on: March 15, 2017, 11:41:10 AM »
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Sue,

Thank you, I will follow your instructions and report back as to the progress.

Offline Baz

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #32 on: March 15, 2017, 12:50:47 PM »
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Sue,

I have just done a "curiosity check" and found the ammonia level at zero and the nitrite level at zero? Should I still wait until tomorrow to test and add ammonia as required?

Offline Sue

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #33 on: March 15, 2017, 02:29:40 PM »
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So you have zero ammonia and zero nitrite in more or less 12 hours after adding 3 ppm ammonia?

I think I'd test again tomorrow just to be on the safe side, and if they are both zero again, add another 3 ppm dose of ammonia. If they are both zero again after 24 hours, the tank is cycled.


It could be that you had enough nitrite eaters to remove the nitrite made from 3 ppm ammonia, but because you'd added a lot of ammonia while the bacteria grew, there was a back-log of nitrite and they were still working their way through it all and hadn't yet got it down. Then you removed a lot of nitrite with a water change and added just 3 ppm ammonia and there are enough nitrite eaters to deal with just the nitrite made from that ammonia.


The fact that your nitrate a few posts ago was over 80 meant that you had a fair number of nitrite eaters making nitrate; it was just a question of how many nitrite eaters and whether nitrite had got high enough to stop them multiplying more.

Offline Baz

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #34 on: March 15, 2017, 02:42:00 PM »
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Sue,

Okay, I shall not do anything, other than testing. If tomorrow both the readings are zero I will add 3ppm of ammonia and test again 24hrs later.
If the tank proves to be "cycled" can I continue with a "maintenance dose 1ppm" of ammonia until I get chance to do a complete water change and go to the LFS to purchase some fish?

Offline Sue

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #35 on: March 15, 2017, 02:59:06 PM »
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Once the tank is confirmed cycled, a 1 ppm dose every 2nd or 3rd day will keep the bacteria fed. Then do a big water change to get rid of all the nitrate that cycling has made either just before you go fish shopping, or the day before.

Offline Baz

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #36 on: March 15, 2017, 03:06:40 PM »
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Sue,

Okay, thanks for the confirmation of my previous post. I will post the outcome of the tests / results.

Looking forward to getting some fish in the tank ;D

Offline Paddyc

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #37 on: March 15, 2017, 09:54:15 PM »
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Hoping for double zeros tomorrow!  :cheers:

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #38 on: March 16, 2017, 07:56:04 AM »
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This is getting very exciting.
Fingers crossed for double zeros and a visit to the fish store.  ;D

Offline Baz

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #39 on: March 16, 2017, 10:20:48 AM »
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Checks this morning were Ammonia zero and Nitrite zero. Added 3ml of ammonia and will check again tomorrow morning :D

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #40 on: March 16, 2017, 12:14:33 PM »
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 :cheers:

Offline MarquisMirage

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #41 on: March 16, 2017, 08:07:26 PM »
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Sounds like you've cracked it. :)  Fish time!

Offline Baz

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #42 on: March 17, 2017, 09:38:14 AM »
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Checked the ammonia and Nitrite levels this morning and both indicated zero, so it appears that the tank is cycled. Unfortunately I will not be able to do a complete water change until Monday due to my work schedule. So, I have added another 3ml of ammonia this morning to keep things moving, and will do so until Sunday, which will be the last addition before doing the water change on Monday ready for some "occupants" on Tuesday. Please let me know if I have got this part correct or am I "getting ahead" of myself?

Offline Sue

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #43 on: March 17, 2017, 02:25:18 PM »
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The cycle is indeed finished; youobviously had enough nitrite eaters when you started this thread, but we couldn't know for certain. It's just that there was so much nitrite made that the bacteria were still eating their way through it all  ;D

You only need to add 1 ppm ammonia every 2 or 3 days at this stage, but adding 3 ppm will just mean more nitrate and is nothing to worry about.
Before you get fish you need to empty as much water as possible to get rid of all the nitrate made during cycling. Ideally, you should get it down to just about the same level as is in your tap water.



So, what are your fish plans?

Offline Baz

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #44 on: March 17, 2017, 06:04:52 PM »
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I shall be doing practically a 100% water change, right down to the gravel. Normally my nitrate level is zero or just above as I have a Nitrate filter plumbed in under the sink. I think I will stay with the choices made earlier in this subject, but initially I think I will get 5 Cherry Barbs and 5 Rosey Tetra's to start things off and add to them over time.

Offline Baz

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #45 on: March 20, 2017, 12:29:33 PM »
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Just in the process of re-filling the tank in readiness for fish purchase tomorrow. Is it okay to leave the water as is or, should I add another 1ml of ammonia?

Offline Sue

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #46 on: March 20, 2017, 12:34:50 PM »
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If you are going fish shopping tomorrow, don't add any ammonia. The bacteria won't starve overnight. In fact they won't starve for a few weeks.

Offline Baz

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #47 on: March 20, 2017, 12:58:11 PM »
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Sue,

Thank you for your quick response and advice. Yes, tomorrow is "shopping day" with the wife. As I said previously I will start with 5 Cherry Barbs and 5 Rosy Tetras and build on them in the coming weeks / months.

Once again many thanks for your help.

Offline Baz

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #48 on: March 22, 2017, 10:25:46 AM »
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Hi all,

Went to the lfs (MA) yesterday and purchased my first groups of fish. A slight change from my original choice, so I got 5 Harlequin Rasbora (instead of 5 Cherry Barbs) and 5 Rosy Tetras. The Tetras were a little "subdued" after transferring them in to the tank, but the Rasbora appeared to be quite lively at readily "at home". This morning though, they all seem to be quite happy and moving around together in their little groups. As yet I have not given them any food, should I feed them a small amount this afternoon?

Offline Matt

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Re: Starting A New Tank
« Reply #49 on: March 22, 2017, 10:28:21 AM »
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Yes I would feed them at what will be your normal feeding time today.  Depending on what type of food they were fed at the shop, you may find they take a while to get used to your food.

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