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Lyllie

Cycled tank not cycled after all

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So long story short, we were told our tank water was "Perfect, fully cycled, whatever you're doing, keep doing it. You can put anything you like in there now." And even though I was dubious to say the least, given that our ammonia, nitrites and nitrates were all 0, I had never seen them above 0 and our tank was only 4 weeks old, I didn't listen to my instincts. My fault entirely.

Now I have 3 dead fish, ammonia at .5, nitrites at 0, and nitrates at 5 (checked using an API Master Test Kit). Despite testing every 1-3 days, I have never seen any nitrite so not sure what is going on there. I am doing 25% water changes/gravel cleans every second day, adding neutraliser each time and warming the first bucket before it goes in to avoid any big temperature changes. Our PH is approximately 7.2.

I actually get really upset when they pass away and it really bothers me to think that they are uncomfortable. Is there anything I can do to ease the situation for the remaining fish or should I take them out and sell them until the tank is truly ready (clown loaches, dwarf gourami, cherry barbs and a little feeder fish that accidentally came in a bag and that we've fallen in love with and named Henry (but my husband named "Snack"). I'm a little reluctant to do that for two reasons, firstly I actually really like them. And secondly, given the less than ideal water conditions they may be getting sick and I don't want to pass that on to someone else's tank.

Any advice would be very much appreciated.

P.S We use tank/town water to fill the tank and it has small amounts of ammonia and nitrates (only just detectable).

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Thank you so much Lictoga. The neutraliser we've been using is Continuum Fraction. So far I've only used it when we initially got the tank and just enough to dechlorinate the fresh water each time we do a water change. I haven't used it to neutralise the ammonia in the tank water and bring the ammonia right down because I was worried that would interfere with the cycling process and just extend it.

Would it actually be okay for me to use enough to neutralise the ammonia we have there? Or would it be bad to do that now?

I will definitely cut back the feeding and turn the lights off.

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A tank doesn't ever "cycle" as such. If you add a large fish or large increase in numbers of fish (bioload) the existing filtration will still have to go through a cycle to catch up.

Similarly if you remove fish, the beneficial bacteria will die off accordingly when they run out of food.

While logic dictates that water changing to remove excess ammonia and nitrite is good, the bacteria need these as food source if it is to grow.

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Thank you all so much. I'll dose the tank with the neutraliser and see how that goes. Lictoga, after I do that will it still read the same on the kits or will it read a little lower? Delapool, you're right our tap water reads with a little of both ammonia and nitrates. Aquaholic do you think we should avoid the water changes for a little while?

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It will read the same as the API kit will read ammonia - not different forms so although you have added the dechlorinator to bind the ammonia into a safer form it is still ammonia and will read that way on the test kit.

Also dose every two days with the dechlorinator as the binding will release and then you have to do it again.

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Tech Den, thank you! I thought that was how it worked given what Lictoga said but the bottle itself said to dose and retest so I got a bit confused.

I just googled that Quick Start, we were given something called BacterGen in replacement of this at our LFS as it was said to work better? Honestly, I don't know that it did anything at all. Our readings were 0 across the board until just recently.

Sorry for all the questions by the way. Just trying to understand the whole process.

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ahah' date=' i forgot all about quick start. i use it on the last 3 tanks i set up wit no issues.[/quote']

I thought it had helped on mine (although these products seem to get a bad rep). Rarely do I hear of issues.

My preference is now just for nitrifying bacteria but I have tried the sludge-destroying bacteria and also thought that made a difference. I have a translucent canister filter container so I could see the change in muck on the canister bottom before and after dosing.

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I thought it had helped on mine (although these products seem to get a bad rep). Rarely do I hear of issues.

My preference is now just for nitrifying bacteria but I have tried the sludge-destroying bacteria and also thought that made a difference. I have a translucent canister filter container so I could see the change in muck on the canister bottom before and after dosing.

I've used one of these products on a small tank it's 5 weeks and ammonia is about 4 ppm and nitrite and nitrate are both off the scale, I'm thinking it's not really as quick a start as promised

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I've used one of these products on a small tank it's 5 weeks and ammonia is about 4 ppm and nitrite and nitrate are both off the scale' date=' I'm thinking it's not really as quick a start as promised[/quote']

Yikes! Reckon. That sounds slow.

I tried one of the sludge destroying bacteria-in-a-bottle ones of a brand I never used before. We did get a massive summer heat wave at same time (so probably just me) but I lost several schools to bacterial infection. Same schools had been fine with temps over 30C when we went away for a week (I lost the discussion on keeping air con going for a week just for fish :) ).

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Hi I have read a few of your post lyllie and it seem you do have some water issues

May I suggest that you get yourself a 200ltr drum ,plastic , they are easy to get from a stock feeder .

Fill it with the water and any products (prime) ect and get the require water temp, nitrites ect and when doing a water change

Use it . I have bred discus for many years as well as African and American cichlids and I have found doing this my fresh water

That I put into the tanks is always perfect and I have no dramas

I mark each of my drums to which tank it is suited for and only use that water for that tank

Hope this helps in future

Good luck

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