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The Cycle continues..or stalls, not sure

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Ok, I'm new here, and I've been reading other cycling threads to try to figure out my problem..but I need some specific advice.

I've got a 75gal tank with 2 small goldfish, maybe 2 inches a piece.

I've got a Magnum 350 canister filter, and a Penguin 350 bio-wheel.

I didn't cycle before I put the fish in here (I know I know, rookie mistake)

Goldies have been in the tank for 5 weeks as of tomorrow. The tank also has enough gravel to cover the bottom, and a hand full of plastic plants. We also have a bubble wand that extends the entire length of the back of the tank. Temp stays around 72F.

The ammonia has gone WAY up, but now it's down around 1ppm. We test every day, and have been doing water changes either every day, or every other. Sometimes very large ones, and sometimes only 20-30 percent ones.

Our tap ammonia is .25ppm. We condition with Prime. We've been doubling up doses to detox the ammonia levels every 24 to 48 hours.

I know the levels are high, but the fish seem fine. They are never listless, they are always active and interested when you approach the tank. They eat, want to eat, beg to eat...we only feed them a few pellets once a day...this makes them sad.

I'm hoping I've given you enough info on the tank...

The problem is, it's been 5 weeks and we aren't seeing any nitrites or nitrates, and the ammonia doesn't seem to go down. Also, our pH is low...I'm thinking this is bad.

We test the ammonia with the API drops kit. I had a 5 in one strip test for pH, nitrites, nitrates..I only used it when it had been a day or two since a water change. I've never seen a positive reading for nitrites or nitrates. I am on my way to the pet store to get a better nitrite/nitrate test. When I return I will do the daily water change.

I'm hoping some of you nice people around here can give me some advice and point me in the right direction to get my tank cycled, you know, before the world ends.

Thanks so much!

J

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OK....

First what is the PH and Kh in the tank and the tap...

Also what are you using in the filters? I need to know the break down of each one :)

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I only have some of these answers right now :-)

The test kit I had (which is now gone) was crappy, but the pH read below 6 in the tank. Is Kh hardness or alkalinity?

I haven't tested those things in the tap, just the ammonia.

I plan to retest all the parameters with a new kit.

In the Magnum there is ammonia neutralizing blend carbon, and in the Penguin there is the standard carbon pads that came with it.

Is there a specific kit I should get for testing...the pet store is in my immediate future.

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Do you have any ceramic media or bioballs in either of your filters?

How long has the carbon been in there? That should probably be removed . . . (Koko?)

Also please retest the tank pH. 6 is waaaay too low. I hope your test strips were off . . . Tap pH is going to be important as well.

Edited by fantailfan1

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Do you have any ceramic media or bioballs in either of your filters?

How long has the carbon been in there? That should probably be removed . . . (Koko?)

We don't have any ceramic media or anything in either filter.

Is that something we should definitely have? They fit in the filter? We have limited fish keeping experience...we've only ever had tropicals a long time ago..and they all did fine.

The ammonia neutralizing carbon has been in there perhaps 3-ish weeks...

If we removed it, replace it with what? Regular activated carbon?

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I only have some of these answers right now :-)

The test kit I had (which is now gone) was crappy, but the pH read below 6 in the tank. Is Kh hardness or alkalinity?

I haven't tested those things in the tap, just the ammonia.

I plan to retest all the parameters with a new kit.

In the Magnum there is ammonia neutralizing blend carbon, and in the Penguin there is the standard carbon pads that came with it.

Is there a specific kit I should get for testing...the pet store is in my immediate future.

OK get an API master test kit... This will test PH and KH... Hardness is the GH dont really need to test that at all....

Magnum all we need in that filter is the blue filter pad in it... :)

The HOB, I want you to cut a slit in the filter pad and get the Carbon out of it.... When you can you will be able to save money on this filter by making your own filter media and not have to by the ones that company makes.....

http://www.kokosgoldfish.invisionzone.com/forum/index.php?/page/index.html/_/aquatic-equipment/simple-media-setup-for-hob-filters-r248

Read up on that when you can hun :thumb:

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You need some sort of ceramic media or bioballs as that is where the BBs live. I am not familiar with either of your filters but I'm sure someone with more knowledge can help you. Sorry.

I never use carbon in my filters. The reason is that with goldies we do such large frequent water changes that any thing that the carbon is intended to remove is removed during the water changes. Even if I treat the tank with medication I remove the meds with large back to back water changes.

Edit: Koko, so she's OK without any ceramic type media? :idont Do the BBs reside in the blue filter pad then? Sorry to ask questions in your thread JRP! :)

Edited by fantailfan1

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Ok,

We'll pull the carbon out of the canister.

And set to work on the HOB craft project. It seems easy enough.

That's really helpful, thanks so much.

I'll be back later with hopefully better pH readings on the tank as well as the tap.

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Sounds like a stalled cycle. Your PH is really low. I presume you have really soft tap water with a low PH?

Problem is that the bacteria in filters uses carbonates (KH) in the water and grow a reproduce slowly without it, so this is probably what is causing your lack of cycle. Once you have KH readings etc you will have a better idea.

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You need some sort of ceramic media or bioballs as that is where the BBs live. I am not familiar with either of your filters but I'm sure someone with more knowledge can help you. Sorry.

I never use carbon in my filters. The reason is that with goldies we do such large frequent water changes that any thing that the carbon is intended to remove is removed during the water changes. Even if I treat the tank with medication I remove the meds with large back to back water changes.

Edit: Koko, so she's OK without any ceramic type media? :idont Do the BBs reside in the blue filter pad then? Sorry to ask questions in your thread JRP! :)

Nope hun if you read that article It mentions using them I think, if not you can use them in that filter you would need a mesh bag sold at any LFS store... Or tastyworms would have them too, our sponsor. and he does have some BoiBalls, I like the ones he has they look like coco puffs :thumb:

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Gotcha. Thanks Koko. I've used those Cocoa Puff looking bioballs when I had my canister. :rofl

I'm just hoping her pH isn't really 6. :no:

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Gotcha. Thanks Koko. I've used those Cocoa Puff looking bioballs when I had my canister. :rofl

I'm just hoping her pH isn't really 6. :no:

Me too.... If so

We will need Crushed coral or crushed Oyster shells also a Buffer either Seachems Gold Buffer or Goldfishconnections Buff it up. :thumb:

I like my coco puffs, the fit better in my Ac filters :)

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Ok,

I mentioned the previous strip kit was crap, and it was.

Here are my new numbers using the API master kit.

Tap:

pH 8.4-8.8

Ammonia 0.5

Nitrites 0

Nitrates <5

Tank(before WC today):

pH 7.6 (not 6, yay!)

Ammonia 1.0 (maybe slightly darker..1.25-ish)

Nitrite 0

Nitrates <5

We're getting ready to change the water right now, and we're going to craft up the filters. Removing all the carbon and replacing with ceramic rings and another blue pad.

What next?

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Since there is such a big difference in pH you shouldn't do a large (80%) water change. I would do 40%ish now then retest the tank pH and ammonia. Prime will neutralize 1 ppm ammonia but you'll want to keep a close eye on your ammonia since you also have a bit of it in your tap.

Glad you got the API test kit! It's great. :)

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And now I feel silly... There isnt a KH in that test kit... if you can either get a KH test kit or have the LFS test your tank and tap water for us.. :) I need the number of that, since the PH is dropping on us. :(

No live plants in there?

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Ha, you're right, there's no KH in this kit. :)

We only have plastic plants, nothing live. I'm heading back out today, I can get a separate KH kit. Silly me didn't even check the box or anything...just tossed it into the cart! Does API make one that's just KH?

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Ha, you're right, there's no KH in this kit. :)

We only have plastic plants, nothing live. I'm heading back out today, I can get a separate KH kit. Silly me didn't even check the box or anything...just tossed it into the cart! Does API make one that's just KH?

Yes they do hun, Sorry about that. :(

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Alright,

No KH kit yet...later tonight I'll test that.

But after my 40% WC here are my tank numbers.

Ammonia like 0.75 ish, less than 1, but not as light as 0.5.

pH is 8.2 ish.

We have taken all the carbon out of both filters. I added a pad and ceramic rings to each side of the HOB filter.

My guys seem their usual happy selves...looking for more dinner.

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No matter the KH level I would recommend crushed coral for your filter. Overtime it leaches essential minerals into your water and helps stabilize your pH. Cycle bacteria doesn't like to get into a growing spurt if there are pH swings.

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Alright,

No KH kit yet...later tonight I'll test that.

But after my 40% WC here are my tank numbers.

Ammonia like 0.75 ish, less than 1, but not as light as 0.5.

pH is 8.2 ish.

We have taken all the carbon out of both filters. I added a pad and ceramic rings to each side of the HOB filter.

My guys seem their usual happy selves...looking for more dinner.

Im thinking the Ph will show this but with in about 24 to 48hours its going to drop... So yeah when you can test your KH hun :)

If you can find some crushed coral, or crushed Oyster shells :) get a mesh bag and place it in the filter :)

I would also do a 30% water change tomorrow :)

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The problem is, it's been 5 weeks and we aren't seeing any nitrites or nitrates, and the ammonia doesn't seem to go down. Also, our pH is low...I'm thinking this is bad.

Hi, welcome to the forum :)

I did want to also mention in addition to all the great advice you are being given that cycling with fish-in takes longer because you have to do more water changes to keep the fish safe. It can take 8-12 weeks. When I cycled with fish in I didn't see nitrites for 8 weeks! I thought I would never see them but they eventually showed up :) The cycle after that progressed very rapidly.

Thats great you have already done the diy filter and put in the ceramic media, now your BB will have somewhere to grow.

Edited by cmclien

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Ok, so after a few trips to find a KH test..I bought the API 5 in one strip test...it was pretty much the only thing. (Is there something better?)

My KH in the tank is between 40 and 80.

These strips are not easy to read.

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The KH test is available as a drop test. I don't know if I've seen it in stores but I have seen it online . . .

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Ok, I can look online for a drop test.

How often should that be tested?

It was mentioned that I will probably need crushed coral anyway....what is the story with that?

Where does it go?

How much of it?

Does it need to be replaced ever so often?

You guys are so very helpful, I really appreciate it. And I know my little guys do too.

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Ok, I can look online for a drop test.

How often should that be tested?

It was mentioned that I will probably need crushed coral anyway....what is the story with that?

Where does it go?

How much of it?

Does it need to be replaced ever so often?

You guys are so very helpful, I really appreciate it. And I know my little guys do too.

With your KH being so low you should test your tank atleast with every water change till you get it under control.... Meaning a steady 100-150 ppm :)

Crushed Coral or Crushed oystershells, can be bought online or at a LFS store, make sure it is just plan old fashion crushed, not live active kind.

http://www.petco.com/product/105564/Natures-Ocean-Coral-Substrate.aspx?CoreCat=OnSiteSearch

http://www.amazon.com/CRUSHED-OYSTER-SHELLS/dp/B0088IGNJI

You will need a mesh bag which again is sold either online or at a LFS.... About a cup for a 40 gallon tank and you can place this right into the filter so that it pushes it out with the water. You will need to replace it maybe once a year, but you will be able to tell when you need to by testing your KH. :)

http://www.petco.com/product/7363/Petcetera-Filter-Lifeguard-Bags.aspx

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