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Cycling Advice Appreciated


Guest FishLikeSequins

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Guest FishLikeSequins

Hello!

My mother just recently gave me an oranda for my birthday (I know, pets aren't good for suprise gifts), he's my first goldfish. I'm new to fishkeeping and I've been researching this site and some others. I just started cycling his tank (a 10 gallon), and tested everything today (which my dad calls "playing chemistry set with the fish" lol).

The reading seems normal, no nitrites or nitrates, and the ammonia is at .25 ppm. Is that alright? The ammonia needs to build up and level off in order for the tank to cycle- right? I just worry about my fishy's flesh getting burned!

Also- the water here is very hard- 150 ppm, which I think is in range, but please let me know if I should do anything to try to soften it a little.

The Ph is my biggest worry right now, it clocked in at 8.4- and the alkalinity read 300. I bought a bottle of Ph Decrease, but I haven't used it yet, because I want to get everyone's advice first. This site and forum are the best! All of you have helped me extensively already!

Thank you!

Lauren

:heart

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Guest Phreno

I must say that I don't know much about pH. Maybe daryl can help you with that.

But I do know that the ammonia will get quite high before it starts going down. THe amount in the toxic form is based on the temperature and pH. Here is a chart that will tell you when to do a water change. When it gets into the yellow or red, you have to do a water change and get it out of the danger zone.

Ammonia Toxicity Page

At 8.4 as your pH, you need to do water changes and keep the ammonia below .25 I think. THat will be a pain in the booty. You'll need to test twice a day and change water accordingly.

Good luck! :)

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Guest Chishower

My PH is also in the lower 8's. It should be ok as long as you have good, hard water that acts as a buffer to keep it from changing. My water is also hard (in the 300ppm!) and my fish are fine.

Welcome to Koko's and congrats on your new fish. Looks like you have everything under control.

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  • Regular Member

As you cycle your ammonia will rise - try to keep it under 1.0 while you are cycling. Then your nitrites will rise (again try to keep them under 1.0 while cycling) and finally your nitrAtes will rise. When your tank is fully cycled your readings should be 0ppm ammonia & 0 ppm nitrItes. You will have a reading for nitrAtes (as they are removed by water changes unless you have a very heavily planted tank). I try to keep mine at 20-40.

AS long as your pH is stable & doesn't rise any more I would think it would be OK. (It's better to have a more stable pH then to use chemicals to keep it at an artifical level - unless your pH is unstable or way too high or low)

Hope this helps!

:D Jenn

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Guest FishLikeSequins

Thanks for the input- I don't know what I'd do without this forum! :)

Phreno- I had no idea that the ph would make the ammonia more toxic- I'm going to do a partial water change right now.

I'm not sure what to do though- is it better to just keep the ph stable at 8.4, even if it creates more toxic ammonia? The water is here is naturally very hard and very alkaline, so I don't think I'll be able to lower the ph through water changes, it would have to be with chemicals. Ooh I could put a little driftwood in there- doesn't that naturally lower the ph a little bit?

Boy, I had no idea that keeping goldfish would be so complicated! It's great though, I love learning about new pets. This must be why people who just throw a fish in a bowl get bored with it so fast- no interesting chores!

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  • Regular Member

Amazing isn't it!

The only problem with your pH is that during cycling it makes ammonia more toxic. Phreno's spot on on the ammonia levels. Need to keep them really low with your pH cuz most of the ammonia is in its toxic form.

Lowering pH can be tricky, especially if your water is well buffered--which it is. The pH reducers usually make it bounce around which isn't good.

Next time you do a partial water change, you might try half distilled water and half regular water. Distilled water has no minerals in it, so mixing it half and half should cut your alkalinity in half (down to around 150ppm) in the change water. If you do that for partial water changes while you're in the ammonia phase of cycling, that should gradually lower pH into the mid to high 7s. After you're over the hump on ammonia, I'd go back to just using your tap water for water changes.

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Guest jshearman

I swear I'm not working for Marineland, but can you get your hands on some Biospira? That will speed the cycle right along, causing less stress to your little guy. I love Biospira.

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Guest deedeesue

get ready for a long frustrating ride. I set up a new tank in May, and it took about 6 weeks to cycle (seemed like way longer :rolleyes: )

The people here can help you through it, Dataguru helped me keep my sanity through it all. :D

my two Ryukins are now healthy, happy, and growing like weeds!

:panana

frequent water changes, Prime, salt, patience :)

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  • Regular Member

I know you asked jshearmen but I want to answer as well because I too love biospira.

I was cycling for 7 or 8 weeks with no nitrites in site. 1 week after adding biospira, my cycle was complete and has been solid ever since. I LOVE biospira!!

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Guest Phreno

I have a quick question.

Once the ammonia is at 0, do you still have to do water changes to keep the nitrite down? Because when I was cycling my ten gallon, once the ammonia was at 0 I kept it salted to .15% and didn't change any more water unless it was the weekly 50%. I mean, if there is salt it shouldn't do any harm right? Maybe not?

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  • Regular Member

Andrea: Cool! thanks for the info. :)

Kyle: That's what I've been leaning toward these days. back when I was cycling the people who helped me thru it focused on partial water changes. Given what I've read so far, I don't think all the water changes are needed if it's salted.

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Guest jshearman

Sorry for the delay in replying...My 30 gallon fishless cycled OVERNIGHT with biospira once I raised the temperature to 78 degrees. It's really good, not that expensive, and way better than stressing out the little fishies, at least, IMHO. Good luck with your new addition!

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  • Regular Member
Given what I've read so far, I don't think all the water changes are needed if it's salted.

All I can say is that when my first tank cycled, I had to change water every day or my nitrIte levels zoomed up past 5.0ppm!! (Yes - & I had fish in there). Almost drove me :krazy: . Some days I had to do 2 water changes in the same day. I never got the level under 2.0ppm until I was finished cycling.

I salted the tank & switched to Prime & my fish seemed to be OK with it but I shudder to think what would have happened if I hadn't kept changing the water. I don't think the salt would have helped much if I had had days in a row with nitrites over 5.0ppm (They could have been higher - that's as high as my test kit would go)

:D

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Guest Phreno

Thats great to know! :)

Well, 2 weeks ago my nirites read >5ppm, now they read a very certain 2ppm, right on the dot. Its taking forever for them to go down!

But my 10 gallon tank now has green algae growing ALL OVER the filter! I mean, this stuff is just thick! And from what I've heard that means the water is healthy? Its been cycled for, oh, 2 weeks now? I cant wait untill all my tanks are cycled though, now more testing twice a day! :lol:

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