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10 Gal Cycle with "cycle"

Discussion in 'Freshwater Newbie Forum' started by sadler077, Feb 9, 2005.

  1. sadler077

    sadler077 Zissou Trainee

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    :confused:

    I am spanking new at this, but educating myself as quickly as possible.

    Day 1 -My girlfriend and I walked into a LFS and wanted fish. They sold us a 10 gal. glass aquarium starter kit, two small goldfish (Fantail and black moor), and a fiddler crab. So in summary:

    10 Gal.
    Whisper mini filter w/ no bio-filter
    10 lbs. gravel
    flake food
    50 watt heater
    30 W incandescent light hood
    "super strength" Tap water conditioner - Aquarium Pharmacuticals, Inc.

    I believe the Black moor was diseased or stressed from tha get go. Within a week, (Day 6) I went to a different LFS, having realizing that I got screwed, and tested my water to see what was up with the moor. Ammonia off the charts. I was told to buy a whisper bio-filter cartridge, cycle and aquarium salt. I inserted the cartridge (I had to cut it to make it fit because the filter that came with it had no place for it). Then I added 2 Tbsp. salt and half the bottle of cycle.
    3 more days(Day 9) = dead black moor + upset girlfriend

    After a couple days(Day 11), the ammonia levels were not going down and I had been doing large (20-50%) water changes at least once a day since day 2. (Day 13) So, I bought a penguin 200 filter and water test kit and ran both filters and did only one 20% water change a week as instructed by another LFS. By Day 15 the test showed lower ammoinia (2ppm) and higher Nitrites (2ppm).

    On Day 17 the ammonia was 0 and the nitrites were 5ppm. Now, as instructed by the LFS, I added the other half of the Cycle bottle because ammonia was at 0ppm and nitrates were high. On Day 19 the fantail abrubtly turned yellowish and got fin rot. I went to the closest Petco and bought a hospital tank and tetracycline and put the fish in the new tank. About 30 min, after that he died. The ammonia in the original tank was still at 0 and the nitrites at 5ppm+.

    After a week or so like this( one fiddler crab running around) the nitrites dropped to 2ppm and my girlfriend wanted to add a "lobster". So, we went to the last LFS (Day 22), the one that sold us the cycle, and bought a blue lobster and an asian tiger lobster. They said that two crayfish in a ten gallon tank was pushing it but should be fine if they have many places to hide and they will probably eat the crab eventually. And also, They said that the nitrites will probably be at 0 in a "day or so", so we can stock it. And, just for kickers get 5 guppies so that there are some fish... :S

    Well, now its Day 30 and the nitrites are still at 2-3ppm. Ammoinia at 0. whats the deal???? When will the nitrites go down? What does cycle do?

    Current status of tank:
    10 Gal. FW glass
    30 W light incandescent
    75-78 degrees
    Ph - 7.4
    hardness - unknown
    ammonia- 0
    nitrites- 2ppm
    nitrates - 20 ppm (same as tap)
    penguin 200 bio-wheel
    6" airstones
    1/4" gravel
    15lbs. rocks (for hiding)
    20-40% water change daily
    1 very small feeding daily

    wth:
    1 fiddler crab - 1"
    1 asian tiger lobster - 2"
    1 blue lobster - 2"
    5 guppies - 3/4"

    Now that I've read all the posts here(many, many of them). I feel like an idiot and am embarrassed to write this. But, I need help. Now what can I do? I need to get this aquarium cycled. And what, if any, effect did "cycle" have?

    BTW I really love this hobby so far and have acquired a 55 gal tank for free. I'd like to avoid this disaster in the future. It tortures me that I didn't get better information in the begining.


    All fish stores were given the complete history of the tank.
     
  2. Blinky

    Blinky Gone

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    First off, don't torture yourself - you asked for advice and followed it. It sounds like the advice you received was lousy, and that's not your fault. I think coming here was a good move :)
    Cycle is supposed to add beneficial bacteria to the filter, speeding up the cycle. IME, it doesn't do much, if anything. The only product I've heard about that actually does add the correct bacteria and virtually eliminate the cycle is Bio-Spira. I think it can be tough to find, and if you do find a store that stocks it make sure it comes out of the fridge - if the bottle heats up, the bacteria won't survive. It needs to stay cold until you're ready to use it in your tank.
    You're doing everything right now, I would leave the bio-filter in place (don't clean it - if it's dirty, just gently rinse it in a bucket of old water from the tank), and continue to do daily or even twice daily 50% water changes to keep the nitrite levels down. IME the cycle usually ends with a bang - one day you have nitrites, the next you see a rapid rise in nitrates and no nitrites.
    Look into doing a fishless cycle on your 55g - there's loads of info here on AC about it, so I won't repeat too much. The idea is to use pure ammonia, rather than ammonia produced by living organisms, to encourage the growth of the nitrifying bacteria. It takes about the same length of time as a fishy cycle, but it's much easier on you and the fish.
     
    #2 Blinky, Feb 9, 2005
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2005
  3. sadler077

    sadler077 Zissou Trainee

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    Thanks. So, I can get away with two 50% changes daily in an effort to clean it up....good to know.
     
  4. Karnaaj

    Karnaaj AC Members

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    The fact that you bought your fish at the same time you bought your tank is the reason why your goldfish died, nothing else.
     
  5. tomm10

    tomm10 Prodigal Son

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    sadler077, ouch. Many of us have been where you are to varying extents. Its frustrating and confusing. The first and strongest peice of advice I can give to you is...be patient.

    Taking care of fish is more difficult than other pets in the sense that you don't need to create and maintain an atmosphere for most other pets. Read up here on cycling. There's a sticky on it at the top of this forum. You should understand what goes into cycling a tank before you start.

    Also, never, ever trust the pet/fish store employees with stocking suggestions. In some rare cases they may be right but even a broken clock is right twice a day. Telling you that you can put two lobsters in a cycling tank with a crab is irresponsible on their part as is selling you two goldfish and a crab with a brand new tank. If you get to know an employee(s) at a LFS over time and build up trust in them then you can trust their suggestions a bit more but I try not to count on any one source.

    This place and the internet in general a tremendous sources of information about different fish and invertebrates. Before you buy anything check here and elsewhere for different opinions and experiences of wheat works well together. It should only take you a bout fifteen minutes and you'll spend that much time consoling your girlfriend after her new fish gets devoured before her eyes.

    For now, Blinky was absolutely right about water changes. Do them often. You are completely safe doing 50% water changes each day just be somewhat careful matching the temperature of the water from the tap to the tank. Don't add anymore chemicals (except a declorinator on water changes if you have chlorine in your water from the tap). Adding more chemicals won't solve any of your problems long term and will likely just complicate matters. As you will read, the cycle will establish over time on its own. All you can do is regular water changes to keep the ammonia and nitrites under control for your fish.

    Good luck!
     
  6. sadler077

    sadler077 Zissou Trainee

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    Thanks Tomm10. I like the pic and sig. I'm from Boston. This whole winning championships thing is growing on me. Its good to know that loyalty can pay off like this. Go Sox!
     

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