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Old 08-09-2012, 07:03 PM   #1 
GFarra
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Weird water test results...thoughts??

Hi All

I've got 2 tanks, both non-filtered. I've been testing water daily to figure out how long I can stretch my water changes.....or maybe how much bio waste each fish produces.

Tank 1 is a 1.5 gallon cube. I have a male CT in it and he gets fed once a day, 2 pellets ususally. Sometimes a worm at night. His tank after 2 days resulted in 0ppm ammonia, .25ppm nitrite, and 0ppm nitrate. So confused how I have nitrite without any ammonia?????? how is that possible??

Tank 2 is a 2 gallon bowl. I have a male half moon and he gets fed once a day, ususally 3 pellets and the occassional worm. After 2 days his tank tested .25ppm ammonia, 0ppm nitrite, and 0ppm nitrate.

PH in both tanks was alittle over 7. I used an API master freswater kit to test. Based on these result, it seems that 2 days is my max with either fish in a non-filtered bowl....yes?

I conducted this test to figure out how long I can leave the fish in the event I'm away. I guess if I need to leave them unattended for 5 days I would need larger tanks....yes? or filtered cycled stable tanks, yes??

TIA

George
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Old 08-09-2012, 11:02 PM   #2 
thekoimaiden
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Have you tested your tap water for ammonia and nitrite? Are you sure you did the tests correctly? Adding stuff when the directions say? Looking at the results when the directions say?

If you were looking to extend your water changes when you go away, putting them in a cycled, divided 10 gal tank would be the best option. You could also add some fast-growing live plants to their bowls, but that won't help as much as a cycled 10 gal.
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Old 08-10-2012, 03:39 AM   #3 
goldfishyman
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Tank 1 has enough bacteria on the containers surfaces to convert the ammonia to nitrite. It has not developed the bacteria to convert nitrite to nitrate. Basically it is halfway to being cycled.

Tank 2 has no bacteria, basically it is a completely new tank.
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Old 08-10-2012, 08:15 AM   #4 
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Izzy....I'm using Poland Spring bottled water with Stress Coat for water changes. My tap water is terrible and is conditioned even further by my home water softening system which is salt based

I'm definately following the directions properly, thus why I was stumped as to how I had nitrite without ammonia. Even used an API test strip thinking I botched up the master kit test....same result.

Koimaiden.....these tanks are not filtered. I wasnt aware that a cycle could even get started without any filter media

George
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Old 08-10-2012, 10:46 AM   #5 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goldfishyman View Post
Tank 1 has enough bacteria on the containers surfaces to convert the ammonia to nitrite. It has not developed the bacteria to convert nitrite to nitrate. Basically it is halfway to being cycled.
Without a filter, it won't have the necessary room to develop a cycle. A large filter with lots of room for the BB is the only way tanks like this can cycle. There was another member here who keeps small cycled tanks, but her username is slipping my mind right now.

I'm honestly pretty baffled. Have you seen any information online about false positives? Is this test kit pretty new? An old one (over a year) could give faulty results.

Yikes. Sorry your tap water is soo bad. There seems to be more and more of that recently. Did you test the bottled water for ammonia and nitrite?
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Old 08-10-2012, 11:42 AM   #6 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thekoimaiden View Post
Without a filter, it won't have the necessary room to develop a cycle. A large filter with lots of room for the BB is the only way tanks like this can cycle. There was another member here who keeps small cycled tanks, but her username is slipping my mind right now.

I'm honestly pretty baffled. Have you seen any information online about false positives? Is this test kit pretty new? An old one (over a year) could give faulty results.

Yikes. Sorry your tap water is soo bad. There seems to be more and more of that recently. Did you test the bottled water for ammonia and nitrite?

Bacteria grows everywhere. If he doesn't completely nuke the tank every water change it will cycle to some degree. It will not handle large bioloads, it will not adapt rapidly to sudden increases of ammonia or nitrites. I have thick layers of bacteria in my betta quarantine tanks that have no filters. I have gone 2 weeks without water changes. My bettas with injured fins heal better in these quarantine tanks with no signs of fin or tail rot. My bettas in tanks with filters seem to get fin rot every now and then, Even when I put a stop to it they are slow to heal.

I have kept small stainless steel containers outdoors with mollies. I started out with mollies and end up with 50+. No filters, no pumps, no aeration. Water is crystal clear, anachris is the only thing in those stainless steel containers.

There are fish living in his tanks. There will be ammonia if it is not removed, chemically bound or digested. Look at the evidence. 1 tank has no ammonia but has nitrite. You would not have nitrite without conversion of ammonia. Nitrite could be present in his tap water however his second tank has ammonia and no nitrite which kills this theory. Neither tank has nitrate means that they have not completed cycling and also means he does not have it in his tap. Evidence seems pretty clear that he has a partial cycle going in one tank.

The main concern is whether his tank will ever complete the nitrite to nitrate cycle. Nitrite is more toxic at lower concentrations when compared to ammonia. Perhaps an air stone will allow his tank to complete the cycle. Is this the most optimal conditions? Probably not, but you cannot just say this is impossible. Like I said bacteria will grow on anything. The other problem with this is that a filter will protect the bacteria from being washed away during cleaning. The likelihood that the bacteria die off because of simple water changes is higher. It is not the most stable situation. This is not something you will find in books because it is not something to suggest to beginners.

Last edited by goldfishyman; 08-10-2012 at 11:52 AM.
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Old 08-10-2012, 12:11 PM   #7 
GFarra
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Everyone,

Thank you for all the input. Its all useful to me :). The nitrite reading alarmed me as I had read it was more toxic than ammonia. My water changes in each tank have all been partials.....about 70% every other day

I have another post in this forum asking about proper tank size for the travelling man.

It seems like my best option is to get tanks that are 3-5 gallons (space is limited) with the proper filtration/media and get a cycle started and completed in each. I realize that a cycle can be accomplished in these smaller tanks but knowing myself the more stable environment of a larger tank would be helpful.

Out of curiosity.....what is the recomended tank size for a beginner to establish and maintain a stable cycle?

Thanks

George
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Old 08-10-2012, 12:40 PM   #8 
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Since you are a traveling man, I think a divided 10 gal would be your best bet. You'd only be changing out about 3 gallons of water a week (better for the wallet and easier to instruct someone on how to perform them if you need to). And you can leave it for a week (or more with proper live plants) without fear that you'll return to sick fish. It will always be easier to maintain a stable environment in a larger volume of water than in a smaller one.

A 10 gal tank is only about 20" long and can easily sit on a sturdy piece of furniture like a desk or set of drawers. I had never put my 10 gal tanks on a stand until recently when I got a double-decker stand.
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