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Old 09-05-2012, 09:27 PM   #11 
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Good advice. Would you recommend a bacterial additive to kickstart the cycle, or is it better to just leave it be?
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Old 09-05-2012, 09:34 PM   #12 
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I wouldn't go on a crazy cleaning spree on your tank. Just skim the goo off the top, and wipe down the sides right above the water line.

I would suggest adding some pure ammonia to your tank.

  • You have no nitrites detected in your tank whatsoever?

My method will NOT work if you don't have the extra equipment or a very well established filter.

  • If you add the PURE ammonia with no surfactants, I think you should see some nitrites by the end of the week.

If you have a bacteria jumpstarter use it, otherwise save your money.

  • A bottle of pure ammonia should be half the cost. Most hardware stores have plain ammonia.
There's other shortcuts you can take once the nitrites arrive in the tank to party.
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Old 09-05-2012, 09:38 PM   #13 
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Will do.

Yeah I've been testing for nitrites/nitrates daily for a week to see if that's why the ammonia wasn't going up, but they all come back 0ppm.

I have a bottle of API's Quick Start, will that work?

I'll make sure I make a trip the hardware store tomorrow, since I just realized the ammonia we have at home has surfactants.
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Old 09-05-2012, 09:48 PM   #14 
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Don't test for nitrates till you see nitrites first.

  • Nitrites show up 2nd.
  • Nitrates are the last to arrive
Surfactants make the bubbles & people think bubbles = cleaner.

The surfactants don't break down well in a tank, and will kill the fish if its not neutralized.

You may have a good amount of BBacteria, but due to the film they can't breath. Sounds like your ammonia from the shrimp was neutralized by something.

Add the ammonia and see what happens in 12 hours.
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Old 09-06-2012, 05:04 AM   #15 
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Sounds like you have a perfect storm there, Roxie: a protein film on the surface, a bacteria bloom clouding the tank and Saprolegnia mold on your shrimp.

The film can be skimmed off, but it can become a chronic condition once started.

The bacteria bloom will go away---no harm no foul.

Mold may or may not harm your fish. But it is hard to clean out because it gets everywhere.

New keepers frequently underestimate the time it takes to cycle a tank--actually the filter. Things you can do to speed up your cycle: (some of which have been used successfully by MSG as stated above)

Nitrifying bacteria like air, food and warmth (don't we all?) so:

---Run an airstone or sponge filter.

--- Add enough ammonia to get a reading >4.0ppm on your test kit.

---Run your filter full-blast.

—Keep it warm, up to 90* is OK.

—Keep it dark; the bacteria like that.

Pure ammonia as an ammonia source is much cleaner and easier to control than shrimp/dead-fish or fishfood. Surprisingly “pure” ammonia (that does NOT foam when you shake it) is not that easy to find. ACE hardware carries it. One bottle will last you and your friends several lifetimes. Dr Tim's pure ammonia is available through Amazon and from Drs Foster and Smith online (where it's merely expensive).

The most important element in cycling your tank is the nitrifying bacteria that seed the cycle. This is also the hardest to come by for first-time keepers.

—It’s in the air. You can wait for it to fall out of the sky into your tank. This is the main reason it takes so long to cycle.

—You can ask your local fish store for some seeded gravel or seeded media.

— You can try a bottled bacteria product.

Tetra Safestart and Dr Tim’s One-and-Only are two which state they contain the proper bacteria you need to cycle (Nitrosomonas and nitrospira). I’ve heard moderately positive feedback on these. They won’t slow your cycle...can’t hurt. According to their instructions (which you can find online), they seem to be meant for gentle, slow fish-in cycling. But once you get some ammonia reduction, you can power cycle as described above.

As I see it, you have three choices:

---Keep your fish in the treatment tank and cycle your 5g as you’re currently doing.

—Wait until his fins are healed, introduce him into the 5g and perform a slow, painless fish-in cycle. In which case you’ll want to read the sticky at the top of this section menu. Read about fish-in here:

—After treatment, introduce him into the 5g and cycle your filter in the spare tank. Since the filter is where most of the bacteria live, the filter is the most important thing to cycle. Read about bucket cycling here:

In either case, because the tank is rather messed up right now, I would recommend starting over. Mostly for your own peace-of-mind, but also for the security and health of your fish.

The good part about all this is, once this tank is cycled, you'll always have bacteria-seeded media to cycle any other tank you wish to start.

Last edited by Hallyx; 09-06-2012 at 05:14 AM.
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Old 09-06-2012, 12:42 PM   #16 
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I know this isn't the most helpful, but it took me 5 weeks for nitrites to show up during my cycle.
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Old 09-06-2012, 04:26 PM   #17 
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Lol I think I do have to start over, though. I put in about 3 drops of ammonia I bought today at ACE and within MINUTES the water went from slightly cloudy to OH GOD WHY (as in, I can't see the back of the tank at all anymore). At least I have a better idea of what to do NOW though!
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ammonia level, cloudy water, cycling, planted tank

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