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Old 03-05-2014, 08:05 AM   #1 
ZooTV
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Feel Like a fish out of water.

Got a tank for my wife for Christmas, 5 Gallon Ecoxotic EcoPico. It has a Cobalt Neo-Term 25-watt heater set to 78. Filter is the one it came with however I cut half the filter material, created a baffle with the one half, the other half is the first media in the fliter (bottom). I put in a piece of 30ppi material in the filter as well (top).

Went to ACE and got pure ammonia. Did a ‘fishless cycle’ according to Dr. Tims Guide. That took about 4 weeks. I then waited two weeks to get a fish. Before getting the fish, I did about 75% water change the two days before and added a marimo moss ball.

So its been 5 days since we got “Tokwe”. He is a happy little guy that isn’t shy at all. He loves going to sleep inside his log. For now, we just feed him 2 pellets in morning and at night. Will introduce other food after a few weeks.

So I tested the water today, ammonia=0, nitrite=.25, nitrate=0. I am concerned that nitrates=0 at this point. I wonder by waiting two weeks after the cycle something went wrong and the cycle got killed off. BTW, pH is usually =7.4-7.6. My water out of the tap is 7.4.

This is my first tank, so I am still trying to learn a lot. Lots of good info out there, but was hoping for some guidance. I plan on doing a 25% (1 gallon) water change this Saturday.
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Old 03-05-2014, 09:08 AM   #2 
Warhawk
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After the four weeks the tank was cycled right? Did you do a water test and do you still know those numbers? That way you can tell for sure the tank was cycled. The nitrites at 0.25 means it was cycling but normally you would find some nitrates. What kind of kit are you testing with?

If it was cycled and you didn't keep adding the ammonia there is a good chance the bacteria died because it didn't have anything to eat. They are pretty fragile some times.

If the ammonia starts going up with the fish in the tank you can tell for sure the cycle has died. I would be nervous about adding ammonia to a tank with fish because it is harmful for them. But as long as you do water changes before the ammonia gets to 2.0 the cycle will start up again. Or you can use something like tetra safe start it has the bacteria in the bottle you just poor it in the tank.


Just a tip I learned keep a note book with the fish stuff and write the date and info you get when doing water tests down. That way you can look back and compare to weeks or months ago. With that info you can help judge how the cycle is doing in your tank.

Last edited by Warhawk; 03-05-2014 at 09:14 AM.
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Old 03-05-2014, 09:18 AM   #3 
ZooTV
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I did keep a log, but I think the wife accidentally threw it out. I will look for it again. According to Dr Tims guide, yes the tank cycled. BTW, I now have a excel spreadsheet going :)

I was afraid the cycle died. But right now everything seems safe. I am ok with having to do water changes more often if need be.

I dont have any terra safe start, but i have topfin bacteria supplement. Is that the same thing? When I did the big water change before adding him to the tank it was 4 gallons, so I added the dechlor to the water, waited 15 mins and then added the topfin BS.
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Old 03-05-2014, 09:44 AM   #4 
Warhawk
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As long as you had nitrates in the water you where cycled. Keeping a spread sheet would be a easy way to do it good idea.

With only one fish it might take a while for the cycle to get going again. Just make sure you change the water before the ammonia gets to 2.0. I would suggest 1-1.5 do a change. With only one fish it might take a week or so for the ammonia to get that high but only way to be sure is test if everyday.

I have never used the topfin stuff but if it has Bactria in it then it will help you cycle.


Did you wash the filter? If so what water did you use?

If your tap water has chlorine you can kill the Bactria doing that. I use a product called Prime to get the bad stuff out of my water before I put it into my tanks then use the water I drain from the tanks to wash off the filter. Just dip it into the water and squeeze it a few times, and put it back into the tank. As you know about the cycle I'm guessing you know this too but just in case.
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Old 03-05-2014, 09:47 AM   #5 
Warhawk
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Just had a thought after rereading everything if you have nitrites in the tank that means the cycle might still be going. Yes you should have nitrates in there also.

It sounds like your on the right path with the tank just needs some tweaking on the system. :)
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Old 03-05-2014, 10:07 AM   #6 
ZooTV
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Great tips. I did wash the filters but only using the water from the tank. I got two bowls that I filled with old tank water, swirled and squeezed in 1 bowl, then moved to the second bowl repeated and then put back in tank.

I will look for the Prime stuff and maybe pick up some terra safe. Need more dechlor anyways.

Will keep testing every day, but are you suggesting to wait to do a water change until ammonia hits 1?
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Old 03-05-2014, 10:28 AM   #7 
Warhawk
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Yes when ammonia hits 1 doing a water change is a good idea.

I have found tetra safe start at Walmart and some big box stores. It has all the Bactria to cycle a 20 gallon tank but as it is live Bactria the cold weather can kill it.
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Old 03-05-2014, 02:46 PM   #8 
alyymarie
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Are you only keeping one betta in there? If so, it's not really necessary to cycle it beforehand or add any bacteria - it will cycle itself over time, especially since it looks like you still have a bit of bacteria left in there. Just test it regularly to keep an eye on ammonia, do a water change if there is any, and you'll be fine. Since you are getting readings for nitrites, it won't be much longer til it cycles itself anyway.
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