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Old 09-27-2012, 09:18 PM   #1 
notsabrina
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Red face Cycled or not? That is the question!

Hello everybody!

I've been cycling my 10 gallon tank for 9 days. It was seeded with gravel, decor, fake plants, and I squeezed media from my 5 gallon into the new filter. I don't own a freshwater test kit, so I took my water to get tested at Petsmart. They used a paper test strip (though I've read are usually inaccurate) and these are the results:

Ammonia: 0.2
NitrIte: 0
NitrAte: 0
pH: 7.5
Alkalinity: 100
Hardness: 100
Chlorine and chloramine: 0

How off or close do you think my water results are? Is it safe to start stocking my tank? I'm concerned cos my ammonia is at 0.2 and there are no readings for nitrAte.

Thanks for reading! Any feedback is appreciated!
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Old 09-27-2012, 09:22 PM   #2 
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Oh by the way! I did a fishless cycle using fish flakes.
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Old 09-27-2012, 09:23 PM   #3 
sarahspins
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Nope, not cycled. Once cycled your tank should have 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites and you should have nitrates
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Old 09-27-2012, 09:24 PM   #4 
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Yep, those strips are really inaccurate. I had them before and it said my pH was 6.5. (Not able to cycle) But I bought the liquid kit and mine was a 7.6!

Your tank is anything but cycled I'm afraid. Once the nitrite shows up you're halfway there. It may take 4 weeks average to cycle so don't get your hopes up even if you seeded!
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Old 09-27-2012, 09:39 PM   #5 
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Yeah.....that's what I thought lol. I was bummed when she took out the 5-in-1 paper test strip cos I had a feeling the readings would be off. She told me I could start stocking if I wanted to. Sigh, I knew it was too good to be true.

And the waiting continues!
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Old 09-27-2012, 10:23 PM   #6 
Hallyx
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Depends on what you mean by "stocking." A Betta and a few shrimp? A sorority?

Assuming that you got your seeded water and decor from a established cycled tank, you've put nitrifying bacteria into your 10g. It's better to use filter media or gravel to seed the new tank. Water contains very little bacteria. Now you'll want to feed it ammonia in order for it to grow.

In any case, a fish is as good an ammonia source as any at this point (and better than fishfood, imo). But you have to keep a close eye on your ammonia (for the safety of your fish) and on your nitrite (to assure that your cycle is progressing) and on your nitrate (to know when your cycle is done).

This requires a liquid freshwater test kit. The most common one is by API. They're available from Amazon for <$20: This is an essential item for safe fish husbandry, right up there with conditioner or thermometers.
[ame="http://www.amazon.com/API-Freshwater-Master-Test-Kit/dp/B000255NCI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1348802207&sr=8-1&keywords=API+test+kit"]Amazon.com: API Freshwater Master Test Kit: Pet Supplies[/ame]
Buy a bottle of Prime or a thermometer and get free shipping.

You can set-up the tank complete with plants and decor. As long as you do enough water changes to keep the ammonia (and eventually nitrite) below 0.25ppm, your fish will be safe. Keeping the temperature on the warm side and aerating with an airstone or sponge filter will help speed-up the cycle.

Stock slowly. You'll be fine.

Last edited by Hallyx; 09-27-2012 at 10:35 PM.
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Old 09-27-2012, 10:34 PM   #7 
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I second the advice to get a test kit - I can't imagine trying to cycle or even being certain of the safety of the water in my tanks for my fish without one. I would have probably killed my fish by now if I was just getting at the water conditions.
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Old 09-27-2012, 11:08 PM   #8 
notsabrina
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My 5 gallon tank is heated to 80-85 degrees with thermometer and filter. Before I knew about cycling, I put my betta in and was forced to do a fish-in cycle. I didn't have a test kit then, but performed 25-50% water changes religiously every 2-3 days for the first month. After that first month, I started doing only 25% water changes at the end of the week. My halfmoon has the 5 gallon to himself.

My 10 gallon I've had for only 9 days today. When I first set it up I put in new gravel, the new filter, and then seeded it with the above mentioned decor/gravel/squeezed media from my 5 gallon. So at the moment, there are no fish and I feed the tank with enough fish flakes as if I was feeding a school of fish. It has a 50W adjustable heater set to 85 degrees and a Whisper 10i filter.

My plans for the tank are to be half silk half planted (java fern and water wisteria) community tank, betta of course, and either ember tetras or harlequin rasbora. I use Prime in my 5 gallon and also used that for my 10 gallon.

I do want to buy the API freshwater kit, but I've only seen them from $30-35. $20 is a good price for me, I'll definitely check Amazon!!! Thank you!

Last edited by notsabrina; 09-27-2012 at 11:14 PM.
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Old 09-27-2012, 11:11 PM   #9 
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Oh sorry Hallyx, didn't realize your post said buying a bottle of Prime gets free shipping! That's a great deal! Also, I was going to put the school in first and then after a week introduce a new betta.

Last edited by notsabrina; 09-27-2012 at 11:17 PM.
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Old 09-28-2012, 04:53 AM   #10 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by notsabrina View Post
.... I was going to put the school in first and then after a week introduce a new betta.
Assuming tetras and rasboras minimum school is 5/6. Make sure you keep a close eye on your parameters and be prepared for water changes on a moments notice if ammonia goes >0.25ppm.

If you're going to introduce the school all at once, you might consider fully cycling the tank first, especially if you don't have a Betta ready for that tank.

Another alternative is to introduce the Betta first, get the tank established and then slowly stock the dither-fish.

Or, put a few rasboros in and wait for the cycle to establish. Hmmm...I think I'd do it that way.
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