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Old 11-21-2012, 06:18 PM   #1 
Juicebox
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my first water test results..help me understand please

my tanks been running about 4 weeks now with a fish in cycle..

ive been changing water every 2 - 3 days 25 - 30 percent changes.

yesterday i did a 40 percent water change..

today i got my test kit in mail from amazon so i tested my water

my ammonia is showing .25ppm
my nitrate is showing 0
my nitrite is showing 0
my ph is showing 7.6

i also tested my tap water straight from the tap and the ph is around 7

is stuff in my tank making my ph too high? i have frogsbit and 1 anubis type plant on a piece of driftwood,the plant aint doin too good,i also have a small piece of java moss on the driftwood,some of it is bright green,some of it is brown so i dont know how thats doin,i also have 4 rocks i took out of a lake and 2 pieces of wood i took from the lake. i think maybe the rocks are raising the ph?



why do i have so much mamonia today after i just did a 40 percent change yesterday? and why do i have no nitrates?
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Old 11-21-2012, 07:39 PM   #2 
Wendyjo
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When you cycle with fish it takes quite a long time since you have to remove much of the ammonia in order to keep your fish alive. A normal fishless cycle with a steady does of ammonia to keep the reading at 2-4 ppm, takes 6-8 weeks, so you should expect yours to take much longer than that. Once your bacteria starts multiplying you will see a nitrite reading. Nitrates will come last.
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Old 11-22-2012, 09:42 AM   #3 
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The hardest part of cycling without live bacteria to seed the filter/tank is waiting for the bacteria to fall out of the sky into your tank. Compared to that, the time difference between high ammonia (fishless) cycling and low-ammonia (fish-in) cycling is relatively insignificant.

Test your tapwater after 24 hours and again at 48 hours and see how much our pH changes. Might be due to CO2 outgassing. Rocks can raise the pH. Maybe the plants are using more CO2 than you'd think. In any case 7.6pH is fine for the nitrogen cycle.

What kind of filter are you using?

Increase your water change amount and frequency to keep your ammonia under 0.25ppm. You'll get nitrites when you get bacteria eating the ammonia. As implied in the beginning of this post, it can take weeks or months.
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Old 11-22-2012, 10:04 AM   #4 
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Perhaps you know someone who has an established tank, or there's a LFS near you? You might ask them whether you could have a small handful of gravel or filter media to kick-start your cycle. It helps immensely.
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Old 11-22-2012, 08:40 PM   #5 
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^+1

But, as yours is a fish-in cycle and you have to do the water changes anyway, just keep ammonia below 0.25ppm and be patient.
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Old 11-22-2012, 08:53 PM   #6 
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the piece of driftwood i bought that had the plant attached to it came from a tank in the fish store,they said it had good bacteria on igt as it had been in the tank for a few weeks,but mayb they just lied,who knows,ill keep testing every couple of days,i just thought id see some nitrates by niw and thought the ammonia would not be so high the day after a 40 percent change
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Old 11-22-2012, 10:46 PM   #7 
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Driftwood or decor should have acquired some bacteria after three weeks...hmmm. A lot depends on what the donor tank's pH was, as well as other factors---temperature, free ammonia among others.

A 0.25ppm ammonia reading a day after a change is a little high but not unreasonable nor unheard of.
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Old 11-23-2012, 12:10 PM   #8 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Juicebox View Post
my ammonia is showing .25ppm
my nitrate is showing 0
my nitrite is showing 0
my ph is showing 7.6

i also tested my tap water straight from the tap and the ph is around 7

is stuff in my tank making my ph too high?
(SNIP)
i also have 4 rocks i took out of a lake and 2 pieces of wood i took from the lake. i think maybe the rocks are raising the ph?

why do i have so much mamonia today after i just did a 40 percent change yesterday? and why do i have no nitrates?
Ok, let's deal with ph, then ammonia.

Your PH may be high because of the ammonia. Don't let it worry you too much, 7.6 is well within the zone your betta can handle. If it goes OVER 8 or UNDER 6.5 start getting concerned. Otherwise, just say "oh, ok," and don't worry too much about PH. (An example of someone who should worry about it is me, my tap water is over 8.2 out of the faucet, and it killed several tetras before I realized it was a problem.) The only thing I will tell you is that if the difference between the tap water and the tank water ph is .4 or more, when you do a water change, add the new water a little slowly, maybe add it in parts over half an hour, so as not to shock fishy with a sudden change.

Now, the ammonia: that's high, enough to be a concern. So, I suggest you start by doing a 50% water change now, even though you just did a water change. It may be that it was VERY high before your recent water change, and still needs to be lowered. The good news is, water changes will help make that problem go away right away.

Having nitrates in your tank is a result of good bacteria which break down ammonia and turn it into nitrates. The fact that your ammonia is high and your nitrates are zero indicates that you don't have these bacteria. The good news is, you can buy them. Go buy a bottle of API Quick Start and use it on your tank after your water change - this is basically a bottle of bacteria to get your tank going. It works pretty well... after you've used it, just monitor the ammonia and if it goes up, do another 30% water change (not more) and add a dose of Quick Start again. It's not unusual to need to use a little more Quick Start a couple times to get things going right. If you want to be extra good, also buy a bottle of Stress Zyme+ and add some of that with your water changes, after the first two weeks to a month. It's additional bacteria which help break down the poop to improve water conditions and reduce cleaning urgency.

Also, do not clean the gravel in your tank (the betta poop is part of what the bacteria eat to get things going correctly) for at least a month, or change the filter. After a month, start alternating the gravel cleaning with the filter change on an every two weeks basis... so, clean the gravel, wait two weeks, change the filter, wait too weeks, etc. This is because the good bacteria lives in the poop in the gravel and in the filter, so you don't want to replace both at once. (This also makes your job easier.) And, if you have live plants, you might be able to get away with not cleaning the gravel at all, as long as your ammonia and nitrates are testing good.

This all sounds complicated but it's really very easy once you get going, I know you're going to do fine. Have fun with your betta!
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Old 11-23-2012, 12:48 PM   #9 
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You shouldn't replace the filter at all - just rinse if off in old tank water or clean dechlored water.
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Old 11-23-2012, 02:19 PM   #10 
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Wendy, I don't know what you're using, different filters are different... I had one filter that you could choose not to replace the media you didn't mind it not doing a good job of filtering, but my main tank is a fluval chi, if you just take out the filter and rinse it and put it back, it starts to clog all the time, and when it clogs it stops filtering. (It stops aerating, too.) So the filter media has to be replaced about monthly.

Your mileage may vary.
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