You must need to increase water changes. Do you have a good drops testing kit for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate? If not, you need to get one. API is the most common and is very good. If you have one, what are your ammonia and nitrite readings?
No, you did not mess anything up. Sometimes fish make it thru the cycle process, sometimes they don't. You are doing the right thing with water changes, that is how you remove the dangerous ammonia and nitrite from the water. The process goes... ammonia, then nitrite and then those will go back to zero and you will start getting a nitrate reading. Once the nitrate reading shows, the tank is cycled which means the filter has enough established bio (or funk) that it needs to keep the water healthy for the fish. You still need to check for ammonia, etc. every so often because if you clean your tank too much, or change your filter too soon, etc. it can cause a mini cycle. You are doing fine to do those water changes like you are because if you don't remove the ammonia/nitrites, your fish will suffer and more likely die. It normally takes about a month to cycle a tank, or that was the case for us. Until then, you just need to check it, I'd advise every day like you are doing, so you will know what is going on and when to do water changes. Two products that we use that have been very successful for us starting a fresh tank is API Quick Start (bio in a bottle), there are others some less expensive some more expensive but this is a mid priced product and we never have lost a fish when using this to start a new tank. Also, for a water conditioner, we use Prime (Seachem) some people use other kinds of water conditioners that work very well too, this is just our favorite and it helps to detoxify the ammonia, nitrites and nitrates in the tank for up to 72 hours (3 days) I have seen other people on here say 24-48 hours but I called Seacheam and they told me 72 hours. At least, with Prime you have something in the tank that is helping to protect your fish while the cycling process is underway. The bio in a bottle does not cycle your tank, rather it helps to jump start the filter and provides some live bacteria while the tank is cycling. You can use the API Quick start each time you do a water change (dose amount according to the amount of water you are replacing) anyway that is what we did and it has worked great and we have set up a lot of tanks over the years. Best of wishes with your new tank!
i've been searching for all these products at my localn pet store and they dont have them. They only have nutrafin cycle as bacteria and a lot of people say it doesnt work (ive got a small bottle of it though,never used) and as conditioner i have a tetra (yellow bottle). i just hope the other fish make it through the cycle. My betta seems okay but the platys seem to be agitated lately since my ammonia has begun rising!
Hey there Whiskey... I copied this from the internet because I am not that great at explaining and end up leaving out a few steps. Hope this helps!
**Beginning of copied thread
If the ammonia is under 0.25 then you are okay. If it's between 0.25 & 0.5 then carry out a sizable water change, I would say no more than 50%. If your ammonia is very high, 1.0 and above, carry out a very large water change, 75%, 80%. Many people do a water test directly after the water change. Sometimes you can get false readings doing it this way so always carry out your water tests before your water change. It's not worth panicking about, your water change should remove the ammonia so don't worry.
I'm not going to commit myself and say how long it will be before ammonia returns to zero, but at some stage this will happen, in the meantime, you will notice your nitrite getting higher, treat this exactly the same way as the ammonia. Finally, you will start seeing a nitrate reading. Nitrate is a byproduct of ammonia and nitrite and is not toxic like ammonia or nitrite. Once your ammonia and nitrite are zero, you have established a biological filter and your tank is cycled. The whole process could take six or seven weeks so be patient. Try not to panic during the cycling process if one day your ammonia is higher than the previous day, if you just carry on monitoring the ammonia and nitrite and do water changes accordingly, eventually the bacteria in your filtration will buildup to the extent that you will not have any ammonia or nitrite present, but you have to remember it will take several weeks if you are just using a few small community fish, so be patient. Do not clean your filters during the cycling process, unless you have some very fine polishing pads that get clogged up very quickly.
Only thing I can add to this posting is, Nitrates are dangerous to fish in high levels but the affect on the fish is not immediate. Nitrates should be kept at 0-20 ppm. Anything over 20 needs attention, which would be... water change, could be overfeeding, substrate may need better cleaning, decorations that have poop and left over food in, around or underneath them, overly dirty canister filter and I would guess a dirty HOB filter (we don't use HOB's - hang on back filters) and I'm probably leaving something out so someone else can elaborate :) Hang in there, we all go through this and it doesn't last that long. Before long you will be kicking back with your Whiskey (LOL) enjoying your fishes :) :)
Last edited by lakemalawifish; 12-11-2012 at 08:10 PM.
Wonder if you have ammonia in your tap water? You can test your tap water, either swish tap water in a glass real fast for a few minutes (do not add Whiskey LOL)... or you can let the tap water sit for 24 hours. I have heard it work either way, this process will naturally remove the chlorine so the chlorine does not skew the test results. Then test your tap for ammonia.