The lady at the petsmart told me my water was fine, good amonia, nitrates, and nitrites, but does that mean my tank is cycling? I haven't seen a spike in amonia, or a following spike in nitrites/nitrates. I treated the water very well with bacteria, plantlife, good water, dechlorinators, all that jazz.
My tank is barely 2 weeks old...? The guy who sold me the tank told me as long as I betta treated and did all the treatments I could have a betta in a days after I got the tank and had it setup, and bettas are hardy enough to handle the cycle as long as you keep track of it... I get this feeling there is some impending doom about to strike my tank as my amonia skyrockets and the cycle actually starts... or maybe it already did and its done and over with.....?
I have a 20 gallon aquaclear (low setting) and they used strips, but it was about an hour or two between the time sampled and the time of the test... I am going to buy my own strips on the way home I think. D=
What water changes should I do under which circumstances?
I would recommend that you get the API master test kit that test for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH. In the long run the master test kit will last longer and you get more for your money, plus is it more accurate.
On a 20g with filtration, lightly stocked and cycled, 50% weekly water changes with substrate vacuuming in all areas that can be reached without moving anything around or disruption of plant roots if planted, filter media swished/rinsed in old tank water with a water change 1-2 times a month or if the water flow slows. Changing the filter media when it falls apart, I change mine at most one time a year.
On a cycling tank, depending on stocking and water pram test, 50% water only when ammonia or nitrite read 0.25ppm or greater, vacuum no more than one time a week. Once you have readings of 0ppm on ammonia and nitrite and 5-10ppm on nitrate for several days without a water change you most likely are cycled and this can take 4-8 weeks.
50% water changes every week o___0 that goes against everything I've been told about changing water, and seems stressful on the fish, Yeah if its about 0.25ppm I'll 50%, not that much weekly regardless... Maybe 25% at the most on a generic weekly basis. Thanks for the advice on when my tank is cycled. They used the master API kit with all 4 readings on it at petsmart and some seperate kit for another ingrediant.
I agree, make sure you get a liquid master test kit. API is great. You need to test your own water on a daily basis when trying to cycle. Strips are NOT accurate. For example, strips had my ph around 8.3. It's actually 7.2. And most strips don't have ammonia readings (which is SO dumb).
Some of my cycled tanks get changed 50% weekly. 50% is no more stressful then 25%. The fish don't know the difference. In fact, my guys chase the vacuum all around the tank trying to 'eat' the debris out of the tube. It's like a big adventure for them.
Even if you're not vacuuming, you can just slide the tube from the vac into a corner of the tank and siphon the water out into a 5 gallon bucket. It causes no disruption. Even my dwarf puffer is fine with it and he's jumpy as all get-out.
Thats so weird o___0 all the fish aquarium guys I have talked to said I should never have to do more than a 25-30% change in my tank after its cycled. We never did 50% changes on our old tetra/goldfish tank either. I guess I will try it.......
Fish shop people often give wrong or misleading advice, if they gave good advice how would they sell you more stuff that you don't need. Most, not all, fish shops don't want your fish to live a long time or else they would not make any money, not that I don't want them to make money, I do......but, I also want to provide the best care so that the fish thrive not just survive and live a long and healthy life.
Most people on fish forms are looking out for the best interest of the fish and don't profit from it...just a passion for the well being of a wet pet......