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Old 01-02-2011, 01:21 PM   #1 
JD3P
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Help ASAP Ammonia and Cycling

I know I started off with my tank all wrong, I didn't know about cycling until not too long along. I currently have a betta and a snail. I put quarantined the betta because of fin rot, but still have the snail in the tank. I don't know the water parameters atm, but I am going to buy an API test kit soon.

I've had a tank set up for a while now, doing 50% water changes for a few weeks. But since I don't have the test kit I can't read my ammonia levels. I would like to properly cycle this tank and as quickly as possible. (I know it'll take a few weeks though.)

My question is can I keep my mystery snail in the tank during the process? If I do I wasn't going to add any ammonia, rather just let it build up. But does it make a difference...won't it still harm the snail? I'm confused.

Also I read about adding StressZyme to get ammonia levels up...I've also read about products that are supposed to introduce good bacterial colonies to speed it up such as Nitromax and Microbacter. Are these safe to use with the snail in the tank? My reason for not wanting to remove him is because last time I took him out of the heated tank he wasn't moving much. But if it's better to leave the snail in cooler water rather than sit through the cycle I'll do it. I just need to know what I should do. Thanks.
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Old 01-02-2011, 05:59 PM   #2 
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You can do a snail-in cycle just like a fish-in cycle....the snail will work just fine as the ammonia source and since you don't have a test kit I would do at least twice weekly 50% water changes and feed the snail small amounts 2-3 times a week...monitor just like you would with a fish...

IMO-less chemical additives the better....dechlorinator is the only thing you need if you are on city water supply

Few questions...
How big is the tank, any live plants, what kind of filter, how many days has it been set up...
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Old 01-02-2011, 07:24 PM   #3 
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Originally Posted by Oldfishlady View Post
You can do a snail-in cycle just like a fish-in cycle....the snail will work just fine as the ammonia source and since you don't have a test kit I would do at least twice weekly 50% water changes and feed the snail small amounts 2-3 times a week...monitor just like you would with a fish...

IMO-less chemical additives the better....dechlorinator is the only thing you need if you are on city water supply

Few questions...
How big is the tank, any live plants, what kind of filter, how many days has it been set up...
Thanks, I will keep the snail in then. I was just worried about him being burned by the ammonia. The tank is 10 gallons, I have two java ferns, anacharis, three aponogetons, and java moss. I have an aqueon quiet power filter. It's been set up with it's current filter cartridge and sand since December 9th. So far I did a 25% water change on December 26th and than last night a 90%. (Probably way too much.) I bought Prime so I'll just be adding that in. I also use a plant fertilizer for aquariums, but that's all. I bought the API test kit tonight and I plan on checking the water level in a little while.
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Old 01-02-2011, 08:23 PM   #4 
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Do keep in mind that snails are affected by high ammonia levels just as fish are. Sometimes those poor guys get forgotten..

They also need tons of calcium for strong shell growth..
Once you're all cycled there are great recipes for 'snello' which is a great food source for snails. It might foul up the water rather quickly to use it now..if you're interested, feed them small cubes the morning before your water change day..remove the leftover with your water change.

Good luck and post some snail pictures!
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Old 01-02-2011, 09:29 PM   #5 
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With the amount of plants you have they should take care of any ammonia that is produced by the snail and by the Betta for that matter in a 10gal tank...provide that you don't have lots of left over food decaying in the tank or lots decaying plant matter or ammonia in the source water- but with the use of prime that should take care of that in a 10g tank-with a weekly 50% water change.

Make sure and make at least 25-50% water only change before you add the plants ferts to remove any unused ferts so you don't cause algae problems.

Usually you will have enough minerals in your water to support snail shell development unless you have really soft water-from just regular water changes so you may not need any additives

Since you have a test kit-test your source water too without any additives added-re-test this same clean glass of water in 24h to get an accurate pH-then test with the added Prime-compare all these numbers along with the tank water numbers and this will tell you-if you have any ammonia or nitrate in your source water, accurate pH, your CO2 content of the water, what effect the Prime has on the water and if anything in the tank itself is effecting the water....good information and base line to have....
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Old 01-02-2011, 09:30 PM   #6 
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Originally Posted by Cravenne View Post
Do keep in mind that snails are affected by high ammonia levels just as fish are. Sometimes those poor guys get forgotten..

They also need tons of calcium for strong shell growth..
Once you're all cycled there are great recipes for 'snello' which is a great food source for snails. It might foul up the water rather quickly to use it now..if you're interested, feed them small cubes the morning before your water change day..remove the leftover with your water change.

Good luck and post some snail pictures!
I have a cuttlebone which I'm going to boil first and than put a few pieces in the tank every week. I'm definitely interested in the 'snello' recipes for after the cycle. Here's my snail, he/she (uncertain).

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Old 01-02-2011, 09:39 PM   #7 
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Originally Posted by Oldfishlady View Post
With the amount of plants you have they should take care of any ammonia that is produced by the snail and by the Betta for that matter in a 10gal tank...provide that you don't have lots of left over food decaying in the tank or lots decaying plant matter or ammonia in the source water- but with the use of prime that should take care of that in a 10g tank-with a weekly 50% water change.

Make sure and make at least 25-50% water only change before you add the plants ferts to remove any unused ferts so you don't cause algae problems.

Usually you will have enough minerals in your water to support snail shell development unless you have really soft water-from just regular water changes so you may not need any additives

Since you have a test kit-test your source water too without any additives added-re-test this same clean glass of water in 24h to get an accurate pH-then test with the added Prime-compare all these numbers along with the tank water numbers and this will tell you-if you have any ammonia or nitrate in your source water, accurate pH, your CO2 content of the water, what effect the Prime has on the water and if anything in the tank itself is effecting the water....good information and base line to have....
Didn't know the unused fertilizer would cause algae growth. I'll make sure to do the water changes first before adding any again.

It's a good thing I didn't add the prime yet, lol I was considering it. Thanks for all the info, it's all been really helpful!
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Old 01-02-2011, 10:14 PM   #8 
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If you are on city water supply make sure and use some type of dechloranator for both the Betta and snail...Prime is a good one too-just remember it can change ammonia to ammonium and the test kit can't tell the difference-ammonium is safe for fish and livestock and the nitrifying bacteria and plants can still use it for food

If you have hard water you may not need the cuttlebone..check your KH/GH-fresh mineral from regular water changes is usually all the snail, plants and fish will need

Yes, the plants can only use so much ferts and only if they need them to start off with and what they don't use algae will use for energy and you can end up with green soup.....
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Old 01-03-2011, 10:07 AM   #9 
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Just an update on my water test. I tested the water this morning without adding any prime yet. I'll be adding the prime now and checking it either tonight or tomorrow, and rechecking this water (saved in a cup) like OFL suggested.

Right now the readings are:
pH 7.4
Ammonia 0.25 ppm
Nitrite 0 ppm
Nitrate 5.0 ppm

The ammonia color in the test tube was really hard to determine. It was very close to both the 0.25 and 0. But I think it might have between somewhere in between so I choose 0.25 ppm to be on the safe side. Is it normal for the nitrates to be acceptable but the ammonia still present? And is it normal for the pH to be so high at this point? I had to use the high range test solution to get the accurate reading. Thanks.
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Old 01-03-2011, 12:01 PM   #10 
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This is the tap water or source water- water pram numbers? if so, you have ammonia and nitrate in the source water to start...correct....or is this the tank water?

Your pH is fine and if this is the source water pH-once you check it in 24 hours it may be lower-once it gases out

What are the tanks numbers....
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