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Old 02-14-2011, 01:40 PM   #1 
boro
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We have a problem

Well, so here's the deal...

I've had my betta Khan in a 10 gallon tank for probably about exactly four weeks now. He's got a nice habitat with gravel substrate, a heater, filter and some decorations. Some of you guys have probably seen my tank. There's also two live plants, an anubias and an amazon sword.

Well anyway, over these four weeks I've been trying to get the tank to cycle with just him in it with absolutely no success. I do partial water changes every time the ammonia exceeds 0.25, but the ammonia builds up very slowly. This may be due to the plants. After I added them I went three whole weeks before I had to change the water (with daily water tests of course).

Now that in and of itself isn't a problem, but my concern is that since day one I have seen zero Nitrites, and I've been testing for them solidly for about three weeks.

Even with all that, I still wasn't really concerned, just a little inconvenienced maybe as I'd hoped to have a community tank in here someday...

But now we come to the real problem. I must have said something about wanting to get some cory catfish to my girlfriend but maybe didn't say why I hadn't gotten them yet. Anyway, she did her research on them and bought 6 little emerald cories and the right food for them. It was such a thoughtful thing to do that I can't bring myself to say that the tank wasn't exactly ready for them yet and that we have to take them back.

I tested the water after they were added and noticed the ammonia was at 0.5 ppm, but I think that could be due to the nasty water they came with at the pet store. I did a 50% change a few hours ago and that brought the ammonia back down to 0 ppm.

As for the fish themselves, they are very active, both the cories and Khan the betta. They aren't showing any signs of stress. Khan is doing really well with his new tankmates, he hasn't flared at them once. In fact he seems to be comfortable enough to swim among them without worry when the swarm in his general area. Although, when they dart around sometimes they surprise him and send him flying off in another direction. But I think they'll do great together.

So I guess my question is this: with this unexpected advance on my tank's stocking schedule, can I still keep ahead of the water quality? I'm considering doing 10% daily water changes and a 50% water change as needed according to the ammonia tests (or nitrite if I ever start finally getting any).
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Old 02-14-2011, 02:36 PM   #2 
Oldfishlady
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Have you got nitrate yet....

In 10gal filtered tank along with live plants and 1 Betta...it most likely will take another 4 weeks, however, with the added corydoras you most likely will see your nitrite spike soon....just keep testing and making water changes as you are doing...I would make 50% as needed per the test and 50% with substrate vacuuming in all areas you can reach without moving anything in the tank or disruption of plant roots- at least weekly on a regular basis....you still have DOC's-that we don't/can't test for- that can build up that have to be removed with the water changes to maintain water quality

When was the last time you cleaned or changed out the filter media?

It is best to not change it or even rinse/swish in old tank water while you are cycling unless it clogs and impedes water flow...then you have too.....once cycled a good rinse/swish in old tank water with a water changes a couple of times a month and when the water flows slows to maintain good water flow

Love to see some pics....
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Old 02-14-2011, 04:35 PM   #3 
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Thanks for your reply!

I've only checked for nitrate a couple of times but haven't seen any yet. Just checked it again and nitrates are still 0.

I haven't touched the filter at all yet, actually haven't done anything except partial changes really. My first interval was one week, after adding the plants going by the water tests I was able to extend that to three weeks, again though with just the betta.

Glad to hear that everything should be okay though.

I do enjoy pics, here's one from today although it's not all that great cause it was taken from my phone. You can see the betta swimming around near the middle and a few of the cories over by the bottom right corner.


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Old 02-14-2011, 04:46 PM   #4 
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Very nice.....your tank looks great and your phone takes better pic than my camera...so it must be me and not the camera that takes bad pics...laffs....

Sounds like you have a pretty good handle on things....more time and keep up with the test and water changes...once you get nitrate readings of at least 5-10ppm and 0ppm ammonia/nitrite for several days you are most likely cycled and 1-50% weekly with vacuum should maintain water quality.....
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Old 02-14-2011, 05:06 PM   #5 
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Great, thanks...it's good to hear everything will work out...

Also glad to hear you say that the nitrite spike should be coming soon...I'll be really happy when I see any nitrites at all truthfully, lol.
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Old 02-16-2011, 10:43 AM   #6 
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Today I had to do a 50% water change as my ammonia hit 0.5 again. I noticed when I started up the filter again afterwards, it spat out a white cloud initially and then cleared up. Could this be the start of a bacterial bloom?

Nitrites are still 0.
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Old 02-16-2011, 05:42 PM   #7 
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Don't know if you answered yet, did you use any existing gravel or bacterial doping from API, Hagan or TLC?

The bacteria that do the nitrate cycle can survive in dry cool air for months on end, properly treated water they can survive even longer.

Does the water conditioner you're using handle chlorine AND chloramine and state so on the lable?

What model is the filter and was the bio-media (not just fiber and carbon filter) included in it?
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Old 03-23-2011, 05:43 PM   #8 
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Sorry I didn't get back to this or answer your questions...

But after two months, my tank is FINALLY starting to cycle!

I don't know if it's related, but about a week before spring break (a couple of weeks ago) I added Tetra Safe Start because my tank hadn't cycled yet, and I knew I wouldn't be able to have anyone come over for the week...

Well come time for me to leave, there were still no signs of nitrites but there were trace amounts of Nitrates. I did a double water change until everything read zero and then left.

Came back and tested the water...it wasn't very good BUT I had a very low amount of ammonia (<0.5), some nitrites (1ppm) and nitrates (20ppm)! And don't worry, my fish were perfectly healthy when I got back and still are. I did a bunch of water changes when I got back.

Since then the ammonia has been getting less and less as have the nitrites (although much slower), while nitrates are going up. Looks like it's finally happening for me.

Just did a 50% water change and current readings are: 0.25 Ammonia (weird, because that's what it was before the change) somewhere in between 0 and 0.25 ppm nitrites, and either 10 or 20 ppm nitrates...it's hard to tell because 10 and 20 look so similar. But it was 20 before the change so I'm going to assume it's 10.

It took FOREVER but looks like I'm finally there...

Tank isn't fully cycled I know until everything but nitrates consistently reads 0 but from what I've read it isn't that far away. 8 weeks in so far.

Here's what the tank and my fish look like now:


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Old 03-23-2011, 11:21 PM   #9 
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That's an aqueon filter, they're not really very good at biology so its good you've got lots of stuff in the tank for the flow to go around.

The one big down-side I've seen with the aqueon filters is they were designed by an idiot with one bright idea... the submerged pump.

If you just can't get your ammonia to go down you may want to use either a pre-filter sponge or to strap a sponge up into the blue out-flow thingie that aqueon thinks can cycle a tank. Be carefull handling that portion not to scrape off too much.
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Old 03-24-2011, 08:28 PM   #10 
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Yup it is an aqueon...not happy that it's not helping my tank cycle, but as long as something is I guess I'm not that worried about it, lol.

I'm gonna venture a guess and say my tank is as cycled as it's gonna get...it's been a day since my last reading and usually the differences from day to day are dramatic but it's exactly the same as it was yesterday...0.25 Ammonia 0 Nitrites and either 10 or 20 ppm Nitrates.

But yeah my Ammonia doesn't seem to be going completely away...not sure what's up with that. I'll look into the sponge idea.
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