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Old 10-14-2011, 11:12 AM   #1 
charlotte
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Cycling tank with shrimp, water change?

I've been cycling a 20 gal with shrimp for a few weeks. It's heated (high 80's) and filtered. I haven't been testing the water every day, just a few times. At the beginning the ammonia was at 8ppm. I tested today and its at about .25. I only have test strips rather than a liquid kit for nitrate and nitrite so I'm not sure how accurate it is, but nitrite was at about 10ppm nitrate at ~160. Even though they're not accurate it still kind of works because it at least shows they're high, right? I'm not sure how off the strips are.
My question is do I need to be doing water changes? and how much longer do you think the cycle will be at this point?
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Old 10-14-2011, 12:11 PM   #2 
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another question. do betta likes a LOT of plants or do they like a lot of open water to swim in?
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Old 10-14-2011, 01:05 PM   #3 
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Hi there, I would suggest getting a liquid water testing kit as strips are usually quite inaccurate.

Since you're doing a fish-less cycle water changes are usually not needed, just keep continue adding the ammonia source and you should know that your cycled when you have no ammonia no nitrIte and around 10ppm ~ 20ppm of nitrAte.

Bettas love plants they prefer floaters like Water Lettuce and gives them cover and makes them feel safe, if you're planning to do a community tank with the Betta I would suggest lots of plants. So there would be lots of cover to swim to if your Betta or other fish gets chased. Also live plants help with ammonia and suck some in to use, that's always a plus. :]
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Old 10-16-2011, 08:03 PM   #4 
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I got a liquid master test kit thing. Ammonia is about 0, nitrite 0, and nitrates around 40 to 80 ppm. Test strips were definitely off!! It's further along than I thought. Will it take a while for the nitrate to go down or am I almost done?
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Old 10-16-2011, 08:08 PM   #5 
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You are DONE!!! Nitrates do not go down. You have to do water changes to bring it down. A heavily planted tank will also help because plants use nitrates. But for now, do a very large water change and start adding some fish. Just make sure you do weekly or bi-weekly water changes to keep the nitrates below 40ppm, the lower the better.
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Old 10-17-2011, 02:21 PM   #6 
Micho
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Don't do a huge water change but do maybe a 20% water change, wait a day and test the water again. It should be around 10 ~ 20ppm of nitrAtes.
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Old 10-17-2011, 02:35 PM   #7 
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WOO!! how exciting! It went quicker than I expected. Thank you guys, ill do the water change today. can't wait to add fish soon! Another question if you get a chance to answer. Can I take the filter cartridge out or will that take away too much bacteria? I have 2 slots for cartridges-instead of changing it, should I just add another? And next time just replace one so I always have one with established bacteria? (hope that makes sense)
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Old 10-17-2011, 02:56 PM   #8 
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Yeah don't change your filter media whether it be biological, chemical or mechanical, because the bacteria have already colonized on the surface of it. I would suggest you replace one of them and the old filter media try to fit it somewhere on the filter. What kind of filter is it?
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Old 10-17-2011, 03:14 PM   #9 
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Marineland penguin biowheel 150 or something along those lines.
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Old 10-17-2011, 03:20 PM   #10 
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I'm checking these filters online and it says they have three stages, chemical, biological, and mechanical. How long have you had the filter set up? It's a new filter?
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