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Old 04-01-2012, 01:57 AM   #1 
sandinourshorts
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Messed up cycle. Can it be fixed?

I goofed. How do I fix this?

I have a 4 week old 10 gallon tank, filtered and heated. It’s inhabited by Silky, an awesome female CT. Living with her are 2 Koi Swordtails and 3 Corys.

The tank has never been properly cycled. Not knowing any better, I took the advice of the guy at a pretty reputable pet store and came home with tank, fish and “Bacteria in a bottle” that he assured me would save me the pesky and time consuming chore of cycling the tank the old fashioned way. Since I live in a small town 1.5 hours from the store, the temptation was too good to resist.

You all know what happens next. Of course the “Bacteria in a bottle” doesn’t seem to work and the ammonia levels start creeping up. I’ve been trying to keep them in check with frequent, usually daily, 50% water changes.

So far the fish all appear to be doing well. Growing, eating, active, etc.

My question is this...at this point is there any way to establish a cycled tank without destroying these poor fish? Should I try more “Bacteria in a bottle”? I know that the ideal levels of ammonia and nitrite is zero, but failing that how high is too high? Right now I’m trying to keep things below .25ppm but I fear that I will never get the tank to cycle with the levels that low, and I fear casualties if I let it get too high.

Please go easy on me. I’m a beginner trying really hard to do right by these fish and making a few mistakes along the way. Thanks for any help you can offer.
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Old 04-01-2012, 02:09 AM   #2 
Micho
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I fell for the "bacteria in a bottle" scheme! So you're not alone there!

It looks like you'll have to do a fish-in cycle. Test your water everyday if ammonia or nitrItes are at 0.25ppm or above, 50% water change and only water. Test your nitrAtes every few days or so, once your nitrAtes are at 5 ~ 10ppm without any ammonia or nitrItes spikes, you are most likely cycled.

Also do you have any live plants in your tank? I'm only asking this because it'll affect how your tank cycles.
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Old 04-01-2012, 02:24 AM   #3 
sandinourshorts
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Thanks for the feedback. No sign of nitrites yet. If I understand correctly, you're suggesting that the tank will eventually cycle, even with only low levels of ammonia/nitrites.

No live plants at this stage. Really thought I would try to keep things simple to get started and would consider plants once I seemed to have a grasp on the basics, which I clearly don't yet.
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Old 04-01-2012, 02:35 AM   #4 
Micho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandinourshorts View Post
Thanks for the feedback. No sign of nitrites yet. If I understand correctly, you're suggesting that the tank will eventually cycle, even with only low levels of ammonia/nitrites.

No live plants at this stage. Really thought I would try to keep things simple to get started and would consider plants once I seemed to have a grasp on the basics, which I clearly don't yet.
Yeah since you have your fish in your tank right now, correct? They're your ammonia source. The bacteria needs a source of ammonia to eat and convert into nitrItes then finally nitrAtes. Just be sure to keep testing your water parameters and react accordingly to the results.

Okay no live plants. :)
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Old 04-01-2012, 03:07 AM   #5 
Bombalurina
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Don't worry, the bacteria in a bottle thing got me too. I think sometimes it can help, but I don't believe it will ever cycle a tank alone.

Just to caution you: swordtails will grow too large for a ten gallon and are pretty active fish, so you may wish to consider upgrading to a 20 gallon in the future.
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Old 04-01-2012, 11:44 AM   #6 
sandinourshorts
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Thanks for the tip on the Swordtails. I can definitely see a larger tank in our future. Let's try to get one running properly first.

Back to the original question...anybody see any benefit / harm of adding more of the bacteria in bottle. Of course I realize this isn't a silver bullet that will instantly fix everything, but would it help at all or should I just stay the course I'm on and leave well enough alone?
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Old 04-01-2012, 04:47 PM   #7 
Bombalurina
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The worst thing it can do is nothing. I can't harm the cycle. I would say, since you have the stuff, keep adding it - you never know, maybe it will help a little. I just wouldn't buy any more when you run out.
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