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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,
Are these levels normal for new tanks?? The first set is one of my 1.5 gallon Tetra cubes, then my yellow ammonia free tap water, then the second tank. Yesterday, my ghost shrimp in the first tank kicked the bucket (surprising how sad that can be). Possibly because of the ammonia levels? Or the api root tab? Ugh, either way, I feel really bad about it.



Both tanks have been set up for under a month (one for almost three weeks, one for just over one week). I check the ammonia/nitrite levels every other day. My ammonia is spiking in each tank. I'm doing 60-75% water changes every other day. Each time I check it again, it's back to the dreaded green on my api test kit.

Are they cycling? What can I do? I'm worried and don't know what my next step should be.
 

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a 1.5 gallon tank is gonna be hard to cycle. dose your tap water have ammonia in it? do you have a filter in the tank. if you dont the water should be changed 50% twice weekly and 100% on a week. if you have a filter its two weekly 50% water changes and 1 50% gravle vacuum. if you are trying to cycle it first you will deal with ammonia and you need to change the water when ammonia reaches .25ppm-.50ppm. soon Benefical bacteria will grow and ammonia will drop to 0ppm and nitrITES will start to show up. change water when .25ppm or higher nitrITES. once they drop off and read 0ppm nitrATES will show up which is safe for fish in low leves and get removed with the weekly changes. Old fishy ladies stickies in the betta fish bowls, habitats and accessories are very helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi,
Thanks for responding! The tanks are both heated and filtered, and each have a live plant in them. I have one betta in each. I didn't know/didnt think you could cycle a tank that small, but don't understand why I have to do 60-70% water changes every other day plus spot cleaning etc every day and still have such high ammonia. My tap water (the center tube in the picture) is ammonia free. Is this normal for this stage? Will the tank eventually cycle? How can a tiny sweet little fish produce THAT much ammonia?

...is this what killed the Kraken, my ghost shrimp?
 

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When cycling high amounts of ammonia can be seen. A tank of that size is gonna be hard to have a stable cycle. Most people say 5 gallon is the smallest for holding a stable cycle. The ammonia is the from the waste breaking down from both shrimp and Betta fish. Did you remove the dead shrimp?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yes, I removed the shrimp. I waited, though, because I was foolishly hoping he had just molted and that he would want to eat his shell. But I only waited an hour or two.

So would you say that my tanks are cycling and that's whats causing me to have to change the water so much and so often? Will I eventually be able to change the water twice a week instead?

Thanks again for all the advice.
 

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That's as good a short explanation of cycling as I've read, Kyle.

I'm an advocate of small-tank cycling. But 1.5g is pushing it. Not impossible, but very finicky. It is important that the ammonia never rise >0.25ppm (like in your tests) while there are fish in the tank. That's what killed you shrimp. Perform a 50% water change whenever you get that reading. That may be every day. Same goes for nitrite when you get it.

Get more plants, fast-growing ones, and floating plants. Check with the "planted tank" section of the forum for more suggestions.

Having said all that, you should seriously consider applying all this advice to minimum 2.5g tanks or, better yet, a divided 5g.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi,

Thanks. The ammonia gets up to .5 in just over a day, nitrites are still very low. Is the Fluval Spec 2 gallon enough bigger? It's only .5 gallons more, but once you get higher than that, the cost starts to shoot up (well over $100 for two more tanks). I'll upgrade them if I need to, though. The anubias is doing well in one, and the amazon sword is frustrating me in the other. It's very difficult to keep happy, even with root tabs and trimming. My crypt melted, and the moss ball turned brown. What would you recommend as more plants considering I apparently have a gray thumb? The guy at Petco told me no more than one plant in a tank 2 gallons or under or they would fight for nutrients. I really appreciate the advice; I'm trying so hard with these guys, and I just want them to be happy.
 

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As much as I hated the led hood the 5 gallon aquarium I got at Walmart had a nice internal filter. If I could have done it different I known what I know now I would have gotten the top fin 5.5 gallon or tried harder to talk her into the 10 gallon we have now
 

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I'm not a big fan of divided tanks. But, foi what you're doing, see if you can get a plain glass 5g with no top or lights. Use a desk lamp with a 6500K (Kelvin--- color temperature) curly CFL around 15W.

One filter, one heater, cheap craftmesh dividers
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/diy-aquarium/diy-aquarium-tank-dividers-21866/
(Use two. Put the heater and filter between them).

It doesn't get cheaper than that.

Spend some money on Hornwaort, Wisteria, Anacharis, Duckweed or other floaters.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the responses. I really appreciate it. I'll get the floating plants as soon as I get the tank situation figured out. I don't want to divide the tank; I want to take one betta to work and leave one at home. I wanted to wait until the tank had "cycled" or whatever it is its doing before taking him in because I don't want to do 75% water changes every day/every other day at work, and then have to worry about him on the weekend not getting his water changed. The levels are getting too high not to test every day.

I was looking at the Fluval Spec aquariums and wanted to know if the 2.6 was big enough to cycle or if I needed to get the 5. And if I do change tanks, is just using the same substrate and driftwood enough not to lose any progress I've already made?
 

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A 2.5g is the smallest tank I'd recommend cycling with fish in the tank. Many of us do it, but it takes attention. Daily testing and 50% water changes as needed to keep ammonia <0.25ppm. Same for nitrite when it appears.

Floating plants and fast-growers are especially important in small tank to attenuate ammonia spikes.
 
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