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cycling confusion

502 Views 10 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  hello12590
Im newer to the fish world and have been researching like crazy to find the best way to take care of fish and starting a cycle, but im getting confused on the water changes for when and how much to do at one time. im getting mixed ideas about how much to do when to do them and what i am looking for. I have a master freshwater test kit a 20gl tank with a red-tailed shark, 4 mystery snails, and 6 tiger barbs. Please help it is getting so confusing and i feel like im just hurting the fish.
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Well, welcome to TFK, you're in the betta fish section of the site, but that's fine.
Since it seems you are doing a fish in cycle, you should be testing your water every other day.
How long has the tank been set up?
Ideally you should do a 30-40% water change everytime your ammonia or nitrite reaches 0.25ppm. You want the levels to read as zero. Even still, there will still be trace amounts that will be cycling the tank for you. Do you have any live plants? They could also be beneficial at this point.
no plants the tank has been up for about a week moved for a 10gl to a 20gl and later on a 40+ but im just confused with some people saying only do 10% and wait for them each to spike and others saying dont let them spike and do 50% or sometimes more
Since you are cycling with the fish-I would monitor the water prams and make 50% water only changes with readings of ammonia, nitrite 0.25ppm or greater....remembering that some additives/dechlorinator can cause skewed reading....

You need to make this water only change in addition to your regular 50% weekly with vacuum until you have nitrate of 5-10ppm without any ammonia, nitrite can take about 4-8 weeks to establish the nitrogen cycle.

You also need to give the filter media a swish/rinse in the bucket of old tank water with a water change a couple of times a month-but best to not start this until the tank is cycled unless the water flow is compromised....

Be sure and shake, bang on the table and shake some more on the #2 nitrate reagent bottle-it tends to settle and can cause skewed well as follow the direction to the "T" on all the test-
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i did a 50% in my last 10 gal and it just seems like when i do that all im doing is just sturring everything around and not really stablizing
in the 10 gal i did every other week but with the 20 gal it has been just over a week now
Its important to vacuum the substrate in all areas that can be reached without moving anything on a weekly basis. Too much mulm/debris buildup can suffocate the nitrifying bacteria you are trying to colonize.

Once you vacuum and make the weekly water change-refill the tank and turn the filter back on the water should clear within an hour...if not...then you either missed a water change/vacuum or overfeeding or overstocked.....
thank you. is there anything else i should worry about my fish. I origanally got mystery snails just because i thought they would be cool to have and take care of now it has become a tropical expansion thats seems to grow by the day
Be sure and shake, bang on the table and shake some more on the #2 nitrate reagent bottle-it tends to settle and can cause skewed results...
Put a pea-sized bead or pebble in the #2 nitrate bottle. That makes it like a rattlecan for better mixing. This makes a difference; a well-shaken #2 nitrate bottle gives more accurate results (usually a lower NO3 reading).
doing a 50% water change now how long do i need to wait before i can test to see if the water is better
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