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A few weeks ago I got some rasboras for my 10 gallon tank. The tank has an Aqueon QuietFlow 10 filter and was heated. All the rasboras were dead within 2-3 days. I was puzzled. I thought the tank was cycled as it had been running for about 3 weeks and I'd tried putting food in to produce ammonia and cycle the tank. I've had a 29 gallon tank before and didn't have any problems with ammonia. A few guppies died because of very high KH, but that was it. I guess I didn't wait long enough.
The filter and heater have been unplugged for about 2 weeks while I decide what to do with the tank. I need your help to decide what to do with the tank. This is where you guys come in.
1.How should I cycle the tank? With fish? Without fish? What methods of cycling and test kits to you recommend?
2.What fish can I keep in the tank? I'm planning to have it be a tropical tank, what hardy fish should I start with? I do know that you can't keep White Cloud Mountain Minnows where I am.
3.How should I prepare the tank for fish? What should I turn on or off in terms of the heater and filter?
4.Any other advice for me?
 

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three weeks of the tank running isn't always long enough for a cycle to happen. my 29 took about 2 months. i did cycle it fish in, and lost 3/10 danios, but i still have seven. your tanks could have been in a spike stage. you should totally get the API freshwater master kit. i'm new to this too, but my fish have done well, and still seem to be doing well, but lots of people are against it because of the possibility of ammonia burns, etc.

what all do you want in the tank? do you want to add a betta/bettas? white cloud mountain minnows are cold water fish anyways.

from what i've learned, you should always keep the filter going and always keep the heater on.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I was orginally going to get White Cloud Mountain Minnows but couldn't so I bought a heater and am now planning on having a tropical community tank. I am not planning to put in a betta because my filter current is quite strong and I'm worried about agression. I was thinking of maybe some small tetras, some rasboras, maybe some corys, and maybe a gourami or two, but I'm open to suggestions/advice.
 

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If you were cycling with food, then you were most likely right in the middle... or even beginning of your cycle. Chances are, you were in the middle of either an ammonia or nitrite spike. Using food tends to be unreliable and takes a lot longer than using straight ammonia. Plus, if you are unlucky, the food can develop mold that can be toxic to the fish.
It is incredibly hard to do with food. I tried to cycle one of my tanks with food, and it took almost two weeks for any ammonia to show up... I can't imagine how long it would have taken to actually cycle the tank. I gave up on it and bought some ammonia. :)

I would wash your filter out very well (or even replace the filter pad) because if you have had it off for a while it is just full of dead bacteria. I would also wash the whole tank well and start from the beginning with pure ammonia and a test kit. The pure ammonia will make things faster because you don't have to wait for the food to rot and produce it (plus it is cleaner because you don't have to clean up the rotting food), and the test kit will show you when it really is safe.
If you can get your hands on some stuff from a cycled tank (gravel, something from in the filter is best) it can make the cycle incredibly fast. You have to be careful because the bacteria dies very easily, so you need to keep it in tank water from the other tank and put it in your tank ASAP. I was able to pull off a three day cycle with in my new tank recently this way. I took some filter balls from the filter on my goldfish tank, put some of them in the new filter and a bit of them in a tea bag that I put in the direct flow of the filter. Turned everything on and dosed with ammonia. There was a tiny spike the first day, but the next and it was cycling the ammonia as fast as I could put it in. Goldfish filter media is amazing. :lol:

You will want to decide what kind of fish to keep before you start cycling so that you can keep the tank at the right temperature for them while doing the cycle. The cycle bacteria can be weak and die off if you change the temperature significantly. If the tank is cycled when you start, you don't need to choose especially hardy fish. Just choose the kind you want to keep. If you get some hardy type and use them to cycle, then you later want a different fish instead you have to figure out what to do with the fish you used to cycle.

The best advice I can give is to buy a testing kit. The type with liquid, not sticks. Seriously, it makes so much of a difference.
 

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Plus an additional point as well about using pure ammonia (available in most hardware stores - MAKE SURE it DOES NOT foam when shaken), once you complete the cycle using ammonia, you can FULLY stock the tank when it is finished.

Agree on the API master test kit, it will be invaluable to you.
 
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