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How much patience with cycling?
Badmans Tropical Fish Message Center:
Beginner freshwater : How much patience with cycling?
January 24, 2002 - 11:15 am
I added 4 zebra danios to my 30 gallon aquarium on 12/2/01
to begin my cycling. I am now down to three danios due to
an unfortunate filter intake accident. Initially, I made
the typical beginner's mistake of overfeeding. When
my tank started to peak excessively after about 10 days,
I consulted my LPS about this. It was then that I was informed
that I was probably overfeeding and that I should feed no
more than about one flake per day. I was also advised to
do more frequent water changes, thoroughly cleaning the
gravel. Since that time, I have done from 3 to 5 (30%)
water changes a week. My ammonia levels zeroed last Tuesday
for the first time (1/15/02), peaked again at about
6ppm on Friday (1/18/02), then zeroed again yesterday.
My nitrites have been off the chart for the last three weeks
or so, and are still estimated between 10 and 20 ppm. My
question is: Is it normal for cycling to take so long (almost
8 weeks) and why did my ammonia levels peak like that
January 24, 2002 - 07:48 pm
You are changing out way too much water!!! Are you positive
the test kit is accurate? One sign of high ammonia is the
fish hanging at the surface. Are your fish exhibiting this
behaviour? If you are only feeding one flake per day, have
no decaying plants or vegetation your ammonia readings should
just not be climbing that much.Four underfed danio cannot
possibly produce that much waste in a 29 gallon! Also with
THREE OR FIVE water changes per week your tank may never
cycle. Changing out this much water is not really giving
any bacteria time to develop(including the good bacteria
which converts the ammonia to nitrites). Reread genesis
on Badman's main board to recheck on what really happens
in a cycle. If the fish are not exhibiting ammonia posioning
symptoms let things be and maybe go to once a week water
change(still quite a bit for a new tank with 4 fish).
You may still lose a fish, but at least you will get that
January 25, 2002 - 10:41 am
Thanks for the advice. I thought that the water changes
may have been hurting me more than helping. About two weeks
ago I stopped changing the water so frequently. I do have
some decaying plants which I believe is due to insufficient
lighting, but it is only my water wisteria. As we speak,
my nitrites are at .5 ppm and my ammonia is <.5ppm.
So it appears my tank is nearly complete cycling. Earlier
in the process, my danios appeared to hang at the surface
occasionally. But they are apparently very hardy fish.
January 26, 2002 - 07:55 am
Danio are hardy fish and a good choice to cycle your tank.
When you get a nitrate reading the tank should be cycled.
It shouldn't take much longer now that you have gone
to a regular water change schedule.