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How much patience with cycling?

Badmans Tropical Fish Message Center: Beginner freshwater : How much patience with cycling?


Thursday, 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 last week?



Thursday, 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 tank cycled!



Friday, 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.



Saturday, 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.


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