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Hello, new member here. Ill try to keep this from becoming a wall of text.

I got my first aquarium earlier this week. It was a 20g kit with HOB filter, hood/light, and heater. I had water in it the first day, treated it with the water conditioner it came with.

The next day I bought two zebra danios to start the cycling process. Currently I am two days into that process. The fish are well, they stick together all alone in that tank and appear to be healthy.

I installed a permanent ammonia meter inside the tank, but so far it still says < .02. Temp is steady at 78 degrees. So far all tests have revealed neutral water, no nitrate/nitrite presence and slightly hard water.

How long will it take before I start to see the ammonia levels rise? Will the bacteria setup correctly in my HOB filter system?

I have it moderately planted (plastic plants), with the two primary structures being a large porous false rock formation, and a smaller barrel/rock formation with an air stone in it. I will add pics later on tonight.

Biggest concern so far is the water is slighty cloudy with a white milky haze. I read this could be bacteria blooms. Any reason to worry?

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Suggestions for fish later on? I like the danios so I may get another couple of those. I like what I read about Corys. I also considered a golden wonder killifish and some dwarf gouramis or some tetras. Would all of these play together nicely enough? Im open to other suggestions as well.

Its a crazy hobby to get into! *n1
Jeff
 

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Hello, first off, I want to *w2 you to this site. Now amonia levels should start rising anywhere between 3-5 days depending on what method you used to kick off your cycle.

The slightly cloudy with a hazy milky haze in what is called (NTS) "New Tank Syndrome." The folowing paragraph describes it best:

In established aquariums toxic ammonia from fish waste is broken down by bacteria into nitrite, which is itself broken down by a different group of bacteria into nitrate. In a newly set up aquarium, those bacteria are not present in any quantity, and it takes time - about a 4 to 6 weeks under normal circumstances - for those bacteria to multiply to the point of being able to keep up with the waste output of the fish. “New Tank Syndrome” and “The Break-In Cycle” describe the period in which ammonia and then nitrite levels rise to dangerous quantities before being converted into relatively harmless nitrate.

At this point, I would do a 50% (WC) water change.
 
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Ive done my reading on the Nitrogen Cycle. I had also read that doing significant water changes at this point could remove a lot of the bacteria that I want to develop?
 

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Ive done my reading on the Nitrogen Cycle. I had also read that doing significant water changes at this point could remove a lot of the bacteria that I want to develop?
Still learning a lot myself - am under the impression that this bacteria you are working so hard to build is mostly in your gravel and filter media. Changing the water won't do any harm in fact, it's highly encouraged.
 

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If you're getting "New Tank Syndrome" what I understand it out to be is waste and because you don't have any or I should say not enough bacteria to consume all that waste is returning in to your tank. And yes, I just learned that the bacteria is on the gravel, UGF, rocks, decor, plants, filter media, etc. So a water change at this point wouldn't matter as far as removing bateria. Not doing a WC at this point could be more harmful than good, IMHO.

And yes, this 100th post. Party Time!!! :)
 
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Photo as promised. I found more sources confirming that the haze is a bacteria bloom and should level itself out shortly. It is part of the initial tank cycle and nothing to worry about. It is not ammonia, as those tests are fine. My other tests are all still normal, and the fish show no signs of stress so far.


photo as promised

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/jprime84/3924307682/" title="IMG_3702_1 by jprime84, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2560/3924307682_d0784d1869_b.jpg" width="1024" height="683" alt="IMG_3702_1" /></a>
 

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very nice tank!
 

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welcome to the forum...nice rock in the backround

all you have to do is buy live plants...which will help cycle your tank as well
 

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dont ask questions if you already know the answers...unless you are open to the opinions of others..that being said, nice tank, good job on a first attempt and welcome!
 

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Cool tank. :) And why ask questions if you're going to do the research anyway. I do research first, then I ask questions, but that's just me.
 

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A few things about setting up tanks. IMO--never cycle with fish. It is a pretty antiquated method that puts your fish under unnecessary stress because you're subjecting them to high levels of ammonia while your biological filter grows. If the fish wind up dying during the cycling process, it's because they have been slowly poisoned by high ammonia levels, which is a terrible way to go. When I'm setting up a new tank, I leave it fishless for 2-3 weeks while the bacteria multiply. During this time period I add straight ammonia to the water to get the cycle started and put a bunch of filter media from another tank into the new one to help seed the biological filtration system. You can also add some fish food or a small piece of raw shrimp in place of actual ammonia. Give this method a try next time you set up a tank; it works perfectly every time without every having to worry about fish mortality.

Since you already have fish in your tank, do what you can to beef up your biological filter. Try adding a product like Cycle (Aquarium Biological Starters: Cycle from Hagen Biological Water Conditioner), which will add tons of beneficial bacteria to your tank and reduce fish stress. See if you can get some old filter media from your LFS or a reliable friend to help seed your tank. That should help a lot to speed up the cycling process.

At this point, do water changes as needed to make sure that your ammonia and/or nitrite levels don't get too high. Test your water daily for the next couple weeks.

Once your tank is happily cycled, get some more danios; they do much better in schools of 5-6 or more. And definitely get some corys and/or otocinclus catfish. They do a great job of keeping your tank clean.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Its not that I knew the answers already. I was in the middle of research and was curious whether or not the answers I would get on the forum would match my research.

The only reason I didnt do fishless cycling is because I already had the fish before I read about cycling, otherwise I probably would have done fishless. If the fish start to look bad, I will buy a small quarantine tank to put them in and just do daily water changes in it while the big tank cycles.
 

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That's a good backup plan to have. Once you start adding more fish, be sure to do it slowly and not introduce too many fish (more importantly fish waste) at once. Maybe get 3 more danios and then wait a week before adding any more fish so as not to increase the bioload too quickly; that way the beneficial bacteria will have plenty of time to establish themselves and you won't have to worry about ammonia spikes or high nitrites.
 

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Welcome to the forum J Prime.
You have embarked on a fish-in cycle which can be done with good success. The idea that water changes will slow the cycle is common knowledge in some places and is just plain wrong. The bacteria that we want to develop in our filters live right there in the filters. They can live free swimming but really establish their colonies in areas with a good flow of oxygenated water. They form a film on things like ceramics, sponges, aquarium decor, tank glass, plant leaves and you name it. None of these are harmed by doing water changes.
Water changes are your friend while doing a fish-in cycle. They keep the fish healthy while the bacteria develop. As long as there is a source of ammonia in the tank, like the gills of fish or rotting plant leaves or decaying fish food or decaying fish waste, there is enough to keep the bacterial colony growing and improving until it can remove every bit that you are producing. Until you reach that point, there will be some surplus ammonia in the water for the bacteria to use about 5 minutes after a water change of 50% or more.
When I had a partly cycled filter that I was forced to use for some new fish, I did water changes so big the fish were worried about having enough water to swim in and they were small fish. The nitrites were higher than I liked and I decided the fish were going to have decent water to swim in. The 90% plus water changes went on for about 5 days while my filter finished up cycling. After that I have not seen any nitrites in my water. The cycle finished up very nicely with daily 90% plus water changes.
 
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