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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I havent seen one of these, so I thought I would post updates on my progress of cycling my first tank. I went into this knowing nothing about it, and I figure maybe my experience can be beneficial for others.

Day 1 - After seeing a friend setting up a tank, and fondly remembering keeping fish as a kid, I buy a 20g kit from a store including tank, hood, light, HOB filter, and heater, as well as starter packs of water conditioner, food, and SmartStart bio booster. I also bought a dark substrate gravel hoping it would show off the colors of my fish later. I rinse everything as described, and place the gravel. I add water up to the line as described, rinse and place the filter, plug it in and off we go. I added the water conditioner, and a bit later the SmartStart bio stuff. At this point there is water, gravel and maybe 2 plastic plants in the tank. *w3

Day 2 - Having not read about cycling yet and my dip stick test reads everything at good levels, I decide to buy 2 Zebra Danios to start, as I read they were hearty and inexpensive.

Day 3 - Dip stick shows nothing new, water begins to be a little milky cloudy. I read that this is a bacteria bloom and is normal. I begin to read about the cycling process. *o2 I added several other decorations/caves/plants to the tank.

Day 4 - I have my water tested at the local fish shop. It is barely showing some ammonia, is slightly alkaline, but otherwise fine. Wanting to ensure the best filtration, and provide a better filter for the bacteria, I buy an AquaClear 30 filter with Bio insert (now running 2 HOB filters). I also buy a 3rd Zebra Danio to increase the ammonia levels.

Day 5 - New filter works great, the cloudiness of the water has cleared, and the other danios seem to accept their new tank mate finally. I bought a nice test kit with the vials and testing chemicals. If I am interpreting the cards correctly, there is a small reading of ammonia as well as nitrite. Will have to see if that is still visible tomorrow.

Day 6 - No nitrite showing in the test today. I either misinterpreted yesterday or didnt mix the chemicals correctly. Ammonia is still on the rise, just below .25ppm. Fish are still very active, the largest danio seems to enjoy chasing the others around.

Day 7 - Ammonia around .25ppm. Fish have not altered their behavior at all.

Day 9 - Ammonia still around .25ppm. Still not measuring any nitrites. If the ammonia has plateued maybe I should start to see nitrites soon?

Day 12 - FYI, For a while now I have been using the Aquarium Pharmaceuticals Freshwater Master Test Kit. I expected more of a change at this point than what I am seeing. Ammonia is between 0 and .25ppm as it has been for days now. Nitrites are at 0, Nitrates are at 0, and PH is slightly high at 7.4-7.5. Water temp has been a stable 78-79 degrees F the entire time. I added two types of live plants yesterday, amazon swords and an Anubias Nana. I am coming up on the two week mark of the cycle time, am I seeing what is expected at this point? Fish are fine (other than the bully that chases the other two) and water is clear. Little to no algea forming yet.
 

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Day 6. Time for a nice large water change with dechlorinated water at about the same temperature as the water in your tank. You need to keep the ammonia low for the fish's health. The cycle will take care of itself if you do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The LFS said I shouldnt worry about the PH until the tank cycles. also, 7 is neutral, why go as low as 6?
 
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