Am I doing the fish on cycle right?

Discussion in 'New Aquarium Advice' started by LillyPop21, May 29, 2017.

  1. LillyPop21

    LillyPop21 PetForums Newbie

    May 24, 2017
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    I have had 2 Platys in my tank since Wednesday and I have just started testing the water myself (the pet shop was doing it before) and the first test I did was yesterday and I got a reading of 4.0ppm ammonia so I did a water change and got it down to 2ppm. I checked it again this morning and it was still 2ppm so I did another water change this afternoon and it came back out at 2ppm. Is this okay? I know it's not okay to have any ammonia at all but if I keep testing and doing daily water changes will it go down??
  2. NaomiM

    NaomiM PetForums VIP

    Sep 22, 2012
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    4ppm is very high; even 2ppm is way too high for a fish-in cycle. You're doing the right thing by testing the water yourself (presumably the pet shop wasn't telling you it was so high?) and by doing water changes, but you really need to get the ammonia down to a much lower level ASAP. These are the additional steps I'd recommend:

    1) Do an immediate 50% water change, and test the water again. If the test shows anything higher than 0.25ppm, wait one hour, then do another 50% water change. Repeat until the ammonia level is 0.25 or below.

    2) Test the water again every day, and repeat Step 1 any time it shows above 0.25 for ammonia OR nitrite (you should be testing for both). Don't worry about nitrAte levels at this stage - ammonia and nitrite are the ones that can seriously damage your fish.

    3) Get hold of some Seachem Prime as soon as you can, along with a 1ml dosing syringe. Calculate the dose for the volume of water in the whole tank, and dose this daily to detoxify the ammonia and nitrite. (There are other ammonia binders available, but some can interfere with the water test results. Prime won't, as it converts the ammonia into a form that is non-toxic but still shows up on the API tests.) Continue to do water tests and water changes daily as you do so.

    4) If you are at all able to do so, get a bigger tank ASAP. The platys will need one long-term anyway, and the ammonia they produce during the cycle will be more diluted in a larger volume of water, and therefore less harmful to them.

    5) Keep a close eye on your fish for any symptoms such as dashing around the tank, lying on the bottom, gasping near the surface, reddened gills, or any other differences to appearance or behaviour.

    I really hope it all works out for you and your fish, but unfortunately there is a high chance of problems resulting from such a high ammonia reading :(
    magpie and kittih like this.