Lake Malawi Species • Failed Malawi Cichlid Tank

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Re: Failed Malawi Cichlid Tank

Postby ha77 » Mon Apr 03, 2017 2:10 pm

Fogelhund wrote:
ha77 wrote:Skip the LFS stuff and buy a bottle of ammonia a from a hardware store. I used old country ammonia (red bottle) which I paid like $2 for. It took a little over 3 weeks to cycle.


Surely you don't need to use that now do you? If you started a new tank?

Me?
No..i set up another tank last night actually. Threw in 3 seeded sponge filters. Plan on checking parameters and moving some fish into it tommorow. Gave the rest of the bottle of ammonia to my grandma for cleaning lol.
OP will need an ammonia source though if they rehome the fish and contine on with fishless cycle.
55g Ruawre, Maingano, Caeruleus
55g Tropheops Sp.Chilumba, Perileucos, Demasoni
40g Aurifrons Sp.Mphanga, Nkali
33g Grow Out
20g Fry
10g Fry
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Re: Failed Malawi Cichlid Tank

Postby rookie-cichlid1978 » Mon Apr 03, 2017 4:24 pm

ha77 wrote:Skip the LFS stuff and buy a bottle of ammonia a from a hardware store. I used old country ammonia (red bottle) which I paid like $2 for. It took a little over 3 weeks to cycle.

Fishless cycling is underway for the 25 gallon tank with Ace Hardware's ammonia bottle. Day 3 today.... :D Considering that I had a few fish in there for 2 weeks, should I expect a smaller cycling time? Or would it be about the same?

I am still evaluating the purchase of the 125g tank. As in where to buy from.
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Re: Failed Malawi Cichlid Tank

Postby ha77 » Mon Apr 03, 2017 4:31 pm

rookie-cichlid1978 wrote:
ha77 wrote:Skip the LFS stuff and buy a bottle of ammonia a from a hardware store. I used old country ammonia (red bottle) which I paid like $2 for. It took a little over 3 weeks to cycle.

Fishless cycling is underway for the 25 gallon tank with Ace Hardware's ammonia bottle. Day 3 today.... :D Considering that I had a few fish in there for 2 weeks, should I expect a smaller cycling time? Or would it be about the same?

I am still evaluating the purchase of the 125g tank. As in where to buy from.

Its definitely possible. Give yourself 3 weeks though.
55g Ruawre, Maingano, Caeruleus
55g Tropheops Sp.Chilumba, Perileucos, Demasoni
40g Aurifrons Sp.Mphanga, Nkali
33g Grow Out
20g Fry
10g Fry
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Re: Failed Malawi Cichlid Tank

Postby rookie-cichlid1978 » Wed Apr 12, 2017 4:00 pm

Back to the well for some help and clarification please.

Been doing a fishless cycling on my 25g since March 31 by following the instructions/recommendations laid out here. Yesterday had the first "zero ammonia" reading and have been seeing a Nitrite spike to >5ppm (max measurable value) for 2-3 days prior. Did a check today and the ammonia test is not as yellow as yesterday (almost a greenish tinge). I havent done anything since the test yesterday so I am puzzled about a small increase in ammonia. To be expected sometimes or am I missing something here.

I was planning an ammonia feeding today or tomorrow - should i stick to the plan?
Thank you.
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Re: Failed Malawi Cichlid Tank

Postby Iggy Newcastle » Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:30 pm

I use the API kit. I have a hard time discerning the ammonia results. I always test against some bottled spring water. Try the test again.

You should look to keep that nitrite down below 5 ppm, per the article. I'd suggest a 25% WC, followed by a test. See where you're at. If you're still high, do another WC the next day. A few days without ammonia isn't going to kill your cycle. A very high nitrite reading can inhibit the cycling process.
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Re: Failed Malawi Cichlid Tank

Postby rookie-cichlid1978 » Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:33 pm

Iggy Newcastle wrote:I use the API kit. I have a hard time discerning the ammonia results. I always test against some bottled spring water. Try the test again.

You should look to keep that nitrite down below 5 ppm, per the article. I'd suggest a 25% WC, followed by a test. See where you're at. If you're still high, do another WC the next day. A few days without ammonia isn't going to kill your cycle. A very high nitrite reading can inhibit the cycling process.


Ok sounds like a good plan. Will do a water change tonight and see where I am tomorrow.
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Re: Failed Malawi Cichlid Tank

Postby Iggy Newcastle » Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:51 pm

Sounds good. I'd check it right after the WC to see where you are, and again tomorrow. If you're still at 5 tonight, you know it's sky high.
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Re: Failed Malawi Cichlid Tank

Postby rookie-cichlid1978 » Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:59 pm

Iggy Newcastle wrote:Sounds good. I'd check it right after the WC to see where you are, and again tomorrow. If you're still at 5 tonight, you know it's sky high.

This is the tank of patience and learning! Phew! Definitely still 5pm! Probably more!

Guess another water change tomorrow. Keeping at 25% sounds like a good idea to avoid a major change in bacteria count or chemical levels. Can I do it bright and early or should I wait 24 hours?
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Re: Failed Malawi Cichlid Tank

Postby rookie-cichlid1978 » Thu Apr 13, 2017 11:34 am

Did a second 25% WC (two WC in about 14 hours) and still reading close to or over 5ppm for Nitrites. I have no idea how someone can tell the difference looking at the API chart!! The tank has some plants in there as well - 2 Anubias and 1 hornwort but they are now almost 3 weeks old. The fishless cycling started about a week after they were in the tank.

I am a bit surprised that even though I didnt allow the cycling to complete pre fish loading, this tank has been "active" for almost 10 weeks of which 3 were spent with fish in it. Is it logical to expect a faster cycling in this case? Also I am now 1 week in since I got established media water from the LFS (water squeezed from 3 different tank sponges).

If someone has any ideas please do share. I am going to keep at a 25-30% WC (twice a day) to see if I cant cause the nitrites to drop below 5ppm (definitively)
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Re: Failed Malawi Cichlid Tank

Postby Iggy Newcastle » Thu Apr 13, 2017 6:56 pm

The chart is tough to distinguish, for sure.

Too bad they didn't give you the sponge. Bacteria lives on surfaces; not in water.

Just keep doing your changes to get the nitrite down. Once you do, dose ammo to 1 ppm instead of 2 ppm. I don't remember what your nitrite was before when fish were in the tank. And keep in mind that you won't see a gradual decline, but more drastic. Once nitrite seems to be getting converted, step ammo back up to 2. Stick with it man...
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Re: Failed Malawi Cichlid Tank

Postby rookie-cichlid1978 » Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:01 pm

Iggy Newcastle wrote:The chart is tough to distinguish, for sure.

Too bad they didn't give you the sponge. Bacteria lives on surfaces; not in water.

Just keep doing your changes to get the nitrite down. Once you do, dose ammo to 1 ppm instead of 2 ppm. I don't remember what your nitrite was before when fish were in the tank. And keep in mind that you won't see a gradual decline, but more drastic. Once nitrite seems to be getting converted, step ammo back up to 2. Stick with it man...


Thanks, Iggy. Looks like my "short cuts" are not really useful because they may be inaccurate. On 3/30 after the fish were dropped off at my LFS, my water test read like so:
Ammonia: 2-3 ppm
Nitrites: 0.25-0.5 ppm
Nitrates: 5-10 ppm

I took my ammonia up to >3ppm with a small dose of pure ammonia on 3/31 and started the "fishless cycling". I have a feeling that this tank will take the full 40 days!! I was hoping to use the filter pad from here for my new 125g that is getting ready to start its own "fishless cycling" this weekend. But, no rush for sure - I want to get this right especially considering how much help I have received from people like yourself!
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Re: Failed Malawi Cichlid Tank

Postby rookie-cichlid1978 » Mon Apr 24, 2017 12:46 pm

April 24th is a good day!

My 25g tank hit a zero for ammonia and nitrites. My nitrates are definitely less than 20 ppm today (first test for nitrates). Is that normal and OK? I do have 3 plants in there from day 1 (2 anubias and 1 hornwort). Would that explain a steady state nitrate absorption?

The tank is 18" cube. Any cichlid species that might work in this size tank? If not, I plan to convert to a tropical fish tank this week (only downside is that I will fight the pH with a buffer to keep it reasonable).

Thank you for looking at this post and letting me know how I am doing.
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Re: Failed Malawi Cichlid Tank

Postby Fogelhund » Mon Apr 24, 2017 12:51 pm

18" cube. Any of the Tanganyikan shell dwellers, Julidochromis ornatus, Gombe, transcriptus, Telmatochromis vittatus/bifrenatus, Neolamprologus brichardi/pulcher types...

West Africa - Pelvicachromis kribensis types, or taeniatus.

South America - Any Apistogramma, Rams

Go through the Species Profiles and see what you like of these, pick one species only, and we can help from there.
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Re: Failed Malawi Cichlid Tank

Postby rookie-cichlid1978 » Mon Apr 24, 2017 12:58 pm

Fogelhund wrote:18" cube. Any of the Tanganyikan shell dwellers, Julidochromis ornatus, Gombe, transcriptus, Telmatochromis vittatus/bifrenatus, Neolamprologus brichardi/pulcher types...

West Africa - Pelvicachromis kribensis types, or taeniatus.

South America - Any Apistogramma, Rams

Go through the Species Profiles and see what you like of these, pick one species only, and we can help from there.


Ok thank you, Fogelhund!

Did the lower start point of nitrates (right after ammonia and nitrite conversion) bother you?
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Re: Failed Malawi Cichlid Tank

Postby Iggy Newcastle » Mon Apr 24, 2017 1:54 pm

Cycle and results are great. I know that took a long time, so congrats. Plants may account for 20 ppm. I'd dose ammo again and see where you are tomorrow.
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