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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
K, so after constant issues with my smaller 20 gallon I went and got a new tank. We have no space for a 55 gal., so the 46 gallon was the next best thing since it fit in the hole.

So, In this huge tank I have 10 fish plus a pleco. I MOVED ALL of the gravel over from the old 20 gallon tank, along with the decorations and plants and DID NOT clean them. I added new gravel along with it to this new 46 gallon tank as I didn't have enough old from the smaller 20 gal. tank.

I lost 2 fish on the move, they went belly up in the new tank. I think due to ammonia poisoning from the 20 gallon they were shoved into and Its just too litte too late for those two. So we are down to 8 and a pleco.

The water was crystal clear when I first put it in. I added PRIME and Safe Start along with my 11 fish (but then I lost two overnight remember, so we are down to 9 now). Today the water is just very slightly cloudy and I have an ammonia reading of "stress" on the little test strip. For tonight, as its already past 9 my time and I don't know what to do - I wont be taking any action on the situation.

I have two penguin 150 B bio wheel filters. I put NEW filter media into one of them but KEPT the media from the other. I did rinse the filter catridges out in the sink before I reused them so that may have lost me some bacteria there. Both filters are hooked up and pumping as we speak.

So, I have some questions now in order to do this right and not lose any more fish:

What do I do about this ammonia situation? Why am I showing slight ammonia in a brand new tank of this size with small (inch, inch a half) fish in it, and only 9 of them in there?

What else do I need to do in order to cycle this tank effectively?

Secondly, are two penguin 150 B's enough filtration on a 46 gallon? How much GPH should I be using on a tank this size? Is there a "super" filter I should be using that will ensure my tank is always crystal clear? A better brand, more GPH, anything?

What watt heater do I need for this tank?

Finally, the test strips are OK, but can someone link to me the kit I need that will give me actual number readings on my water for every measurement I would need to take - ph, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, etc...

Thanks in advance all.

Bueller
 

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Even though you moved some gravel and a filter from the old tank you will still need to go through a cycling process. The process should take a shorter time with the things from the other tank. This is why you are getting ammonia now because of you starting a new cycle Also like you said, the rinsing of filter media in tap water killed some of your bacteria. Adding the Prime is good. It will detoxify the ammonia. But to keep the ammonia levels down you need to do water changes since you are cycling with fish. I haven't cycled with fish in so long I forget how often you should do water changes. I would do frequent changes of 30 or 40% to keep the ammonia levels down.

For your filter, in my tanks I try to have 10x turnover rate of the tank, so in a 46g I would try to get 460gph. I tend to over filter and 10x really isn't needed, it's just piece of mind for me. At a total of 300gph (empty without media) the penguins should be ok if you really keep up on your weekly water changes and don't over stock the tank.

For the heater, I use a 150w heater in my 55g without any problems. Ideally you want the lowest wattage possible so if it breaks and gets stuck on it won't boil your fish.

For the tests, most use API which are sold and any LFS or petsmart etc..
 

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I would also read this http://www.cichlid-forum.com/articles/cycling.php to keep you updated on the cycling process and what to expect through out. But again, since you are cycling with fish, frequent water changes (don't forget to use the prime) will be needed to keep your fish from dying.
 

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As rgr said, you need an api freshwater master test kit, with the liquids and test tubes, not test strips.

The second thing is, Prime will cause an ammonia reading for up to 48 hours after use. You have to trust it, it IS working. Test again in 48 hours and do another water change with more prime if you are still getting ammonia readings.

Third, Be patient, It might be inconvenient to do tests and water changes every two days for 2 - 3 weeks, but it will be worth it when you're done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
FINALLY - Tank Cycle complete! ALL readings are in the ideal state! SO happy to finally have this finished. Now to slowly add to my collection....

Thanks for all of your help everyone!
 
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