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Oh no.... :oops:
My impression of quick start was you add that and can basically add fish pretty much immediately.
This situation went from not good - to really BAD - really fast!
And yes, if you can still shut down that shipment of these expensive Cichlids you have purchased?
DO IT!!!
You are having some fundamental problems with the water and chemistry of your tank. Things you need to sort out and correct before putting those very nice fish in that aquarium.
An API Master Test Kit is probably the very next purchase you should make.
 

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That would be incorrect.
If your fish delivery has been successfully postponed?
- Test the water! IF you have ANY measurable Ammonia or Nitrites? Your tank is not finished cycling. Do not introduce any fish into what could surely be a lethal, or at the very least, harmful environment.
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If your fish delivery is now - On The Way?
- REALLY Test the water! Get more of that starter stuff, and marinate your biological filtration media in it. But, most of all - get established filtration from another fully cycled/old/running normally - freshwater aquarium. And get that thing or stuff running immediately on your new aquarium. THAT act alone will turn your now 'new' aquarium almost instantly into an established, safe, running normally type aquarium for your fish.
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And well, maybe the gods of freshwater fish husbandry will smile upon you if your fish are delivered while you are actively dealing (fighting) with a still cycling tank.... but, your fish and life certainly won't. Daily water changes. Constant checks for Ammonia and Nitrite that seem to NEVER go away. It's awful!
Avoiding all of that pain? Is why we seriously still DO Fishless Cycling.
 
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Oh man....
I'm really sorry to hear that. :oops:
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Best advice I can offer now that WILL fix this problem? Is to somehow get established filtration (or at least fully colonized filtration media) from a fully cycled/established aquarium) and place it on your tank.
Trust me on this: You'll avoid the really unpleasant cycling tank thing altogether, if you can do that.
 

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Good luck with it. From experience... Petsmart will be kinda, 'meh' on helping you with this problem. Best bets as follows,
  • 1) Friend, relative or close associate has an aquarium(s) and will loan you filtration they can spare until your tank has safely completed the cycling process.
  • 2) The LFS (Mom & Pop?) has an extra air-driven, fully established sponge filter running on a now empty tank. Hopefully they will sell it to you (rent?). Putting that thing into your tank will almost instantly fix the cycling problem.
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But.... if you are ultimately left with a zip-loc bag filled with some brown, tattered looking filter floss, gravel or some other less optimal source of beneficial filtration bacteria? DO NOT DESPAIR! You will have a precious object(s) with which to perform 'inoculation' procedures on the Biological filter media of your aquarium. Doing that procedure successfully, can shorten the cycling time for newly established aquariums, in dramatic fashion.
 
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That all sounds pretrty good. And yeah.... I suspected Petsmart was gonna come up short on this one for you.
Yep, keep checking the Ammonia and Nitrite. And just like you stated - be ready with those water changes to quickly dilute things down in there, if they start getting toxic on you.
And lastly, check also for Nitrates. It's a VERY good sign If you detect any, and the measured levels of that stuff keep going up.
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And just an idea... What are you filtering this aquarium with? Would it be possible to purchase a 10 gallon tank and push another (HOB type?) filter in that little tank - independent of the 75G - with a fishless cycle process? You could then add the separate/cycled HOB filter onto the 75G, if it completes the cycling process (hopefully) before the main tank does....
 

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Hmmmm.....
I have a couple penguin 350 running with bio-wheels going and they've been up for about a week now.
Well, just a thought... but, maybe you could pull one of those Penguin 350's off of the 75G and get it sited on a little 10 gallon aquarium (future quarantine tank?). Then, while you are basically 'babying' and nursing the 75G along to keep your new little Cichlid arrivals alive - you could just SLAM the other HOB mounted on the 10 gallon tank with a LOT of dosed Ammonia. I'm talking pushing 2 - 4 PPM measured levels of Ammonia for the 10G HOB - a lethal dose! That should really speed up the Cycling process along for the 10G mounted HOB at least. And, if you manage to get that one HOB cycled up with a good colony of beneficial bacteria? Your fish will be safe. You'll be home free! (y)
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Oh and.... Bonus!
Once that tank is cycled.... Get rid of the carbon in those cartridge filters. Long-term use of activated carbon/charcoal has been positively linked as a causal agent for HITH/HLLE in Cichlids, plus other problems. For my own aquariums, I only use Activated Carbon/Charcoal as a temporary measure to remove medications out of the water.
 

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Hmmmmm....
The added plants will help!😃
Sorry, that recommendation is only PARTIALLY CORRECT. And in fact, may actually be detrimental to fixing this problem for the OP.
Why? The answer is per the thread link below, and in my quoted response


Plus.... DON'T introduce any aquatic plants to the aquarium, until it is fully cycled. Reason is, the plants are quite greedy with their appetites for Ammonia and Nitrite. Even to the extent that they will keep the beneficial bacteria you need from growing out properly in your biological filtration media. So, once the tank is cycled and the filtration media is properly colonized with the bacteria colony you need - then add those plants and start setting up the tank. That way, if the plants have any problems or setbacks, your biological filtration media will be able to pick up the slack and keep the tank safe for your fish.
So, to get the best results from the OP's live Aquatic Plants AND those now non-cycled HOB filters to help with this problem?
  • Pull one of the non-cycled HOBs off of the 75 gallon tank (as recommended earlier), and place it in a separate tank or tub and just basically SLAM IT with dosed Ammonium Chloride to perform a fishless cycle on it.
  • Add even more live aquatic plants to the 75 gallon tank, as healthy/actively growing plants will actively consume the toxic Ammonia and Nitrite from the water in the still cycling tank to protect the newly introduced Cichlids.
 
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Be careful. With the live aquatic plants in that tank, they are interfering with the cycling process of your aquarium. Don't stock with any more fish until you get consistent ZERO's on the test kit for both Ammonia and Nitrite.
Plus, your industrious little diggers will undermine your rocks and could cause some pretty disastrous rock-falls in the tank. Best way to prevent that problem, is to ensure the lowest rocks on the pile are all seated down directly onto the bottom glass of the aquarium.
 

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+1 to @DJRansome
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Or, as is sometimes said in the military when things have to go right the first time?
'SLOW - IS FAST'
 
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