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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Firstly I'd like to say hello to everyone as I'm a newbie, so be gentle! Hellooooo! :)

Here goes....
I have purchased a 330litre tank of which I plan to keep mbuna cichlids in. Now I have an Aquamanta EFX600 external filter, Fluval U4 internal filter, white sand substrate and plenty of rock but also open swimming space. I filled her with water last weekend, primed filter and switched everything on and its been 9 days since being up and running. Once water temp was up to approx 24c, I introduced 2 plecos and a balla silver shark to help with the cycling process.
Today, I took a water sample to my LFS to have tested to see how things are going, as I wanted to get a 2nd opinion compared to my basic test kit, and the guy said my nitrites are high, about 0.6ppm, ammonia was near enough 0, pH around 8-8.5 and nitrate was ok too. Now he suggested that I perform a 25% water change every 2 days, then get it checked again next week. Now, I may have this wrong, but would I need to leave the water as it is, or is he right? He also says, the plecos could be affecting this cycle, as they are messy eaters.

What do you guys think. Should I leave nature to take its course for another week (or more)? Or do I take his advice, and do the water changes?

Thanks in advance! :fish:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks PfunMo, an interesting read and easy to understand. I'm guessing that as my filters are new and bacteria still has to colonise, the nitrite and nitrate levels are gonna peak higher to start with. I might see what differences there are (if any) at the weekend, and if no change or raised levels then I might do that 25% water change and see how things go from there.
It also seems to me that fishless cycling is a better way??
 

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Do the water changes, he's right. There's no reason not to. Keep nitrite down below 1ppm. You're fortunate it's so low. Keep an eye on it and do daily water changes if that's what it takes to keep nitrite down. Your ammonia may have just dropped and now ammonia is starting to spike. Did you add any type of bacterial starter?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I used a product called Nutrafin Aqua Plus water conditioner, which I've only really used for de-chlorinating tap water during water changes on previous established tanks. I dont think it contains ammonia or anything to aid the cycling process though, just makes UK tap water safe??
 

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I would do some water changes to keep the nitrites as low as possible. 25% every other day might not even be enough. I would also condition the water with something like Prime or a similar product to make the nitrites less harmful to the fish. You should continue to monitor the nitrites very closely in case they haven't spiked yet (prov356 might have meant to say that when he's said "now ammonia is starting to spike").

Assuming your fish survive this stage (and even if they do survive, there might be longer term consequences to their health), you're going to need to go slow with adding more fish to the tank. One of the advantages of doing a fishless cycle is that you can add them all at once.
 

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Yes, that's all it does.

I'd test ammonia/nitrite daily or even twice daily to see what direction things are going. It just seems like things are progressing very quickly for not seeding with bacteria. But, depends on if nitrites are just starting to rise. If nitrites are just starting to rise, they could get a lot higher and it may last a couple of weeks or so. You don't want to get caught off guard if levels jump really quickly over the next couple days.

Now, reading through your post again, you say nitrites are high at .6ppm. Do you really mean 6ppm? Because .6ppm is not high at all. If 6ppm, that'd be more typical at this point in cycling and definitely call for immediate water changes.
 

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mrchris said:
I used a product called Nutrafin Aqua Plus water conditioner, which I've only really used for de-chlorinating tap water during water changes on previous established tanks. I dont think it contains ammonia or anything to aid the cycling process though, just makes UK tap water safe??
It wouldn't contain ammonia. If it was a bacterial starter it would have bacteria that consumes ammonia and nitrites to help accelerate your tank cycling. In either case the product you used is not a starter.

Here's a description of it from Hagen's website. I would use something else (like Prime) instead for now since the Nutrafin product doesn't seem to neutralize ammonia/nitrites.

NUTRAFIN AQUA PLUS
TAP WATER CONDITIONNER
Removes Chlorine and Chloramine
Neutralises Heavy Metals
Protects and Heals
Patented Stress-Reducing Formula

When adding tap water to an aquarium, it should always be treated with a water conditioner to neutralise harmful chlorine, chloramines, and dissolved metals. Chlorine is an effective oxidant commonly used in bleaching and disinfectants. Just imagine what it could do to the sensitive life sustaining gills and protective membranes of your fish.

Nutrafin Aqua Plus instantly neutralises chlorine, chloramines and dissolved harmful metals in tap water that can be toxic to fish and often impairs their natural resistance levels, leaving them more prone to disease. Nutrafin Aqua Plus is the only water conditioner to contain P.H.E., a patented compound, which also includes Valerian Root, proven to reduce stress in a natural way, as well as additional elements to help prevent infections due to abrasions and scrapes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks guys, I think I made a typo in my 1st post. My test kit (Nutrafin) gives results in mg/L, which are as follows:

Nitrite - 1.6mg/L
Ammonia - 0.6mg/L
Nitrate - 40-50mg/L
 

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So, seems ammonia is on the decline (probably) and nitrite on the rise. That would seem about right. Keep testing and I'd suggest daily water changes, if needed. Further testing will tell. You might also want to get the Prime as zimmy suggests, particularly if you're not in a position to do the water changes. The LFS is right on about the pleco's driving toxins up. Be very careful how much you feed, particularly those guys. Feed very sparingly. Once every 2-3 days. Cut back if you're having trouble keeping toxins under control with water changes. Hopefully they can ride it out for a few weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ah, thanks guys. That all makes sense to me now. This is my 1st Malawi setup, and has cost quite a bit thus far. But I'm trying to be patient with the water chemistry, so I dont end up wasting money when it comes to stocking the tank once it's cycled! Much appreciated advice, hopefully I'll get pics on here in a few weeks!
 
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