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· Registered
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)

I am working on my friend's 13.09 gallon planted tank that have fish already on it. Anyway, it already have fish in it and in my opinion it's overstocked and asking for my help.

We got a predicament here because it's only 2 months old. The only reliable test kit that we have is pH test kit and a Nitrate test kit. Both from Sera.

We also have Sera Aquatan and Nitrivec.

Every other test kits are not available because the LFS here in our area thinks that it's good business if their customers fish keeps on dying for unknown reason (My guess is it's New Tank Syndrome).

Here's the list of the fish:
7 Cardinal Tetra
5 Black Neon Tetra
6 Bronze Corydoras
6 Otos
2 Female Pregnant Guppy (These are going to be donated to me! Yey!)

As you can see, it's overstocked for an 18x12x15 tank.

I asked him to put in Sera Nitrivec as directed in the bottle since, if it does say it contains those good bacteria, it could metabolize any ammonia present in the tank.

Another thing that may have kept his fish alive is that his water change schedule is a 30% water change on wednesday and saturday every week.

No plants haven't died or melted away yet.

Is there a visual or smelly cues that his tank is cycling or is cycled?

Using the test kit we already have, how can I make the best of it without ammonia and nitrite test kit?

Please don't post that I should get a test kit. I have tried to ask them, preordered and stuff but they won't listen! They keep saying that their supplier is out of stock!

· Registered
38 Posts
you can check for nitrate readings if that is all you have. test the nitrate and then do the water change wait about 30min and test again. if its gone lower then you know the test kit is working and then you can test again in 2 days and if the nitrate is back up you know that the tank definitely has both strains of bacteria in it.

other than that i do not know how to tell if a tank is cycled by smell. i know ammonia smells but i dont know about nitrate

· Registered
1,599 Posts
Blue, you don't say what your predicament is except that you don't have test kits. Are his fish happy? Swimming proper? Eating good? If they are then whats the worry? Sounds to me like hes doing great water changes. All of his fish are small and are "clean" fish. Plus if he has live plants in there that are doing well. I'd say he's doing great. The plants will absorb a lot of the nitrates as well as kick start the cycle. The usual duration of the Nitrogen cycle is 6 to 10 weeks, without adding live plants or store bought bio. Just remind him not to rinse any part of the filter or ornaments in tap water that has chlorine, use syphoned tank water or at the least dechlorinated water.
As far as being over stocked, what he has is really not that bad, they are all small & cover different levels. Add that to 2 30% wc'a a week, and hes doing better then most us old timers.

· Super Moderator
8,476 Posts
what the heck is a test kit for???????..i never use test kits.just like sue says..if the fish are cool;the tank is cool.
sniff that water...if it smells kinda like good ole dirt;then it is fine.
2 things i don't do or worry about..test kits and cycling.
but i won't tell you to be like and all my fish are weird.

· Permanent Fishaholic
1,624 Posts
Here's what I do and it seems to be the cheapest way:

When I first set up a new tank I buy one of those ammonia strips that stick inside the tank. They aren't but about $6-7 dollars and they work for a year. When you first start up a tank it will show low ammonia for a couple days, then the ammonia will spike to the top of the testing scale. Now when the ammonia comes back down to the lowest reading you know that you tank is cycled. This usually takes about 4-6 weeks unless you have some dirty filter catridges from another tank that you can throw in the filter of the new tank, which will cycle your tank in a week or two. Unless you have extremely hard or soft water or you use well water then buying a PH test kit is usually not necessary. Most freshwater fish can handle anything between 6-8 Ph, but most like it right around 7.

· Registered
16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hello guys! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Here's what he observed:
Albino Corydoras and Bronze Corydoras:
They doesn't seem to be active than usual when he first got it in his tank.
They just sit there except when feeding then they become active but not as active as before. Did they just become lazy?

Cardinal Tetras:
At first, they school together but now the biggest of the 7 chase the other tetras. They don't school as close as together before

Black Neon Tetra:
A bit of a good news since they were infected with Velvet, medicated in a quarantine tank and they recovered. One fish has a rip on his fin but after 2 weeks it has completely repaired.

Same as the cories. They became lazy and don't swim as fast a before. (Are they just in relaxed mode?)

One guppy keeps rubbing on the plants occasionally but eats a lot.

Growing happily.

Water smell:
Normal smell. Not very smelly, just smells like an aquarium

I guess the tank is ok. Currently using 20% Tap Water, 80% water from water refilling stations.

Not really sure if the fish are acting normally.

I also advised him that when rinsing the filter, always use the aquarium water when rinsing because tap water with chlorine will kill the good bacteria.

Will update you guys when I get an ammonia test kit. My LFS said that it will arrive next week. With that I guess that will be a month before it arrives.:(
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