Tank Cycling

//Tank Cycling

Tank Cycling

Hello Venus,

I’m goldfish sitting again. This time, just for 12 days. Since the pump and pond sponge was added last time, it appears that good bacteria were able to grow in the tank!

This is a 5.5 gallon tank with 3 small fantails. Unfortunately, I will not be able to upgrade the tank size as it is not my tank 🙁

Current readings are:
Ammonia=0, Nitrite=0.5, Nitrate=5, pH=7, KH=0.
(No GH reading until new tester arrives).

One of the fantails’ tail frayed before and apparently the tank was salted. When the tail healed, it became black. Current salinity is 0.03ppm. One side of the black tail is longer than the other. I’m not sure if it’s completely healed but I imagine this happened as a result of cycling. The top fin of that fish is also slightly torn. Should we add any treatment to assist in the fin/tail healing? Or is fixing water parameters enough?

Do you think we are in the middle or tail end of cycling this tank? With the current nitrite and nitrate levels, how often should I be doing water changes and how much water should I be changing? Should I dose Prime for the amount of new water added or the entire 5 gallon tank?

Since the KH=0 (very low mineral quality), should I add some backing soda? Our tap water also has close to no minerals and low pH. I have already ordered some small wonder shells to arrive next week. In the meantime, should I add baking soda to raise KH and then add the shells to maintain KH? Or just wait for the shells and rely completely on the shells to raise and maintain KH/GH? If I add baking soda first, how much should I add for 5 gallons?


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  1. emme March 6, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    Hi Venus,

    The black fan tail has been bottom-sitting for the last 2 days (yesterday and today).
    Given the tank readings (ammonia=0-0.1, nitrite=0, nitrate=10-20).
    It appears that it is super sensitive to nitrate?
    How many water changes should I perform tonight? how much water should I change out? How much Prime should I add? And do I add pure aloe juice?

  2. Venus March 5, 2018 at 6:20 am

    I get it. You can’t go wrong with garlic

  3. emme March 4, 2018 at 9:24 pm

    The idea of removing each fish daily and placing them back in the tank is very stressful for me. I’d rather add something to the tank and remove with water changes. But would that affect the cycling we have just established? There was a bit of salt in there before but low levels. Can I buy garlic juice at a grocery store? What do you recommend, Venus?

  4. Venus March 4, 2018 at 9:16 pm

    Perform the salt bath daily for as long as you have the fish, and then if you can, add some garlic water to the tank. It’s a good combo. If you’re certain the fish haven’t been in a consistent saline solution previously, you could pour the bath water back into the tank

  5. emme March 4, 2018 at 9:08 pm

    The fish sometimes swim with their bodies touching the sides of the glass. Sometimes they swim up and down the glass walls. Perhaps at their reflection? Do they notice those? I’m not sure if that is normal or if it’s rubbing/scratching? Another fish has tiny dots on the ends in its tail but I don’t know if they’re significant because they’re barely visible. Would you recommend adding treatment to the whole tank in case?? Or would a short 2min bath be enough?? Then I would return the tank after 1 or 2 baths?

  6. Venus March 4, 2018 at 6:55 pm

    The leaves fell off because they were rotting away more than likely. Plants, just like fish have no tolerance for ammonia and nitrite. Unhealthy water leads to unhealthy plants. Maybe it will come back, but more than likely it will just contribute to the bio load. It may be time to replace

  7. Venus March 4, 2018 at 6:31 pm

    I confess to laughing at the discription; sounds more like a horror show. lol

    A fluke should be easy enough to remove with the swab, unless it’s on steroids. I haven’t experienced flukes first hand, but have dealt with many cases here. The fish are obviously itching….so….that spells parasites. Parasites are tiny creatures that look like they’re from outer space under a microscope. I can imagine a fluke rearing it’s ugly head if it felt threatened. lol I’m laughing because I don’t know

    Yes, it could even be scar tissue. Is it just the one fish scratching? Healing wounds might itch I guess. Goldfish are easily injured, and a sharp shell may have something to do with it. In time the edges will dull

    Didn’t you say there was another bump on the tail fin?

    Keep in mind the fish have been in water with little to no value for some time, so anything and everything could go wrong. Whatever it is, it’s unwanted for sure

    It’s a constant battle; bad bugs. They’re just waiting for a chance to thrive

    The treatments are beneficial; healthy or not

    Dissolve one teaspoon of aquarium safe salt in an ounce of hot tap water; let it cool; add to one litter of tank water for a bath. Leave the fish in the bath for two minutes. I would dip all the fish just to be safe

    The garlic remedy would be very beneficial; parasites or no parasites

    Goldfish get some very strange looking growths

    I would stick to the salt dip. If you see one or two bugs, there are more smaller ones hiding from view if this is the case

  8. emme March 4, 2018 at 5:55 pm

    Would there be any harm if I treat the tank out of precaution if there are no parasites there? Also, what do you think about spot treating with salt paste on just the area?

  9. emme March 4, 2018 at 5:49 pm


    I scooped the fish into a container of its tank water and used a cotton swab to touch the white triangle. To be honest, the growth looks like a skin protrusion. It’s translucent white in color, and is solid, and cannot be removed. The tip of it is more of an opaque white. It’s like a rhino horn LOL. When the fish opens its mouth, the extended “horn” growth moves with it too, like it’s one with the lip/mouth. Could it be a strange skin growth from injury?

  10. emme March 4, 2018 at 11:47 am

    I’ve never scooped up a fish into a container before… I’ll use a small bowl and a net?
    Since the white dot is on the lip of the fish, do Zi have to hold the fish in order to get the cotton swab in Place 🙁

    This makes me worry for our pond fish because the water parameters are good but this still happened sigh…
    What does it mean if the solid white growth falls off or stays on? I was wondering if the fish could have hurt itself against the sharp seashell edges?

    The plant is not bamboo, the leaves all fell off because I did rough water changes.

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