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Cycling my Cichlid tank with Seachem products

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  • Cycling my Cichlid tank with Seachem products

    Tank Info:
    29 Gallons
    Entered Service: 9/26/17
    Current Stock: Breeding pair of Convict Cichlids
    Filtration: SunSun HW 402-B Canister filter. First stage - sponge filter , second stage - bio balls, third stage (final) ceramic biorings and Seachem Purigen 100ml
    Filter entered service 10/21
    Temp: 80F

    I've been trying to cycle my tank after the LFS incorrectly told me it was safe to stock. I had a bad bacterial bloom, so I used the UV to clear it up. I've been trying to cycle this tank for almost two months now. Prior to 11/6 I had been (at the suggestion of a species-specific website) doing aggressive 50% water changes daily and conditioning with Prime. I stopped doing changes 11/6, and dosed the tank with Stability according to the bottle. I have been adding Stability as directed every day since the 6th, and detoxifying Ammonia and Nitrites with Prime every 48 hours. There is a mild bacterial bloom forming again in the tank.

    Current tank parameters:
    pH: Irrelevant to this species, but about 7.6
    Ammonia: about .50ppm
    Nitrites: between 0 and 0.25
    Nitrates: Really hard to tell, appears to be above zero, but not by much. Test pics are enclosed below.


    Where should I go from this point?
    Is it safe to start doing water changes tomorrow after 7 days of Stability treatment?
    Can I use the UV lamp again to deal with the bloom? (3 day UV treatment)
    Am I using the Purigen right?

    Pictures below: - Tank - AM test panel (better contrast) - PM test panel (most recent, with color chart)

  • #2
    Thanks for the post CapnWes! I would recommend holding off on water changes as much as possible until the tank is cycled, and if you do perform water changes, I would recommend changing no more than about 20/25% of the tank so as not to disturb the beneficial bacteria colonies. Additionally, it is completely normal for a bacteria bloom to occur while the tank is cycling, and this is actually a good thing! It means the bacteria are growing, and there is enough food in the tank for them to reproduce :).

    I would recommend holding off on turning your UV back on as well, as if there are free floating bacteria present in your tank that have not yet found the filter media to colonize on, they could be killed off by the UV.

    Lastly, some people find it helpful to remove Purigen while cycling. Purigen has a very high organic removal capacity, so it may remove the organics from the tank before they have a chance to break down into ammonia and "feed" your beneficial bacteria. Taking the Purigen out may have the potential to speed the process along a bit.

    Just keep dosing the Prime every other day to detoxify the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate, and hold off on water changes or turning on the UV until you see your cycle completing. It sounds like your tank is well on its way to being cycled!

    I hope this helps!