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Can I clean filter during cycling?

GMBGMB Member Posts: 4
Hi I am a novice. 204L AquaOne tank - 2nd hand tank but all the filters were cleaned with tap water before I purchased. Doing a fishless cycle - have some plants and have an airstone working. Using Prime and now Stability - initially I was using a prawn but now using a pinch of fish food daily. Water tests shows that it is cycling - I hope. Readings now 0 Ammonia 0 Nitrite 40 Nitrate. Ammonia only went up to 2 and Nitrites have been 0. Can I clean the filters (in tank water). Did a 50% water change 2 days ago as nitrates were 40. Substrate is Amazonia and at same time as 50% water change I removed some driftwood as PH was very low and thought this may be the reason - the water became very dirty. I thought it was an algea bloom it does looks cloudy when the lights are on but when I changed 10% of water today it was brown - unsure if it is it an algea bloom or just dirt churned up. Has been cloudy for 2 days now. My concern is the filters are too dirty to clean this up. Has been cycling for 3 weeks now and I haven't touched the filters. My query is should I clean the filters or will this slow things down. I think it is OK to leave the light on while it is cycling but is this still OK if this is an algea bloom. Steep learning curve and any advice would be most welcomed.

Comments

  • BobBob Member, Classifieds Posts: 708
    Rinsing your filter media in aquarium water you are changing out should not be a problem. This would ensure you are getting contact between the water and your media which houses your biological filtration, your nitrobacter and nitrosomonas. This should not have roo much of an impact on your cycle.

    I not you have concerns about your pH values, what is the pH of the water before you add it to the tank. Driftwood will soften and lower your pH but not drastically.

    If you have an algae bloom having the lights on will increase the problem. You can either reduce the amount of light you are providing or try to “blackout” the tank by using blankets or towels for at least 48 hours, no peeking, three days even better.

    Looking forward to some pics/video.

    Cheers,

    Bob
  • GMBGMB Member Posts: 4
    Hi Bob thanks for the response. I have now cleaned 1/2 the filters and did a big water change. I was super careful filling it this time so as to not disturb the substrate too much. Really like the Amazonia plants appear to be growing well but it does get disturb easily . Looks much better. Have added the driftwood back. Will check the ph on the tap water and let you know and will get a photo. Looking forward to getting fish. The water tests before the water change were 0 ammonia 0 nitrite and nitrates are down to 20. Is it OK to keep checking and if the same on Wed buy say 5 neon tetras to start my fish family. Cheers Gail
  • BobBob Member, Classifieds Posts: 708
    Your water volume would allow more neons than that but they are not the hardiest of fish. I would recommend “drip-acclimation” to reduce the risk of shock and loss. Pick up some air line or use stuff you have left over with a clamp to reduce flow rate from your aquarium to the fish bag to a fast drip. Once you have doubled the water volume in the bag tip out half being careful not to lose any fish (I tip into a net just in case), repeat the process twice. Takes about 15 - 20 minutes really reduces loss rates.

    What else are you planning to have?

    Cheers,

    Bob
  • GMBGMB Member Posts: 4
    Thanks again for the hints. It is definitely a steep learning curve. I was just adding fish gradually and the pet shop said to start with tetras. Have started going to an aquarium shop now but I went in asking for tetras luckily they wouldn't sell me any until the nitrates were a bit better. I want an active community tank with a variety of fish. I have a wishlist cory catfish x 5, an angel, clown loach x3, gouramis x 4, rummy nose tetras x 6, other tetras or small schooling fish x 6, bristlenose, guppies 4 female 2 male, there is a fighting fish and a rainbow shark on the list but unsure if it would be compatible. It is a very deep tank so I want fish at each level what can I have that utilise the top level of the tank. I do also want lots of plants so if any of these are likely to devour all my plants pls let me know = I did have silver dollars on the list but think they would eat everything. Cheers Gail
  • BobBob Member, Classifieds Posts: 708
    Hi Gail,

    I have to say I would look at starting with the Corydoras, fairly hardy fish, water parameters do not have to be ideal and they are able to absorb atmospheric oxygen through the gut which is why you often see them dart to the surface to gulp air.

    When you go for the neons I would be looking at adding them all at the one time and a school of 10 - 12, I have found they do better in a larger group. A good size Angel will help himself to the odd neon though so be cautious there.

    Rummy nose tetra are a very active schooling fish and a good indicator of your water quality. Bright red head is a sure sign that your water quality is good.

    I have a personal preference for keeping fish from the one “system” in a tank together. Much easier to keep all of the inhabitants happy rather than compromising all the fish manipulating the parameters to a “best fit”.

    The guppies won’t do well as they need a hard alkaline water as compared to the other listed fish that have a preference for soft acidic conditions.

    Nothing there will devour your plants.

    Cheers,

    Bob
  • GMBGMB Member Posts: 4
    hi Bob still have the algae bloom. Covered tank and not peeking so have postponed getting any fish until it is cleaned up. All my water tests are perfect now 0 ammonia 0 nitrite 5 nitrate and 7 PH. Checked my tap water and it has nearly the same Cheers Gail
  • BobBob Member, Classifieds Posts: 708
    7 is a neutral pH and okay for most fish except for those that have a strong preference for soft acidic or hard alkaline water. The fish on your list should do okay. Checking your kh and gh every now and then is not a bad idea but if you have a consisten water supply not essential.

    Your values should not fluctuate too much in a 200 ltr tank but will vary more with more stock.

    A heavily planted tank will vary more due to the plants also using oxygen during lights out, again this is more noticeable in a heavily stocked aquarium. You may note the fish gulping air in the morning.

    Looking forward to some pics.

    Cheers,

    Bob
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