really confused!


well i am really really really confused. I have a 46 gallon boe fish tank with 5 damsal fish a 3 clowns with 10 snails. I have had high mitrates and nitrites for 7 weeks now and the guy at ***** said my tank was just finish cycling is that true? will LR help the situation? and how am i supposed to clean the substarte if i have live sand? i have a skitter 250 and two power heads. What is the size of the power heads im supposed to have? By the way my ammonia is 0


Active Member
A little advise: I don't claim to be a shark but let me see if I can explain a little. First your tank is not finished cycleing and you may have added too may fish in your tank early. Tak some Damsels back (they become annyoing anyway) and get a gravel cleaner and change about 35% of your water - you will not remove enough bacteria from your substrate to harm your biofilter, and do a 10% water change three days later. You nitrites should drop to 0 in about a week and your nitrates will begin to drop. You should do 5-10% water changes every week and things should get better.


Staff member
To begin with you don't cycle a new tank with clownfish. Your tank is not almost cycled if you still have nitrites. Nitrites is almost as deadly to fish as ammonia.
If I were you I'd take all your fish back to the store, or find safe homes for them. There are ways to cycle tanks these days that don't necessite sacrificing fish--including damsels.
Get a couple of good marine hobby books, and read read read. Stay tuned into this BB and ask questions before forging ahead in this hobby. Patience pays in more ways than one.
You can cycle a new tank with just using LR. That is the best way to go. You will need to have adequate lighting for LR, however.
If you are aiming for a FO, you can use raw shrimp to cycle. However, in your case, your tank [even if you remove your current fish---as you should before they die] will cycle because it already has begun to do so. BTW, inverts have little tolerence for cycling tanks.
[ July 26, 2001: Message edited by: Beth ]


As an added bonus, you can introduce a DAMSEL or CLOWN fish into your new tank from the start.
this is what told me in the info


OK, If not removing the fish is a choice here then so be it. Do NOT vacumn the sand bed, there is no real need. I would do a 25% water changenow with some r/o water or distilled. This will help lower levels. Please dont add any more fish to your system for about another 2 months. Let it become stable first. As long as you have good water movement through-out the tank.


Active Member
I think goober is referring to Step 8 under the SWF Information for hobbyists, tank set up.
"As an added bonus, you can introduce a DAMSEL or CLOWN fish into your new tank from the start. This fish will help cycle the tank. Keep in mind this fish may become territorial and once in the tank, the chances of getting it out will be slim to none."
I've heard of people cycling with clowns before, but I've never tried it.
I think the key here is that SWF stated "a" damsel or "a" clown - not 5 damsels, 3 clowns and 10 snails.
BTW, changing out your water if your tank has not finished cycling will do nothing for you but prolong your cycle, if not take you back to sqaure one. Also, wouldnt vaccum the sandbed as its a waste of time and a good clean up crew, sand sifters, will keep the SB clean. Not to mention, using powerheads directed across the bottom of the tank will keep matter from settling there in the first place so that it will be picked up by filtration.
Why cycle with live fish when LS, LR, and a piece of krill or shrimp will do the same thing, often in way less time.
Another FYI, dont always believe what the people at the lfs tell you. Hearsay is always hearsay, they may have "heard it through the grapevine" and only own a hamster.
Im with Beth, books and the people here are your best bet. GL!


you say your nitrites and nitrates are high, but what are their readings? also are the nitrites on the way up or down? if i were you i would remove all the damsels and finish with just the clowns. if your clowns have made it through the worst of amonnia, and worst of nitrites, theyll probably live to finish the cycle. clowns are almost as hardy as damsels but the reason they are not recommend for cycling a tank is that they are more expensive. actually i believe that clowns used to be the fish recommended for cycling a tank. but take out the damsels and let your clowns finish it up. your damsels will cause you many problems later anyways. people are posting that you should have used dead shrimp, and you should have, but its too late for that now. just take your damsels back and your nitrites will probably go down and post your readings from these so we can further assist you. you started with way too many fish to cycle your tank. good luck.


you dont know how much i have read read and read. I think i read to much and i did not think i could read that much