I recently purchased a 60 gal aquarium for my daughter to help her learn how to care for tropical fish. I am new to this so I am learning as well. I have been reading about the importance of cycling your aquarium in order to build up the beneficial bacteria so ammonia and nitrate levels stay at or near zero. Once the temperature stabilized at around 78 degrees we added 6 platies. I had read they are hardy fish that would do well during cycling. We have had them for almost a week and they all look great and are very active and fun to watch. Our ammonia levels have never spiked very high at all with each test coming in at zero or 0.5. I have changed out 25% of the water each day, but I am wondering if that is too much. Do I need to let more ammonia build up for the beneficial bacteria to increase? Is it possible to change out too frequently or too much water? Or is this normal. From what I read, I was expecting the ammonia level to increase more than this. Also, how long should I wait before introducing another fish? Thanks for any advice you can give!
The size of the tank is rather large so it is harder to contaminate the water with ammonia.
You want to keep the ammonia and nitrite as low as possible. It is a trade off the lower the ammonia the slower the tank takes to cycle. The higher the ammonia the higher the chance fish will die. Even 0.5 ppm is high for fish. I cycled my tank at 1 ppm and lost several fish during start up. 25% is what I did every day. when levels went above 1 ppm I did three 25% water changes an hour apart rather than one water change. Which changes about 58% of the water.
You will want to wait until the tank has finished cycling before you add more fish. Once the tank fully cycles it is so much easier to maintain.