Fish were first added to my new tank on 24th August - before that it had been cycling for a week - from 17th August. After the initial cycle I took a water sample to my lfs who tested it & said it was now safe to add fish to. So I added my fish and they said to do 10% water changes every 2 days while the filter builds up the safe bacteria (sorry I don’t know all the correct lingo yet!), and to feed them a couple of pellets per fish every 2-3 days.
I’ve been doing this religiously and everything seems fine, have been testing with tetra 6 in 1 test strips every few days and I think everything is looking good. N02 was borderline for a few days but so far so good - the lfs said that was normal and just to continue with the water changes - that was about 10 days ago.
So my question is, how long should I keep doing 10% water changes for and when is the right time to feed them daily? I feel like I’m starving them at the moment!
There are two ways to cycle a tank (or, more precisely the filter and its media), and each takes approx 6-8 weeks but sometimes longer: * fishless - in which the filter is prepared in advance, by adding ammonia until such a time as the filter has built up sufficient beneficial bacteria to ultimately cope with processing fish waste and fish food and the fish can be fed normal levels of food from the outset - https://www.fishkeeping.co.uk/articles ... hless-cycling-article.htm or * fish-in - which you're doing [assuming you just let the tank sit with water in it for a week with the filter switched on, in which case the water sample tested by the LFS will just be whatever your tap water is but the filter won't actually have been cycled]
Some products do exist for attempting to speed up a cycle, but the evidence for their effectiveness is still very 'hit and miss'.
Monitor ammonia, nitrite and nitrate once or twice daily for at least the next 6-8 weeks, following this advice if need be https://www.fishkeeping.co.uk/articles ... ammonia-nitrite-spike.htm . NB. The 6-in-1 test strips don't have the crucial ammonia test, so make sure you buy a liquid-based test for that as it's important that you get accurate readings for this. Doing this as diligently as you've been doing so far will maximise the chances that your fish make it through the fish-in cycle.
You should be able to increase feeding to once per day or even two smaller feeds twice per day (beneficial for juvenile fish), and increase water changes to a 10% water change daily, *provided that you keep up the water quality monitoring as described* (and take rectifying action as per link above if required).