...and I thought I might avoid the whole cycling issue - Page 4
Tropical Fish

Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources » Freshwater Fish and Aquariums » Beginner Freshwater Aquarium » ...and I thought I might avoid the whole cycling issue

...and I thought I might avoid the whole cycling issue

This is a discussion on ...and I thought I might avoid the whole cycling issue within the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium forums, part of the Freshwater Fish and Aquariums category; --> Hallyx, "Silent Cycle" refers to a way of "cycling" a tank without nitrifying bacteria using heavily-planted, fast-growing stem plants which consume the ammonia. The ...

Check out these freshwater fish profiles
Black Neon Tetra
Black Neon Tetra
Spotfin Cory
Spotfin Cory
Like Tree2Likes

Reply
LinkBack Thread Tools vBmenu Seperating Image Search this Thread vBmenu Seperating Image
...and I thought I might avoid the whole cycling issue
Old 01-24-2013, 05:50 AM   #31
 
Hallyx,

"Silent Cycle" refers to a way of "cycling" a tank without nitrifying bacteria using heavily-planted, fast-growing stem plants which consume the ammonia. The nitrifying bacteria establish colonies as they can, as there are enough Nitrogen-bearing compounds (Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate), as you say, left over from the plants. There are many fishkeepers who have not heard of this nor embraced it. The idea is, I believe, one of Diana Walstad's and should be in her book, "Ecology of the Planted Aquarium."

I can say from my own experience that it works. The plants take care of all, or nearly all of the Ammonia. You can sometimes find a thread about it in the Aquarium Plants section here.
equatics is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2013, 07:33 AM   #32
JDM
 
JDM's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hallyx View Post
A little too easy, if you ask me. Three weeks is an unusually short time to expect a cycle to develop in a lightly stocked tank.

Besides, Jeff still has >0.0ppm ammonia showing and no nitrate. Do I correctly infer this is not an overly planted tank? Where is the expected nitrate from all that nitrite being converted?
Over fifty individual plants and ten species. The fastest growing are the hygrophila, near an inch a day and nearly 20 stems at 12" per right now (I can't get a clear count in the bunch). The swords have quite a number of new leaves shooting up... everything is growing well. I think "heavily planted" may be a subjective term but that many plants in a 37 gallon tank might be considered heavily planted.

I didn't expect a "cycle" to be complete in this short a time... seeing as somewhere around 5 weeks might be the norm using the dead shrimp method I figured double that before I would have bacteria enough to do much of anything... which is why I was surprised by the appearance of the nitrites in the first place and concerned that I had nothing in the tank to deal with them.

I think it may have been a little of both as they are back to zero and got there, after the water change, on their own. This also perplexes me a little.

That ammonia test was not really positive, it was more a "possible" not zero test as I looked at it, my daughter looked at it, we put on an LED light to get a better colour correction and himmed and hawed trying to decide if there was a hint of green in it or not. Seeing as it was the only possible non-zero test during all the prior tests and all the tests since (not that many, but quite a few) I might have been better served to have repeated the test right then... it certainly doesn't count as "still has >0.0 ppm ammonia". Perhaps we'll just call it the single outlier for now.

Everything still zero this morning... although I didn't test the nitrates which I will do at lunch but I really don't expect any appreciable amount if any at all. I dint' have time to shake bottles and tubes this morning because the coffee didn't perk properly so it had to be redone... priorities.

Jeff.
JDM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2013, 08:47 AM   #33
 
Jeff,

It sounds like everything is going well. Diana Walstad said in her book that she used this method, planted the plants, and put in fish the same day. I would recommend you wait until tomorrow and test ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate to see if they're in line. If they are, fish are ok, a few at a tim, except that schools of fish are supposed to be put in together.

If you have 0 nitrates, there are ferts containing Nitrogen. I'm sort of in the research phase and it probably would be best if you can get some advice about them. Don't forget, nitrates should be at most 20 ppm, and 10ppm is better.

I'm glad you're trying this out.

Steven
equatics is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2013, 11:09 AM   #34
JDM
 
JDM's Avatar
 
OK, Nitrate above zero. If the colour scale can be interpreted as a gradual (linear) shift then the nitrates might be 1 or 2.

I tried to come up with anything that I might have done to instigate any disruption or addition that could have been the culprit but I come up empty other than perhaps a gradual buildup due to possible over feeding that ended up being that little bit too much for the plants to handle... which still doesn't explain no ammonia. I hadn't even fertilized except once a week before this whole fiasco.

So, I don't know if I can assume that nitrates indicate that all is fine, cycled or not. Having seen nitrites followed closely by nitrates does look promising.

Jeff.
JDM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-24-2013, 12:22 PM   #35
 
Byron's Avatar
 
I'm a bit confused after reading the last several posts, so perhaps others may be as well. I'll try to explain this as I understand it.

First, any container of water into which a fish is introduced must cycle. It just happens (fortunately). Once ammonia/ammonium is present, the bacteria (or whatever) appear and the cycle begins. With live plants we can term this cycling as "silent" (don't recall seeing this term elsewhere, but it is rather a good name whoever coined it) because with our basic aquarium test kits we will not (or should not) detect any ammonia or nitrite, and the resulting end nitrates may or may not be detectable. It depends upon the system, as each tank of water is individual with respect to its biology. The same premise operates, but in varied ways depending upon a number of factors.

Concerning adding nitrates for plants. This can be dangerous in natural (low-tech) method planted tanks. Plants do not need nitrates per say. Plants need 17 nutrients, in a fairly specific proportion to each other, plus sufficient light intensity to drive photosynthesis. Nitrogen is one of these nutrients, and most aquarium plants prefer nitrogen in the ammonium form; only if ammonium is exhausted, and provided everything else is still sufficient, will these plants begin to take up nitrates which they change back into ammonium. Adding more of this or that is not going to improve the plants unless everything else is sufficient and/or that nutrient is deficient in balance with every other nutrient.

Fish are harmed by nitrates. Just as ammonia and nitrite is toxic, so too is nitrate. The specific level of nitrates that will harm fish depends upon the fish species and the duration of the exposure. This is an area that is relatively new in the scientific side of the hobby, so documented tests are few. But we do know without any doubt whatsoever that all fish are affected negatively by nitrates. This is why all of the knowledgeable biologist-aquarists are now recommending that nitrates should always be below 20 ppm, and preferably below 10 ppm.

I know that nitrogen is included in most nutrient supplements (Flourish, etc), as both ammonium and nitrate. But this level is very minimal, and provided one is not overdosing the product this is not going to be sufficient to affect nitrate or ammonia tests.

Adding nitrates in high-tech method planted tanks is common. Other nutrients have to be increased as well to balance. I personally would not want to be adding nitrates (at the level these peole often do) deliberately; I place the fish first and plants second. And we need more scientific evidence that this is not harmful before I would consider it.

I must confess that I am puzzled by ammonia and/or nitrite showing up on basic aquarium tests in well-planted tanks. I have never seen this. I can't say more.

Byron.

Last edited by Byron; 01-24-2013 at 12:25 PM..
Byron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2013, 12:55 PM   #36
JDM
 
JDM's Avatar
 
Added nine new fish yesterday which, due to their size, I expect are at least equivalent to the 12 barbs added last time. This time I am going to stay right on top of the testing and see exactly what it happening.

Today, day 1, ammonia popped to 0.25 by lunch. I will test again at supper. If it is going up, I will add some prime which I purchased with these fish in order to accommodate any quick spikes in nasties. I will still perform water changes if the levels get high but I want to give the system a chance to self correct at smaller levels first.

Given the timeframe of the previous nitrite spike, this may have been missed last time around due to less frequent testing. I caught the nitrite on day 16 after new fish additions but had not been testing for it for a while.

I added a large handful of duckweed (top of the tank is mostly covered but I divided the surface so it stays on one half to avoid blocking too much light) to help with the anticipated ammonia increase as well as another four stems of a different hygrophila . I will not be feeding tomorrow if levels stay up.

Jeff.
JDM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2013, 05:35 PM   #37
JDM
 
JDM's Avatar
 
Levels are back down. I'd say it's another of those "non-zero" test results. Seeing as the scale is 0 or 0.25 ppm, the colour shift puts it near 0.05.

I'd love to have a full chromatic test card with better graduations... do they make such a card I wonder? Better yet, a colour meter

Hmmmmm.....

Jeff.
JDM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2013, 02:17 AM   #38
 
First, any container of water into which a fish is introduced must cycle. It just happens (fortunately). Once ammonia/ammonium is present, the bacteria (or whatever) appear and the cycle begins. With live plants we can term this cycling as "silent" (don't recall seeing this term elsewhere, but it is rather a good name whoever coined it) because with our basic aquarium test kits we will not (or should not) detect any ammonia or nitrite, and the resulting end nitrates may or may not be detectable. It depends upon the system, as each tank of water is individual with respect to its biology. The same premise operates, but in varied ways depending upon a number of factors.

Read more: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...#ixzz2JFjJrVaa

With enough fast-growing plants in a tank, it will consume almost all the ammonia. I don't know how the nitrifying bacteria get any ammonia, but I think that nitrates are an indication in many cases, of processing by nitrifying bacteria. I don't fully understan how the bacteria manage to get enough energy to survive, but they do. When a tank is being cycled with plants, the Nitrogen Cycle will be slower, there not being much ammonia at their disposal.

Concerning adding nitrates for plants. This can be dangerous in natural (low-tech) method planted tanks. Plants do not need nitrates per say. Plants need 17 nutrients, in a fairly specific proportion to each other, plus sufficient light intensity to drive photosynthesis. Nitrogen is one of these nutrients, and most aquarium plants prefer nitrogen in the ammonium form; only if ammonium is exhausted, and provided everything else is still sufficient, will these plants begin to take up nitrates which they change back into ammonium. Adding more of this or that is not going to improve the plants unless everything else is sufficient and/or that nutrient is deficient in balance with every other nutrient.

Actually, plants consume ammonia first, then nitrites, and finally nitrates. It is true that consuming nitrates takes more energy and so is not a great contribution.

There is actually the possibility of a deficiency of nitrates, i.e., no nitrates. This is one of the reasons why they put nitrate in fertilizers. Granted many of these are used in greater doses in hi-tech systems. But nitrogen is in Flourish Comprehensive at .07%. Granted, a small amount, but Flourish Comprehensive is directed to those who need micrnutrients.

Steven

equatics is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2013, 08:03 AM   #39
 
Jeff

you mean to say you added fish and measured some small amount of ammonia then ~ 5 hours later ammonia was 0?

Just wanted to verify.
beaslbob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2013, 08:44 AM   #40
JDM
 
JDM's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by beaslbob View Post
Jeff

you mean to say you added fish and measured some small amount of ammonia then ~ 5 hours later ammonia was 0?

Just wanted to verify.
No, you just wanted to point out that I didn't NEED to change the water... didn't you?

Added fish on Saturday afternoon. Saw ammonia levels increased to 0.25 late Sunday morning then dropped to near zero early Sunday evening.... approximately 5 hours later.

This morning the ammonia and nitrites are zero.

I am not surprised by the quick ammonia correction, I am comfortable with letting low levels of ammonia look after themselves as I have a lot of plants. My only issue from the first of this thread was that I had no idea what to expect with the unknown factor of the nitrospira bacterial capacity to consume high levels of nitrites... particularly when the test (however accidentally high it may have been) was in the 4ppm range. Had it been 1 or under, I might have just monitored it.

Jeff.
JDM is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Fishless Cycling Issue milindsaraswala Beginner Freshwater Aquarium 1 10-16-2009 02:17 AM
Cycling Issue DJOstrichHead Beginner Saltwater Aquariums 3 03-20-2008 08:30 AM


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:47 AM.