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post #21 of 33 Old 05-13-2009, 10:14 AM Thread Starter
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When the ammonia and nitrite both read "0" for several consecutive days, the tank is cycled. After that you can add more fish, but slowly; a 15g is a small water volume and it takes time for the bacteria to reproduce [they divide by fission when there is more food (ammonia and nitrite) than they can consume at their present level]. If the bioload is increased too quickly, it will crash the biological equilibrium and start the cycle all over, and that usually harms if not kills the fish.
Is it the same for a 28 gal that is the size of tank I am cycling.
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post #22 of 33 Old 05-13-2009, 10:24 AM
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Is same for all tanks.8)

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
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post #23 of 33 Old 05-13-2009, 11:36 AM Thread Starter
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okay cause I didn't think cycle worked. I've tested the ammonia 0pp and nitrite is 0pp should I also test the nitrate? not sure what the differences btw the two are
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post #24 of 33 Old 05-13-2009, 11:40 AM
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yes, test your nitrAte...if your tank cycle has leveled out and you test 0 and and 0, you should most likely see a nitrate reading which is literally off the charts....do atleast a 75% water change and it should lower considerably.....
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post #25 of 33 Old 05-13-2009, 12:28 PM Thread Starter
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Nitrate in moderation?

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yes, test your nitrAte...if your tank cycle has leveled out and you test 0 and and 0, you should most likely see a nitrate reading which is literally off the charts....do atleast a 75% water change and it should lower considerably.....
Nitrate is reading at 0 is this bad should it be aleast 5?

Thanks for all the input
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post #26 of 33 Old 05-13-2009, 01:40 PM
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Nitrate is reading at 0 is this bad should it be aleast 5?

Thanks for all the input
The tank was running for one week with no fish, then you added the betta yesterday. The cycle has not begun (or it is about to begin). You will see the ammonia rise sometime soon and then fall back, within 5-9 days normally, and during this period the nitrite will also rise and then fall back to 0 during another 5-8 days. Nitrate will begin appearing sometime after the nitrite has spiked.

JohnnyD44 is correct about the water change when the nitrates are high, but I would not expect this to occur in a 28g tank with one betta. The main thing is to have patience; as I said before, cycling a new tank is a 2-8 week process, and it occurs naturally so you cannot rush it (except by using Cycle which does jump-start it so to speak), and your existing gravel does a bit of the same unless you washed it in tap water which would have killed the bacteria.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #27 of 33 Old 05-13-2009, 02:20 PM
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okay cause I didn't think cycle worked. I've tested the ammonia 0pp and nitrite is 0pp should I also test the nitrate? not sure what the differences btw the two are
Sorry Tigerfish, forgot to answer this question in my last post. I will do so now, and I am assuming you are unfamiliar for the most part with the nitrogen cycle.

Toxic substances are produced at various stages whenever fish (and plants) are placed in an aquarium. In a biologically balanced aquarium, exactly as in nature, living organisms (bacteria) remove or convert the various toxic substances through what we term the nitrogen cycle. Ammonia is the first toxic substance and it is produced by all fish through respiration, excrement and urine, and it also is produced by all decaying matter (plant and fish, uneaten food, etc). Ammonia is highly toxic to fish and plants. Ammonia (NH3) is consumed by nitrosomonas bacteria by oxidation, creating nitrite (NO2), the second stage of the cycle. Nitrite is also toxic, although slightly less so than ammonia. Another bacteria, nitrobacter, consumes nitrite and converts it to much less toxic nitrate (NO3) which is released back into the water. Nitrate is only toxic at very high levels. In a biologically established aquarium nitrates are used by plants (if there are any) and algae as nutrients, some is converted by anaerobic bacteria in the substrate and the filter (sometimes) to obtain oxygen [nitrogen gas (N2, another toxin) is always produced in this process and it is released at the water surface], and most of it is removed through regular partial water changes performed by the aquarist.

It takes time for each of the bacterium to become established, and that is the reason for the 2-8 week cycling period. Nitrosomonas bacteria will only appear if ammonia (their "food") is present, and similarly nitrobacter bacteria only appear when nitrite is present. Both types of bacteria multiply (through osmosis) as their respective food sources increase, and if the ammonia or nitrite should decrease, the respective bacteria will die off accordingly. Once established (after 8+ weeks) they can multiply fairly rapidly to handle increases in the bioload provided the increase is not too great. That is why you add new fish slowly and over time, so that the bacteria have time to multiply in relation to the additional "food" which is important to prevent stress on the fish.

There is one further element to mention. At an acidic pH (below pH 7.0) ammonia largely converts to ammonium which is not toxic and is used by the plants. Nitrobacter will still use ammonium as well as ammonia so the nitrogen cycle is the same. Your ammonia test kit reads ammonia and ammonium equally as ammonia, which is fine for the purpose of knowing what is occurring with the nitrogen cycle. In an aquarium where there is ammonium in preference to ammonia, and if there are plants, the plants perform much of the function of a biological filter, which is one reason why living plants are a practical component of an aquarium.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #28 of 33 Old 05-13-2009, 03:04 PM Thread Starter
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Wow Byron, that was a great explanation I knew a little of how everything worked but needed the refresher
Thank you
I do have a question about plants though I never have be able to keep them alive for very long other than the nitrate is there a certain fertilizer I should look into or is it all about the type of lighting?
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post #29 of 33 Old 05-13-2009, 04:54 PM
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Wow Byron, that was a great explanation I knew a little of how everything worked but needed the refresher
Thank you
I do have a question about plants though I never have be able to keep them alive for very long other than the nitrate is there a certain fertilizer I should look into or is it all about the type of lighting?
You're welcome. Sorry to be so lengthy, but not knowing what you do or don't know it's best to be thorough.

Re plants, there are several things to consider. Plants grow by photosynthesis, which is the process they use to convert food into energy. Light is the most important factor, but it must be in balance with nutrients. I usually separate the nutrients into CO2 (carbon dioxide) and trace elements/minerals since these two things are handled a bit differently in an aquarium. Each of these three factors affects the others, and for a planted aquarium to be successful the three must be in balance.

Nutrients are present in any aquarim with fish, but in varying amounts. Fish expel CO2 through respiration, and this CO2 is taken up by the plants. Provided the necessary level of trace elements/minerals is available, and the light is of sufficient intensity and duration, photosynthesis will occur and certain plants will grow well in such a system. This is the method I use, and you can see the results in the photos of my aquaria. I have two 40w fluorescent tubes over each tank, equating to approximately 1 watt per gallon of full spectrum light, on for 13 hours each day. The fish provide the CO2, and I add liquid fertilizer twice a week. I experimented with the liquid fertilizer, observing the plant growth, until I got the amount correct.

The plants I have will all grow well under these conditions. Most of the rooted plants (Echinodorus [sword plants] and Cryptocoryne [crypts] species) are OK, along with Java Fern, Java Moss, Anubias and floating plants. Most of the stem or bunch plants [you buy these in bunches, they have no root systems attached, but roots grow along the stems] require more light than this, although Brizilian Pennywort does well in my 90g. Algae is minimal in my tanks because the plants are able to use the nutrients and light and there is none left over for algae to grab. Algae is better able to convert carbon from carbonates (rather than CO2) than plants are, which is one reason algae is always a problem when the light and trace element/mineral nutrients are greater than what the plants can utilize.

If you go with the high light plants, or want plants that produce flowers and grow like weeds (literally), you must significantly increase the intensity of the light (3-4 watts per gallon) and at that much light CO2 has to be added to balance, or algae will proliferate. And obviously more trace elements will need to be added. That type of planted tank is referred to as high-tech.

Hope this explains things a bit. There are some other things involved, like the substrate (sand, gravel, pebbles...) and water parameters (temperature, pH, hardness) that have some bearing on success with plants, but these are not usually the problem when one can't grow plants. If you can tell me what type of light you have on your tank, and the substrate type, I could probably offer some suggestions for success with plants.

Byron.

Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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post #30 of 33 Old 05-13-2009, 08:09 PM Thread Starter
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Okay 28 gal tank has substrate: gravel and lighting: 17W bulb (tank is close to a glass door) hope that helps...
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