Is my tank cycling?
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Is my tank cycling?

This is a discussion on Is my tank cycling? within the Beginner Planted Aquarium forums, part of the Beginner Freshwater Aquarium category; --> I've read a lot about the cycling... but I don't think I've ever heard of my Nitrates disappearing. This is a 20g L tank ...

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Old 01-03-2014, 10:06 PM   #1
 
mechanical8dragon's Avatar
 
Is my tank cycling?

I've read a lot about the cycling... but I don't think I've ever heard of my Nitrates disappearing.
This is a 20g L tank with Flourish and sand substrate. Other than the Prime I used to treat the water in the beginning I haven't done anything else to the tank other than dosing it every day with the bacteria in a bottle.

Some BG info before I start:
TAP:
7.8-8 pH
0 Ammonia
0 Nitrites
5 Nitrates

My tank the first day after using Seachem's Stability (will explain later)
7.8-8 pH
0 Ammonia
0 Nitrites
5 Nitrates

I've been following the instructions on the bottle for 4 days now. Yesterday I went out to buy fish food to use to make ammonia for the growing bacteria to eat. This was on day 3:
7.8-8 pH
0.25 ppm Ammonia
0 Nitrites
5 Nitrates

As of this morning, this was my following reading:
7.8-8 pH
0 Ammonia
0 Nitrites
0 Nitrates


So what's up with that? The big pinch of fish food is still in the tank, but my Nitrates just disappeared? I do have two live plants (anubis and amazon) in the tank atm along with one medium piece of driftwood. No fish. I haven't done any water changes since setting up the tank back on day 1, so the environment hasn't changed other than the fish food. Will it take a few days before the fish food leech enough ammonia to really show a difference? There's a pretty good sized blob in my tank at the moment which i thought would certainly be enough.

Oh, and the tank is kept at 75F.




The reason why I'm using bacteria-in-a-bottle method is because I could not find pure ammonia anywhere. No joke. Ace hardware is too far for me to bike or walk and I don't know what bus takes me to the general area. The only friend I have with a car is usually busy doing her own things and I hate bugging her, but there's no guarantee that the ammonia is there either.

Last edited by mechanical8dragon; 01-03-2014 at 10:18 PM..
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Old 01-03-2014, 11:57 PM   #2
 
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hmm.. can't edit my post anymore. Oh well...

Sorry for a second post, not a bump but...

I think... I might go pick up some filter media from Petsmart tomorrow (only fish store near me) to shove into my filter... hopefully it's one of those thinner pieces that I can put next to my two large foam blocks so I don't have to take one out. There's an Ace by the University here, and the bus takes an hour to get there, so I think I'll stop buy there tomorrow to grab a bottle, because the more I sit here staring at the tank the more I say to myself: "I don't think this is going anywhere... I can't produce enough ammonia without dropping the hole container of fish food in there so I might as well."

I know petsmart isn't the most ideal place, but I don't know of anyone here with a tank and the Petsmart here seems to take better care of their stock than other places I've seen. Yes I see a few dead fish here and there, but for the most part their fish stock is very active and I've yet to see any problems with them as they all look healthy.
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Old 01-04-2014, 07:16 AM   #3
 
how about lighting in the room your testing your water?
if the lighting is off-color it WILL make your tests appear different then what they really are.

plants can eat nitrates as well
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Old 01-04-2014, 11:19 AM   #4
 
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The light i test in is natural light coming from the window though I do sometimes test in my living room light, but when thats the case I make sure that both the card and jar are getting the same angle, and there was no mistaking the absence of the Nitrates. It was definitely yellow.

The plants eating them is what I was thinking but... o-o 5 ppm of Nitrates in under a day? Normal? Must be some hungry baby plants. hehee
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Old 01-04-2014, 08:19 PM   #5
 
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well petsmart wouldn't give me any media. HOPEFULLY i have some bacteria in my filter. been dosing tank as bottle says but... got ammonia today. Dosed a bit too much so had to do a water change but now its... just above 4ppm. Not quite to the 8ppm block but still darker than 4. Oh god... i knew ammonia smelled but when I opened that bottle... I could literally FEEL my brain cells dying from the fumes LOL

So we'll see what that does tomorrow.

Got my hard water test kit today. P: took 12 drops to get my GH to change, so it was like i suspected, pretty hard water. My KH took about 9-10 drops to change which i take it is really good since the KH is the "pH buffer". It could also explain why the driftwood hadn't even nudged my pH cus my buffer is so huge. HAHAAAa oh missoula water... how I love thee. -shot-


I'll just use this thread to keep track of the cycle. P: I'm hoping it'll be a bit faster cus I had already been dosing my tank with bacteria for 5 days.
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Old 01-06-2014, 02:39 PM   #6
 
good idea to keep this thread to journal your tank cycling, ...

others will see this as well and we all know it could help them and more answering questions they have in a way experience can show that reading about it lacks

i won't repeat how i got my tank going initially (i cheated by buying substrate gravel already populated with bacteria - that was expensive and only a fake boost to the cycle)

Last edited by Flear; 01-06-2014 at 02:41 PM..
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Old 01-06-2014, 02:53 PM   #7
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mechanical8dragon View Post
The light i test in is natural light coming from the window though I do sometimes test in my living room light, but when thats the case I make sure that both the card and jar are getting the same angle, and there was no mistaking the absence of the Nitrates. It was definitely yellow.

The plants eating them is what I was thinking but... o-o 5 ppm of Nitrates in under a day? Normal? Must be some hungry baby plants. hehee
could be.

But even a single live fish will have much more bioload then food.

I would add some anacharis.

I also would not add food for the first week after adding a single fish. male if live bearer.

my .02
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Old 01-07-2014, 12:21 PM   #8
 
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Well i finished the 7 day bacteria-in-a-bottle thing... aaand... doesn't seem like it worked. Went out and got some ammonia from Ace and dosed ti to 4ppm.

Its been 4 days and the 4ppm of ammonia hasn't dropped at all. So much for that 10 bucks working. Looks like I'll just have to do it the old fashion way. Month long wait here I come. ;-;
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Old 01-07-2014, 12:44 PM   #9
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mechanical8dragon View Post
Well i finished the 7 day bacteria-in-a-bottle thing... aaand... doesn't seem like it worked. Went out and got some ammonia from Ace and dosed ti to 4ppm.

Its been 4 days and the 4ppm of ammonia hasn't dropped at all. So much for that 10 bucks working. Looks like I'll just have to do it the old fashion way. Month long wait here I come. ;-;
no need for a month long wait.

Starting a tank from scratch with plants (see link in signature) I add the first fish one week later.

my .02
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Old 01-07-2014, 12:49 PM   #10
 
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Ah, I mean I've read the cycle is different for everyone. If you do everything right it could take a month or less but mess up or stall the cycle it takes longer. Course... sometimes even if you don't mess up it could take awhile.

I've read it usually takes about a week before you start seeing a drop in ammonia. We'll see how it goes. :P I test daily because I'm anal like that haha.
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