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has my tank cycled
im ashamed to have to ask this, i should know this by now. how can i know if my tank has cycled?
Your test results will read zero ammonia, zero nitRites and some reading of Nitrate.
What method are you using to cycle the tank?
Ok, same applies then :-)
I'm afraid Tazman, although correct, is generalizing - many municipal water supplies (and my well water) CAN HAVE zero ammonia and nitrites, but have 10-20ppm+ nitrates !
It takes 4-8 weeks to cycle a startup tank assuming there is a source of ammonia. It's often at least 4, sometimes 6 weeks even with a bio-seed of some sort. Unless you follow and measure a spike in ammonia and see it drop to zero, then see an increase in nitrites and subsequently see it drop to zero as nitrates then increase, you can not judge a cycle based on nitrates alone.
There is one exception. Make sure and test your source water carefully to determine your base line. THEN if/when you see significantly higher nitrates in your tank, you can presume that nitrosomona and nitrobacter bacteria are doing their job.
(Based on your previous posts and the timeline, I'm not sure your tank is cycled yet)
Note: Also be careful using any liquid test for nitrates. There is an element (API Test for example) in regent #2 that will separate out of solution. If you do not mix very, very well, you may get a deceptively false low reading.
I agree with Abbeysdad, my apology for not explaining myself in better terms.
The information that abbeysdad is giving is correct, you will see the ammonia spike, drop off, at which point Nitrite will appear, once that drops off to zero and yous ee an increase in Nitrates, your tank is deemed cycled.
Looking at your previous posts as well, then I too would have to say the time is not long enough unless you heavily seeded the tank from am already well established one.
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