I'm just 9 days into cycling my new 55g tank after upgrading from a 16g. The 16g is still running with a few plants and fish - but I'm still very much a beginner.
I was going with a fishless cycle but after reading different discussions in the forums I added a couple of platy's from the 16g to speed up the process. I have some plants (about 10) in the 55g so I hope that will balance the 2 fish.
I have the API liquid test kit for Ammonia, Nitrate and Nitrite but as yet nothing has changed so I'm not sure how subtle the change is from pale yellow to pale green. I'm waiting for the cycle to begin and don't want to miss a spike and harming the fish. I think the color is changing but I may just be impatient and wanting it to change - is it possible to do too many water changes?
Depending on what plants you have you may not see any ammonia from 2 fish. Which are not going to produce a lot of ammonia anyways. How many water changes are you doing?
I generally don't start w/c until I start to see ammonia. but then again bored is on track with the plants using what little ammonia the 2 fish are produceing. if I were you id throw the established filter and rest of fish in there and just watch params.. with the plants water tests and w/c you shouldn't see any problems... I generally never have any espcialyl with a seeded filter and plants. heck even take a nylon sock fill it up with some substrate from the 19gal and throw it in the hob.... even more bb that way
Which fishless method were you using?
Two fish in a 55 aren't going to create a lot of ammonia... but that's not a bad thing as too much slows the process down anyway.
You are planning on plants so make sure that you fixture bulb is rated for 6,000 to 7,000 kelvin or is specifically for freshwater plants. If you add one reasonably fast growing plant per not very large fish you can skip the whole fishless cycle idea... which you have done anyway now that there are fish in there... and you have 5 plants per fish. I'd be surprised if you ever see any ammonia with that. Just keep transferring fish and plants as you can't have that many in the 16 gallon now.
Mitch suggested moving some crap from the established tank to the new... that can't hurt either then just move everything and remove the excess crap after a few weeks.
Oh, don't forget to post pics, everyone loves pics here.
Thanks for the feedback.
I've not done any water changes yet, I was waiting for the first sign of ammonia before doing a change. My thinking was if I start changing water to soon the cycle may never start.
I was tempted to throw everything in from the old tank but I'm playing it cautious as my past record for checking water has been poor. I'm a changed man and trying to keep up with water testing and changes - so far so good.
JDM - the lights are 2 32w T8 full spectrum, not sure what kelvin rating they are. I was assuming just low light plants for now until I get my green fingers.
I'm glad to hear I can push the process a bit more as I can't wait to get a more fish in the big tank. You've also made my 5 year old daughter happy to know she'll get to go shopping for fish sooner...but not too soon.
The cycle will start and grow to where it needs to be almost no matter what you do. Just don't rush the fish additions. Transfer all the plants and fish and wait two weeks or more to add more. Too many too fast can quickly overload the system, which isn't a big problem if you are expecting it and are prepared to do the water changes when needed.
Oh, you can plants whenever you want ant it can't hurt to put in a lot ahead of the fish additions. I think your lighting will be fine. Maybe get your daughter interested in picking plants too.
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You may never see ammonia, and don't worry about it. Watch for nitrites though, they won't turn up for a week or two if they ever do. Once you start seeing some nitrates you will know that the nitrogen cycle is well along. Even though nothing shows on the tests, do weekly water changes even if only to establish the habit.
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I've had the small tank for a couple of years but water changes were infrequent. I only bought the bigger tank once I became 'responsible' with the water quality. I'll take care not to introduce too many fish too soon.
Its a great idea to get my daughter involved with the plants, thanks! I just have to steer her away from the plastic mermaids and castles - maybe she can have the small tank...
You have to wait an aweful long time to see ammonia with 2 fish and 10 plants. Like forever.
If you don't feed the fish for a week then add some morefish and start feeding a single flake per day, you should never see an ammonia bump and only a very short nitrIte spike. But you very well could see nitrates rise to 20ppm after a week. Then drop down after3 weeks or so.
That is the planted cycle where the plants are consuming the 'extra' ammonia forgoing nitrates for nitrogen. Then as bacteria build up and consume the ammonia, nitrates finally drop down as the plants are consumeing nitrates for nitrogen.
Sound like you're doing just fine.
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