I currently have a new 20g tank that I set up on August 9. I upgraded from a little 2g hex, so it was quite the upgrade... But I had a serious case of new tank syndrome with my 2g. It took me 2 or 3 months to figure out what I did wrong. Anyways.. I used gravel in a nylon sock and some other hard surfaces from the 2g tank to help cycle my 20g. The 20g is also sparsely planted right now with 2 Amazon Swords, 1 Aqua Fern, 3 Kyoto Grass planes, 2 Anubias, and 2 Gold Ribbon plants. Ever since August 9th I've been testing the water almost daily and doing water changes to make sure I don't lose any fish. Yesterday, August 21, I tested the water and the readings came out with 0ppm Ammonia, 0ppm NitrItes, and 5-10ppm NitrAtes. I didn't do a water change. Then again today I tested it and had .25ppm Ammonia, 0ppm NitrItes, and 5-10ppm NitrAtes.
AND I think I see some brown algae growing on the back wall.
Is my tank fully cycled now? Can it cycle that fast with plants and the gravel? It's been less than 2 weeks... :question:
When it has,,you will /should,, be able to record zero for ammonia and nitrites for three or four consecutive days.
Would use PRIME or AMQUEL+ for water conditioner for they detoxify ammonia, chlorine,chloramines,and nitrites while still allowing the bacteria develop.
Don't know how many fish you have in the 20 gal, but I might reduce feedings to once a day, or every other day to help with managing ammonia and nitrites until the tank has matured.
I'm not familiar with many aquarium plants but I might google the grass plant and gold ribbon plant and see if they are true aquatic plants.
Some chain stores such as pet-- will offer plants that aren't necessarily true aquatic plants and they slowly rot/die in the aquarium, and thus foul the water.
I did a water change on Monday and since then I've had consecutive readings of 0ppm Ammonia and 0ppm Nitrites and 5-10ppm Nitrates.
1-Oto (from previous tank)
1-Guppy (previous tank)
1-Molly (previous tank)
1-Zebra Danio (previous tank)
Yes I know the danio and oto should have some more of their kind, but I was a newbie with a little 2g. I didn't know any better.
I would think the cycle is finished. With plants there should not even be one as they assimilate the ammonia (as ammonium) right from the start, provided there are sufficient plants to balance the fish.
What is your pH? In acidic water (I know western Washington has soft acidic water same as Vancouver, not sure about Eastern) ammonia is actually ammonium which is basically harmless, and the plants (and bacteria) still use it, and ammonia test kits measure ammonium and ammonia as ammonia. If your tank water is basic (above pH 7) then it will be ammonia, not ammonium.
I would wonder where the increase in ammonia came from. Have you tested your tap water?
Brown algae (actually diatoms) is normal in new tanks, sometime during the first 3 months. Keep it off the plant leaves. Otherwise it will come and go.
I Have for example been guilty of letting the test vials set too long before reading the results which can give you a whole different reading.
Same can happen if test vials aren't left to sit long enough. Also important to draw proper amount of water into the vials and to use proper number of drops for each solution.
It ain't too difficult once you have performed the test's a few times.
I somtimes get busy while performing maint and let the vials set too long, and then with Ammonia test in particular,,, the color of solution will indicate higher reading than otherwise.
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