My tank has been set up for 6 weeks with 2 guppies and 6 plants and last week I added 4 oto cats.
I have not tested the water until a couple of days ago and my readings are: amonia 0, nitrite 0 and nitrate 0.
It looks like the tank is still cycling as 0 nitrate, is there anything I can do to help it along? should I still do my weekly 25% water change? Am I changing my water too often or too much of it? Would it be that the 0 reading is because of my plants?
How big is your tank? 2 guppies and 6 plants is likely neglibible impact. I would recommend monitoring the water parameters every other day with each new fish added.
If your tank is very small it would seem that it has cycled although 0 nitrates is unusualy. What type of test did you use? The strips can be very inaccurate.
If your tank is quite big then I would say leifthebunny is right and your tank hasn't had a big enough bioload introduced to have an impact.
25% weekly water change sounds good :)
The best information I can give without further details about you tank, is get yourself a liquid test kit (if you haven't already got one), and keep testing the water on a daily basis.
If the tank is yet to cycle, then you should expect to see an ammonia reading at some point, and I don't think from what you've said that it has cycled yet. You should expect to see some kind of a nitrate reading if it has.
As mentioned above, you may not have a heavy enough bioload for the tank - depending on the size of it, so the more information you can give then the more we can advise. :)
It can also depend on what plants you have. Even with a heavy bioload my nitrates will bottom out regularly because I have Wisteria which sucks them up big time.
I do agree with the others though that you could well see a spike in the near future and testing is going to be needed to make the fish stay healthy.
Thanks for the replies,
I have a 30g, and my plants are Bacopa caroliniana, Microsorum Pteropus and Echinodorus 'Rubin".
I have the API freshwater master liquid test kit.
Can it really take this long to cycle? I set the tank up for 1 week with just plants, in week 2 I added 2 guppies and in week 6 (thinking it would have cycled or would nearly have cycled) added 4 ottos. The fish are doing great. So you still think that after 6 weeks it could NOT have cycled yet?
It's not necessarily a matter of time, but more what the bioload is. If the bioload is not high enough to trigger the cycle it won't cycle at all, or at least it'll take a very long time.
My opinion is however that with the ottos it will start as the bioload has been increased however be very careful as ottos are notoriously difficult to keep alive and if they are present during cycling, they may not make it. Monitor your parameters very carefully to ensure that they do.
With 30 gallons it is possible your cycle hasn't started yet. The plants may remove some nitrates, but I would think you would've seen something along the way of ammonia or nitrites.
Keep it going... but do watch the otos, like Julie said they are not all that hardy for cycling purposes. I would test every day just in case.
I wouldn't change the water out until some ammonia shows, otherwise you may stall the cycle even more. Of course if we're talking 6 weeks or more without a water change, I imagine just for general fish health it should be done. I would think your cycle should start within that time frame though.
Let us know how it goes.
Thanks for your reply. I wish i'd read it earlier as I did a 25% water change today.
I've been testing for 7 days now and added the 4 otos 8 days ago and its still amonia 0, nitrite 0 and nitrate 0 but i'll keep testing...
I know that this is going to sound like a stupid question, but you are 100% sure you are following the directions on the test kit? If it's been up for 6 weeks and you haven't tested until now one of two things is possible.
1- The cycle hasn't started yet due to a small bioload
2- The cycle is complete and with the nitrate amount is so small due to a the small bioload that it's not showing.
The only way to know is to keep testing and watch what it does. The better would be #2 of course. No big deal about the water change. If the cycle isn't complete, it will just take longer. If it is complete it will just take longer to show nitrates. Either way it's ok.
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