Could my tank have cycled without any ammonia readings???
I have a 55g tank which I have had for about 1 month, I have got fish (8 neons, 6 zebra danios, 5 guppies, 2 mollies, 2 other tetras (can't remember name) and real plants; with regular testing (2nd daily) I have always had ammonia 0, nitrite 0 and nitrate 0. Today however my nitrate read 5!! Is this possible without having any ammonia or nitrite readings in the past?? My tank is heavily planted so could it have cycled without the "new tank syndrome? I have also done 20% weekly water changes.
heavily planted means ammonia is gonna be consumed by your plants before it build up in the water.
I thought that may have been the case, but shouldn't I have got a nitrite reading before a nitrate reading?? Thanks for response :-P
nitrite is from ammonia and so without the ammonia ever building up, you skip the nitrite step as well. Plants are awesome right?
Excellent, got really excited when saw the nitrate level after weeks of 0, 0, 0. Yes live plants are the way to go. Just not sure now how often I need to clean filter?? Haven't done it yet, my filter is in the hood of my Aqua one AR-980;
there are three sections, the first has ceramic rings in the bottom which is covered with a black what looks like a big scouring pad then some filter wool.
The middle compartment which is smaller has some more ceramic rings and 2 bags of charcoal (which I rinsed thouroughly) then it has the black pad then the filter wool on top.
The third compartment has the black pad on the bottom with 2 layers of filter wool on top.
Not sure if this is right. The filter has a long pipe which drips along these three compartments.
All I can see happening at the moment is the filter wool going brown where the water runs through it!
Any help much appreciated as learning and don't want to mess it up :-)
charcoal/carbon is not really needed in a planted tank as it would remove necessary nutrients from the water that your plants need. For your other filter media, I would rinse them with aquarium water when you do water changes. The foam and ceramic rings do not need to be changed out until they are literally falling apart. Basically, everything in the filter just needs to be rinsed with aquarium water when you do your WCs, and the carbon can be taken out and replaced with more foam/wool or ceramic media. Do not ever rinse your media with tap water or let them dry out.
Thanks for that advice, will remove the carbon. Do I need to rinse the filter wool on next water change or wait until it looks all brown?? Worried I will remove good bacteria because the ceramic rings still look clean.
With live plants bacteria are relatively unimportant--provided you don't overstock the tank with too many fish.:shock:
There needs to be a continual flow of water through the filter; it the water flow slows, it means the filter is getting clogged. The darkening of the filter pads is a sign of this. Water will try to find away around, taking the course of least resistance, so the "water clearing" which the filter does will not be as effective. And you can rinse these under the tap, again the bacteria are irrelevant, and in any case there are more in the substrate than the filter.
Some fish need a bit more water flow than others, so this is important for them too, if you had any of those species (you don't according to your list).
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