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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
Do be careful with the plant idea of making the cycle un-important. The quantity of plants is a VERY subjective thing as I thought I had a heavily planted tank. I added 12 1" fish and had a nitrite spike indicating that the tank still cycled. I worked out why but haven't posted anything on it yet. Suffice it to say that plants keeping the ammonia levels low, near unmeasurable, does not negate the fact that nitrosomona bacteria will still develop to produce nitrite which is not as readily absorbed by the plants due to the constant, although low, levels of ammonia. The low levels of ammonia (compared to the pure ammonia cycle method) do allow the nitrospira (the current version) bacteria to grow quicker and earlier which keeps the second stage more manageable but it still needs to be monitored for sensitive fish.

At least the plants can mitigate a "crash", which also seems to be a misunderstood process.

Minimum plant load for the truest silent cycle would be at least 1 fast growing stem or medium sized surface plant for every gallon of water. I had 30-40 plants in a 37 gallon tank and it wasn't quite enough to eliminate the cycle.... so instead of a silent cycle, I had a "quiet" cycle. I didn't have ALL fast growers though, that was my problem.

If you are going to fishless cycle with a low plant load then you are probably better off but if you are adding pure ammonia, don't get it too high or it will kill the plants and extend the cycle time. 1ppm or less constantly will serve you better than the listed 4ppm and it will also reduce the time for the cycle to complete. Others may disagree (probably everyone:roll:) but I bet none have actually worked out the math of the cycle.

Jeff.
Thanks for that :) I don't feel confident enough at this stage to have a heavily planted tank instead of fishless cycling with ammonia, although I like the idea of doing that one day. So my plan is to have some live plants to make it a nicer environment and hopefully reduce my nitrates a bit as my tap water is quite high, but I'm also having silk plants. Eventually I'll go fully live but I just want to learn slowly. I'm fishless cycling with ammonia at 4ppm but I don't have any live plants in there yet, I'm planning to get those when I'm cycled and then keep bringing it to 1pmm until I have my fish.

Lou
 

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Thanks Jeff, I agree I need to have a bit of a rethink to make sure I'm picking fish that will be happy. I really like the black widow tetra and flame tetra, but I'm not sure how easily I be able to source them. Cherry barb could be good, I wrongly assumed they were aggresive. I also see a lot of the livebearers like hard water so I could go that way instead. The only thing I'm really set on is having cories, so I'm open to changing my other plans. I'm thinking bronze corydora now, or a mix or bronze and the albino variety.

Lou
The emerald catfish is a Cory with a slightly elongated dorsal fin and slightly less rounded "face". It might as well be a Cory so don't discount it as I am sure it has the widest tolerance to hardness and temperture of all the "Cory like" species.

Actually, here is a quite shot of one of mine.

Jeff
 

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Thanks for that :) I don't feel confident enough at this stage to have a heavily planted tank instead of fishless cycling with ammonia, although I like the idea of doing that one day. So my plan is to have some live plants to make it a nicer environment and hopefully reduce my nitrates a bit as my tap water is quite high, but I'm also having silk plants. Eventually I'll go fully live but I just want to learn slowly. I'm fishless cycling with ammonia at 4ppm but I don't have any live plants in there yet, I'm planning to get those when I'm cycled and then keep bringing it to 1pmm until I have my fish.

Lou
Don't get too hung up on the plants eating nitrates, they don't use nitrate efficiently and you will most likely need to rely on water changes to keep it in check.

Jeff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Don't get too hung up on the plants eating nitrates, they don't use nitrate efficiently and you will most likely need to rely on water changes to keep it in check.

Jeff.
My corncern with that is that my tap water has highish nitrates :/ Although when I test my cycling tank they have lowered, but I don't know why. But I see Cherry Barbs can cope with higher nitrates so they may be the way to go.

Your emerald catfish is really cute, I definitely haven't discounted them :) it's just that i've seen bronze and albino corys for sale where I am but haven't seen these yet.

Lou
 

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My corncern with that is that my tap water has highish nitrates :/ Although when I test my cycling tank they have lowered, but I don't know why. But I see Cherry Barbs can cope with higher nitrates so they may be the way to go.

Your emerald catfish is really cute, I definitely haven't discounted them :) it's just that i've seen bronze and albino corys for sale where I am but haven't seen these yet.

Lou
True, I ordered them and waited almost a month, they are wild caught in Peru. I needed to wait a month as I wanted the tank reasonably stable. You have time to look around and to order if needed.

I've seen nitrate absorbing filter media although I have no idea if it works well or how long it lasts (how much it can absorb). My nitrates are zero now, they were climbing but because of all my plants, there are not many being generated in the first place and I expect that they are just sucking up what little does appear.

I does suck when you need to fight tap water issues. Hard water is one thing but nitrates a whole other issue.

Jeff.
 

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My corncern with that is that my tap water has highish nitrates :/ Although when I test my cycling tank they have lowered, but I don't know why. But I see Cherry Barbs can cope with higher nitrates so they may be the way to go.
Where did you see this [the last sentence]?

All fish are sensitive to any of the three aquatic forms of nitrogen, be it ammonia, nitrite or nitrate. The latter is less toxic than the first two, at low levels and short-term. But the higher the level of nitrate and the longer the fish is exposed, the more damage is done.

What is the nitrate level in the tap water? There are methods to deal with this, but let's see the number first. Live plants do help somewhat, but this is long-term; the initial influx of nitrate at the water change has to be considered.

Byron.
 

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Where did you see this [the last sentence]?

All fish are sensitive to any of the three aquatic forms of nitrogen, be it ammonia, nitrite or nitrate. The latter is less toxic than the first two, at low levels and short-term. But the higher the level of nitrate and the longer the fish is exposed, the more damage is done.

What is the nitrate level in the tap water? There are methods to deal with this, but let's see the number first. Live plants do help somewhat, but this is long-term; the initial influx of nitrate at the water change has to be considered.

Byron.
"Water parameters before starting cycling were ph 7.2, GH 16, and my nitrates in my tap water were pretty high, about 30-40 :/ they've dropped a lot now in the tank, don't really understand why? But I plan to have live plants so I hope that will help any nitrate issues, and if not I've bought a thing to attach to the taps to remove nitrates."

Just being helpful.

Jeff.
 

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"Water parameters before starting cycling were ph 7.2, GH 16, and my nitrates in my tap water were pretty high, about 30-40 :/ they've dropped a lot now in the tank, don't really understand why? But I plan to have live plants so I hope that will help any nitrate issues, and if not I've bought a thing to attach to the taps to remove nitrates."

Just being helpful.

Jeff.
Thanks, missed that. I have a habit of going through my list of threads one by one when I first log on, and often I only check the latter posts subsequent to my last post. I do miss things sometimes.:roll:

If the nitrates really are at 30ppm (or higher) in the tap water,this should be dealt with. AbbeysDad has this issue and has explained his method in a couple of threads. Good advice.

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
@Byron I read it in the profile here that they can cope with higher nitrate levels than other fish; I know this won't mean they can cope with really high levels though. Tbh I'm not 100% sure what my tap water nitrates are as I currently only have test strips and I'm not convinced either on their accuracy or my ability to read them well, but in my initial attempt at reading them I thought it was 20-40. I've ordered liquid tests so I can know for sure.

I have bought a nitrate removal sponge but don't have it in yet, and I bought a device which apparently removes nitrates from the tap water. I haven't tried it yet but have read good reviews. But in any case I have noticed my nitrates in my tank have lowered significantly (l think to around 10, again not sure with the test strips). This was in slightly less than a week. Any idea why this would be? All I have in the tank is the sand and a small piece of bogwood. I am concerned about nitrate spikes when doing water changes (if I'm not using the device) I'll do a change when I have the liquid tests and see what happens.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Thanks, missed that. I have a habit of going through my list of threads one by one when I first log on, and often I only check the latter posts subsequent to my last post. I do miss things sometimes.:roll:

If the nitrates really are at 30ppm (or higher) in the tap water,this should be dealt with. AbbeysDad has this issue and has explained his method in a couple of threads. Good advice.

Byron.
Thanks I'll have a look for that thread.

Lou
 

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@Byron I read it in the profile here that they can cope with higher nitrate levels than other fish; I know this won't mean they can cope with really high levels though.
Puzzled me for a minute, until I realized that this is in the "Care Level" section which is a set paragraph of text according to the level chosen, here it is "Easy." I should see about getting this changed, as it is misleading.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Just to update, I just tested my water and I don't think I have had a reduction in nitrates in the tank, I think I'm just getting inconsistent results from my test strips and/or struggling to interprit them accurately. Just tested tank water alongside tap water and the nitrates showed the same colour on both strips, but I find it hard to match it with the chart. My King British test strips appear to say about 20 and my Tetra strips.. well they just confuse me as the colour doesn't look like any on the chart! (They are the ones I used first when I guessed 20-40).

Lou
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
If the nitrates really are at 30ppm (or higher) in the tap water,this should be dealt with. AbbeysDad has this issue and has explained his method in a couple of threads. Good advice.

Byron.
I found a thread about a DIY nitrate filter, is that the one you were refering to? It went over my head a little :/ but it sounds in principle (I think..) slightly like what I bought; it's called Aquaworld Nitrate Remover Aquaworld AQUAWORLD NITRATE REMOVERI read quite a few good reviews of it. I haven't bought the tap adapter and hose yet so haven't been able to try it. I was hoping to not need it thinking my plants will remove the nitrates, but from what you've all said I'm now understanding that plants will help reduce nitrate production from ammonia but won't massively remove nitrates if they're coming from my tap water (is that correct?). So I'll get the liquid test, see for sure what I'm dealing with and then try the device.. Slightly gutted that I have awkward tap water! :roll:

Thanks again for everyone's help I feel like I'm learning a lot :)

Lou
 

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I found a thread about a DIY nitrate filter, is that the one you were refering to? It went over my head a little :/ but it sounds in principle (I think..) slightly like what I bought; it's called Aquaworld Nitrate Remover Aquaworld AQUAWORLD NITRATE REMOVERI read quite a few good reviews of it. I haven't bought the tap adapter and hose yet so haven't been able to try it. I was hoping to not need it thinking my plants will remove the nitrates, but from what you've all said I'm now understanding that plants will help reduce nitrate production from ammonia but won't massively remove nitrates if they're coming from my tap water (is that correct?). So I'll get the liquid test, see for sure what I'm dealing with and then try the device.. Slightly gutted that I have awkward tap water! :roll:

Thanks again for everyone's help I feel like I'm learning a lot :)

Lou
I don't know that product, and I don't like recommending something I know nothing about. I'll PM AD and if he is around he will drop in to this thread I'm sure. B.
 

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Welcome to TFK!

Yes, nitrates are a real pain and when high in the source water require a two prone approach. 1) to reduce source water nitrates; and 2) to keep tank nitrates low.

I am not familiar with the inline Aquaworld Nitrate Remover product (I don't think it's available here in the states) but think it's worth a try. It most likely contains a synthetic resin that adsorbs nitrates. This is similar to Fluval Lab Series Nitrate Remover and API Nitra-Zorb, although these products are intended to be used in a filter in an aquarium (or in a filter in a tank to create water for water changes). All of these products are rechargeable in salt water.

I have also used an API Tap Water filter to create deionized water that I have mixed with my filtered water.
I tried using rain water but had a bad experience (acid rain) so don't recommend it.
I am also now collecting water from my basement dehumidifier.

You could invest in an RO or RO/DI unit, but it can be involved unless you have high water pressure (otherwise you'll need a pump to create the required pressure to force water through the membrane) and you will lose about 4 gallons of water for every 1 gallon of RO water produced.

Note that RO, DI type waters contain no minerals and must be adjusted before using. I tend to mix these type waters 50/50 with tap water and use Seachem Fresh Trace and or Seachem Replensih for nutrients.

- As for nitrates in the tank, sadly my DIY de-nitrate filter was not successful in culturing the necessary anaerobic bacteria. I'm now using the Matrix/De*Nitrate product mix alone in an Aquaclear 70 filter as a dedicated bio-filter.

- Use plants, even floating plants as they will help - I'm using Anacharis. You will find that plants will process ammonia and even nitrates. A heavily planted tank would be best, but may require different lighting. Floating plants work in almost any tank with 6500k bulbs.

- Keep the tank/filter fairly clean as this reduces organic matter that decomposes producing nitrates. I always had lots of detritus come out when I gravel siphoned so I switched to sand (where everything stays on top).

- Cleanup crew. Soon after switching to sand, I added a couple of Pepper Cory's. They ensure there's never any uneaten food on the bottom. You might choose some other bottom feeders to assist. (Frankly I just love these little Corys and how they dimple the sand as they forage for food.

- I'm using Seachem Purigen (2x 100ml pkgs) in my filters. Purigen is a synthetic resin that adsorbs dissolved organic compounds (DOCs) before they decompose to produce nitrates. Purigen can be regenerated in a 50/50 mix of chlorine bleach and water followed by dechlorination before reuse.

Last, and some may argue, you may find that treatments to resolve your source water nitrates do not come cheap or without labor. Through excellent filtration, tank maintenance, lots of floating plants, I have successfully reduced the volume of the weekly water change. This requires judgement and experimentation.

I hope some of these ideas help - but go ahead and give the Aquaworld product a try and see what happens - it should work. My only reservation is knowing when the cartridge is exhausted so you can regenerate it in SW, but you will learn.

Regards and keep us posted.
AD
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
Thanks AD for all that information, that's really helpful and gives me lots of options to think about. I'm hoping to avoid having to go the RO route becuase of the expense and it looks complicated, plus my house has low water pressure :/ I'm hoping a combination of the Aquaworld product and the in-tank options you mentioned will be enough.

I looked up the de*nitrate and Purigen products and they look interesting. I'm a bit confused as to how I would use them given that I'm currently fishless cycling with sponge media in my filter, presumably if I switched the media I'd have to start again? Or could I get a second small filter- too much in a 20g tank? I'll get plants, and i have sand as the substrate. Also, this tank is primarily going to be a cory tank so I'll have a good sized cleanup crew :)

I wasn't expecting it to be this complicated but hopefully it will all work out fine! Thanks again :)
 

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Thanks AD for all that information, that's really helpful and gives me lots of options to think about. I'm hoping to avoid having to go the RO route becuase of the expense and it looks complicated, plus my house has low water pressure :/ I'm hoping a combination of the Aquaworld product and the in-tank options you mentioned will be enough.

I looked up the de*nitrate and Purigen products and they look interesting. I'm a bit confused as to how I would use them given that I'm currently fishless cycling with sponge media in my filter, presumably if I switched the media I'd have to start again? Or could I get a second small filter- too much in a 20g tank? I'll get plants, and i have sand as the substrate. Also, this tank is primarily going to be a cory tank so I'll have a good sized cleanup crew :)

I wasn't expecting it to be this complicated but hopefully it will all work out fine! Thanks again :)
You don't have to start over as the filter houses less than half of your bacterial colonies so switching just sets you back a day or two. As long as you are watching for the spikes you'll know when it's ready.

Least complicated method, load up the plants, load up the fish (5 or 6 at a time) and monitor levels from there. I did this with a 37 gallon and added 12 fish within a few days of tank setup then added the final 9 two weeks later. No ammonia spiking but a small nitrite spike about two weeks after the first fish went in.

Jeff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
You don't have to start over as the filter houses less than half of your bacterial colonies so switching just sets you back a day or two. As long as you are watching for the spikes you'll know when it's ready.

Least complicated method, load up the plants, load up the fish (5 or 6 at a time) and monitor levels from there. I did this with a 37 gallon and added 12 fish within a few days of tank setup then added the final 9 two weeks later. No ammonia spiking but a small nitrite spike about two weeks after the first fish went in.

Jeff.
Thanks Jeff :) I just want to have some methods to control nitrates before I start adding fish because with my tap water being high I can't rely on water changes and I don't want to get my first ever fish and hurt them because I can't control nitrates :/ I've found a little corner filter that and am thinking of filling it with half de*nitrate and half nitrate removal sponge and adding it in with the filter I have. I'll try to find a tap adapter for my Aquaworld device today as if that works my problem is solved anyway :)

Lou
 

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Thanks Jeff :) I just want to have some methods to control nitrates before I start adding fish because with my tap water being high I can't rely on water changes and I don't want to get my first ever fish and hurt them because I can't control nitrates :/ I've found a little corner filter that and am thinking of filling it with half de*nitrate and half nitrate removal sponge and adding it in with the filter I have. I'll try to find a tap adapter for my Aquaworld device today as if that works my problem is solved anyway :)

Lou
If you can remove them before adding, that would be best. The tap adaptor setup is your best option if it works.

Seeing as you are only dealing with a 20 gallon you won't want to take up any more space with equipment in the tank and you will want to keep changes small and frequent. If the tap fails (why, I can't think of any reason) I might suggest that you just setup a 5 gallon pail with that corner filter and run the water that way then use it for your changes. You can then test that water for nitrates and get an idea how long it takes to de-nitrify. The only thing to figure out then is how long the products will last before recharging/replacing.

Sounds like you are headed in the right direction at least.

Jeff.
 
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