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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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?
 

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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?
 

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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
 

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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.

Jeff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
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.
 

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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.

Jeff.
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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.

Jeff.
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks JDM

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...
 

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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.

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.



my .02
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I've not had a planted tank before and wasn't sure how many plants are needed to nullify the ammonia. Also I don't know if the plants will thrive or die so don't want to rush things. I have another 7 fish from the small tank that I can introduce into the 55g in the coming days.

I've lost my fair share of fish with new tank syndrome and other beginner mistakes that I am over cautious this time. But from the advice on this thread it looks like I can loosen up and introduce some more fish. I've stocked up on test kits, plant food and joined this community so the future looks good for my new fish in their new tank.
 

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Be cautious in this hobby isn't a bad thing. So stalking slowly is always a good practice. Plants will help ad in the removal of Ammonia but only if they are healthy and thriving.
 

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I've not had a planted tank before and wasn't sure how many plants are needed to nullify the ammonia. Also I don't know if the plants will thrive or die so don't want to rush things. I have another 7 fish from the small tank that I can introduce into the 55g in the coming days.

I've lost my fair share of fish with new tank syndrome and other beginner mistakes that I am over cautious this time. But from the advice on this thread it looks like I can loosen up and introduce some more fish. I've stocked up on test kits, plant food and joined this community so the future looks good for my new fish in their new tank.
Welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.:-D

The cycling problems you experienced previously were due to the tank size, plus lack of plants. As other members have pointed out, the more water volume the more the ammonia disperses, plus live plants take up a lot of it if it is present.

Weekly partial water changes are important, about 1/3 to 1/2 the tank depending. Right now, 1/3 will be fine, but when the tank is well stocked, do 1/2.

Byron.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The bigger water volume is an eye opener for me. It is logical but, with all the other information I'm learning it didn't occur to me - it's been good to hear the advice from the community and making me feel welcome.

As the weeks go by I'll be asking more questions on the plants, especially CO2 as I'm not sure if it's needed for my low tech tank. I'll monitor my plants and see how they do with the liquid CO2 for now.
 

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Fish and the breaking down of organics by the bacteria will create Co2. In low tech tank/low light tanks most ppl don't use Co2 and rely on it being made naturally. Be cautious about liquid Co2 as its made from a nasty chemical that some plants don't like. It can make some melt such as Jungle Vallisneria. Some fish don't like it as well.
 

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The bigger water volume is an eye opener for me. It is logical but, with all the other information I'm learning it didn't occur to me - it's been good to hear the advice from the community and making me feel welcome.

As the weeks go by I'll be asking more questions on the plants, especially CO2 as I'm not sure if it's needed for my low tech tank. I'll monitor my plants and see how they do with the liquid CO2 for now.
CO2 occurs naturally in the tank, mainly from the breakdown of organics by bacteria in the substrate, but CO2 also occurs via the respiration of fish, plants and bacteria of course. A natural or low-tech planted tank uses this natural CO2, and balances light and other nutrients with it. It can take a bit of experimenting to find the balance, but it is not difficult.

I am not a fan of liquid carbon supplements like Excel or CO2 Booster. These contain a toxic chemical called glutaraldehyde which is used in hospitals to disinfect surgical instruments, in anti-freeze, in embalming fluid... you get the idea. It kills bacteria, and according to the product safety sheet is toxic to humans if splashed on your skin or the fumes are inhaled. It will kill some plants outright; if overdosed, it can kill plants, fish and bacteria.

Back to the water changes, this article I prepared may help to explain their importance:
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/freshwater-articles/regular-partial-water-changes-117205/

Byron.
 

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The bigger water volume is an eye opener for me. It is logical but, with all the other information I'm learning it didn't occur to me - it's been good to hear the advice from the community and making me feel welcome.

As the weeks go by I'll be asking more questions on the plants, especially CO2 as I'm not sure if it's needed for my low tech tank. I'll monitor my plants and see how they do with the liquid CO2 for now.
I would suggest skipping the CO2 for now and consider not even using the liquid version, it has some nasty chemical issue that are not great for the fish... others can comment if particulars are needed but many tank never see CO2 being added and get along fine. You need more light and more fertilizer to make CO2 work without having issues with balance, algae blooms can be one such issue.

Yes, it will speed up plant growth IF everything else is in balance so it depends on your goals for the tank.

Jeff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I'll stop the liquid CO2 on your advice as my week old Jungle Vallisneria is starting to go brown. I wasn't sure if it was the change in water from lfs to home or something else - I know fish don't like a sudden change of water parameters, but wasn't sure about plants.

I've got a few root tabs in and use Flourish complete so will leave out any further additives at the moment.

I'll do a water change tonight and check the water. Don't ask me about Kh or GH as I haven't got that far yet - I did look at the online water report for my area but it didn't give me any numbers that I've seen on this forum. I'm not too worried about this yet, I just want to make sure the water is healthy and safe.
 

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I'll stop the liquid CO2 on your advice as my week old Jungle Vallisneria is starting to go brown. I wasn't sure if it was the change in water from lfs to home or something else - I know fish don't like a sudden change of water parameters, but wasn't sure about plants.
City water tends to be soft and the vals like hard water.... I'm pretty sure the platys also like hard water so you'll want to know this sooner rather than later in case you find that you need to add hardness to help with plants and fish.
I've got a few root tabs in and use Flourish complete so will leave out any further additives at the moment.
That's all a lot of people ever use.
I'll do a water change tonight and check the water. Don't ask me about Kh or GH as I haven't got that far yet - I did look at the online water report for my area but it didn't give me any numbers that I've seen on this forum. I'm not too worried about this yet, I just want to make sure the water is healthy and safe.
If it's online, post a link here and someone will take a look and see if we can tell your from the report.

Jeff.
 

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