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View Full Version : Ok, here is my cycling drama....



SouthernGal0682
03-29-2007, 01:03 PM
This has got me a little baffled...

3/13 - set up tank and filled with water. Used AquaSafe to dechlorinate and a product called Stability which is supposed to help with new tank syndrome (just tried it for sh--- and giggles)
3/15 - added a large bunch of cabomba and 2 reineckii plants
3/20 - added 8 lemon tetras and 6 serpae tetras (I added fish because the cycle in a planted aquarium is not as toxic as a non-planted aquarium and I had no source of ammonia).
3/22 - lemon tetras laid eggs. Tested NO2 = 2.0. (Used a API NO2 test kit)
3/26 - Fish are still happy. NO2 has stayed between 2.0 and 5.0. Could smell the tank when I walked in the house so I did a small water change (I know it slows down the cycle).
3/27 - added small Amazon Sword.
3/29 - NO2 still at 2.0. PH 6.6. NH3 0. Temp 80.

Edit: Forgot to mention my plants are growing like crazy and I am having a pretty impressive algae bloom. My plants are loving all the NO2 in there.

I have Live PH and Live NH3 monitors hanging in side my tank. PH stays at 6.6 but I have NEVER had any ammonia readings on my NH3 monitor. How is it possible that I have NO2, but no NH3? I know the plants consume alot of the ammonia, but I didn't think I would see my NO2 up this soon since I have plants. And, I have been getting NO2 readings between 2.0 and 5.0 for a week.

I'm thinking I need to go buy a different ammonia test kit and go ahead and get a nitrate test kit (didn't buy it yet).

Any insight?

Lady Hobbs
03-29-2007, 01:09 PM
Sounds like nearly a perfect cycle to me. When I cycled my 55 gallon with fish and no plants, I never had an ammonia reading of over .25. I don't know why because I had several fish in the tank, too.

You also have softer water which is less toxic for fish and can produce a faster cycle. I think you hit it on the head that the plants are getting rid of the ammonia.

sergo
03-29-2007, 01:12 PM
depending on the amount of plants in the tank you won't see much ammonia but there will still be some in there since you put a big number of fish in it right away and you're only a week into it. i would suggest getting the test kits and physically test for cycling byproducts.
you say you could smell the tank, what did it smell like? ammonia maybe?
since you are cycling with fish it will take a while to do a complete cycle.
i will also say that you may have too much light for your tank and you may end up with some algae problems due to that.
just be patient, keep an eye on the fishies and do daily water tests to see how the cycle is coming along. also write the numbers down as it will be a visual of what's going on inside of the tank.

minabird
03-29-2007, 01:27 PM
This has got me a little baffled...

3/22 - lemon tetras laid eggs. Tested NO2 = 2.0. (Used a API NO2 test kit)
3/26 - Fish are still happy. NO2 has stayed between 2.0 and 5.0. Could smell the tank when I walked in the house so I did a small water change (I know it slows down the cycle).
3/27 - added small Amazon Sword.
3/29 - NO2 still at 2.0. PH 6.6. NH3 0. Temp 80.

Edit: Forgot to mention my plants are growing like crazy and I am having a pretty impressive algae bloom. My plants are loving all the NO2 in there.

I have Live PH and Live NH3 monitors hanging in side my tank. PH stays at 6.6 but I have NEVER had any ammonia readings on my NH3 monitor. How is it possible that I have NO2, but no NH3? I know the plants consume alot of the ammonia, but I didn't think I would see my NO2 up this soon since I have plants. And, I have been getting NO2 readings between 2.0 and 5.0 for a week.

I'm thinking I need to go buy a different ammonia test kit and go ahead and get a nitrate test kit (didn't buy it yet).

Any insight?

You need to do a massive water change, 50%, immediately. A nitrite reading above 1.0 ppm is lethal for fish. Here's a chart that I like to use to track my nitrite readings when cycling a tank. http://freshaquarium.about.com/library/begin/ncolornitritechart.htm
Here's the instructions for using About.com's chart:

Test for nitrites: Begin testing one week after adding the fish. Continue testing every second or third day, until it reaches zero. Using the chart provided, plot the nitrite levels and take steps as shown on the chart if nitrite reaches the danger zone. If at any time fish show signs of distress, such as rapid breathing or hanging near the surface seemingly gasping for air, test for nitrite. If levels are elevated perform an immediate 25-50% water change and test daily until levels drop.

Your tank will be cycled once your both your ammonia and nitrite readings are 0.

As you figured out, your plants are using up all/most of the ammonia and the bacteria are converting the rest to nitrites. You don't have enough of the bacteria that converts the nitrites to nitrates yet and that's why you have such high nitrite readings. It takes alot longer for that type of bacteria to grow.

Good luck with your cycling! You're off to a good start. Just keep an eye on those nitrite readings. Also, get an ammonia test kit, instead of relying on the ammonia monitor, when you get the nitrate test kit.

With all of those plants, your tank should cycle relatively quickly.

SouthernGal0682
03-29-2007, 01:32 PM
Sounds like nearly a perfect cycle to me. When I cycled my 55 gallon with fish and no plants, I never had an ammonia reading of over .25. I don't know why because I had several fish in the tank, too.

You also have softer water which is less toxic for fish and can produce a faster cycle. I think you hit it on the head that the plants are getting rid of the ammonia.

Wow, that makes me feel a lot better! I have just been stumped by the ammonia thing since, like you said, I have more than a couple fish in the tank.

SouthernGal0682
03-29-2007, 01:37 PM
depending on the amount of plants in the tank you won't see much ammonia but there will still be some in there since you put a big number of fish in it right away and you're only a week into it. i would suggest getting the test kits and physically test for cycling byproducts.
you say you could smell the tank, what did it smell like? ammonia maybe?
since you are cycling with fish it will take a while to do a complete cycle.
i will also say that you may have too much light for your tank and you may end up with some algae problems due to that.
just be patient, keep an eye on the fishies and do daily water tests to see how the cycle is coming along. also write the numbers down as it will be a visual of what's going on inside of the tank.

Tank has been running for 2 1/2 weeks, not one.

Smelled like algae, not ammonia (ammonia readings of 0)

I have 2.23 watts/gal. which is medium-high lighting for 38 gallons. I want to grow more challenging plants and some with color after I have finished cycling so that is why I have high wattage. I can always change a bulb in the long run if it stays a problem.

sergo
03-29-2007, 01:48 PM
Tank has been running for 2 1/2 weeks, not one.

Smelled like algae, not ammonia (ammonia readings of 0)

I have 2.23 watts/gal. which is medium-high lighting for 38 gallons. I want to grow more challenging plants and some with color after I have finished cycling so that is why I have high wattage. I can always change a bulb in the long run if it stays a problem.well hell. punch me in the face and tell me to shut up. i'll leave now...




good luck you're almost there.

SouthernGal0682
03-29-2007, 01:55 PM
well hell. punch me in the face and tell me to shut up. i'll leave now...




good luck you're almost there.


LOL :hmm3grin2orange: ...Not an attack, just wanted to make sure ya'll understand my tank so I can be sure of whats going on in it

(love the quote in your signature BTW)

SouthernGal0682
03-29-2007, 01:58 PM
You need to do a massive water change, 50%, immediately. A nitrite reading above 1.0 ppm is lethal for fish. Here's a chart that I like to use to track my nitrite readings when cycling a tank. http://freshaquarium.about.com/library/begin/ncolornitritechart.htm
Here's the instructions for using About.com's chart:

[

Thanks for the link. I have been keeping track on my calendar. I think I will go buy an actual ammonia test kit and not just rely on the monitor. I need a nitrate test kit too so after I get all that I will test again and consider the water change.

sergo
03-29-2007, 02:13 PM
no offense taken, just a brilliant showing of ignorance ;)-

Chrona
03-29-2007, 03:24 PM
Sounds like you are close to done with cycling. Keep in mind that you will need to start fertilizing soon (using dry ferts and trace supplements) as your plants will run out of the reserves they built up at the nursery in about 1-3 weeks under that amount of light + CO2

SouthernGal0682
03-30-2007, 01:15 PM
UPDATE: Nitrites down to 1.0 this morning! :19: I never got around to getting that nitrate kit yesterday, so I will do that today. I can't believe how quickly this is happening!

SouthernGal0682
03-30-2007, 01:17 PM
Sounds like you are close to done with cycling. Keep in mind that you will need to start fertilizing soon (using dry ferts and trace supplements) as your plants will run out of the reserves they built up at the nursery in about 1-3 weeks under that amount of light + CO2

Since I seem to be close to done with the cycle, should I wait untill after it is finished to start adding fertilizer? Will it mess up the cycle if I add it now. I have a small bottle of liquid fertilizer from....ummmm.... oh, nutrifin called plant gro.

Chrona
03-30-2007, 02:33 PM
Since I seem to be close to done with the cycle, should I wait untill after it is finished to start adding fertilizer? Will it mess up the cycle if I add it now. I have a small bottle of liquid fertilizer from....ummmm.... oh, nutrifin called plant gro.

It won't mess up the cycle, but I'd still wait. Which one is it?

http://www.marinedepot.com/aquarium_freshwater_hagen_plant_gro_fertilizer.asp ?CartId=

The top one provides micronutrients(trace) + iron, while the bottom one provides NPK (macronutrients - or basically what is in gardening fertilizer sticks) You will need both eventually (the trace you will need sooner than the NPK). Since it is a larger tank, I'd recommend ordering some dry fertilizer (NPK), as it's MUCH cheaper in the long run than the overpriced liquid NPK

And to make it all worthwhile of course, you need more plants :)

SouthernGal0682
03-30-2007, 02:46 PM
Its the top one... the trace + iron.

Chrona
03-30-2007, 02:52 PM
Its the top one... the trace + iron.

That's fine for now. You can start dosing after your tank cycles. At about 2 watts per gallon, you may or may not need to dose the other macronutrients, but the easiest way to judge is to keep an eye on nitrate levels. If they ever fall below 5 ppm, then you know you need to either add more fish (if it's dropping very slightly and provided you have room) or start adding in nitrates via KNO3. I've got 28 watts over my 10g and have to add about 5 ppm of nitrates (amongst other macros) every other day to keep it at a steady 15 ppm.

SouthernGal0682
03-30-2007, 03:04 PM
So basically I want about 15 ppm of nitrate in my tank?

Chrona
03-30-2007, 03:09 PM
So basically I want about 15 ppm of nitrate in my tank?

Yep, 10-15 is all plants need. The less the better for the fish :)