CO2 testing and cycling for fish - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-29-2015, 06:53 PM Thread Starter
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CO2 testing and cycling for fish

Planted and filled my 20 gallon tank on Wednesday. Filled with DI and added RO Right to bring back some elements. Did 2 water changes of about 30%. Last night I added some Lilve Nitrifying Bacteria to help speed up the cycling process for fish.

I have Co2 set for 2 bubbles per second for first few days. Now set at 1 bubble per second. Plant list below.

I have an led light above tank with 24 bulbs. Sits approx. 3 inches from top of water. There is a glass piece that sits on top of tank.

Plants:
Dwarf Hairgrass (Eleocharis)
Micro Sword Narrow Leaf (Liaeopsis)
Dwarf Baby Leaf (Hemianthus Callitrichoides)
Amazonia soil

Question, is there a way to test the Co2 content in tank to make sure not too little or too much or do you just need to sit and wait to see how the plants look/react? Also, This morning readings on the water show no Nitrite with 20mg/L of nitrate levels, ph of approx. 6.8, KH around 80 and GH arouind 50. Am I good to go with small quantity of fish or could these readings just be inaccurate, since I just started the process 4 days ago.
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-29-2015, 07:46 PM
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You must add an ammonia source daily for your BB to feed on. Research "fishless cycling". Get a "drop checker" to check your co2 level. As I have never used the Amazonia soil, I can't recall if it leaches ammonia or not.
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-29-2015, 07:51 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gtdad2 View Post
You must add an ammonia source daily for your BB to feed on. Research "fishless cycling". Get a "drop checker" to check your co2 level.
I have drop checker installed at 1 drop per second. Looking for ways to test the water content of C02. Sorry, what is BB?

thanks
John
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-29-2015, 07:56 PM
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BB=beneficial bacteria. You are referring to a bubble counter, not a drop checker.

Bump: Also it is important that 4 dKH solution be used in a drop checker to get accurate results.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-29-2015, 08:26 PM
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I agree with the others on the drop checker. The name refers to the drop in PH rather than drops as in water drops. Do some looking on that point, maybe?

But for the fish question, there is still the old way of adding a few fish at a time which should work in your cases. With the bacteria you have added, they will be looking for something to eat in the form of ammonia for the first group. Some reading is needed to better understand what you are wanting to happen but in the meantime and assuming you are really anxious to get some fish in there, it can still be practical to add a couple. Assuming there is some good bacteria (BB) they may be ready to take up the load from a couple small fish. IF, however you get too many fish or feed too heavy, the ammonia or nitrite WILL damage the fish. So it can become a situation where hurry and you might get by but with damaged fish. Damaged fish may not die right away but they can be much harder to get going really well. Or the safer way is to go much slower and not risk starting the tank with potential for fighting to keep damaged fish alive.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-30-2015, 02:49 AM Thread Starter
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I read that the amazonia soil would be producing some ammonia that would feed the bacterial. I put two small fish from my current tank and they seem to be doing well right now. Will monitor them and continue to test the water on a daily basis to make sure things don't get out of range. I also put some gravel and rocks from my cycled tank in the sump of the tank to maybe help things along.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-30-2015, 03:51 PM
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When you have a fully up and running tank handy, there is a way to almost "instant" cycle a tank. Look at moving some of the media from the old tank to the new. If the media will fit in some way, the swap will move a great deal of bacteria to the new and the old will not miss the loss. The old will have lots of bacteria on all parts like walls filter body substrate and the small dip is quickly replaced as the bacteria grows quickly when more food is provided. If the old tank filter and new are so different that media won't fit, try just hanging some in the new tank. The theory is that the media is where bacteria lives but it is always spread all around.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 11-30-2015, 04:37 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the information. Yes I have plenty if room in the rear sump for items from my current tank to go. I put some large rocks and gravel from cycled tank in the sump of new tank. Fish and water readings are doing well. Will continue to monitor throughout the week.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-01-2015, 08:42 PM Thread Starter
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Bought a good water testing kit and realized that the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels were through the roof. Took the two small fish out and put them back in my cycled tank. The Amazonia soil must be putting out a lot of ammonia. I added a live bacteria product from the store, but doesn't seem to be keeping up with the ammonia and other components. Going to just ride it out without fish, until things stabilize.


Question, can the high levels of ammonia hurt the plants in the tank, while everything goes through cycling? I've done a few water changes in the last few days and can continue to do them if you think it is needed. I am using DI water with RO Right added for my water changes. Doing approx. 35% -40% water changes every other day.


thanks
John
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-01-2015, 09:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBillig View Post
Bought a good water testing kit and realized that the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels were through the roof. Took the two small fish out and put them back in my cycled tank. The Amazonia soil must be putting out a lot of ammonia. I added a live bacteria product from the store, but doesn't seem to be keeping up with the ammonia and other components. Going to just ride it out without fish, until things stabilize.
Not sure what product you are using. If it has been on the shelf too long, or subjected to harsh conditions, the bacteria may not remain viable.

Tetra SafeStart Plus from Amazon worked well for me.

Quote:
Question, can the high levels of ammonia hurt the plants in the tank, while everything goes through cycling? I've done a few water changes in the last few days and can continue to do them if you think it is needed. I am using DI water with RO Right added for my water changes. Doing approx. 35% -40% water changes every other day.


thanks
John
I think ammonia levels would have to be extremely high to hurt the plants.

If you use pure DI or RO water for water changes you could deplete the minerals in the water that plants require. You can remineralize RO/DI water with
Seachem Equilibrium Seachem Equilibrium
(raises GH) and
potassium bicarbonate potassium bicarbonate
(raises KH).
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-01-2015, 11:18 PM Thread Starter
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I use pure DI water and add RO Right, which is an additive to remineralize the water needed for plants and fish.

Below from the manufacturer

Provides natural water chemistry for the conversion of reverse osmosis, distilled or deionized water for fresh water fish and plants
Provides a balanced electrolyte system Useful for all fresh water fish, including discus
This is the premium dry formula used the world over to raise discus and other freshwater species
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-02-2015, 05:01 PM
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ADA Amazonia will leech a TON of ammonia. I have it in my 55 Gallon. On the plus side, my plants are doing AWESOME!

I actually purchased an ammonia/ammonium kit from Amazon today so I can check these individually. Most Ammonia tests include both forms, ammonium is not as toxic as ammonia (from what I read) so the result on these can freak you out if you don't keep that in mind.

~Lindsay
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-02-2015, 09:20 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by milbran220 View Post
ADA Amazonia will leech a TON of ammonia. I have it in my 55 Gallon. On the plus side, my plants are doing AWESOME!

I actually purchased an ammonia/ammonium kit from Amazon today so I can check these individually. Most Ammonia tests include both forms, ammonium is not as toxic as ammonia (from what I read) so the result on these can freak you out if you don't keep that in mind.

Curious if the ammonia level ever dropped to 0 over time. I want to add fish at some point. Last night the ammonia levels were still dark green shown against the test card. It's only been 5 days, so maybe just need to ride it out. Planning on doing more water changes in the next few days to see if that helps.
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-02-2015, 09:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBillig View Post
Curious if the ammonia level ever dropped to 0 over time. I want to add fish at some point. Last night the ammonia levels were still dark green shown against the test card. It's only been 5 days, so maybe just need to ride it out. Planning on doing more water changes in the next few days to see if that helps.
I did a dry start for a bit before flooding the tank. I've had it going now for just over a month. My API test kit still registers dark green as well, but the rest of my cycle is going. This is why I ordered that other kit to be able to tell what is Ammonia and what is Ammonium since the test doesn't distinguish.

~Lindsay
Milwaukee, WI
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-02-2015, 11:50 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by milbran220 View Post
I did a dry start for a bit before flooding the tank. I've had it going now for just over a month. My API test kit still registers dark green as well, but the rest of my cycle is going. This is why I ordered that other kit to be able to tell what is Ammonia and what is Ammonium since the test doesn't distinguish.


Very interested in what your readings say. May have to get one of those kits as well. I too have plenty of Nitrite and Nitrate, so the cycling process is well underway. Would just like to see the green get a little closer to yellow, like the chart shows as it gets towards a reading of 0.
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