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breeglet 01-14-2013 05:10 PM

Water Parameters & Cycling Question
Hi, I am new here and wasn't quite sure which forum would be "appropriate" for my question. :) I made an account after doing lots and lots and lots and lots of research through these forums in preparation of my new 5g planted tank.

This tank is about 3 weeks old. There are 3 baby and 2 adult white cloud minnows in there to help the cycle. There is a tiny anubia, a windelov that I've divided into three to balance out the aquascape, and an abundance of java moss. I am using eco-complete substrate. I dose CO2 daily, iron twice a week, and flourish comprehensive once a week. I am using a 10watt compact fluorescent light. Water is heated and usually sits at a steady 78 but has dropped a couple degrees in the midst of frigid weather here on my college campus. There is also a filter.

When I first set up the tank, I tested water daily and did daily 10% water changes to keep the minnows happy. After about a week of this I stopped testing daily - why? The parameters have never gone above 0. Every Wednesday I take a water sample down to my LFS for free testing and they confirm my results. Ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates are always 0 and have been for the past 3 weeks, pH is always a steady 7.6. The tank started with 3 baby minnows, and after the second week my LFS had me add two adult minnows.

At the advice of my LFS, I slowed down water changes to a weekly basis but skipped the second week's water change so that the tank could go two weeks to build up ammonia. This Wednesday would then be when I resume water changes.

I test my water every other day or so. I tested today and everything still reads 0. What is going on oh planted tank gurus?

Diana 01-15-2013 01:42 AM

MAYBE fish load is so small that your slow growing plants are enough to handle the waste?

Nitrifying bacteria could have come in on the leaves, and that might have been just enough.

WCM are cool water fish. Allow the temperature to drop to the low 70s for them.

Alternate idea: Someone left the cap off the test (at the store) and it is not longer accurate.

breeglet 01-16-2013 04:44 AM

Thank you for your response! The WCMs are temporary and will be replaced with 2 african dwarf frogs, a nerite, and a betta once I get the green light from my LFS (betta will be added a couple days after the others). I originally had the temp in the low 70s but saw my anubias suffering, and my LFS suggested to adjust the temp and my anubias has been happy ever since so I am hesitant to lower it again, especially since the minnows don't seem to mind at all. They are very lively and cute to watch.

I'm starting to think bacteria came in on the plants and that they & the plants simply support the bioload pretty well on their own... I *think* I see brown algae on this leaf ornament I have suctioned to the side (a cute "betta hammock" that they apparently love according to many reviews & posts) and I heard that was a sign that a tank is newly established? I only noticed it a couple days ago and then rubbed it off.

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