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Old 11-27-2012, 02:59 PM   #31
plantastic37
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Just to update:

I had forgotten that I also had a backup test kit the kind you dip in the water for a second and has pads that change color in 30-60 seconds (60 for the nitrate) and it shows the nitrate is bright hot pink which does not correspond to any color on its chart which means it is off the chart for nitrite. Should I do a water change?

While this is a fresh tetra master kit I am not sure I trust the results.
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Old 11-27-2012, 04:08 PM   #32
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Yeah go ahead and do a water change (no gravel vac) and then test the ammonia and redose as needed. What is your nitrite reading anyhow?
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Old 11-27-2012, 06:44 PM   #33
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Yeah go ahead and do a water change (no gravel vac) and then test the ammonia and redose as needed. What is your nitrite reading anyhow?
Depends on which test kit I should trust, but like I stated in my previous post if you go by the API test kit which only goes up to 5ppm then it is either 2-5ppm or above (since 2 and the 5ppm indicators look nearly identical with this test kit). Then the tetra test strip says its off the charts over 10ppm.
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Old 11-28-2012, 03:36 PM   #34
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Well I have done three 5 gallon water changes in the past 2 days (note tank is only an 8 gallon if really that). The nitrite is still in the 2-5ppm category on the API kit (hard to tell which is which when it gets to this reading). The tetra test reads that its at 3ppm with successive tests.

Not sure which to trust. Any advice here very appreciated.
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Old 11-28-2012, 05:33 PM   #35
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The NO2 is probably fine, as long as the tests all seem to indicate ANYWHERE under 5 ppm. The tests are not that accurate anyway.
However, here is how to use them to try to get an 'in between' reading:
API tests say to start with 5 ml tank water.
Do this instead: 2.5 ml tank water + 2.5 ml distilled or RO water. Tap water is OK if there is no NO2 or NO3 in it. Do not use tap water with chloramine if you are doing the ammonia test.
Then double the test result. If the test seems to show it closest to 2 ppm, then call it 4 ppm. You could probably cut that again, perhaps 1 ml tank water + 4 ml of tap, then multiply the result by 5, but somewhere in here you are trying to get an accuracy beyond what the test kit is good for. Interesting to play around with it, and see if the 2 test kits (strip and test tube style) agree.

Excel is probably OK during cycling, but I would not use the loading dose that Seachem specifies, just the regular dosing.
__________________________________________________ _____
On page 2 of this thread someone asked about the fish-in cycle. It works, but is slow. For an experienced aquarist who understands patience, and is willing to put in that much work, that is fine. But it does take diligence with the water changes. Here is a rough time table:
Set up tank, add a small starter culture of bacteria from any source, probably sharing media from a well cycled tank. Plant with as many plants as you can.
Add a few fish, not to exceed the capacity of the bacteria you have shared. If you have only lightly planted the tank the plants do not count as bio filter. For a densely planted tank see my comments below.
This part of the cycle is not too bad, as long as you have properly estimated the fish:bacteria ratio.
Allow the tank to settle in, plants to get going and get many species of microorganisms growing (transferred from the old tank). Couple of weeks, maybe a month. No hurry.
Test for ammmonia, nitrite, nitrate.
Do water changes if needed. Might not be needed, remember SMALL fish load. Balance with the amount of bacteria.
Add more fish. This is where your fish:bacteria ratio is out of sync. Too many fish for the bacteria. Do not overdo it, but you are adding more fish deliberately. You actually could simple start overfeeding the original fish to supply more ammonia. Fish food is really the source of ammonia in a fish-in cycle.
Anyway, keep on testing ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. You will need to do water changes. Perhaps daily.
When the tank has cycled for that amount of fish (a week or two if you have not added too many) you can add more.

At that rate you will be carefully monitoring and doing water changes for several months while you gradually build up the fish population.
This may be fine, as long as you understand that is what you are in for.
Weekly large water changes (EI fertilizer schedule) usually fit with people's work schedule. Daily water changes (fish-in cycle) might get to be too much, after a long day of work.

Starting an aquarium with dense planting is one of the fastest cycles that can be done. I suggest this for people who already have at least one successful planted tank, so you know how to do it right so the plants hit the ground running.
A densely planted tank (so dense you cannot see the back) will support a reasonably full load of fish from the beginning. The plants bring in a fair amount of nitrifying and other bacteria on their leaves, stems and roots, and the plants themselves are nitrogen sinks. I am not so sure about someone setting up their first planted tank this way, and including a full load of fish. The plants may die, leaving them with a full tank of fish and no bio filter.

The fishless cycle, using ammonia is better for several reasons.
No risk to fish.
The new hobbyist is getting a chance to practice with the test kits.
Teaches patience.
Gives you longer to think about and research the fish list.
Allows the plants to get better rooted.
Allows the new hobbyist a chance to get to know the plants, adjust the lighting and so on while not relying on the plants as a bio filter.
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Old 11-30-2012, 03:04 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
The NO2 is probably fine, as long as the tests all seem to indicate ANYWHERE under 5 ppm. The tests are not that accurate anyway.
However, here is how to use them to try to get an 'in between' reading:
API tests say to start with 5 ml tank water.
Do this instead: 2.5 ml tank water + 2.5 ml distilled or RO water. Tap water is OK if there is no NO2 or NO3 in it. Do not use tap water with chloramine if you are doing the ammonia test.
Then double the test result. If the test seems to show it closest to 2 ppm, then call it 4 ppm. You could probably cut that again, perhaps 1 ml tank water + 4 ml of tap, then multiply the result by 5, but somewhere in here you are trying to get an accuracy beyond what the test kit is good for. Interesting to play around with it, and see if the 2 test kits (strip and test tube style) agree.

Excel is probably OK during cycling, but I would not use the loading dose that Seachem specifies, just the regular dosing.
Thanks for your reply! Well I tried this and it still is unreadable which means its probably more like what the Tetra test strip is stating which is 10ppm or above right now.

I don't get it. I have done 4 massive water changes in the past 48 hours and it is still this high. I When I put the water back into the system I make sure I pour it into the back chamber (sump) so it does not disturb the gravel. I did have to disturb the gravel yesterday in order to plant 30 pygmy chain swords though so maybe thats why it rose so high. Still seems like I am doing awfully big water changes and I should be diluting it.

I got nothing but time and while it would be nice to look at some fish I am not in a huge hurry I just want to make sure the cycle is not hindered by me.
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Old 11-30-2012, 07:15 AM   #37
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I sometimes feel that the nitrite or nitrate sticks around in the substrate so that when I do a massive water change I am not really removing that much of the nitrite or nitrate.
I have often done something close to 90% water changes, yet not seen a change in the test result.

When I do a water change that includes draining the water through the substrate, then the test result shows that the nitrite or nitrate has dropped. Dig a small hole where it won't disturb the plants and siphon the water out through there. This will do something closer to 100% water change, and a lot of the water will flow through the substrate, hopefully removing the nitrite.

At the same time quit feeding the ammonia for a few days. The bacteria will not starve. It will give the Nitrospira (the nitrite removing species) a chance to catch up. Then start in with the ammonia again, but just a little bit.
Often the first group of bacteria, the ones that remove ammonia grow so fast that they just keep on producing the nitrite so fast that the nitrite removing bacteria cannot keep up.
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Old 11-30-2012, 03:39 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
I sometimes feel that the nitrite or nitrate sticks around in the substrate so that when I do a massive water change I am not really removing that much of the nitrite or nitrate.
I have often done something close to 90% water changes, yet not seen a change in the test result.

When I do a water change that includes draining the water through the substrate, then the test result shows that the nitrite or nitrate has dropped. Dig a small hole where it won't disturb the plants and siphon the water out through there. This will do something closer to 100% water change, and a lot of the water will flow through the substrate, hopefully removing the nitrite.

At the same time quit feeding the ammonia for a few days. The bacteria will not starve. It will give the Nitrospira (the nitrite removing species) a chance to catch up. Then start in with the ammonia again, but just a little bit.
Often the first group of bacteria, the ones that remove ammonia grow so fast that they just keep on producing the nitrite so fast that the nitrite removing bacteria cannot keep up.
Wow, you are advice queen! Thanks so much! Will do!

Btw, I am originally from contra costa county. Moved around from Martinez, Pleasant Hill, Bay point.
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Old 11-30-2012, 04:59 PM   #39
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Well I did as Diana directed and I am happy to say the nitrite seems to be down to 1ppm now and the tetra test aligns with the API reading.
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:53 PM   #40
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Well 19 days of cycle so far and no end in sight. I would say both Dr tim's and Seachem stability might be a croc.
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Old 12-06-2012, 02:08 PM   #41
plantastic37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diana View Post
I sometimes feel that the nitrite or nitrate sticks around in the substrate so that when I do a massive water change I am not really removing that much of the nitrite or nitrate.
I have often done something close to 90% water changes, yet not seen a change in the test result.

When I do a water change that includes draining the water through the substrate, then the test result shows that the nitrite or nitrate has dropped. Dig a small hole where it won't disturb the plants and siphon the water out through there. This will do something closer to 100% water change, and a lot of the water will flow through the substrate, hopefully removing the nitrite.

At the same time quit feeding the ammonia for a few days. The bacteria will not starve. It will give the Nitrospira (the nitrite removing species) a chance to catch up. Then start in with the ammonia again, but just a little bit.
Often the first group of bacteria, the ones that remove ammonia grow so fast that they just keep on producing the nitrite so fast that the nitrite removing bacteria cannot keep up.
Okay so 2 days ago the amm and nit dropped to 0ppm. So I decided to test the system per your write up and add 24 drops of ammonia. This brought the amm up to 5ppm.

Just now amm has dropped to 0 ppm and nit has dropped to about 0.25ppm. So perhaps a tad over 32 hours.

In your write up it says it should drop to 0 within 24 hours correct? So I am probably still not there, but perhaps on the verge?

Thanks for any further guidance!

Last edited by plantastic37; 12-06-2012 at 03:40 PM.. Reason: mistake
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