Ammonia in Tap Water and Cycling - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-28-2018, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
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Ammonia in Tap Water and Cycling

I just set up my tank for the nitrogen cycle. I am using Seachem Prime to dechlorinate my water and Fuval Cycle to kick start the bio process. I also have the eco-complete wet substrate which supposed to be preload with "materials" to help with the nitrogen cycle. The tricky things is, from water testing, I found that there are about 0.75 PPM of ammonia from my tap water. After 24 hrs with filter running, I test my water and the ammonia level is below 0.5 and above 0.25 PPM, but still no reading for nitrite.

Is this mean that there are some BB working on my system already? or is it just the Prime reducing my ammonia since I might had added a slightly extra to the tank? How is the ammonia in my tap water affect my cycling, since I cannot lower the ammonia lvl below 0.75 PPM with water change. Also, what is the optimal level of ammonia in my tank for the BB to develop, I had read anywhere from 0.5 PPM to 2 PPM online.

Thanks for your help in advance!

Bump: Also, I want to add some plants to the tank during the nitrogen cycle, do I need to wait until after the cycle is done before I add any fertilizers to the tank? will the fertilizers affect the cycle process?
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-29-2018, 12:47 AM
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Prime will bind with ammonia to form the less toxic ammonium for up to 48 hrs according to Seachem. Readings can be affected.

I wouldn't even test for nitrites for the first few weeks unless you "seed" your filter with media from an established tank. Unseeded tanks usually take anywhere from a month to six weeks to cycle using the fishless cycling technique.

Just think of ammonia as food for your first order of bacteria. The reason you see different levels of ammonia used in fishless cycling is because some people want to build a much larger colony of nitrifying bacteria to handle a large fish load while others use lower levels of ammonia because they plan to stock modestly. Unless you plan to overstock 200%, you won't need to dose more than 1 ppm ammonia to establish a sufficient colony for most bioloads. Building a large colony only to starve it off when adding fish is counter-productive.

Feel free to add ferts during cycle. No need to dose heavy though. Plants need time to establish and use very little nutrients during this time, as they have their own reserves.

Other tips for speeding up a cycle: Keep temps around 80 degrees. Have plenty of aeration. Keep pH above 6.5 if possible.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-29-2018, 12:49 AM
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I can definitely say it takes time. I start my 4th week this Monday. I am just now seeing my ammonia drop to 0 after 24 hours. I have a good 0.5 ammonia in my tap. Eventually it shouldn't matter once my tank is fully cycled (I'm using Prime also.)

Add the plants.

As to whether or not to add fertilizers, I'm not 100% sure on that. I think it raised my Nitrates, but I honestly don't know. The pros will help you on that.

Good luck. And honestly, just enjoy the process. I hope to add fish next weekend...hopefully.
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