Tank Didn’t Cycle - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-17-2018, 09:28 PM Thread Starter
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Tank Didn’t Cycle


I’m very close to giving up on this hobby; it’s hard haha.

I’ve been cycling my 5.5 gallon planted tank for 4 weeks now. I’ve been using the fish food method: adding some everyday.

Weeks 1-3 my ammonia went up quite high (very dark green)

Week 2-3 my nitrites were off the chart, and my ammonia started dropping.

Week 3-4 everything is at 0.

During this whole process, I never had any nitrates (maybe 1 or 2ppm, but can’t tell since the chart starts at 5ppm).

Ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 0ppm

So now, I’m sad cause I feel like I wasted 4 weeks.

I just want a betta fish!

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-17-2018, 09:36 PM
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The lack of nitrates may be due to plants uptaking it before you get a chance to measure. As long as ammonia/nitrites read 0 consistently, even as you add more ammonia, you should be safe to add livestock.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-17-2018, 09:54 PM
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I agree with cbachmann, it sounds like you're good to go! And if you're not 100%, you're very close. Just watch parameters and do frequent water changes as necessary. Keep in mind, your tank is going to be way better than the awful little cup those bettas sit in on the shelf at pet stores...
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-17-2018, 10:51 PM
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Are you using the API test kit? If so, you want to make sure you are doing the nitrate test correctly. The nitrate test is the only test in the kit that requires good mixing for each step. If you read the instruction, it ask you to shake 5 sec after adding first solution, and then shake the solution 2 bottle for 30 secs before adding it, and then shake for another 1 min and then let it sit 5 min for color to develop.

I am cycling my tank right now as well, for the first 2 weeks I did all the nitrate test wrong and I saw no nitrate at all. Then one day i was bored and read the instruction and realized I was doing it wrong so I did the nitrate test again, and then I am getting 10 PPM nitrate. The ammonia, nitrite, or ph test does not require the rigorous mixing so it's easy to assume nitrate test would be the same.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-18-2018, 12:12 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone!

I might just go ahead and get my fish; I can always switch to a fish-in cycle if things get wonky.

It’s super frustrating! I feel like I’ve already waited so long (I’m impatient haha).

I’m doing the nitrate test correctly. I initially wasn’t for the first few times; then I read the instructions haha. Now I shake it like crazy.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-18-2018, 07:21 PM
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this may be controversial and others may disagree...but I say even without a cycled tank, a betta would be ok. However it will be ok as long as you keep up with regular water changes and you have a filter. So changing out 30% of the water every week with a filter on the tank. Sore bought Bettas are pretty hardy for the most part.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-18-2018, 08:19 PM
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I agree that with the others that your plants consumed the nitrates before your tests detected it. However one additional thing is that your plants don't look great. You probably need to add some fertilizer. Thrive would be a good choice.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-18-2018, 08:39 PM
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Just keep a bottle of seachem prime handy..Tanks not "sterile"... BB is present..
Seachem - Prime

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