I would say keep doing what you were doing through your cycle period. I'm assuming it took around 4 to 6 weeks to cycle your tank. More info about your lighting, co2 if any, fertilizer schedule all come into play. The more plants you have to take up nutrients the less there is for algae. It is a balancing act for sure. Basically you are acting the part of the fish producing ammonia that's all.
This is a very old post from this forum. How to cycle a tank the fishless way:
1) Make sure all equipment is working, fill with water that has all the stuff you will need for the fish you intend to keep. Dechlorinator, minerals for GH or KH adjustments, salt, if you are creating a brackish tank...
2) Add some source of the bacteria. Used filter media from a cycled tank is best, gravel or some decorations or a few plants... even some water, though this is the poorest source of the beneficial bacteria.
Bacteria in a bottle can be a source of these bacteria, but make sure you are getting Nitrospiros spp of bacteria. All other ‘bacteria in a bottle’ products have the wrong bacteria. It is not necessary to add bacteria, they will find the tank even if you do not. However, adding some will get the cycle going a bit faster.
3) Add ammonia until the test reads 5 ppm. This is the non-sudsing, no-fragrance-added ammonia that is often found in a hardware store, discount stores, and sometimes in a grocery store. The concentration of ammonia may not be the same in all bottles. Try adding 5 drops per 10 gallons, then allowing the filter to circulate for about an hour, then test. If the reading isn't up to 5 ppm, add a few more drops and test again. (Example, if your test reads only 2 ppm, then add another 5 or so drops) Some ammonia is such a weak dilution you may need to add several ounces to get a reading. One bottle of ammonia that I used needed 1/8 cup in my 46 gallon bowfront tank to reach 5 ppm.
4) Test for ammonia daily, and add enough to keep the reading at 5 ppm.
5) Several days after you start, begin testing for nitrites. When the nitrites show up, reduce the amount of ammonia you add so the test shows 3ppm. (Add only half as much ammonia as you were adding in part 4) Add this reduced amount daily from now until the tank is cycled.
If the nitrites get too high (over 5 ppm), and seem to stay up for several days or a week, not coming down, reduce the amount of ammonia you are adding, or even skip a day. If this does not budge the nitrites, then a partial water change may help. It can happen that the bacteria growth is slowed because of the high nitrites.
6) Continue testing, and adding ammonia daily. The nitrates will likely show up about 2 weeks after you started. Keep monitoring, and watch for 0 ppm ammonia, 0 ppm nitrite and rising nitrates.
7) Once the 0 ppm ammonia and nitrites shows up it may bounce around a little bit for a day or two. Be patient.
You can test the system by adding more than a regular dose of ammonia, and it should be able to handle it.
If you will not be adding fish right away continue to add the ammonia to keep the bacteria fed.
8) When you are ready to add the fish, do at least one water change, and it may take a couple of them, to reduce the nitrate to safe levels (as low as possible, certainly below 10 ppm)
9) You can plant a tank that is being cycled this way at any point during the process. If you plant early, the plants will be well rooted, and better able to handle the disruption of the water change.
Yes, the plants will use some of the ammonia and the nitrates. They are part of the nitrogen handling system, part of the biofilter, they are working for you. Some plants do not like high ammonia, though. If a certain plant dies, remove it, and only replace it after the cycle is done.
Tetra Safe Start is one of the products that has the actual species of bacteria you are trying to grow in the tank. It might be that you will not see nitrite at all, but the bacteria remove the ammonia quickly, and the next population are right on the job turning the nitrite into nitrate. Keep on what you are doing, keep monitoring it.
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I Seek The White Whale!
Last edited by Darkblade48; 03-14-2019 at 12:05 AM.
Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner