Yet another cycling thread - Page 2 - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #16 of 94 (permalink) Old 04-06-2019, 02:36 AM Thread Starter
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The first time I used ADA aqusoil, it was in an already established tank. I kept an eye on it and followed the prescribed procedures for water changes for a month (and after that, a WC once a week). However, when I added the soil, I knew the tank was still cycled despite any presence of ammonia.

It's harder with a new tank, when to know if it's cycled or not, when using ADA aquasoil that will up the ammonia. I know my new tank isn't cycled yet because there's nitrites, indicating the process of conversion isn't complete.

If nitrites become 0, even if showing a low amount of ammonia, will the tank technically be cycled? I would still do water changes to follow the aquasoil regiment, lower the ammonia, and to lower the nitrates to an acceptable level (like 10 ppm, for the plants).

Also, forgot to add, I got some extra live nictrifying bacteria and added it to the tank yesterday.

Day #9:
Water Parameters - 04/05/19
Nitrate: 40 ppm
Nitrite: 5 ppm
GH: 4.2
Chlorine: 0
KH: 0
pH: 6.8
Ammonia: 1.0
TDS: 185
Temperature: 83.1

More than a week and I'm not sure what I've done wrong for this not to have been insta-cycled. Seeded filter media, plants, and driftwood from established tanks, temperature is warm, tank is full of plants. Can one not cycle a tank with just aquasoil for a source of ammonia? Pesky nitrites.

Is it okay if I start using Nite-Out II in the cycling tank?

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Last edited by Ryan Mosby; 04-08-2019 at 05:34 PM. Reason: added update
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post #17 of 94 (permalink) Old 04-07-2019, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by pauld738 View Post
I would caution against chasing kh too much. Especially with Aquasoil in the mix. If you read enough posts on here you will see people running tanks just fine with 0-1 kh. You will also see discussions about how it's not fluctuating pH you need to be worried about but rather fluctuating kh. Which if you add baking soda to raise kh your Aquasoil is going to try and remove that which gives you fluctuating kh. Yes you want some kh but I think trying to achieve a kh of 4 with Aquasoil is just going to cause you problems.

FYI a fluctuating pH of .5 is nothing. Happens everyday in my tanks.

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You're in the right track, and I'd clarify for anyone using a buffering substrate.

When cycling, you do need *some* carbonates to feed the bacteria, but not to keep a stable pH. The soil buffers the pH and partially does this by removing all KH from the water.

So, knowing this, we don't want to add any more KH than we have to for cycling as this wastes the buffering capabilities of the soil. Use 0 dKH water (remineralize RO / DI / use HCl) prior to putting the new water in the tank.

Last clarifying point - shifting of pH by .5 on a daily basis is very bad for fish if it is being caused by a fluctuating KH. It is perfectly fine if caused by a weak acid such as CO2 that does not alter KH.

For cycling with Aquasoil, my recommendation is to raise temps and pH (by adding KH) to target the bacteria (Nitrosomonas first, then Nitrobacter) that you need to grow.
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post #18 of 94 (permalink) Old 04-07-2019, 11:10 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by natemcnutty View Post
Use 0 dKH water (remineralize RO / DI / use HCl) prior to putting the new water in the tank.
Does it help that my tap water has 0 KH? (on a note regarding tap, I use Stress Coat to dechlorinate)

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Originally Posted by natemcnutty View Post
Last clarifying point - shifting of pH by .5 on a daily basis is very bad for fish if it is being caused by a fluctuating KH. It is perfectly fine if caused by a weak acid such as CO2 that does not alter KH.
My 5 gallon pH lacks KH and seems to fluctate between 6.8 and 7.2. Any advise for that and the cycling 3.7 gal?

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Originally Posted by natemcnutty View Post
For cycling with Aquasoil, my recommendation is to raise temps and pH (by adding KH) to target the bacteria (Nitrosomonas first, then Nitrobacter) that you need to grow.
How high of a temperature do you recommend? Cycling tank is currently at 83 F. Also, what method for raising KH do you recommend? I know some here have mentioned crushed coral.

Also for log records:

Day 10:
Water Parameters - 04/06/19 (cycling)
Nitrate: 20 ppm
Nitrite: 5 ppm
GH: 4.2
Chlorine: 0
KH: 0
pH: 6.8
Ammonia: 0.5
TDS: 155
Temperature: 82.9

Day 11:
Water Parameters - 04/07/19 (cycling) (before water change)
Nitrate: 40 ppm
Nitrite: 5-10 ppm
GH: 4.2
Chlorine: 0
KH: 0
pH: 6.8
Ammonia: 0.5
TDS: 165
Temperature: 82.6

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post #19 of 94 (permalink) Old 04-07-2019, 11:38 PM
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Aquasoil-based tanks can easliy tank a month to fully cycle and make them habitable. I wouldn't rush it and just wait it out. Let the plants grow nice and full and keep changing water and you really won't have to worry about the cycle.


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post #20 of 94 (permalink) Old 04-08-2019, 12:07 AM Thread Starter
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Aquasoil-based tanks can easliy tank a month to fully cycle and make them habitable. I wouldn't rush it and just wait it out. Let the plants grow nice and full and keep changing water and you really won't have to worry about the cycle.
The only reason I need it cycled faster is my fish already came in, and she's sharing a tank with another betta (but separated in a breeder box). It's already a small tank, and I worry they'll get stressed.

I've insta-cycled tanks quickly before so I thought this would be no different, but I didn't count for starting up a tank with aquasoil.

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post #21 of 94 (permalink) Old 04-08-2019, 05:54 AM
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I find it very odd that your pH is so high (6.8-7.2). My Amazonia runs 6.4-6.6, and once I add cones, wood, leaves, etc., I'm usually under 6.

85-86 is generally considered optimal, but it's a pretty wide range - I'd leave it where you have it. Higher pH is better for bacteria to grow, and below 7 can really slow things down. 8 is generally considered optimal, but I don't like burning the buffering that much.

I add sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) to get the pH over 7 and then keep adding to keep it above 7 until cycled. I remember it taking about 10 days to cycle with media from another tank, and I had to do a lot of water changes to keep ammonia at reasonable levels for the bacteria to process. I could be remembering wrong, but I believe too high of ammonia can hurt your cycle too.
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post #22 of 94 (permalink) Old 04-08-2019, 07:02 AM Thread Starter
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I haven't really seen high level of ammonia in the tank yet. It started off around 2, dropped to 1, and it's been lingering around .5 for the last few days.

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post #23 of 94 (permalink) Old 04-08-2019, 01:36 PM
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So sorry I missed this!




Question #1: Do I need to buy pure ammonia if the ADA Aquasoil is giving off ammonia?
I always do, the ammonia it gives off is not enough for my 'plan'


Question #2: I thought beneficial bacteria dwelled in material things, not water? Does stuff like this actually work?
There is huge amount of controversy over this.... I figure it cant hurt.


Question #3: Isn't it a little inhumane for the feeder fish? And aren't they generally sold not in the best conditions, that it would have had to been quarantined itself, first?
Super inhumane. So are gerbils and goldfish for kids, and bettas on a tiny glass cup, etc. I use my 'rejects' (ones that dont have the specific breeding patterns, etc). I have never lost a fish, but they have definately become stressed. That is why I put them in towards the end.


Update: my tank is slowly getting rid of the ammonia and I have nitrites and nitrates... so im getting there. I would imagine another week and then lots of water changes as my fish are on the way too...
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post #24 of 94 (permalink) Old 04-08-2019, 04:39 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by livebearerlove View Post
Question #1: Do I need to buy pure ammonia if the ADA Aquasoil is giving off ammonia?
I always do, the ammonia it gives off is not enough for my 'plan'
I had a feeling not buying ammonia this time around was what was messing this up. Otherwise seeding (with pure ammonia, not relying on aquasoil) usually just cycles things so fast. Look like I'm buying ammonia today.

Edit: Looks like I still have pure ammonia from the last time I cycled a tank! I ran through the place shouting, "I HAVE PEE!" I found a handy calculator to used for dosing, here.


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Update: my tank is slowly getting rid of the ammonia and I have nitrites and nitrates... so im getting there. I would imagine another week and then lots of water changes as my fish are on the way too...
Looks like we're in the same boat! Race ya!
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Last edited by Ryan Mosby; 04-08-2019 at 05:06 PM. Reason: I HAVE PEE
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post #25 of 94 (permalink) Old 04-08-2019, 05:19 PM
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@Ryan Mosby

I cracked myself up the other night saying.... isnt cat piss ammonia??? LOL

Race is on!
(we have the same size tank, at the same time). I just finished rock scaping. Now..... Im putting in late this week:
Mini dwarf hair grass
fissidens fontanus
darf baby tears
HC
Monte Carlo
Anubias nana petitie
Riccia Fluitans
Real baby tears (terrestrial)
ficus (terrestrial)
Unique mosses ill explain later (terrestrial... however somewhat submerged)
Moringa trees (they sprouted from seed and are growing strong! terrestrial as well)

At some point... I gotta get bigger tanks otherwise this obsession will never stop. Ugh. I really need to get a custom sized 15 gallon to calm my rock addition. We should start another thread where we start a thread for our two tanks and see which cycles faster! haha!

Last edited by livebearerlove; 04-08-2019 at 05:34 PM. Reason: added tank size
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post #26 of 94 (permalink) Old 04-08-2019, 05:31 PM
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Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but aqua soils buffer water. They will stabilize the parameters of your tank accordingly, so adding KH to your water isn't needed or recommended, as it will exhaust your soil quicker if you do.

It actually sounds like you have near perfect tap water to set up planted tanks using aqua soil.
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post #27 of 94 (permalink) Old 04-08-2019, 05:39 PM Thread Starter
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@Ryan Mosby

I cracked myself up the other night saying.... isnt cat piss ammonia??? LOL
@livebearerlove I had to tell my roommate that no, we can't use his pee, it's too salty and not distilled. Told another friend "I just added the ammonia! In 20 minutes I'll see what the ppm of the pp am at."

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At some point... I gotta get bigger tanks otherwise this obsession will never stop. Ugh. I really need to get a custom sized 15 gallon to calm my rock addition. We should start another thread where we start a thread for our two tanks and see which cycles faster! haha!
I hear ya; soon as I move into a bigger place, I want a bigger tank for a betta sorority. What temp are you going to be running your new tank at? Those plants sound lovely, I assume CO2 will be used as well? I was always too scared to really give CO2 a try. I mean I did try once but it just ended up terrifying me more, lol.


@varanidguy I know nothing! But I hope to find out, because I don't want to dose baking soda if I don't have to.

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post #28 of 94 (permalink) Old 04-08-2019, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by varanidguy View Post
Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but aqua soils buffer water. They will stabilize the parameters of your tank accordingly, so adding KH to your water isn't needed or recommended, as it will exhaust your soil quicker if you do.

It actually sounds like you have near perfect tap water to set up planted tanks using aqua soil.
I use Eco Complete... My tap is soft as I have a water softener. I also have RO available for our 'drinking water'.... depending on which I want to use.
I almost always use Tap.... however I add crushed coral to increase my KH/GH to maintain my steady pH. Im at a strange love between complicated plant scapes, inverts and fish.
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post #29 of 94 (permalink) Old 04-08-2019, 05:52 PM
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@Ryan Mosby

I hear ya; soon as I move into a bigger place, I want a bigger tank for a betta sorority. What temp are you going to be running your new tank at?

I run my tanks room temp..... I know, I know. But to me.... I do this for the art, as well as their health. But honestly I keep my home pretty warm, and the sexy simplicity is key to me. I love my fish and inverts, they are happy, and my tanks well designed. I dont use CO2... I go low tech.... I learned to build tanks in Hong Kong. As a foreigner English speaking human in a world of fish in Mongkok... it was daunting. I learned the hard way, but prevailed.
Ill take some photos soon, I just want a few more spores to bloom



They taught me 'rely on your eyes- and understand how your plants feel'.... to this day, I have no algae and overgrowing planted beauties with spawning fish. But I do spend time finding the perfect items (not just going to a big box store and pulling out plants or fish). I dose excel for carbon, but focus on creating a perfect ecosystem....



@varanidguy I know nothing! But I hope to find out, because I don't want to dose baking soda if I don't have to.
Watch the bakingsoda! that is a trip you may regret as you will have to do it the rest of your life!
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post #30 of 94 (permalink) Old 04-08-2019, 05:58 PM Thread Starter
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@livebearerlove If I have to raise the KH, I think crushed coral sounds like a more stable way to go. Just have to figure out how much would be needed.

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