Water changes during Cycle and Iron - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 08:17 PM Thread Starter
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Water changes during Cycle and Iron

As usual, I am getting varied information via google...

When you cycled your tank, how often did you do water changes? I have test kits that should be arriving tomorrow. Is it a good idea to do water changes during the cycle regardless of the test result? Or, should I only do them based on test results? The good news is my plats are already growing, sending runner and roots!

The second question is around iron supplementation. I was watching a youtube video and the tuber put down a layer of Flourite or maybe Laterite, anyway whichever it was they put it down to help with iron. Since I planted heavily with red plants and did not do this step, could I just had it to my sump and let it leach into the water?


Thanks!

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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 08:56 PM
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For adding iron, I have been using CSM+B.
I thought about putting a layer of laterite
near the bottom of a tank once a while back.
But after researching it, I decided to pass.
Something about pulling a plant out might cause a cloud of laterite to come up.
You are supposed to keep an eye on the nitrates when the tank cycles.
How did you start?
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 09:27 PM
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Keep in mind that ammonia is an antiseptic when at strong enough levels, meaning that too much can actually be used to kill bacteria! So it can actually become enough to kill the bacteria that you are growing. But then some details need to be thrown in as to how you are doing the cycle and what end result you want as there are several ways to go.
Old style before we called it a cycle was to simply add fish slow enough to gradually let the bacteria grow to meet the added waste load. Downside of this is that it exposes any fish to that ammonia and they may appear to be okay but actually damaged so that they have shorter, less healthy lives. It was also a very slow, haphazardous process as we guessed at when it was ready to add more fish.
Over time, as we became more used to shipping fish, we wanted to get a bunch of fish shipping in all at one time for saving on shipping, so the "fishless cycle" was developed. With it we add X amount of ammonia from a bottle and watch the levels of ammonia be converted to nitrite and finally nitrate. We change the water and adjust the ammonia added to keep ammonia, nitrite at a moderate level while the two bacteria types grow and then before we add the fish, we do massive water changes to clear the heavy load of nitrate we have built up. Slow and tedious but we are then ready for a massive increase of fish load because we have built a massive bacteria colony.
Planted tanks often go kind of a modified in-between thing that relies on plants and luck as much as anything to hope they get the right amount of bacteria for a reduced load that planted folks often use.
So what is your plan going forward?
I like doing the fully trusted fishless cycle so that I know that my tanks are ready when I add fish but I do it using old media from other tanks which shortens the time due to both bacteria groups being moved in, instead of waiting for them to blow in on the air!
I prefer adding iron by dry ferts as that is one way to know that it is there, where using what is in the sub is not something that I can know as it may be there at first but gone at some point. I much prefer adding it and knowing it is there.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 10:02 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for replying... I may be having a moment :-) but what do you mean by how did I start? I started with it heavily planted, I did not do a dry start if that is what you are asking. I have UNS Controsoil. So UNS soil heavily planted with mineralized RODI water.

Thanks


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jbubba001 View Post
For adding iron, I have been using CSM+B.
I thought about putting a layer of laterite
near the bottom of a tank once a while back.
But after researching it, I decided to pass.
Something about pulling a plant out might cause a cloud of laterite to come up.
You are supposed to keep an eye on the nitrates when the tank cycles.
How did you start?
Thank you for your reply...

I'm coming over from reefing so there I just threw a dead shrimp and let the bacteria do its thing. In my days with freshwater back in my late teens I would just add conditioner then fish never even know there was such a thing as a cycle.

With the planted tank I am applying my reefing knowledge but still not sure about things. When you ask what my plan is going forward are you referring to livestock? If so, I'm still working on that. At this point, I am just trying to do the right thing from a cycling perspective. It's been about a week maybe since the tank was planted and filled with water. Plants are already growing. Just don't want to do a water change too soon. I read in one post somewhere not to do it for the first 4 weeks.





Quote:
Originally Posted by PlantedRich View Post
Keep in mind that ammonia is an antiseptic when at strong enough levels, meaning that too much can actually be used to kill bacteria! So it can actually become enough to kill the bacteria that you are growing. But then some details need to be thrown in as to how you are doing the cycle and what end result you want as there are several ways to go.
Old style before we called it a cycle was to simply add fish slow enough to gradually let the bacteria grow to meet the added waste load. Downside of this is that it exposes any fish to that ammonia and they may appear to be okay but actually damaged so that they have shorter, less healthy lives. It was also a very slow, haphazardous process as we guessed at when it was ready to add more fish.
Over time, as we became more used to shipping fish, we wanted to get a bunch of fish shipping in all at one time for saving on shipping, so the "fishless cycle" was developed. With it we add X amount of ammonia from a bottle and watch the levels of ammonia be converted to nitrite and finally nitrate. We change the water and adjust the ammonia added to keep ammonia, nitrite at a moderate level while the two bacteria types grow and then before we add the fish, we do massive water changes to clear the heavy load of nitrate we have built up. Slow and tedious but we are then ready for a massive increase of fish load because we have built a massive bacteria colony.
Planted tanks often go kind of a modified in-between thing that relies on plants and luck as much as anything to hope they get the right amount of bacteria for a reduced load that planted folks often use.
So what is your plan going forward?
I like doing the fully trusted fishless cycle so that I know that my tanks are ready when I add fish but I do it using old media from other tanks which shortens the time due to both bacteria groups being moved in, instead of waiting for them to blow in on the air!
I prefer adding iron by dry ferts as that is one way to know that it is there, where using what is in the sub is not something that I can know as it may be there at first but gone at some point. I much prefer adding it and knowing it is there.

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Last edited by Darkblade48; 07-18-2019 at 01:18 AM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 10:54 PM
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I would change just enough to keep it at safe levels for the bacteria(15-25% every week IMHO). When I was cycling my first tank, I did 50%+ water changes every week and wouldn't let the tank cycle.(Sigh). A lady at petco told me what to do and I only lost 1 fish in the end.(It was a platy believe it or not, and all the neon tetras survived)!!!!!!
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 11:27 PM
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What I ment with how did you start, was starting the cycle.
I have used amonia, and also went the fish route as planted Rich stated.

The amonia is easier, and you don't have to worry about torturing anything to death.
If you go that route, you need amonia with only amonia in the bottle.
I picked up some janitorial grade from Ace.
I used a pipet from an old test kit, and put drops of amonia in the tank until it starts showing on the amonia test.

Eventually nitrite will show, and then nitrate will show.

When I concerned the cycle complete, was when added amonia that showed up on a test was gone the next day.
And I performed that test a few times.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-17-2019, 11:41 PM
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Not to be contrary, but this is what I do with every planted tank. Start water changes from the getgo. Once a week around 50% is usually good. This will not affect the cycle and it will lesson algae issues by keeping ammonia and other organic decomposing elements low. In the planted tank you have both bacteria and ammonia on the plants. Any dying or dead leaf is generating ammonia.

Get the plants growing and keep changing water. This is the best way to keep the water pristine. After around 4 weeks start adding a few fish at a time. This is sometimes referred to as the 'silent cycle' as you don't really have to worry about it since the water changes, plants and just adding a few fish at a time will keep everything within limits. I would test for ammonia before adding fish just to be sure, but other then that you should be good to go. No reason ever to rush in fish.

Most important thing you could do from the getgo and going forward are consistent water changes.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-18-2019, 01:08 AM
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Quote:
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When you cycled your tank, how often did you do water changes?
When nitrates get high, like over 40ppm.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-18-2019, 03:58 AM
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Asking how you started and how you plan to move forward is going to change the best way to do the cycle. If you are okay with adding fish slowly there is some risk to the fish but it can be managed by keeping track of the ammonia and nitrite and doing water changes to keep it down if it gets out of control. Some don't mind risking the fish while others object to doing them any harm, so brings the question of how you want to go. Safe is fishless cycle and not add the fish until it is all stable or if you are ordering fish, you may want to be ready when the shipment arrives. So there is no totally wrong, nor totally right way to go as it depends on your own situation and how you feel about quicker versus safer.
I raise expensive fish and do not want to wind up with fish that don't do well as they should because I burned their gills when they were young! Lots of folks do the quicker ways and don't ever get around to thinking that it may be the reason they expect to lose some fish out of each group.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-18-2019, 08:57 PM Thread Starter
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Coming from reefing I am okay with waiting and doing a fishless cycle. Plants are already showing growth, I installed a drop checker this morning but it is still showing blue. The funny thing is I can see tons of co2 bubbles in the water. Test kits should arrive today so can finally start testing.


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Originally Posted by PlantedRich View Post
Asking how you started and how you plan to move forward is going to change the best way to do the cycle. If you are okay with adding fish slowly there is some risk to the fish but it can be managed by keeping track of the ammonia and nitrite and doing water changes to keep it down if it gets out of control. Some don't mind risking the fish while others object to doing them any harm, so brings the question of how you want to go. Safe is fishless cycle and not add the fish until it is all stable or if you are ordering fish, you may want to be ready when the shipment arrives. So there is no totally wrong, nor totally right way to go as it depends on your own situation and how you feel about quicker versus safer.
I raise expensive fish and do not want to wind up with fish that don't do well as they should because I burned their gills when they were young! Lots of folks do the quicker ways and don't ever get around to thinking that it may be the reason they expect to lose some fish out of each group.

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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-18-2019, 10:53 PM
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How big is the tank?
And when did you start up the CO2?
I'm just beeing nosey, you said that you had the plants in the tank for a week.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-19-2019, 01:14 AM Thread Starter
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200 gallon. The tank has been up 8 days using CO2 at the beginning.


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Originally Posted by Jbubba001 View Post
How big is the tank?
And when did you start up the CO2?
I'm just beeing nosey, you said that you had the plants in the tank for a week.

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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-19-2019, 10:24 AM
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Wow! That's a big tank.
I have a 135 and I wish it had more depth, I keep running out of room. If it was 24 inches deep that would be great.
Plenty tall at 24 inches.

I had a pinpoint pH controller, worked great for about 13 years, then it broke.
I have been putting off getting another.
I thought that it would be an interesting experiment to see how things go without CO2
To get the CO2 into the tank,
I have a reactor hooked up to a filter output.

The nice thing about the controller is that it displays the pH. You need to calibrate the probe at least twice a year, not a big deal.

Is your water on the hard side?
After 8 days you should be there buy now.
But 200 gallons is alot of water.

What is your CO2 setup?
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-19-2019, 11:23 AM
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If plants actively growing and not melting badly and you have no fish/food/poop load just watch ammonia and nitrite levels and keep them under 5ppm with water changes as needed or you can crash the cycle if those get to high (5+). Start small water changes once nitrates start getting to 20ppm.

If your not doing ammonia dosing I would start with just adding small amounts of fish food to add a organic nitrogen and phosphorus, food takes about 36hrs to breakdown and start to decompose before it will show on ammonia test kit. In 200 gal tank a small amount of food would be about 4-5 big food sticks added every other day.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-19-2019, 09:52 PM Thread Starter
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I have my Neptune Apex controller, picking up calibration solutions this weekend. I am planning to build the CO2 Reactor this weekend as well. I have the Electronic Carbon Doser from AquariumPlants.com. Right now I am just releasing it directly into my return pump an hour before lights on at 11:30 AM until an hour before lights off at 7:30 PM. "be there" meaning cycled?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jbubba001 View Post
Wow! That's a big tank.
I have a 135 and I wish it had more depth, I keep running out of room. If it was 24 inches deep that would be great.
Plenty tall at 24 inches.

I had a pinpoint pH controller, worked great for about 13 years, then it broke.
I have been putting off getting another.
I thought that it would be an interesting experiment to see how things go without CO2
To get the CO2 into the tank,
I have a reactor hooked up to a filter output.

The nice thing about the controller is that it displays the pH. You need to calibrate the probe at least twice a year, not a big deal.

Is your water on the hard side?
After 8 days you should be there buy now.
But 200 gallons is alot of water.

What is your CO2 setup?
Bump: I'm surprised how much plant growth I have. I planted heavily and everything seems to be growing fairly quickly I mean EVERYTHING has new growth even the Anubias. I just dosed bacteria yesterday and also added a little bit of fish food. I'm starting to get some green algae on rocks and the overflow. I also, did my first water change yesterday 50 Gallons of half RODI and Tap. I was going to use all RODI but did not have enough remineralization.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveKS View Post
If plants actively growing and not melting badly and you have no fish/food/poop load just watch ammonia and nitrite levels and keep them under 5ppm with water changes as needed or you can crash the cycle if those get to high (5+). Start small water changes once nitrates start getting to 20ppm.

If your not doing ammonia dosing I would start with just adding small amounts of fish food to add a organic nitrogen and phosphorus, food takes about 36hrs to breakdown and start to decompose before it will show on ammonia test kit. In 200 gal tank a small amount of food would be about 4-5 big food sticks added every other day.

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