Help a newbie: 10 days on new amazonia tank - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-18-2013, 09:20 PM Thread Starter
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Question Help a newbie: 10 days on new amazonia tank

Day 10 on the new amazonia tank. I've planted twice and have done 3 60% water changes. A few days ago, the ammonia tested 0 and nitrites .25 ... that was before a right before a water change. It's been two days. Now the ammonia is 0, the nitrite is 0, and the nitrate is 5.

Could it be cycled already?

I don't want to jump the gun here, but I'm anxious to get a clean-up crew in there!

Also, at this point, I'm wondering how my water changes are going to change now that the water parameters seem to be stabilizing. I've been experiencing drastic drops of GH and KH over a few days after changing the water. Obviously, the pH is dropping like crazy as well. I haven't been too concerned since there isn't any livestock. But now that I'm thinking about adding some ottos, amanos, and nerites, I'm wondering how to keep those parameters more stable for the fish and invertebrates. My guess is that I'll do smaller water changes, and maybe add alkalinity buffer and seachem's equilibrium in small doses...is this right? (I am continuing to use RO water because of the poor/hard water here in Phoenix).

Any insight would be greatly appreciated! If I've forgotten to add any information to help with advice, let me know! Thanks!
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-19-2013, 04:16 AM
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It is possible that your tank is cycled, but if you just let it continue without the fish for another week or so, and keep monitoring ammonia and NO2, you can be much more confident. Having plants growing while cycling can make cycling hard to detect since the plants are using the ammonia as it is leached from the substrate. But, the ammonia eating bacteria is also growing.

If you can use your tap water without adding KH and GH altering materials you should have a much easier time keeping the water parameters stable. Once you start adjusting KH every water change you have to be careful to avoid rapid changes in KH due to adding the buffering substance. And, matching the existing KH can be difficult.

ADA Amazonia drops the pH and KH for a good reason - to help the plants to grow better. Trying to counter that is not a good idea.

Hoppy
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-20-2013, 10:21 PM
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I recently started two setups with AS. It took about 3-4 wks for nitrites to consistently stay at 0 ppm in both tanks and presumably be fully 'cycled', with weekly 50% water changes. I threw in a few cherry shrimp after only a week in, when nitrites were still present, and they've all made it through fine.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-22-2013, 02:10 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback, Hoppy. I appreciate it...guess I got a little excited though because I added 3 ottos and 3 amanos yesterday...within 3 hours, 2 amanos died. I thought I really made a mistake, but everyone else is fine, even happy. So, I'm not really sure...I do have a large canister filter on it with two large containers of bio media.

Concerning the water, I did a lot of research and was finally convinced to do RO. Now, I'm not so sure. I'll have to reopen that book. Next Sunday, I'm going to attend a club meeting. I'll be asking some locals what they have success doing.

Thanks, again.

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Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
It is possible that your tank is cycled, but if you just let it continue without the fish for another week or so, and keep monitoring ammonia and NO2, you can be much more confident. Having plants growing while cycling can make cycling hard to detect since the plants are using the ammonia as it is leached from the substrate. But, the ammonia eating bacteria is also growing.

If you can use your tap water without adding KH and GH altering materials you should have a much easier time keeping the water parameters stable. Once you start adjusting KH every water change you have to be careful to avoid rapid changes in KH due to adding the buffering substance. And, matching the existing KH can be difficult.

ADA Amazonia drops the pH and KH for a good reason - to help the plants to grow better. Trying to counter that is not a good idea.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-22-2013, 02:12 AM Thread Starter
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I'm impressed by the cherries hardiness! Especially considering I just killed two amanos with no apparent cause. My nitrites have tested zero every time I tested in the last 5 days.

Thanks for the feedback, Jason.

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I recently started two setups with AS. It took about 3-4 wks for nitrites to consistently stay at 0 ppm in both tanks and presumably be fully 'cycled', with weekly 50% water changes. I threw in a few cherry shrimp after only a week in, when nitrites were still present, and they've all made it through fine.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-22-2013, 02:14 AM Thread Starter
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At this point, I'm thinking of going to a 20% weekly water change...any thoughts?
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-23-2013, 01:55 PM
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You want to reduce the amount of water @ wc to prevent KH/GH swings?

I have some stones in one setup that is increasing the KH & GH by about 5 degrees each throughout the week, before I bring it back down with a 50% water change. Fauna, Otos and cherries, seem to have no problem with it.

I'd assume you have a similar scenario, where stones/rocks in your scape are releasing minerals into your water column.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-23-2013, 04:08 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah Jason, I think I have to reduce the water change because I have the opposite problem. The aqua soil Amazonia sucks kh and softens the water. Not a huge deal as long as I can keep the parameters from 0 with pH swings.


It's good to hear that your tank peeps withstand the changes. What would you say the average change in degree is for these parameters when you do your maintenance?


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Originally Posted by Jason K View Post
You want to reduce the amount of water @ wc to prevent KH/GH swings?

I have some stones in one setup that is increasing the KH & GH by about 5 degrees each throughout the week, before I bring it back down with a 50% water change. Fauna, Otos and cherries, seem to have no problem with it.

I'd assume you have a similar scenario, where stones/rocks in your scape are releasing minerals into your water column.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-25-2013, 01:27 AM
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about 5 degrees for each. smaller water changes would mean my GH/KH would continue to climb, I'd imagine.

In my other set up, where I have no stones, KH and GH are stable, and stay right where I set them with 50% water change...but I only started testing those parameters after about three weeks.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-25-2013, 02:01 AM Thread Starter
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Wow, ok. That seems like a pretty significant change to me. Encouraging to hear since my livestock may experience some sudden changes as well, though I'm going to try to minimize it as much as possible. Also, I was told that the aquasoil will eventually settle and not cause such instability.

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Originally Posted by Jason K View Post
about 5 degrees for each. smaller water changes would mean my GH/KH would continue to climb, I'd imagine.

In my other set up, where I have no stones, KH and GH are stable, and stay right where I set them with 50% water change...but I only started testing those parameters after about three weeks.
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