Nitrate = tank is cycled? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 05-29-2013, 11:28 PM Thread Starter
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Nitrate = tank is cycled?

Hi, sorry if this has been discussed already, but I have been searching and have thus far not found a clear answer.

Basically, in a nutshell my question is: Does 5ppm of NitrAtes present in the water and zero ammonia mean that the tank is cycled, and safe for highly sensitive shrimp?

Below is a more detailed description of what's going on.. Thank you for your time and help.

I just set up a new CRS and Taiwan Bee tank, these are sensitive to water conditions, and expensive so I want to make sure I get it right!

I used a mixture of inert Tahitian Moonsand, and ADA Aquasoil (I only had a small amount of aqua soil, so it's about 15% aquasoil and 85% moonsand)

Tank is a 20gallon long tank

I started it with regular tap water, and right when I first set it up, I used a canister filter which was running and mature from another of my tanks. It's a big filter with lots of bio media, so I'm pretty sure it should have had plenty of good bacteria in it..

After 2 days I emptied out 100% of the water, and filled the tank with RO water, and put in some of the shrimp mineral rock, and some driftwood as well as a fighter fish.

It's now been running for about 2 weeks like this.. (maybe a bit less.. 10 days - 13 days)

I checked for nitrates and ammonia about 4 days ago, there was very little, if any, of either. So I added some fish food to boost the ammonia.

I should have checked in the ensuing days for ammonia spikes, but didn't..

Anyway, I checked it today, and there's 5ppm nitrates, and zero ammonia.

Does this mean the tank is cycled, and perhaps I just missed the ammonia spike? Think it's safe to add shrimp now?

I realize there may not be enough biofilm in there for them, but I will be feeding them.


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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 05-29-2013, 11:44 PM
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Generally no ammonia and no nitrites with elevated nitrates is a cycled tank. Since you're going to keep sensitive shrimp I would stress test the bacteria first. Add enough ammonia to raise the level to about 4ppm. If it's 0 within 24 hours you're good to go.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 05-29-2013, 11:57 PM
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Id say you are most likely fine, but a stress test like Zorfox suggested would be a safe bet considering you are adding some probably pricey shrimp.
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