I need help stabilizing my new tank - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-05-2020, 01:45 PM Thread Starter
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I need help stabilizing my new tank

Good morning everyone,

We have been trying for about two weeks to get the ammonia levels down so that we can start planting. We've had zero success so far. Can anyone give us some advice on what to do? What to use?

We used Dr. Tim's ammonium chloride solution to give our tank a jump start. We've been testing every other day, even did a 50% water change, and the levels are still high.

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-05-2020, 07:15 PM
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Are you also using Dr. Tim's nitrifying bacteria starter with the ammonium chloride? How often are you dosing the ammonia? If you are not using a starter bacteria culture then it may take a few more weeks to build up the bacteria colony from scratch.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-05-2020, 07:51 PM Thread Starter
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Hi Waterblossom,

No, we don't have the bacteria starter. We do have a bacteria starter for our saltwater aquarium, could we use that? Or is it a different kind of bacteria?

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-05-2020, 08:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by campfiregirl View Post
Hi Waterblossom,

No, we don't have the bacteria starter. We do have a bacteria starter for our saltwater aquarium, could we use that? Or is it a different kind of bacteria?
Honestly, I've never done saltwater tanks so I can't say for sure whether the bacteria is different or not, but I would assume there are some differences since they are sold as separate entities. But maybe do some research on that to find out whether you might be able to use the bacteria starter you already have on hand.

Besides that, I would definitely recommend looking into some kind of bacteria starter for your tank if you are looking for a quicker cycle. Personally when I first cycled my tank, I didn't use a bacteria starter and had a very hard time moving my cycle forward. My tank was in limbo for about two months before I finally figured it wasn't going to work for my situation and I purchased a bottle of Tetra SafeStart Plus. After that, I was cycled within a week or so. There are mixed opinions on Tetra SafeStart Plus on whether it really has live nitrifying bacteria in it but it worked for me and I always have a couple emergency bottles in my supply in case anything goes wrong. I also hear that Dr. Tim's starter is also a good choice but I chose the Tetra brand because it was easily accessible to me and I was able to just drive to the store to pick a bottle up.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-06-2020, 03:48 PM
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I am not sure why you are waiting to plant your tank. The ammonia is bad for the fish but the plants should be good to go.

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-06-2020, 04:45 PM
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Plant now. Ammonia won't hurt the plants unless it's off the charts high. As far as how to get the ammonia down...well...if you are not adding a bacteria supplement or using seeded media, it's a 4-6 week process so you just need patience. Plants will help because they will use ammonia as a nutrient source. But go ahead a plant your plants. At least having plants in the tank make the cycling process less boring because you at least have something going on in the tank.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-06-2020, 05:48 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all, you have been very helpful. I'm excited to get some plants growing!

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-06-2020, 08:26 PM
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Also, if you really do still want to get your ammonia down, don't be afraid to do 90% water changes, as often as you'd like.

The bacterial colony you want to build is on the glass/rocks/substrate so you aren't removing it with large water changes, but you will remove the ammonia.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-06-2020, 08:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JetMech View Post
Also, if you really do still want to get your ammonia down, don't be afraid to do 90% water changes, as often as you'd like.

The bacterial colony you want to build is on the glass/rocks/substrate so you aren't removing it with large water changes, but you will remove the ammonia.
The bacteria you want to grow is in the filter, not the surfaces of the stuff inside the tank.

Doing water changes during a cycle unless it's absolutely necessary isn't recommended as lowering the ammonia level slows the cycle or only build the bacteria colony to meet the needs of a small amount of ammonia. Only do water changes if you have livestock which you really should NOT have in your tank during the cycle or if ammonia gets above around 3ppm because then it can stall or kill the cycle.
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