Cycling time for Amazonia - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-10-2009, 06:45 AM Thread Starter
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Cycling time for Amazonia

I just set up a 13 gallon nano with the substrate being amazonia powder. I understand amazonia leeches large amounts of ammonia in its initial stages, for up to a period of 6 weeks. Some people have advocated the use of shrimpnow's method of huge and frequent water changes to bypass this stage in 2 weeks. However, as my tank is situated on my desk in office, it's not feasible to do such large and frequent water changes both logistically and practically. What I have done is to pre-cycle my filter in my home tanks, as well as add large amounts of floating plants. The plants in the tank now are also high requirement ones (rotala wallichii "long leaf", didilplis diandra, M. umbrosium and HC). How long do you think I should wait for ammonia to be depleted by the cycled filter and plants before adding fish?

I'm running 6 hours of light (2x 3hours with a 1 hour siesta) and CO2. Light will increase once the tank is stable.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-11-2009, 12:42 AM
 
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I don't know if this will help but I have Amazonia II in a 7g. I had a bunch of Egeria Densa floating in there with about 10hrs of light a day. It took about 3 weeks for ammonia levels to drop. I did 40% water changes every second day.

I think it's ok to just leave it and don't worry about water changes if you got plants in there (as long as there is no fish).
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-13-2009, 07:28 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for sharing your experience was your filter cycled when you started the tank? I think the presence of beneficial bacteria in the filter could help to reduce/remove ammonia from the outset when coupled with fast growing floating plants?
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-13-2009, 12:50 PM
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I ran a cycled filter on my 10g and the ammonia spike was gone by the middle of week 2.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-13-2009, 12:54 PM
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Cycled filter will help a lot.

But figure 2-3 weeks. Was getting discouraged on mine ever clearing
and then with-in 2 days in about middle of 3rd week it went from cloudy
to crystal clear.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-13-2009, 12:57 PM
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Having tons of plants in there helps alot too. They seem to absorb the ammonia well.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-13-2009, 01:01 PM
 
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My filter was cycled. The water was very cloudy for about 2 to 3 days but then cleared up pretty well. I have about 5L of Amazonia II in a 7g tank.

I guess you could test the water for ammonia to be sure that it has completely cycled before adding any fish.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-14-2009, 02:52 AM Thread Starter
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I don't really trust ammonia test kits as noone knows how long they've been sitting on the store shelf, plus they're expensive

Thanks everyone for sharing their experiences. My water was clear (no cloudiness at all) from Day 1, and I've been adding daily doses of ammonia remover (it's a commercial product produced/supplied by my tank maker that claims to contain beneficial bacteria, but I know at the very least it removes ammonia). back 1/2 of the tank is chock full of stems, and the foreground has HC planted (3 pots worth) that will hopefully spread. I've got floating plants there too, which are a huge ammonia sponge. And of course, the filter was cycled in my wild discus and pleco tank (lots of poop!) prior to being installed here.

I think I'll follow everyone's advice and wait 2-3 weeks before adding any fish. I will start slowly adding snails first, then hardy shrimp (malayan shrimp) as my algae crew before adding in dithers then finally the king and queen of the tank - a pair of wild apistogramma!

Thanks all
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-14-2009, 05:02 AM
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I started up a tank with Amazonia just over 3 weeks ago and was finally able to add my fish yesterday. Like you, I started with filter media from another tank and packed in a ton of fast growing stems and floaters and while I was a little impatient, it really went by quickly! So, you should be ready to go in just a couple of weeks.


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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-14-2009, 04:45 PM
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You will still need to do water changes... no amount of plants or "magick potion" from any aquarium manufacturer is going replace a good old fashioned water change...

Bad water out... Good water in

Doesn't get any simpler than that.
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 07:01 AM Thread Starter
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The rationale for water changes is to "dilute" the ammonia being released. However, if the plants and bb and any chemical filtration (e.g zeolite) is already taking away the ammonia, then they are good "replacements" for good old fashioned water changes, albeit at a potentially slower removal rate than water changes right?

From what I'm reading, the shrimpnow "change 100% water many times a day" method removes the ammonia in 2 weeks. Experiences here show 2-3 weeks ammonia removal using cycled filter + plants, so I'd say both methods are equally effective independent of each other. Of course, together they may be even more effective, unless the water changes have a detrimental effect (e.g. destroying bacteria culture, which reduces effectiveness of the non-waterchange method).

Too many variables! I think I'll stick to the cycled filter + plants method with my usual waterchange regime instead of the daily/multi-daily one.
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-15-2009, 07:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by illumnae View Post
The rationale for water changes is to "dilute" the ammonia being released. However, if the plants and bb and any chemical filtration (e.g zeolite) is already taking away the ammonia, then they are good "replacements" for good old fashioned water changes, albeit at a potentially slower removal rate than water changes right?

From what I'm reading, the shrimpnow "change 100% water many times a day" method removes the ammonia in 2 weeks. Experiences here show 2-3 weeks ammonia removal using cycled filter + plants, so I'd say both methods are equally effective independent of each other. Of course, together they may be even more effective, unless the water changes have a detrimental effect (e.g. destroying bacteria culture, which reduces effectiveness of the non-waterchange method).

Too many variables! I think I'll stick to the cycled filter + plants method with my usual waterchange regime instead of the daily/multi-daily one.
It sounds like you've got it down. I too think excessive water changes are completely unnecessary in this case and I had great luck with just a normal partial change once a week. Good luck!


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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-16-2009, 12:01 AM
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I was not advocating the "shrimp now" method your referring to... my point was that there are no substitutes for water changes.

Plain & Simple

Your dealing with a closed system inside your aquarium, your plant bio-mass
and potions will serve to detoxify the Ammonium compounds in the water...
but the only way to completely remove them from your system is to perform
periodic water changes. (via dilution as you pointed out).

In reading your initial post, I *mistakenly* assumed you were trying to cycle your tank with no water changes (as I saw no reference to them)... My bad!
Reading your subsequent posts I see that you have a plan that includes
regular partial water changes...

I've seen alot of products the purport to replace the need for WCs
(and other regular maintainance duties) come and go in the ~42 years
since I started my first aquarium... a few actually even worked to some degree
(most however are nothing more than snake oil) but none of them could come even close to replicating the benefits of a simple water change.

I'll stop typing now (sound of fat old guy dismounting soap box here)

Be sure to share some pics of your tank with us.. we like pics around here

Larry
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-16-2009, 01:47 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the input, it was my bad not mentioning water changes from the start

Here's an update. I got impatient and put in some shrimp from another tank that I was decommissioning on Day 7. I figured these shrimp were either going to be altum/heckel food in my community tank, or would have a fighting chance of survival in this one, so I chose the lesser of 2 evils. Shrimp being smaller and more sensitive to bad water conditions, I also figured that they would be the best indicator of ammonia levels in the water, since I don't trust ammonia test kits.

I am happy to say that the shrimp are happily doing well in the tank, with not a single death! I guess the fast growing plants (I see 4 inches of growth in the Rotala wallichii 'long leaf' and 2-3 inches of growth in the Didiplis diandra as well as multiplying floating plants) and the "ammonia remover" and the cycled filter are doing their job! Today I threw in 3 nerite snails.

I intend to add in rest of the bioload very slowly, with the schooling dithers going in next week (Week 2) and the king/queen of the tank (Apistogramma) going in thereafter. The zebra otos will be going in last!

Here's a picture taken late last week, prior to the great growth I was talking about

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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-16-2009, 02:46 AM
 
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That looks awesome!

Could you post a pic of it when it grows out?
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