Cycle or not cycle. - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-26-2010, 12:13 AM Thread Starter
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Cycle or not cycle.

Hi, everyone. I have a 10 gal planted tank for about a month. My tank has about 4 Wpg and is turned on 10 hrs a day with the pressurized Co2 system. I have noticed that there is a white film like oil in the water surface. I did some research on the internet that it happened because my tank hasn't finish cycled yet due to my plants used all the ammonia. Can someone help me to finish the nitrogen cycle with my planted tank?
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-26-2010, 12:57 AM
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The white film that appears like oil on the surface of your water is likely proteinaceous in nature. The surface scum can be quite annoying, but if you agitate the surface of the water slightly, it will be enough to break up the scum, while not reducing your CO2 too much.

If your tank is heavily planted, it likely underwent a silent cycle.

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-26-2010, 01:05 AM
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I don't see how cycling or not cycling the tank would make a difference. While there are presumably less ammonia-consuming bacteria in a planted tank than a non planted one, they aren't completely absent. The nitrogen cycle is finished, you've just got plants competing with bacteria for ammonia.
The whole purpose of cycling the tank is so when you add fish, there are already organisms present that will consume all the ammonia. It doesn't matter what they are.

The film seems to develop in any tank with organic matter in it, so I think it might be from decomposition. Are there fish in the tank yet? I've got it in my 4.5 gallon with just plants, but adding more surface movement reduced it.


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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-26-2010, 01:18 AM
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You need to direct the output of the filter to skim the surface to break up the residue. I believe that if you do not have good water flow you will get the residue you are describing. Stagnant water. A small powerhead fan to just break the surface would work and not disturb your CO2.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-26-2010, 01:20 AM
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I don't think the 2 things are related. I get those films on my tanks all the time, especially if I've fed the fish anything with a high oil content. I just re-aim my filter outputs to break it up.

How did you cycle this tank to begin with? Do you have ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate tests? The only way to be sure your tank has or has not completed its cycle is to test your water parameters.

Are there any livestock in this tank at this point?





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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-26-2010, 02:17 AM
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There is nothing magic about "cycling" a tank. If you don't plan to have plants in the tank, you need to allow enough nitrifying bacteria to grow to eliminate the ammonia from the fish's waste matter before adding any fish. That is the reason for "cycling" a tank. Everyone here can be presumed to have plants in their tanks, and most can be presumed to have a lot of plants in their tanks. With those plants growing in the tank any ammonia that shows up from the fish waste matter will be very quickly consumed by the plants for the nitrogen. So, there is no need to cycle a tank that is heavily or even semi-heavily planted. But, the mystique of "cycling" continues to attract adherents.

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-26-2010, 02:36 AM Thread Starter
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Thank everyone for your responses. I just tested my aquarium and here is the result.
Ph: 7.0
Kh: 8
Ammonia: 0.25ppm (the same as last week)
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
my tank is heavily planted. Can I slowly add some livestock right now or just wait for a few more week until the Ammonia is 0?
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-26-2010, 03:03 AM
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No, you need both ammonia and nitrites to be stable at 0ppm with some nitrate readings. Have you had nitrite or nitrate readings at any point?

Are you doing water changes on the tank?

What is the source of your ammonia?

It's much easier to accomplish a "silent cycle" on a large tank over a very small tank like a 10gal. Wastes concentrate really quickly in a small volume of water and the resulting spikes can do permanent damage to fish health. I'll always recommend that someone pay attention to their tank's cycle, especially if they are new to the hobby. The results otherwise can easily be disastrous to their fish.





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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-26-2010, 03:22 AM Thread Starter
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I had my Nitrites and Nitrates read after my tank had been set for one week and then they all gone. I just have plants in my tank and i'm using the eco-complete subtrate without any liquid fertilizers yet. My plants are healthy and thrive. I did water change 10% twice a week with RO water. Can you help me to reduce the ammonia in my tank?
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-26-2010, 03:42 AM
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If you're using RO water for water changes, there's no livestock in the tank, your plants are healthy, and you aren't adding any ammonia, then I'm perplexed about the source of your ammonia, myself...??

And you obtained nitrate readings in the first week you set this tank up? Do you have another tank set up that you used to "seed" this tank?





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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-26-2010, 04:12 AM Thread Starter
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I don't have any tank to seed my aquarium. I plan to get some filter media in an established tank to help my tank cycle, is that help? I'm so sorry about these confuses things. I don't know what i did wrong with my tank now. Do you have any ideas?
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-26-2010, 12:26 PM
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As mentioned, what is your source of ammonia? If you are not adding any additional ammonia to cycle your tank, where is it coming from?

Anthony


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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-26-2010, 01:14 PM
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Your tank is heavily planted? Did you let any dying plants stay in the tank. Dead plants will release NH3 live plants will take it in. If your heavily planted and they are all thriving then I wouldn't trust your test kits.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-26-2010, 05:19 PM
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I would assume your test kit isn't working right or you aren't interpreting it right. I don't believe you can have lots of growing plants and still have a measurable amount of ammonia in the tank, with no fish in it. Perhaps if you have ADA Aquasoil you might, but not otherwise.

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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 04-26-2010, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your responses.
I think the source of my Ammonia comes from some rotted leaves at the bottom of my tank which I couldn't discover and take them out. I will also check my test kit again to make sure nothing goes wrong. If my test kit is right, so I will have to wait until my tank completely cycled and bring the Ammonia down at zero right?
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