Nitrogen cycle questions - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 12-16-2017, 02:41 AM Thread Starter
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Nitrogen cycle questions

I planted a tank last month. I ended up getting a second tank and planted that one too. A few days ago I got a betta for tank #2. I've been obsessively testing his water. The day after adding the betta, ammonia was 0, nitrite was 1, and nitrate was 5. Did a 30% water change + Prime. Day after that I had same readings: 0 ammonia, nitrite 1, nitrate 5. 30% water change + Prime. Day after that ammonia 0, nitrite .25, nitrate 5. Next 2 days ammonia and nitrite were 0, nitrate I'm gonna say 4 (not quite the 5 color).

Is it because of the plants that I never got an ammonia reading? Is it because of the Prime that my nitrites reduced to 0? Is my cycle complete since I have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and 4 nitrate?

Also I want to add fish to tank #1 soon. On tank #2 (betta tank) I have an HOB that came with the tank and I also have a sponge filter. My plan is to remove the HOB and just keep the sponge filter in there, but I want to make sure the HOB collects some beneficial bacteria first so that I can transfer it over to tank #1. WHEN should I do that? Only after I add fish? A couple days before I add fish? I believe if I transfer it too early with no ammonia source in tank #1 the bacteria will die. ?

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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 12-16-2017, 03:23 AM
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Point one might be to question how/where any ammonia might come from to start the cycle? Fishless cycle, we add to a certain level and then maintain that level until we begin to see it process into nitrite and then eventually into nitrate. If none is added by some means, you may simply be seeing a bit of nitrite and nitrate from "somewhere" but not really a cycle.
But more info on how many and what fish are going in at one time will get better ideas of how much cycle you will need to build what level of bacteria. Single betts, maybe none needed with getting by on a bit of water changing. But fishless cycle is great to build a huge bacteria colony when getting a tub of fish like when shipped in.
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