Cycling Woes - Going Out of Town - Help, please! - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-29-2019, 01:34 PM Thread Starter
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Cycling Woes - Going Out of Town - Help, please!

Greetings all! It has been a very long time since I have been on here. I used to have a bunch of tanks, but sold them when I sold my house a couple of years ago. I just decided to set up a small 16 gallon planted tank and I have a bit of an issue.


The set-up, planted and going through fishless cycle. I am cycling with just adding ammonia directly to the tank. My problem is that it is going rather faster than I expected. My ammonia is down to 1ppm (started at about 5) and I currently have about 2ppm nitrites. My concern is that I have to go out of town Thursday night and won't be back until Monday evening. Honestly, I wasn't expecting it to be this far along this soon. What is going to be the best way to ensure that the bacteria doesn't get ammonia starved while I am gone for 4 days and can't add any? Is it even possible? I'd hate to have to start all over again.


Thoughts I have had have been to bump the ammonia right before I leave back up to 5ppm or so, or get a "vacation" fish food block that will dissolve while I am gone, or toss a piece of shrimp in there to decay. I'm not really crazy about any of these, but I am not sure what else I can do. Any suggestions?


Thanks in advance for your help!


PS - I'm going to have to fix my profile since I don't have any of those tanks anymore.

16 Gallon Spec
Flora: Christmas moss, Buce plants, anubias, Bocapa monnieri, Marimo Moss Balls, Repens, Crypt wendtii
Fauna: Pseudomugil luminatus, Habrosus corys, Honey gourami, Blue Velvet Shrimp, Amanos, Nerite

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-29-2019, 03:05 PM
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If your ammonia level is zero on the day you leave, just add enough ammonia to bring it back up to 2ppm. IMO I don't see a problem maintaining the cycle while you are gone for 4 or 5 days as the bacteria won't die it will just temporarily stall.

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-29-2019, 03:11 PM
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I put an algae wafer in if I will be gone during cycling.... most of them are actually made with fish-by product as a main ingredient. You can also use the 'vacation' food- but I find in smaller tanks (under 20 gallons) it is overkill and can cause algae bloom.

Wafers ensure you have constant ammonia and are more precise with the smaller size
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-29-2019, 03:26 PM
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Personally I wouldn't worry about this at all. I am sure you will receive lots of advice from folks that would worry about it but unless you are on a time crunch to get fish in this tank as soon as possible, I would say that in the balance of time everything will be fine. It will still take 1 month to cycle the tank if you leave vs if you stay. You can always put fish in before that but I find that things are easier and better if you just wait the 1 month. Yes you can just throw in something that decays. It takes a few days for fish food to break down so you could just "ghost feed" right when you are leaving, but if you don't want to leave the tank 'dirty' then I wouldn't bother. But I also prefer to take the slow approach to things so /shrug.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-30-2019, 12:55 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone. My ammonia has just about hit 0 at .25ppm. The nitrite has not started to drop yet. I'll dose it with just a bit more ammonia today and then drop an algae wafer in before I leave on Thursday. Hopefully, that will be enough to keep it going.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-06-2019, 05:30 PM Thread Starter
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Well...I ended up dosing with a half dose of ammonia and dropping in a couple of mini algae wafers before I left on Thursday. I came back last night to what appears to be a fully cycled tank (Ammonia and Nitrite at 0; Nitrate at 5ppm). I added another half dose of ammonia last night and, in less than 24 hours, Ammonia and Nitrite are both at 0 again. I'm going to hit it with a full dose later today and check it tomorrow, just to be certain, and then do that continuously until I stock it.


Thanks for your help!



Now, if I could just find some habrosus corys...

16 Gallon Spec
Flora: Christmas moss, Buce plants, anubias, Bocapa monnieri, Marimo Moss Balls, Repens, Crypt wendtii
Fauna: Pseudomugil luminatus, Habrosus corys, Honey gourami, Blue Velvet Shrimp, Amanos, Nerite

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-06-2019, 08:25 PM
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Glad everything worked out, and welcome back! What's the plan going forward?, I assume "a leaf of all colors"...

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-06-2019, 09:23 PM Thread Starter
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It's a 16 gallon tank with black flourite. I used root tabs and am dosing with Excel and Flourish only for now (about 1ml each every other day).

Plant life includes Christmas Moss (on a tree and a coconut bridge), a couple of different Buce plants (not sure which ones went in, I had several varieties), a petite anubias, bacopa monnieri, s. repens and some microsword. Oh, and a couple of moss balls that may or may not stay. I don't care for the microsword in there...it'll be too much if it carpets. I've got it corralled by some stones right now, but I think I'm going to end up replacing it with something.

Animal life will be habrosus corys, chili rasboras, and blue velvet shrimp. I may also add an Amano or two and a nerite. And possibly a Honey Gourami.

I attached an image of how it looked right after planting (from one side, anyway). It currently has a ton of algae that just went nuts while I was out of town. I'll be cleaning that up and trying to find my little inhabitants now.
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16 Gallon Spec
Flora: Christmas moss, Buce plants, anubias, Bocapa monnieri, Marimo Moss Balls, Repens, Crypt wendtii
Fauna: Pseudomugil luminatus, Habrosus corys, Honey gourami, Blue Velvet Shrimp, Amanos, Nerite

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 08-06-2019, 11:31 PM
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Try @livebearerlove's idea. It seems like it would work.

75 gallon planted tank. About to stock.
10 gallon QT

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75 gallon tank journal
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 09-26-2019, 12:56 AM
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How is the tank going?

75 gallon planted tank. About to stock.
10 gallon QT

"Do not pray for an easy life. Pray for the strength to endure a difficult one” – Bruce Lee

75 gallon tank journal
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-15-2019, 01:00 PM Thread Starter
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The tank is going well. Had a few hiccups - shipping problem with some livestock, some algae issues and an abundance of pond snails - but everything is going smoothly now.

I pulled out the microsword and replaced it with a crypt wendtii. The bacopa is growing like mad and has to be trimmed about 2x per week to keep it from hitting the lights.

Ended up stocking with pseudomugil luminatus, habrosus corys, one honey gourami, blue velvet neos, amanos and a nerite. Stock is all doing very well and params have been stable.

I am starting to beat back both the algae and the pond snails. Hair algae in the tree was a big problem and is still pretty substantial, but I am slowly winning that battle and the Christmas moss is beginning to gain on it.

Thanks for asking!
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16 Gallon Spec
Flora: Christmas moss, Buce plants, anubias, Bocapa monnieri, Marimo Moss Balls, Repens, Crypt wendtii
Fauna: Pseudomugil luminatus, Habrosus corys, Honey gourami, Blue Velvet Shrimp, Amanos, Nerite

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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-17-2019, 12:47 PM
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Can't you just add more than enough ammonia? If you don't have any stock in there and it's just plants I don't see why not. You'll just ensure your bacteria keep growing. Then when you come back you'll have way more than you need, which is no trouble at all.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-17-2019, 01:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyCatPeekin View Post
I am starting to beat back both the algae and the pond snails. Hair algae in the tree was a big problem and is still pretty substantial, but I am slowly winning that battle and the Christmas moss is beginning to gain on it.

Thanks for asking!

I have had issues with the hair algae in my mosses before.... I found that it often spikes when the substrate gets disturbed or the tank is overstocked. Increase in excel and a bit of elbow grease and it will get out competed quickly.

Giving back creates a virtuous cycle that makes everyone more successful (as long as they cycle!)
7 Tanks and counting..... plus all these critters to feed critters
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-17-2019, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by CrazyCatPeekin View Post
Now, if I could just find some habrosus corys...
I talked my LFS into ordering me a dozen. They will be in on Friday evening... I'm so excited!


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3 planted nano community fish tanks.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-17-2019, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by nothreat33 View Post
Can't you just add more than enough ammonia? If you don't have any stock in there and it's just plants I don't see why not. You'll just ensure your bacteria keep growing. Then when you come back you'll have way more than you need, which is no trouble at all.

If the ammonia is too high it can stall the cycle - even the bacteria don't like it above a certain point!


The tank looks lovely, keen to see it grow in
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