Hey folks. I have spent quite a bit of time reading threads on this site, and now that I have a tank, I think (hope) I'm ready to be active on the forum. I'm brand new to planted tanks, but I think I've got a pretty good start.
My main issue right now is finishing(?) the cycle in my tank. I have a 5.5 gal that has been fully planted for approximately 10 weeks. I have been dosing ammonium to reach 2ppm for about 7 weeks to get the cycle moving.
Currently, my tank can process 2ppm ammonium within 48 hours, but from what I have read, it should be able to process 2ppm ammonium so there is 0 ammonium and 0 nitrites within 24 hours. It has been "stalled" like this for about 4 weeks.
5.5 gal tank, approximately 4 gal of actual water volume.
Planted with sifted organic soil capped with BDBS. Few pieces of lava rock and some driftwood.
Light is currently a Nicrew ClassicLED Plus at 50% for 6 hours. Previously (for 9/10 weeks) was Josh's Frogs Green Gro 13W LED. Just a light I had from other projects.
Plants: Monte Carlo, DHG, Lobelia cardinalis, Rotala indica, Cryptocoryne retrospiralis, Cryptocoryne undulata, Ludwigia repens '
Broadleaf', Subwassertang, Proserpinaca palustris, Cabomba palaeformis,
Christmas moss, Java fern, Sagittaria platyphylla
'Chilensis', Frogbit, RRF, and S. minima as floaters.
Plan to house RCS and eventually Tangerine Tiger Shrimp (if all goes well).
Recently added a small sponge filter (approximately one week ago) with hopes it would help increase surface area for BB.
Current parameters (24 hours after dosing 2ppm ammonium):
Temp: fluctuates between 18-20 C
EC: 372 microsiemens
I have dealt with all of the normal "first tank" issues so far. The tank has become fairly stable and is full of microorganisms (and bladder snails!). I have the algae pretty well under control compared to the outbreaks I had. I'm mainly looking for help getting my cycle to work faster so I feel comfortable adding some neos. Thanks for your help in advance!
Link to picture: https://imgur.com/1gsdt5a
Couldn't figure out how to make the picture smaller in the post so figured I would just post a link to it.
*Question about TDS: I have the HM Digital COM-80 EC/TDS/Temp Hydrotester. It has two settings for TDS that are the 0.5 scale and 0.7 scale. Can someone explain the difference to me? The value I listed above is on the 0.5 scale, but I have been recording the 0.7 scale value in case it is also valuable.