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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-26-2007, 08:15 PM Thread Starter
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Tank instant cycled

Hi,

I recently started a new 15g tank. I added 4 plants, java fern & java moss attached to a piece of driftwood, a fern similar to jf (forgot the exact name, but I know what it is) attached to a lavarock, and some other fern planted in the substrate.

I have 1 gold mountain minnow in there at the beginning (i should've fishless cylced ) . I've been checking the ammonia, nitrate, nitrite levels and the don't seem to be changing much. My ammonia levels are between 0.25~0.5, my nitrates and nitrites have never been above 0. It's now day 11.

Is it possible that the plants and lava rock that I got had enough bacteria to instant cycle the tank? Or are the plants I have enough to absorb all the waste? Or maybe my test kits aren't reliable?

I'm going to be converting it into a Dwarf puffer tank after it's cycled. I'm wondering if it's safe to do that now, or if I should wait a couple more weeks?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-26-2007, 08:56 PM
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My ammonia levels are between 0.25~0.5, my nitrates and nitrites have never been above 0.
Your tank isn't cycled and is still early in the process of cycling. I doubt that one gold mountain minnow in 15 gals is producing enough ammonia to really establish a large bacteria colony.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-26-2007, 09:02 PM
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Give it time, Topher. Keep testing for Nitrite and Ammonia. Soon, you should be seeing Nitrite show up. Then, Nitrate. Plants do have lots of bacteria on their surface, but those critters still need to colonize the rest of the tank and your filter media to be safe for fish addition. Certain fish can handle some ammonia, but none of them enjoy it. I'm speaking from experience - wait (or use expendable fish).

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-26-2007, 09:08 PM
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You're tank's just at the beginning of the cycling process. It's not in it's ending stages until you show at least some nitrates.

On another forum, they strongly promote cycling the tank by putting a pinch of brown sugar a day in the tank(instead of fish) for a certain amount of time. I've never tried it, but it's said that by using this method, a cycle takes only a few days to a couple weeks. Does anyone know about this? Is it safe with plants? If so, that's the route I'd take if I were you.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-26-2007, 09:42 PM
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I agree with what the others say......the tank is barely starting the cycle process.

You need 0 Ammonia/Nitrites and a bit of Nitrates for it to be complete.

FUNction over form

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-26-2007, 10:20 PM Thread Starter
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Is it possible that the ammonia will never convert to nitrite? Should I get something to help it? I don't mind being patient, but I want to make sure it happens, all the other tanks I've done have been a lot quicker
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-26-2007, 11:13 PM
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if you see any ammonia or nitrite you are still cycling or the biological load has surpassed the balance of waste/good bacteria. even .25-.5 ppm of ammonia is bad and harmful to fish.

the ammonia will be converted into nitrite until it reaches 0ppm or unreadable levels on tests. next the slower multiplying nitrite to nitrate bacteria will colonize and bring nitrite to 0ppm. just give it time.

one minnow is a small bio load. the amount of benificial bacteria will be small after a complete cycle. if you plan on more fish in the tank i would wait for the very slow growing plants you have to take hold in addition to completing the cycle. if you introduce a few more fish into such a small aquarium without the plants thriving the cycle might start all over.

what kind of lighting are you using? depending on the source of water you are using supplements like iron and an organic carbon source like seachem excel will be necessary for the plants.

i would not suggest puffers at your current experience level. the 15gal tank would only be suitable for 1 dwarf puffer. 10gallons per dwarf or pea puffers is a minimum. puffers may be docile as juviniles, but into adulthood they will become very territorial and usually lethal to tankmates, even other puffers in such a small aquarium. puffers are very messy eaters and even one will be a substantial increase in waste/ammonia then a minnow. like i mentioned above this might start the cycle again.

paitence...get more familiar with water chemistry and plant care. only when the plants are doing well move to the next step.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-26-2007, 11:43 PM
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Originally Posted by topher View Post
Is it possible that the ammonia will never convert to nitrite? Should I get something to help it? I don't mind being patient, but I want to make sure it happens, all the other tanks I've done have been a lot quicker
Nearly impossible, unless your tank water is isolated from Oxygen. The nitrogen cycle takes time, and it tends to vary from tank to tank, so don't put too much stock in anecdotal information. Factors that can slow the cycle include chlorine (from tap water) and stagnant water flow. The cycle requires two different types of bacteria. The first to show up converts ammonia(ammonium) to nitrite. The second converts nitrite to nitrate. ONLY nitrate is safe to fish (in modest quantities). Ammonia and nitrite are both very toxic.

And remember, a watched pot never boils . When the cycle finally kicks in, it will be swift. One day there will be ammonia, the next it will all be gone. Same applies to nitrite.

http://www.rexgrigg.com/cycle.htm

Ted


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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-26-2007, 11:54 PM Thread Starter
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what kind of lighting are you using? depending on the source of water you are using supplements like iron and an organic carbon source like seachem excel will be necessary for the plants.
Built in bulb (18" 15w) with the Eclipse 1 system. I am using supplements, with low level plants.

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the 15gal tank would only be suitable for 1 dwarf puffer. 10gallons per dwarf or pea puffers is a minimum.
I don't know where you've read that, because it's not true. 3g per fish is good for dwarf puffers. (http://www.dwarfpuffers.com). I've done a lot of research there and other places on the net over the years.

I've read up on cycling a tank, I know it takes a long time, I know the certain stages. But I've read on some forums that A) planted tanks don't need to be cycled sometimes because the plants will get rid of the ammonia/nitrites or B) if you place things from an established tank in your tank (filter media, substrate) it can introduce the required bacteria.

I was wondering if the plants I had, or the rock I placed in my tank from the LFS would do either A or B, (or if either of these is even true).
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-27-2007, 04:51 AM
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spend some more time in the dwarfpuffer.com forum. the 2-3gal per fish general formula is misleading. this is ok when they are young and under 1/2in, but in a year or so they will be around 1in. 2 to 3 gallon formula for a 1in male puffer is space cadet material. you might be able to get away with 2 in a 15 gallon when they reach adulthood provided they are mixed sexes or both female. there are always exceptions to the breed profile of course. make cave areas on each end and try to put plants that will break up the line of site from these areas.

my friend had 4 dwarf puffers in a 10 gal. a year and a half later 3 were left after one female was ravaged one night. the next day all the remaining dwarfs were fighting each other over rights to dine on her corpse. who killed her or if she just died of nc ?? the male was the actually least agressive of the bunch. at this time the females were ~1in and the male a little smaller. when the cherry shrimp experiment failed in his other 10 gal the remaining females were relocated. two weeks later there was one female left with a fat belly. not typical that the females were so vicious, but goes to show puffers are not as predictable a breed as say neon tetras.

fish/gallon and fish inches/gallon formulas are really fallible. by all means give a try at whatever you feel confident to boondoggle. just post the results one way or the other

really, it is unpredictable how a few puffers will behave into full adulthood. many mixed experiences abroad.


-A: if you have a heavily stocked(definition of heavy stocking is pretty much no substrate visible) aquarium and the plants are taking and not having a sizeable die off you can add fish. in low light or dismally low 15w (1w/gallon algae only setup) with slow growing plants like java ferns and such the plants will take a long time to take hold if at all to provide any reasonable intake of bioload byproducts to prevent a toxic cycle.

-B: if there is nitrite noticeable with testing media from an established tank will speed up the final stages of cycling. speed up, but not be an instant fix.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-28-2007, 05:29 AM
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You can have a tank fully capable of handling fish if you stuff it full of plants from the start. One, plants are completely covered in all kinds of bacteria, and they can utilize NH3 as a nitrogen source.

In college....so no aquariums for a while.....
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-28-2007, 05:47 AM
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You can have a tank fully capable of handling fish if you stuff it full of plants from the start. One, plants are completely covered in all kinds of bacteria, and they can utilize NH3 as a nitrogen source.
interesting point. i just started up a tank a couple months back with lots of plants and trimmings from another tank and did not see any indications of typical biological cycling. maybe it happened extremely quickly, and i didn't notice it. for what it's worth, the tank is currently filled with rummynose, cardinals, otos, and tiger shrimp.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-29-2007, 06:34 AM
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Alright, where to begin...

On the discussion of proper volume to comfortably accommodate Carinotetraodon travancoricus, many debates provide good points. In my own experience, I've successfully kept (and occasionally bred) a pair of dwarves in a 5.5g growout for over a year now, to great avail. They're quite fat, seemingly content, and amiable with each other. I keep their tank very heavily planted with all of the clippings from my other ten or so aquariums and the little guys help me prevent the spread of snails between my tanks. In addition to copious pond, micro-ram, and Malaysian trumpet snails, they get to snack upon the population of cherry shrimp that I released in there. I also employ one ottocinclus along with three yamato-numaebi that have yet to display any signs of stress or injury.

My success likely comes from several factors:

1: The numerous bunches of plants (anything from HC to Najas guadalupensis) help to break up the line of sight and allow the puffers (along with the other inhabitants) to find refuge from one-another. This helps them to feel secure, and thereby decreases their stress and aggression. In addition, the constant addition and removal of plants aids in inhibiting their tendencies to establish territories, thereby deterring their natural instinct to defend their "home."

2: I make certain that they are well fed. I put in large pond snails (which are too big and hard to be bothered by the puffers) so that I never find myself without a source of eggs. This keeps many snails of varying size within the range of the fish, so they can graze whenever they feel hungry. Additionally, the juvenile cherry shrimp (and, occasionally, the adults) provide an alternate food source. I also toss in blood worms if I have extras after feeding my gobies. This provides them with a wide range and variety of food, so they donít resort to eating each-other. In my experience, a happy puffer is a full puffer.

3: I use a filter rated for a 20g aquarium, resulting in a 5x turnover rate in one hour. Travancoricus really are messy eaters, and nothing will hurt your efforts worse than shoddy water quality. That means that weekly water changes are a must. I also have 54 watts of lighting over that aquarium (using diy CO2,) which gives me about 10 wpg (give or take.) My plants pearl like crazy, grow rapidly, and act as a nutrient sponge, keeping my water parameters pristine. This brings me to my next point:

The plants you provided wonít help you. Primarily, the concept of avoiding cycling by employing plants is based upon the assumption that you are providing a high-tech system. Usually, weíre expected to provide 2-4wpg, along with CO2 and macro/micro nutrients. Now, keep in mind, high tech doesnít have to mean high budget- I simply use desk lamps with screw-in CF, $2 diy CO2, and a $15 filter, along with dry ferts for a pittance. Itís a little harder to upgrade the lighting on an Eclipse, but if youíre so inclined, (and diy handy,) you can manage it.

The plants you chose were also slow growers. This makes them great for a low tech, low maintenance aquarium, but they wonít be able to utilize the excess nutrients in your aquarium quickly enough. You need stem plants like Rotalia indica, Hygrophila difformis, etc that will grow rapidly and eliminate dangerous chemicals. Typically, 10-12 stems per 5 gallons is safe, so youíre looking at 30-45 stems. The items you provided to help seed your aquarium may help, but without a source of sufficient chemicals (ie more fish,) your bacteria levels wonít be very high, so itís a moot point.

Anyway, interpret my information as you would. If you plant your aquarium heavily (as in more than just a handful of plants,) provide an abundant food source, add only 2-3 puffers, and keep a vigilant eye on all of your inhabitants, you should be able to do well. You should carefully consider your situation, and decide if a low or high tech aquarium would better suite you. Lastly, you should relax and have fun with this- aquariums are supposed to help us unwind, not cause aneurisms.

Well, I apologize for the rather lengthy post, but I hope it helps. Good luck, and keep us posted!!!

BP
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 04-29-2007, 08:50 AM
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You're tank's just at the beginning of the cycling process. It's not in it's ending stages until you show at least some nitrates.

On another forum, they strongly promote cycling the tank by putting a pinch of brown sugar a day in the tank(instead of fish) for a certain amount of time. I've never tried it, but it's said that by using this method, a cycle takes only a few days to a couple weeks. Does anyone know about this? Is it safe with plants? If so, that's the route I'd take if I were you.
You are adding an almost instant supply of carbon by supplementing sugar. It greatly increases the number of bacteria in the aquarium. However be very careful when doing this because the bacteria bloom will use up LOTS of oxygen. I would not continue using this in the future as it will also greatly lower nitrate levels and this could negatively influence plant growth.
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