Follow up: is leaching MGOPS cycling my tank? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-08-2013, 11:25 PM Thread Starter
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Follow up: is leaching MGOPS cycling my tank?

Hi all,
Sorry to spam the board. I am following up on this thread here:

To the point -- is it possible that my dirted tank is cycling itself without any added ammonia, fish, or anything? I have not read about such scenarios, and I only have about 1 inch of MGOPS capped by black diamond blasting sand (not that much dirt), and I think whatever the dirt is leaching out has gotten me past the Ammonia phase into the Nitrite phase -- excuse the semantics here if i'm saying it wrong... Basically my API test had ammonia's around the 3ppm level for a few days with zero nitrites. Ammonia's are now down to about .25ppm, and my nitrites are up to 4ppm.

Is it possible that this is a fishless cycle of sorts without adding anything to the tank?

Some other details that might be important -- the dirt/sand has been in the tank for about 3 weeks, but I had been doing heavy water changes at first to clear up the water which was kind of stirred up. I now haven't done any water changes since last sunday, so it makes sense that in the last week or so i've seen ammonia and nitrite finally spike.

As for next steps, I have two large bottles of Tetra SafeStart coming in the mail -- I don't need to use it but figured it's not bad to have. If I see the nitrites come down (and ammonia stay down) should I get a few hardy fish such as giant danios and put them in the tank with the TSS? Point being whatever good bacteria I've grown would be kept alive and fed.

I'm not trying to be irresponsible and add fish early or anything, but that actually seems kind of logical. I apologize for all of the questions, I've never done a dirted tank before, so this is a new variable that i'm not used to accounting for.

(Bonus question -- how long does MGOPS leach ammonia for?)

Last edited by mattjm20; 12-08-2013 at 11:36 PM. Reason: more descriptive title
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-09-2013, 12:45 AM
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Yes it is entirely possible for your tank to cycle itself using dirt. The bacteria that cycle the tank can also live in damp soil, so they came in your bag of dirt.

I think MGOPS will release ammonia for a few weeks.

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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-09-2013, 01:18 AM Thread Starter
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-09-2013, 02:40 PM Thread Starter
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Nitrites are still around 2ppm, though it is hard to tell the shades of purple apart. It's been this way for probably half a week at this point. If it doesn't subside my plan is to do a partial WC to help the bacteria get a headstart. (I say again, I'm having quite a bit of trouble telling the difference between the shades of purple on the Nitrite part so it's hard to judge if it's REALLY high or just high)


Last edited by mattjm20; 12-11-2013 at 02:10 AM. Reason: more descriptive message
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