1 day old cycling - huge ammonia and some nitrites already... what to do? - The Planted Tank Forum
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-29-2014, 03:31 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: New Hampshire, USA
Posts: 60
1 day old cycling - huge ammonia and some nitrites already... what to do?

I just set up yesterday my 20g.

This is what I have in:
- osmocote, gravel, eco complete - 2-4 inches, a little bit more than 1 bag
- white sand from petco - 1 inch layer in front as a "beach"
- 5 granite stones - I had them before in the tank
- 4 black stones - I don't know exactly what they are, but I kept them in water before and did not change the chemistry
- 3 branches bought from LFS - supposed to be for terrariums - I really liked them and they look well in the tank (close to manzanita wood look)

Equipment:
- internal filter - aqueon
- hob filter - this one has been on a plant only tank, about a week old, no carbon filter, just the black sponge in it

What happens:
- 12 hours from start, the water is white, about 4 inches visibility only
- 20 hours from start - API clarifier added - about 40 drops (twice the recommended dose)
- 24 hours from start I tested the water: 8ppm ammonia and 1 ppm nitrites
- the branches are covered by a slime coat, about 1-1.5 mm thick (that's about 1/16 inches)

Questions:
1. should I just leave it alone and continue water testing?
2. is this some kind of jump start caused by something?
3. is it caused by bacteria present in the eco complete?
4. are the bacteria in the 1 week old filter media, or the bacteria from the eco complete converting the ammonia to nitrites?
5. is it possible such a fast cycle start, or is this something weird? I cycled tanks before, but never used eco complete on a new tank and never had 8ppm ammonia (!)
gabriel.mi is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-29-2014, 03:44 AM
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Murrieta, CA
Posts: 34
1 day old cycling - huge ammonia and some nitrites already... what to do?

Sounds to me like you need to just let it finish cycling. It takes quite awhile to cycle a tank. The water probably picked up stuff from the sand and Eco complete. The ammonia spike is probably from your substrate, as long as there aren't any fish in there I would just let it do it's job. The ammonia will turn into nitrites, nitrites into nitrates. Just wait for your ammonia and nitrites to reach zero and your cycle should be done. Someone else might be able to touch a little deeper on it but it just needs some time.
rottincorps is offline  
post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-29-2014, 04:07 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: New Hampshire, USA
Posts: 60
Well, I read all the details about cycling a tank, been through the process 3 times before, but never fishless, never with eco complete, and never having such an ammonia spike. It doesn't seem to be uncommon 8ppm ammonia... at least I can see quite a few results.

What surprises me is that I did not do any ammonia dosing.

I will leave it as is, and wait for the cycle to complete.
gabriel.mi is offline  
 
post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-29-2014, 11:56 AM
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Maryland
Posts: 22
First thing that strikes me is how did you get a Ammonia reading of 8?
API test kits do not even go above 4ppm. Test your PH. With a Ammonia reading of 8 your cycle may have stalled. If your PH is 6.0 your cycle has stalled. If your PH is still in the 7 range do nothing till till the Ammonia drops to 0.0000. Also if your Cycle has not stalled your well on your way with a nitrite reading. Also what is your Nitrate ppm?
freshwaterfishlover is offline  
post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-29-2014, 02:06 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: New Hampshire, USA
Posts: 60
Here's a video of the tank, 36 hours in, that shows bacteria colonies (I suppose) on the wood branches:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLxr1ixB-FY

My API test kit goes up to 8ppm ammonia, and as far as I could see the color was between 4 and 8, close to 8.

I will be back with some new test results.

Update:

- ammonia more than 4ppm, closer to 8
- ph 8
- nitrites 0
- nitrates 0

I believe I'll do a 25% water change at this point, at least get the ammonia to lower a bit, and start the cycle, as I presume at this point it is stalled.

Last edited by gabriel.mi; 08-29-2014 at 02:38 PM. Reason: update
gabriel.mi is offline  
post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-29-2014, 03:01 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
GraphicGr8s's Avatar
 
PTrader: (10/100%)
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: West coast of the east coast of the USA.
Posts: 4,327
You just set the tank up a day or two ago? And you think the cycle is stalled? It's been only a day or two. Let something happen. Patience is a virtue here.

Dilution is the solution for the pollution.
Quote me as saying I was misquoted.
Once you get rid of integrity the rest is a piece of cake.
Here's to our wives and sweethearts - may they never meet.
If you agreed with me we'd both be right.
GraphicGr8s is offline  
post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-29-2014, 03:02 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
klibs's Avatar
 
PTrader: (29/100%)
Join Date: May 2014
Location: NH
Posts: 3,325
Looks like driftwood snot (some kind of mucus / fungus that appears on new driftwood) and hair algae to me.

Just let it do its thing. My understanding is that if there is any ammonia at all the bacteria you need will start growing. The substrate probably initially puked out a ton of ammonia which is why your readings are so high. Water changes can fix this if you are really concerned.

+1 to graphicGr8s comment as well

I will take at least a few weeks for a 20G to cycle. The more patient you are the more success you will have


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
klibs is offline  
post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-29-2014, 03:05 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: New Hampshire, USA
Posts: 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by GraphicGr8s View Post
You just set the tank up a day or two ago? And you think the cycle is stalled? It's been only a day or two. Let something happen. Patience is a virtue here.
Well, I believe I had some nitrifying bacteria there from some used, aged media, and I hoped I jump started the cycle. I will be patient, of course .

After about 30% water change, ammonia drop to 3-4ppm.

Bump:
Quote:
Originally Posted by klibs View Post
Looks like driftwood snot (some kind of mucus / fungus that appears on new driftwood) and hair algae to me.

Just let it do its thing. My understanding is that if there is any ammonia at all the bacteria you need will start growing. The substrate probably initially puked out a ton of ammonia which is why your readings are so high. Water changes can fix this if you are really concerned.

+1 to graphicGr8s comment as well

I will take at least a few weeks for a 20G to cycle. The more patient you are the more success you will have
Thank you for the wood info. I did not know that. My thoughts exactly about the substrate - but confirmation from an expert means much more than only my thoughts.

I know the cycle will take a while.

I will try to keep ammonia at around 4ppm.
gabriel.mi is offline  
post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 08-29-2014, 04:26 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Contra Costa CA
Posts: 11,721
If the ammonia keeps climbing, and you are not adding it, then there is something in the tank contributing the ammonia. Osmocote, decaying stuff in the soil are the two things I would think about.

The cloudy water to start with was highly likely heterotrophic bacteria. These are not the nitrogen cycle bacteria, but are not bad, either. They eat organic matter that enters the tank on pretty much everything. Skin oils, household dust... They can breed fast, which is what causes the cloudy water. But when most of their food is gone they die back to reasonable numbers and the cloudy water clears up.

Ammonia or nitrite over 5 ppm is not good for the nitrogen cycle bacteria. Good that you did a water change.

Wood snot- I would clean up what you can but not get fanatical about it. It will keep growing. When you add fish, many of them will eat it, especially Loricariads.
Diana is offline  
post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 02:30 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: New Hampshire, USA
Posts: 60
@Diana: I cleaned the wood on day 2, dirtied up the water, of course, and by day 3 it was back. I won't bother with it anymore, at least until the cycle is completed.

Day 5 update:

- ammonia ~4ppm
- nitrites 2-5ppm or more

It seems nitrites are spiking and ammonia stays around 4ppm after the water change, which should be good for now. Everything seems to go pretty well and pretty fast. Maybe another water change would be in order to drop nitrites a bit. I'll read some more internet "documentation" and decide if a water change is needed.
gabriel.mi is offline  
post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 02:56 PM
Planted Tank Obsessed
 
DayOlder's Avatar
 
PTrader: (4/100%)
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Aurora Colorado
Posts: 488
If you stated what you are doing your WC with I missed it, RO or tap? Have you done an ammonia test on your replacement water?

Last edited by DayOlder; 09-01-2014 at 02:57 PM. Reason: Spelling
DayOlder is offline  
post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 04:04 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Contra Costa CA
Posts: 11,721
Here is the fishless cycle:

Cycle: To grow the beneficial bacteria that remove ammonia and nitrite from the aquarium.

Fish-In Cycle: To expose fish to toxins while using them as the source of ammonia to grow nitrogen cycle bacteria. Exposure to ammonia burns the gills and other soft tissue, stresses the fish and lowers their immunity. Exposure to nitrite makes the blood unable to carry oxygen. Research methemglobinemia for details.

Fishless Cycle: The safe way to grow more bacteria, faster, in an aquarium, pond or riparium.

The method I give here was developed by 2 scientists who wanted to quickly grow enough bacteria to fully stock a tank all at one time, with no plants helping, and overstock it as is common with Rift Lake Cichlid tanks.

1a) Set up the tank and all the equipment. You can plant if you want. Include the proper dose of dechlorinator with the water.
Optimum water chemistry:
GH and KH above 3 German degrees of hardness. A lot harder is just fine.
pH above 7, and into the mid 8s is just fine.
Temperature in the upper 70s F (mid 20s C) is good. Higher is OK if the water is well aerated.
A trace of other minerals may help. Usually this comes in with the water, but if you have a pinch of KH2PO4, that may be helpful.
High oxygen level. Make sure the filter and power heads are running well. Plenty of water circulation.
No toxins in the tank. If you washed the tank, or any part of the system with any sort of cleanser, soap, detergent, bleach or anything else make sure it is well rinsed. Do not put your hands in the tank when you are wearing any sort of cosmetics, perfume or hand lotion. No fish medicines of any sort.
A trace of salt (sodium chloride) is OK, but not required.
This method of growing bacteria will work in a marine system, too. The species of bacteria are different.

1b) Optional: Add any source of the bacteria that you are growing to seed the tank. Cycled media from a healthy tank is good. Decor or some gravel from a cycled tank is OK. Live plants or plastic are OK. Bottled bacteria is great, but only if it contains Nitrospira species of bacteria. Read the label and do not waste your money on anything else.
At the time this was written the right species could be found in:
Dr. Tims One and Only
Tetra Safe Start
Microbe Lift Nite Out II
...and perhaps others.
You do not have to jump start the cycle. The right species of bacteria are all around, and will find the tank pretty fast.

2) Add ammonia until the test reads 5 ppm. This ammonia is the cheapest you can find. No surfactants, no perfumes. Read the fine print. This is often found at discount stores like Dollar Tree, or hardware stores like Ace. You could also use a dead shrimp form the grocery store, or fish food. Protein breaks down to become ammonia. You do not have good control over the ammonia level, though.
Some substrates release ammonia when they are submerged for the first time. Monitor the level and do enough water changes to keep the ammonia at the levels detailed below.

3) Test daily. For the first few days not much will happen, but the bacteria that remove ammonia are getting started. Finally the ammonia starts to drop. Add a little more, once a day, to test 5 ppm.

4) Test for nitrite. A day or so after the ammonia starts to drop the nitrite will show up. When it does allow the ammonia to drop to 3 ppm.

5) Test daily. Add ammonia to 3 ppm once a day. If the nitrite or ammonia go to 5 ppm do a water change to get these lower. The ammonia removing species and the nitrite removing species (Nitrospira) do not do well when the ammonia or nitrite are over 5 ppm.

6) When the ammonia and nitrite both hit zero 24 hours after you have added the ammonia the cycle is done. You can challenge the bacteria by adding a bit more than 3 ppm ammonia, and it should be able to handle that, too, within 24 hours.

7) Now test the nitrate. Probably sky high!
Do as big a water change as needed to lower the nitrate until it is safe for fish. Certainly well under 20, and a lot lower is better. This may call for more than one water change, and up to 100% water change is not a problem. Remember the dechlor!
If you will be stocking right away (within 24 hours) no need to add more ammonia. If stocking will be delayed keep feeding the bacteria by adding ammonia to 3 ppm once a day. You will need to do another water change right before adding the fish.
__________________________

Helpful hints:

A) You can run a fishless cycle in a bucket to grow bacteria on almost any filter media like bio balls, sponges, ceramic bio noodles, lava rock or Matala mats. Simply set up any sort of water circulation such as a fountain pump or air bubbler and add the media to the bucket. Follow the directions for the fishless cycle. When the cycle is done add the media to the filter. I have run a canister filter in a bucket and done the fishless cycle.

B) The nitrogen cycle bacteria will live under a wide range of conditions and bounce back from minor set backs. By following the set up suggestions in part 1b) you are setting up optimum conditions for fastest reproduction and growth.
GH and KH can be as low as 1 degree, but watch it! These bacteria use the carbon in carbonates, and if it is all used up (KH = 0) the bacteria may die off.
pH as low as 6.5 is OK, but by 6.0 the bacteria are not going to be doing very well. They are still there, and will recover pretty well when conditions get better.
Temperature almost to freezing is OK, but they must not freeze, and they are not very active at all. They do survive in a pond, but they are slow to warm up and get going in the spring. This is where you might need to grow some in a bucket in a warm place and supplement the pond population. Too warm is not good, either. Tropical or room temperature tank temperatures are best. (68 to 85*F or 20 to 28*C)
Moderate oxygen can be tolerated for a while. However, to remove lots of ammonia and nitrite these bacteria must have oxygen. They turn one into the other by adding oxygen. If you must stop running the filter for an hour or so, no problem. If longer, remove the media and keep it where it will get more oxygen.
Once the bacteria are established they can tolerate some fish medicines. This is because they live in a complex film called Bio film on all the surfaces in the filter and the tank. Medicines do not enter the bio film well.
These bacteria do not need to live under water. They do just fine in a humid location. They live in healthy garden soil, as well as wet locations.

C) Planted tanks may not tolerate 3 ppm or 5 ppm ammonia. It is possible to cycle the tank at lower levels of ammonia so the plants do not get ammonia burn. Add ammonia to only 1 ppm, but test twice a day, and add ammonia as needed to keep it at 1 ppm. The plants are also part of the bio filter, and you may be able to add the fish sooner, if the plants are thriving.
Diana is offline  
post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 05:06 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: New Hampshire, USA
Posts: 60
@dayolder: tap water 0ppm ammonia

@diana: thank you for the information. No matter how many materials you read on one subject, you can always find a couple new things in every resource. Water temp is around 80F and I have an air stone running 24/7. Trying to provide the best conditions for the cycle
gabriel.mi is offline  
post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-03-2014, 11:41 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: New Hampshire, USA
Posts: 60
Well, journal:

- 9/2 - 11 am (yesterday):
. nitrites >2ppm
. nitrates >40ppm
. ammonia .25ppm

. wc ~30%

. nitrites >2ppm

. wc ~75%

. nitrites .5ppm
. nitrates <10ppm

- 9/2 - around 6 pm:
. nitrites <1ppm

. wc ~30%

. nitrites <.5ppm
. 3 neons in (to get some ammonia generation)

- 9/3 - around 9 am:
. ammonia 0ppm
. nitrites <.25ppm
. nitrates <20ppm

Well maybe a multitude of factors helped with the process, as right now, nitrites stay <.25ppm, with three small fish in; ammonia stays at 0+ (<<.25ppm) and nitrates are growing slowly, meaning that bacteria must be working. I will do tests every 12 hours for a couple of days, as if anything goes wrong, I can adjust things.

I keep the temperature at about 80F, to help speeding bacteria grow, with a bit of salt in the water and continuous aeration - and yes, two filters (1 hob and one internal aqueon).

Thanks everyone for your help, I will post an update in the next couple of days.
gabriel.mi is offline  
post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 09-04-2014, 01:04 AM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
Okedokey's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 784
Eco complete will pump out ammonia for awhile, just be patient. Keep the bacteria up, and the aeration.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
| Eheim Prof 3, 2217, 2213 (Purigen only) + 350 Skim, Reeflex UV 800 | HC300A Chiller | 3xKessil A360WE LED + Spectral Controller | Pres. CO2 + Aqua Medic Reactor1000 | DIY Fertz + 2 x Jabeo DP-4 | CAL AQUA LABSí Black Earth & GreenBase subst. + root tabs


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
| Eheim 2217 + 2213 | Kessil A360WE LED + Spectral Controller | Pres. CO2 + atomiser | DIY Fertz | ADA Africana + root tabs.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Okedokey is offline  
Reply

Tags
None

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome