Need help fresh not yet planted tank - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-31-2014, 07:04 PM Thread Starter
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Need help fresh not yet planted tank

Ok so 46g with potting soil with 1.5" black blasting sand cap.
New aquatop at200 canister filter running used media from another canister (bio ceramic rings and used floss and batting) also had AC in case of toxins in potting soil.
Been running 2.5 weeks with rocks and other decor from another tank to start bacteria colonies on sand.
No fish (yet)
Added nasty heavy ammonia water from tank needing to be cleaned.

Result of testing today.
This thing cycled or stalled?
Zero across the board?
No, I didn't test until today lol been busy.




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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-31-2014, 09:24 PM
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"Added nasty heavy ammonia water from tank needing to be cleaned."
Did you test this water to see if it had ammonia before you put it in the tank ?
If your talking established/cycled tank, it has no reason to have ammonia in it
unless you just stirred up the bottom. This refers to the tank the water came from.
If you have no fish then where would ammonia come from ? This refers to the tank that is being started.
Not all potting soil creates ammonia. No ammonia then no reason to have
nitrites. I would think that the water from the other tank may have had nitrates in it however.
If you do a tank/w just gravel and a couple of decorations it will be fairly stable
from the start. Fish can be added just after the cycle is complete.
When you put in a soil sub and plants it will not be stable for a few weeks.
For the sake of the fish it is better to do them after some plant growth is well under way and the tank has become stable. The tank would already be cycled by then from the bacteria coming in on the plants. But only for a few fish depending on the amount of gallons of water in the tank.
What type of potting soil was used ?

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Last edited by Raymond S.; 09-01-2014 at 06:28 AM. Reason: additional info
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-31-2014, 10:29 PM Thread Starter
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I must have not phrased something correctly.
I have 3 other operating 55g tanks with fishy residents.
Yes I stirred up the bottom of one of them sucked up all the junk from bottom and dumped that water and junk into the 46g empty soil tank to help jump start it 2.5 weeks ago.
The potting soil was just home depot stuff (no organic available so sought out the one with shortest fert. stated ie. 3 months). Orogrow or something like that.
Various rocks and decor with biofilm were taken from other tanks and added to the fishless 46.
Trying to ascertain whether 2.5 weeks with seeded substrate and filter media could have cycled already or if its likely the cycle crashed. However you mentioned stable?
So adding plants at this stage would be OK?
Was too busy w work etc and didn't test water till now
Its just this 0 anything makes me nervous.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 06:53 AM
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I just use Tetra Safe Start and you add the fish pretty quick/w that so that the ammonia flow keeps coming for the bacteria.
If you stirred up the tank when you took out the water to use for the new tank then it should have had some ammonia as long as the sub got disturbed.
The nitrate kit can be tricky to use if not shaken enough also.
Plants will bring in more of that bacteria if they are from a cycled tank and plants use ammonia and nitrates so you can get them in at first if you like.
With the water from the other tank I will asume that there is ammonia so it should have been used by the bacteria in 2.5 weeks and IF the cycle is running normal it
usually takes a week for the bacteria to form which use the ammonia but this has seed bacteria in it so it should have both types, Normally in a new cycle it removes ammonia towards the end of the first week but then you get the nitrites. The bacteria which use nitrites then usually takes about two weeks to get fully up to enough. So at that
time you shoud just have nitrates.
I'm thinking you should have gotten some nitrates if there was any amount of ammonia transferred to this tank from the other one.
Sounds like either there wasn't enough ammonia or the test kit is bad or not used correctly. Between the seeded filter and the rocks being transferred you should have both types of bacteria. Best thing here is to get a source of regular ammonia which you can dose to somewhere between 2-5 PPM and see if it disappears.
But...the whole cycle thing is not necessary if you don't put in fish till later after the plants get some good growth at least started.
You may still get an ammonia reading from the soil. 4-6 weeks from now after your plants are growing the water test will become stable(GH/KH/PH as well as the regular
ammonia/nitrites/nitrates).

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 03:33 PM Thread Starter
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Also should have mentioned diatom brown algae growth but to be expected with fresh sand.
Did not know I could go ahead and plant regardless of cycle.
I'm in no hurry to add fish but would love to start planting.

Thanks guys!

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 05:52 PM
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Plants don't like ammonia over about a 2PPM. That is the only restriction I know of for planting while cycling.
After 2.5 weeks you are probably all right on ammoniabut I still wouldn't let it go more than 12 hrs without testing for it till
about the week 4. This is just from reading on here as I haven't used dirt but have read about it causing an ammonia spike.
Hopefully a person who has used it will let you know how long after it can do that.

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-01-2014, 09:47 PM
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I am still confused about what you did.
It sounds like you have not been feeding the bacteria, all you have been doing for 2.5 weeks is a leak test. This can be complete in 24 hours.

To grow bacteria takes just a little more work.
Read the fishless cycle.
Do it that way.

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.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-02-2014, 01:59 AM Thread Starter
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Set and seed and forget was what I did.
Job and life got in the way.
Probably need to cycle again.

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-02-2014, 05:51 PM
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You can probably check your bacteria colony by adding 2 ppm of ammonia and verifying that it converts to nitrates in 24hrs (preferably less). If it doesn't convert that quickly, then you've at least bought some ammonia to start your fishless cycle.

good luck..
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-03-2014, 01:39 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toemoss View Post
You can probably check your bacteria colony by adding 2 ppm of ammonia and verifying that it converts to nitrates in 24hrs (preferably less). If it doesn't convert that quickly, then you've at least bought some ammonia to start your fishless cycle.

good luck..
Have a couple plants in there so started @1ppm and will check tomorrow if it's turned to nitrates

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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-03-2014, 07:07 PM Thread Starter
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Nitrates showing, ammonia gone.
Guess hungry bacteria and I'm good to go eh?

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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-03-2014, 08:45 PM
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Sounds like you should be ok to add a small bioload
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-04-2014, 12:41 AM Thread Starter
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Popped what plants I have in. Now need a better fluorescent light tube for hood.

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