Strange... How did this tank cycle?!?! - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-11-2014, 11:32 PM Thread Starter
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Strange... How did this tank cycle?!?!

Here is the situation.

15 gallon that I have been using to simple store / grow a few plants in order to sell. Snails hitched from my main tank to the 15 on the plants. Some rams horn and a unknown amount of MTS. I only ever used straight tap water in this tank ( no conditioner ). Rarely changed the water, maybe once a month.

So recently with my golden rams health taking a turn I needed to use the tank to as a QT. At this point most of the plants in there have been sold. If you want to follow my rams condition (I believe its HITH) check out my other post, search ram pimple.

So to prep the tank for him to go in I did 2 vary large wc pretty much all the water and warmed it up to 82ish and added a small water pump for circulation / surface agitation. There has never been a filter on this tank. I did put treated the water with prime this time and added a ton of floating plants. He has now been in the tank for roughly 24 hours.

Just moments ago I tested the water and I am reading 0 ammonia - 0 nitrites - <5ppm nitrates. Appears the tank is cycled.

This tank has been running for maybe 2-3 months prior to adding my ram 24 hours ago. I guess the snails must of produced enough waste with the decaying plants here and there to cycle the tank. All BB must be living in the substrate as there is simple no ornaments in the tank.

What really gets me wondering is how has the BB been able to survive the NON treated water changes over and over. I would of assumed that the bb would die off.

Any thoughts?

75 Gallon Low Tech w/ Green Terror Pair
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-11-2014, 11:40 PM
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I would say between the waste the snails produce and the decaying plant matter u may have created enough to feed the bb. Also plants feed on ammonia first. Then nitrate. It's very heavily planted correct? I think you got it.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-11-2014, 11:42 PM Thread Starter
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The QT has very little.plants currently. And never really had that many plants.

How does the bb not die with the untreated water changes?

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 01:11 AM
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It could be the floaters. I recently added frogbit to a dirt tank, which often leach ammonia. I've been testing the water daily and even after adding fish still no signs of ammonia. Honestly, I guess I have no idea. lol
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 01:13 AM
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I accidentally cycled an empty tank on leeching MGOPS. It wasn't my intent but I actually checked the water every day or so and watched ammonia spike for a few weeks, then nitrites, etc., then one day all levels were 0. It was really unexpected as I haven't read about that elsewhere.

Guess maybe the snail poo did it? Also, some of your plants may have carried over bb to help in the process?
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 02:18 AM
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Nature takes its course.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 02:26 AM Thread Starter
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No one thinks its weird that water changes were done with no dechlor and things are still fine?!

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 04:17 AM
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I do not think that chloramines are quite so deadly to established bacteria, living in a well developed bio film.
Probably not great, though, if you are trying to grow the bacteria, and get them to spread out and colonize new territory.

But few or no water changes, or just topping off while you were using it as a grow out tank probably was the key. Snails and dying plant matter fed the bacteria enough to grow a colony that handled the single fish's waste. Low level additions of chloramine (top offs, I would presume) are not much of a threat to the bacteria.
The many species of microorganisms developed their own little ecosystem in their bio film.
When you did the complete swap out of the water to prepare the tank for the Ram, the chloramines did not enter the bio film in enough concentration to kill the bacteria.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 04:30 AM
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Seems pretty sure thing, but since we have a person/w more credibility on hand,
asking sounds in order here..
Is this "Bio-film" that tan look which you see on like ceramic bio-media ?
It's white when you put it in there but shortly after turns tan in color.

The shortest distance between any two points is a straight line...in the opposite direction...
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 04:41 AM
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Perhaps the coloring does indicate the growth of microorganisms, but the bio film is the sort of slimy feel on almost all the surfaces in a tank.
I especially notice it on vinyl tubing that I might leave in a bucket of water, or a tank for a few days. No color change, but it sure gets slimy.

Interesting thing to look into. I understand that many microorganisms work together to make it. The fancy term for the 'slime' is 'extra-cellular polymer substances'. There are narrow channels that the water passes through. The water passes each organism much slower than if the organisms were simply stuck to the surfaces in the tank and filter. That slower water movement is safer for the microorganisms, and allows each to take what it needs from the water. For example the ammonia removing ones add nitrite to the water, then the nitrite removing species take the nitrite out of the water. Also, much less of whatever toxins are in the tank water actually make it into the bio film.

This is one of the problems when you are trying to sterilize a tank after the fish died of something like Mycobacteriosis. The disease organisms can hide out in the biofilm. Some can live for a long time in there. Medications do not penetrate through the bio film very well.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 06:40 AM
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Philip

google this

nitrifying bacteria in tap water
Its neat to see that which we thought killed them to be a seed source for them!



once a year id take the garden hose in july or August, when tap was maybe 75 out of the spigot because it was 100 here in Texas, and id shoot untreated tap into my 75 planted with thread fins, turtle, neons etc while using several siphon hoses to drain water out the other end of my tank. Let it run for an hour, mass water change then the tank is blast cleaned of detritus and I didn't have to lug ro water until the last drain where I took out most of the cold tap and replace with about 80% ro for the right 80 20 balance


nothing ever died or cycled
my friend had been doing this years and I thought he was crazy... But annual blast cleaning lugging 100 gals of ro had to end that took most of a Friday lol he was right, chlorine isn't actually that big of a lethality where once we thought no bacteria could survive

we did squirt some stress coat dechlor into the tank as it was filling so thats technically some reduction of the chlorine but the point was it wasnt a careful prep before the blast entry right out of the tap

small old reef tank:

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Last edited by brandon429; 12-13-2014 at 07:40 PM. Reason: c
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 12:31 PM Thread Starter
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I am beginning to think the same thing. Seems like there might not he that much chlorine in water as maybe there once was. Or we just assume its far more lethal then it is.

With that being said though I don't think I would be willing to stop using prime to test it out. Would hate to risk my fishies wellbeing.

All of this is very interesting to me though.

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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-12-2014, 01:12 PM
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I have found that it is not good to risk certain fish by skimping on the Prime.
Goldfish and their relatives (Barbs, mostly) seem the most sensitive to this sort of thing.

I have done top offs (to about 10% of the tank volume) with no dechlor, but if I need to add more than that I do not risk the fish. A few pennies worth of dechlor is not any 'waste' at all!

When I do that simultaneous drain and fill sort of cleaning I treat the incoming water every few minutes with a few drops of Prime. I have gauged the water flow by running it into a bucket and timing it, so I add just that much or a tiny bit more.
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