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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi folks, I thought I'd capture some details of the new little tank (my smallest yet) that I hope to turn into a home for some shrimp.
The tank was first filled 21st February 2021. Plants were added on about 26th.

So far this consists of the following:

  • Tank: Fluval Spec 19
  • Heater: Interpet Nano 25W
  • Substrate: Fluval Plant and Shrimp Stratum
  • Substrate: Pettex Roman Aquatic Gravel
  • Plants:
    • Cryptocoryne parva
    • Limnophila sessiliflora “Ambulia”
    • Anubias nana
    • Christmas moss
    • Riccia
    • Hygrophila polysperma

1026738


1026739
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Cycling is currently under-way. I think it's going okay - I put in a glug of Ammonia on 25th Feb (it really doesn't take a lot in a tank this small!) to get it up to about 4ppm, and it's now (4th Mar) down to pretty much zero. I have been adding Fluval Cycle, and a tiny bit of Fluval Grow+ went in to give the plants something to chomp on.

  • Ammonia: currently <0.1ppm
  • Nitrite: off the chart >5ppm
  • Nitrate: off the chart >80ppm
  • pH: steady at about 7.6
  • Temperature: about 25°C
  • Hardness: 15.23dKH (272mg/l CaCO3, from official test results, not my own)
Should I bump the Ammonia back up to 1ppm and see what happens to it, or wait until the Nitrites come back into a measurable range?
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  • 22nd Feb - First fill. Stratum made the tank look like it was filled with bad coffee​
  • 24th Feb - Replaced most of the water to remove the bulk of the floating particulates​
  • 25th Feb - Added 1ml of 9.5% ammonia (up to ~4ppm)​
  • 1st Mar - Added 2L of fresh water to bring to full. Added ½ml of plant ferts, and ½ml of the bacteria​
  • 2nd Mar - Added another ½ml of the bacteria​
  • 3rd Mar - 7L water change. Signs of possible algae growth - almost invisible strands on the rocks and tinting on the white sand. Light was probably an error, so turned off now.​
 

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The couple if times I’ve kickstarted using Ammonium chloride, I kept it at 2ppm until my nitrites disappeared and nitrate curve had slowed greatly, such that I was only getting about 5 ppm nitrates in a week. I did NOT do any water changes except for when the ammonia exceeded 2,5-3ppm (tricky to keep it in line it seems) or when the nitrites built up before the nitrates kicked in. But, using Dr. Tim’s One and Only live nitrifying bacteria (expensive, but worth it), the lapse between ammonia hitting 2.0ppm and the first appearance of nitrates has not exceeded three days. Really. Fish-in cycling or fish-less cycling using ammonia chloride, it’s only been three days. Then, the cycle has been complete in 7-8 days with fishless, two weeks with fish-in cycling. (Yes, I know one should cycle completely before adding fish.)

What is your filter media? I know it’s a Fluval Spec, but are you using Fluval’s bio-media? We had terrible luck with it. Both my daughter and I run sponge filtration only as our bio-media, specifically 30ppm reticulated open cell foam. We buy the foam in a large sheet and cut it to fit the different filters we have. Then we cut each of those pieces into halves or thirds. That way, whenever we start up a new tank or filter, we steal some “live” sponge from an established filter to put into the new media basket. That in combination with the above-mentioned Dr. Tim’s is the reason we can kickstart a new tank or setup so fast. Then, we never throw away working media. When we do a water change, we take part of the sponge pieces and rinse the excess gunk out in the removed water before pouring it out.

i am curious as to your very high hardness: you say it’s from official tests, not your own reading. May I ask what exactly you mean by that? If it’s data you’re getting from a municipal water source, I can give you some reasons why you do not want to take it as gospel. I would be interested as to where it’s from—it’s certainly very high! In fact it’s that very high reading that makes me question it.

And, welcome back. I didn’t miss you, but then I only joined two months ago.

Regards,
skayell (Susan)
 

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I saiid: Both my daughter and I run sponge filtration only as our bio-media, specifically 30ppm reticulated open cell foam.

I should have said 30ppi reticulated open cell foam. ppi=pores per inch, quite different from ppm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
the lapse between ammonia hitting 2.0ppm and the first appearance of nitrates has not exceeded three days.
Nitrite- and Nitrate-generating bacteria seem to be there, as they're through the roof and ammonia is coming down fast.

What is your filter media? I know it’s a Fluval Spec, but are you using Fluval’s bio-media?
I'm just using what it came with. I think that was that somewhat-nasty large-cell foam stuff with a couple of cavities in it with a little bag of carbon and one of the little white sintered tubes.

That way, whenever we start up a new tank or filter, we steal some “live” sponge from an established filter to put into the new media basket.
Alas, I have no seed tank to take any starter culture from.

i am curious as to your very high hardness: you say it’s from official tests, not your own reading. May I ask what exactly you mean by that?
It's from the water supply company, and their readings matched mine when I used to bother testing for hardness. The South-East of the UK is quite known for ridiculously hard water. One day of not drying the shower glass, and the following day it's white with limescale.
 

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You might think about buying some 30-40ppi reticulated open cell foam and cutting some pieces. There’s usually room in Fluval filter areas to stick some pieces. That way next time you will have seed for new filters. We replaced our entire Fluval Flex filter with bricks of foam as we never seemed to get the white round donut-shaped media to stabilize. Also, by using foam pieces, no matter what filter we are using, if we need to add a small bag of Purigen because of an unexpected algae bloom dying off or a bag of carbon to remove a medication, we can remove one piece without upsetting the cycle, assuming we can’t just squish the sponge.

I had asked about the source of GH and KH figures because many people read the water quality reports and see only the average, not realizing some parameters can swing quite a bit over the course of a day or two. Our water from the reservoir is soft, but they add lime in large amounts to keep the pH up so as not to have disasters in the older sections of town like happened in Flint, MI. But, they add it a few times a week, causing the pH in our area to swing from 7.4 to 8.6. And that’s why I installed an RO/DI system, because it’s easier to add my own than to try to balance acid buffers with source water which has alkalinity that’s a moving target.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You might think about buying some 30-40ppi reticulated open cell foam and cutting some pieces.
It's a pretty tiny filter compartment so not sure I can fit much more in there. More likely at some point I'll replace what's there with something like you suggest, depending on how it goes.

I had asked about the source of GH and KH figures because many people read the water quality reports and see only the average, not realizing some parameters can swing quite a bit over the course of a day or two.
I haven't tested recently, but when I had my larger 260L tank I was testing daily for a month and there were no notable changes so I stopped.

Some life has appeared

1026797
 

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If you did daily testing for that long, you’re probably right that it hasn’t changed, espec since you said your area is known for having very hard water. In our area, the pH, GH and KH can vary drastically from day to day. While they use huge amounts of lime here to adjust pH/KH, at a water plant in Florida my brother used to work at, they used sodium hydroxide! That seemed weird, because lime is certainly readily available in Florida.
As to using sponge filters in small media bask, I have, and am currently, using sponge foam filters in a couple of very small filter basketsl like the one pictured here:
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The sponge in this in 4.5cm wide and approximately 6.5 cm tall.
(FYI, this is about a 10 litre tank; note the rubber band and tape holding the glass together. When this was on a low table, one if the cats got too curious and the glass broke. No harm to the betta). Because it is now long established in the nitrification cycle, I am going to remove it and cut it in thirds, returning two of the pieces to this filter basket. The third piece, along with a similar sized piece from another established filter, will be going into the media basket of a similarly sized filter for a five gallon that will be home for my mystery snails and a tiny Nerite. The Nerite will be housed there until I am sure that it isn't depositing egg cases all over the tank.

And I do hope you are impressed not only that a Yank can express measurements in metric, but can also spell litre the way you are most likely to approve of. Can’t figure out why we haven’t seen the light and switched.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Very impressive indeed ;)

My daughter has discovered measuring things in "feet", however she's using her own, so the demonstration of the size of a whale outside in the street was less impressive than it should have been :D
 
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