The Planted Tank Forum banner

1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

I am a beginner and I hope I am posting this in the right place--please let me know if there is a better place for this question and I'll be happy to move it over.

At any rate, I started up a planted betta tank about a month ago. For several different reasons, I had the tank running for 2 weeks with plants but without a fish. In that time, the water parameters were as follows (I have the API master test kit): Ammonia hovering between 0 and .25ppm, nitrites 0, nitrate 0. I thought the ammonia level was odd considering there was no fish but figured maybe it had to do with the gravel (Eco Complete) or the plants (anubias, java fern, pennywort).

So, I added the betta, and Tetra Safestart. Two weeks later (today) I tested again. And got the EXACT same results! Isn't that kind of odd? I went ahead a did a 25% water change as is recommended after 2 weeks with the TSS, and my fish seems very happy and active, blowing bubbles etc.

Any advice or insight very much appreciated! I am planning on doing a bigger setup soon (29 gallon low-tech) so I am hoping to get this figured out first.

Thanks! --HD.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,049 Posts
Often times, plants will cycle a tank with no noticeable parameter changes. That aside, it is odd that you have no nitrates, although, depending on your plant mass, lighting and such, that could be normal also. One thing about the api nitrate test is that you have to shake the heck out of the No.2 bottle, or you will never get a nitrate reading. Are you dosing anything for your plants, are you high light or low light? How big is your tank. Give us all the info you can think of.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi there,

Thanks for your reply! I didn't know that about the nitrate test, I will definitely try shaking it more. I have a Fluval Spec V and I'm using the stock lighting--definitely low light, or so I assume. I've dosed a couple of times with Flourish...just the regular all purpose fertilizer. The plants are steadily growing--the anubias and java fern have each put out a leaf or two and the pennywort gone pretty crazy. If I had nitrates, I would assume the TSS did what it was supposed to do but as it is I'm a little baffled. I guess my best bet is to test the nitrates again tomorrow and try shaking it up as you say...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,703 Posts
I had the tank running for 2 weeks with plants but without a fish. In that time, the water parameters were as follows Ammonia hovering between 0 and .25ppm, nitrites 0, nitrate 0. I thought the ammonia level was odd considering there was no fish but figured maybe it had to do with the gravel (Eco Complete) or the plants (anubias, java fern, pennywort).

So, I added the betta, and Tetra Safestart. Two weeks later (today) I tested again. And got the EXACT same results! Isn't that kind of odd?
I do not trust the API NH3 test kit at low levels(.25ppm)
Some say using Prime as a water conditioner will show .25ppm?

Like to see parameter changes as the cycle progresses.
Feel more secure watching the process.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
105 Posts
I sometimes have trouble telling the difference between 0 and 0.25 ppm on the API Ammonia test kit. It could just be that it looks like 0.25 ppm. One way to tell would be to get some RO or distilled water from the store and test that, since that is pure water you know it will have 0 ppm ammonia. Then you can see what 0 ppm actually looks like and you have a baseline for other tests.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,721 Posts
I have seen quite a few posts, and have seen it myself:
Testing the water shortly after using Prime seems to show a hit of green in the API ammonia test. Usually interpreted as .25 ppm or less.

Cyling:
Adding TSS, and having plants and just one Betta, I think it is just fine that you are not seeing ammonia or nitrite.
Interesting that there is no NO3, but the plants could be removing it all, or even taking in the ammonia before it even gets to the bacteria.

Ditto the other comments about the NO3 test. Gotta be done right: LOTS of shaking of that bottle.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you all for your responses! Hearing about your experiences with Prime and API is very helpful. I'm going to try re-testing the nitrates in a couple of days since I just did a 25% water change and this time I will shake the water sample very well, as has been suggested. I will also try the RO/distilled water suggestion if the ammonia mystery continues. At any rate, I'll be very interested to see how the cycling goes when I get a larger tank with more fish...I plan on adding plants first and the fish quite slowly, so hopefully all will be well. In the meantime, my betta is loving life, so I'm not too concerned. Thanks again! HD
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top