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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I am new to the world of planted tanks and even somewhat new to the aquarium hobby in general. I have a question I was wondering if any of you had experience with.

We had an established 29gal community tank, which got moved into a bigger tank. The 29 contained a cichlid for awhile which we decided was unhappy so we rehomed him (plus, I really wanted to plant the 29 and he was a huge digger).

So I drained about 70% of the water and removed all but a half inch of the old gravel. Placed new substrate in the tank, let it sit for a couple days, filled, planted. It's currently got 2 established HOB filters running on it. My questions are, did I do this the right way? And - will leaving some of the old gravel and running the HOB filters help cycle the tank faster? I ran an API test for Nitrite and Ammonia yesterday and both read 0ppm?
 

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It should speed things up you did well seeding your tank I would keep an eye on it and give it a week .
Do you have any fish in it yet?
 

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How long has the tank been empty of fish now?

The N-bacteria need a steady supply of food/ammonia to survive, and their population will start dying off if not supplied that.

I'd add a little ammonia and see what happens. 1ppm ammonia should end up approximately 1ppm of nitrate by the following day if the tank still has enough N-bacteria.

The alternative would be to stuff the tank full of plants and then just stock really slowly. I generally add my scavenger/algae crew in first and then wait a week or so before adding any of the midwater fish, anyways... if you start out with just some snails and shrimp, that gives time to make sure the tank is established and to take care of any ammonia spikes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well it's been empty of fish for about a week. I could not find any ammonia without surfacant in it. I looked in all 3 hardware stores, all 3 pet stores, wal-mart, freddies (kroger), safeway, I can't find it!

I'm also having a really hard time finding decent plants in this stupid state. Petco just has swords and java ferns, and the two lfs have either none or some very shoddy looking plants. I want to order online but shipping up here is crazy.

Do you think I could add a couple fish from the 55 or the 10 to help with the ammonia? We won't be buying any new fish until next friday.
 

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You can always throw in some fish food. . .
+1 I'd use fish food to be on the safe side. No need in exposing fish to a possible ammonia spike in the event the cycle needs to be re-established.

Throw in some fish food today (the same amount you'd feed if the tank were fully stocked) and then test the parameters daily over the weekend to see what you've got.
 

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I'm also having a really hard time finding decent plants in this stupid state. Petco just has swords and java ferns, and the two lfs have either none or some very shoddy looking plants. I want to order online but shipping up here is crazy.
Same thing around here most places have very little to choose from or they want too much for it. Went to one they had a few swords that just had two leafs each and wanted five bucks each. Sometimes I have been able to grab something at walmart.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
They don't order any, I asked. They get some just thrown in with their fish shipments. One decent lfs had some rotala clippings and a couple nice crypts, but it was freaking 10 bucks for a 4" crypt! Christ almighty....but it's still cheaper than ordering online for me.

I checked the paramaters this morning.... 0ppm ammonia, oppm nitrite, and 30ppm Nitrate.
 

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Anyone I’ve ever asked here in the swap n shop has been willing to ship to Alaska. Shipping a flat rate box, which is what most sellers use, costs exactly the same to ship here as to anywhere else in the US. I’ve even recently convinced an online retailer to ship me a pump in a flat rate box. They wanted $37 to ship it UPS and I got them to send it in the large flat rate box for just over $13. There are always locals to trade with as well. Let me know if you want to trade and I’ll pm you with what I currently have.
 

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Keep feeding the bacteria. Feed the tank with as much fish food as you would if there were fish in there, or even more food. The bacteria are probably still alive, looking at those test results, but you have to keep feeding them.
Right before you add fish, do as big a water change (perhaps 2, back to back) to get rid of all the nitrate.
 

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So, I am new to the world of planted tanks and even somewhat new to the aquarium hobby in general. I have a question I was wondering if any of you had experience with.

We had an established 29gal community tank, which got moved into a bigger tank. The 29 contained a cichlid for awhile which we decided was unhappy so we rehomed him (plus, I really wanted to plant the 29 and he was a huge digger).

So I drained about 70% of the water and removed all but a half inch of the old gravel. Placed new substrate in the tank, let it sit for a couple days, filled, planted. It's currently got 2 established HOB filters running on it. My questions are, did I do this the right way? And - will leaving some of the old gravel and running the HOB filters help cycle the tank faster? I ran an API test for Nitrite and Ammonia yesterday and both read 0ppm?
Would you say the tank was "well planted" from the first? If so, there will be no cycle to worry about. Waiting a couple days after planting before adding fish may be unnecessary but probably a good idea so the plants can deal with any ammonia before the fish are introduced. I have set up tanks from scratch with plants and fish in the first day (a 115g with 95 fish) and ammonia and nitrite are zero from day one. The plants quickly grab the ammonia/ammonium and are faster than the bacteria can establish themselves, so there is basically no cycling.

Byron.
 

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I think you guys are missing a VERY important question. Did you use de-chlor'ed tap water or just regular tap water after adding the new substrate? If you used tap water without a conditioner you probably killed of most if not all of your De-Nitrifiyng Bacteria. Psst... Lauraleellbp they ARE denitrifying, not nitrifying but I know you meant to say that when you said "N-Bacteria" :)

Water Conditioner=Good
Tap Water=Bad

-Aaron
 

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Would the type of substrate you added matter? If you added ADA AS, there would be ammonia leaching out for a while. Is that a good enough supply of ammonia for the few weeks your tank would be standing empty?
 

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I don't think the bacteria can last a week without an ammonia source. I would think most if not all of the colony would be dead.

Just add some fish slowly... you've obviously got a test kit.. a little ammonia isn't going to kill a fish overnight unless it's a huge spike. Just put something hearty in there...
 
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