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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all! First post. Currently cycling my first tank, which I decided to make planted after I started (hence the substrate and silk plants). It's not really a looker just yet, but that's fine -- as long as it's a nice environment for my future betta and snail there can be other tanks I set up with a plan in mind first. 🙂

It's been cycling for 23 days now. I've gone through two bacterial blooms, one diatom bloom, and now algae is beginning to form. My ammonia is dropping, and I'm dosing back up to 2ppm when it does. But what's puzzling to me is that throughout all of this I haven't gotten a single reading on any nitrites or nitrates. I'm using tap water treated with Seachem Prime, and when I test my tap I DO get readings for nitrates, so I don't think it's an issue with the kits. Is it possible that my plants (and now the algae) are just sucking everything up? I had been under the impression that only happens in heavily planted tanks, and I wouldn't call this heavily planted by any means. What's in there is just what you can see in the attachment, plus a small hidden Amazon sword in the back. Bit of Christmas moss, java fern, monte carlo, and three marimo.

I've got root tabs under the gravel, and two sponges in the back next to the "filter" (my tank is a 5 gal Top Fin Dazzle, which has what they call an integrated filter, but doesn't seem to be much -- was thinking of swapping it out for a hang on back but only after the tank is established, since I don't want to keep fiddling with it in case it further delays the cycling process). Heater's set to 80. My lighting situation is currently just a floor lamp I manually turn on for 8 hours a day, but I'm probably going to cut back a little after spotting the algae. Planning to implement a better lighting solution when I can.

I know this is just a waiting game and there can still be a long way ahead, but is this weird, or within the bounds of normal?


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