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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello friends! New user here looking to run a few thoughts with the community… Sorry for the long post incoming, and maybe an ill fitting section selection, but I’d be very grateful to get some feedback on this before committing further to it, along with a current sanity check.

I've been cycling my first tank for a short while now (a little over 13 days now) with the ghost feeding method, although planted, I'm going the fish less route because personally I do not mind the wait and I’m not confident on my ability to not crash this setup immediately. As some general info, and as stated on the title, the tank is a 60L (15G) cube, I’ve used roughly 8 liters of tropica powder aquasoil (quite excessive more than likely) and a big lava rock. I've set it with an integrated filter design hosting 2L of Seachem Matrix (excess seems to be a running theme...) 250grams of Purigen and some foam for mechanical filtration, I’m powering all the above with an Eheim pump rated for 300 gallons per hour at max speed (although I’m considering stepping up to the 600 model). I’m running the tank around 27Cº of an Eheim 50W heater. And for the first week I stuck to the regular Seachem Stability dosing as indicated in the tin. My test equipment is a JBL combiset and some test strips.

I’m using tap water that has been run through a Brita reverse osmosis filter as I’m not set on running a RO/DI station yet. After treating it with Prime it sits around the following parameters: Negligible NH4, NO2 and NO3 a pH of 6,5 and a KH of 8ºdH and a Gh between 14º and 21º. Unfiltered but treated water stands around a pH of 8 and a KH of 11ºdH and the same levels for nitrates nitrites and ammonia and a Gh over 21º.

My tank is currently sitting at these parameters:
NH4 at 0,1ppm, NO2 at 0,4ppm and NO3 at 30ppm, and a pH of 7. The KH is almost impossible to detect with my JBL test, it is colorless after the first drop but it starts to turn slightly orange after the second drop, so I’m assuming it’s below 2ºdH, my test strips give me 0º KH and a Gh between 7º and 16º… Ammonia shows a downward trend and so does N02...

I suspect I’ve been slacking at the water changes due the high nitrates level, and I’m thinking I shouldn’t be using the filtered water at all since the hardness seems to be good enough on my tap water (I’ve consulted a LFS a couple blocks away from my house an they said the parameters seem to work well enough for them by just using tap water with prime), I’ve been topping off with some RoDi water too and I think that might explain the abysmal GH and KH readings.


I’m looking at a way to more accurately rate the status of my bacteria colony if at all present. I bought some pure ammonia at a 25% concentration and I plan to use that to feed the bacteria and gauge the rate at which it is disposed. I intend to do a big water change, 50% at least, with the filtered and treated water, let it sit for maybe 30 mins, do a full test and then raise the ammonia to a known level (4 to 5 ppm) and do a check after 24 hours.

Would those levels pose any significant issue to the plants or anything in the tank considering that it has been running for a while? I plan on raising the ammonia levels on the replacement water (30L) just to be safe, to a number slightly bellow 8-10 ppm to account for the fact that I’ll be mixing this water with the remaining 30L on the tank.

I would also appreciate any further comments on anything regarding the chemistry or the methodology itself, or slaps if I'm doing something wrong!

1025211
 

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I do zero water changes during cycling...its just not needed. High nitrates aren't an issue for your plants as they would be for your fish. Plants also utilize ammonia as a source of nitrogen, so its not likely to effect them negatively unless you've got very high levels.

both of your water sources sound adequate for now.

your tank parameters sound fine. it appears that your probably approaching the end of the cycle. I'd guess witihin another week, you'll see your nitrites fall to 0. They usually peak after your ammonia at some point. At that point your cycle is likely finished.

After your nitrites fall to 0 its really easy to test things and determine if your bacterial colony is ready to go....just add a few drops of your 25% ammonia to the tank (maybe 10? doesn't have to be exact...just don't go crazy). Take an ammonia measurement like an hour after adding the drops (should be 2-4ppm because you just added some ammonia), then take one 24 hours later. If all your numbers are 0...cycle is done.

side note - might want to consider removing your purigen
also I don't see any reason why 300gph wouldn't be plenty for a 15g tank...thats a 20x per hour turnover
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Nothing wrong with that. I used to cycle with Dr. Tim's pure ammonia
Thanks! I'll try to find some concentration info for that product. Might be a useful resource.


I do zero water changes during cycling...its just not needed. High nitrates aren't an issue for your plants as they would be for your fish. Plants also utilize ammonia as a source of nitrogen, so its not likely to effect them negatively unless you've got very high levels.

both of your water sources sound adequate for now.

your tank parameters sound fine. it appears that your probably approaching the end of the cycle. I'd guess witihin another week, you'll see your nitrites fall to 0. They usually peak after your ammonia at some point. At that point your cycle is likely finished.

After your nitrites fall to 0 its really easy to test things and determine if your bacterial colony is ready to go....just add a few drops of your 25% ammonia to the tank (maybe 10? doesn't have to be exact...just don't go crazy). Take an ammonia measurement like an hour after adding the drops (should be 2-4ppm because you just added some ammonia), then take one 24 hours later. If all your numbers are 0...cycle is done.

side note - might want to consider removing your purigen
also I don't see any reason why 300gph wouldn't be plenty for a 15g tank...thats a 20x per hour turnover
That is wonderful! my main stress is that I wasn't providing the system with enough ammonia with the ghost feeding as it isn't a very exact science... the test will help even if the cycle isn't finished tho, that's quite the relief...

I'm curious as to why remove the purigen? The pump upgrade is due the fact I'm trying to get more significant skimming of the surface. Due some poor planning, my mid column intake is probably too big (consists of a bunch of holes, 68 at 3mm diameter) so there's no water level difference in my weir and I barely get any skimming, the biofilm is quite significant and I'd very much like to be able to take a hands of approach to it... I might just tape most of the holes to get most of the intake through the weir and try to solve it that way instead of brute forcing it by uping the gph... And if that does not work I might head to the DIY section to poke someone's brain a bit about it...

 

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Thanks! I'll try to find some concentration info for that product. Might be a useful resource.



That is wonderful! my main stress is that I wasn't providing the system with enough ammonia with the ghost feeding as it isn't a very exact science... the test will help even if the cycle isn't finished tho, that's quite the relief...

I'm curious as to why remove the purigen? The pump upgrade is due the fact I'm trying to get more significant skimming of the surface. Due some poor planning, my mid column intake is probably too big (consists of a bunch of holes, 68 at 3mm diameter) so there's no water level difference in my weir and I barely get any skimming, the biofilm is quite significant and I'd very much like to be able to take a hands of approach to it... I might just tape most of the holes to get most of the intake through the weir and try to solve it that way instead of brute forcing it by uping the gph... And if that does not work I might head to the DIY section to poke someone's brain a bit about it...

If I’m not mistaken, Purigen reduces ammonia, nitrites and nitrates.... at this point, those things are pretty important to help establish your beneficial bacteria colony. Additionally, the plants will use ammonia and nitrates to grow during this time, and... you have no fish, so there’s nothing in your tank to be concerned about poisoning.

I’m not familiar enough with purigen to know if it would be beneficial at a later time though. It may help with excessive organics... but it might remove other important nutrients, and ultimately just give you headaches. Maybe someone else can chime in here.

I don’t really have any experience or familiarity with your tank setup either, so you may certainly be on the right track with the pump. Just from a simple numbers standpoint...300gph is plenty.

For the most part, biofilm should resolve on its own as the tank cycle completes and your system is a bit more mature. It’s pretty common at first.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If I’m not mistaken, Purigen reduces ammonia, nitrites and nitrates.... at this point, those things are pretty important to help establish your beneficial bacteria colony. Additionally, the plants will use ammonia and nitrates to grow during this time, and... you have no fish, so there’s nothing in your tank to be concerned about poisoning.

I’m not familiar enough with purigen to know if it would be beneficial at a later time though. It may help with excessive organics... but it might remove other important nutrients, and ultimately just give you headaches. Maybe someone else can chime in here.

I don’t really have any experience or familiarity with your tank setup either, so you may certainly be on the right track with the pump. Just from a simple numbers standpoint...300gph is plenty.

For the most part, biofilm should resolve on its own as the tank cycle completes and your system is a bit more mature. It’s pretty common at first.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
You are right, I was under the false impression that it wouldn't really pull those and other "nutrients" and it was only placed there to try and help to remove some of the tanins of my 3 chunks of driftwood. I can see it's turned plenty brown though so I assume it's been doing it's work and pulling all kinds of stuff, but considering that it is just a polymer and that it should not be affected by being outside the water, I'll just keep it outside for a while while I try to figure this one out... Thanks again!
 
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