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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I've been doing my tank's cycle and yesterday it finally tested for Nitrites. Today nitrites are 0 and it tested somewhere between 10 and 20ppm on nitrates. However it looks like ammonia is .25 or .50ppm. What gives? is my tank cycled? is it close? :fish:
 

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Is The Tank Cycled?

So I've been doing my tank's cycle and yesterday it finally tested for Nitrites. Today nitrites are 0 and it tested somewhere between 10 and 20ppm on nitrates. However it looks like ammonia is .25 or .50ppm. What gives? is my tank cycled? is it close? :fish:
Hello Dan...

If several water tests show no ammonia or nitrites and you have the desired number of fish in the tank, then the tank is cycled. Now, you have to continue to change out a minimum of 25 percent of the water every week to maintain a stable water chemistry, removing more water is better.

If you want more fish, then you can add a few, but you'll need to go back to testing the tank water daily until several tests read "0" for the above toxins.

You must grow the bacteria to use the added nitrogens the fish produce.

B
 

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Is The Tank Cycled?

So I've been doing my tank's cycle and yesterday it finally tested for Nitrites. Today nitrites are 0 and it tested somewhere between 10 and 20ppm on nitrates. However it looks like ammonia is .25 or .50ppm. What gives? is my tank cycled? is it close? :fish:
Hello Dan...

If several water tests show no ammonia or nitrites and you have the desired number of fish in the tank, then the tank is cycled. Now, you have to continue to change out a minimum of 25 percent of the water every week to maintain a stable water chemistry, removing more water is better.

If you want more fish, then you can add a few, but you'll need to go back to testing the tank water daily until several tests read "0" for the above toxins.

B
 

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I would say if its not cycled it is close. If you have nitrates, that means you have the bacteria to convert ammonia/ammonium to nitrite and the bacteria to convert nitrite to nitrate. Sometimes with that test kit it's hard to read the color (for me at least). How long have you had your tank running, what's the temp, and how have you been adding ammonia?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Temperature is about 78 degrees it's been 3 weeks since it's been running since October 30th so about two weeks? It's a fluval flora and I did add a lot of plants so hopefully some bacteria hitchhiked with the plant. I'm adding ammonia I bought from the hardware store.
 

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So you are doing a planted fishless cycle.
Planted tank.
Adding ammonia.

Your tests are still showing some ammonia 24 hours after you have added some.

This tank is not cycled.

Keep on adding the ammonia to keep on feeding the bacteria. You could add enough ammonia to test 3 ppm, but that may burn some of the plants. If you want to use less, try adding only enough to test 1 ppm, but do this twice a day.

Continue testing ammonia and nitrite. Do not worry about nitrates yet.

When the bacteria and plants can remove all the ammonia by the next day, and the nitrites also read zero, then the tank is cycled. At that point the nitrates might be pretty high, or maybe the plants will be removing them. Either way, I would do a big water change before adding fish.
 

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So here's an example:

I have a 20 gallon tank that I recently set up and did a fishless cycle at 80 degrees fahrenheit (high temp speeds up bacterial colonization). I fed it with shrimp pellets for with high protein (for ammonia production) and after about 3 to 4 weeks when I saw that I had nitrates, and zero both of nitrite and ammonia I added 15 shrimp and have not lost a single one. However, the bio mass of shrimp is negligible compared to fish. So you just have to be aware that the bacteria don't just multiply to the desired levels over night.

Maybe give it another week or two to be safe because the last thing you want to do is buy some expensive livestock and send them to their death.

What do you plan to stock your tank with?

Also, could there be ammonia coming from your substrate since its a type of aqua soil? i.e. contains nutrients for the plants?

p.s. you should totally put up some pics of your tank, I haven't seen fluval flora in action very much and would love to see it in a tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I will definitely give it a couple more weeks just to be 100% sure. Diana, I am dosing to 3ppm of ammonia and the plants don't seem bothered. Every single one of them have new growth not even 2 weeks in. Dwarf hair gras is setting out runners, Anubias all have new leaves, egeria has grown at least an inch, cabomba is growing. It's funny cause the only plants I don't see major growth in is Jungle Vals and water lettuce and I was told they were the hardiest. I'm still not sure on what to stock with, any suggestions? This is my first planted tank, still getting the hang of it but I am an experienced fish keeper. Although now that I'm older I do my research more. Years ago when I first kept fish I never cycled my tank, I din't know better. Here is my tank, still looking for the perfect piece of driftwood or rock =)
 

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Odd. As though something crashed your nitrosamonas population. Perhaps something in the new plants. The interactions are often unpredictable until fully cycled. I hope and imagine it will sort itself out quickly though. By the way, I have done fish in with seachems stability at 80 degrees in 8 days without signifigant ammonia or nitrite spikes. They use a waterborne bacteria along with the normal ones which is added daily to keep the waterborne population high enough to absorb excess ammonia and nitrate until the "normal" surface based Ammonia and nitrite colonies get up to speed. The lower levels of toxins allow the normal bacs to establish faster and without stalling. At least it worked once for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
So I figured out that what I thought was .25 ppm in ammonia was actually 0, it was just hard to see the difference but I did 1 tube from the tank, one from the tap and 1 from RO water and they all looked exactly the same! So I think my tank is finally cycled! :)
 

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That is great!
Good that you figured out why you were seeing that trace of ammonia.
I also have trouble reading the test tube results, especially if there is something in the background that is similar to the color I am trying to read. The tests tubes will reflect the color from the sky, trees, curtains, furniture... Anything nearby. Gotta make sure you are looking at it against a large white background, and in good light. Looking straight down the tube from the top helps with some tests, too.
 
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