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Planted Tank Cycling

Discussion in 'Cycle your Tank' started by Adohan, Oct 11, 2017.

  1. Adohan

    Adohan Mostly New Member

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    Hey,

    So have a heavily planted 150l tank, had plants for a week then 4 danios for 3 weeks now. Used API Quick start and washed one of the large filter sponge from one of my other small tanks. Dosing Scheme Flourish for the plants as the bottle describes.

    So far the Ammonia has climbed to 0.5, Nirite always 0 and Nirate varies between 0 and 5.
    Done a few 20% water changes every 2-4 of days and the plants are massively growing and shedding there original leave.

    It has never taken this long in the past for the ammonia level to decrease and the Nirtie to rise but in the passed Ammonia has climbed up to over 1 normally. This is my 5th cycle but have no idea why it is not cycling.

    Any Ideas?

     
  2. SeanTrollope

    SeanTrollope Member

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    every tank is different. one tank may take 2 weeks others 2 months. its down to very fine detains that determine how fast a tank will cycle. also what are the sixes of the other tanks you mentioned.
     
  3. neoyyf

    neoyyf Member

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    Have you used API Quick Start before? In my experience, biological starters work really well converting nitrites to nitrates but not really for ammonia to nitrite. But to be honest i have not used the more expensive brands.

    From what i understand, if you are getting nitrate readings, then it means your tank is cycling. However i am unable to find out if the nitrate reading could be coming from Seachem Flourish since nitrates help plants grow so it would make sense to me to have this in plants fertilisers.
     
  4. SeanTrollope

    SeanTrollope Member

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    actually i have never used quick starters. so i have no experience when it comes to this.

    what you are saying is very possible but generally aquatic ferts dont have these in as it upsets the balance of the ecosystem
     
  5. Adohan

    Adohan Mostly New Member

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    Ok so the nirate reading inplies in working. Thanks.
     
  6. Byron

    Byron Member

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    The live plants have "silent cycled" the tank, and you will not see nitrite at all, or should not anyway.

    Plants obviously need nitrogen, it is a macro nutrient; many aquatic species, certainly most aquarium plants, prefer ammonium as their source of nitrogen. They rapidly take up ammonia/ammonium and use it in a couple of ways. Because plants are so fast at this, they out-compete the Nitrosomonas sp. bacteria, so there is less ammonia for the "cycle." It will still occur, but minimally so with our aquarium test kits you will not (or should not) see it. And as plants taking up ammonia do not produce nitrite, this will be much less and basically undetectable. Nitrate may turn up, later, or not at all; it depends upon the plant species and number, fish load, and fertilizers.

    Some sources call this a "silent cycle" because you do not detect it. And fish are not harmed. Plants are always taking up ammonia, and rapidly, especially the fast growers and floating plants are expert and ideal for this.

    Provided one does not overload the fish but add them gradually, this method is fail-safe. Once the plants are established and obviously growing, which yours seem to be, it is virtually impossible to add too many fish. But I would still go slow.

    Byron.
     
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  7. Adohan

    Adohan Mostly New Member

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    Ok, my ammonia is still at 0.5, should I slow down the number of water changes as long as it does not get any higher to help the bacteria eat and grow-then......
     
  8. Byron

    Byron Member

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    Once you have live plants and they are growing, as you said they are, I would do basic regular maintenance. Water changes once a week, 50-60% of the tank volume. This is a basic standard maintenance. Add the fish you want slowly. Shoaling fish species should always be added as a complete group. What I mean is, if you decide you want cardinal tetras, then acquire the entire group together, say 7-8 or whatever, and add them together. Shoaling fish will always adjust easier with less problem, and it also avoids any hierarchy issues though with cardinals that is less of a concern that it can be with some fish.

    I can't explain the ammonia. We have had other threads where ammonia at small levels is present like this, but I have never seen this. But then, I don't normally test ammonia unless there is something wrong (water tests are a first step when you see something out of the ordinary). What is your pH in the tank? And have you tested the tap water on its own for ammonia? (Test it for nitrate too, if you haven't already, just to know.)
     
  9. Adohan

    Adohan Mostly New Member

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    Ph 7.3 - 8 depended on changes in tap water and the scale on the test kit is quite bad.
    Ammonia and nirite out of the tap are both 0.
     
  10. Byron

    Byron Member

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    It was nitrate, not nitrite; still worth testing tap water for nitrate. But previous advice still stands. Fast growing plants will easily use up the ammonia fish can produce in a biologically balanced aquarium.
     
  11. Adohan

    Adohan Mostly New Member

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    Just tested nirate and it is 0.
     
  12. Byron

    Byron Member

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    Good. It is always wise to know what is or is not in the source water, so you can better judge results from the tank water.
     
  13. Adohan

    Adohan Mostly New Member

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    I just had a thought, This tank has not been running for 5 years. So I bought a complete set of new filter pad from my LFS. It has a Juwel Nitrax filter pad in it for removing Nirate and 3 blue filter pads, instead of the original 4 blue pads. Will this filter pad be throwing off the cycling process.

    My Ammonia is still reading 0.25 - 0.5
    Nirite 0
    Nirate 0 - 5
     
  14. SeanTrollope

    SeanTrollope Member

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    It depends on what chemicals they have in them.

    Sent from my SM-G570F using Tapatalk
     
  15. Byron

    Byron Member

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    As Sean mentioned, we don't know what is actually in these pads. But as far as the "cycle" is concerned, your live plants are still taking up ammonia/ammonium and that frankly is the end of it. I would however suggest you not use chemical filtration with live plants; there is always the possibility that something useful to the plants is being removed. "Chemical filtration" is filtration that works by somehow affecting or adjusting the water chemistry. Carbon for example is chemical filtration because the activated carbon adsorbs organics, medications, certain other substances. As opposed to biological filtration which is the nitrifying and de-nitrifying bacteria dealing with ammonia/nitrite/nitrate, etc. And then there is mechanical filtration which is just removing particulate matter when the water passes over/through media especially sponge/foam/wool/pads. Mechanical is what we always want, and biological will always be part of that because the bacteria will simply appear. Chemical is deliberate and with plants I would avoid it.
     

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