Confused on water testing

mw2022

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I have been cycling my tank for 10 days. I used the test strips today but I’m not really sure on what they should be can someone advise please?
If anything not correct what I can do to help
 

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Essjay

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How are you cycling the tank? With fish or with ammonia? With both of these methods you need to test for ammonia and strips don't include that.

The photo shows zero nitrite. This may mean there is a lot of ammonia in the water and the ammonia eaters haven't grown enough to make nitrite yet, or it may mean there is no source of ammonia in the tank yet - either ammonia from a bottle or fish.
If you can tell us exactly what's in the tank; what you have added (fish/fish food/ammonia) and how long since you started it would help us to help you.
But you do need an ammonia tester.
 
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mw2022

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Hi,

Thanks for your quick reply. Ammonia test is on the second photo, can you see? If not I’ll re upload.
No fish in tank at the moment just plants. Water has been in for 10 days and I added these to the tank as per instructions
 

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AmyKieran

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If you haven’t been adding ammonia to the tank, then you aren’t cycling it. You needed to be added ammonia in order to produce the BB to convert it to nitrite, then nitrate.
 
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mw2022

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If you haven’t been adding ammonia to the tank, then you aren’t cycling it. You needed to be added ammonia in order to produce the BB to convert it to nitrite, then nitrate.
Hi, what do I need to use to add? I was advised the two products on the photo would be all that’s needed. Glad I posted to ask
 

Rocky998

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Hi, what do I need to use to add? I was advised the two products on the photo would be all that’s needed. Glad I posted to ask
No, the store wanted to make a quick dollar...

Get some ammonia with nothing else in it. It should just be a 10% ammonia solution or something like that. Then you calculate how much to put in. I would put in an amount the equals to 2-3ppm (parts per million). If you put an amount higher than that, there will be too much and the cycle fails. If there is too little you may be cycled but under cycled.
You can read about it here under fish less cycling: https://www.fishforums.net/threads/cycle-your-tank-a-complete-guide-for-beginners.475055/

I would also ditch the test kit you have now and get the API liquid test kit which is way more accurate and you get mores tests.
 

Essjay

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Sorry, I somehow managed to miss clicking on the second image :blush:

Most shop workers haven't a clue about cycling and they believe the hype that bottled bacteria instantly cycle a tank. They don't. The best ones speed up the cycle, the worst do nothing (those contain the wrong species of bacteria)

A cycled tank is one that can convert 3 ppm ammonia through nitrite to nitrate within 24 hours, and unless ammonia is added to the tank there is no way to know if it can. Ammonia is not easy to come by these days, but Dr Tim's Ammonium Chloride is available on Amazon and eBay. The instructions on this give an ammonia level of 2.4 ppm, which is close enough.

Although you do have live plants, there aren't enough for a plant cycle which needs a lot of fast growing plants. Can I suggest you get some ammonia or that Dr Tim's product and add some to the tank. If you manage to find ammonia with no surfactant, detergent or perfume, the calculator on the forum has a section for working out the amount to add.
Test for ammonia half an hour after adding it (to allow it to mix thoroughly) to make sure it's around 3 ppm, then test for ammonia and nitrite after 24 hours. If both are zero, the tank is cycled. If one or both are not zero, it's not cycled and you'll need to carry on cycling. This is the method we recommend on here
 

AdoraBelle Dearheart

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Most shop workers haven't a clue about cycling and they believe the hype that bottled bacteria instantly cycle a tank. They don't. The best ones speed up the cycle, the worst do nothing (those contain the wrong species of bacteria)
Oh wow! Some of the "instant cycle" bottled bacteria actually have the wrong species of bacteria in them?? That's so unethical and gross. I don't know why I'm shocked, since there are a lot of dodgy aquarium "miracle" products out there, but that still caught me off guard! Surely it can't be hard to get hold of the right bacteria at least!!
 

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Oh wow! Some of the "instant cycle" bottled bacteria actually have the wrong species of bacteria in them?? That's so unethical and gross. I don't know why I'm shocked, since there are a lot of dodgy aquarium "miracle" products out there, but that still caught me off guard! Surely it can't be hard to get hold of the right bacteria at least!!
Yaaaa... For the most part. The only ones that have the "good stuff" is the dr.tims and a tetra product (forget what it's called)
 

AdoraBelle Dearheart

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Hi @mw2022 welcome to the forum and the hobby! :hi:
You're in good hands already with Essjay and Valkarie helping you, and I admit I get a bit lost in the science and maths part of cycling this way. But if it helps at all, think of it this way, and check out this video below about what the nitrogen cycle really is, and why we do this :)
In really simple terms, fish pee and poop ammonia. But ammonia is very toxic to fish. In large lakes/rivers/waterways, there's plenty of water to dilute the ammonia immediately, and bacteria that process that waste, so it's not an issue. But in our much smaller tanks, that waste can really quickly reach dangerous levels - you can imagine that if someone set up a new tank and immediately filled it full of fish, within a day or so of those fish all eating and toileting, it gets super dangerous very quickly. Sadly happens to a lot of people who join the hobby and don't understand cycling, who end up losing their fish within the first early weeks, replacing them a few times, before giving up entirely and not knowing what happened.

Luckily you're ahead of the game and know you need to cycle the tank first :) So what you're doing with the ammonia is basically replicating the amount of waste that will be in your tank once it's full of fish. Some of the right kind of bacteria (what we tend to call beneficial bacteria, or BB) will naturally be in the water you add to the tank, but only in very small amounts. By adding the ammonia, you're providing a food source for those bacteria to stick around on your filter media and begin to reproduce. Those bacteria will continue to reproduce and build a colony as long as there is enough food for them to process, and will only grow large enough to handle the amount of food in the water. This takes some time, which is why cycling is a bit of a long process at first. But absolutely worth doing! If you follow the directions in the link and the advice given above, you'll be able to know when your water is ready to add fish safely, and monitor things with the water testing to make sure your tanks BB can handle all of the waste being produced by the fish you've added. :)
A lot of people find the nitrogen cycle and the process of cycling a tank a bit overwhelming and confusing at first (understandably!) but it's a super important part of the hobby to understand and once you've wrapped your head around it, it'll make keeping fish much easier and more enjoyable :)
 

Rocky998

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Hi @mw2022 welcome to the forum and the hobby! :hi:
You're in good hands already with Essjay and Valkarie helping you, and I admit I get a bit lost in the science and maths part of cycling this way. But if it helps at all, think of it this way, and check out this video below about what the nitrogen cycle really is, and why we do this :)
In really simple terms, fish pee and poop ammonia. But ammonia is very toxic to fish. In large lakes/rivers/waterways, there's plenty of water to dilute the ammonia immediately, and bacteria that process that waste, so it's not an issue. But in our much smaller tanks, that waste can really quickly reach dangerous levels - you can imagine that if someone set up a new tank and immediately filled it full of fish, within a day or so of those fish all eating and toileting, it gets super dangerous very quickly. Sadly happens to a lot of people who join the hobby and don't understand cycling, who end up losing their fish within the first early weeks, replacing them a few times, before giving up entirely and not knowing what happened.

Luckily you're ahead of the game and know you need to cycle the tank first :) So what you're doing with the ammonia is basically replicating the amount of waste that will be in your tank once it's full of fish. Some of the right kind of bacteria (what we tend to call beneficial bacteria, or BB) will naturally be in the water you add to the tank, but only in very small amounts. By adding the ammonia, you're providing a food source for those bacteria to stick around on your filter media and begin to reproduce. Those bacteria will continue to reproduce and build a colony as long as there is enough food for them to process, and will only grow large enough to handle the amount of food in the water. This takes some time, which is why cycling is a bit of a long process at first. But absolutely worth doing! If you follow the directions in the link and the advice given above, you'll be able to know when your water is ready to add fish safely, and monitor things with the water testing to make sure your tanks BB can handle all of the waste being produced by the fish you've added. :)
A lot of people find the nitrogen cycle and the process of cycling a tank a bit overwhelming and confusing at first (understandably!) but it's a super important part of the hobby to understand and once you've wrapped your head around it, it'll make keeping fish much easier and more enjoyable :)
Really useful for the OP @AdoraBelle Dearheart! Great idea
 

Essjay

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@AdoraBelle Dearheart TwoTankAmin has explained in the past that the early work done on these bacteria was on non-aquarium water where ammonia and nitrite are higher than in aquariums. The early products did contain the right species of ammonia eaters but the wrong species of nitrite eaters. Then Dr Tim Hovanec, working for Marineland, discovered which species grew in aquariums and both he and Marineland patented them. Marineland was taken over by Tetra, who used the info to make Tetra Safe Start which, because they owned Marineland's patent, could have the correct species. Dr Tim set up his own company and again he owned the patent so his product has the right species. Many other products use the first-used nitrite eaters, the ones which only grow at high nitrite levels.

List of Dr Havonec's patents
 

AdoraBelle Dearheart

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@AdoraBelle Dearheart TwoTankAmin has explained in the past that the early work done on these bacteria was on non-aquarium water where ammonia and nitrite are higher than in aquariums. The early products did contain the right species of ammonia eaters but the wrong species of nitrite eaters. Then Dr Tim Hovanec, working for Marineland, discovered which species grew in aquariums and both he and Marineland patented them. Marineland was taken over by Tetra, who used the info to make Tetra Safe Start which, because they owned Marineland's patent, could have the correct species. Dr Tim set up his own company and again he owned the patent so his product has the right species. Many other products use the first-used nitrite eaters, the ones which only grow at high nitrite levels.

List of Dr Havonec's patents
Ah, so it's a business/patented thing, rather than a super dodgy thing... nice info to know, thank you! And I guess that's why it's called "Dr Tim's ammonia" :D
Thank you for explaining that, very cool :D:fish:
 

Rocky998

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Ah, so it's a business/patented thing, rather than a super dodgy thing... nice info to know, thank you! And I guess that's why it's called "Dr Tim's ammonia" :D
Thank you for explaining that, very cool :D:fish:
Yah... it gets confusing as far as that.... But other companies still can just avoid making g false products then. It's still dodgy
 

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