Cycling Advice

ogelthorpe

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Good afternoon. Here with a cycling question. I've got a Fluval Flex 9 that I setup about 5 days ago - fully planted tank. Been testing the past couple of days and ammonia is still at 0. Should I be adding pure ammonia to get the cycle going and keeping the ammonia level at 2ppm or do I just leave things be and not do anything given it's a planted tank? I also bought some of the Fritzyme 700 bacteria as well but haven't added any yet as I would think I need to wait for ammonia to appear first? Any advice would be much appreciated!
 

Essjay

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However.......

If the tank has a good number of fast growing plants, you don't need to add any ammonia. Just wait until you are sure the plants are growing well and not about to die then add fish a few at a time. Taking a photo now will give something to compare the plants to to see how well they are growing.
This is a 9 gallon tank, so it won't hold many fish. And shoaling fish need to be added a whole shoal at once so adding fish slowly a few at a time may not be an option :unsure:



If you would prefer to add ammonia, the plants will remove some, if not all, and they won't turn it into nitrite so the cycle will not follow it's usual course. The "add ammonia every time it drops to zero" method is not a good one as, in the absence of plants, so much nitrite is made that the cycle stalls.
I would add just 2 ppm ammonia and test next day. That will show one of three things - zero ammonia and zero nitrite in which case you'll know there are enough plants for fish; or ammonia will be lower, in which case you'll know you have to continue the cycle or grow some more plant matter; or ammonia won't have changed which means the plants have not removed any so you definitely need to do a fishless cycle.
 
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ogelthorpe

ogelthorpe

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However.......

If the tank has a good number of fast growing plants, you don't need to add any ammonia. Just wait until you are sure the plants are growing well and not about to die then add fish a few at a time. Taking a photo now will give something to compare the plants to to see how well they are growing.
This is a 9 gallon tank, so it won't hold many fish. And shoaling fish need to be added a whole shoal at once so adding fish slowly a few at a time may not be an option :unsure:



If you would prefer to add ammonia, the plants will remove some, if not all, and they won't turn it into nitrite so the cycle will not follow it's usual course. The "add ammonia every time it drops to zero" method is not a good one as, in the absence of plants, so much nitrite is made that the cycle stalls.
I would add just 2 ppm ammonia and test next day. That will show one of three things - zero ammonia and zero nitrite in which case you'll know there are enough plants for fish; or ammonia will be lower, in which case you'll know you have to continue the cycle or grow some more plant matter; or ammonia won't have changed which means the plants have not removed any so you definitely need to do a fishless cycle.
Thanks for this. Before you replied I actually added some Fritzyme ammonia and tested an hour later. It came in at roughly 3ppm. I then added the Fritzyme 700 nitrifying bacteria based on the instructions on the bottle. I guess I should test tomorrow again but what would be your advice on next steps? Thanks so much for the help - I find this stuff confusing as hell as it’s the first time I’m setting up a tank
 

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You mention a planted tank, so do not add any more ammonia. You might harm the plants. As @Essjay mentioned, the plants will likely take up the ammonia, and nitrite will not result, so you should not see nitrite at all (zero throughout). If the plants are using the ammonia, it will drop to zero too. Nitrate also will be zero, though down the road after fish are in the tank and it becomes established (a few months), nitrate may or may not be detectable, just so you know.
 
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ogelthorpe

ogelthorpe

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Thanks Byron. So after the plants take up the ammonia and reduces it to 0ppm, and the nitrites will be at 0 too, what will my next step be?
 

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Thanks Byron. So after the plants take up the ammonia and reduces it to 0ppm, and the nitrites will be at 0 too, what will my next step be?

Add fish. If this is your first "silent" cycle using plants, it is advisable to go easy. Can you pot a photo of the entire tank so we can see the plant numbers and species? Faster-growing plants are better at this, obviously. Also, what are the fish you intend (all of them)?
 
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Awesome! Thinking I might start with 7-8 ember tetras, a couple nerite snails and maybe lastly a betta. Also like CPD’s and open to other suggestions for interesting nano fish. Here is a photo attached. Thanks again for all your advice!
EC303456-50EF-4BA1-9FAA-B01916C2DE2C.jpeg
 

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Nice aquascape. Forget the betta, a male betta would be it in this tank. Nice environment for the betta, but I am assuming you want more than one fish--but if not, that is one option (a lone Betta male).

I'll comment on the other named species, but... what is the pH and GH? Nano fish are by their small size more sensitive to their environment, and you don't want to be going down the wrong road. So fish below are subject to the GH and pH.

CPD are best in groups of 20, so that would be it.

Ember Tetra are good, a group of 12-15.

Other suitable fish are the dwarf rasboras in the genus Boraras. Check out Boraras brigittae and the other five or six, all are a nice red with black patterning of some sort.

Pygmy sparkling gourami, here a group of 4-5 so you are more likely to get male/female and have some interesting "talking" and interactions.

Eye Spot Rasbora, Brevibora dorsiocellata, another dwarf rasbora, a group of 9-11.

Emerald Dwarf Rasbora, Danio erythromicron also a group of 9-11.

Each of these species should be added together, I mean, all of the number of the individual species together. One species at a time, to be safe.

The rasboras can be two species at these numbers, maybe even three, or two with the gourami mentioned. Check the photos and data on Seriously Fish [use the scientific names to search, faster and more reliable]:
 
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ogelthorpe

ogelthorpe

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Man this is awesome info. Thanks again! PH is testing right around 7 in the tank today but a friend of mine at the water commission tells me the water supply here is typically base coming out of the tap (7.2-7.4). GH is 4-26. Looking forward to your recs!
 

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GH is 4-26
Do they really say 4 to 26?
What unit of measurement? If it's ppm (aka mg/l calcium carbonate) that is very soft water. It converts to 0.2 to 1.5 dH. This means you need soft water fish

But if the unit is dH, that range is soft to incredibly hard and is meaningless.
 
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ogelthorpe

ogelthorpe

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Do they really say 4 to 26?
What unit of measurement? If it's ppm (aka mg/l calcium carbonate) that is very soft water. It converts to 0.2 to 1.5 dH. This means you need soft water fish

But if the unit is dH, that range is soft to incredibly hard and is meaningless.
Unit of measurement is apparently mg/L. Got this directly from an engineer at the city water commission.
 

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