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Cycling and API water testing

Discussion in 'Cycle your Tank' started by natasha96, Nov 14, 2019.

  1. natasha96

    natasha96 New Member

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    Hello there.

    I am cycling a tank for the first time, its 15l, supposed to be for a beta. Now, I have it up and running on and off for about a month now, but since I was away for a week and electricity stopped working while I was away, I changed the whole water- so now the tank is running with new water for 2 weeks. I am using seachem prime and natural regulator and have a sponge filter.

    Now, I didnt do water test before, now I finally bought API master kit, and Im not really sure about it. The way I understood it, PH is 7.2, Ammonia 0,25ppm, and both NO2 and NO3 appear to be at 0. Now, is that good, or bad? I did the tests again a couple of days later and even ammonia was at 0. Isnt it too many zeroes? :) thank you!
     
  2. essjay

    essjay Moderator
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    Ammonia and nitrite should be zero - levels above zero harm fish.

    Nitrate can be zero or above zero. But the nitrate tester has to be used accurately which a lot of people don't realise. So just to check - bottle #2 needs to be shaken well before adding the drops to the tube. The instructions say 30 seconds but do it longer. With a new kits and if is hasn't been used for a while, tap the bottle on the work top before shaking. One of the ingredients isn't actually soluble and it settles on the bottom. Taping it on the worktop breaks up any lumps and the shaking is to mix the ingredient evenly through the liquid. Once you add the drops from bottle #2, you then have to shake the tube for 1 minute before starting timing 5 minutes. If all this shaking is not done, the results are inaccurate.

    It is also a good idea to measure the nitrate level in your tap water. There is often some in there, up to 50 ppm being the maximum allowed in most places.


    Have you been adding ammonia to the tank or just letting it run? To cycle a tank before getting fish you need to add a source of ammonia, and the cycling process makes nitrate. If you have been using ammonia to cycle the tank there should be some nitrate (unless you've not been using the tester correctly ;) )
     
  3. natasha96

    natasha96 New Member

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    I tried to really shake it well, but will do it one more time the way you said just to be sure. Thanks. :)
    People in the pet shop recommended me to add fish flake food for ammonia, so Im adding that. What are the other sources of ammonia available that I can add? Or is the food fine?
     
  4. essjay

    essjay Moderator
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    Food is OK but it can be hit and miss knowing how much ammonia the food is making. At least the shop didn't just tell you get fish straight away like most do! But a single betta won't make that much ammonia.
    There is something else you can do - get some live plants. They use ammonia as fertiliser and don't turn it into nitrite or nitrate. I know the tank is not big enough for lots of plants but if you could manage a floating plant it would help to remove ammonia and make the betta, when you get one, feel more secure.
     
  5. seangee

    seangee Member

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  6. natasha96

    natasha96 New Member

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    Yes, all I know is from one g
    Thanks. I do know that pure ammonia would be ideal, but, where do i find one? All I yet came around wasnt pure ammonia and was for home use. And speaking of live plants, I do have hornwort that is just floating,some dwarf lettuce plants on the surface and 2 moss balls. I tried to do it as planted as I could :)
     
  7. essjay

    essjay Moderator
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    Those plants sound fine. The betta will appreciate them.

    Which country are you in so that we can suggest sources of ammonia. You won't need to use 3 ppm as in the method in seangee's link, for 1 betta, 1 ppm ammonia should be enough as the main dose.
     
  8. natasha96

    natasha96 New Member

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    Perfect. I really hope the betta will be as happy as possible. Im in the UK.
     
  9. essjay

    essjay Moderator
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    If you still have a branch of Homebase near you, they used to sell suitable ammonia, but they've all closed down near me.

    I got my ammonia from my local diy shop. It's Jeyes Kleen Off Household Ammonia. (It can be used for cleaning brass which is why they sell it) Failing that, Ebay and Amazon.
     
  10. natasha96

    natasha96 New Member

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    Oh no way, they are all gone here too. :/ The shops I have near me I already asked, I looked at Amazon for Kleen off, but there is quite a long delivery. Should I just keep adding the food until then, or should I start from the start with new water once the ammonia arrives?
     
  11. essjay

    essjay Moderator
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    Keep on with the food. Once you know the plants are growing well, they should deal with the ammonia made by a single betta. The main risk is getting fish too soon and then the plants decide to die. Wait till you see signs of active plant growth.
     
  12. natasha96

    natasha96 New Member

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    Alright, I will just monitor the plants :) Thank you very very much! You are very kind.
     
  13. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fishaholic
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    That is so strange you can't find ammonia in the UK! Check your grocery store again in the cleaning section, it will likely be on the bottom shelf since so few people use it to clean with anymore - but some people religiously use ammonia instead of bleach (never mix the two unless you want to die) - so all the stores in my little city sell it. Some sell it with additives for smell and you don't want THAT kind but ALL sell it as just plain ammonia as well. If you live in an older community they would be crazy not to keep ammonia in stock - old ladies swear by it to clean.
     
  14. essjay

    essjay Moderator
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    Most of the ammonia on sale has detergent mixed in it, that's the problem. Someone thought they had discovered some in The Range but that turned out to have detergent. The chain DIY store that was the place to go (Homebase) has been closing branches all over the country in the last few years so most of us now no longer live near a branch. I'm lucky that there is a family run DIY store in my town that does sell pure ammonia, but this type of shop is not common either as the other two chain stores have put most small ones out of business. This leaves most of the UK having to shop for ammonia on Ebay or Amazon.

    Using ammonia for cleaning things is why it now contains detergent as well.
     
  15. Jan Cavalieri

    Jan Cavalieri Fishaholic
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    That really sucks - I had no problem finding detergent free ammonia in all our grocery stores here - in fact it was hard to find some with detergents or perfumes - they mainly just sell pure ammonia for about $1.50 a bottle.
     

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