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Cycling my 48l tank

Libbyd

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Hi I am starting my first ever fishless cycle in a 48l tank, my goal being to keep Shrimp and a betta.
i have hard water 15 on the German hardness scale and a ph of 8.5 and kh of 11.

i used dr Tim’s ammonium to get things going and added some bacteria. at First there was about 5ppm ammonia.
a few days later I had a reading for nitrites at around 3ppm and no nitrate.
then a few more days later I had no ammonia, a touch of nitrite and about 40 nitrate.

now I have no ammonia, no nitrite and a touch of nitrate maybe about 20.

i somehow don’t think I’ve achieved a fish less cycle in a week so I’m assuming something has gone wrong. Do I need to feed some more ammonia to see what happens?

there has been a pest snail in there pooping about the place, I have removed this now as I got worried I’d end up with loads and in a tank this size I didn’t want to take this chance. Even though I did think today maybe his tiny bioload might have been helping. I feel guilty - I just crushed him outside :confused:

there are some small plants I’m seeing what Grows out of the mish mash I bought off eBay and some moss balls. I am adding liquid fertiliser every other day now (was once a day)

a lot of algae has bloomed. The tank lights are on for about 7 hours per day.

thanks for any help I can get!
 

essjay

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What type of test kit are using to test nitrate? It is very easy to get false readings with liquid testers; and nitrate testers are only ball park. [My younger son used to work for a water testing company and he laughed at our nitrate testing kits]


I would add more ammonia to get a reading of 3 ppm - and even that's probably overkill for a betta and shrimps but better to grow too many bacteria than not enough. Test after 24 hours. If ammonia and nitrite are both zero, then you have indeed cycled the tank.

It is possible that the plants are taking up the ammonia as they start to grow strongly.
 
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Libbyd

Libbyd

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Ok I’m going to whack some in now.
the only thing I did think... there won’t be any livestock in for a while— who knows how long we will all be locked down. I’m in the UK and no fish shops are open for livestock. Does it matter that there will be no fresh ammonia source? Or do I keep ‘feeding’ every once in a while?
im using liquid kits and a dip test-the kit is NT Labs and thestrips are API.
Thanks
 

essjay

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Re nitrate, just about brands of liquid testers need one of the bottles shaking really well. Not shaking enough can result in false readings. This is because one of the chemicals in that bottle settle on the bottom, and all the shaking is necessary to spread it evenly through the liquid. Does your say to shake one of the nitrate bottles, and if it does do you shake it?


With live plants, if there are lots of them you can just keep the plants growing till you can buy fish. If there are only a few plants, add 1 ppm ammonia every 3 days to feed the bacteria. This will make a fair bit of nitrate, so do a really big water chnage to get rid of it before going fish shopping.
 
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Libbyd

Libbyd

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I’ve popped some in, I have made it 1-2 ppm million. I started at 3 and then panicked about the plants again and so I did a water change and got it down a bit. So far signs look like it’s working I think ; nitrite has appeared as well as nitrate. But it’s not been 24 hours yet I put it in last night. I will see how it goes. In terms of the test, it is a shake test and you have to shake Vigorously for 30seconds. To be honest that’s what I avoided API as you have to shake first for 30s and then when the other liquid is added for a minute and it used to drive me mad.
hoping 30secs is enough? That’s what the instructions say to do on this one.
thanks for your help.
 
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Libbyd

Libbyd

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Oh and sorry just realised you are in UK as well essjay :D thought it was mainly An American forum :)
 

essjay

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Once upon a time there were mainly UK members. Then the numbers of American members increased :)
 

matthew xia

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Hi Libby - also in the UK - and currently trying (struggling) to cycle a 30l tank for a Betta and a couple of Nerite Snails (no live stock as of yet).
 
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Libbyd

Libbyd

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Hey Matthew - are You a bit annoyed (like me!) you can’t get your betta yet and we are all in lockdown well obviously after it’s cycled. But I feel like mine will probably be cycled before I can get livestock. How is your cycle going?
so an update on mine, it’s not quite there just yet. I tested about 36 hours later and there was no ammonia after adding another 2 ppm approx but there was still some nitrite and a bit of nitrate. So it needs a bit more time I guess...
 

matthew xia

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Hi Libby - I'm annoyed for many reasons at the moment! Mainly being trapped in the house for 23 hours of the day (although we've a garden which is a blessing right now!) - but with regard to fish, it feels like my luck isn't great - I'm still attempting the cycle this tank but the results are all over the place (I've got a thread here somewhere) - I'm waiting for a liquid testing kit to arrive so hopefully I can get some accurate results. This all started as a present for my daughter - a fish - simple. We thought. A small fortune later and we've still no fish. And now Covid-19. I believe there are still some places that will deliver and are using courier firms as opposed to Royal Mail - not sure how scrupulous these companies are though?

An update on my tank - Ph is climbing for some reason (inspire of adding almond leaves) - never seen a nitrite in my life, nitrates falling and rising, ammonia falling quite slowly. So yeah - confused! We've (now) got a RO/DI system so I'm not too worried about the Ph / hardness etc - but I really want to address the nitrogen cycle.
 
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Libbyd

Libbyd

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I just read through your thread - sounds like you’ve had a bit of a journey already!
my nitrates are thankfully low where I live but I have stupidly hard water as well. my nitrite and nitrate were zero today so I’ve just fed the bacteria some more ammonia to see what happens.
how does the RO unit work, was It expensive?
ive seen some places still saying they will post fish but others have stopped because of the delays as Couriers are so busy so I’m going to wait. I think it would be cheaper anyway.

the problem I now have is algae! I only have the lights on about 6 hours a day but green algae is growing on the glass (it brushes off real easy) on the sand (looks horrific- sort of regretting the white sand I have put in there) and brown on the plants (comes off easy). Is this ‘new tank‘ sort of algae and will it go does anyone think?
 

FishkeeperLinz

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Hi Libby - I'm annoyed for many reasons at the moment! Mainly being trapped in the house for 23 hours of the day (although we've a garden which is a blessing right now!) - but with regard to fish, it feels like my luck isn't great - I'm still attempting the cycle this tank but the results are all over the place (I've got a thread here somewhere) - I'm waiting for a liquid testing kit to arrive so hopefully I can get some accurate results. This all started as a present for my daughter - a fish - simple. We thought. A small fortune later and we've still no fish. And now Covid-19. I believe there are still some places that will deliver and are using courier firms as opposed to Royal Mail - not sure how scrupulous these companies are though?

An update on my tank - Ph is climbing for some reason (inspire of adding almond leaves) - never seen a nitrite in my life, nitrates falling and rising, ammonia falling quite slowly. So yeah - confused! We've (now) got a RO/DI system so I'm not too worried about the Ph / hardness etc - but I really want to address the nitrogen cycle.
RE online ordering;. I've used a couple of companies in the past, and never had any problem with them (they double-bag, add extra oxygen, and use heat packs), sometimes, they're necessary, if you want fish that aren't available locally, but you pay over the odds for delivery - about £15, to £20, regardless of how many fish you buy. They use overnight couriers, so the fish should arrive in the morning, but with the world skewed by Covid-19, I wouldn't risk it, personally.
 
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matthew xia

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I just read through your thread - sounds like you’ve had a bit of a journey already!
my nitrates are thankfully low where I live but I have stupidly hard water as well. my nitrite and nitrate were zero today so I’ve just fed the bacteria some more ammonia to see what happens.
how does the RO unit work, was It expensive?
ive seen some places still saying they will post fish but others have stopped because of the delays as Couriers are so busy so I’m going to wait. I think it would be cheaper anyway.

the problem I now have is algae! I only have the lights on about 6 hours a day but green algae is growing on the glass (it brushes off real easy) on the sand (looks horrific- sort of regretting the white sand I have put in there) and brown on the plants (comes off easy). Is this ‘new tank‘ sort of algae and will it go does anyone think?
Yep! Some journey. Still holding out though. Mainly watching ammonia levels and not too concerned with nitrates as water changes with RO/DI will hopefully help keep that under control (along with hardness - liquid metal is how I’ve seen London water described). I found a Vyair system at discount price it was about £35 (ads another 10 for postage etc). I have hooked it up and run it a few times but haven’t used the water in the tank as I’m not doing any water changes just yet. But as soon as it’s time for a change I plan to change 50% of the water for a 50-75% mix of tap water and filtered water. And then.... I can add a fish!
 
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Libbyd

Libbyd

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I tested this morning and the ammonia to nitrite bit in my tank is working nicely, I put in enough for 1ppm yesterday night and it’s already zero, nitrite was showing Just now at medium high (3 Or 4 out of 5 but not sure what that is in in ppm) and nitrate about 50ppm. So I’ll see what it is tomorrow.
what do you hook The vyair system it up to? Like under the sink? That doesn’t sound so bad...if it would let me have softer Water that sounds a good solution.
Here is the algae !
8B3E0574-707F-4CFA-A4AB-5E3996BA0B84.jpeg
 

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