I've gotten a bit lost with my cycle

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rebe

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Joined
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Hi all, Rebe here. A few of you might recognise me or my tank from previous threads, I'm afraid I'm here to ask loads of questions again!

My set up:
Tank
: Aquael Leddy 75 (105 L, 75x35x40 cm)
Filter: Aquael ASAP 500 (with homemade prefilter and sponge redirecting the flow from the surface)
Heater (with guard): Bonlux 100W
Air pump: Zacro dual outlet
Lighting: Retrofit Day & Night
Substrate: 5L lava gravel at the back, layer of Rotala Malflora Light Aquarium Soil and Ada La Plata sand covering the gravel and soil.
Hardscape: Seiryu stone and mangle wood

Aquarium plants:
  • Ludwigia repens 'Rubin'
  • Cryptocoryne wendti ‘Broad Leaf’
  • Lobelia cardinalis 'Mini'
  • Ceratophyllum demersum
  • Rotala rotundifolia
  • Sagittaria subulata
  • Microsorum pteropus
  • Bacopa australis
  • Echinodorus bleheri
  • Cryptocoryne wendtii ‘Green
  • Hydrocotyle leucocephala
  • helanthium tenellum ‘broad leaf’
  • cryptocoryne parva
  • helanthium tenellum ‘red’
  • Eleocharis vivipara
Water:
  • Dechlorinated with Seachem Prime

PH tests from today and GH/KH on test strip (07/09/23)
IMG_20230907_130411.jpg
IMG_20230907_130443.jpg
IMG_20230907_130529.jpg
IMG20230907130124.jpg
IMG_20230907_130619.jpg
IMG_20230907_130635.jpg
IMG_20230907_130703.jpg


Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate today (07/09/23)
Ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrite: 5ppm
Nitrate: 20-30ppm

50% tank water, 50% tap water (not out-gassed) Nitrite: 1ppm
Approx 75% tap (not out-gassed), 25% tank Nitrite: 0.25 ppm

Quarantine tank today (pretty much ignored so far)
Ammonia: 1ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 5-10ppm
PH (API liquid): 7.6 or slightly lower
High Range API PH Test: lowest reading/7.4

Tracked water parameters in my main tank so far (apart from today's reading which is above)
Water up to 6th sept 23 cropped.jpg



Day 1:
IMG_20230907_150842.jpg


Day 10/11:
IMG_20230907_151130.jpg


Day 26:
1694096079306.png



My Homemade Ammona Solution:

(Ps. From here onwards I can't change bold font to not bold or vice versa, I think because my chromebook is struggling with this long complex post.)

Doctor Tim's, other aquarium purposed ammonia products, household ammonia without additives/soap and powdered ammonia chloride are not available to me in Ireland. The only option (other than large tax and shipping fees making a €10 product at least €60) was to create my own solution.
Pure ammonium bicarbonate (a cooking/ baking product) dissolved and brought to a boil will convert to ammonia, water vapour and small amounts of carbon dioxide. I used 16 grams in 50 mls water.

Screenshot 2023-09-04 10.24.16 PM.png



Screenshot 2023-09-04 10.25.11 PM.png



Test 1:
At 23:44 yesterday I added 8mls of my solution, which measured as 2ppm Ammonia at 07:47 this morning. At 14:49 the ammonia had gone down to 1ppm.

Test 2:
Maximum tank volume without fish, hardscape, equipment, sand etc: 105L
-> somewhere less than 100L water in the tank (100L used for calculations)

10mls solution per 100 L -> 0.5ml solution per 5000 mls

Mixed 0.5 ml of my homemade ammonia solution in a 5L/5000ml bottle filled with un-dechlorinated water (due to seachem prime's effect on ammonia). Result was approx. 4ppm Ammonia

This would suggest that 10mls of solution added to my tank would add at least 4ppm Ammonia


My Quarantine tank:

- Thin layer of aquarium sand
- Plastic aquarium plants
- some cuttings from my hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum)
- Aquael ASAP 300 filter with homemade prefilter

- Non-adjustable heater by Aquael (came with my tank) that heats to 25 degrees Celsius
- Semi-transparent plastic tub with lid, currently holding around 32 litres of water
(water parameters for the QT can be found in the information above, with the parameters of my main tank)

IMG20230907154024.jpg
IMG_20230907_154103.jpg


My Questions:

1. What should I be doing with my main tank? I've gotten muddled between following aspects of the fishless cycle and aspects of the planted cycle, and the fact that I don't know exactly how much of my solution will create however many ppms of ammonia in the tank.

2. What should I be doing with my QT? I know ideally it would be fully cycled too but its a little confusing to keep track of both tanks, and I don't really know what i'm doing with the QT (or the main tank really).


3. I ordered some floating plants (salvania auriculata), what should I do when I receive them? I already have aquarium salt, some (unused) medications for paracites, bacteria, fungus, and some No Planaria at my disposal.

4. When I do eventually order my fish, am I getting the full stock or adding fish in rounds over time? I think I read that with fishless you add them all at once but with a planted cycle you add them in stages.

5. How important is the airstone in my main tank? I managed to redirect the flow of my internal fliter away from the surface to reduce surface flow in order to make my tank better for floating plants (ie slow or still water), but when I turn on the airstone it creates quite a lot of surface flow and agitation.


That's all I can think of for now, but there'll probably be more questions in the near future! Hopefully there aren't too many grammar/spelling errors and the formats I can't change near the end aren't too annoying. Thanks again to everyone that has been helping and guiding me, it means the world!


 
Wow you are in the weeds of detail...but on the right track...but it seems to me for your main tank I would stop with adding any more of your ammonium solution and just get some small inexpensive fish like guppies and then watch the ammonia and nitrite levels, and to the same for your quarantine tank.
 
Wow you are in the weeds of detail...but on the right track...but it seems to me for your main tank I would stop with adding any more of your ammonium solution and just get some small inexpensive fish like guppies and then watch the ammonia and nitrite levels, and to the same for your quarantine tank.
This is my second ever tank. My first tank I took down after it failed pretty miserably. I had a really bad experience where I didn't know enough and listened to the only LFS advice which was to go with fish-in cycling. I got three male guppies and a juvi pleco. They all died within weeks. I didn't document it properly at all, since that was a year ago I don't remember what specifically went wrong. I still feel terribly guilty about it.
So are you sure this is the right course of action? I don't doubt you but I'd like to hear from a few others before I commit to buying some fish
 
As mentioned in the Planted/silent cycling thread on this forum, once you see growth on your plants in a planted cycle you are good to add fish. There's a bit more reading below the quoted so I'd suggest checking that out as well.

Below quote from: https://www.fishforums.net/threads/planted-silent-cycling.470400/
6) go do something else with your life for a while, and two weeks later, compare your photo to the present situation. If there is significant growth, your silent cycle could be complete!
7) Once your cycle is complete, fish should be added gradually and slowly. Unless your goal is a Walstad-style tank, your inhabitants may ultimately produce more ammonia than what your plants will ever be able to handle (this largely depends on the plant species in your tank), which is why you need to allow time for the beneficial bacteria to establish themselves in your tank in the background (the "silent" part of the planted/silent cycle).
 
How important is the airstone in my main tank? I managed to redirect the flow of my internal fliter away from the surface to reduce surface flow in order to make my tank better for floating plants (ie slow or still water), but when I turn on the airstone it creates quite a lot of surface flow and agitation.

I've had the same issue. I switched to use baffels on my large tanks that use HOB filters. On smaller tanks I use this Aquarium Biochemical Sponge Filter

Here's a way to make a homemade baffel. Make an airline tubing ring

I really like these 3D printed baffels. https://galaxyglowstudio.com/collections/filter-baffles

Another thing you can do is get something like hornwort and have that float at the top with the other floaters. This allows the more delicate floaters to have something to grab on and not get sucked under or disturbed.
 
Last edited:
Wow you are in the weeds of detail...but on the right track...but it seems to me for your main tank I would stop with adding any more of your ammonium solution and just get some small inexpensive fish like guppies and then watch the ammonia and nitrite levels, and to the same for your quarantine tank.
With respect, that's the last thing I'd do. Go to all this trouble and then put guppies in the tank and risk disease. I know there is an old school way of using cheap fish for cycling, but be careful. No offence.
 
Rebe I am going to reply again in a bit. I love the attention to the detail but just going to reformat it in my head. Then we see what the craic is.

btw I did exactly the same a couple months ago, merging between a fishless cycle and planted cycle and getting mixed up a bit. Your tank looks amazing. I love it. Don't be frustrated. I think is brilliant what you are doing. The path will straighten for you.
 
Rebe I am going to reply again in a bit. I love the attention to the detail but just going to reformat it in my head. Then we see what the craic is.

btw I did exactly the same a couple months ago, merging between a fishless cycle and planted cycle and getting mixed up a bit. Your tank looks amazing. I love it. Don't be frustrated. I think is brilliant what you are doing. The path will straighten for you.
That would be amazing if you have the time! There's an awful lot of information there.
Thank you for the compliment, I'm so proud of my tank so far! Especially because this was my first attempt at keeping an aquarium a year ago (abandoned pretty quickly as mentioned before)
1694117099448.png
 
So, this is the last few days I think? Where there was more than one ammonia reading in a day I have averaged it. The results (just a small recent sample seem to show the cycle is actually going quite well @Essjay ???) I know it's a lot to read but they gone to a lot of trouble. The plants are doing well but we had significant nitrate rise here as well, so something good is happening?

I've paraphrased rebe data above hope I've got it right rebe?


07/09 Ammonia 0 Nitrite 5 Nitrate 25

07/09 Did a 50% water change then Nitrite 1

07/09 Did a further 25% water change then Nitrite 0.25

06/09 Ammonia 0.37 Nitrite 5.0 Nitrate 40

05/09 After adding Ammonia solution on 04/09 Ammonia 1.5

04/09 Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 10
 
One thing to be careful of is high ammonia impacting plants but I don't see any high ammonia readings on your data anyway from the patented rebe ammonia solution. Super high nitrite of 15 and over can stall a cycle, not sure on impact on plants @Byron
 
So, this is the last few days I think? Where there was more than one ammonia reading in a day I have averaged it. The results (just a small recent sample seem to show the cycle is actually going quite well @Essjay ???) I know it's a lot to read but they gone to a lot of trouble. The plants are doing well but we had significant nitrate rise here as well, so something good is happening?

I've paraphrased rebe data above hope I've got it right rebe?


07/09 Ammonia 0 Nitrite 5 Nitrate 25

07/09 Did a 50% water change then Nitrite 1

07/09 Did a further 25% water change then Nitrite 0.25

06/09 Ammonia 0.37 Nitrite 5.0 Nitrate 40

05/09 After adding Ammonia solution on 04/09 Ammonia 1.5

04/09 Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 10
I don't think that's quite right actually. I didn't perform any water changes today, but what I did do was after testing the maximum reading for nitrite, was in the API test tube dilute my samples of tank water in order to help find the correct nitrite reading. Though I may have just confused myself even more because I don't know how to conclude the nitrite level from a diluted sample LOL

Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate today (07/09/23)
Ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrite: 5ppm
Nitrate: 20-30ppm

50% tank water, 50% tap water (not out-gassed) Nitrite: 1ppm
Approx 75% tap (not out-gassed), 25% tank Nitrite: 0.25 ppm

^^ This is what I wrote in the first post of this thread, they are diluted tested samples, and not that I tested a full tank water sample after performing a water change
 
One thing to be careful of is high ammonia impacting plants but I don't see any high ammonia readings on your data anyway from the patented rebe ammonia solution. Super high nitrite of 15 and over can stall a cycle, not sure on impact on plants @Byron
I'm not sure to what level the nitrite has reached recently, I had the highest test reading for two consecutive days now.
 
@AlexT This should be easier to read (hopefully):

Day 1: Ammonia: 0.50 Nitrite: 0.25 Nitrate: 15


Day 4: Ammonia: 1 Nitrite: 2 Nitrate: 10


Day 7: Ammonia: <0.25 Nitrite: 1 Nitrate: 20 (50% water change)


Day 13: Ammonia: 0 Nitrite: 2 Nitrate: 10 (50% water change)


Day 16: Ammonia: <0.25 Nitrite: 0.25 Nitrate: 7


Day 19: Ammonia: 0 Nitrite: 0 Nitrate: 5 (added some ammonia solution and bottled bacteria)
Day 20: Ammonia: 2 Nitrite: 1 Nitrate: 20


Day 23: Ammonia: 0 Nitrite: 0 Nitrate: 30
Day 24: Ammonia: 0 Nitrite: 0 Nitrate: 10 (added 8ml ammonia solution)


Day 27: Ammonia: 0 Nitrite: 5 Nitrate: 25


I only used the tests from every few days unless there was a water change or ammonia added. The unit is PPM
 

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