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New 10 gal--seeking cycle advice!

Discussion in 'Cycle your Tank' started by Newbie283, Jan 6, 2018.

  1. Newbie283

    Newbie283 New Member

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    Hi there!

    Please read the entire post to get necessary info to help you answer my questions! Thank you!

    I currently have 2 cycled 5 gallons housing one Betta and 3 ghost shrimp each. I successfully did a fish-in cycle in both (luckily) but with my second Betta the nitrite level stressed him out and ultimately gave him fin rot which he had to be moved into a hospital tank for treatment. No worries though, his water parameters are great and he was put back into his 5 gal last night after doing wonderfully being treated with api fungus cure for 6 days.

    On to my questions--
    I am starting a new 10 gallon low tech planted aquascape. I won an aquabid auction for the most GOREGOUS and unique half moon koi here is a picture for those who are curious:
    https://ibb.co/dcH4hG
    Since I am spending close to 100 dollars on this fish I'm hell bent on doing this cycle properly. I have about 18 days to get the tank cycled before he arrives in the mail however he well be out into the hospital tank for a few days upon arrival for monitoring.
    The tank itself already has water in it, as I'm waiting for my plants and aquascaoe materials to come in the mail next week I wanted to still get started on getting some bacteria established. I figured I'd start cycling and when I'm ready to scape next week I will just siphon the water out into buckets and toss the filter cartridge in there (so the bacteria don't dry out and die) and then reverse siphon the same water back in after I'm done since there isn't any livestock in there currently. I went to my LFS last night to get some substrate-- I chose caribsea's eco complete planted aquarium substrate in black. I have normal gravel in one planted 5 gal and sand in my other one which the plants are doing fine but I'm going to try my luck with a staurogyne repens carpet on this 10 gal with no co2 and this subsrtae says it is minerally complete for plants. It also already has water in the bag with it and claims it contains live bacteria to help a new tank cycle. Does anyone have experience with this substrate?

    Next question--
    While I was at the LFS I also asked the guy if he had any old media laying around, as this is a large aquatics store they have hundreds of established tanks. He sent me home with an amazing little ball of porous coral-like material (bioball maybe) that probably is packed with good bacteria. He also gave me this sponge thing that was CAKED with fish poop and nasty sludge. I put the water in the 10 gal last night and tossed the bioball in right where the filter current was hitting the floor of the tank and when I went to put that sponge in there it rained down to be of gross fish gunk into my tank water. Worried it contained more ammonia than nitrite bacteria I gave it a quick swish to knock off a little more gunk and threw it away.

    This morning I tested my water, the tank has had water in it for about 14 hours. My water levels read as follows:
    Ammonia- 0ppm
    Nitrite- between .25 and .50ppm
    Nitrate- 40 ppm
    No ph test since I know my tap and two tanks are always 7.6

    I have also ordered Dr. Tim's ammonium chloride solution and his one and only solution which will be here tomorrow. I have mini moss balls and anubias petite plants coming as well that will soak in one of my established 5 gallons for about a week in hopes to seed even more bactirwa when it comes time to scape.

    Where am I at in the cycle with today's readings? Any other suggestions on what to do? Should I use Dr tims ammonium and bacteria as directed or skip it since it seems the cycle is already mid-way and I also have bacteria in the substrate bag? When should I start water changes?

    Any advice or opinions are greatly welcomed and appreciated! I'm sorry the post was so long-- i was trying to be as descriptive and accurate as possible.
     
  2. Newbie283

    Newbie283 New Member

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    I should also add since people always ask this--i am using api liquid master test kit so these test readings are accurate. Thank you!
     
  3. Toney

    Toney Fishaholic
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    With a little live bacteria just start slow on the fish.

    I usually cycle mine with established substrate and plants.
     
  4. Byron

    Byron Member

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    The Eco-complete substrate will not have much if any benefit for plants. With the Betta, it will not cause fish issues (substrate fish can have real problems with the sharpness of EC and similar products) so if you like the look, I wouldn't change it necessarily. Though to be honest, I would use inert play sand. Plant nutrients come from water, and are taken up through roots and leaves, depending upon the nutrient, and as water circulates through the substrate it brings nutrients to the plant roots. I can detail more if asked.

    I do not know if the claim about bacteria in EC is justified or not; I don't like adding things like this which can mess around with bacteria, I prefer to let it occur naturally so I can be more assured of the process. Every time we toss in some substance we are impacting the various chemistry and biology processes, and the less the better. I would also bee concerned somewhat over what EC may do to the water parameters.

    My second general comment is on the "bacteria" from the store. This is not a good idea, if this is media (or whatever material) from a tank with live fish. The pathogens in that tank are now in your tank. We quarantine new fish to avoid this, so it is no different with any substance like filter media, bioballs, wood, etc, if it has been in a tank with fish.

    Saving old water has no benefit, so when you drain the tank to plant, use fresh water dechlorinated to fill the planted tank. This will also help with thee above issue of pathogens, somewhat anyway.

    Live plants will on their own easily assimilate all the ammonia produced by a single Betta, especially if you have fast growing species or lots of plants. Floating plants are ideal for this, plus they satisfy the Betta's inherent need for floating plants.

    At this stage, with those test results, I would do major water changes (right down to the substrate) and replace with dechlorinated water. You obviously want to see zero ammonia and nitrite. And nitrate at 40 ppm is high for fish; you want this below 20 ppm. Test your tap water for nitrate, just to ensure the nitrate is all from within the tank, or if some is from the source water.

    Byron.
     
  5. Newbie283

    Newbie283 New Member

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    Byron,

    Thank you for the reply and advice!! Maybe you misread part of the post, this 10 gallon was just set up LAST NIGHT. It is a fishless cycle and won't have livestock in it for weeks. So the "pathogens" or any ammonia or nitrates aren't harming anything as all I'm doing right now is growing bacteria. I'm just surprised that there's already nitrates showing up and that ammonia is at 0 although I have yet to add any ammonia to the tank like I said there was waste and gunk on the media from the fish store. I was wondering if anyone had any comments about those 0 ammonia .25-.50 Nitrite and 40 nitrates levels meaning that my tank has already established ammonia consuming bacteria and has now begun to establish some nitrite bacteria.
     
  6. Byron

    Byron Member

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    No, I did fathom all that. But pathogens may live for weeks, even months, depending what they may be, only to infect the fish later. My point was generally, never add such stuff from another person's or store's fish tank. Some aquarists will not even move filter media between their own tanks. Each aquarium is or can be biologically unique.

    The aim here is to have a tank that is not only cycled but established, as much as possible anyway; the two things are vastly different. Fish always settle in easier with less stress in an established tank. Having your 10g planted is a step toward an established tank. I personally would not even worry about "cycling" with fast growing live plants. This is only adding another factor to complicate things.

    This is not surprising to me. Nitrate is what you would expect from the brown "gunk" you mentioned falling from the media. That is organic matter, the same as develops in filters and in the substrate, and it is the prime source of nitrate. You want to get this out of the tank. Sufficient will develop naturally.

    This nitrate is not necessarily connected to the nitrite. And it is quite possible the ammonia was high in the store tank, leading to high nitrite. Fish store tanks are overcrowded with fish, so things are a bit different than what we would expect in a home aquarium that we are cycling, or establishing without cycling.
     
  7. NickAu

    NickAu Member
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    100% agree,

    For floating plants get some water sprite this stuff is great grows fast and the roots look cool hanging in the water. I also love duckweed but you don't have to add it.

    It makes a great Betta Bed. This grew from a leaf about the size of a thumb in about 2 months.
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Chief Brody

    Chief Brody Fish Fanatic

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    Ec is junk. Never again

    Sent from my SM-G730V using Tapatalk
     

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