Question about Stability and getting rid of toxins

HabsBettas

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Hello there!

So I tried cycling my tank with household ammonia. It didn't work. The ammonia isn't going away and I have added seachem stability for almost a week now. I don't know why I didn't wait to test to see if it worked, but thats beside the point. My tank is now contaminated, including my media (bio and cartridge). I also have plants in there as well. I wanted to try using stability again then adding the fish but how can I make sure that the ammonia will be eaten by the bacteria? Also how can I go about removing the contaminated water from my tank?

Thank you!

Best,

Hab
 

Byron

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When you have live plants, do not use ammonia. If sufficient in volume, it can seriously harm if not outright kill plants. I would suggest a major water change, fresh water, and let the plants settle and grow. I do not know what plant species, or how many, but I have established new tanks dozens of times over the last couple decades with just growing plants. The Stability can't hurt, I have used it once in an emergency (high nitrite but not related to cycling), but I would wait until you have fish. A photo of the tank will show us the plants; fast-growing species are best at this because of their uptake of ammonia day and night.

Edit. Forgot to answer about the media...I would tend to toss out any filter media rather than risk it.
 
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Colin_T

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If the ammonia does not have any surfactants/ soaps in, and is pure ammonia, it won't leave a residue on anything.

If the ammonia level is too high (above 5ppm), the filter bacteria won't grow. The optimum conditions for growing filter bacteria is 3ppm ammonia, a pH around 7.0, temperature 28-30C, lots of aeration/ surface turbulence.

It takes about 4-6 weeks, sometimes longer, for a tank to cycle. Adding supplemental bacteria in a bottle can help speed it up but it still won't happen overnight.

If you are concerned about potential contamination, just gravel clean, drain and refill the tank each day for a week. Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it's added to the tank. Then add a cheap fish and see if it lives.
 

Essjay

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So how will I cycle the tank without ammonia?
If there are a lot of fast growing plants they will take up all the ammonia made by fish.
A silent or plant cycle involves planting the tank then waiting until the plants are actively growing before adding fish a few at a time as you would do with a fish-in cycle. The water does need to be tested daily for ammonia and nitrite to make sure the plants are removing all the ammonia. As the plants grow bigger, they can take up more ammonia so more fish can be added which is why stocking needs to be done slowly to allow the plants to grow.

There must be enough fast growing plants for this to work, and the best for taking up ammonia are floating plants as they are near the tank lights and can get CO2 from the air. Having just a couple of slow growing plants like Java fern, anubias or moss is not enough to cycle a tank.


 

Spyro

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Hello there!

So I tried cycling my tank with household ammonia. It didn't work. The ammonia isn't going away and I have added seachem stability for almost a week now. I don't know why I didn't wait to test to see if it worked, but thats beside the point. My tank is now contaminated, including my media (bio and cartridge). I also have plants in there as well. I wanted to try using stability again then adding the fish but how can I make sure that the ammonia will be eaten by the bacteria? Also how can I go about removing the contaminated water from my tank?

Thank you!

Best,

Hab
I don't know how it goes in USA but in Australia:
Household ammonia = ammonia that's extremely toxic to fish and bacteria (what you are trying to grow)
Clear ammonia = ammonia without any additives. (you want this one)
In Australia you can only get it from specialty cleaning supply distributors (at least that's where I managed to find it). And even then maybe 1/10 stocks it.
Everything in supermarkets, etc is Household ammonia or has detergent/parfume in it.

If you don't have clear ammonia = you'll never be able to start bacteria colony.

P.S. bottled bacteria is often dead in the bottle. If it gets too hot or cold in the transport. And it doesn't take a lot to be too hot or cold.
I used 5 different bottles and by my cycling timeline I probably got bacteria from the air and not from the bottles.
 
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HabsBettas

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Okay I have two Java Ferns in my tank right now because I did not buy nutrient rich substrate. However, after a water change, I have about 10ppm nitrates, 0 ppm nitrites, and 0.25 ppm Ammonia (from the clear ammonia I used before.)

I also bought some slate to put in the tank. Only 5 pounds though. After reading everything, I take it that adding more plants is the way to go. What kinds of plants are good for plant cycling? I only have a five gallon tank though, if that helps.

For some reason my pH is 6.0 as well. I don't know why, but it's there. I also only have an LED light for plants. I hope that's good enough for them to grow.

I have attached a photo below. Thank you for your help guys! It will really change the way I cycle my tank :)
IMG_0128.jpeg

PS. Another thing. The only fish I plan to have in this tank is a Betta Splendens
 

Essjay

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Floating plants are good at taking up ammonia. For 5 gallons, look at Amazon frogbit, red root floater or Salvinia (though I think some states don't allow salvinia as it can be invasive if it gets into the waterways).


As a side note, Java fern should not be planted in the substrate. It has a rhizome, the thick horizontal stem like thing which has leaves growing out of one side and roots from the other. The rhizome will rot if it is buried and for this reason java fern (and anubias which also has a rhizome) are grown attached to decor.
And another side note - white substrate is not good for fish. They have not evolved over white and the light reflecting from it can stress fish. Floating plants help cut down the light reflection, but to be honest I would change it for a darker colour.




pH - what is the pH of your tap water, both freshly run and some that's been allowed to stand overnight.
 

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