Two Week and Three Day Old Tank

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Monad

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Hi there.

As the subject says, this is my pretty new tank. I've got a partial cycle done. The ammonia only started rising from zero again after I put in the first fish. Right now it's still positive, but it's definitely below 0.25ppm. No nitrites. No nitrates. I think the plants are sucking those up faster than the bacteria are producing them. I dose everyday with Seachem Stability. Hopefully as the leaves I add give off tannin, it should get darker.

PH is around 6.5. The shiny parts on the sand/gravel bed are rinsed crushed oyster shells. I added them as a PH buffer. They seem to be doing their job well.

For plants I have hornwort, dwarf water lettuce, java ferns, and some kind of grass that snuck in along with the other plants and another plant that also snuck in.

One of my Khuli loaches is even more of an escape artist even more compared to the others. I keep loosing him and he's gotten into the return pump chamber at least once through a tiny hole in the side of the tank. It's a Fluval Spec 16.

I also have a nerite snail and an amano shrimp as additional clean up crew.
 

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Ah, those smart, curious, and silly loaches! You could cut a bit of sponge or something to block that hole. :) One of my yoyo loaches swam into the intake somehow, knocking it off the pump, and I had to take it apart and tip him out to "rescue" him... they're masters of finding escape and hiding spots!
 
No nitrites. No nitrates. I think the plants are sucking those up faster than the bacteria are producing them
Plants use ammonia and only turn to nitrate if there's no ammonia. The reason for no nitrite/nitrate is the plants are taking up some of the ammonia and maybe there are not enough ammonia eaters to turn ammonia into nitrite.

Can I ask, you say you partially cycled the tank, how did you do that?
 
I would also like to know what partially cycled means. Did you have ammonia source that then you saw converted to nitrites and then to nitrates? Did that ever happen? If not, I don't think a cycled has happened yet. Ammonia should quickly be converted to nitrates in a cycled tank. You won't even see the nitrites present usually, it will convert to nitrates that fast.

If the tank isn't cycled, you will be doing a fish in cycle and should follow the 'Fish-in cycle' advice here --> https://www.fishforums.net/threads/cycle-your-tank-a-complete-guide-for-beginners.475055/
 
You can use craft mesh and block the intakes on the Fluval with them it'll allow water flow but stop the loaches from getting in.
Unfortunately this tank setup is not really built for loaches of these types. Kuhli's are notorious for getting stuck in the worst spaces. They really are the cutest little buggers, but also big headaches.
Also keep an eye out for your water parameters, as ammonia and nitrites are really bad for loaches. They have no scales and a very sensitive to changes in water quality.
Do you know if anyone who has any established filter media they can give you so that you can actually have a cycle in the tank for them? You won't need a lot as they don't produce a lot of waste, but you really should have them in a cycle tank.
 
The ammonia reading could be a false positive. It happens. What test kit are you using?

Also, the ammonia at 0.25 won't bother the fish as the pH is below 7, but it's still relevant in terms of the cycle.
 
You can use craft mesh and block the intakes on the Fluval with them it'll allow water flow but stop the loaches from getting in.
Unfortunately this tank setup is not really built for loaches of these types. Kuhli's are notorious for getting stuck in the worst spaces. They really are the cutest little buggers, but also big headaches.
Also keep an eye out for your water parameters, as ammonia and nitrites are really bad for loaches. They have no scales and a very sensitive to changes in water quality.
Do you know if anyone who has any established filter media they can give you so that you can actually have a cycle in the tank for them? You won't need a lot as they don't produce a lot of waste, but you really should have them in a cycle tank.
I got some established filter media from the fish store where I bought my loaches and plants. I didn't add the loaches until after I added my snail. I did get an ammonia spike and a nitrite spike before I added any animals. However both lasted a very short time and when I added more ammonia, the ammonia quickly dropped again. In less than 24 hours it was back to just showing up as positive on the test and has not risen to even 0.25ppm. Nitrites didn't appear either.

After adding my fish, nothing changed. I still have no nitrates. Nitrites did not spike either.
 
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