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Old 03-18-2013, 09:30 PM   #1
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Cycling question

Hi all - I just started cycling my tank.

I have a 29G tank with a Fluval 206 filter. I was able to seed the filter and also put some more into the tank itself (essentially 2 cupfulls of biomedia).

I put a shrimp in as the ammonia source (on Saturday March 16) because I actually have to leave in a couple of days for about 6 days. My family will be home to remove the shrimp if it starts to stink, and can put a new shrimp in if necessary. I may be able to get my wife to check the parameters, but it will be tough to communicate with her and help her since I will be out of the country.

The last two days, these have been my numbers (for both days):

pH 7.6/ammonia 1.0/nitrite 0.0/nitrate 0-5 ppm

I'm thinking this means we just got started on the cycle but I'm a little confused why the nitrite is 0.0 and the nitrate seemed to go up a bit.

I'm wondering now whether I should have just waited until I came back from my trip. That being said, my kids really wanted me to get started. Any advice?
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Old 03-18-2013, 09:41 PM   #2
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Oh - I forgot to mention that it's a fishless cycle.
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Old 03-18-2013, 10:13 PM   #3
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did you test your tap water by itself? You could have nitrates inherent in your tap water. having said that, I'm cycling my tank and have yet to see nitrites.
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Old 03-19-2013, 12:43 AM   #4
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Good question. I tested my tap water for pH but not for nitrates. Will do that tomorrow.
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Old 03-19-2013, 11:10 PM   #5
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So I tested my tap water and retested the aquarium today.

Aquarium: Ammonia 1/Nitrite 0/Nitrate 0
Tap Water: Nitrate 0

I think I was just overzealous reading the levels from the aquarium the other day.

I can see why people use the pure ammonia source. I'm tempted to toss another shrimp in, but I'm going to hold off since I'll be out of town. I'm also going to have my wife check numbers and e-mail them to me. I suspect that the shrimp method may just take longer with the low ammonia levels and if we don't see an ammonia spike or nitrite spike by the time I come back, I may bag the shrimp and get a pure ammonia source.
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Old 03-21-2013, 11:34 AM   #6
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Ok officially it's day 5 of the cycle.

Here are the numbers:

Ammonia: 1 ppm
Nitrite: 0.25 ppm
Nitrate: between 0 and 5 ppm

I leave now but have the wife is up on how to test and will check at least twice in the next week and email me the numbers. I was wondering if the seeding material was so heavily saturated it would have sped up my cycle at first, but I'm thinking not. I suspect this will take a while...
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Old 03-28-2013, 09:42 PM   #7
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Ok - I'm now back from my travels and kind of glad that I started the cycle before I left!

Here are numbers from when I was gone (checked by my wife) and when I returned on 3/27.

March 23: Ammonia .5/Nitrite 0.25/Nitrate 10 ppm
March 25: Ammonia .5/Nitrite 0.50/Nitrate 20 ppm
March 27: Ammonia 0/Nitrite 5/Nitrate 40 - I came home on this day and did a 50% PWC
March 28: Ammonia 0/Nitrite 5/Nitrate 20

I think we finished the ammonia spike and are now in the middle of the nitrite spike. I'm looking forward to when the nitrite comes down.

Any advice on when I should do PWCs?

Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks much!
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Old 03-28-2013, 09:52 PM   #8
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Here are some pics of our cycling tank! We just added rocks from the local creek and have some artificial plants (I wasn't ready to commit to learning about plants yet!)
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Old 03-28-2013, 09:54 PM   #9
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Click image for larger version

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Oops - the pic didn't attach correctly the first time. Hope this works.
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Old 03-28-2013, 10:10 PM   #10
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Looks good. Keep an eye on your Ph, if it drops to the mid-low 6's it could stall your cycle. You shouldn't need a water change unless to oh drops too low or your nitrites/nitrates go off the charts.
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Old 03-28-2013, 10:11 PM   #11
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Oh & don't forget you've got to feed the BB some ammo so it doesn't die off.
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Old 03-28-2013, 10:15 PM   #12
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you should let cycle period finish to were your test readings of the ammonia, and nitrite read zero, as for the nitrates are concerned if reading is not beyond 20 ppm, relax because you don't have any live fish as of yet. Patience is the key.
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Old 03-29-2013, 12:06 AM   #13
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Thanks for the responses!

So my pH has consistently been at 7.6 with every check so far (just didn't post it). What's my response if it drops? It seems like people are really against pH up or down agents.

Also, the original shrimp I dropped in the tank is still in there...shouldn't that continue to act as the ammonia source?
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Old 03-29-2013, 09:21 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tribalturtle View Post
Thanks for the responses!

So my pH has consistently been at 7.6 with every check so far (just didn't post it). What's my response if it drops? It seems like people are really against pH up or down agents.

Also, the original shrimp I dropped in the tank is still in there...shouldn't that continue to act as the ammonia source?
Ahhh, didn't realize you had shrimp. Yes they are an ammonia source. If the Ph drops a water change should bring it back up since your tap appears to have a good Ph level.
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Old 03-29-2013, 11:08 AM   #15
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Thanks do much for your input! Much appreciated...
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Old 03-29-2013, 10:21 PM   #16
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Okay March 29th numbers:

pH 7.6/ammonia 0/nitrite 5/nitrate 40

May do a PWC tomorrow depending on the numbers.

Starting to think about stocking needs for my 29g tank.

Any suggestions? Thing about some cories for the bottom and some ghost shrimp too. Then I'll see what else I can get.
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Old 03-30-2013, 10:19 PM   #17
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Same numbers again. It's officially day #14 of my cycle.

PH 7.6/ammonia 0/nitrite 5/nitrate 40

Still waiting...
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Old 03-31-2013, 12:10 AM   #18
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You can do pw changes , and give the cylcle a few more days. Also do still have the shrimp in the aquarium for the bb food source?
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Old 03-31-2013, 10:23 AM   #19
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Nitrites are a good sign, as are rising nitrates. As long as the pH stays stable you should be ok. If nitrites stay high for a week or more you can do a water change to try to get them down. The nitrite phase is the longest taking 3 weeks on average. If you can get some pure ammonia to finish up the cycle it would be more accurate than using the shrimp.

For fish, you have some options. Corys are a fun fish for the bottom; I have pandas and they are super cute. You could visit some local fish stores and write down the names of fish you like and then research them and ask here.
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Old 03-31-2013, 12:20 PM   #20
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Happy Easter everyone! Thanks for all the responses.

So today, here are my numbers:
pH 7.6/ammonia 0 to 0.25/nitrite .25-.5/nitrate 40

I think I was overzealous reading yesterday's nitrates. I thought it could have been 2.0 but I tend to get over anxious and likely overcompensated by calling it a 5. Today, it's definitely lower and prob really at 0.25. It seems like the cycle is progressing nicely but I'm grateful that you gave me the average time needed to cycle nitrites so I don't get too impatient or excited.

The ammonia bottle definitely had a little green tinge that I thought was weird. The shrimp is still in the tank but I was surprised to see the ammonia level go up a little. Not sure what that means.

Finally would having corys/ghost shrimp/and dwarf African frogs be too much for the bottom of a 29 gallon tank? Not sure if all the species would get along either. My family is having a debate about whether to get a couple frogs...I'm also going to look into the pandas but I think I'll end up with 2-3 species at the bottom max...
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