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Old 05-11-2006, 01:30 PM   #1
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Nitrate / Nitrite & Ammonia - New 600 ltr tank.

Hiya,

A week ago I filled up my second hand 600 ltr tank (been a 17yr long ambition of mine to get one ) with sand, artifical plants and water.
The sand has been used in the tank before, but I did wash it through a bit in order to remove as much of the much as possible.

Its been a week since I started the tank running (Ive had the heaters on as well) and I took my first readings with the master test kit.
Ammonia = 0
Nitrite = 0 ppm
Nitrate = 10 ppm

Ive read that the tank is ready for a few fish at this point. Although... Im sceptical and would like some much needed advice. (I want to get this right for the fish).

As I understand the cycle.
1) Ammonia levels increase to a peak.
2) Nitrite levels increase to a peak as the Ammonia drops.
3) Nitrite levels drop and Nitrate increases a bit.
4) Introduce a few fish depends on tank size / filtration etc.

Do I need to wait until the Nitrate shows at 0ppm?
Any advice welcomed and I thank you in advance

EDIT: I should perhaps point out some other info.
1) Tank is tropical 27 deg c
2) Filtration comes from 2 x Ehiems. 1 x 1000 ltr canister and 1 x 300 ltr thermo canister.
3) Sand had slightly decaying organic matter in it (tank waste) from the previous tank.
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Old 05-11-2006, 01:33 PM   #2
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the nitrates should never show 0ppms, if it does that means your tank is not cycled and it hasnt reached its end. Based on those numbers you should be ready, but remember every fish you add is going to up the amonnia which will up the nitrites which will up the nitrates. You do water changes to get rid of the nitrates and keep them at an acceptable level. In my opinion if the nitrates show red its time to do a water change. HTH
Ryan
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Old 05-11-2006, 01:35 PM   #3
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Thanks - I will fill up the "fish buckets" tonight and do a PWC tomorrow.
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Old 05-11-2006, 01:46 PM   #4
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Have you been dosing pure ammonia to start a fishless cycle? I would be surprised if your tank had cycled in a week. You may just have nitrates in your tap water. This article may help you:
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/articl...q=2&fldAuto=15
It says it's for saltwater, but the process works the same way in freshwater too.
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Old 05-11-2006, 01:50 PM   #5
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I need clarification. Has this tank been running for a week with no ammonia source other than what may be in the sand?
Quote:
Its been a week since I started the tank running (Ive had the heaters on as well) and I took my first readings with the master test kit.
Ammonia = 0
Nitrite = 0 ppm
Nitrate = 10 ppm
Was there an ammonia or nitrite reading? I don't see how this very large tank cycled in a week's time with only debris in the sand the nitrate reading does not make sense.

Are you going to cycle the tank with fish? Have you read the article on fishless cycling?
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Old 05-11-2006, 02:34 PM   #6
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To answer the above questions.
-- No I have not been adding any ammonia to the water. I figured that the bits of debris in the sand would release enough ammonia without me adding any more.
-- I have ZERO plans to cycle with fish. Up to others what they do, but I do not consider it to be the option for me.
-- Thank you for the link to the article on cycling, and yep Ive read that one & the others found by doing a search on this forum / google. I remember my days when I was 17 yr old (quite a lot of time ago... ) when I ran two 4ft tanks and can mostly remember the cycle.

I agree the nitrate reading surprised me. I have checked that Ive read the correct labels on the bottles and also checked that I followed the exact instructions listed in the Freshwater Master Kit manual. If I had gotten those readings 2 weeks+ down the line I wouldnt have posted to be honest. Its the line in the above linked guide which says "When the tank tests negative (0.00) for ammonia and nitrite your ready for your first fish or two. ", and Im thinking.. hmmm that all happened a bit too fast.
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Old 05-12-2006, 12:44 PM   #7
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Ok..
I have done all three tests again this evening (24hrs after I did the ones above).

Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 10

Afterwards I did a 10% PWC with water I had left standing for 24 hrs.

One thing I have noticed is that on the largest piece of bogwood there are three small patches of 'white fur'. Hardly noticeable unless you are looking very close for it. These are about 2cm in size.

Any thoughts on wether the 'white fur' is normal for this stage or not would be welcomed. As of course would be any ones experience / feedback etc.
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Old 05-12-2006, 12:57 PM   #8
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It is not unusual for new driftwood. It is a fungus in the wood which will die off on it own. Nothing to worry about.
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Old 05-12-2006, 01:01 PM   #9
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Have you checked you source water for nitrates as severum mama suggested?

I think that may be the key to unlocking this mystery.
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Old 05-12-2006, 01:40 PM   #10
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/hangs head in embarrassement.

I wrote a note to myself last night to check the tap water today, and errr... didnt do it.
Ive just checked the tap water and its showing Nitrate as 10... Thanks Severum Mama and SCFatz

Feel a little stupid for not thinking of that and also forgetting to check - still least I know where the nitrates are coming from now.

Would I be right in saying that the tank has yet to start cycling properly then and that Im now waiting on the ammonia levels to rise, followed by the nitrites.

Thanks again for the support thus far - its very much appreciated.
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Old 05-12-2006, 01:43 PM   #11
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You would be correct. Your cycle has not started at all. Good luck I hope it goes quickly for you.
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Old 05-12-2006, 01:50 PM   #12
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Quote:
Would I be right in saying that the tank has yet to start cycling properly then and that Im now waiting on the ammonia levels to rise, followed by the nitrites
.

Thats right.But keep in mind you need an ammonia source to get it started and keep it going.The gunk in the sand will not get it going.
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Old 05-12-2006, 02:08 PM   #13
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what Fatz says is true - Ammonia wont just start appearing, you have to add it - either directly by dosing pure ammonia or indirectly by letting a raw shrimp rot (which smells much worse btw)
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Old 05-12-2006, 03:21 PM   #14
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Quote:
I figured that the bits of debris in the sand would release enough ammonia without me adding any more.
As I said earlier, this is a LARGE tank. The little bits of debris will not be enough to give off the ammonia needed and you are not guaranteed the debris is what you need. Many members have had great success with the shrimp method, but as tbonem91 said, it may not smell too good. Since you have cycled tanks in the past, you know exactly what readings you are looking for and the order in which they should show up. This is really wonderful news, since it also means you probably have patience to wait out the cycle Good luck and I hope the cycle goes smoothly. BTW~what fish will be living in this tank?
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Old 05-12-2006, 11:54 PM   #15
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If you go for the pure ammonia method, make sure to find some with no surfactants. Good luck, and I would also love to know what you would like to keep.
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Old 05-13-2006, 04:01 AM   #16
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I did toy with the idea of keeping some 'larger' fish along with a catfish or two. Nothing on the scale of a red tail, just fish which grow to about 18" in length.
However... as time went on (spent 3 weeks looking for the right tank + accessories deal I could get) I became more attracted to the idea of doing a community tropical tank.
This is what Im fully addicated to doing now There will be 80 - 90% normal tropical fish with about 4 or 5 'special fish'. General rule for the tank is that nothing should have a max size of more than 15cm when fully grown. This is a tank in which I want to give the inhabitants the best chance of behaving as naturally as they can. When I set out to pick our fish I made an excel spreadsheet so that I could compare ph / temp / feeding needs etc.

Large shoal of Tetras. Quite what ones yet is open to debate between my wife and I Current fav's are black neon tetras, cardinal tetras or lemon tetras. Whichever one comes out top in the end will have a lot of friends to swim around with
2 x Plec's. Im a big big catfish fan and as a consequence I didnt have any problems at all thinking of bottom feeders. Bristlenose and a Golden Nugget plec are my current picks as they do not get to huge sizes and look pretty cute
Cory's. Probably going to get a few peppered corys. These were in my fathers tank and I can remember the one peppered cory we had back then.
Khuli Loach. Such a neat fish, and for the same reason as the Corys.
Glass catfish. My sons pick. He thinks they are really neat, so Ive promised he can put some in once the tank is ready.
Guppys. My daughters pick.

After this point.. I honestly dont know. Its going to take a long time to get to the point where everything is in so I will probably have found a new "must have!" by then
The only 'fish' that wont make it is the amazingly good looking (no not in that sense...) blue crayfish. Looks fantastic, would be a great 'special' but from what Ive read on here, they are not compatible with a community tank.

Thanks again for the info & support. Once its all up n running (and I can grab someones camera) I'll post a few pictures.
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