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Old 09-29-2022, 11:27 PM   #1
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No Ammonia, no nitrites, or nitrates after 3 weeks fish-in cycle

I'm currently cycling my planted 29 gallon tank going in to week 3 now. And there's no detectable ammonia, nitrites, or nitrates with my API master kit. The kit is not expired and is reading nitrates and nitrites on my other aquarium. I let the tank run for about two weeks use with some bio media from my other tank, and then added some minnows, along with some fritz zyme 7. Its been over a week with the fish and there's still no detectable ammonia. I've been waiting to use my prime but no fish have died and no ammonia has spiked. I've been feeding frozen blood worms and flakes. Is there such thing as over filtering? I have a HOB topfin 30 silent filter and a topfin 40 sponge filter running. Am I possibly filtering out the ammonia? I had detectable ammonia within two days of adding fish in my last tank. It just seems like at this pace my cycle wont be done for another month or so...

Is there anything I'm using that would affect these readings?

I have a planted tank with java fern, swords, anubias
Using flourish fertilizer, flourish excel, and flourish root tabs
Used stress coat or topfin WC in the beginning for my tap water

Thanks in advance for any advice!

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Old 09-30-2022, 03:53 AM   #2
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Make sure you are using the test kit correctly. Get a second opinion on your testing, either try a different test kit or take a sample to your fish store. If everything still says you have zero everywhere, add some more fish. If you are fully stocked, great stop worrying about it.

It could be your bioload is just too low to register. How many minnows are we talking about? It could be the plants are taking everything up.

Your plants do need nitrogen as a nutrient and in sn aquarium they get this from nitrate. If you genuinely are getting zero nitrate from a fully stocked tank you should consider a fertiliser that contains a good amount of nitrogen. None of the fertiliser products you are using have much in the way of nitrogen.
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Old 09-30-2022, 08:56 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply! I will get a different test done soon,
I have about 10-15 minnows and feeding them a good amount.

Any suggestions on fertilizer?
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Old 09-30-2022, 09:41 AM   #4
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NA Thrive has a good amount of nitrogen in it if its available where you live
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Old 10-02-2022, 06:19 AM   #5
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If you have a lot of aquatic plants in the tank and they are getting good light, they will use ammonia and stop the cycling process. Basically you don't cycle a heavily planted tank because it will never cycle.

Just add plants, let them grow for a few weeks and then add some fish. Don't add too many fish at a time (except if adding tetras or other schooling fish, add the entire group these at the same time, eg: 20 neon tetras get added at the same time), and wait a few weeks before adding more.

Try to quarantine any new fish for at least 2 (preferably 4) weeks before adding them to an aquariums with fish.


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If you use a fertiliser that adds carbon to the water (flourish excell I think it is), stop using it. The carbon is made from glutaraldehyde, which is poisonous to fish and other aquatic organisms.

Anubias and Java fern are slow growing plants and don't need carbon added to the tank. Sword plants will get most of the carbon they need from carbon dioxide (CO2) that is released from the fish and other organisms in the water, filter bacteria, and from CO2 coming into the water from the air. As a general rule, there is no need to add carbon or CO2 to an aquarium, especially if you have slow growing plants.


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Some power filters have Zeolite (Ammogon) in their filter pads and this removes ammonia from the water. Zeolite is a small white granulated substance. If you have this in the filter pad, you can cut the filter pad open at one end and tip the Zeolite out and throw it away. Then put the filter pad back in the filter and let the filter run.

Zeolite (Ammogon) should not be used in aquariums and is a gimmick used to get your money. Just have sponges in a filter.
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