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Old 02-19-2020, 10:41 PM   #1
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The more things change...

I had two FW tanks all through the 90s. One 55 gal. and a 29 gal. high. Had a pretty thorough education on the nitrogen cycle from the LFS, and successfully cycled both tanks with just one casualty and kept them fully stocked until Oct. 2002. I did not have a tank again until now. So I finally started a new 29 gal. tank on Dec. 15.
After researching online and falling back on my experience, I chose to do a fish-in cycle. I was immediately pleased to see bacteria in a bottle. Since I don't have access to any from an established aquarium. If it would actually help was the question. Anyway I decided to try some of the Seachem Stability.
Fast forward to now, exactly 9 weeks into the cycle. I have 3 Red Tiger Barbs and two Long Finned Tetras in the tank and no, the Tigers aren't nipping the Tetras. All fish look good.
The interesting part of this story are the test results.After about a week the ammonia was about .25 ppm. The ph is about 7.8 and the water is pretty hard. I also always read about 10-15 ppm nitrate from the tap. I did a pwc anytime the ammonia got above .25 for the next 6 weeks, usually 2 a week. I never saw the ammonia rise above .50 ppm. I finally saw about .50 ppm nitrite at about 7 weeks. Ammonia still at about .25 ppm. Did 2 pwc in 4 days about 25% each.
The following week I was reading about .5 ppm nitrite and .25 ppm ammonia. Did a pwc of about 40%.
Today is 9 weeks. I just tested and my results are interesting! I'm seeing a little under .25 ppm ammonia, 0 ppm nitrite, and around 20 ppm nitrate.
It's a little strange for the nitrite cycle to be that short and low! And since I have nitrate in my tap water, it's hard to tell how much my BB are producing. And why am I still seeing the small ammonia reading?
I will continue to monitor for now, but has anyone had experience with using the Seachem Stability? I think it might be the reason for the test results. It appears that the tank still will cycle naturally, even with the Stability.
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Old 02-19-2020, 11:42 PM   #2
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Iíve used it but more as a just in case after cleaning filters.
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Old 02-20-2020, 01:40 PM   #3
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I’ve used it before without issues when starting up a long time ago. Some people claim the bacteria in stability will “outcompete” the bacteria that you want and you’ll have a full cycle again if you ever stop using stability. Ive never seen any actual evidence for that point of view, seachem claims otherwise and my own experience is otherwise as well. I stopped using it long ago without any blips to my cycle.

Are you testing right after a water change? I have chloramines in my tap and so my dechlorinated tap water reads just slightly over 0 for ammonia. It’s gone quickly after being added to the tank.
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Old 02-20-2020, 10:36 PM   #4
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I test daily and again about an hour after a water change. Also, I have not added any of the Stability for probably 3 weeks. My theory is that because of the Stability, I have some bacteria that are converting most of the ammonia and nitrite, but the tank is still naturally growing its own BB. For the tests to still show the small amount of ammonia at 9 weeks is the only thing that keeps me from calling the cycle complete. Today's test is still the same, and it's been 5 days since a water change.
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Old 02-20-2020, 10:46 PM   #5
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Yes if itís been that long since a water change itís a Ďrealí result and not an effect of the incoming water. My ďfalseĒ positive is gone within hours.

Must just need a little bit longer. Make sure thereís no rotting food or plant material in your tank or filter that might be providing a source?
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Old 02-20-2020, 11:27 PM   #6
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Well, it has cultivated a little bit of algae in the past week. Could that actually affect the ammonia? I never had algae cause it before that I know of. Isn't it true that algae has to have nitrates?
Anyway, I think this problem will just take a little more patience. Probably correct itself with a little more time.
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Old 02-20-2020, 11:45 PM   #7
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Algae donít need much but yes, a nitrogen source will definitely help it grow more. (Doesnít have to be nitrate- theyíll use ammonia / nitrite too). New tanks are very nutrient low so it takes a while for things including algae to get going.
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Old 02-21-2020, 12:04 AM   #8
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Okay, cool!So if the algae is doing anything it would be helping with ammonia. I feed once a day, pretty lightly and watch as the Tiger Barbs patrol the gravel pretty thoroughly for leftovers, so I'm still a little puzzled by the ammonia level. It's low but I would like to see it settle to 0.
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Old 03-03-2020, 12:06 AM   #9
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Update

Okay, so at 11 weeks the tank is cycled. Ammonia - 0 Nitrite - 0 Nitrate - 0. Last water change was 5 days ago. The reason I'm posting is to let everyone know not to trust the Tetra 6 in 1 test strips. I had a liquid ammonia test, but was using the Tetra strips for the nitrite and nitrate. After ordering the liquid nitrite and nitrate test kits from Amazon since my LFS didn't have them, I can see that I was getting a bogus reading of about 20 ppm on the nitrate test and as much as .5 ppm nitrite. Those strips are worthless!
Anyway, thanks for the responses. After my tank finished the nitrogen cycle, I celebrated by adding a baby Albino Rainbow Shark. At 1st I was worried that the Tiger Barbs would pick on him, but he immediately started chasing them around after I let him go in the tank, so no worries!
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