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Old 01-28-2021, 11:20 AM   #1
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Cycling fungus and water changes?

Hi guys! I'm currently cycling my new big 90 gallon and also a standard 20 gallon I'm going to use for temporarily quarantining new fish and as a hospital tank if it comes to that. I'm going to be careful not to speak too soon but the good news is that the cycling seems to be going extraordinarily well. It's only been going for just over a week now and the ammonia is already almost at the 4.0 ppm mark which I've heard is really good. Once i actually reaches that point I plan on adding some cultured Stress Zyme Bactaria. Both tanks seem to to have it growing at the same rate. I did a ton of research beforehand from many different sources and I've been doing everything they said to do including putting in some flake food every day and occasionally adding some raw unseasoned meat, shrimp or fish to help boost it. Some of the smaller live plants I put in there I never actually got to root so I decided just to let them turn into ammonia as well.

Here's the thing though. I put in two small lily pad bulbs and after about a week they seem to be developing some white fungus like substance on them. I don't know if that means they are about to sprout or if I should remove them. Also we had fish for dinner maybe a week ago and I put two chunks I cut off a raw swordfish steak in each tank. A few days ago I noticed a similar white fungus like material growing on the piece in the 90 gallon so I removed it about two nights ago and added a raw piece of the chicken we were preparing that night. Now only two days later the chicken piece has the same white fuzz all over it while the original piece of swordfish in the 20 gallon tank is still in there and hasn't gotten fuzzy at all. I don't know if this is a good sign or a bad sign. For all I know it could just be the meat beginning to flake and looking fuzzy due to the influence of the water.

That leads me to my second question. Water changes. I've read mixed results where some sources say water changes are good for cycling and others saying it's not essential. I kind of would like to do a water change and clean up all the gross fish food that's been settling all over the bottom but I don't want to risk lowering the amount of ammonia needed to jump start the denitrifying bacteria growth. What do you guys think?
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Old 01-28-2021, 12:44 PM   #2
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This information here should answer your questions in detail about cycling.
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Old 01-29-2021, 11:25 AM   #3
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This information here should answer your questions in detail about cycling.
Thanks Fishwonder! That did help! I didn't see anything about the potential fungus so I guess it's probably nothing to worry about. I learned a lot about water changes and am happy to know I don't need to do them yet. I'll wait until the nitrates appear.
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Old 01-29-2021, 12:03 PM   #4
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No problem, enjoy that site!
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Old 01-29-2021, 01:35 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Primordialsoup View Post
Hi guys! I'm currently cycling my new big 90 gallon and also a standard 20 gallon I'm going to use for temporarily quarantining new fish and as a hospital tank if it comes to that. I'm going to be careful not to speak too soon but the good news is that the cycling seems to be going extraordinarily well. It's only been going for just over a week now and the ammonia is already almost at the 4.0 ppm mark which I've heard is really good. Once i actually reaches that point I plan on adding some cultured Stress Zyme Bactaria. Both tanks seem to to have it growing at the same rate. I did a ton of research beforehand from many different sources and I've been doing everything they said to do including putting in some flake food every day and occasionally adding some raw unseasoned meat, shrimp or fish to help boost it. Some of the smaller live plants I put in there I never actually got to root so I decided just to let them turn into ammonia as well.



Here's the thing though. I put in two small lily pad bulbs and after about a week they seem to be developing some white fungus like substance on them. I don't know if that means they are about to sprout or if I should remove them. Also we had fish for dinner maybe a week ago and I put two chunks I cut off a raw swordfish steak in each tank. A few days ago I noticed a similar white fungus like material growing on the piece in the 90 gallon so I removed it about two nights ago and added a raw piece of the chicken we were preparing that night. Now only two days later the chicken piece has the same white fuzz all over it while the original piece of swordfish in the 20 gallon tank is still in there and hasn't gotten fuzzy at all. I don't know if this is a good sign or a bad sign. For all I know it could just be the meat beginning to flake and looking fuzzy due to the influence of the water.



That leads me to my second question. Water changes. I've read mixed results where some sources say water changes are good for cycling and others saying it's not essential. I kind of would like to do a water change and clean up all the gross fish food that's been settling all over the bottom but I don't want to risk lowering the amount of ammonia needed to jump start the denitrifying bacteria growth. What do you guys think?


Um, there seems to be a bit going on here. I must admit I donít quite get the idea of using fish food over a pure ammonia solution but interested to see how it goes.

You could add nitrifying bacteria in a bottle now. As long as there is an ammonia reading, the bacteria population will be playing catch-up (nitrifying, not denitrifying unless you have a specific filter set up I assume).

Iíd remove the meat. I donít see the need of it with that ammonia reading going so well.

And a water change to remove any smell (and replenish elements - although that would be minor after only a week). Buy a bottle of ammonia for dosing if needed but even a 50% change will still leave you with 2ppm ammonia.

That main aim of water changes later on are to get e.g. nitrate readings back down to a readable level / replenish any needed elements. From memory someone cycled a bucket under a sink quite successfully but Iím a fan of keeping water fresh for when adding fish later on. That would be the other reason for removing the meat - a little wary on increasing bacterial / fungal population if not needed.

Sorry, canít comment on lily bulbs.
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Old 01-29-2021, 03:44 PM   #6
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Um, there seems to be a bit going on here. I must admit I donít quite get the idea of using fish food over a pure ammonia solution but interested to see how it goes.

You could add nitrifying bacteria in a bottle now. As long as there is an ammonia reading, the bacteria population will be playing catch-up (nitrifying, not denitrifying unless you have a specific filter set up I assume).

Iíd remove the meat. I donít see the need of it with that ammonia reading going so well.

And a water change to remove any smell (and replenish elements - although that would be minor after only a week). Buy a bottle of ammonia for dosing if needed but even a 50% change will still leave you with 2ppm ammonia.

That main aim of water changes later on are to get e.g. nitrate readings back down to a readable level / replenish any needed elements. From memory someone cycled a bucket under a sink quite successfully but Iím a fan of keeping water fresh for when adding fish later on. That would be the other reason for removing the meat - a little wary on increasing bacterial / fungal population if not needed.

Sorry, canít comment on lily bulbs.

Thanks Delapool! I did end up removing the meat! I asked the same question more or less on another forum I'm a member of and they were definitely talking about harmful pollutants. It also turns out the white stuff on the bulbs is just harmless biofilm. I'm glad I can add the bacteria now! That should speed things up slightly I'm hoping!

That's definitely what I thought about water changes, that they're mainly needed for reducing nitrates. I'll for sure check later though and make sure there's no smell coming from the tank and if there is I'll change some of the water. I'll also keep an eye on the fish food ammonia levels and I might end up getting some of the bottled stuff!
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Old 01-29-2021, 07:06 PM   #7
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Found the conversion FYI

1 ppm ammonia --> 2.7 ppm nitrite --> 3.6 ppm nitrate.

For every gram of ammonia oxidised into nitrate 4.8 grams of oxygen is used, 7.14 grams of calcium carbonate is used.
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