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Old 08-21-2015, 03:13 PM   #1
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Having trouble with cycle....

Another cycle problem thread, I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I've researched and understand what should be happening, but it's not happening.

I set up my 10g, put in my sand, I have my driftwood in there, it's been baked and sterilezed. I put in some live plants aswell. I've got everything up and running, even using majestic pure ammonia and a filthy filter foam from a privately owned fish store. I've treated my water with prime and usually add an extra drop to be sure that it's being treated right. I've been following everything I've been recommended and read on here and elsewhere on cycling an aquarium.

My problem is, it's been about a week now, and my ammonia hasn't fallen, no nitrite has appeared whatsoever, and nitrates are only 5ppm or so which is from my tap.

I'm beginning to think that maybe my water has high chlorine levels and that 2 drops prime per gallon isn't enough? And it may be instantly killing my seeded sponges. I was hoping for an instacycle, that didn't happen. My ph in the aquarium is 7.8-8.2, could that kill the bacteria?

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Old 08-21-2015, 03:30 PM   #2
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By the way, here is a picture.
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Old 08-21-2015, 03:36 PM   #3
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Old 08-21-2015, 05:59 PM   #4
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What is your ammonia level now?
The seeded media you added hasn't had enough time to convert the amount of ammonia you dosed. You wouldn't see nitrites yet, so that's normal.
Just give it time, if you're using a reliable test kit you'll begin to see conversion happening.
Your ph is fine and will not kill your bacteria.
Nice looking little tank
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Old 08-21-2015, 10:41 PM   #5
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My ammonia level now looks to be 1 ppm. Maybe 2. I'm using API FW master kit.

And thank you! I'm gonna have a lot more plants when I get it up and running. Still looking for a nice rock too. Tested a lava rock with muratic acid but it fizzed...
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Old 08-22-2015, 06:20 AM   #6
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Should I be worried about a clear looking slime substance growing next to the driftwood? Will this die off on its own or should I remove the wood?
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Old 08-22-2015, 06:43 AM   #7
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I would have not used a privately owned fish stores filter who knows what's in that... dechlorification and than add BB for a new tank, that's just what I do, and comes out fine. Maybe some do it different idk.

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Old 08-22-2015, 08:21 AM   #8
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Should I be worried about a clear looking slime substance growing next to the driftwood? Will this die off on its own or should I remove the wood?

It is a normal occurrence (fungus). Once the nutrients are exhausted it will stop growing. I had it once and after a week of looking at it in the tank, I threw it into a pot and gave it a good boil. It did not grow back.
As for the seeded sponge, it depends on how much ammonia it was processing when it was in use at the lfs. Was it in a heavily populated tank? Was there other bio media present in that tank? I would give it more time. I don't think you killed off the BB in the sponge. You can go higher on the Prime dosage.


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Old 08-22-2015, 11:51 AM   #9
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It is a normal occurrence (fungus). Once the nutrients are exhausted it will stop growing. I had it once and after a week of looking at it in the tank, I threw it into a pot and gave it a good boil. It did not grow back.
As for the seeded sponge, it depends on how much ammonia it was processing when it was in use at the lfs. Was it in a heavily populated tank? Was there other bio media present in that tank? I would give it more time. I don't think you killed off the BB in the sponge. You can go higher on the Prime dosage.


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+1. I'd dose ammonia to keep the level around 2ppm, then just continue to monitor ph occasionally. You have sped your cycle up by adding the used filter foam, now it's just a matter of patience!
Sounds like you are on your way!
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Old 08-22-2015, 12:24 PM   #10
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Okay, thank you guys. Got a little worried I was doing something wrong. I'll just let it be for now. If the slime doesn't die off in a week or so I'll just take the wood out and boil it.

With prime, overdosing won't harm anything will it? I just like to make sure there's plenty to be safe. Like I said I usually do an extra drop or two.

The filter foam came from a 75 or 100 tank with 4 big African( i think) fish. Don't know the type but they were as big as a hand. The foam itself was pretty dirty, swirled it around in water I sucked out of my aquaroum beforehand to get some debris off, turned the water in the bucket brown/black. And thrn I stuffed the entire thing into the filter and put my biomax pellets on top of it.

Also, if you guys could recommend some good stocking for a nice schooling fish, I would appreciate it! I was going to do tetras, but since my water is very alkaline and I know tetras like acidic water I'm not doing that anymore. What fish would be more suited for 7.5+ ph?

Also sorry for the triple posting up top, been using my phone.
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Old 08-22-2015, 01:59 PM   #11
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My ph is in the 7.6 range and I keep all sorts of fish, including cardinal and neon tetras. Most fish will adapt to your ph. Your choices will be limited with a 10g tank. but IMO a nice school of tetras would be perfect in a planted tank.
You don't need to worry about dosing prime. As mentioned before, just dose within the range directed.
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Old 08-23-2015, 01:40 PM   #12
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To help the cycle along you might want to turn the heat up to 82, lower the water level so the filter splashes & adds oxygen, and even add a tiny but if baking soda to bring the ph up to 8ish. These encourage the bacteria to grow. I've most often seen tanks cycle in about 11 days from seeded media, but they have to be warm, aerated, and basic (high ph).

After you do your post-cycle water change the 7.5 ph is going to be fine for pretty much any beginner fish. They need it stable more than they need it to be precise.

Beware the bottled bacterias, it's tempting but some are the "right" bacteria and some aren't and many don't work at all.


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Old 08-24-2015, 03:21 AM   #13
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The plants in you tank looks like java fern and anubias which shouldnt be planted in the substrate as the rhizome will rot rather to it to the wood or a rock.
Your tank look awesome

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Old 08-24-2015, 07:10 AM   #14
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The plants in you tank looks like java fern and anubias which shouldnt be planted in the substrate as the rhizome will rot rather to it to the wood or a rock.
Your tank look awesome

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Good catch, I did not see that!
Also, I noticed the sponge in the middle of the tank. Any chance of it going into the filter? If not, perhaps you can place it just below the air stone to maximize flow.


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Old 08-24-2015, 10:12 PM   #15
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Okay, so I pulled the driftwood out last night to boil it. I came home today and tested my water. The ammonia has dropped to .25, the nitrite has risen to 1-2ppm overnight, and there is a small amount of nitrates at 10 ppm now.

My water temp rests at about 79-80 since I'm in california and my rooms stays warm. I do have heater though.

I tested my Ph and it's skyrocketed to the high 8s. Is this normal? I tested the ph right after I dosed the ammonia back to 4ppm.

Also thanks for the tip about the plants, I'll attach thrm to the wood after I boil it. Is there any plants that I can plant into the substrate?
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Old 08-25-2015, 01:27 AM   #16
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You can try amazon swords where i am from they are very common and they are easy to keep
What substrate do you have?
You may consider some root tabs like tetra or seachem


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Old 08-25-2015, 01:34 AM   #17
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As for the ph, you can age your water for a week before waterchanges as this drop the ph, you would want it around 7 or lower for tetras or other amazon species

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Old 08-31-2015, 04:38 AM   #18
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Okay here's an update:

So as of today, ammonia consistently reaches 0ppm from 3-4 within a 24 hour period.

My nitrites are still sky rocket high and I haven't noticed any drop yet, dark purple.

Nitrates are also dark red, 80ppm+ so that must mean that there is nitrite conversion.

I did a 50% water change the other day to bring down the levels but they are still above measurement. Nitrites still won't drop to 0 and nitrates keep rising so im not sure what's going on. I dose the ammonia everyday to 4ppm.

Also, I'm getting really bad brown algae growth spots everywhere now, covering all the sand and working its way higher up on the glass and covering the plants leaves. I scrape it off the plants everyday.

any further recommendations?
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Old 08-31-2015, 07:52 PM   #19
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Hmm, sounds like you're creating a beast of a bb colony. I don't know if it's necessary to dose ammonia to 4ppm. Anyway, still sounds like a nice cycle going on. It takes longer for a tank to be able to handle 4ppm, but the good thing is that once it balances out you'll be able to fully stock right off the bat.
How's that pH?
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