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Old 01-27-2007, 04:59 PM   #1
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New Tank Cycle

Hi guys, setting up a new 12 Gallon Eclipse tank.

1/23/2007 - Initial setup, 12 gallons of tap water, water dechlorinater that
came with the tank, gravel, and heater. Temp = 80.4*.

1/25/2007 - First water test: NH3 = 1.0, KH=6, NO2=0, pH=7.8.
- Added sponge for seed bacteria from LFS.
- Added several plants to the tank: Anacharis, Wisteria, Water
Sprite, Micro Sword, and Anubias barteri.

1/27/2007 - 2nd Water Test: NH3 = 1.0, KH=6, NO2 = Trace Amounts, pH=7.8.

So thats where I am now. How are things looking? Any suggestions on anything I should add/do. Any estimates on when I'll be ready for fish? (And what exactly are my numbers supposed to be at when the cycle is done?)

Thanks,
David
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Old 01-27-2007, 05:21 PM   #2
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Congrats on your setup, and good luck on your cycle!!!

I think since you're cycling without fish you're going to want to boost your ammonia reading up several ppm. Do you have an ammonia source you're planning to use? I assume the 1ppm you have now is from your tap water.

I don't know how the plants will affect your cycle, or how you should manage it, so hopefully one of the others can comment on that.

When your ammonia and NO2 get to 0, and you're able to convert 2ppm or so ammonia all the way out in 24 hours, that's how you know you'll be cycled.

There's several other threads on here about cycles. As you can see from these threads, some people cycle in under 2 weeks, and some (like me) are a month in and still not done. There's too many factors involved to try to predict how long it's going to take. It seems, though, the better quality of your seed material, the quicker it will go, but that's just one of the factors.

Raising your temp to mid-upper 80s and adding in additional aeration should help. You can get the additional aeration simply by keeping the water level a bit lower in your tank, so the flow from the filter produces more oxygen exchange.

Good Luck, and keep us posted on how it goes!
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Old 01-27-2007, 05:23 PM   #3
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Welcome to AA

check out the article section it will help explain it all
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40gal community - wet/dry/sump -1.8wpg - planted w/Brazilian Sword,Melon Sword,Anacharis,Bannana plant,Crypt,Hornwort,Java moss
Fish - 3 Neons-1 Chocolate Albino Pleco-1 Gold Spot Pleco-2 Lavender Gouramis

55 gal QT/Breeder/Experiment
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https://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewtopic.php?t=95417
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Old 01-28-2007, 12:41 PM   #4
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You will need either some pure ammonia to dose or a shrimp to put in your tank to rot to kick start the ammonia. The plants will help to use up nitrate once the tank is cycled. If you don't dose ammonia the seeded media you got from the lfs will also be killed off.
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Old 01-28-2007, 12:57 PM   #5
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Just a word of caution, light + free ammonia can lead to algae problems very quickly especially green water. I would not add any more ammonia. Do a water change to get nitrites and ammonia to exceptable levels,under .5 ppm and then add a fish. Keep on top of your parameters, do water changes as needed and when it looks stable add another fish.

The alternative is to wait on the plants, turn off the lights and do a full fishless cycle. How heavily planted is the tank?
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Old 01-29-2007, 07:47 AM   #6
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David,

I would highly recommend removing the plants and going with a fishless cycle in the dark. As Rich mentioned, you're in a very precarious position right now. You have free ammonia and your lights are on for your plants. This is normally what causes algae outbreaks in planted tanks when a fish dies, or when a plant dies and rots. It can be VERY difficult even for seasoned planted aquarists to get back to a time without algae.

Make it easy on yourself. Remove the plants (you can probably keep the anubias in there as it is a slow grower and can survive in the dark for weeks/months), get a liquid ammonia source, and go that route.

Because you have seed material AND have had some plants that also have bacteria on them your cycle should go relatively quickly (a couple weeks). Check the articles section and read the Fishless Cycling one for some tips to speed up the cycle.

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Old 01-30-2007, 12:48 PM   #7
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Re: New Tank Cycle

Quote:
Originally Posted by David14259
1/23/2007 - Initial setup, 12 gallons of tap water, water dechlorinater that
came with the tank, gravel, and heater. Temp = 80.4*.

1/25/2007 - First water test: NH3 = 1.0, KH=6, NO2=0, pH=7.8.
- Added sponge for seed bacteria from LFS.
- Added several plants to the tank: Anacharis, Wisteria, Water
Sprite, Micro Sword, and Anubias barteri.

1/27/2007 - 2nd Water Test: NH3 = 1.0, KH=6, NO2 = Trace Amounts, pH=7.8.
1/30/2007 - NH3=Trace, NO2=.5, KH=5, PH=7.8.

So, how are we looking? A few more days you reckon? Should I do a PWC?
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Old 01-30-2007, 01:52 PM   #8
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Are you dosing with an ammonia source or was that 1ppm from the tap (probably chloramines from the tap or decaying plant matter)? I would not do a PWC since your trying to build up your bacterial filter which requires ammonia and nitrIte for them to consume. But you're also almost out of ammonia which your bacteria need to feed on.

The problem is that at this point we have no idea what your actual bacterial biological filter is capable of. You have both plants and seed material.

Any ammonia that the plants consume is not converted to nitrIte or nitrAte, its used by the plant. So what you should be seeing is numbers that don't make sense. For example no ammonia, some nitrIte, and very little nitrAte. This would mean that the plants are taking care of the free ammonia, but any ammonia that was converted by the bacteria is essentially "stuck" waiting for the nitrIte to nitrAte bacteria to build up (plants can use nitrIte but it is the least desirable as it requires the most energy to get nitrogen from).

The main concern as I see it is what happens when something goes wrong with your plants? It is very easy to become deficient in a macro or micro nutrient (mainly CO2), and then your plants become ineffective in removing the ammonia that fish will continue to produce.

It's why in theory starting new with a heavily planted tank might allow you to stock on day 1, and why it sounds so attractive. But just head over to the planted forum to see all the problems people are having with trying to grow the plants, while keeping the algae at bay, and that's in fully cycled tanks (where there should be only trace undetectable amounts of ammonia). Usually in those cases ammonia is NOT the cause of the algae (nor is the lack of a nitrogen source either). Too much light or too little CO2 is the #1 culprit, followed by probably potassium, then iron/traces/phosphate. The planted tank is FAR more difficult to do right compared to just keeping fish.

And I'm speaking from 1st hand experience here. This is just a taste of what I've battled my 1st year with a planted tank (that was fully cycled for 2 months prior to adding the first plant):

Here's the tank with a GW algae outbreak that came about from an ammonia spike after one of my fish died:



This is filtered out GW algae (diatom filter $95):


Here's my java ferns after a nasty bout with BBA which almost took over my tank (due to fluctuating CO2 levels):



Here's my hygro after a potassium/CO2 deficiency:

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