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Old 02-08-2014, 11:49 AM   #1
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My first Planted Aquarium

Hello all,

I just started my first planted tank. I am starting with a 10 gallon tank. I got the plants on Feb. 6th. I'm trying to do a fishless cycle. I have an air stone, filter, heater. All working fine. I added ammonia to get the process started. My ammonia levels are above 8 ppm. I just did a 20% water change today to try and bring the ammonia level down to 4 ppm. I am using the API freshwater master kit. My plants that looked great when I got them look less than great now. I know this process takes time and plants may get damaged and melt during it. My question is, is 8 ppm too high and if so do I have to do daily water changes till it comes down to 4 ppm? I just don't want my plants damaged any more than they already are. Any other advice is welcome! Thanks.
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Old 02-08-2014, 11:58 AM   #2
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8 ppm is extremely high. 4 ppm is also still dangerous. You want ammonia to be at 0 ppm.
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Old 02-08-2014, 11:59 AM   #3
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Though ammonia may not be the only problem. What plants do you have and what type of lighting? How long has the tank been cycling?
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Old 02-08-2014, 12:04 PM   #4
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I don't have any light running right now because I do not want an algae problem. I thought that if I had light early in the cycle process algae is more likely to grow. As far as plants go I have:

some dwarf sage, amazon sword, anubias, ancharis, penny wort, cyrpt wendtii red, java fern.
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Old 02-08-2014, 12:06 PM   #5
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So you are growing the plants without light?
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Old 02-08-2014, 12:09 PM   #6
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I know plants need light, but from what I've read and heard the first day or two should be without light. That could be wrong though?
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Old 02-08-2014, 12:11 PM   #7
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The OP is doing a fishless cycle so needs to have ammonia levels in order to cycle the tank. OP you need to shoot for 4ppm of ammonia.

The plants have to have light and the proper amount. What type of lighting do you have? You need to put it on the tank and run it daily for 6 hours during your cycle. Keeping the photoperiod lower will help keep algae in check. You will get diatoms eventually as all new tanks generally do but other than that algae shouldn't be an issue and plants should begin to rebound.

Also what temp are you keeping your tank at?
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Old 02-08-2014, 12:14 PM   #8
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I have a 3 watt LED hood that came with the tank. There are three light strips so I assume that is 1 watt per light strip. There is also some natural light coming through my window. (no direct sunlight on the tank).
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Old 02-08-2014, 12:14 PM   #9
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Temp is at 76 degrees F.
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Old 02-08-2014, 12:16 PM   #10
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Not really sure how to get the heater warmer because it does not have a temperature dial on it. I would have to buy a bigger better heater.
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Old 02-08-2014, 12:57 PM   #11
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That stock lighting is very low light so algae won't be a problem. I suggest running lighting that low for 8 hours and if you see any algae then lower it. You don't need to use ferts during cycling but I do suggest getting some root tabs and place them under the swords and crypts as both are heavy root feeders.
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Old 02-08-2014, 01:40 PM   #12
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Do you suggest doing daily water changes till the ammonia is down to 4 ppm?
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Old 02-08-2014, 01:43 PM   #13
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Should I do a big water change instead 50% or more?
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Old 02-08-2014, 01:45 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zgibbs View Post
Do you suggest doing daily water changes till the ammonia is down to 4 ppm?

If your ammonia is at 8ppm then a 50% change will take it down to 4ppm. By changing half the water your halving the ammonia level. If you got to 4ppm and then did another 50% change you'll end up with 2ppm ammonia. By doing 20% changes youll take ages to lower it as your only cutting it by a fifth each time. So after your initial 20% change from 8ppm your prob hovering at around 6.5ppm. Hope this helps
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Old 02-08-2014, 01:48 PM   #15
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Well then I will probably do a 50% right now then.
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Old 02-08-2014, 01:55 PM   #16
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Yea but like Rivercats said, if your doing a fishless cycle, ammonia at around 4ppm is good as you want your growing beneficial bacteria colony to have a food source. Youll begin to see a rise in nitrites. At that stage your next set of bacteria will begin to develop and colonise your tank. Keep dosing ammonia at 4ppm otherwise your first set of bacteria will die. When you start getting nitrates your almost there. Dose up ammonia again. When you next test ammonia and nitrite should be 0. Nitrates prob around 40. Your then ready for fish
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Old 02-08-2014, 01:56 PM   #17
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A cycled tank basically just means a tank that can convert your ammonia bio load to nitrates faster than its produced
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Old 02-08-2014, 01:59 PM   #18
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OK thanks. I am very worried about my plants right now as they do not look good. So I am hoping, praying, that they rebound. I understand that they can be damaged and not look healthy during this process.

How long do you think till I test for nitrites?
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Old 02-08-2014, 02:02 PM   #19
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Youve been giving plants no light. Plants NEED light. Sure they can survive for a few days without it but dont expect them to thrive lol
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Old 02-08-2014, 02:02 PM   #20
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Maybe a week. Might b 3 weeks. Theres no exact time span
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