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Old 05-25-2022, 05:17 AM   #1
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Not getting an ammonia spike while cycling planted tank

Hello,
I've been cycling a new tank for almost two weeks now, but I cannot get the ammonia to spike.
The tank has 4 pink rotala stems, 2 small crypts and a dwarf hair grass. It's about 32 Liters or 8.4 gallons (I'm just going to put a betta in it) and has a HOB filter. I've been adding a good pinch of tropical fish flakes twice a day and testing for ammonia once daily, but the water won't show any sort of spike (I potentially got a 0.25ppm but the colour was hard judge so may have been less). I'm assuming the plants are just consuming the ammonia as fast as I'm putting it in.

I'm wondering how I will know when the tank is cycled and safe to add a fish to. Is there something else I should be doing? Should I just wait for nitrAtes to be present or will the plants just gobble them up too?

Thanks in advance!

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Old 05-25-2022, 06:20 AM   #2
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I really dont like using fish food as an ammonia source. Its difficult to know how much you need to add to get ammonia up to a level to cycle a tank. On the face of it you arent adding enough fish food. Plants will take a little ammonia up, but i doubt what you have will be taking up 2ppm ammonia which is how much you need to be adding per day to say you are cycled.

I would either get some aquarium specific ammonium chloride so you know exactly how much ammonia is going in and how quickly it is being cycled out, or get your betta and go fish in. 1 betta in a planted 8g tank should be quite safe as long as you keep on top of water changes to keep the water safe.

If your plants are taking up all the ammonia, then you are cycled. It doesnt really matter if the ammonia is being consumed by plants or bacteria. Its all part of the nitrogen cycle. I would add that if not much ammonia is going to nitrate you need to look at an all in one liquid fertiliser that has a good source of nitrogen in it (not many are). For your plants health you really want nitrate up around 20ppm.
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Old 05-25-2022, 06:57 AM   #3
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Thanks, that's really helpful. I think I may just have to go and get a betta as apparently it's near impossible to find the right ammonia in Australia (where I live) as it's considered a dangerous substance or something. Appreciate all the advice!
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Old 05-25-2022, 07:39 AM   #4
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Dont try buying ammonia. Get something aquarium specific like Dr Tims Ammonium Chloride.

https://www.natureaquariums.com.au/p...monia-chloride
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