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Old 02-27-2013, 11:37 AM   #1 
Fin Fancier
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My unfiltered tank is cycling

I've heard of the "silent cycle" that can go on in planted tanks, but I never assumed mine would qualify.
(I know the image isn't showing up, not sure how to fix it. If you right click and open it in a new tab it can be viewed, or at least that's what worked for me).

I have a six gallon pillar with some banana lillies, anacharis, wisteria, and water sprite. Is this enough to start a silent cycle? The tank is suppored by natural light and receives no ferilizers.

I first noticed something was off when I tested my water before my weekly water change and got a reading of 0 ammonia. So I decided to go on and test my nitrate and nitrate. Readings as follows:
- Ammonia: 0 ppm
- Nitrite: 50 - 1.0 ppm
- Nitrate 5.0 - 10 ppm

I'm assuming a water change is due to knock down my nitrites at the least, but I did a test on my tapwater as well and it comes up as 1.0 ppm without treatment. After some research I bought prime to detoxify that, but when I did a test of the treated and untreated water they both came up as 1.0 ppm. Would prime treated water, while showing 1.0 ppm, be less toxic?

I got the 6 gallon without a filter because I didn't want to deal with a cycle, but as long as there's one going on I'd like to know how to support it so it will finish out.

The question here is what is worse? High nitratites that are being converted into nitrates or doing a water change with water that is fairly high in ammonia?
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Old 02-27-2013, 12:04 PM   #2 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fin Fancier View Post
The question here is what is worse? High nitratites that are being converted into nitrates or doing a water change with water that is fairly high in ammonia?
In order of what is bad for fish,
1) AMMONIA
2) Nitrites
3) nitrates

Your decision on not filtering perplexes me. It sounds like you would prefer a lifetime of frequent water changes over a few weeks of cycling?

If your tap water is that high in ammonia you may have consider another source for your replenishment needs.
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Old 02-27-2013, 12:13 PM   #3 
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When I set up the tank I didn't have a water test kit, I didn't want to do it without knowing the levels. I knew I could handle the ammonia through water changes, so I used the change schedule recommended by this site for a 5 gallon with plants and no filter. I don't mind the water changes.
By the time I got the kit we were looking for a new apartment, so setting it up and going through a cycle I was going to kill in a month didn't seem all that practical, but I did start testing my water to make sure I was using the proper change schedule, that's what led me to my current problem.
So, I'm correct in assuming the prime does not detoxify ammonia? The whole reason I purchased it was that people seemed to recommend it when I googled "ammonia in tap water". I'm open to looking at alternate water sources, but from what I've read bottled water isn't all that great for bettas. I'm supposed to look for spring water, right?
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Old 02-27-2013, 12:41 PM   #4 
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I think precisely because you have ammonia straight from the tap is why you should cycle.
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Old 02-27-2013, 12:44 PM   #5 
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What you never want to use is distilled water. It is totally stripped of minerals.
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Old 02-27-2013, 12:50 PM   #6 
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Prime will detox the ammonia up to 48 hours than you will need to add more or do a water change and add more.
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Old 02-27-2013, 01:01 PM   #7 
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Thanks Persusmom. So if you use prime, when you test the treated water, it will still show up as having ammonia or did I not give it enough time? I tested 1 gallon of water 15 minutes after I'd treated it. If the ammonia is detoxified its possible I could use it for small partial water changes and over 48 hours the plants would convert it?

My other option would be if I can find a source of bottled water that has no ammonia I can do partial water changes. This will keep my nitrites down and allow my tank to finish what it has already started while keeping it safe for my fish?

Last edited by Fin Fancier; 02-27-2013 at 01:14 PM.
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Old 02-27-2013, 09:32 PM   #8 
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Prime will still show up as having ammonia in the tank. What is does is convert ammonia into it's non-toxic form, ammonium. Beneficial bacteria can still feed off it, so it won't slow a cycle, but it is no longer harmful to fish. If, like me, you have super-soft water with a pH under 7, this will happen anyway.
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