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Old 07-24-2013, 11:47 PM   #1 
NeptunesMom
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Cycling Help

I'm trying to cycle a 20 g NPT. I tried a silent cycle, but it doesn't appear to be working .

My parameters:

Ammonia: .25
Nitrites: .25
Nitrates: 80 ppm-160 ppm.

I have:

5 Amazon Swords
5 Bunches of Anacharis
3 Wisteria
5 South American Swords
Duckweed
Moneywort
1 Marimo Moss Ball
1 Java Fern
2 Anubis

I have 4 dead ghost shrimp (I put them in to test how the "silent cycle" was going... that's when I realized it wasn't going well). I left the dead shrimp in the tank, in hopes it would help with the ammonia build up to help with the cycle.

I did use Seachem Flourish and API Root Tabs (9 of them) in the tank.

Is there anyway to salvage the "silent cycle" or should I just go through the cycling process (since it seems I'm going that way anyway)?
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Old 07-25-2013, 04:55 AM   #2 
Hallyx
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The term "silent cycle" is mislesding, as you're finding out. The only real cycle is the "nitrogen cycle," which uses a combination of nitrifying bacteria in a two-part process to eliminate ammonia. A planted tank uses plants to process and eliminate ammonia directly. Not a cycle, although people still use the term.

The more plants you have, the less nitrifying bacteria you need...and vice-versa. If you're reading anything above 0.0ppm ammonia, you either need more plants or more bacteria.

I would suggest lightly stocking the tank as your ammonia source, monitoring carefully, until the plants and bacteria reach parity and your tank is...er, well...free of ammonia/nitrite and your nitrate is >10ppm.

PS: A nitrate reading of >80ppm is probably a testing error. If you're using the API two-part nitrate test shake the #2 bottle for a long time or try this:
Remove the dropper part of the bottle with pliers, carefully. Drop in a bead or piece of gravel. This turns it into a rattle-can for easy and complete mixing.

Last edited by Hallyx; 07-25-2013 at 05:00 AM.
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Old 07-25-2013, 10:35 AM   #3 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hallyx View Post
The term "silent cycle" is mislesding, as you're finding out. The only real cycle is the "nitrogen cycle," which uses a combination of nitrifying bacteria in a two-part process to eliminate ammonia. A planted tank uses plants to process and eliminate ammonia directly. Not a cycle, although people still use the term.

The more plants you have, the less nitrifying bacteria you need...and vice-versa. If you're reading anything above 0.0ppm ammonia, you either need more plants or more bacteria.

I would suggest lightly stocking the tank as your ammonia source, monitoring carefully, until the plants and bacteria reach parity and your tank is...er, well...free of ammonia/nitrite and your nitrate is >10ppm.

PS: A nitrate reading of >80ppm is probably a testing error. If you're using the API two-part nitrate test shake the #2 bottle for a long time or try this:
Remove the dropper part of the bottle with pliers, carefully. Drop in a bead or piece of gravel. This turns it into a rattle-can for easy and complete mixing.
I have used the API liquid test many times before, and never had it test that high before. Everytime I use a timer, and shake it for the required time, and then usually add at least 10 seconds onto the shake. The color was a deep crimson, almost blood color. I will try adding something to the inside though to see if that changes the test. I'll retest today as well.

I can't figure out how many more plants I need.

I thought I overstocked on the plants with the fastest growth and best nitrogen "processing" ability. What other plants should I use? I did forget I have hornwort in there too. It's just two pieces, but they are probably each about 8-10" long now.

What fish should I use? I was planning a community, the fish I've been looking at (not all because it would be a WAY overstock) are:

Guppies
Rasboras
Platys
Cories
Dwarf Loaches
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Old 07-25-2013, 06:59 PM   #4 
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I wouldn't cycle with fish. Cycling with fish leaves them stressed and more prone to illness, which can infect the healthy stock you add later.

Get yourself some pure ammonia. You don't want any added colorings, smells, or detergents. Give the bottle a shake, if it foams up and gets soapy, it will harm the tank. It can be tricky to find, I won't lie. I got my bottle at Ace Hardware. A little lasts a long way.

For a planted tank, the rule of thumb is to have the floor about 75% covered in plants.

And nitrates can definitely get high, especially when cycling. I know I had a spike of nitrates to about 80ppm myself!

Also, what kind and how much lighting do you have? How long do you leave it on for? I know that where there's not enough light or CO2, photosynthesis (and thus nitrogen uptake) slows down.

Last edited by Flyby Stardancer; 07-25-2013 at 07:03 PM.
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Old 07-25-2013, 08:30 PM   #5 
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Originally Posted by Flyby Stardancer View Post
I wouldn't cycle with fish. Cycling with fish leaves them stressed and more prone to illness, which can infect the healthy stock you add later.

Get yourself some pure ammonia. You don't want any added colorings, smells, or detergents. Give the bottle a shake, if it foams up and gets soapy, it will harm the tank. It can be tricky to find, I won't lie. I got my bottle at Ace Hardware. A little lasts a long way.

For a planted tank, the rule of thumb is to have the floor about 75% covered in plants.

And nitrates can definitely get high, especially when cycling. I know I had a spike of nitrates to about 80ppm myself!

Also, what kind and how much lighting do you have? How long do you leave it on for? I know that where there's not enough light or CO2, photosynthesis (and thus nitrogen uptake) slows down.
Honestly, I do not know. The light came with the tank. I've been going with low light- medium light plants since I did not know the watts. The plants are all thriving well. One of my South American Swords has already grown about 2". The others aren't growing as fast, but they are looking well. The tank is a tall, not a long, so I would say it is probably about 75% covered. I mean, there are 10 sword plants in there alone. The duckweed covers about 1/3 of the tank as well, although it seems to be not handling the filter well.

I am using a sponge filter, and have only been using it for two days. I was hoping to get away without a filter, but since I realized the silent cycle wasn't working... I went and got one.

I still have two shrimp alive in the tank, so I would prefer not to use pure ammonia. I would like to try to keep them alive. I tried to catch the little boogers last night to move them, but they were not going to go without a fight, so I gave up and decided to let them be.
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Old 07-26-2013, 02:54 AM   #6 
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If it's a CFL and you're getting good growth, then I wouldn't worry as much about the light, then.

If you only have the shrimp in there providing ammonia, then the filter cycle will only grow enough BB for those two shrimps and then you'll experience ammonia and nitrite spikes when you add fish. Honestly, I'm not really sure what to do about trying to cycle with them in the tank. The only thing I would be able to think of would be to try to use a water conditioner that detoxifies ammonia and nitrite, and add some of it every day while cycling, and do daily water changes.
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Old 07-26-2013, 09:34 AM   #7 
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Right. That's what Prime is for.

Your filter provides room for bacteria colonies.With all those plants, I'd think pretty small ones.

You asked, "I can't figure out how many more plants I need."

The answer is ....MORE... as many as you can maintain.

You know how to take accurate readings. Go by that for water changes.

Last edited by Hallyx; 07-26-2013 at 09:45 AM.
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Old 07-26-2013, 11:21 AM   #8 
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I'll pick up some more plants today then.

There are, I think, 5 total dead shrimp in there with 2 live shrimp. I haven't taken the dead ones out in hopes it will help boost the ammonia levels. I feel bad for the two in there, but I'm not sure what to do with them. They are not cooperating with me for catching them. I was going to give them to my boyfriends brother, but after learning his tank maintenance I will NEVER give him a living creature. He has had his tank for a year, and has never changed the water. "shudders"
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Old 07-26-2013, 03:27 PM   #9 
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Also keep in mind that root tabs will release nitrates.
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Old 07-26-2013, 03:36 PM   #10 
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Also keep in mind that root tabs will release nitrates.
That's one of the things I was wondering about, and that was why I mentioned them. I noticed what I thought was one of them sticking slightly out of the substrate. I'll cover it up tonight when I plant more plants.
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