You should have some Nitrate readings in a cycled tank.. having them is a sign of a good cycle, while ammonia and nitrites are at 0. A cycle halfway finished would have 5-20 ppm nitrates.
It's possible that as the bacteria processes the ammonia/nitrites the plants are absorbing the nitrates as they are produced. BUT you have only bamboo and moss balls (those moss balls are more a gimmick/decoration for aquariums, don't actually get rid of algae, etc). So I am not really confident that just the two bamboos would remove all nitrates.
Be very careful when adding in fish, do plenty of testing for the first couple of weeks as a big jump in ammonia can easily happen.
The fish are already added. I figured if the cycle hadn't completed I would've seen some level of anything in there, but it seemed clear. And still is >.<
I tested the kit on my other tanks (a 2.5 and 3g) and each of the chemicals works to show something (as those tanks are due for the second weekly change tonight).
So I guess either something's working well, or I've blundered into a fish-in cycle. Despite the readings, I'm doing a 50% change tomorrow and will continue with it once per week (plus gravel vacuuming). The fish have been in there for 5 days, I thought for sure something would read (and moss balls are a type of algae, so I don't think they'd eat algae).
And adding more plants like anacharis and java moss/fern once my lfs replenishes their stock at the end of the month.
Thanks for the responses. I'll just start testing every 2-3 days to watch for any sudden spikes if I screwed this up and it's cycling right now >.<.
Okay... so you have the API master test kit, correct?
There should be an expiration date on each of the bottles. Mine expires in 2017 and I just bought it brand new... So I am confused as to why you may think the test kit is old? Did you look at the expiration dates or buy it used?
Also, did you make sure to shake the living crap out of that nitrate bottle #2 and turn over your test vial after putting in bottle #1 to mix it up? You need to vigorously shake the #2 bottle for thirty seconds and shake the vial after adding both for at least a minute.
It is very possible that the tank could have fully cycled within that month when you did not have the test kit. In nature, I believe the nitrogen cycle works in a full circle, meaning ammonia turns to nitrites which turn to nitrates and the plants turn the nitrates into something else... Usually, in a tank, which is a closed system, the water needs changed because the nitrates don't revert back.
So either your plants are taking care of the nitrates or you may have not shaken that bottle well enough. OFL told me that the nitrate bottle #2 settles and thats why you need to shake it so much.
Last edited by AyalaCookiejar; 12-15-2012 at 11:50 PM.
I've shaken them both vigorously, but I guess I can shake them harder and for longer ^^;
And yes, I checked for expiration and the kit's done in 2015. But I tested it on my other tanks and it works. Well, nitrites and nitrates dont show, but there's hardly any ammonia in my other tanks for them to show. So I'll go test it with a vengeance! xD