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Old 02-16-2013, 08:26 PM   #1 
JessJesting
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Cycling 2.5 gallon

Hello! I am new to the forums! I am only slightly new to fishkeeping. My father always had fish growing up and he taught me much but this is my first attempts setting up a 2.5 for myself. Since I can't request help from my father I've chosen to ask you lovely folk!

So about my situation..
I am attempting to cycle a 2.5 gallon planted tank for some cherry shrimp and a betta. Yes I know these are the hardest to cycle due to surface space for the beneficial bacteria to grow on. I am familiar with the nitrogen cycle and how it should cycle. Ok so here's the deal.. As previously stated its a 2.5 gallon, planted tank. I have been checking the water regularly with a liquid testing. It has been cycling since the first of the year. All seemed to go as it should. Day 10.. ammonia at zero, with some nitrites showing. The nitrites increased slightly around day 11 and then all the sudden dropped to zero; ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates all zero. Around day 21 nitrites appeared again and the cycle seemed to be going all good. Eventually nitrates appeared and eventually got very high but all the while nitrites stayed very high as well. Ammonia zero to .25 . Then one day I tested the tank and nothing all three at zero again. Sigh =( I waited and a few days later, some nitrites and nitrates appeared but not much of either. And then two days later back to zero, all three. ???

Someone please help me figure what is going on inside that tank!! ALSO I have noticed little white dots swimming around. Could this be the interuption to my cycle? I can't see them in the water but when I look at the black part of the heater I can see them. At first I couldnt even tell if they were alive they are so tiny. They definitely are though. They swim around.
I've never had a problem at all with the ammonia. Except during the first week and a half where it did get high, right before the nitrites showed up for the first time. The tank is kept at 78 degrees with a floating thermometer showing temps. The water is always clear. I have a java fern (growing babies from a couple leaves), hornwort, anubias nana, and a dwarf lily. All the plants are doing really well. I use an azoo palm filter with bio-media and a prefilter on the intake. The heater is a tetra heater I don't remember what kind. I have a coramax bulb set on an 8 hour timer for the plants.

Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
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Old 02-16-2013, 08:33 PM   #2 
Hadoken Kitty
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I believe that the problem lies within trying to cycle such a small tank. Most cycles can be very successful in 5 gallon and above, but a 2.5 seems like a bit of a stretch. I would just do weekly water changes instead of trying to push a cycle that will be restarted with your water changes anyways. Two 50% with gravel vac should be alright (this is keeping in mind your live plants).
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Old 02-16-2013, 08:59 PM   #3 
VJM
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I'm glad you asked this, since I have the same question. Can't wait to see your outcome!
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Old 02-16-2013, 09:51 PM   #4 
callistra
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Your plants are effecting your cycle. Not only are you breeding bacteria to eat through ammonia and nitrites, but some of your plants are probably also eating ammonia and nitrates.. so this is why things are doing this. You can both stem and root plants, yes?

Once you see no ammonia or nitrites for 2 weeks, I would consider it cycled.
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Old 02-16-2013, 11:08 PM   #5 
ao
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I will stock the tank already. you have enought plants to take up nutrients especially since you said the plants are doing well.
were you dosing ammonia to feed the cycle?
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Old 02-17-2013, 03:58 AM   #6 
Hallyx
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I applaud your efforts to cycle your smaller tank. This is ultimately best for your fish, in my opinion.

Your cycle has crashed twice, it seems. Not unusual when dealing with low ammonia readings. What are you using as an ammonia source?

A few tips to speed things along:
---keep your ammonia >2.0ppm until you get nitrite and nitrate, then back off to <1.0ppm
---get your temperature up around 82*
---run your filter on high to increase aeration

Your tank isn't really cycled until you're producing nitrate, with ammonia and nitrite at 0.0ppm.

The hornwort is your only plant that eats enough ammonia to mean anything. Just keep it. In fact, getting more fast-growing stem plants like Wisteria, and floaters like watersprite or frogbit will enhance the safety of your tank once it's cycled, by preventing ammonia spikes and mini-cycles. Don't know if that dwarf lily is a fully-aquatic plant. Check the plant thread for more advice.

I forget what the little white dots are, but they're not dangerous.

Keep us apprised of your progress.
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Old 02-17-2013, 05:33 AM   #7 
ao
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^Hallyx, dwarf lilies are also pretty ravenous feeders
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Old 02-17-2013, 01:02 PM   #8 
JessJesting
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Thanks for the all quick responses! This has all been very helpful!

I had wondered if maybe the plants were affecting the cycle somehow.. My source of ammonia was a piece of shrimp wrapped in cheesecloth. It still see it in the corner of the tank but it seems to have disintergrated some now. I had thought of switching over to liquid ammonia to keep ammonia levels high since they dropped down and never rose again.

At one point my nitrates were very high in the tank but the nitrites were as well. It seems like once they start rising they don't ever go back down. They did drop a little eventually. I had thought maybe I was getting somewhere, when suddenly everything dropped to zero. Soo.. Should I add ammonia to get back up to 4ppm? And if so what would be the best way? another shrimp?

The dwarf lily I'm pretty sure is fully aquatic. Nuphar Stellata. I can only find little bits of info on it. The lily and the hornwort are doing the best.
I also have an anubias which has a new leaf and java fern which has babies.
Watersprite and wisteria were both some plants I had wanted to get but I wasn't sure if my lighting would be sufficient?

I tried looking up the little dots online but I have no idea what I'm looking for lol. They are so small! I'm glad they aren't dangerous. I won't worry about them then.
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Old 02-17-2013, 06:13 PM   #9 
Hallyx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aokashi View Post
^Hallyx, dwarf lilies are also pretty ravenous feeders
Maybe I'm thinking of Peace lilies. Are these dwarf lilies fully submerged or are/can they be grown emmerged? I think I want some.

If your nitrite exceeded 5.0ppm that may have crashed your cycle. Pure ammonia from ACE hardware or Dr Tim's online is preferred over smelly rotting shrimp as an ammonia source.

You might consider Dr Tim's One-and-Only or Tetra Safestart or ATM Colony. These contain the nitrifying bacteria you want. Of course patience is cheaper.

A cycled tank will always produce nitrate as an end product, so that's what you're going for.

Y'know, Jess, if you get enough fast-growing plants in there, you won't have to even bother with the nitrogen cycle. Your plants will eat enough ammonia for a lightly stocked tank with just a Betta (and maybe a couple of shrimp).

You might ask about the little dots over in the "disease" section. There are folks there that know about that.

Last edited by Hallyx; 02-17-2013 at 06:15 PM.
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Old 02-17-2013, 06:55 PM   #10 
Perseusmom
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I just read you have some live plants so those little white dots you are seeing could be newly hatched snails. Most live plants will come with snails or snail eggs and most the time the snails are pond snails. They are harmless but later on if you start getting to many of them and want to rid your tank of some there are ways to do that like putting a glass jar in your tank with a slice of cucumber in it and the snails will be all over it by the morning so you take the jar out and do away with the snails.
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