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Old 07-21-2011, 12:28 PM   #1 
Shaon
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Arrow Near the End of Cycling?

Before I start these are my readings (API Mater kit used):

Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrite: 0.25 ppm
Nitrate: 5 ppm (Somewhere between 0 and 5)

Well it's been 3 weeks and I am at this stage. I have been using the shrimp method during this time and I am hoping that I am close to the end :)

I have a few concerns though. I removed the shrimp (ammonia source) from my tank 3 days ago. Was this the right thing to do? Since the ammonia reached 0 I figured the shrimp was just dirtying up the tank at this point. If I am wrong and the shrimp should have stayed in, how long do I have to get another ammonia source?

Second question is, my nitrite is going down and soon it will reach 0 but weirdly enough my nitrate is still very low. I expected my nitrate to reach 10 ppm or something but I barely get a reading of 5 ppm and that is kind of pushing it. I have a few live plants in my tank and I did a water change yesterday. Should I expect a nitrate spike any time soon?

I feel that I'm so close yet so far and my anticipation for a betta is so hard to contain :) Any ideas on what I should look out for in this stage of the cycling process to avoid and mishaps once I get my Betta?

Again, all help is appreciated
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Old 07-21-2011, 05:00 PM   #2 
Oldfishlady
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What kind and how many live plants......plants are alive and can provide a small amount for the ammonia source and the delay or limited nitrate can be due to the live plants, but this depends on the number, species and growth state...by removing the ammonia source and making the water change this could stall the process

After the water change-is this when you got the nitrite or was this before the water change...

What size tank, filter type and stocking plan...
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Old 07-21-2011, 05:16 PM   #3 
Shaon
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I have 2 Amazon swords, 3-4 Red Ludwigia (I think), 3 Vals, and some Java moss. I have some flourish tabs in the flourite substrate.

I did a 50% water change yesterday because I had some dying plants (they were dying ever since I got them from the store) I got the readings this morning.

I have a 15G tank with an AquaClear 20 that has been baffled (I know that baffling may inhibit bacterial growth but it's been there for a while now o.o)

I plan on getting 1 male betta, 5-6 black neon tetras (maybe), 2 or 3 ghost shrimp, 2 or 3 platies (MAYBE).

I have another thread in another section about Betta compatibility and the plan is still in the thinking stages.
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Old 07-21-2011, 05:27 PM   #4 
Oldfishlady
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Sounds like a good stocking plan.....except-I would not get the platties and add more Neons-8-10....

The problem with trying to establish the nitrogen cycle with live plants-is that due to the plants using ammonia before conversion you can get skewed water pram reading and then with the added ferts for the plants can really give some skewed reading with nitrite and nitrate....

If you want to do the fishless cycle I would remove all the plants and start over....or....make a water change and add the fish....making twice weekly water changes for the first month or so....sometimes you will never get a nitrate reading to tell you when the cycle has established and if you are adding plant food...then you may get false readings on the nitrate...etc.....

Plant death can either be normal emersed-vs-submersed leaf or the wrong lights, photoperiod, penetration, spectrum...etc......
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Old 07-21-2011, 05:29 PM   #5 
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Not trying to steal but same parameters question. So in a 10g planted tank using the fishless shrimp cycle is not advised?
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Old 07-21-2011, 05:38 PM   #6 
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Alright so basically a high nitrate reading tells me that my cycle is complete right?

I only use flourish root tabs, I don't add Excel or any other ferts. I understand how nitrates can be skewed by the live plants but how do nitrite levels change?

If I can consistently maintain ammonia and nitrite levels at 0 ppm, I can sigh a sigh of relief. (Of course my nitrate would have to be pretty low too, 5ish ppm maybe?)

If I were to make 2 water changes per week, how big should they be? After the first month, can I assume that the cycle has been established? Or is it because of the live plants that the cycle can never be established?

If I were to wait 1 more month, the total amount of time for the cycle to have taken place would be a total of 7 weeks.
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Old 07-21-2011, 05:47 PM   #7 
Neil D
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I don't have a nitrate reading, but my tank is 10 mo old,and ammonia and nitrite is at 0. I have java moss in there . Is that why?
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Old 07-21-2011, 06:18 PM   #8 
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Its not that a planted tank can't or won't cycle...because they do establish a nitrogen cycle...its more that the water pram readings can be skewed....

Live active growing plants will use the ammonia for plant food before conversion or a conversion that is so small you can't read it on the hobby grade test products....its a silent cycle of sorts.....

Plant food even root tabs can skew readings due to the ingredients of the product....the ammonia, nitrite, nitrate on the test results may be from the plant food and not the nitrifying bacteria.......

Live active growing plants can keep the water safe for livestock as they use up all the bad stuff....ammonia mainly and this in turn limits nitrate...

In my planted tanks that are over 5years old have never had a nitrate reading-but this is due to massive live plants that are actively growing

You know your tank is cycled when you have readings:
Ammonia 0ppm
Nitrite 0ppm
Nitrate 5-10ppm
But in planted tanks you may not see these numbers

Little ecosystems in a glass box, however, since it is a closed system they still need the hobbyist and water changes......

You watch the fish behavior and plant growth for need of water changes- besides the regular schedule weekly 50%.....you may or may not need to make more than one water change a week...its based on plant growth and stocking
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Old 07-21-2011, 06:45 PM   #9 
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Much better explanation I guess that is why Shaon is getting the feel that he is near the end of his cycling. I'll try not to make the same mistakes when I cycle after my move.
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Old 07-21-2011, 06:47 PM   #10 
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Thank you so much OFL!! I understand now. It's not that the cycle can't happen instead it's because my tests aren't accurate. Gotcha :)

So in a planted tank the parameters for an ideal fish environment should be:

0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and ~5ppm of nitrate?

Also, after about 10 weeks can I assume that a cycle is present even though my tests are inaccurate?

I have trouble with water changes. How do I do 50% water changes when I have tall plants?



Here is my tank.

Can water changes be done with the fish inside the tank or should they be removed? (sounds like a stupid question >.<)
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