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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi, It's been almost 9 weeks and I don't know if my tank cycled, is cycling, or what.
I wasn't able to test the water for 5 days two weeks ago, but the ammonia alert never alerted.
My numbers are always the same. I add Prime to my tank each day. Was doing water changes 2x a week, have cut that to once a week.
I use an API test kit. I started using fertilizer for my planted tank about three weeks ago.
This morning my nitrates were at 10 from zero. No other numbers budged, still at zeros. Ammonia stays at .25, from the tap and tank, but ammonia alert shows zero.
A spike to 10 seems high but I know very little about a planted tank.
I did a 60% water change and nitrates went down to 5.
If no other numbers are spiked, is this normal?
Also, am I using prime too much (every day) that I don't show my tank has cycled yet?
Sorry for the long post, just totally confused. Thanks in advance.
 

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Hi! How are things now?

From what I've read, the prime should be used during the water changes and also daily.

I can't help regarding the spike, but were your plants looking healthy? Are they still?
 

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Your cycle will end when your testing shows Ammonia 0 PPM Nitrite 0 PPM and Nitrate between 5 and 20 PPM. since you have a planted tank. If your doing water changes once a week before your next water change do your testing. And if those readings are 0 0 5-20 your tank has cycled and your water change should be kept to 25% per week. If the ammonia is higher than 0.02 - 0.50 do a 50% change and continue to test daily until your parameters are 0 0 5- 20.

If you are changing filter pads every time you do a water change STOP. only change the filter pad when it is about worn out. Rinse the pad in old tank water and replace it to the filter. If you have a Bio filter Never replace that or even clean it. Your cycle depends on that filter.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
UPDATE: Nothing has changed. Here we are in the first week of November and I started my tank August 1st. I have cycled a tank before, but then again there was no Prime in those days.
Here's what I can tell you. 10 gallon tank, 2 nerites, 1 betta, plants, but mainly wisteria and moss balls. Readings are zero on everything. I added prime every day and switched to adding it just once a week now. Never changed the filter pad, ever. Did rinse it once in tank water about two weeks ago. Only do water changes once a week.
No spikes in any parameters still.
Plants are fine. Betta and snails look fine. Wisteria and moss balls are growing. Bought several unrooted plants but they died before they rooted. I'm kind of at a loss why my tank hasn't cycled since August.
Thanks for all your help. Any suggestions, ideas?
 

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UPDATE: Nothing has changed. Here we are in the first week of November and I started my tank August 1st. I have cycled a tank before, but then again there was no Prime in those days.
Here's what I can tell you. 10 gallon tank, 2 nerites, 1 betta, plants, but mainly wisteria and moss balls. Readings are zero on everything. I added prime every day and switched to adding it just once a week now. Never changed the filter pad, ever. Did rinse it once in tank water about two weeks ago. Only do water changes once a week.
No spikes in any parameters still.
Plants are fine. Betta and snails look fine. Wisteria and moss balls are growing. Bought several unrooted plants but they died before they rooted. I'm kind of at a loss why my tank hasn't cycled since August.
Thanks for all your help. Any suggestions, ideas?
With what you are saying here your tank is cycled. All parameters are 0 and if they have been that way for a week or better then Yes the tank is cycled. Why do you think it is not?
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
I tested the water every day for 2 months using the API test kit and it never spiked. I then missed five days due to a medical issue. My ammonia meter never spiked during that time. I started testing once a week during the last month, with the same results, zeroes and no ammonia spike on the meter. Plus I would imagine that my numbers would have to go up at some point to cycle, right? If I add fertilizer my nitrates go up, but nothing else. They drop back down in 3 days. My tank still appears to have red diatoms. So that's the only reason I am questioning. Thanks
 

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It might be that the plants are using up the nitrates and that's why your reading is 0. If that's the case your tank is cycled. I have a heavily planted 10 gallon tank and it's levels are 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and somewhere between 0 and 5 nitrate. I KNOW that tank is cycled and that it's the plants that are causing the nitrate reading to be practically 0. One of the main plants in my tank is wisteria, and it grows like a weed.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
thanks. I just never had a spike. My nitrates are at zero if I only add fertilizer once a week. If I add every day, forget it, they spike. My nitrites never went up, nor ammonia. I was told the diatoms would disappear after the tank cycled. They have not. I started adding a bit of stress zyme and I have to say the water is crystal clear.
I do clean the algae/diatoms off of the plants but leave some on the glass for the nerites. Anyway, that's why I'm a bit stumped. I have never had a planted tank so I am assuming it could change some things.
 

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Some times with a planted tank specifically a heavy planting you won't get spikes. I have many tanks all heavily planted and from day one I have never had a spike. Yes there were high readings and my water changes and the use of Prime had a lot to do with the way my tanks have been maintained. But you have no worries, your tank is cycled. do the maintenance as is required and you won't have any problems. Just keep an eye on the ammonia alert. if it starts to rise do your water changes more often.
 

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thanks. I just never had a spike. My nitrates are at zero if I only add fertilizer once a week. If I add every day, forget it, they spike. My nitrites never went up, nor ammonia. I was told the diatoms would disappear after the tank cycled. They have not. I started adding a bit of stress zyme and I have to say the water is crystal clear.
I do clean the algae/diatoms off of the plants but leave some on the glass for the nerites. Anyway, that's why I'm a bit stumped. I have never had a planted tank so I am assuming it could change some things.
Have you done fish in cycles before?

When I do fish in cycles I work hard to keep any of my levels from spiking. My goal is to keep the ammonia and nitrite from ever getting above .25ppm and if I can manage it from ever getting to .25ppm. Up until my water company switched to using chloramine I managed it very well, now it's harder to accomplish since I start with an ammonia reading and that in turn seems to cause the nitrites to spike.

What I've learned is so much can affect the cycle and cycling is rarely black and white, do A and B will happen.

Are you sure it's diatoms you're seeing and not mulm?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I kept wondering if something was different because of the plants and adding prime every day.
I've now gone to water changes every 7 - 10 days, prime/fertilizer/stress zyme go in at the same time Some plant leaf cleaning, and everyone looks happy. I must say this was a lot easier than cycling a tank years ago. I don't think I would be without plants and prime. I'm so glad I came to this site when I got my betta and learned about this! Thanks to everyone.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Rainbo: my fish is in and also the nerites. So yes, fish in cycle. I don't know what mulm is so I will research. I only know when I posted pics early on everyone said they were diatoms and happened pretty quickly after I set up the tank.
 

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Hi! How are things now?

From what I've read, the prime should be used during the water changes and also daily.

I can't help regarding the spike, but were your plants looking healthy? Are they still?
 
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