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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone. I've been cycling my 10 gallon for about a month and a half. I know it's not done as I'm still showing tons of nitrIte but I was wondering if you could take a look at my readings and make sure it's still working. I'm paranoid about it stalling and having to start over.

Method for cycling: Pure Ammonia (DrTim's Aquatics Ammonium Chloride)

Please note that I did not test every day and that I only added more ammonia if it dropped below 2.0ppm.

Date--Ammonia--NiterIte--NiterAte
4/7---0.25ppm---0ppm---0ppm
4/9---1.0ppm---0ppm---0ppm
4/12---2.0ppm---0ppm---0ppm
4/16---2.0ppm---0ppm---0ppm
4/21---2.0ppm---0ppm---0ppm
4/26---0.5ppm---<0.25ppm---0ppm
4/27---1.0ppm---0.25ppm---0ppm
4/28---2.0ppm---0.25ppm---0ppm
4/30---1.0ppm---1.0ppm---5.0ppm
5/2---1.0ppm---1.0ppm---5.0ppm
5/3---1.0ppm---5.0ppm---5.0ppm
5/4---1.0ppm---5.0ppm---5.0ppm
5/7---0.5ppm---5.0ppm---5.0ppm
5/8---<0.5ppm---5.0ppm---5.0ppm
5/9---0.5ppm---5.0ppm---5.0ppm
5/10---0.5ppm---5.0ppm---5.0ppm
5/12---0.25ppm---5.0ppm---5.0ppm

So it's obvious that the tank is eating up the ammonia. How long should it take to see a decrease in NiterIte? Especially since I already have some NiterAte readings? Also, I have been adding more plants since I've started and due to my schedule and the fact that I don't have a timer for the light, my tank has become an algae farm. Would this affect my readings? What would be a good way to get rid of the algae without scrubbing off all the bacteria or leaving the lights off and killing my plants?

I've included a picture of my tank and a picture of my NiterIte and NiterAte tests from this morning.
 

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oh my goodnes, my ottos would LOVE your algae, lol. It seems like your plants are eating the ammonia nitrite and nitrates? (the algae too, so clean them out first and see if the system "reboots" and gets back to work) I have the feeling that the amount of algae you have is starving out the bacteria and snagging the ammonia before the bacteria can eat it. I've never cycled a tank intentionally so I am probably wrong
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Cleaned out as much algae as I could with out tearing the whole thing down. There's still a decent amount on the wood, skull and plants. It doesn't look like flowing hair anymore, but it's still green. NiterIte is toxic to snails as well as fish isn't it?
 

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it's pretty much toxic to anything animal you stock in the tank. I've found snails to tolerate it better than fish, do you have a snail in there? Or are you thinking of investing in some to clean the tank? The only snail I can think of that will do a great job, is the nerites. I swear the one in my tank is snatching all of the algae meant for my otos. However they are less tolerant of bad water conditions.

Either way, I would recommend you get these levels in check first before adding a snail (pond snails, trumpet snails, ramshorn snails are all prolific breeders), (Nerite snails won't breed in fresh water), or even an amano shrimp or two.

If you lived near New york I would happily give you my rather large zebra nerite and mama ramshorn snail. I also just fished out a small bag of around 10 mini ramshorns the other day>.> These things breed like crazy.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I plan on adding Trumpets and an assassin or two to keep them in check. No snails in there yet. just plants and algae. I guess I'll just keep taking out the algae by hand until levels get safe enough for my MTS army.
 

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Ooh assassin snails =D I've always wanted one of those, but I don't think I have enough snails in the tank to kill yet.

I have MTS too, I have a sand substrate for the coydoras and I never see the mts until I am siphoning the bottom of the tank and some will pop up when I accidentally move the sand. Goodness knows how many I have in there. I started off with two that were hitchhikers on my plant. Now I have countless babies =D
 

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Discussion Starter #8
That's my plan too. MTS, sand and corys with a betta. I keep watching my local Petcos for a MTS outbreak but they've both been lucky so far. I don't want to have to buy them off aquabid for almost $1 a snail. (That includes shipping.) :( I don't mind getting the assassins from aquabid and paying a little extra, but I'm pretty sure trumpets are considered pests by most.
 

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If you want I'd be happy to ship you some of my smaller mts babies if you pay shipping, lolol. The older snails keep popping out new ones anyway. Not sure if they'll survive from NY to WA though. But I've always had this theory that these "pest" sails should be hardy enough to survive a week in a bag. I mean thats how they hitchhiked in the first place anyway right?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Exactly! lol. When I'm ready, I'll PM you my info. I get a great shipping rate with my work so I should be able to send you a label to get them to me next day. We'll see. Thank you!
 

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I'm with Bahamut, don't mess around. Crank that ammonia up to 4.0ppm and get cycling again.

Get rid of the algae. You can do it without doing any noticeable harm to your cycle. Most of the bacteria are in your filter, anyway. Some are in the substrate. Fewer are on the walls and decor.

I heard that assassin snails are just as good soil aerators as MTS. Is that true?
 

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for assassin snails I believe that they need a female and a male to breed and the juveniles lives in the substrate and come out at about 6 months. They are also more expensive =D MTS breed much faster. If you have both you will get a constant self replicating source of food for the Assassin snails. MTS also eats algae =P
 

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Discussion Starter #14
UPDATE: I don't know if it was a lack of algae or the boost in ammonia, but it seems like my cycle is on a roll and almost done, if not done! Thank you guys for your help!

My readings as of just now:
Ammonia: 1.0 ppm
NiterIte: 0 ppm
NiterAte: 20 ppm

I squirted ammonia into the tank this morning. I'll try to get up and going early enough tomorrow to test the ammonia again before I add more. If it's gone by morning, time to celebrate and add MTS!

One question though. How much ammonia should my tank be able to nullify in 24 hours once it's done cycling?
 

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I usually consider it done if 1.0ppm ammonia goes away in a day. Your ammonia and nitrites should both read 0ppm and your nitrates should be high >20ppm from eating all that ammonia and nitrites.

When you get 0 and 0 for a few days, change out the nitrates to get down to >10ppm.
 
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