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Heater and Cycling....

576 Views 11 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  Foisair
So I've finally finished moving into my new apartment and am excited to get my 10 gal finally set up how I want it. (cycled, live plants, snails, cories and Merlin) I have the filter, new sand substrate, decorations (1 skull and 1 drift wood) and some live plants I will be transplanting from my 2.5 gal here at work (so 1 Amazon Sword and some Java Fern "babies").

Is this enough surface area to get started on my fishless cycle?

Can I add the heater later or should I wait to start until I have it? Does the tempature affect the cycle much?
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So after not getting any replies to this, I went ahead and started adding food to the tank to try and start the long cycling process. As of today, I am on day 7 and have been testing every other day. (So I tested yesterday and will test again tomorrow.) I have been putting a pinch of pellets (about 10-15) in the tank daily. As of yesterday, everything was still at zero. Since asking my original question, I have read that having a heater and raising the tempature to the 80s will encourage bacteria growth. So as soon as I can afford it, I will be getting that heater in there.

My questions now, on day 7, include:

Shouldn't I be seeing some ammonia by now?

Also, the peice of driftwood in there is mopani wood from the pet store. I did not boil the wood before putting it in my tank. The water is now brown. Will this go away as make water changes or do I need to pull everything apart and boil it?

Lastly, there appears to be a layer of slime(?) over part of the wood and on the skull decoration. Is this normal in cycleing or is this from the wood because it was not boiled or possibly from something else?

Thank you for your help on everything. This is my first time cycling so I can use all the help I can get.
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Thanks for the answer Olympia. At this point, I don't have any of the plants in the tank yet. So it's just sand, filter, wood and skull. I will try bumping up the amount of food I put in and see if that helps. I have been testing for ammonia, niterIte and niterAte every time. Everything is still at 0ppm as of yesterday, day 6.

I figured the brown of the water was tannins and that tannins are good for bettas but I wasn't sure if there are different types of tannis and how these measured up to IAL. If these tannins are just as good for my betta, I will definatly be keeping some of this water.

Based on what you said about the slime and the post you liked to, it sounds like my slime is bacterial and not mold. My biggest reason for saying it's not mold from the food is that it's not on the food. If it is bacterial, it sounds like it should go away on it's own in a few weeks.

Concerning plants: I do wish to have this tank fairly heavily planted. Should I add the plants after the tank is cycled? If so, I would assume that I should add them a few at time as to not completely throw off the chemistry of everything. Or should I be adding plants before it's finished?
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UPDATE: So I plan on testing the water again tonight after work but as of Tuesday night, everything still read at 0ppm. However, last night I noticed that the slime on the skull has black patches in it now. Also the white media in my filter is now black! I'm not sure if the slime/mold is in my filter (would make sense) or if I just didn't clean the black sand enough and it's colored the media with its gunk. I think I'm going to tear the whole thing apart and start over. :(
That's why I plan on testing again tonight. I've read a few other posts today about people just messing up the tests so I want to double check that I'm doing it right. Also, there's a part in that article that says to smell it. Stink = bacteria = good. I forgot about that and I think I just paniced when I saw my filter.

Quick question on testing: I read someone elses post that they had to take water from the bottom of the tank to get any readings where as the top of the water read 0ppm. Should I be taking water from the middle/bottom of the tank or the top? I've been taking from the top. I would think that it shouldn't matter, especially since I have a filter going and mixing around the water a bit.
I don't think so. It's a Tetra Whisper Internal. I think the only way I'd be able to increase the flow is to make sure the media is clean and clear so the water can flow more.

So, my game plan for tonight:

1) I will smell the slime! (eww...)

2) Test H2O twice (once from the surface and once from the center) being careful to test correctly!

3) If the two tests have different results and I do have ammonia in the middle but not at the top, I will take some of the dirty tank water out and clean the filter media in it and replace. I also have an air pump that I could add to increase circulation.

4) If both tests still show 0ppm, I will clean out the fish food and buy some pure ammonia. I may also scrub the slime off everything and see if it comes back when using the pure ammonia.
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It does. Which is why I doubt that the ammonia could be hiding at the bottom. But until I test and proove it, I'm open to possiblities.
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