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Can a planted tank cycle in a week?


Shirl
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Good morning everyone,

A week ago yesterday, I set up my 10 gallon tank. It has fluval stratum, rough grain inert sand, and four different types of plants. I used quick start and stress coat and dosed with ammonia appropriately. Yesterday, I did a small water change about a gallon of water. There's plenty of biofilm in there. I don't have any livestock yet. Here is this morning's test strip.

 

Is my tank cycled or am I missing something? Thank you!

 

Shirl

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Well how do the plants look...do you see growth?  How much ammonia did you dose to in PPM?  I would say yes it is possible because plants do use ammonia as a food source especially if you were not dosing any ferts while cycling.  

What has me concerned is you have zero buffer and your ph is very acidic....is this your intention? Is this going to be a soft water shrimp tank?  If not I would get some buffer in there and raise the PH a bit.  

I would also redose the tank with the ammonia and to 2-3 ppm and let it come down again.  When you can dose to 1-2 ppm and it is gone in 24 hours you know you have built a strong Beneficial Bacteria colony and you can start adding in livestock.

This is all just my opinion of course.

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Posted (edited)

The plants look great, and I am seeing new growth. The directions on the ammonia said to dose 40 drops for 10 gallons which I did. I'm not sure what parts per million that is.

The ph and the buffer are naturally that way. I tested the water before I did anything with the tank. It has never changed. I don't know how to change those things.

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Well the first thing I would ask....what type of livestock do you plan on keeping in the tank?

That give a general idea of where you would want you water to be at.   At a minimum I would add crushed coral to your substrate....that would get all 3 water parameters up a bit...the GH, KH and PH.  Seeing how you have white substrate it will mix in nicely. 

Do that asap and let it sit for a week and retest and you will be surprised at  how well it works.

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Your going a great job so far and it looks like you have a good plan in place. 

I would definitely add an Otto in a 10 gal.  The key is you want the Betta to be last in the tank.  You want the tank to age some before adding in the snails and or shrimp so they have some algae to feed on.  You can add them right away after your done cycling but you have to know you have to feed them as there will not be enough algae in the tank to sustain them. I target feed all my shrimp and snails. 

 Get all your "dither" fish and live stock in place and when it is all running great for a couple of weeks...thats when you add your Betta.  

Bettas are very territorial....if you add him first then try to add other stuff he will pick on them.  By adding him last....everything else is already established and he's the new kid on the block and he will adapt to them rather than the other way around.  It is never a guarantee it goes smoothly but that is the best way for greatest success in my experience.

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On 6/13/2021 at 9:14 AM, Shirl said:

I really appreciate your advice and time.

Thank you so much!

Its no problem at all.  I wish I had someone or something like this forum when I was getting started.  There would have been a lot less casualties in my history.  Back then we had to rely on the fish shop owner to guide you and when your an 8yo kid like I was when I started with fish....you didnt get much attention lol.

I am here to help in any way I can and there are tons of great people here that will come on shortly and they are even better than I am lol.  

Please keep me informed as to how it is going and feel free to ask any question you may have.....none are stupid and its the only way to learn.

Cheers

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On 6/13/2021 at 1:12 PM, Shirl said:

Yeah, no. These are new plants. I'll keep that in mind for the future though. Thanks 🙂

new plants from where? if they were grown in water, they have a bacterial film growing on them. if they came out of a tube, or a tissue culture or grown dry, then they wont have an established good bacteria on them. 

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In the beginning, best to go slow. Even when you have made progress, a new tank is not a stable environment. Plants and good bacteria both consume ammonia. Plants are great because they can cushion any ammonia/nitrite spike. But if the ammonia is consumed by plants that does not mean the bacteria is established. When you decide to add fish, start with few.

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To me "cycled" means that the tank's biome has been stabilized and is working as it's going to work (with the combinations of materials, plants, fish, etc. working/competing together)- you're not there yet in this short a time period.  Nitrifying bacteria is one of the slower growing aquatic bacteria (supposedly doubling in size every 8-10 hours under optimal conditions) and with all bacteria- the colonies of it grows and dies off in direct response to it's available food source(s).  You're currently in a good place, but don't be surprised should your water tests give dramatically different readings several times in the next few weeks.  It's part of the process.

One thing I think I should call out is that Fluval Stratum has a well earned reputation for trapping and releasing ammonia when new.  I see it in your tank and I see that it is capped. You may very well run into ammonia spikes if that cap is broken or at a later point as water slowly leeches from the Fluval through that cap.

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On 6/13/2021 at 3:10 PM, NanoNano said:

 

One thing I think I should call out is that Fluval Stratum has a well earned reputation for trapping and releasing ammonia when new.  I see it in your tank and I see that it is capped. You may very well run into ammonia spikes if that cap is broken or at a later point as water slowly leeches from the Fluval through that cap.

Thanks for your entire comment, but especially for this part because I didn't know this at all. I'll definitely keep an eye on it!

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@Shirl, congrats on the new tank! I think folks have answered the cycling question so I’ll talk Otocinclus. I keep three in my 11 gallon and my wife keeps two in her 6.8 gallon. They’re really a pretty small fish with a small bio load, but they eat algae like crazy. They’re also really fun to watch.  I’d highly recommend them for your setup. 

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On 6/13/2021 at 3:53 PM, Tuxanio said:

I moved over an established filter to a newly set up and planted tank and had no issues and added fish the next day.

I think this is cheating though 🤣

not cheating at all, it is effecitvely the same as using plants form another aquarium, or bottled bacteria, or substrate from an established tank. one way shape or form, the idea is to establish beneficial bacteria to an aquarium to assist in the break down of waste. in a nutshell , "cycling" a tank is nothing more than establishing a bacteria colony. it can be a long drawn out process, or virtually instant, depending on how one approaches it.

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On 6/13/2021 at 5:56 PM, Guppysnail said:

If you intend to stay with low ph and soft water you may wish to not include snails.  They really need ph above 7 or shells erode and they need at least moderately hard water lots of calcium and some magnesium for shell growth. Have fun with your new tank

My water is hard as nails, I just need to get the pH up, I'm told. I've got some crushed coral on the way. 🙂

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On 6/13/2021 at 2:15 PM, lefty o said:

new plants from where? if they were grown in water, they have a bacterial film growing on them. if they came out of a tube, or a tissue culture or grown dry, then they wont have an established good bacteria on them. 

PetSmart, tissue culture. So, yeah, starting at the very beginning, but that's probably best fore to learn like this. 

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