Scrumtion Posted July 16, 2022 Share Posted July 16, 2022 (edited) Hello, I'm brand new to fish keeping - I always wanted one but thankfully my parents had more sense than child me and refused to put fish into a bowl. I have a tank that I got second hand and disinfected thoroughly, it holds just under 30L(5.5gal?) with all my hardscape, it is filtered with a basic foam filter and an air pump, it's heated and is maintaining a temp of 21-23oC, has a substrate mix of fluval stratum and regular gravel, and is planted with quite the variety (I went a bit overboard) of low needs (I think) plants. I hope to put a plakat or wildtype betta in there and a nerite snail. I would like a bigger tank, but I've got over the itch for the moment, I hope to upgrade my future fish in the future though. But... I'm having major trouble getting it to cycle properly. I set up the substrate and hardscape, added water after conditioning it and dechlorinating it, added some nitrifying bacteria, turned on the filter and heater, and then added aquarium ammonia up to 2ppm. I wanted to have the ammonia turn to nitrate only once and then add plants to continue cycling, and i think that was my mistake. It took about 12 days from the ammonia and nitrite to become 0ppm and nitrate to 20ppm, so I added my plants let it settle and bought it back up to 2ppm ammonia. It went down to 0.25ppm in 6 days after that, so i brought it back up to 2ppm and it hasn't dropped since. It's been 13 days now, it will appear to have dropped only to rise again, for instance I tested it a couple of days ago it was 0.5ppm and then i tested it a few days later and it was 2ppm. about a week ago it had risen to 4ppm - at which point i did a 50% water change and gravel vacced. Nitrite has been at 2ppm and nitrate at 40ppm pretty consistently (which would warrant a water change if fish were in there I know, but I want to find out how quickly the plants uptake nitrate. Or I would if everything was working properly) I did add some root tabs, but I don't think they were high quality, they were all I could find. potentially they are leaching into the water? I accidently agitated the gravel near them while replanting a plant that had floated away and they had just turned to dust. I tried vacuuming them away completely after that. The plants are all showing new leaf and root growth, but I did have some melting and die off with almost all of them initially. Is the plant detritus also responsible for some of the ammonia increase? should I just do a full water change, cut back the die off and start again? I've even been considering just getting that larger tank like I want and just transferring my plants and hardscape, and using this one as a nursery or for emergencies only 😅 but maybe I don't have the room. pH 6.5-6.8 kH 40ppm GH 60ppm Edited July 16, 2022 by Scrumtion grammar and clarity of reading Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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