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New aquarium/nitrogen cycling


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Hello y'all! 

I am setting up a 20g tall freshwater aquarium. I started watching YouTube videos two weeks ago. We bought the tank kit last Tuesday and I set it up. It has a HOB filter. I used a declorinator. I added Top Fin Readistart nitrifying bacteria. Continued watching YouTube videos mostly on cycling the tank. Added aquarium plants on Thursday. Added Dr Tims ammonia on Friday.

Through all this, I was using dipsticks to test the water waiting to see nitrites appear. Nothing. Bought the ammonia tag thingy yesterday. So, ammonia is present but I am still not getting any nitrite or nitrates on the test strips. 

I have watched Irene (Girl Talks Fish) videos on testing different methods of cycling. One, if I understood correctly, indicated that having plants in can affect the testing because plants consume nitrites, nitrates, and ammonia (?). 

I am wondering if we are being impatient or whether the BB I am using is not alive and I need something better? Is there anything else I should/could do to allow us to start a gradual buildup of fish?

I just added the pothos today. I have more aquarium plants coming in the mail. 

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“If I could put time in a bottle….”

 

When I started up fish keeping again I spent a LOT of money on multiple doses and multiple brands of bacteria in a bottle products..  multiple doses a week for multiple weeks.  And I also had a tank I ddi nothing to other than feed it ammonia…

I have absolutely no confidence in any bacteria in a bottle product..  and when I bought them I truly wanted to believe.

Now using filter squeezings from an established tank I was able to cycle a tank in a few weeks….

and putting a cup of Black Kow composted manure in a mesh bag and soaking it in the tank and giving it several good squeezes a day layer was pretty much as fast….

But multiple doses and multiple bottles and brands of bacteria in a bottle toook about 8 weeks to build a colony that  could metabolize a 2 ppm ammonia challenge to 0 ammonia 0 nitrites in 24 hours….  Just about the same time that a tank just being fed ammonia would do.

I understand some people are highly resistant to the idea of putting composted cow manure in their tanks…

If I could bottle patience.  
 

The only thing Bacteria in a Bottle products will do for you is potentially save you time…. And lighten your wallet….  The only thing they seemed to do for me was lighten my wallet.   But the retailers and marketers made money, so there is that….

There are members here who swear by one brand or another.  For myself I can not conceive of any scenario where I would spend money on another bottle of the stuff…

 

Edited by Pepere
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On 6/9/2024 at 9:28 PM, Pepere said:

“If I could put time in a bottle….”

 

When I started up fish keeping again I spent a LOT of money on multiple doses and multiple brands of bacteria in a bottle products..  multiple doses a week for multiple weeks.  And I also had a tank I ddi nothing to other than feed it ammonia…

I have absolutely no confidence in any bacteria in a bottle product..  and when I bought them I truly wanted to believe.

Now using filter squeezings from an established tank I was able to cycle a tank in a few weeks….

and putting a cup of Black Kow composted manure in a mesh bag and soaking it in the tank and giving it several good squeezes a day layer was pretty much as fast….

But multiple doses and multiple bottles and brands of bacteria in a bottle toook about 8 weeks to build a colony that  could metabolize a 2 ppm ammonia challenge to 0 ammonia 0 nitrites in 24 hours….  Just about the same time that a tank just being fed ammonia would do.

I understand some people are highly resistant to the idea of putting composted cow manure in their tanks…

If I could bottle patience.  
 

The only thing Bacteria in a Bottle products will do for you is potentially save you time…. And lighten your wallet….  The only thing they seemed to do for me was lighten my wallet.   But the retailers and marketers made money, so there is that….

There are members here who swear by one brand or another.  For myself I can not conceive of any scenario where I would spend money on another bottle of the stuff…

 

Yeah, I feel like I fell for a marketing ploy .."instant cycling"..."add fish first day"...sigh...I didn't really want to hear what the YouTube videos were telling me about it being weeks, not days. 

I may just try the black kow.  I am not as impatient as my husband. He wants to have fish asap. For his sake I wish there was a way to fast track the process.

On 6/9/2024 at 9:32 PM, AllFishNoBrakes said:

Cycling takes weeks, if not a couple of months. Patience, my friend. 
 

In the lifetime of the tank, cycling becomes a blip on the timeline. Patience now will pay off in the future. 

Thanks, I will try to be patient and encourage my husband to be patient. Easier for me as I am enjoying getting the plants and geeking out on the details. He just wants to see some pretty fish in there.

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I have also used Black Kow organic manure squeezings and mud from my local pond when I started out. Worked well. For any new setup, it helped to have no plants and completely covering the tank dueing a minimum of 4 weeks' cycling to keep algae from getting a foothold before the live plants.

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The bacteria you are adding needs food to consume, they first consume ammonia and produce nitrites, the second consume nitrites and produce nitrates.

If you didn't add the ammoina for 3 days, it's likely most of the bateria you added has died. If you still have some left in the bottle, dose it again with bacteria now ammonia is present. And follow the normal cycling process.

I used Seachem Stability and it's cycled tanks in a week, though as mentioned above, it's only quicker, it doesn't produce a tank any better than one cycled over weeks naturally.

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Nothing wrong with cow manure. Just a different source of nitrogen. Agree with all the above. I do tend to trust fritzyme7 more than most. Now, what you’re hearing about instantly cycling a tank mostly works. If you know someone with an aquarium you can install a sponge filter if they let you. In 3-4 weeks it will be full of bacteria. You can then transfer that sponge to your tank and also transfer the cycle. I’ve done that twice in the last month with no issues at all. It does take a bit of forethought. And I usually have a couple of spare sponges running in other tanks at all times. Works great for quarantine tanks also 

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Okay, great. Now you have to be patient still until you start to see nitrates. Could take another week or so.  This conversion is from a different bacteria and is just getting started now that you have some nitrites 

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On 6/12/2024 at 7:20 AM, TinaPax-Peeks said:

Update:  I am finally registering nitrites!  The ammonia level hasn't changed, but yesterday there was 0.5 ppm nitrites and this morning it is reading 1 ppm nitrites.

That is good. Yes patience, the nitrates will read eventually, but not right now, probably a week or so, but it’ll come! Then when you see nitrates that most likely means you are getting close! But every single aquarium in this world is different in some tiny way. So it could be 4 weeks, or less, or 2 months or more, who knows! Trying to speed up the cycle is ok I guess, but for the natural way and best way, try to encourage your husband that in the end, it will all be worth it 🙂

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On 6/9/2024 at 8:43 PM, TinaPax-Peeks said:

Hello y'all! 

I am setting up a 20g tall freshwater aquarium. I started watching YouTube videos two weeks ago. We bought the tank kit last Tuesday and I set it up. It has a HOB filter. I used a declorinator. I added Top Fin Readistart nitrifying bacteria. Continued watching YouTube videos mostly on cycling the tank. Added aquarium plants on Thursday. Added Dr Tims ammonia on Friday.

Through all this, I was using dipsticks to test the water waiting to see nitrites appear. Nothing. Bought the ammonia tag thingy yesterday. So, ammonia is present but I am still not getting any nitrite or nitrates on the test strips. 

I have watched Irene (Girl Talks Fish) videos on testing different methods of cycling. One, if I understood correctly, indicated that having plants in can affect the testing because plants consume nitrites, nitrates, and ammonia (?). 

I am wondering if we are being impatient or whether the BB I am using is not alive and I need something better? Is there anything else I should/could do to allow us to start a gradual buildup of fish?

I just added the pothos today. I have more aquarium plants coming in the mail. 

IMG_20240609_202431678_HDR.jpg

IMG_20240609_202443626_HDR.jpg

Never seen those stickers before 

I started my tank with my rocks and wood, as soon as I saw nitrite on my test I planted my tank and kept testing until I saw nitrate.  I still haven't had ammonia show but I also spent 3 months before I had fish lol.

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New, related, question:

Do I need to add a bit of ammonia to feed the first BB's while allowing the second group of BB's to grow?  If the ammonia eating BBs don't have ammonia, will they die off?

There has been no ammonia registering since Thursday. Nitrites have built to 5 as of this morning. Nitrates have been at 40ppm since Saturday.

I know the goal before stocking is 0 ammonia/ 0 nitrites and some amount of nitrates. But, if there is nothing for them to eat, will we lose the BBs?  Hope that makes since.

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Today's "that's unexpected" observation:

Yesterday, I did a 25% water change due to the levels of nitrites (5) and nitrates (40ppm). 

This morning I did my daily test of the water expecting lower numbers. Instead, the nitrites are higher (not quite 10 but over 5) and nitrates are still 40ppm.

Assumption: the BBs are alive and well.
 

Thoughts?

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Your AOB is alive and well (keep feeding it or it will eventually die back if ammonia is all gone for too long), your NOB is still getting established just takes some time.  

Remember that once you are "cycled", it's only enough bacteria for the current waste levels, so add new fish slowly at first and wait for things to clear before adding more. 

Also, prepare yourself for the coming algae wars. Your pirate shipwreck is going to look fabulous, covered in slime. 😅

Edited by daggaz
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On 6/19/2024 at 8:36 AM, daggaz said:

Your AOB is alive and well (keep feeding it or it will eventually die back if ammonia is all gone for too long), your NOB is still getting established just takes some time.  

Remember that once you are "cycled", it's only enough bacteria for the current waste levels, so add new fish slowly at first and wait for things to clear before adding more. 

Also, prepare yourself for the coming algae wars. Your pirate shipwreck is going to look fabulous, covered in slime. 😅

I thought about the AOBs going hungry a few days ago and started adding small amounts of the ammonia daily. That probably accounts for the continued increase in nitrites now that I think of it. Ammonia is staying down so the AOBs are alive and kicking!

Yep, I do plan a slow process of stocking so I don't crash the system after all this.

Yep, that ship will look great covered in slime!  Took hubs to the Ft Fisher Aquarium for his birthday. One tank had an artificial shipwreck "reef" which hubs thought was cool. Ours won't be a reef...more Amazon river bottom...but well... 😂 

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lol. Yes, I added an airstone to my 10g, and in 1 week, the tubing was all green LOL. Plus algae is a good sign of an established tank actually. And that you have plants or high light 😅

On 6/19/2024 at 8:51 AM, TinaPax-Peeks said:

I thought about the AOBs going hungry a few days ago and started adding small amounts of the ammonia daily. That probably accounts for the continued increase in nitrites now that I think of it. Ammonia is staying down so the AOBs are alive and kicking!

Yep, I do plan a slow process of stocking so I don't crash the system after all this.

Yep, that ship will look great covered in slime!  Took hubs to the Ft Fisher Aquarium for his birthday. One tank had an artificial shipwreck "reef" which hubs thought was cool. Ours won't be a reef...more Amazon river bottom...but well... 😂 

Yes that is the cause of higher nitrites. Just patience than soon, FISH!!! Good luck!

Edited by Whitecloud09
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On 6/19/2024 at 8:36 AM, daggaz said:

Your pirate shipwreck is going to look fabulous, covered in slime

It will. for a couple weeks, then a month off while the slime dies. then it will again. although, I had a black sand, supposed to be premium quality, everything was covered in an inch of diatoms. I gave up on that tank for 6 months. moved the fish out. kept it running. It's fine now... 2 years later 🤣

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