Cycled Or Not?

NinaB

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3 weeks ago, I started my first 10 gallon planted tank. I added some freeze-dried bloodworms for ammonia (didn't know these weren't the best option) and about a week later, I filled the tank with quite a few plants. Because of the size of the tank and the number of plants, I decided to take home a betta and place him alone in the tank. I have been closely monitoring the water parameters for any ammonia spikes, and there have been none. I have seen him go to the bathroom a few times and he is eating well.

Yesterday, I tested the water and got this reading:
Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 0 ppm

I have yet to see any nitrites or nitrates, only 0.25-0.05 ppm of ammonia before I added the fish. (I'm using Prime conditioner if that helps)

I've only done one official water change and it was roughly 20%, but my ammonia levels were at 0 before this as well.

Does this mean I am cycled and the plants are just taking care of the nitrates super quickly? Or is there something else going on here?

Any help is appreciated, thank you!
 

Ms rose

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It's 1 or 2 options, 1st being that your cycle hasn't started, 2nd, is that you are cycled and your plants are taking care of nitrates, but without daily test results it's almost impossible to tell, someone else may be able to give you more,
 

mattgirl

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If you aren't planning on adding any other fish to this tank and your numbers continue to stay where they are then you have no reason to stress over getting the tank cycled.

The reason your are seeing zeros across the board is because there is such a low bio-load. I would be willing to bet weekly water changes would keep this tank right where it needs to be.

I kinda go against the grain here and often think folks put themselves through unnecessary stress trying to get the numbers perfect when in fact if left to do so a lightly stocked tank will cycle all by itself in time.

I have a feeling the plants are the reason you aren't seeing an ammonia spike. The plants are using it before it has a chance to produce nitrites and if there are no nitrites there will be no nitrates.

I have actually proven this to myself. I have a 2 gallon jar I use to breed the snails I feed to my assassin snails. I have an air stone in the jar but have no filter. What I do have though is a pathos plant growing out of the top of it. I have been keeping a very close eye on the numbers and always get zeros across the board. I have had this set up for at least 3 months and have never had a sign of ammonia, nitrites or nitrates. I mostly feed them lettuce but also occasionally feed them shrimp pellets and tropical crisps. That alone should form ammonia.

The only water that gets changed is when I occasionally siphon the poop from the bottom but other than removing about 1/2 gallon of water once a month or so while removing poop I don't do water changes. I do top off evaporation as needed. There are hundreds of snails in there right now.

All of that to say....It is very possible that your plants are keeping your numbers perfect. One really doesn't have to see nitrates to have a healthy tank. Most tanks do have some though.

It actually saddens me when I read so many threads from folks that work so hard to get the numbers perfect but they fail to do one thing....That thing is, enjoy the hobby. It wouldn't surprise me to find that lots of folks give up in frustration.
 

Algonquin

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Agree with mattgirl - your bioload is very low. What test are you using for Nitrates? The reason I ask is that I've found the API liquid test doesn't register Nitrates when they are super low. I've also got the Seachem Nitrite/Nitrate test kit, which will detect Nitrates as low as 2 ppm. So if i use the API kit on my betta tank, it registers a 0 since it's too low to show a result, but on the Seachem test, I get a 2 or 3. Hope that helps!
 
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NinaB

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Thank you guys! I suspected that but I'm paranoid, so I wanted to make sure haha. I accidentally added snails into the tank (hitchhiked on a plant that I didn't wash), so I've tried to get rid of any excess food or decaying plant matter.

I'll probably keep doing water tests every week and changing a bit of the water when I vacuum his gravel.

And yeah, I'm using the API kit. I might look into that Seachem one in a few weeks, but I don't think it's too necessary right now.
 
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