10 Gallon Tank Cycling a fish in blackwater aquarium

redtwostandingby

Member
I am attempting to cycle a 10g blackwater aquarium with one betta inside. The tank itself has been setup for about 3 weeks, and the betta has been in the tank for about a week. I have added Prime and Stability daily since adding the betta expecting an ammonia spike, but never got one. The parameters of my water have not changed once since setup. I am using distilled water I bought from the grocery store as my tap water is very hard.
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
PH: 6.8-7.0, it's hard for me to tell the two colors apart.
KH/GH: I don't have anymore tests for this but seeing as how I used distilled water, I'm assuming its 0.
There's some Mopani wood, Pogostemon Stellatus Octopus, some Bacopa Caroliniana, and some Water Sprite floating. Betta is active and healthy.

I'm not sure if my cycle ever started, but after a week of having a fish in there, I would assume I'd get some kind of ammonia activity by now. Plus, if it had cycled, wouldn't there be Nitrates in the water? Does anybody have any insight? I've never done a blackwater aquarium or used soft water so I'm not sure what's going on.
 

BearAndSunny

Member
Ive done a good few fish in betta cycles cause to me theyre very easy. All of mine have been different though. I test every day when I do them and one i did recently i saw no ammonia at all but then suddenly nitrites appeared and after about a day they were gone, i saw nitrates and ammonia/nitrite never showed up again so i assumed that was me done and i was right. I continued to test for about a week after incase. I also note that my nitrates are rarely above 5ppm in my betta tanks after cycling but my floating plants suck them up like crazy so they are effectively 0ppm, making it look like my tank is uncycled. A week would be quite fast even for fish in but im not sure, in my own experience my betts fish in cycles are quite quick but i ususally average 2 weeks to complete.

Maybe i wasnt much help, but i would suggest keeping up with testing the water everyday

another thing i'll say is that im fairly sure if your kH drops below 2d a tank cant hold a cycle but i know you mentioned you cant test for them right now. That happened to me tho with my kH dropped to 0 and my pH at 6.4 the tank crashed its new cycle.

I think i would suggest for another week, check the water every day and if nothing shows up, maybe try get your hands on a kH test. Thats just my opinion though from experience so i thought i would share
 

LowConductivity

Member
Going to have a rough go at a "traditional" cycle. The BB we commonly associate with a "cycle" requires kH in the water to convert ammonia. No kH, no conversion. In a blackwater aquarium (low/no kH, low pH), this really isnt a problem, as any "ammonia" thats present, should be in the nh4 form (salt/non toxic). I maintain and breed a number of blackwater species, and I couldn't tell you the last time I tested for "ammonia/ammonium", its just not important at low kH/pH IMO
 

BearAndSunny

Member
LowConductivity said:
Going to have a rough go at a "traditional" cycle. The BB we commonly associate with a "cycle" requires kH in the water to convert ammonia. No kH, no conversion. In a blackwater aquarium (low/no kH, low pH), this really isnt a problem, as any "ammonia" thats present, should be in the nh4 form (salt/non toxic). I maintain and breed a number of blackwater species, and I couldn't tell you the last time I tested for "ammonia/ammonium", its just not important at low kH/pH IMO
i know its not my thread (sorry!!) but this is super interesting. I got told about low pH meaning ammonia etc was less toxic and i wonder if that plays a big part? Again, sorry to intrude on the thread!
 
  • Thread Starter

redtwostandingby

Member
Any insight is wisdom I didn't have before, so thank you for replying Bear. I'm definitely going to keep testing, best to be safe than caught off guard. And no intrusion at all. Discussion is great.

Thank you for the reply Low. What pH are your blackwater tanks normally at?
 

mattgirl

Member
Welcome to Fishlore

Are you adding any kind of minerals such as Equilibrium to the distilled water? If not I would start adding it or switch to spring water or just general drinking water. Distilled water doesn't have any of the minerals necessary for both our health and the health of our tanks. It is possible that your tap water will be fine for your betta. Have you run all the tests (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH) on it? What are the numbers? Bettas can life long healthy lives in various pH levels as long as it is consistent.

I just read up a little bit on a blackwater tank. It seems lack of minerals is what you are looking for but I have to wonder if that is best for the fish you have chosen for this tank. Maybe you know something I don't but I am all for learning something new.

I would only be adding Prime when doing water changes. There is no reason to be adding it daily 'specially if you aren't seeing any ammonia in this tank. It is basically nothing but a water conditioner designed to remove chlorine/chloramines and some heavy metals. Unlike some others it also detoxes low levels of ammonia. If you are not getting an ammonia reading there is no reason to add it.
 

Mudminnow

Member
My guess is that the plants you have in your tank are sucking up all the ammonia. This may mean your tank never really had the chance to cycle. But so long as you keep the plants in there, it won't matter.
 

LowConductivity

Member
redtwostandingby said:
Any insight is wisdom I didn't have before, so thank you for replying Bear. I'm definitely going to keep testing, best to be safe than caught off guard. And no intrusion at all. Discussion is great.

Thank you for the reply Low. What pH are your blackwater tanks normally at?
My blackwater tanks vary to a degree, depending on what the fish are asking for. pH ranges from 3.9-5.5.
 
  • Thread Starter

redtwostandingby

Member
mattgirl said:
Welcome to Fishlore

Are you adding any kind of minerals such as Equilibrium to the distilled water? If not I would start adding it or switch to spring water or just general drinking water. Distilled water doesn't have any of the minerals necessary for both our health and the health of our tanks. It is possible that your tap water will be fine for your betta. Have you run all the tests (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH) on it? What are the numbers? Bettas can life long healthy lives in various pH levels as long as it is consistent.

I just read up a little bit on a blackwater tank. It seems lack of minerals is what you are looking for but I have to wonder if that is best for the fish you have chosen for this tank. Maybe you know something I don't but I am all for learning something new.

I would only be adding Prime when doing water changes. There is no reason to be adding it daily 'specially if you aren't seeing any ammonia in this tank. It is basically nothing but a water conditioner designed to remove chlorine/chloramines and some heavy metals. Unlike some others it also detoxes low levels of ammonia. If you are not getting an ammonia reading there is no reason to add it.
Hi thank you. I forgot to mention I have been dosing it once weekly with Easy Green from Aquarium Co-op and Excel. My tap water is what I use for my other two tanks and they're all healthy, I just wanted to try something new with soft water and low pH (my tap water is 180+ ppm, 7.5-8 pH), but you're right that my Betta will be just fine one way or the other. He is still doing well and I'm still seeing no ammonia, which makes sense after LowConductivity explained that 0 kH will do that. I just didn't want any ammonia to sneak up on me so I've been dosing Prime pre-emptively. But I stopped a few days ago and everything is still stable. I'll just keep a close eye on it still but the plants and the Betta are all doing well.
 
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