Cycling question.

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TheSwampFox

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Morning Reading:
pH 7.6
Ammonia 1 ppm
Nitrite .25 ppm
Nitrate 0 ppm

Now:
pH 7.6
Ammonia 1 ppm
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0

Is my tank cycling correctly? I'm really hoping I'm doing something right...
 
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Lucy

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What ammonia source and test kit are you using?
When nitrites drop, you should have an nitrate reading.
How long has the tank been cycling?
 
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TheSwampFox

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Using the API test kit and dropping flakes in the tank.

Tank has been cycling since Saturday, also used Start Smart

I also understand cycling can take weeks, I'm just hoping it's going ok.
 
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Lucy

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I'm not familiar with Start Smart.
If you meant Tetra Safe Start, then we'll take this discussion in a different direction.

I'd hazard a guess that the nitrite reading was wrong. Either skewed from a bacterial additive or maybe you just read it incorrectly.

It takes a couple of weeks for the bacteria that develop ammonia into nitrites.
Otherwise, things look good.
 

pepetj

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I would add more flake food, aiming that ammonia rises up to the 3 to 4 ppm. Once you read nitrites at 1ppm or more, use half of the flake food you were using (get ammonia to 2ppm).

Keeping temperature high should speed up the cycling process. 2 weeks seems reasonable time to cycle a tank from scratch (no seeded media/substrate).

Pepetj
Santo Domingo
 
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TheSwampFox

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Lucy said:
I'm not familiar with Start Smart.
If you meant Tetra Safe Start, then we'll take this discussion in a different direction.

I'd hazard a guess that the nitrite reading was wrong. Either skewed from a bacterial additive or maybe you just read it incorrectly.

It takes a couple of weeks for the bacteria that develop ammonia into nitrites.
Otherwise, things look good.
Start Smart is very similar to Safe Start and the old Bio-Spira products.
 
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Lucy

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I'm pretty leery when it comes to bacterial additives. Most contain the wrong kind of bacteria. Many have to be added with every water change.
Can't really comment further on your readings since I'm not familiar with the additive you're using.
 
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TheSwampFox

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Lucy said:
I'm pretty leery when it comes to bacterial additives. Most contain the wrong kind of bacteria. Many have to be added with every water change.
Can't really comment further on your readings since I'm not familiar with the additive you're using.
It came very well recommended from someone I trust.

startsmart-testimonials.com

it doesn't look like anything special from the packaging, but a lot of people I've talked to really like it.
 

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There's a lot of controversy around different bacteria booster type products. I've used a handful of them and done some comparisons. They are made for fish-in cycling in particular, so I don't know how to properly advise apart from that. However the by far cheapest and most effective method is getting some filter media from an established tank, this often produces a near instant cycle, depending on the tank size and source of media.
 
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TheSwampFox

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where would I find some filter media when this is the only tank I have?
 

jetajockey

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call around to a locally owned LFS (with good tanks) and ask them if you can buy some, obviously with this you are also risking what is possibly in their tanks, but if they take care of their stuff then it lowers the risk.
 
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TheSwampFox

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Thanks jockey, I'm sure someone will have some. I'll ask around.
 
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hmmm... Tested again this morning and got these results:

pH: 7.2
Ammonia: 1 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 0-5

How am I getting some Nitrate with no Nitrite and Ammonia still in the tank?
 

flyin-lowe

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The nitrate test can be a bear as it must be shaken very well. I believe if I remember correctly that the nitrate test somehow test for nitrites and then converts the reading to nitrates. (not sure how or why that is just what I have been told.) Anyway the point to that is in the beginning of the cycle there is no need to test the nitrates. Get your ammonia up to about 2 ppm and keep it there. After a week or two you should see a rise in the nitrites. Once they drop down you can check your nitrates but right now its not that important. More then likely the test was faulty, or you might have nitrates in your tap water. Its a good idea to test the tap water to make sure it is 0,0,0 so you know what you are starting with.
 

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+1 for flyin-lowe.

The nitrate test bottle #2 definitely needs to be shaken very hard to break up the crystals for testing, especially if it has sat on a store shelf for a while. I usually bang my bottle in the palm on my hand until it hurts and I can't take it anymore, or you could try hitting it on a counter top.
 
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TheSwampFox

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ok thanks guys.
 
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maybe the Start Smart did it's job? I got 7.2 pH, 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrite, and 10 Nitrate tonight!

Won't be adding fish for a few more days to make sure but things are looking up. The pre-existing filter media I bought may have helped as well...
 

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I am betting the media is what helped the most. I say this because although we say a "tank" is cycling, it really the filter media that is building up bacteria and cycling. You can move that media to another tank and have basically an instant cycle.

It sounds like things are going well and you might be close. Are you continuing to drop in flakes? You want to get to a point where even as you add ammonia, it is gone very fast. So, if you keep adding flakes, your ammonia and nitrites remain at 0, and nitrates climb. If that is what you are seeing for the next few days, you are probably in good shape.
 
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JSK said:
I am betting the media is what helped the most. I say this because although we say a "tank" is cycling, it really the filter media that is building up bacteria and cycling. You can move that media to another tank and have basically an instant cycle.

It sounds like things are going well and you might be close. Are you continuing to drop in flakes? You want to get to a point where even as you add ammonia, it is gone very fast. So, if you keep adding flakes, your ammonia and nitrites remain at 0, and nitrates climb. If that is what you are seeing for the next few days, you are probably in good shape.
Thanks, I'll keep checking! Hopefully I'm there because there is a Polypterus with my name on it at the LFS
 
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TheSwampFox

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Ammonia hit 2 ppm today, no nitrites yet 5 ppm nitrates... Funny.
 
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