Hello - Uk Member First Tank

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by jamesw6810, Jul 16, 2019.

  1. jamesw6810

    jamesw6810New MemberMember

    Hi all,

    First post but have been lurking around for a month or so..

    Just going through the process of a first tank set up, so heres some pre info:

    • 60 litre tall tank
    • Fluval U2 filter with sponge, carbon and Bio media
    • Gravel substrate
    • Artificial planting
    • Tetra HT50 heater (set to 28 degrees C)
    • 2 x thermometers, digital and analogue
    • API freshwater test kit
    • Prime
    So, i did a fair bit of pre read before doing anything but setting up the tank and as per usual have ended up with a side board drawer full of stuff i "Need" :)

    Anyway, i went for the fishLESS cycle to kick off my journey into fish keeping. Ive kind of pretty much decided the fish i want to keep, number one choice is a Betta - ive seen a few in the LFS that tickle my fancy, obviously will be choosing 1 of them. Possibly the only other fish i will keep is a small school of either pygmy cory or Cardinal tetra or Harlequin rasbora, i may add a couple of snails which according to AqAdvisor puts me at around 80% stocked.. im aware of the temperament of the betta and keeping other fish, ive looked hard at compatible species to stay away from definite issues

    Undecided on the supporting school of fish, remembering this is a 60 litre tall, its 50 cm wide, 50 tall and around 30 deep, bowfront so 30 deep is the max

    Anyway, onto the cycling - this is largely the reason for the post, other than an intro..

    I decided to use Dr Tims for cycling, both the Ammonia and Bacteria, here goes:

    Day 1: Dosed a full 2oz bottle of bacteria which treats 30 gal (double dosed) - then i added Dr Tims ammonia upto 2ppm using their 4 drops per gallon. Measured at 2ppm around an hour later

    Without showing every day, basically im now on day 12 and the ammonia has remained at 2ppm, nitrites at 0, nitrates at barely 5 - no trace of Nitrates in water supply

    There hasnt been a shift at all for Ammonia and ive tested every day

    I know its a patience game but would i have expected to see a reduction in the ammonia levels by now, im aware nitirites may skip with the bacteria and yes theres a minute trace of nitrates but a clear non reduction in ammonia

    Can anyone offer any insight, ive done a lot of reading on this and seen a few posts on a possible partial water change to jump start, know its still early in the cycle..

    Couple of Qs likely to be asked i guess and ill try and answer them up front

    Ph - 8.0 stable
    I dosed before hand with prime to dechlorinate and waited over 24 hours
    Theres no fish :)
    I have surface agitation for oxygen level at a slightly higher temp than i would keep the fish

    Nothing funky happening in the tank, well pretty much nothing happening at all :)

    Appreciate any input in advance and again, hello!

    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 16, 2019
  2. Momgoose56

    Momgoose56Well Known MemberMember

    Patience is the game! Have you added any more ammonia? If not, it's okay. It will drop. Quite often, when you use a bacteria culture you will never see Nitrites. That's because the nitrate oxidizing bacteria (NOB) that were in the bottle are oxidizing nitrites in the tank as they are produced. That's why you are seeing nitrates. I think that in many bacteria cultures, the ammonia oxidizing bacteria (AOB) is not viable by the time it reaches you.
    When your ammonia does drop, re dose enough to keep it at 1-2 ppm until enough AOB are able to reduce that ammonia level (1-2ppm) to 0 ppm in 24 hours. It may take a couple more weeks. Don't do any water changes at this time, and don't clean or change anything in the tank. You may see some white cloudiness in the tank water at some point. That's normal and will clear itself up after a few days. You are doing everything perfectly! Just keep up the patience and diligence!
  3. OP

    jamesw6810New MemberMember

    Thanks - no ammonia added since Day 1.

    Yeah I’m quite patient usually, just may have expected an ammonia shift with the nitrate reading after 12 days - maybe not :)

    I’ll keep testing daily and top up when ammonia gets to 0.25 ish. Thanks again
  4. Momgoose56

    Momgoose56Well Known MemberMember

    Just to put it into perspective for you: cycling a tank with no bacteria or seeded media usually takes at least 6 to 8 weeks. With bottled bacteria, depending on the type you use, it still usually takes at least 3-4 weeks to fully cycle a tank. So, you are on schedule. "Patience Grasshopper"!
  5. OP

    jamesw6810New MemberMember

    2 weeks to the day, Ammonia still at 2ppm with no nitrites showing and still at 5 nitrates

    Just topped off the water, some evaporation happening and as i carefully tipped back in around a litre of temp matched and primed water, this stuff appeared in the water column (pictured)

    Can see it on the artificial planting aswell but the topped up water went no where near them...any ideas, some sort of algae?

  6. Momgoose56

    Momgoose56Well Known MemberMember

    I'm not sure exactly what you're referring to but all kinds of weird stuff grows in cycling tanks! Algae, fungi. Most clears itself up by the time the tank is cycled. If you still have algae then, there are ways to fix it then. You're right on schedule! You should see some drop in the ammonia in the next week. Your tank pH and temp are perfect for cycling.
  7. OP

    jamesw6810New MemberMember

    Yeah realised when i posted the photo its not exactly obvious - its like a floating fluffy looking thing - can see it if you just look at the filter

    Thanks again
  8. Momgoose56

    Momgoose56Well Known MemberMember

    That is probably a fungus. If you look closely at your plants, decorations and substrate, you may see a thin layer of it growing on them. The water addition probably stirred it up. You can see the dark green algae and white fungi that grew on my wood when I was cycling. When the cycling was complete, my fish and pleco gobbled the
    stuff up!
  9. Lcas1

    Lcas1Valued MemberMember

    Hi I also used dr Tim's bacteria and ammonia solution my tank took six weeks to cycle so like momgoose said just stay patient once your ammonia starts going down you will have a nitrite spike. This phase lasted about 3 weeks for me imo it is the worst bit .thought it would never end then suddenly just seemed to take hold. Good luck with your cycle there are plenty of helpful people on this forum who are willing to help and guide you
  10. richie.p

    richie.pFishlore VIPMember

    Croeso welcome to fishlore james
    I'm in bedford
  11. OP

    jamesw6810New MemberMember

    Just thought id do another quick update a week on - 3 weeks in total

    Ammonia holding at 2ppm
    Nitrites 0ppm on the API kit - 0.5 on another test kit (colombo aquatest pro)
    Nitrates 20

    Some movement of nitrates/nitrites depending what test to believe :) but ammonia holding firm

    Just a word on the Aquatest pro - i wanted to have a spare kit after my API ammonia gave me 3 different readings on 3 separate tests on the same day at the same time, like the kit too be fair and it agrees on ammonia and nitrate with the API but differs on Nitrite

    Can never have too much testing kit i guess


    Last edited: Jul 27, 2019
  12. Momgoose56

    Momgoose56Well Known MemberMember

    Right! Can't test too much! Are you sure that's the API Nitrite test? That looks like Nitrates. That color doesn't look like any of the Nitrite result comparison colors! Its really easy to mix up the Nitrite/Nitrate solution vials. Been there, done that lol!
  13. OP

    jamesw6810New MemberMember

    1st photo is API NitrATE (Reddy brown) second photo is Colombo NitRITE (API Nitrite was 0)

    Just added API Ammonia
  14. OP

    jamesw6810New MemberMember

    Whether this is useful to keep updating but..

    Day 23 and..

    Ammonia has dropped to 0.5
    Nitrites 0
    Nitrates 40 (bit lighter so 20/40)

    All I did was add One and only with 2ppm ammonia, raise temp to 28/29 degrees

    Aaaaand wait!

    Seems to be getting somewhere now, will wait to hit 0.25ppm or 0 and dose back up to 1-2ppm

    Hopefully we’re close :)
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2019
  15. OP

    jamesw6810New MemberMember

    Quick Q - Parameters today are the same as above..

    Should i dose ammonia back up or wait for a drop to 0.25/0 do you think?

    Remembering ammonia has only been dosed to 2ppm from day 1..

  16. jdhef

    jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    If it were me, I would dose back up to 2ppm ammonia at this point.
  17. OP

    jamesw6810New MemberMember

    So had a bit of a nightmare over the weekend - went to dose to 2ppm and the lid came off the dr tims and dumped half a bottle in :(

    So, i water changed it back out quick quickly and managed to get the ammonia back to 0.5 eventually - i thought id just leave it there to be safe and assumed that what bacteria had been built would have taken care of it

    That was friday, today im still on 0.5 so in 3 days its not clearing 0.5ppm, im now on day 31 of the cycle

    Ph Holding at 7.5
    Nitrites still - 0
    Nitrates - 20 (after water changes)

    Has something gone wrong here?

    Also, i noticed the flow being a bit slower on the surface and the filter pads a bit clogged, gave them a tiny swish in tank water and put back in, has rectified but assuming this shouldn't have had an effect on the cycle reading what i have?

    Any thoughts

    Last edited: Aug 5, 2019
  18. OP

    jamesw6810New MemberMember

    Anyone any thoughts on the above?

    Its now day 33 of my cycle

    I dosed back to 2ppm ammonia on monday, all through the cycle ive seen no nitrites and since i dosed to 2ppm on monday, its stayed the same to today ammonia wise

    Basically through the cycle, i havent seen a decent drop in ammonia from the 2ppm dose but yesterday i saw a trace of nitrites at 0.5 - thing is, the API kit shows light blue (0 nitrites) but i have 2 other tests for nitrite (colombo and nt labs) which show a trace at 0.5

    Nitrates on the API show 40ppm and on the colombo show 20ppm

    Getting frustrated now as nothing seems to be following a pattern 33 days in :/