Hopefully My Last Post About This Literal 7 Month Cycle Help

  1. brook.lyn Member Member

    So my cycle has been going on.. for 7 months.. and I finally got it.. at least as close to make me happy.

    I just have to post about it because the fact it's not perfect bothers me but luckily it's not harming anything.

    So I've had this cycle (for those who haven't helped me/don't know already) that has been going on for 7 months (as mentioned) and I was recommended to buy a pre-seeded sponge filter (meaning it had already been in a well established tank for a month +) from this one website and so I bought that and added it with my 20 gallon HOB filter I have (150 gph I believe) that was already in there. I had to leave for vacation so I set that up, came back and my levels were cleared up.

    Now nitrates always stay at 20 it seems, sand is well vacuumed always and no left over food is there. Basically the whole tank is clean, just not sure why nitrates never go down. But that's another topic, now to my real issue.

    The only thing, (other than high nitrates) that is wrong with the cycle is my ammonia never goes lower than .25. And it never goes higher, so it's not getting dangerous or deadly but it still bothers me that .25 of ammonia is still there. I have a liquid test kit that isn't expired and .25 just won't budge. Now I do have .25 in my tap, but I would think that would be gone within 24 hours cause bacteria has eaten it.

    That's my only thing, not a big problem but it's just there and it doesn't move (it's been like that this whole cycle) and so I'm just coming here, and people will probably tell me I'm not cycled unless it's at 0 but with how long this cycle has taken and the fact I'm finally so close, I'm gonna take it as cycled lol.

    Other levels;

    Ammonia: .25
    Nitrite: 0
    Nitrate: 40-80
    pH: 7.6/ish

    My tank is a 20 gallon long and I have 1 axolotl in it.
     
  2. SFFishSticks Member Member

    You have to do water changes to lower your nitrates.

    Make sure to treat your new water with an ammonia detoxifier and chlorine remover such as prime.

    Look down your ammonia test tube and verify a greenish tint on your ammonia test. If it's pure yellow you're at 0.
     

  3. ChiefBrody Member Member

    Ok so if your going for an instant cycle with a used sponge filter you have to feed the bacteria or it'll die. So that could be a small live specimen or a capful of ammonia - something for it to cycle with. You can use a dead fish or a piece of seafood whatever. Then it slowly builds the bacteria in your filter and you're good to go. I'd seriously add plants or at least dip a pothos in the tank. A handful of water lettuce is also good as an ammonia sponge. These two plants are ZERO maintenancand Nitrates are ok I've had over-stocked tanks that tested blood-red and the fish were fine it's the nitrite you gotta watch out for. Plants really help with this. Then you're left with nitrates and you change the water thus throwing them out. The water change method is foolproof but realistically with plants you can change less and if you wanna keep really nice plants you actually have to ADD nitrates or they'll starve (fertilizer)
     
  4. leftswerve Well Known Member Member

    Did you ever test (ammonia) what bottled water looked like compared to your tank water?
     

  5. Celestialgirl Well Known Member Member

    I agree with @SFFishSticks And @leftswerve. I also have issues between the difference of 0 and 0.25. I started to suspect it was me after seeing people on here show pictures of 0, which looked 0.25 to me. I did some research and discovered some people look through the tube. I find this to be much more accurate (for my eyes).

    It's also a good idea to test some distilled water. This will give you an idea of the colour of 0. You may have 0.25 ammonia, or maybe it's just the test.
     
  6. brook.lyn Member Member

    I do use prime, so no worry for the most part. I'll try the looking down the tube. Do u mean through the top where the lid is? Or the bottom?

    Problem with plants is I have one axolotl in the tank (they have large bio-loads so yes, the bacteria is getting fed) and axolotls hate light and I also don't have a light on the tank so I would have to look into a low light plant. I heard something like java moss but I don't know they still would need light and with me not having a light at all just kinda makes me worry

    I'll try that,
     
  7. ChiefBrody Member Member

    Ahhh .... amphibians will definitely add bio-load. Depending on the size it's more like keeping turtles than fish. Cool animals. And Mexican like me! You should totally put a pothos in there. They're bulletproof and don't need much of anything for light. Here's mine: 30435f2ffec9a361ef5a8406d83912ef.jpg
     

  8. brook.lyn Member Member

    Do only the roots go into the water?
     
  9. ChiefBrody Member Member

    Pretty much anything touching the water will sprout roots what you see in my pic is a cutting from another larger plant but you can take a whole new plant from the store and rinse it in a mild bleach solution and then again in tank water from a water change and then just dip the roots only in the tank or HOB filter

    Just rinse the roots I mean not the whole plant so as not to muck up the tank
     
  10. Celestialgirl Well Known Member Member

    Take the lid off and look down through the top. :)