Is This Cycling Normally?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Masiolli, Dec 8, 2018.

  1. MasiolliNew MemberMember

    Getting back into the hobby after being out for years. Didn’t know about cycling back then but had no issues. Coworker gave me a 45 gallon set up but tank was replaced with a new one. I’m running a 150 watt heater keeping tank at ~78*F and two aquaclear 30s with 1/3 coarse sponge, 1/2 fine sponge, and a pack of their bio ring things. Tank has been running for two weeks. I have 8 small java ferns and an anubias, three pieces of wood and several large rocks. I want to do a lot of plants so I have potting soil underneath the gravel.

    Now that that info is out of the way, here are my water test results using API Luquid test:

    Tap water:
    PH- 8.1
    Ammonia- 0
    Nitrite- 0
    Nitrate- 5ppm
    (Then using tetra 5-1 strips):
    GH- 75
    KH- 35

    4 days ago tank water was:
    PH- 7.8
    Ammonia- 3-4ppm
    Nitrite- 0
    Nitrate- ~7.5
    GH- ~110
    KH- ~30

    Two water changes of around 33% later, were at these numbers today:
    PH- 7.0
    Ammonia- 3ppm
    Nitrite- 0
    Nitrate- 7.5
    GH: 75
    KH: ~30

    Seems like nothing is happening in there aside from PH fluctuating. Am I doing something wrong, or just need more time? I don’t plan to put fish in for three more weeks or so, so no rush there. Just want to make sure I’m headed in the right direction or make any corrections now if needed.

    Thanks in advance!

    PS- I’ve been running the light for way longer than usual since start up (~15hrs a day) and have had NO algae blooms or signs of anything in the tank. The java ferns are putting on new leafs and a few have started to propogate new plants on the undersides.

    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018
  2. AuthmalValued MemberMember

    There are several articles here on cycling, which can take weeks. I'd hit those up for more information.

  3. deadheadValued MemberMember

    It will take longer than 2 weeks. more like 1 month unless the soil leaches ammonia. What type of soil?
  4. Madeline PetersonValued MemberMember

    You need to add organic waste to feed the bacteria that will eat your fish waste.
  5. MaxxxValued MemberMember

    No fish/added waste to the tank = no cycle. I would suggest planting the tank some of the plant melt will help start the cycle and add the hardiest fish you want to have in the tank first to start the cycle. At this point when you add your first fish (you can do a few at a time) get some QuickStart and put it in to help the cycle start.
  6. MasiolliNew MemberMember

    So the ammonia in there isn’t going to start the cycle? I have twice added around a gallon of tank water from my classroom tank when I do the water change there.

    The soil is organic potting soil mixed with some fluval stratum.
  7. Zer0eviLValued MemberMember

    I'm using Seachem Stability for bacteria and Dr Tim ammonium chloride and after a week I have both nitrites and nitrates.
  8. mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

    It does take time for the tank to get going unless you add either seeded media, fish or bottled bacteria and pure ammonia.

    Did you add ammonia to get your tank up to the ammonia level you have been registering? If not I am curious as to where it came from.

    adding water from another tank will do little to jump start the cycle on this tank but if that tank is cycled some of the media from it will. The bacteria grows on the filter media and on every surface in the tank. Very little if any is actually free floating in the water.
  9. Zer0eviLValued MemberMember

    Make sure you are not using Ammonia with surfactants in it.
  10. MasiolliNew MemberMember

    I didn’t add any ammonia. If it’s not from the tank at school (it shouldn’t be unless it’s from crud sucked up and then breaking down in my tank) than it’s either from the soil, wood, or plants.

    I know it takes time, but I’m curious as to why doing water changes hasn’t changed the ammonia levels. I have researched that starting a cycle with plants can be tricky sometimes because they use the nitrates, but I’m still registering those as well (also with no impact from 33% water changes). Also for reference, I tested the water this morning, did the water change, and tested again a few hours later and the only thing that changed was the PH went from 6.8 to 7.0 and there was a tiny bit of nitrites (barely .25 if that) and then none after water change. Ammonia and nitrates were the same.

    Could the GH or KH or PH be doing anything to prevent the bacteria from growing? I’m headed to the fish store tomorrow to see if they carry the bacteria in a bottle stuff. And I will steal the sponge from my classroom tank on Monday.
  11. Zer0eviLValued MemberMember

    PH and Temp as they rise they increase the concentration of unionized ammonia, just fyi.
  12. MasiolliNew MemberMember

    I noticed tonight there’s a bit of foamy bubbles on the surface of the water as well as an “oily sheen” what could that be? And should I be concerned? I also just added some “live bacteria” from a bottle but I’m skeptical.

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