My Tank Cycled In 48 Hours?

Cole23

So I set up my Aqueon MiniBow 5 gallon aquarium last weekend. I let it run for a few days to make sure the heater and filter were working and everything like the temperature was stable. On Wednesday my shipment from Aqua Huna arrived. I dumped an entire bottle of tetra safe start that can treat a 20 gallon tank in to my 5 gallon tank, then added about a fourth of a very large bottle of tetra safe start directly to my filter media. I then acclimated 5 male endlers and 2 mystery snails and added them to my tank. I tested my water today with the API Master’s Kit and two different brands of test strips, and it appears that my tank has cycled in about 48 hours, is that possible? Here’s my results and a picture of my tank, and yes I performed the test right I’ve used that test kits dozens and dozens of times. Thanks!

pH - 7.5
Ammonia - 0 ppm
Nitrite - 0 ppm
Nitrate - 20 ppm
 

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Dechi

I doubt it very much. Keep testing, your ammonia levels will rise soon. Make sure you read the post on how to do a fish-in cycle, by Mattgirl.

Your nitrate test might be false, or you have nitrates in the tap water. Read the instructions carefully and do the test exactly as it says. It needs a lot of shaking !
 
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ChrissFishes01

It is. I'd watch parameters closely over the next few weeks, since as waste builds up, you may start to see ammonia/nitrite spikes.

TSS+ is marketed as an instant cycle product, and I believe it can do it for small bioloads, like what you would have with just a few endlers in a planted tank. For heavier loads, it's probably not gonna do the job as quickly.
 
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Cole23

I doubt it very much. Keep testing, your ammonia levels will rise soon. Make sure you read the post on how to do a fish-in cycle, by Mattgirl.

Your nitrate test might be false, or you have nitrates in the tap water. Read the instructions carefully and do the test exactly as it says. It needs a lot of shaking !

I tested my tap water and it has 0 nitrates, and I have performed tests with this kit dozens of times. I usually shake the nitrate bottle for two minutes and slam it on my hand and my tv stand about 30 times. Lol and not that test strips are accurate or should be used but I did use two different brands of test strips along with my masters kit testing and all 3 matched.
It is. I'd watch parameters closely over the next few weeks, since as waste builds up, you may start to see ammonia/nitrite spikes.

TSS+ is marketed as an instant cycle product, and I believe it can do it for small bioloads, like what you would have with just a few endlers in a planted tank. For heavier loads, it's probably not gonna do the job as quickly.

I know that TSS+ says to wait 14 days for a water change, but I’m worried that with my nitrates at 20ppm after two days that by 14 days my pH will drop significantly. Do you know when it would be safe to do a water change and not disrupt the TSS+ bacteria?
 
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ChrissFishes01

I tested my tap water and it has 0 nitrates, and I have performed tests with this kit dozens of times. I usually shake the nitrate bottle for two minutes and slam it on my hand and my tv stand about 30 times. Lol and not that test strips are accurate or should be used but I did use two different brands of test strips along with my masters kit testing and all 3 matched.


I know that TSS+ says to wait 14 days for a water change, but I’m worried that with my nitrates at 20ppm after two days that by 14 days my pH will drop significantly. Do you know when it would be safe to do a water change and not disrupt the TSS+ bacteria?
I would do a water change as needed. The nitrification process will create some acids as byproducts but, IME, it's unlikely that it'll have a large effect on your PH. I'd be more concerned about continually testing for ammonia and nitrite - the tank may appear to be cycled, but it's nowhere near stable.

At this point, you have 48 hours worth of waste in the tank. The stuff that's been in there for 48 hours isn't even really fully decayed yet. That waste is going to build up rather quickly, so while you may have enough bacteria from the TSS+ to process the current amount of decaying waste in the tank, you may not have enough to process a week's worth, if that makes sense.

I'm 100% a believer that these products do work, but I share Dechi 's skepticism. Watch closely, and be prepared to do large water changes if need be.

For future reference, if I was going to do this kind of cycle, I'd probably choose to try 1-2 endlers, and add a couple more over time. Adding a large load all at once tends to be problematic, especially in brand new tanks.
 
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Cole23

I would do a water change as needed. The nitrification process will create some acids as byproducts but, IME, it's unlikely that it'll have a large effect on your PH. I'd be more concerned about continually testing for ammonia and nitrite - the tank may appear to be cycled, but it's nowhere near stable.

At this point, you have 48 hours worth of waste in the tank. The stuff that's been in there for 48 hours isn't even really fully decayed yet. That waste is going to build up rather quickly, so while you may have enough bacteria from the TSS+ to process the current amount of decaying waste in the tank, you may not have enough to process a week's worth, if that makes sense.

I'm 100% a believer that these products do work, but I share Dechi 's skepticism. Watch closely, and be prepared to do large water changes if need be.

For future reference, if I was going to do this kind of cycle, I'd probably choose to try 1-2 endlers, and add a couple more over time. Adding a large load all at once tends to be problematic, especially in brand new tanks.

Yes that does make sense! I’ll continue to test everyday and watch everything closely. And I would have preferred to cycle with just 1 or 2 endlers but the nearest fish stores to me are about an hour away and I don’t really trust any of them, and with online shipping cost for fish being so high I decided to order from Aqua Huna who only sells a 10 pack of male endlers. So I decided to put 5 in the tank and give the other 5 away to a friend of my wife’s who couldn’t take more than 5 because their guppy tank is almost fully stocked, but nonetheless good advice that I’ll keep in mind for the next tank I cycle. Thank you!
 
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John58ford

So hi, I love science. 20ppm nitrate climb in 2 days or a rate of production about 7 times faster than my normally stocked tanks, it usually takes me 10-14 days to make 40ppm. The size of a mystery snail can vary allot, but I would think 2 of them at golf ball size would be a pretty serious load in a 5 gallon. Usually waste base ammonia will take a several days to break down and even show as ammonia, especially without the other fauna responsible for their timely demise.

Anyhow, those are just statements. My question, did you add a fertilizer or root tab? What type of substrate? There are other sources of nitrate that are pretty common. I do like tss+ and have tested it before with good results (never saw nitrite with it's use) but it still took 7-10 days if I recall.

As the others have stated, continue your testing, if levels are high, just change water. Nitrate can run into the 40s or higher just fine with that stocking but don't let ammonia or nitrite get the best of them.

Nice looking tank, don't hesitate to move up a size, scaping and decorating just get more fun as you go bigger.
 
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Cole23

So hi, I love science. 20ppm nitrate climb in 2 days or a rate of production about 7 times faster than my normally stocked tanks, it usually takes me 10-14 days to make 40ppm. The size of a mystery snail can vary allot, but I would think 2 of them at golf ball size would be a pretty serious load in a 5 gallon. Usually waste base ammonia will take a several days to break down and even show as ammonia, especially without the other fauna responsible for their timely demise.

Anyhow, those are just statements. My question, did you add a fertilizer or root tab? What type of substrate? There are other sources of nitrate that are pretty common. I do like tss+ and have tested it before with good results (never saw nitrite with it's use) but it still took 7-10 days if I recall.

As the others have stated, continue your testing, if levels are high, just change water. Nitrate can run into the 40s or higher just fine with that stocking but don't let ammonia or nitrite get the best of them.

Nice looking tank, don't hesitate to move up a size, scaping and decorating just get more fun as you go bigger.

Both mystery snails are pretty small, about the size of a dime. I have added 2 doses of Thrive S which I believe from I’ve read isn’t suppose to raise nitrates as much as other fertilizer. No root tabs, and just basic, black pea sized gravel nothing special. And I will definitely keep testing and do water changes as needed. And I actually had a Fluval Flex 15 gallon set up for most of last year, but I wasn’t happy with the fake plants and decor and I didn’t like the stocking so I took it down and gave away the fish. I’m trying to find a new spot for it in my house and think of how I want it to look this time around, hopefully more natural and much better!
 
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John58ford

2.56% nitrogen in thrive .43% in thrive S. 1Ml thrive S per 10 gallon will raise nitrate (NO3) by about 1ppm.

What dose are you using?
 
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Cole23

2.56% nitrogen in thrive .43% in thrive S. 1Ml thrive S per 10 gallon will raise nitrate (NO3) by about 1ppm.

What dose are you using?

I’m using 1 pump every 4 days, so I’ve used one pump twice this week. I think the bottle said to use 1 pump per 5 gallons 1 to 3 times per week so that’s what I was going off of
 
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John58ford

I think that pump is a 2ml dose, going into a 5gal tank, 4ppm nitrates per pump in your tank, 2 pumps gets us up to 8, where the rest came from could be anyone's guess. My math could be wrong too TBH, it's worth checking.

Not saying your nitrate level is bad, just looking at other things that could raise it (other than having completed the nitrogen cycle instantly).

One more thing to think about is that ammonia is another form of nitrogen that plants can consume. Keeping your fertilizer dosing low in the earlier phase of increasing bioload in a tank is a natural way to help reduce the ammonia spikes you might encounter. The plants will use what they need from the forms available, nitrate limitation can encourage consumption of the other nitrogen sources.
 
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Cole23

I think that pump is a 2ml dose, going into a 5gal tank, 4ppm nitrates per pump in your tank, 2 pumps gets us up to 8, where the rest came from could be anyone's guess. My math could be wrong too TBH, it's worth checking.

Not saying your nitrate level is bad, just looking at other things that could raise it (other than having completed the nitrogen cycle instantly).

One more thing to think about is that ammonia is another form of nitrogen that plants can consume. Keeping your fertilizer dosing low in the earlier phase of increasing bioload in a tank is a natural way to help reduce the ammonia spikes you might encounter. The plants will use what they need from the forms available, nitrate limitation can encourage consumption of the other nitrogen sources.

Okay thanks, that’s good to know! What would you recommend dosage wise for that fertilizer and my tank?
 
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John58ford

Okay thanks, that’s good to know! What would you recommend dosage wise for that fertilizer and my tank?
Sadly I can't really give an answer to that. I go to a whole different extreme. That's all lighting, stocking, planting, source water, digestive vs adsorbative uptake of the food by the stocking and a whole bunch more in my eyes. I'm honestly a nutrient mad scientist.

I would recommend you use what your tank needs, it may need what you are giving it, or it may only use half of it. I would stay mindful of the usage adjusting and the numbers trend changing over several months as micro fauna develop, roots take, stocking grows etc. Tracking the production of nitrates by your stocking, addition of nitrate by your fertilizer, and net reduction (or relative lack of gain) by your plants balances with your lighting. There's more to it but, this is a hard one for me. The plant gurus will likely tell you to dump some ferts in there and turn up the lights, I just like to know more about my man made micro ecosystems and what I am doing to make the inhabitants healthy, vs make life easier for us as the keepers. A balance is important so I cannot recommend my method to everyone, it is not easy on all types of keeper. I'm just a weirdo that can math out ppm in a gallon with a blink and a guess, who also slept through just enough chemistry to accidentally cause mischief.

Tldr. My mentality is nutrient limitation, the current meta seems to be light limitation. It's allot easier to shut the lights off than change water and do math and testing. I like natural minimal methods, most fertilizers are far from minimal.
 
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