New Tank - cycling question

Discussion in 'Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle' started by TankTech, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. TankTechValued MemberMember

    I just started my tank on 12/31/12, it was Christmas gift from my wife:;snow! I have some live plants and two Glowlight Tetra's. I used the Aquasafe Plus to condition the water, and API Quickstart. I used bottled spring water from WalMart. It has a pH of 7.2, however, it seems the Eco Complete substrate I used buffered the water to about 7.8. The fish seemed happy at first, but on the night of day three they did not eat their evening feeding. The morning of day four one of my glowlights had died:(.

    I have been monitoring everything: pH, Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate. The levels of Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate remained at zero for every test each day.

    I added another glowlight on day four, and the two seem to be very happy together today (day 5):)!

    The fish store employee told me that even when you do all the right things, fish can still die. He offered no good explanation other than that. They did give me another free glowlight.

    I asked him how long it would take the new tank to cycle. He told me that if I used the Qucikstart the tank is probably already cycled. He said if you do not use the quickstart, it could take a week to cycle the tank. Does anyone agree with this, or disagree with this? Why or why not?
  2. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    Welcome to FishLore!

    Please take the time to read up on the nitrogen cycle (<--words should be link to article about it).

    I've never used QuickStart, so I really cannot coment on it, but I can tell you if your ammonia, nitrite and nitrate are all 0, you are probably not cycled. In a cycled tank here is what happens:

    1. Fish produce ammonia
    2. Bacteria in your filter media consumes the ammonia, but releases nitrites
    3.A second bacteria in your filter consumes nitrites and releases nitrates.

    So in a cycled tank you will have 0ppm ammonia, 0ppm nitrites and some nitrates. (But in a planted tank, with a low bioload like you have, it is possible that the plants are absorbing the nitrates and you really are cycled)

    Generally, if not using a bacteria additive to cycle, it takes about 6 weeks to cycle a tank. The only bacteria additive that I have used successfully cycle a tank is Tetra SafeStart and SafeStart takes 10-14 days to cycle a tank.

    I will agree that sometimes fish do die for no apparent reason.

    Good luck!
  3. TankTechValued MemberMember

    Thanks for your input.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
  4. TankTechValued MemberMember

    My tank has been running for two weeks now. Still no detectable levels of Ammonia, Nitrite, or Nitrate. I am considering adding two more glowlight tetras to the tank. I am considering adding two more glowlight tetras to the tank. I am thinking that jdhef is right, that the bioload is small for the planted tank, and the plants are absorbing the nitrates. Is there any reason I should be concerned not to add any more fish yet?
  5. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    So long as ammonia & nitrite are still zero you can try adding the glowlight's, just keep an eye on your parameters. If either ammonia or nitrite start to rise, you'll need to start doing some water changes.
  6. fishlover123456New MemberMember

    i totally disagree your tank will take a couple of weeks too cycle and make sure you know its cycled because the average LFS will not keep replacing fish.
  7. jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    The OP used API QuickStart which as far as I know is similar to SafeStart. If it is indeed similar, the tank very well me be cycled. The only problem in determining if it has cycled is the fact that he reads straight zeros for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. But since the tank is planted and there is a very low bioload, it is possible that the tank is cycled, but all nitrates are being absorbed by the plants.

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