Six Weeks And No Nitrates?

frostmystique

Valued Member
Messages
68
Reaction score
11
Points
43
Experience
1 year
Hey guys

I have recently just started my first planted tank, a 5 gallon Fluval Spec. At the moment I am doing a fishless cycle.

Everything seems to be doing well - there’s lots of new growth on the plants and there are also about three hitch-hiking snails which help manage the algae, and they seem to be thriving as well.

The only problem is, for about three weeks my water tests have come up with 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, but also 0 nitrates. The pH is about 6.6 because of the Fluval stratum I added.

I am using the API Freshwater Master Test Kit. I know it’s not a problem with how I am doing the testing or the kit itself, as I use it on my other tank and it works perfectly. I am just wondering why for three weeks straight, there have consistently been no nitrates, and yet 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites?

Yes I do have an understanding of the nitrogen cycle, and I am doing a fishless cycle. I add Prime weekly, as well as a bio-starter, and have a filter and heater running at all times. I also do water changes weekly.

Any advice would be appreciated! I’ve also included some photos for anyone interested. Thanks!
 

Attachments

Momgoose56

Fishlore VIP
Messages
5,704
Reaction score
3,572
Points
458
Experience
More than 10 years
frostmystique said:
Hey guys

I have recently just started my first planted tank, a 5 gallon Fluval Spec. At the moment I am doing a fishless cycle.

Everything seems to be doing well - there’s lots of new growth on the plants and there are also about three hitch-hiking snails which help manage the algae, and they seem to be thriving as well.

The only problem is, for about three weeks my water tests have come up with 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, but also 0 nitrates. The pH is about 6.6 because of the Fluval stratum I added.

I am using the API Freshwater Master Test Kit. I know it’s not a problem with how I am doing the testing or the kit itself, as I use it on my other tank and it works perfectly. I am just wondering why for three weeks straight, there have consistently been no nitrates, and yet 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites?

Yes I do have an understanding of the nitrogen cycle, and I am doing a fishless cycle. I add Prime weekly, as well as a bio-starter, and have a filter and heater running at all times. I also do water changes weekly.

Any advice would be appreciated! I’ve also included some photos for anyone interested. Thanks!
Are you adding ammonia or an ammonia source to your tank? A tank won't produce it's own ammonia (except trace amounts over time from dead plant material- maybe). Ammonia is introduced to a fishless cycle either in the form of pure ammonia (fastest, cleanest, easiest way) or fish food (which has to rot to produce ammonia). If you need help figuring out how to dose the tank with ammonia and monitor its progress we can help you with that. A low pH (<7) will also significantly slow the cycling process. You can naturally, temporarily raise the pH to speed the cycling process and we can help you with that as well.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #3

frostmystique

Valued Member
Messages
68
Reaction score
11
Points
43
Experience
1 year
Momgoose56 said:
Are you adding ammonia or an ammonia source to your tank? A tank won't produce it's own ammonia (except trace amounts over time from dead plant material- maybe). Ammonia is introduced to a fishless cycle either in the form of pure ammonia (fastest, cleanest, easiest way) or fish food (which has to rot to produce ammonia). If you need help figuring out how to dose the tank with ammonia and monitor its progress we can help you with that. A low pH (<7) will also significantly slow the cycling process. You can naturally, temporarily raise the pH to speed the cycling process and we can help you with that as well.
Hi there! I’ve just been adding some fish food to help it cycle. I’ve also heard though that the snails produce a pretty high bioload, so shouldn’t they theoretically be producing some kind of waste as well?
I’m not really keen to play around with the pH but I don’t really mind it being that low, as supposedly 6.6 is a good pH for Bettas (hence why I chose to add Fluval stratum!)
Thanks!
 

BlackOsprey

Well Known Member
Messages
763
Reaction score
351
Points
98
Snails definitely would help it along, though I think more than 3 would be needed to make a significant difference in a filtered and planted tank. I'm cycling one of my tanks right now by supporting a ramshorn population explosion. Once it's cycled, stop feeding a ton and their population will probably drop.
 

Momgoose56

Fishlore VIP
Messages
5,704
Reaction score
3,572
Points
458
Experience
More than 10 years
frostmystique said:
Hi there! I’ve just been adding some fish food to help it cycle. I’ve also heard though that the snails produce a pretty high bioload, so shouldn’t they theoretically be producing some kind of waste as well?
I’m not really keen to play around with the pH but I don’t really mind it being that low, as supposedly 6.6 is a good pH for Bettas (hence why I chose to add Fluval stratum!)
Thanks!
If youre talking about tiny bladder snails, no, they won't create enough waste to cycle a tank that you are then going to put even more bioload in (a fish). If you aren't seeing any ammonia after 3 weeks, they obviously aren't doing the job. It takes TONS of rotting fish food to cycle a tank and as I said, that fishfood has to decay before it produces ammonia. And, as I said, you can temporarily raise the pH of a fishless tank to get it cycled then let it drop back down to it's previous level once the bacteria are established. If you really are interested in getting your tank cycled, there are ways to get it done.
 

CheshireKat

Well Known Member
Messages
1,145
Reaction score
506
Points
133
Experience
More than 10 years
So you haven't seen any ammonia or nitrites? The plants could be using up whatever little nitrate is produced, if any is. I'd be more concerned about the ammonia and nitrites.

Momgoose56 said:
If youre talking about tiny bladder snails, no, they won't create enough waste to cycle a tank
They'll help, in my opinion. I have a dish tub of water that I put decaying leaves, dead leaves, trimmings, etc from my tanks in and bladder snails that were on those and have been living in that tub for weeks. The bottom of the tub is covered in snail poop and milk. I've never fed them actual food or changed the water, it's completely natural. If you've got a decent bladder snail population and good food sources, I think it's possible to get a cycle going or keep it going.
That said, this scenario could be a fluke and I wouldn't consider it a real viable option foranyone, just sharing my accidental experiment thing. They're like my compost.

I did help along my 7 gallon's cycle with nerites. I started it with a piece or two of pastami and maybe a piece of algae wafer and fish food though (the King Of DIY suggested a raw shrimp. I was inspired but don't eat shrimp and wasn't inclined to ask the seafood department for a single shrimp, so I improvised. Somehow it worked for me, but again, not something I can advise).
 

Jack B Nimble

Well Known Member
Messages
647
Reaction score
652
Points
103
Not sure where the issue is ? my pond always 0,0,0 too me that s perfect and my pond has 30 fish in it and its a year old. For my planted tank other than nitrates for the plant growth do you think it hasn't cycled or something ?
 

Momgoose56

Fishlore VIP
Messages
5,704
Reaction score
3,572
Points
458
Experience
More than 10 years
Jack B Nimble said:
Not sure where the issue is ? my pond always 0,0,0 too me that s perfect and my pond has 30 fish in it and its a year old. For my planted tank other than nitrates for the plant growth do you think it hasn't cycled or something ?
Do you think it hasn't? We'd be happy to help you with your problem if you want to start your own thread. .
 

kallililly1973

Fishlore VIP
Messages
6,652
Reaction score
4,935
Points
423
Experience
3 years
I agree with the others that your plants could be using up the traces of nitrates. Instead of doing your next WC on say day 7 wait till day 10-12 and then take reading to see if any nitrates show up. Also if your not seeing ammonia or nitrites that is definitely a good sign.If you can take a sample of your water to your LFS and let them test it to do a comparison may also help.
 

Nuchi

Valued Member
Messages
67
Reaction score
27
Points
28
I have 100+ pest snails in my shrimp tank and its only 2-3 months old but its super heavy planted and I used water and some other stuff including the plants to start this one though. But the thing is Ammonia Nitrates and Nitrites stay at 0 or next to all the time.... had the water go murky once but it cleared up whiten a day on its own and everything levels where same as always. Not saying to do what I do but plants grow quick to an equilibrium with available food, I have seen someone clean sewage water with plants that then clean the water to EPA safe standards.

Lol in my tank I have crystalwort and duckweed and both are a floating mat the crystalwort alone is 3in or more in some places even with the duckweed shading it.
 
Toggle Sidebar

Aquarium Calculator

Follow FishLore!





Top Bottom