Super Fast Cycle Or Fluctuating Levels? Help

  1. P

    Puffery New Member Member

    I have a 55g tank, cycled for just over 24 hours with aragonite sand, java fern and japenense moss ball - performing a fishless cycle.
    I have an Ehiem 160 pickup filter (450L/H) sponge & carbon, and an external canister filter with carbon and existing tank cermamic media.
    The goal is one or two green spotted puffers, they are currently in a freshwater tank at the stockist I will eventually buy from, and I will begin the brackish transition once they have settled in - then a tank upgrade to a bigger capacity in a year or less depending on their growth rate.

    I’ve added 5 x aqua clear balls to the filter, and added live bacteria direct to the tank. Water is crystal clear.

    I checked my levels:
    PH - 7.5
    Nitrate - 20
    Ammonia - 4
    Nitrites - 0

    Do these levels suggest a super (almost impossible) speed of cycle or are these just initial fluctuations before I see a true ammonia spike - nitrate - nitrate - level off?!

    Thank you for any help! I’ve kept marine tanks before and have worked as a marine mammal biologist but the aquarist world is much more technical and specific so want as much advice as I can get!

    Thank You
  2. snowballPLECO

    snowballPLECO Valued Member Member

    Your water simply can have nitrates in it
  3. OP

    Puffery New Member Member

    I did test the water as a control and it was 0. That’s why I was confused.
  4. mattgirl

    mattgirl Well Known Member Member

    By using the existing cycled media it is very possible that your tank is cycled. Keep an eye on the ammonia levels and if it keeps going down and stays there one would assume the cycled media has done its job. Don't allow it to stay at no ammonia for any length of time or your bacteria will start dying off. It needs a steady source of food to thrive. I am assuming that the ammonia you are seeing right now came from either the bottled bacteria or the bio-balls.

    Either go ahead and add your fish at that point or use pure ammonia to feed the cycle (bacteria)
  5. OP

    Puffery New Member Member

    Thank you!
  6. mattgirl

    mattgirl Well Known Member Member

    You are very welcome. Please stick around and let us know how it is going.
  7. Mom2some

    Mom2some Well Known Member Member

    For you to claim it “cycled “ you want the ammonia going to 0 in 24 hours. Sounds like you got a jump start - so that is nice.