Total Plant Melt During Fishless Cycle

ArtemisFish

Are you doing a fish in cycle, fishless cycle or was your tank cycled and you had a sudden ammonia or nitrite spike?: FISHLESS

Tank
What is the water volume of the tank?: 17 gal
What type of water are you using in your tank? (tap, well, RO/DI, other): TAP
When did you start cycling the tank?: JULY 27, 2021
What type of filtration are you running on this tank? (sponge, HOB, canister, other): OASE FILTOSMART 100 AND 5GAL SPONGE FILTER
If canister or HOB list all the media you are running in it. (manufactured cartridges, sponge, etc.): 1/2 CERAMIC TUBES, 1/2 SMALL LAVA ROCK, SPONGES
Do you have good water agitation/surface movement?: YES
What is the water temperature?:
80 DEGREES F

If fish in cycling
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts): NONE SO FAR
How often do you feed them and how much?:
Are they showing signs of distress? (fish hiding, staying at the top, looking pale, torn fins, etc):
Do you have live plants in the tank?:
If so are they healthy and actively growing?:


Products used while cycling
If this is a fishless cycle what ammonia source are you using? (fish food, Dr Tim’s ammonia, other): FISHFOOD UNTIL 8/27 AND THEN SWITCHED TO AMONNIUM HYDROXIDE BECAUSE I WASN'T ETTING ANY AMMONIA READINGS
If adding liquid ammonia how often do you dose ammonia in your tank and in what quantity? (1ppm, 2ppm etc.): 8PPM BY ACCIDENT ON 8/27, THEN GOT IT DOWN TO 1PPM, just added
If using fish food as your ammonia source how much are you adding and how often?:
Are you using a dechlorinater and if so, which one?: PRIME
Are you using bottled bacteria and if so, which one?: SEACHEM STABILITY
Did you add seeded media from a previously cycled tank?: SOME GRAVEL FROM OLD TANK, MY OLD FILTER HAS BBA SO I DON'T WANT TO BRING THAT OVER
What other products/chemicals are you using? (list them all): AQUARIUM COOP ROOT TABS (5 TOTAL), CRUSHED CORAL 1/3 C HUNG ABOVE OUTFLOW TO RAISE pH


Testing and cycling process
What was your knowledge of the nitrogen cycle before beginning to cycle your tank? (none, beginner, intermediate (please explain), advanced): THIS IS MY 2ND CYCLING, STILL CONSIDER MYSELF A NOVICE
What do you use to test the water? (API liquid, test strips, other): API LIQUID FOR AMMONIA, AQUARIUM COOP TEST STRIPS FOR THE REST
Did you test your tap water for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates and pH, if so post the results below?: nope
Have you done any water changes and if so, when?:WATER CHANGE ON 8/30 AFTER ALL MY PLANTS MELTED AT 8PPM AMMONIA
How much water did you change?: 75%
Did you vacuum the substrate?: NO
Did you clean your filter, filter media, decorations and/or glass?: NO
If using disposable cartridges have you replaced one recently?: THEY ARE NEW



*Parameters - Very Important
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.
Tank water: TAP TREATED WITH PRIME
Ammonia: AS OF 9/2: NH3 = .5
Nitrite: 10
Nitrate: 50
pH: 6.0

Tap water:
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate:0
pH: 6.5

Explain your cycling problem in detail. (Please give a clear explanation of what is going on, include details from the beginning of the problem leading up to now)


Off to a rocky start because I miscalculated and added 2 1/2 tbsp ammonia to my 17 gal tank on 8/27. On 8/30 all the Valsneria, Amazon Sword and Aponogeton that I had already planted before I started cycling melted! I did a 75% water change on 8/30 and got my tank down to 1ppm and cut all the melted plants to the ground. My question is: Do people think that they will come back soon? I wanted to start my tank with lots of plants this time to better out-compete the algae. Now I am afraid there won't be enough plant material just when I need it the most. I am adding more ammonia to bring the ppm back up to 4 and let the tank to continue to cycle until the NO2 disappears within 12 hrs, right? Wish I had my plants to help with this. Any suggestions for me at this point in my bumpy ride would be much appreciated! Note: I had already started the cycle July 27 with fish food and old tank gravel, but the ammonia never got to 1ppm, so I started adding ammonia on 8/27. my NO2 now reads 10ppm and my NO3 = 50ppm.
 

Mudminnow

Personally, I prefer cycling my planted tanks without fish or plants in the tank. So, this may not be the cheapest solution (considering you already bought some plants), but it will be the easiest solution to pull off:
  1. Just keep the lights off to prevent algae issues.
  2. Once the cycle is complete, buy a bunch more plants to fill your tank.
The advantage of cycling the tank without plants is that the plants don't get as stressed and melt much less. Also, you don't need to do constant water changes while the tank is cycling to keep algae at bay. It's less worries and less work.
 

Frank the Fish guy

My question is: Do people think that they will come back soon?
No I don't think so. You need new plants if you want to use the plants as part of your cycling. The plants need to be healthy and growing fast to help with the cycle.

BTW: My favorite plant is Hornwort to have during a cycle since it grows very fast.
 

mattgirl

Welcome to Fishlore :)

Like others have said, I don't hold out a lot of hope for the melted plants but if the roots still look healthy they might make a comeback.

I will recommend you not add as much ammonia. 2ppm is more than enough ammonia for cycling this tank. Instead of 12 hours you are wanting to see the ammonia you add to process through to nitrates within 24 hours. This means at 24 hours you will see zero ammonia. zero nitrites and some nitrates.

Right now your cycle is struggling because of the low pH. You mentioned you are running some crushed coral in this tank. You may need to add much more than you have in there right now. It will help some but since the pH straight from the tap is only 6.5 even the crushed coral may have a difficult time holding the pH up to even the level of the tap. I am not sure there is room for it in there but crushed coral works best if it can be put inside a filter. This way water is constantly running over and through it.
 

ArtemisFish

Gulp. Okay, I will buy more. At least I am supporting my LFS!
Personally, I prefer cycling my planted tanks without fish or plants in the tank. So, this may not be the cheapest solution (considering you already bought some plants), but it will be the easiest solution to pull off:
  1. Just keep the lights off to prevent algae issues.
  2. Once the cycle is complete, buy a bunch more plants to fill your tank.
The advantage of cycling the tank without plants is that the plants don't get as stressed and melt much less. Also, you don't need to do constant water changes while the tank is cycling to keep algae at bay. It's less worries and less work.
Thank you. Hard to hear, but I know you are right.
Welcome to Fishlore :)

Like others have said, I don't hold out a lot of hope for the melted plants but if the roots still look healthy they might make a comeback.

I will recommend you not add as much ammonia. 2ppm is more than enough ammonia for cycling this tank. Instead of 12 hours you are wanting to see the ammonia you add to process through to nitrates within 24 hours. This means at 24 hours you will see zero ammonia. zero nitrites and some nitrates.

Right now your cycle is struggling because of the low pH. You mentioned you are running some crushed coral in this tank. You may need to add much more than you have in there right now. It will help some but since the pH straight from the tap is only 6.5 even the crushed coral may have a difficult time holding the pH up to even the level of the tap. I am not sure there is room for it in there but crushed coral works best if it can be put inside a filter. This way water is constantly running over and through it.
Thank you for the welcome and advice! regarding the crushed coral, I can hang it over the outflow (which is vigorous) but in general -- if I raise the pH for the bacteria but actually want lower pH (6.5 would be good) in the long run for an amazon biotope, does it make sense to raise pH now and let it go back down later? Will I just encourage the wrong kind of bacteria?
 

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