Water Changes And Cycling Questions

Tangent

I have a 3.7 gallon tank with a single Betta inside and a random plant that I got from Petco and I don't even know what it is exactly but it is similar to a java fern and since I'm new to the hobby I wanted to be able to test my water so I got the API master test kit and every time I check my water it comes up with 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and 0 nitrates. I cycled my tank before it started and my fish is thriving but last time I did a water change was a month ago and it still says 0 nitrates and I'm worried that I am doing something wrong with the test kit or if I still need to change the water. My plant is thriving and also there is lots of brown algae which is kinda bad but I don't care a ton and if there is a way to help get rid of it that would be nice but my main focus is on if I need to change the water or is the tank cycling fully and the plants are taking in the nitrates. I am following the directions on the API test kit and have done it tons of times and it always says the same as all 0.
 

TheBettaSushi

I have a 3.7 gallon tank with a single Betta inside and a random plant that I got from Petco and I don't even know what it is exactly but it is similar to a java fern and since I'm new to the hobby I wanted to be able to test my water so I got the API master test kit and every time I check my water it comes up with 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and 0 nitrates. I cycled my tank before it started and my fish is thriving but last time I did a water change was a month ago and it still says 0 nitrates and I'm worried that I am doing something wrong with the test kit or if I still need to change the water. My plant is thriving and also there is lots of brown algae which is kinda bad but I don't care a ton and if there is a way to help get rid of it that would be nice but my main focus is on if I need to change the water or is the tank cycling fully and the plants are taking in the nitrates. I am following the directions on the API test kit and have done it tons of times and it always says the same as all 0.
You should be doing water changes regularly. 0 nitrates usually means that you aren’t cycled especially if you haven’t done a partial water change in a month! I don’t think one plant is enough to suck up all the nitrates your fish is producing. Please change the water as fish need fresh clean water all the time (I can’t imagine swimming in fish waste for that long). Also your kit may be defective. Try shaking all of the bottles and test again.
 

david1978

The nitrate bottles you gotta beat up before using.
 

Tangent

You should be doing water changes regularly. 0 nitrates usually means that you aren’t cycled especially if you haven’t done a partial water change in a month! I don’t think one plant is enough to suck up all the nitrates your fish is producing. Please change the water as fish need fresh clean water all the time (I can’t imagine swimming in fish waste for that long). Also your kit may be defective. Try shaking all of the bottles and test again.
Okay, I understand that I need to do water changes because of fish waste and other debris, but I don't understand what you mean by if I have 0 nitrates it usually means I'm not cycled. I have 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite in the tank according to my kit which means its all being turned into nitrate right? and since I don't I have any nitrate where is it going then? I guess that's my question please correct me if I'm wrong that's what I took from reading all up on it.
 

TheBettaSushi

Okay, I understand that I need to do water changes because of fish waste and other debris, but I don't understand what you mean by if I have 0 nitrates it usually means I'm not cycled. I have 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite in the tank according to my kit which means its all being turned into nitrate right? and since I don't I have any nitrate where is it going then? I guess that's my question please correct me if I'm wrong that's what I took from reading all up on it.
Usually when there are no nitrates, it means the tank has either stalled or hasn’t been properly cycled. I think that something is wrong with your kit because fish naturally produce ammonia even when they breathe... try throwing the nitrate bottle #2 to the ground several times. Shake it up vigorously and test again. Once you have nitrate bottle 1 and 2 in the vial, shake it well for exactly 1 minute and let’s see what the results are (if any).

What is the expiration date on your bottles?
 

Tangent

The nitrate bottles you gotta beat up before using.
So today I tried shaking the bottles and even some part hitting them from the bottom onto a table and the result was a color change, but so slight that I can't really tell if it is 0 ppm or 5 ppm of nitrate. Probably somewhere in between but the look changes based upon the lighting. Still after a month isn't this a really low amount compared to what I should be having?
 

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