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larryngu

I have NITRATES. Need help seeding biomedia.

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I have a 20 gallon tank with a very small goldfish in there.

Turns out my 20 gallon tank is cycled.My 20 gallon has been going for two months

I had to fumigate (for roaches) two weeks ago so I took down the 20 gallon but ;unlike last time when I moved my tank I emptied out all the water and dried out my filters and bio media; this time I put the media in a bucket with water.

My 20 gallon has been going for 2 weeks now. Last night I checked the ammonia and nitrate ; they were zero and zero.

I took my small goldfish out of her 20 gallon and put her in a tupperware container.

I added two ppm of ammonia to the tank last night .......this morning I have 10 ppm of nitrate.

nitrate_zps7f470279.jpg

I added two more ppm of nitrate to the 20 gallon.

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I have two HOB filters with 20 gallon capacity each on my tank right row.

I stuffed both HOB with bio foam and beads.

I have five pieces of foam and two bags of beads total for both HOBS.

I have a fluval with lots and lots of foam and beads running right now for my uncycled 40 gallon tank.

How do I go about seeding the foam of my 40 gallon tank?

Should I take all biomedia and beads from my two HOB (on my 20 gallon) and put it into my fluval and then wait for all the biomedia in the fluval to be seeded?

(It takes my small goldfish around a month to produce .25 ammonia ppm)

Edited by larryngu

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I wound up almost evenly splitting the foam and bead between the two HOB'S and my fluval. The fluval got a little bit more more seeded media. Wish me luck.

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Think you may be confusing the nitrogen cycle.

Ammonia -> Nitrite -> Nitrate

Ammonia and nitrite should be 0 and Nitrate under 40, ideally under 20.

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Think you may be confusing the nitrogen cycle.

Ammonia -> Nitrite -> Nitrate

Ammonia and nitrite should be 0 and Nitrate under 40, ideally under 20.

I do understand the nitrogen cycle.

I spent six weeks trying to cycle my tank . I tried countless times to get an instant cycle.

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Think you may be confusing the nitrogen cycle.

Ammonia -> Nitrite -> Nitrate

Ammonia and nitrite should be 0 and Nitrate under 40, ideally under 20.

I do understand the nitrogen cycle.

I spent six weeks trying to cycle my tank . I tried countless times to get an instant cycle.

My fishless cycle took 3 months to get mine to cycle 5ppm of ammonia in 12 hours. Worth the wait to get it right though.

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Hmmm… If I may take the liberty of rephrasing, I think you’re saying, “Hey, isn’t a little weird that my ammonia and nitrates would both be at zero on my otherwise cycled tank?”

Sequence:

  1. 20 gallon tank is up and running for two months and known to be cycled.
  2. Two weeks ago, Roach fumigation requires the dismantling of the aquarium but care is taken to put the filter’s bio media in a bucket of water.
  3. Post fumigation, tank is re-assembled and has been running ever since. (I assume that includes the fish, filters, the whole nine yards.)
  4. 3/20: Last night’s testing revealed ammonia (NH3) = 0 ppm, nitrate (NO3) = 0 ppm.
  5. 3/20: Whereupon you:
    • removed the fish to a Tupperware container, and;
    • added 2 ppm of ammonia to the tank last night.

[*]3/21: Testing today showed 10 ppm of NO3.

[*]3/21: Added 2 more ppm of nitrate to the tank.

At step 2, did you put the filter media into de-chlorinated water? And was the rest of your equipment protected from the fumigation?

A possible theory is that your tank is, in fact cycling again and is about mid stage. If your tank is occupied then your fish are producing waste. That being necessarily true, then one of two things has to be going on given the data above.

Zero NH3 because somehow you’re inadvertently killing the ammoniafying bacteria – (say by doing frequent water changes but not de-chlorinating the water?). If this were the case, I’d also examine your fish for red or bleeding gills, gulping for air, i.e., symptoms of chlorine poisoning. You’d probably also notice an excess of sludge unless you were vacuuming it out with the water changes. If this is the case, de-chlorinate your water with every change and start cycling your tank.

A more likely and hopeful explanation might be that your ammoniafying bacteria colony is established and are in fact producing ammonia, but your nitrosomonas have also kicked in and are handling the ammonia. You should monitor your nitrite (NO2) level. If your ammonia is already at 0, then that means you have enough nitrosomonas to account for all of the ammonia being produced. They, however, should be producing the NO2 that your nitrobacter need. Under this “your tank is re-cycling” theory, your nitrobacter colony hadn’t gotten up to speed yet on 3/20, as evidenced by the 0ppm level of NO3. Going from 0 to 10 in just 24 hours seems like there may be something wrong with the test performed -- but you should start to see that level go up. Adding ammonia to your tank which results in a rise in NO3, however would indicate that that those participants in the cycle are present and the colony has started to kick in.

There are some pieces to this that aren’t making sense. Your test result numbers seem to be all over the place. I guess I’d recommend that you take a look at how you are doing your testing and make sure that you’re doing it correctly and in a controlled way. Perhaps check the expiration dates on your test chemicals. Try taking two samples. Test one yourself and take the other to your lps and see how their results compare to yours.

For caution’s sake, I’d recommend testing all three components at least daily for the next 3 to 5 days or so, NH3, NO2, and NO3 and log your results. If you can keep your ammonia at 0 ppm and your nitrites, NO2, as close to 0 ppm as possible (your goldfish can handle slightly elevated for short durations but expect to lose ‘em if you don’t get it down) and your nitrates, NO3 to under 15 ppm-ish if you have live plants, as low as possible if not, then you’ll be back in business. Administer all this with a healthy dose of patients. Do not expect things to happen immediately.

At step 7 above, I’m still curious as to why (and how) you added nitrate? You’re probably aware that nitrate is 1/3 of the components in common fertilizer. The other two being phosphate and potash. When you put 5-10-5 on your lawn, the first 5 is the portion that’s nitrate. Phosphate is a component in a lot of fish flake food. So basically you’re creating perfect conditions for a big ole’ algae bloom problem. Under normal circumstances, there should be no need to add nitrate to a goldfish tank.

Anyway, good luck. Let us know how you make out.

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Hi Art,

I like your post above! :)

I have a couple of comments:

1. Larry may still have a cycled tank. Having zero nitrates doesn't necessarily mean that the tank isn't cycled. The nitrate test is notoriously fickle, and sometimes for some reason, nitrates cannot be detected, even though we have other reasons to believe that the tank is otherwise cycled, such as feeding the tank with ammonia, only to result in zero NH3, NO2, but still zero NO3. In this case, although it's a little weird, I wouldn't discount the tank as not being cycled.

2. I actually think that the more likely scenario is that the tank is partially cycled. If Larry only put his media in (presumed) dechlorinated water but without "food," by now some of the Nitrosomas and Nitrobacter would have died off.

3. I think he meant he added 2ppm AMMONIA back today, not nitrates, but I think we will await verification. :)

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Okay, first and for most the biomedia , during fumigation, was stored in a bucket of tank water (from my 20 gallon) for roughly two days.

Two days after the fumigation, I started up the tank again using the media in the bucket.

I will share results of further test.

(At Art the only part of sequence that wasn't correct was I did not know that 20 gallon tank that has been running for two months was cycled or not. Plus the reason I think I have zero nitrates was because my fish produces around .25 ppm of ammonia a month(the last time I checked regularly ))

Edited by larryngu

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At around 10 am pst this morning, I divided the biomedia from my 20 gallon tank to my 40 gallon tank.

I also transferred around 10 cups of water from my 20 gallon to my 40 gallon tank.

I added 2 ppm of ammonia to each both tanks.

Here are the results of my nitrate test at around 6 pm pst.

update2_zpsfbaa8d05.jpg

The tube closest to the color chart is water from my 20 gallon tank. I looks like 10 ppm of nitrate to me.

The tube further away from the color chart is water from my 40 gallon tank. I looks like 5 ppm of nitrate to me.

(I honestly think that I'm on my way to two cycled tanks. Just in time for my 2 Rain Garden fishes. They arrived tomorrow at 7pm Pst.)

Edited by larryngu

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In my first reading of 0 ammonia and 0 nitrates are off.......

I may have read the results wrong. It may have been 5 ppm of nitrate.

It could've been I was really frustrated from the dozens and dozens of time that I tested the water in my previous cycle attempts that I thought I saw 0 ppm of nitrate when it might have been 5 ppm. I don't know.

I will let my 20 gallon tank cycle overnight. When I do return my small goldfish into the 20 gallon tank, how much of a water change should I do on the tank?

(I wasn't my intention to continually bump this thread. I just wanted to add something and the time limit already ran out.)

Edited by larryngu

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We need to know what your ammonia and nitrite readings are as well. Nitrates alone only tell part of the story. :)

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