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Am I Doing This Right ?


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so i haven't cycled a tank in about 7 years.... and here i am cycling my tank from scratch and i am lost !! no idea what i am doing..... LOL

anyways it is day 4 ! day 4 of 'cycling'.

let me tell you what i have done so far....

well fish tank got polluted with several containers of food.

so completely stripped tank and filters. even left filters out over night to dry on sink.

rinsed plants and drift wood good and put them back into the tank.

filled tank with water conditioned water. API brand. SUPER STRENGTH.

didnt do a water test till yesterday.

been adding a large pinch of fish food and sometime days a algae disk to produce ammonia in tank. been doing that in a stocking due to not wanting no ugly flakes getting stuck in plants so this way they break down and disappear to nothing. sometimes i rub the stocking and a cloud of food comes out... hehe

anyways yesterday i did a test.

ammonia nitrates and nitrites all nothing.

ph off the chart.

so first water change. say about 40% got changed

today , readings were still all ZERO

so dumped some more food in a few hours ago.

readings ph 6.0

nitrates 0

nitrites 0

ammonia 0.25 but a weak colour for that so maybe not even that high.

am i doing this right ???? i'm lost. why is there no other readings unless i over dose with food and then i only get ammonia.

i only started keeping track of readings yesterday.

there is a whole bunch of well established drift wood. many years in a good cycle tank and with heaps of Anubias and Fontinalis. heaps of fontinalis.

oh there was 2 snails in the tank too. havent seen them amongst the plants at all !!!

(sorry if this is on the wrong spot. just checking i am doing this right ?) apparently 7 years is enough to forget cycling from scratch. usually i would just stick a filter or 2 in another tank for a month then put it in the tank i want with half water from the tank they were sitting in and half new fresh water and this would be sufficient to be 'cycled' already. never had a problem or a bad reading doing that. but since i only have small tanks now and i haven't got the big array of tanks available this isn't really possible anymore.


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Hello. We all want to forget about cycling as quickly as possible :P

When you are cycling, you will be building the groups of Nitrosoma & Nitrobacter bacteria to process the nitrogenous wastes. Since you are using food as the driver for the cycling process, what will happen is that the food will need to be decomposed into ammonia first, which will then stimulate the Nitrosoma bacteria to grow. These will convert ammonia into nitrites, which will stimulate expansion of the Nitrobacter group of bacteria. Nitrobacter convert nitrite to nitrate, the end product of the nitrogen cycle removable by plants and water changes. Once both of these have grown in sufficient and stable numbers, you will get zero for ammonia and nitrite and begin to see nitrates.

The other way to cycle fishlessly is to use pure ammonia instead of food to drive the cycle. You would want to add about 4ppm ammonia to the tank until you see nitrites. Then you reduce ammonia down to 1ppm until nitrates appear. :)

I'm sorry I am able to link you to some of the resources we have here, as I am on my phone.

Lastly, the pH is quite low. However, let's leave that alone until you've finished cycling.

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Using food to cycle a tank is definitely the less aggressive method rather than using bottled ammonia, especially if you're trying to keep the amount of food you use low to not "pollute" the tank again. So, I would agree, either choose to use bottled (non-sudsy) ammonia, or up the amount of food you're using. Logic says, the more ammonia creating source you use, the more ammonia you'll get.

But, at the same time, 4 days is pretty new to the cycle and with the much less aggressive choice of using food, it's going to take longer for ammonia to show up. It will, though, especially if you increase the amount of food you are using.

Also, having plants in the tank will eat up anywhere from a little to quite a bit of the nitrogen, so this is going to slow down your cycle as well.

Now, as Alex mentioned, your pH is of great concern, at least for goldfish. You can't keep goldfish in this water as it is. Yes, that can be addressed later down the road, especially since this thread is about getting your tank cycled, but just to get it out there, if you want to put goldfish in this water, you are going to need to do massive amounts of buffering.

I'd like to hear what your pH out of the tap is, because, for instance, if it's higher, perhaps it's your driftwood that's lowering your pH this much. I'd also like to hear what your KH and GH is.

But, if this is your pH out of the tap and seeing as the pH for discus should be between 5 and 6.5, you have PERFECT water for discus (gorgeous fish!) and maybe this is what you ought to consider keeping....... it would save you tons of trouble with buffering your water..... just a thought.......

Edited by Lynda Von G
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