Advice for newbie

dw1305

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Hi all,
Thank you both! I shall read through that
Cycling is a really contentious issue, where people tend to have embedded "faith" positions. I started advocating "silent cycle", cycling by planting a tank and then ensuring that oxygen levels remained high, before there was any real scientific evidence for why it should work. Subsequently there have been a huge number of scientific advances, but most forums and web-sites have ignored them.
I have only got so far as placing the ADA Power Sand Advance & Amazonia Regular in to the tank so far.
I think the ADA Amazonia is quite ammonia rich. Have a look at <"Volcano Mineral.....">.

A dry start might be the best option, but you will need some-one else to advise you.

cheers Darrel
 

KAB28

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So let me get this right, as much conflicts with what I have read & digested so far. Once I have planted the flora, filled the tank with water, turned on the heater & pump, turned on the lights (6-8 hours a day maximum) I leave the plants to work their magic & wait? No ammonia, no de-chlorinator?

Should I be doing API Master Test Kit checks?
Should I be doing water changes?

After 4-6 weeks the tank should, all being well, safe for the first fish?

If this is correct, I will be delighted as it seems so much more straightforward.

I do not have any filter material to kickstart bacterial growth but do have some API 'Quick Start'. Should I use this or is it also superfluous to my needs?

There is quite a lot more for me to get my head around but thanks for you adice, it is much appreciated as I do not know anyone who keep aquariums (or is it aquaria?).
 
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You need to get to a point where plant growth is good and there is no ammonia in the water column (aquasoil will release ammonia for a few days to a few weeks). When both these are in check then you can start to add livestock.

mid day crack on with the API Quick Start if it would otherwise be going to waste, it certainly won’t hurt it
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
Once I have planted the flora, filled the tank with water, turned on the heater & pump, turned on the lights (6-8 hours a day maximum) I leave the plants to work their magic & wait?
Yes, that is it, there maybe <"some issues with water testing">. It doesn't sound as scientific as testing the water every day etc., but there are advantages to it.
Should I be doing water changes?
Yes, keep up the water changes.
No ammonia, no de-chlorinator?
Yes, no ammonia. Nitrification is usually limited by oxygen availability, if you <"get enough oxygen into the water"> you can deal with really large bioloads. You don't need dechlorinator why you haven't got any livestock, but as soon as you add some fish you will.
Should I be doing water changes?
Yes, keep up the water changes.

In terms of your plants they look good. I like a <"floating plant"> as well, partially because it has access to 400ppm of atmospheric CO2 and has first dibs on the light. This means that any growth issues are related to nutrient levels.

cheers Darrel
 

KAB28

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Well it’s been a fun day but this is it so far. A little cloudy but got 90% of the plants to stay in the substrate. 3188AA5E-C4C4-417E-B46D-46348B887444.jpeg 5B079E96-E4D2-48A7-AE0C-35010598390D.jpeg D30B500D-2B70-41AF-A976-4265A7BB9857.jpeg FBF7DE6F-0270-4720-9B5C-920CD0EF7523.jpeg 4B9667C3-DB95-46E7-B3FE-7E72DA1822E9.jpeg
 

KAB28

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Well in to Week 3 now. The plants seem to be growing steadily. The water chemistry is fairly static. I have soft water (7dHh from the tap, 4dh in the tank) & low alkalininty with KH 0-1 dh, I decided to add some more plants and hae some Limnophyla heterophylla & Elodea densa (Anacharis) coming. from Aqua Essentials. Will the low KH stall the cycling process?

7F2ADB77-2394-4C80-8C4B-64896042E0B4_4_5005_c.jpeg C839E382-D479-4B0E-ACDC-0F5B3F24AD50.png 8F6E6805-C870-49D1-9C65-1890C8DC3A87.jpeg F9A2C8D6-F360-43B4-A08A-A193D4E4879A.jpeg
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
Plant growth looks good, and I can see your floating plant.
Will the low KH stall the cycling process?
No.
Are you adding ammonia? (I can see the 2ppm reading in the image) or is that just what is leaching from the substrate?

cheers Darrel
 

KAB28

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No, no ammonia as you advised. I was assuming it was leaching from the ADA Amazonia?

Nofloating plants, the one on the right is just shooting up rapidly. It’s Ludwigia. Maybe I should top it and replant the cutting?
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
I was assuming it was leaching from the ADA Amazonia?
It will be. You'll have to just carry on with the water changes until it declines.

All the time the substance is "active" it will keep lowering the dKH and pH, it isn't a problem because we now know that the organisms involved in nitrification in aquarium filters <"are mainly archaea and comammox Nitrospira">, and these don't have the same requirements for high pH and carbonate hardness that the bacteria (that we thought were responsible for nitrification, and which were isolated from sewage treatment etc) do.

There is further discussion in the <"Tanks without fish"> thread.
Nofloating plants, the one on the right is just shooting up rapidly. It’s Ludwigia.
I can see now, it is just the reflection of the Ludwigia at the surface.
Maybe I should top it and replant the cutting?
You can do.

cheers Darrel
 

KAB28

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This is the start of Week 4. I have put some more plants in and the tank looks full of (plant) life. They are all growing and thriving. I have even had to trim a couple.

I am doing a PWC of 30% every 3 days. PH is stable at 7.2 lately. These are my API readings. I have still had now spikes of nitrite or nitrate, maybe the plants are utilising them?

Do I continue to wait until ammonia drops further? Will they ever drop to <0.25 either the Amazonia substrate? Is now the time to add a few fish? Free ammonia levels have been in the “safe” zone for a few days. I have not added any ammonia. I do add Seachem Alkaline Buffer as my tap KH is 2. This has brought tank KH to 5. I also add Neuro T and Neutro CO2.
 

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jaypeecee

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I have soft water (7dHh from the tap, 4dh in the tank) & low alkalininty with KH 0-1 dh.......Will the low KH stall the cycling process?

Hi @KAB28

I would be uncomfortable with KH that low for two reasons:

1 Nitrifying bacteria need a source of carbon in order to reproduce. The carbonate/bicarbonate of KH is where this carbon is likely to come from. So, KH will drop. And then, following on from this.....

2 The risk of a pH crash, which may be a problem for the nitrifying bacteria

Have you measured your tank water pH? If so, what was the figure?

JPC
 

KAB28

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Thanks. Yes, I have monitored pH daily, see below. The KH has risen since starting the alkaline buffer , but I would prefer the pH a little lower. Though stability would be priority. From what I read an acid buffer in addition to the alkaline buffer will give me a higher KH and keep the pH lower. The GH is also dropping so I assume some calcium is needed also.
 

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