Another tank cycling question . . . kind of . . .

jaypeecee

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Well, just by way of an update, the ammonia levels are gradually reducing, and nitrites are at significant levels. I've done four 50% water changes since starting to try and keep levels of both lower, so I'm hoping the nitrites will be on the way down soon also.

Incidentally I haven't even opened the bottle of Dr Tims Ammonia yet - all the ammonia is being, and continues to be, leached into the tank by the Tropica Soil Powder substrate!
Hi @Wookii

Thanks for the update.

What are your present ammonia and nitrite levels? Which bacterial supplement, if any, did you use? I'm not familiar with the Tropica Soil Powder substrate material. I guess the statement "We recommend that you change 25-50% of the water min. twice a week during the first 4 weeks after establishing the aquarium" is an indication for the potential leaching of ammonia.

JPC
 
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Wookii

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Hi @Wookii

Thanks for the update.

What are your present ammonia and nitrite levels? Which bacterial supplement, if any, did you use? I'm not familiar with the Tropica Soil Powder substrate material. I guess the statement "We recommend that you change 25-50% of the water min. twice a week during the first 4 weeks after establishing the aquarium" is an indication for the potential leaching of ammonia.

JPC
Ammonia is decreasing daily, so it's down to less than 1ppm now (somewhere between 0.5 and 0.25), Nitirite is higher at around 2ppm. Obviously I don't know if the ammonia reduction is the result of the soils slowing down on its release, or the filter bacteria ramping up processing capacity. I'm hoping the latter.

The bacteria products I added were those listed in my post above, though I've also recently added a bottle of Tetra Safe Start, following your recommendation, in the hope that is boosts the bacteria required to reduce the nitrites.

In any case the water is nice and clear, and there is a nice bio-film forming on the wood and rocks, so I think I'm all good. Hopefully by Christmas day I'll be down to zero readings for both, and we can add the plants, and then start thinking about adding some shrimp if levels remain at zero.
 

jaypeecee

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Hi @Wookii

In order for the nitrifying bacteria to multiply in numbers, they obviously use nitrogen (from ammonia, for example), carbon (from CO2 or carbonate buffering) and phosphorus (e.g. from phosphate). Other elements are needed in trace quantities all of which are likely to be in your tap water. As the population of bacteria grows, they can exhaust the supply of carbon. It is therefore wise to keep a watch on KH/alkalinity. If KH falls below 4dH, adding KH buffers will be needed. You may be fully aware of this but I mention it for completeness.

JPC
 

Wookii

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Hi @Wookii

In order for the nitrifying bacteria to multiply in numbers, they obviously use nitrogen (from ammonia, for example), carbon (from CO2 or carbonate buffering) and phosphorus (e.g. from phosphate). Other elements are needed in trace quantities all of which are likely to be in your tap water. As the population of bacteria grows, they can exhaust the supply of carbon. It is therefore wise to keep a watch on KH/alkalinity. If KH falls below 4dH, adding KH buffers will be needed. You may be fully aware of this but I mention it for completeness.

JPC
Thanks for the pointers - no I wan't aware of much of that to be fair.

Our tap water is fairly hard (high GH), so I suspect there there is plenty of calcium carbonate for the bacteria to go at. KH is average, though the soil is buffering it down I think, and lowering the PH, but then I am doing regular 50% water changes, so there should be plenty of KH being added back in regularly.

As for phosphate, I'm not sure. I'm loathed to buy yet another expensive test kit. My water company test report doesn't seem to declare phosphate levels either. I do have Potassium Phosphate in my APKUK starter kit that I purchased recently in readiness for adding plants - would dosing a small amount of that be appropriate?
 

jaypeecee

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As for phosphate, I'm not sure. I'm loathed to buy yet another expensive test kit. My water company test report doesn't seem to declare phosphate levels either. I do have Potassium Phosphate in my APKUK starter kit that I purchased recently in readiness for adding plants - would dosing a small amount of that be appropriate?
Hi @Wookii

I'm not sure why water companies are not required to include phosphate in their water reports. And I understand your reluctance to buy a phosphate test kit. I would hold back on the potassium phosphate at the moment but, if the cycle (sorry @dw1305) appears to be stalling, we may need to think again.

JPC
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
I'm not sure why water companies are not required to include phosphate in their water reports.
It isn't <"hazardous to health">, so there isn't a maximum permitted value.

There will be <"discharge limits"> (set by the <"Water Framework Directive">) for discharge of water back to the rivers from sewage treatment etc. It is in the water companies interests to minimize the amount they use, but they have to ensure there are enough PO4-- ions so that any lead ions (Pb++) in the water supply are removed. The lead (Pb) limit in drinking water <"is 10 ppb"> .
I would hold back on the potassium phosphate at the moment but, if the cycle (sorry @dw1305) appears to be stalling
I don't think there will be any issue with lack of PO4--- during "cycling", but I can see any down-side to adding a small amount if you want "belt and braces".

cheers Darrel
 

Wookii

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I don't think there will be any issue with lack of PO4--- during "cycling", but I can see any down-side to adding a small amount if you want "belt and braces".

cheers Darrel
I am a fan of a belt and braces approach so I’ll add some tonight - I have no lights on the tank so it won’t cause any algae issues, so I guess there’s nothing to lose.
 

jaypeecee

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I don't think there will be any issue with lack of PO4--- during "cycling", but I can see any down-side to adding a small amount if you want "belt and braces".
Hi @dw1305 and @Wookii

The phosphate is required as it provides the 'P' of ATP (Adenosine TriPhosphate), which apparently provides energy for living cells. But, very little phosphate is required. According to Meiklejohn et al in Nature 170, 1131 (1952), a mere 0.02 mg/litre is the minimum amount needed. Darrel, you may have more recent information than me but this is the figure that I use. As my starting point is RO water, I need to supplement phosphate and a few other compounds or elements.

JPC
 
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There will be <"discharge limits"> (set by the <"Water Framework Directive">) for discharge of water back to the rivers from sewage treatment etc. It is in the water companies interests to minimize the amount they use, but they have to ensure there are enough PO4-- ions so that any lead ions (Pb++) in the water supply are removed. The lead (Pb) limit in drinking water <"is 10 ppb"> .
Depends on the sensitivity of the watercourse as to whether there is a phosphorus limit set and how tight the limit is set. Contribution by industry is a far bigger issue than the amounts often found in drinking water in most cases. It's not the easiest to remove with current technologies either.
 

jaypeecee

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Hi @Wookii

In order for the nitrifying bacteria to multiply in numbers, they obviously use nitrogen (from ammonia, for example), carbon (from CO2 or carbonate buffering) and phosphorus (e.g. from phosphate). Other elements are needed in trace quantities all of which are likely to be in your tap water. As the population of bacteria grows, they can exhaust the supply of carbon. It is therefore wise to keep a watch on KH/alkalinity. If KH falls below 4dH, adding KH buffers will be needed. You may be fully aware of this but I mention it for completeness.

JPC
Hi Folks,

Did anyone spot the deliberate (!) omission from the list of elements above? You got it - oxygen!

JPC
 

david boden

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hi fellas-----I don't mean to butt in, but I can't help saying that ( in my experience), tank cycling" is a perfectly simple , and quite natural process, that requires NO chemical interventions from humans.
I do really appreciate that you're very chemical compound aware, ( I am not),---- but flippin' heck, you ain't half over complicating things here.
Darrel and I have agreed before (based on our experience ), that a well planted tank, included floaters, furnished with some organics ( wood, substrate )---will become a far more balanced consumer of Ammonium, Nitrite, and Nitrate than a mechanical filter.
Sure, you do benefit from the mechanical filter for water flow, and surface agitation, ---but pouring various compounds into your tank for the filter media,, and then testing daily trying to get rid of 'em, will do your head in if you're not careful.
I say, water , organics, plants , oxygenation , and a fish food pellet once a week for a month will do the job nicely----obviously then followed by additions of livestock in small increments.

I have drawers full of test kits, but I never use them now,-----I have total confidence in nature itself to consume that delicious Ammonium etc.in my tank.
I would just add that when fully stocked and feeding later on, that the addition of a cutting of Golden Pothos sticking out of the water at the back of your tank , will deal with most nitrate build up that occurs-----it's the James Dyson of Nitrate !
Anyway, I'm not preaching the Gospel, just trying to help and simplify things for ya .
Regards David.
 

Wookii

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hi fellas-----I don't mean to butt in, but I can't help saying that ( in my experience), tank cycling" is a perfectly simple , and quite natural process, that requires NO chemical interventions from humans.
I do really appreciate that you're very chemical compound aware, ( I am not),---- but flippin' heck, you ain't half over complicating things here.
Darrel and I have agreed before (based on our experience ), that a well planted tank, included floaters, furnished with some organics ( wood, substrate )---will become a far more balanced consumer of Ammonium, Nitrite, and Nitrate than a mechanical filter.
Sure, you do benefit from the mechanical filter for water flow, and surface agitation, ---but pouring various compounds into your tank for the filter media,, and then testing daily trying to get rid of 'em, will do your head in if you're not careful.
I say, water , organics, plants , oxygenation , and a fish food pellet once a week for a month will do the job nicely----obviously then followed by additions of livestock in small increments.

I have drawers full of test kits, but I never use them now,-----I have total confidence in nature itself to consume that delicious Ammonium etc.in my tank.
I would just add that when fully stocked and feeding later on, that the addition of a cutting of Golden Pothos sticking out of the water at the back of your tank , will deal with most nitrate build up that occurs-----it's the James Dyson of Nitrate !
Anyway, I'm not preaching the Gospel, just trying to help and simplify things for ya .
Regards David.
Thanks for you input, and generally I agree whole heartedly, but if you read my first post, you will understand my requirement for cycling without plants in this somewhat unusual instance.
 
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jaypeecee

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...but flippin' heck, you ain't half over complicating things here....pouring various compounds into your tank for the filter media,, and then testing daily trying to get rid of 'em, will do your head in if you're not careful...I have drawers full of test kits, but I never use them now,-----I have total confidence in nature itself to consume that delicious Ammonium etc.in my tank...Anyway, I'm not preaching the Gospel, just trying to help and simplify things for ya
Hi @david boden

Fear not, David. The only 'chemical' that needs to be added to the tank water (when using dechlorinated tap water) is a tiny amount of ammonia. And then a live bacteria culture. What's difficult about that? I don't understand your comment about 'trying to get rid of 'em'. The bacteria consumes the ammonia and the rest follows - naturally. Testing is carried out simply to confirm that the process is progressing. As opposed to finding out at a later stage that the process has stalled for a variety of reasons, one of which may be a lack of oxygen due to inadequate aeration. But, with my science background, I get a buzz out of 'seeing' what's going on rather than staring at a tank full of water. There are also plenty of times when fishkeepers can't wait a month or more to get a tank ready for housing fish. I, for one, would have lost quite a few fish had I not intervened by cycling a tank 'artificially'. So, thanks for your offer of simplifying things but there's nothing that needs to be simplified.

JPC
 

Ch.e.d.a.

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Ok guys, i have a urgent question, my plants arived early for a new tank but my lily pipes got stuck with courier. So i wanted to plant a tank and let circulation pumps rum untill i can run my filter, tank is not cycled and u will have filter running in 2 days. Can or should i plant and flood a tank and let it run on just pumps?
 

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