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What do my Water tests mean …

Ossie

Member
Joined
1 Jul 2022
Messages
82
Location
Helens Bay
Hello,

I am new so a little confused.
I am cycling my 60p Tank without lights or plants. I have some Tropica Soil in there plus some Manzanita wood.
I have been dosing with SeaChem Prime and Stability.
My filter is a HOB 50 from Al pond solutions packed with Biohome media.
I have also put a little fish food in to help things along.

After 12 days my water test readings are …
Ammonia 1 ppm.
Nitrite 0 ppm.
Nitrate 20ppm.

My questions are …
What do my results mean.
Should I be doing water changes.
Am I on the right track for cycling.
is there anything else you can suggest.
Apreciate any help or advice …
 

erwin123

Member
Joined
4 Mar 2021
Messages
1,008
Location
Singapore
Because you have listed Tropica Soil and Tropica root tabs in your equipment list - just a gentle warning that the stuff releases ammonia - getting to 0ppm Ammonia may take a longer time. You'll need patience and maybe some hardy plants like Paraguay suggested (not magic water that promises to cycle your tank faster :cool: ) Since you have a HOB filter, you could even dump a garden plant or two in it. My HOB filter is used as a planter.

1637654278207-png-png.182056

Normally the target is 0ppm Ammonia, 0 ppm Nitrite.

The root tabs should dump most of their ammonia in the first 3 weeks, so I will only expect Ammonia to hit 0ppm after 3weeks. The chart above shows the typical release curve for Osmocote-based root tabs.
 
Last edited:

_Maq_

Member
Joined
23 Jun 2022
Messages
591
Location
Czech Republic
What do my results mean.
They mean that nitrifying microbes are not yet established.
Should I be doing water changes.
You'd better do because your substrate is not plain silica sand.
is there anything else you can suggest.
Dark cycling may be better if you truly keep your tank in darkness, meaning covered with something to avoid any light. It can reduce / postpone the algae appearing.
 

FrankR

Member
Joined
7 Sep 2018
Messages
189
Location
Cambridgeshire
Hello,

I am new so a little confused.
I am cycling my 60p Tank without lights or plants. I have some Tropica Soil in there plus some Manzanita wood.
I have been dosing with SeaChem Prime and Stability.
My filter is a HOB 50 from Al pond solutions packed with Biohome media.
I have also put a little fish food in to help things along.

After 12 days my water test readings are …
Ammonia 1 ppm.
Nitrite 0 ppm.
Nitrate 20ppm.

My questions are …
What do my results mean.
Should I be doing water changes.
Am I on the right track for cycling.
is there anything else you can suggest.
Apreciate any help or advice …
Without lights or plants. I assume you're following the Dark Start method? If yes, you should cover your tank entirely.
That method takes 4-6 weeks for the tank to be fully cycled. I kept mine in complete darkness for about 3 months.
Your readings show that you're probably in the middle of the cycle. So, wait 3-4 more weeks. Test every week.
The cycle will be complete when your tests show 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrates and >40ppm Nitrates.
A way to confirm your tank is cycled is by adding some Ammonia. Test the next day. It should be 0.
 

Ossie

Member
Thread starter
Joined
1 Jul 2022
Messages
82
Location
Helens Bay
Thank you for your replies, they are very helpful,
I am guessing you mean 0 Nitrites …
Four more weeks, my wife will be pleased, but I can be doing other things like hunting for hardscape, planning plants, fish etc …
 

John q

Member
Joined
6 Jan 2021
Messages
1,382
Location
Lancashire

_Maq_

Member
Joined
23 Jun 2022
Messages
591
Location
Czech Republic
I kept mine in complete darkness for about 3 months.
Did you notice any difference in algae after such a long dark cycling? (My personal best is 42 days.)
 

FrankR

Member
Joined
7 Sep 2018
Messages
189
Location
Cambridgeshire
Did you notice any difference in algae after such a long dark cycling? (My personal best is 42 days.)
I don't have any algae. I did have a diatom bloom when I got back from vacation though.
Almost all plants and most of the glass were covered in that brown tint. The tank left unattended while I was on vacation. That was during the week of the heatwave.
The thermometer was showing 32 degrees C, the day I returned. All 4 of the Red Cherry Shrimp had disappeared. Presumably dead. The Amano and the Nerite snail were good.
I did two 50% WC with two days apart, but I didn't do any cleaning. The glass is almost clean now and the plants are growing as usual but they do have some leaves covered in that brown film.
 

Ossie

Member
Thread starter
Joined
1 Jul 2022
Messages
82
Location
Helens Bay
May I ask should I keep the heater at 23 degrees while cycling. I live in Northern Ireland. We don’t have heatwaves. Anything above 16 and we strip off …
 

Hufsa

Member
Joined
22 Aug 2019
Messages
1,601
Location
Norway
May I ask should I keep the heater at 23 degrees while cycling. I live in Northern Ireland. We don’t have heatwaves. Anything above 16 and we strip off …
Yes, keep the temperature in the tank set to the temperature you will be running later. The microbes will prefer a steady temperature too
 

FrankR

Member
Joined
7 Sep 2018
Messages
189
Location
Cambridgeshire
May I ask should I keep the heater at 23 degrees while cycling. I live in Northern Ireland. We don’t have heatwaves. Anything above 16 and we strip off …
I kept my temperature around 28 degrees C. I've read somewhere that 27-30 degrees C is the optimal temperature for the bacteria to grow.
When the tank cycled I gradually lowered it, and then I removed the heater.
 

FrankR

Member
Joined
7 Sep 2018
Messages
189
Location
Cambridgeshire
As for the WC while cycling... I did WC only a couple of times, when the test results for Nitrates showed more than 80ppm.
If I recall correctly a high concentration of Nitrates can stall the cycle.
 
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