A Few Cycling Questions.

  • Keith
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Keith created the topic: A Few Cycling Questions.

Before I forget to mention it, I've added a picture to my profile of my aquascaping. I think it looks good...at least until the future Tiger Oscar decides to redecorate!

My tank is 75 gal and the water is 8.4 pH and 85° F for the fishless cycle. I didn't have any reliable seeding material but did use 120 pounds of Caribsea Instant Aquarium substrate hoping that the bacteria they claim is in the bag would act as some seeding material.

The first day of cycling I added 4 tsp. of ammonia (10% strength janitorial ammonia) due to some bad advice I read on another forum before I came here that said to use 1 tsp per 10 gal. Decided to start with just 4 tsp and waited an hour and did a test, 8 ppm. The good news, next day I did a test and was already down to 4 ppm and the 3 Java Fern and 2 Anubias that had just been added looked much greener!

I'm now on day 8 and ammonia has been slowly declining. Day 6 it was down to 1 ppm so I added 1 tsp which raised it back to 4 ppm (tested an hour after adding). Since ammonia is dropping and I don't mind testing I've been testing for nitrites daily also, so far none have shown up.

Today I noticed that the water is starting to get a green tint when viewed from the side of the tank. I've been turning the light (single bulb T8) on for about 4 hours a day to provide some light for the plants. No visible sign of algae growth on any surfaces yet but yesterday I decided to clean the pump for the UV light due to it starting to get a little loud (think some of the sand got sucked in) and the pump and hose was slimy. So I just turned on UV light to get ahead of an algae bloom.

So my questions are:
1. With no nitrites showing up how do I know if my cycle has actually started and the ammonia drop isn't just due to feeding the plants?
2. Assuming the cycle has started, should nitrites start showing soon?
3. Am I harming the cycle progress using the UV? I'm planning on turning it back off once the water clears.
4. Unrelated question that just popped in my head. I'm going to get one baby oscar, I'm going to feed Hikari Gold but can't find baby size locally. I needed to order from Amazon anyway so I added 1 bag, 8.8 oz, to get free shipping. How long is that likely to last and will it hold me over until it's time to upgrade to mini (which is readily available locally).

Thanks for the help, this by far the most reliable online source for help!
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Popss replied the topic: A Few Cycling Questions.

takes 8 to 10 weeks to cycle a tank,, the good bacteria reproduces slow, I remember right 12 hour turn around. I really would not be expecting enything in the nitrite reading for atleast anouther week if not 2.
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  • Darth Nandopsis
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Darth Nandopsis replied the topic: A Few Cycling Questions.

"the water is 8.4 pH "............

This PH is more suited for African Rift lake cichlids than Oscars. And don't believe that gravel supposedly seeded w/ nitrifying bacteria will speed up the process. These products are gimmicks.

THOSE WHO REFUSE KNOWLEDGE ARE DOOMED TO FAIL.

WATER CHANGES ARE THE LIFEBLOOD OF THIS HOBBY. IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE SO OR SIMPLY DON'T FEEL LIKE DOING THEM, RE-HOME YOUR FISH, SELL YOUR AQUARIUM & FIND ANOTHER HOBBY, AS YOU WILL FAIL UTTERLY, COMPLETELY, & MISERABLY.
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Rocksor replied the topic: A Few Cycling Questions.

1. most likely the plants are slowing the fishless cycle down. Ammonia just doesn't disappear.

2. nitrites will show up immediately when ammonia goes to 0ppm, using a fishless cycle without plants. It could take as long as 15 days for nitrites to show up, but in your case it will take longer since the ammonia is not staying at 4ppm.

3. UV won't hurt the cycle.

4. feed baby pellets until around 4-5", so about 4-6 months.
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Rocksor replied the topic: A Few Cycling Questions.

Darth Nandopsis wrote: "the water is 8.4 pH "............

This PH is more suited for African Rift lake cichlids than Oscars.


Many central american cichlids exist in PH that high as well, especially those from the crater lakes in Nicaragua. -- dovii, nicuaraguense, nematopus, managuense, citrinellum, maculicauda, labiatum, centrarchus, longimanus, loisellei, nigrofasciatum, spilurus, multispinosa, and rostratus.

digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1005&context=ichthynicarc

The pH of the surface waters of Lake Nicaragua ranges from 8.2 to 8.9 and that of Lake Managua from 8.9 to 9.3 in the samples studied.

p.527
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Keith replied the topic: A Few Cycling Questions.

Thank you for all the replies. I tested the water this morning and for the 3rd day in a row it was at 2 ppm. So I dosed it to 4 ppm and am going to write off the previous drops as feeding plants that were likely starving from the time in the store and now may be "full" since ammonia seems to have stabilized. Good to find out that the UV won't stall things. I know the good bacteria grows in the filter and not the water column but it has to get to the filter first so I was unsure if it began life as free floating.

I considered African cichlids. Unfortunately I live in the middle of nowhere and the closest place to get fish, other than a local Petco where the tanks and fish usually don't look that good, is PetSmart which there are 3 of within 40-50 miles one way from me. After researching the Africans they have I couldn't find compatible ones that appealed to me. I won't order fish online due to the high shipping costs and I like to see them before buying.

I'll have to look into the fish from Nicaragua. But I am pretty set on wanting a tiger oscar. They are tank bred and this being Missouri they are used to higher than ideal pH levels due to tap water being high from all the limestone around here. The guy at PetSmart said their tanks are usually about 7.9 pH. No matter which fish I get I plan on acclimating for about 2-3 hours before setting them loose.
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Rocksor replied the topic: A Few Cycling Questions.

You could also run a media bag filled with peat to help lower the PH if you find that the oscar is having issues with a ph of 8.4. You can get the peat from a home improvement store, just be sure that is it only peat, and nothing else in it.
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Keith replied the topic: A Few Cycling Questions.

I'll keep peat in mind in case of problems. Also, according to the water test I had done at PetSmart my alkalinity (buffering capacity, not alkaline vs. basic) is high, 180-300 mg/L. Will that affect how well peat works? Also, what symptoms should I be watching for that may signal it can't adjust to the pH?
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Popss replied the topic: A Few Cycling Questions.

petsmart is A oxymoron.
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Darth Nandopsis replied the topic: A Few Cycling Questions.

"Many central american cichlids exist in PH that high as well, especially those from the crater lakes in Nicaragua. -- dovii, nicuaraguense, nematopus, managuense, citrinellum, maculicauda, labiatum, centrarchus, longimanus, loisellei, nigrofasciatum, spilurus, multispinosa, and rostratus."....

Yep, that's why I keep CA cichlids, as Philly tap water has a PH of around 8.2 & is crusty hard (except Festae, but mine do well in this), but Oscars are SA/ Amazonian genetically, & while they certainly can live in PH values that high, they look & do better in soft, acidic waters.

THOSE WHO REFUSE KNOWLEDGE ARE DOOMED TO FAIL.

WATER CHANGES ARE THE LIFEBLOOD OF THIS HOBBY. IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE SO OR SIMPLY DON'T FEEL LIKE DOING THEM, RE-HOME YOUR FISH, SELL YOUR AQUARIUM & FIND ANOTHER HOBBY, AS YOU WILL FAIL UTTERLY, COMPLETELY, & MISERABLY.
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