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http://indianaquariumhobbyist.com/community/ :: View topic - How to detect whether a planted tank is fully cycled??
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How to detect whether a planted tank is fully cycled??

 
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the_kamath
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 1:18 pm Post subject: How to detect whether a planted tank is fully cycled?? Reply with quote

 Hi  all,
 
 i  joined  IAH  about  2  months  back....have  been  lurking  a  lot  and  information  on  this  site  as  well  as  friends  i  have  made  through  this  site  has  been  invaluable  in  helping  me  set  up  a  planted  tank  of  my  own.....I  am  not  totally  new  to  fishes  and   aquariums  but  the  last  time  i  did  it  was  1996....really  long  long  time  back....  Chuckle  
 
 
 On  to  details  of  my  new  tank:
 size:  36x18x18  inches  -  191Litre  -  50  Gallon(US)
 Lighting:  Philips  True  Light  18W  x  4,  6500K  each
 Filter:  Ehiem  2217...thanks  to  IAH  for  not  being  cheated  on  this   Rock On
 Substrate:  Laterite  gravel
 Water  Changes  -  50%  every  Sunday....water  used  is  bore-well  water
 
 
 I  have  added  a  Day  Zero  picture...I  would  like  to  thank  Karthik  of  Agil  Aquariums  who  has  helped  me  a  lot  in  getting  the  equipment  ready  setting  it  up,  etc.....Boquets  to  Karthik   Clapping   and  Brickbats  to  me   Thumb Down  
 
 
 I  am  not  listing  out  all  the  flora  that  is  planted  as  I  am  slightly  clueless  on  all  the  names....I  am  throughly  confused  after  seeing  endless  pictures  and  variants  of  the  same  plant     Surprised  ....help  in  IDying  them  all  would  be  great
 
 
 After  reading  all  horror  stories;  I  managed  to  let  the  tank  settle  down;  filter  running  24x7;  lights  ON  for  approx  6-10hrs  in  a  day.
 
 
 With  great  difficulty  I  kept  the  tank  empty  but  on  24th  Dec  i  introduced  following  fauna:
 1  Black  Molly  pair  -  female  delivered  5  fry  within  a  day...2  survivng  and  growing  up  now   Thumbs Up  
 2  Guppy  pairs  -  1  female  died  within  a  few  days..both  males  died  when  we  were  travelling  on  new  year  weekend....feeder  malfunction  i  presume   Surprised  
 1  Red  Swordtail  pair  -  after  a  happy  fortnight  in  our  tank  the  male  decided  to  celebrate  new  year  by  make  a  jump  for  it  at  night   Sad
 6-7  wood  shrimp...they  seem  to  be  the  happiest  inmates  in  my  tank   Cheering   
 
 
 Post  new  year  on  5th  Jan  I  added  some  Bio  Balls  and  ceramic  rings  after  removing  some  of  the  Blue  pads  from  the  Ehiem.....this  was  suggested  by  some  of  my  IAH  friends  as  the  deaths  in  my  tank  didnt  seem  to  be  on  account  of  any  bullying  by  the  co  habitants  of  the  tank.
 
 
 By  yesterday  (11th  Jan)  i  decided  that  the  tank  must  have  been  cycled  enough  as  the  plants  were  showing  decent  growth  tho  some  of  the  leaves  were  falling  off  but  being  replaced  by  new  growth  and  stems  were  starting  to  move  up!!  It  was  now  almost  3  weeks  since  set  up..  I  have  added  2  pics  of  my  settled  down  tank...Having  succumbed  to  temptation  again  I  added  the  following  fishes  to  my  tank:
 1  SAE
 1  Flying  Fox
 1  Otocinclus
 1  Red  Swordtail  (Male)
 1  guppy  pair
 2  pairs  of  Neon  Tetra
 
 
 The  fish  had  been  added  to  the  tank  at  about  2100h  after  letting  the  packets  be  in  the  water  for  15min;  all  of  the  fishes  seemed  ok.....but  by  midnight  the  Otocinclus  was  intermittently  sinking  to  the  bottom  and  then  darting  up  for  air  and  sinking  again....I  shifted  the  Oto  into  a  smaller  vessel  which  i  use  as  my  hospital  tank  (with  some  Java  moss,  an  air  stone  and  1:1  tank  water  &  fresh  water);  It  did  seem  relieved  slightly  but  didnt  make  it  through  till  morning.
 
 
 The  neon  Tetras  are  not  feeding  as  well  as  the  other  live  bearers...i  am  feeding  them  flakes  and  dried  up  blood  worms  (available  in  bottles  at  LFS).  Also  1  of  the  neons  is  not  schooling  with  the  rest....i  will  do  a  water  change  in  the  evening  if  the  situation  doesn't  improve.
 
 
 Now  for  the  million  dollar  question.....How  does  one  make  out  that  a  tank  is  suitably  cycled  ??  Are  these  casualties  all  on  account  of  tank  not  being  cycled,  ammonia  spike  etc....cos  i  dont  think  the  load  is  high  for  a  tank  my  size.  Can  rotting  leaves  from  the  plants  (which  are  establishing  themselves)  be  a  cause  for  ammonia  spike?
 
 
 Please  advise,  any  feedback  even  on  other  aspects  is  welcome....
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ArnabPDas
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 1:57 pm Post subject: Re: How to detect whether a planted tank is fully cycled?? Reply with quote

 Do  a  test  for  ammonia  and  nitrites  on  3  consecutive  days,  start  testing  2  days  after  a  WC  and  do  not  change  water  during  those  tests.
 
 Unless  your  tank  is  a  plants-only  tank,  you  may  get  mini  cycles  unless  you  increase  fish  load  very  gradually.
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submerge
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Joined: Jun 17, 2007
Posts: 455
Location: Chennai

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:10 pm Post subject: Re: How to detect whether a planted tank is fully cycled?? Reply with quote

 The  key  is  to  increase  the  fish  load  incrementally  the  hardier  live  bearers  or  surface  breathing  fishes  like  gourami's  first.
 
 Looks  like  you  might  have  a  lot  of  dead  leaves  that  are  decaying  and  taking  up  O2  fom  the  water  column,  it  is  not  unusual  fo  ottocinclus  to  go  up  for  a  gup  of  air,  plecos  and  cory  cats  do  that  too.  Also  Ottos  are  not  that  hardy  to  changes  in  water  condition,  it  will  be  better  to  add  ottos  after  you  see  diatoms  in  a  new  tank.
 
 I  think  if  you  change  the  position  of  drift  wood  the  tank  would  look  better.  All  the  best.
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the_kamath
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 6:05 pm Post subject: Re: How to detect whether a planted tank is fully cycled?? Reply with quote

 @  Arnab  -  Thanks  for  the  quick  response,  I  will  test  for  Ammonia  with  Nessler's  Reagent  which  is  easily  (&  cheaply!!)  available,  any  similar  test  for  Nitrites  or  do  i  have  to  go  in  for  a  water  test  kit?
 
 @MK  -  yes  i  guess  choice  of  Oto  so  early  in  the  life  of  the  tank  was  a  mistake,  will  i  face  any  such  issues  with  SAE,  Flying  fox  or  Neons?  I  have  seen  catfish  in  my  old  tanks  going  up  for  air  but  this  one  was  falling  down  and  rolling  over  upside  down!!!  so  i  guessed  something  was  wrong.  In  hindsight  would  a  Water  change  have  been  better  or  shifting  to  a  separate  vessel   Confused   I  have  attached  a  close  up  pic  of  the  driftwood...its  Hollow  so  i  guessed  the  fishes  would  have  enough  nooks  &  cranies  to  hide  in.....i  pretty  much  tried  every  position  in  the  tank  before  i  settled  on  this  arrangement,  where  would  u  suggest  i  put  it.
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natureaquariumlover
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 12:20 am Post subject: Re: How to detect whether a planted tank is fully cycled?? Reply with quote

 Dear  Vikram,
 
 Common  signs  of  a  cycled  tank:
 
 1>  No  noticeable  ammonia
 2>  Noticeable  Nitrates
 3>  An  obvious  increase  in  water  clarity  -  this  is  rather  qualitative
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ArnabPDas
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 8:47 am Post subject: Re: How to detect whether a planted tank is fully cycled?? Reply with quote

 Natureaquariumlover,  if  I  am  not  mistaken,  then  absence  of  nitrites  also  needs  to  be  tested  for.  
 
 On  the  falling  curve  of  nitrite  spike,  there  is  no  noticeable  ammonia  and  there  is  "noticeable  nitrates"  (as  in  your  conditions),  but  cycling  may  still  not  be  complete.  
 
 Additionally,  with  an  abundance  of  nitrate-hungry  plants  like  vals  in  your  tank  --  you  may  never  get  noticeable  nitrates.
 
 
                                                 
natureaquariumlover  wrote  (View  Post):                
Dear  Vikram,
 
 Common  signs  of  a  cycled  tank:
 
 1>  No  noticeable  ammonia
 2>  Noticeable  Nitrates
 3>  An  obvious  increase  in  water  clarity  -  this  is  rather  qualitative                
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madhu_ulysses
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 10:24 am Post subject: Re: How to detect whether a planted tank is fully cycled?? Reply with quote

 Now  do  you  have  a  CO2?   If  no,  your  tank  is  somewhere  between  a  hi-tech  and  a  low  tech  setup,  which  in  most  cases  result  in  Algae.   Also  you  need  to  add  up  lot  more  plants  in  a  way  to  cover  up  atleast  80%  of  your  floor.   Hard  water  is  not  generally  used  for  planted  tanks  with  exceptions  if  you  use  plants  like  amazon  swords  that  can  tolerate  hardness  and  synthesise  carbonates  to  suffice  their  carbon  needs.   Just  go  through  the  planted  tank  forums  and  you  will  learn  the  basic  difference  between  a  hi-tech  and  a  lowtech  setup  and  do  what  suits  you  the  best.   Cycling  of  a  fish  only  tank  is  a  lot  more  different  from  the  balance  of  a  planted  aquarium.
 All  the  best!
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the_kamath
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 10:38 am Post subject: Re: How to detect whether a planted tank is fully cycled?? Reply with quote

 Madhu,  
 
 My  DIY  CO2  is  slowly  kicking  off;  it  produces  enough  pressure  to  bubble  through  my  makeshift  difuser  only  when  i  agitate  the  bottle.  I  guess  i  will  need  to  rework  the  sugar,  yeast  concentration  to  get  proper  rate  of  CO2  generation,  also  am  planning  two  bottles  in  parallel  to  get  "uniform"  flow  of  CO2.  
 
 I  will  trim  and  replant  the  stem  plants  as  soon  as  they  get  decent  growth/height.  my  foreground  needs  a  lot  of  work,  am  trying  to  locate  low  maintenance  and  low  light  foreground  plants  as  am  not  using  any  fertilizers  and  lights  is  approx  1.4  Watt/Gallon.  Any  suggestions?
 
 In  terms  of  Hard  water  not  too  much  choice,  I  guess  i  can  talk  to  the  building  maintenance  office  and  figure  out  the  pumping  cycles  so  that  i  get  "aged"  water.
 
 Thanks  for  all  the  inputs   Thumb Up
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madhu_ulysses
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 10:46 am Post subject: Re: How to detect whether a planted tank is fully cycled?? Reply with quote

 Yeast  reactors  aren't  consistent.   If  you  decide  on  a  high  tech  setup,   find  a  cylinder  in  the  first  place.   If  you  decide  on  a  low  tech  tank,  1W/G  would  be  sufficien,  provided  you  haven't  already  added  too  much  of  laterite  to  your  gravel.   Most  giant  rosette  plans  are  hardy  both  in  terms  of  depleted  CO2  levels  and  hard  water,  if  you  wish  to  have  your  setup  as  low  tech.   More  than  the  actual  amount  of  light  and  other  factors,  how  well  they  are  balanced  is  what  matters  most  to  plants.
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