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Thread: Fishless Cycle (planted tank w/aqua soil & seeded media)

  1. #1
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    Question Fishless Cycle (planted tank w/aqua soil & seeded media)

    Hi knowledge base.

    Im 2-3 days into cycling my new tank.

    Its a 65L Aquaone Aquastart 500 setup using Elos Terra aqua soil, once the hardscape is factored in ide say its more like a 50-55L water column.
    I seeded my canister filter with an palm full of bio media and a few of the plants came from my main tank & or from my LFS (Anubias and Java Fern from my tank, S Repens and Crypt Prava from LFS, other plants from tissue culture)




    I think my cycle is going to plan but as this is the first time ive done a cycle with soil and 1st time ive really paid close attention so im not 100% sure.
    Note: this will be mainly a RCS shrimp tank. I wouldn't mind stocking a few Ottos but im aware if there is no Algae food for them they dont tent to survive very well so the tank will need to be matured a lot more before I consider getting this specie. I have 3 SAE's in my main tank I and lots of neons I could place in here once its cycled to keep the Ammonia source available to the BB and before I stock with RCS.

    Im in SA and our tap water is hard. It usually reads:
    pH 7.6 - 7.8
    GH 10
    KH 4
    Ammonia 0
    Nitite 0
    Nitrate 0

    17/10/2018 - 12hrs after flooding the scape: (note I had to empty the tank about 20 mins after flooding as I forgot to glue the Anubias and Bucephalandra to the rock... rookie mistake)
    pH 6.6
    GH 9
    KH 3
    Ammonia 0.5ppm
    Nitite 0ppm
    Nitrate 5.0ppm

    18/10/2018
    pH 6.8 (could be 6.6 hard to tell on the API test)
    GH 9
    KH 2
    Ammonia 0.5ppm
    Nitite 0ppm
    Nitrate 10ppm (could be 20ppm hard to tell on the API test)


    Few points im not sure on and wouldn't mind some assistance.

    1. Im assuming that because I have NitrAtes that some of my seeded BB is doing its job (I tested the tap water again last night to confirm I have 0ppm NitrAte from SA Water)
    2. Ammonia output is low compared to ADA Amazonia. LFS said this would be the case with the Elos sub and to only worry about a WC if it goes above 1ppm.
    3. KH, ive read a low KH and pH can stall the cycle, its what prompted me to make this post. Should i try and up the KH at all considering my KH is usually 4 at best.
    4. My NitrAtes look to be rising which is to be expected if my seeded media is doing its job. I assume not seeing a NitrIte spike isnt uncommon as this BB converts faster than the 1st.
    5. Once Ammonia reduces to 0ppm and there is no NitrItes im planning on putting on a few fish (2-3) from my main tank so the BB has a source of Ammonia and doesn't starve before introducing Shrimp. I know shrimp have a very small bio load so im a little confused what to do here post cycling to ensure my filter remains healthy.


    Main thing, loving my new tank, hardscape came out really well. Think im going to adjust some of the plants in due time but will leave it as is for now and leave them to start growing. If they do come out of this tank they will go into my main tank once that gets a re-scape in about a months time.
    Last edited by FishyFellow; 19-10-18 at 08:18 AM.

  2. #2
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    As someone who has recently gone through this, the only thing I would recommend before you add fish is to "seed" the aquarium with more ammonia and check 24 hours later. I used Dr Tim's Ammonia drops for this. Once my ammonia was 0, nitrites 0 and nitrates around 20 ppm, I applied the appropriate number of drops to bring ammonia back up to 1 ppm and checked 24 hours later. My ammonia was 0 so I added fish. :-)

    Note: I did do a large water change before adding the fish.

  3. #3
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    Since you have seeded the filter, it should only take about 3 weeks to 'cycle' in theory. I would be curious what happens to ammonia/nitrites after 24 hours if you added 1ppm of ammonia.

  4. #4
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    Your tank is looking pretty cool. Hope those rocks stay at the same angle as i think you nailed it.
    Couple of points. A proper cycle takes months. That is, not to just get the filter media working on the N, but also getting everything balanced. If you are laying down some good money on the shrimp then it is worth while waiting for a full cycle before adding them.
    The KH has to be near 0 before the cycle will get stalled. Low PH will slow it down but above 6 is not going to be noticeable.
    Consider starting a fert regime. A low dose of all in one now will be good for the plants. Contact Rebel if you need some.
    Once the filter is cycled a couple of small fish would be fine to keep the filter healthy.

  5. #5
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    All solid points and I agree, im in no rush and the plants are growing quite nicely so im happy about that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Madmerv View Post
    Your tank is looking pretty cool. Hope those rocks stay at the same angle as i think you nailed it.

    The rock work is all glued together with silicone and super glue with the main pieces having a plastic grid for support. Its not going anywhere anytime soon.

    PICCY

  6. #6
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    Love this scape. It has great flow. If possible keep the leaf sizes small to reduce any disruption to the scale.

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebel View Post
    Love this scape. It has great flow. If possible keep the leaf sizes small to reduce any disruption to the scale.
    Thanks heaps Rebel, this is my first proper crack at a hardscape.
    Yeah I hear ya, I have some changes planned for the planting as ive realised just this.

    The pygmy chain sword in the back is coming out and the S Repes as well, they will move over to my 215L tank. Im planning on leaving them in for a few more weeks till I get paid again as they are growing nicely lol.

    I might leave the Cyrpt Prava in but not 100% sure on this one yet, want to see how the new growth looks.
    I want to carpet the dwarf hair grass and possibly plant a taller hair grass behind the large stone on the right and in the right corner where the heater is. I have some Java Fern on two removable rocks at the back with new pup plants growing to aid in planting heavy during the cycling. They are just sitting on top of the sub so they can be moved out easily. Ill probably remove the Anubias on the main rock between the small leafed Buce as well.

    Ide absolutely love to put some Marimo Moss on the surface facing top's of the two main rocks. Just not sure how this will fair in my low tech no CO2 setup.

    I really want the scale to remain so these changes will help with that. Having shrimp in this will look cool and I reckon ill pair those with Galaxy Rasboras.
    Last edited by FishyFellow; 23-10-18 at 08:26 AM.

  9. #9
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    You could try mini pelia, HC which can grow really slowly in low tech. How about some HM for the back?

    Carpeting HG will be slow without CO2. Can you provide CO2 while the tank establishes and wean off?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebel View Post
    You could try mini pelia, HC which can grow really slowly in low tech. How about some HM for the back?

    Carpeting HG will be slow without CO2. Can you provide CO2 while the tank establishes and wean off?

    Thanks Rebel,

    Mini Pellia would look pretty darn cool I reckon.
    HM? Are you referring to Hemianthus micranthemoides?

    As for CO2 the short answer is no, I do not have access to a CO2 system for establishing this tank. Both my tanks are low tech setups but I keep entertaining the idea now im setting up planted scapes. Initially I wanted the ongoing cost to remain as low as possible and I dont really mind waiting for a carpet to grow in. Having said that, I still have to do my tax return so I could setup CO2 lol.

    This particular tank has a pretty small bed(s) left and right of the main stone work for carpeting so the plant hasnt got too much space to populate. Im planning on buying another 2 pots of the tissue culture when I make my adjustments (1 pot for each side) so the plant will just have to grow in the gaps. I planed the initial batch of HG in 1cm square pieces and spaced them about 1-2cm apart.

  11. #11
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    Thanks for pic from above.

    yes I meant, micranthemoides. It's a nice low tech stem.
    http://www.tfhmagazine.com/details/p...nthemoides.htm

    Best value CO2 is here.
    https://www.keg-king.com.au/co2-cylinders.html?p=2

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebel View Post
    I would be curious what happens to ammonia/nitrites after 24 hours if you added 1ppm of ammonia.

    Question.

    My cycle is going well. Nitrites showed up this week and are currently off the charts. It looks like my Elos sub is still leeching some Ammonia but it is hovering around .5-1ppm so its low and Nitrates are slowly ramping up at around 20-30ppm at present.

    Im wondering, If my Nitrite spike last longer than what my sub is feeding the system ill have to dose ammonia. I live in Adelaide and none of my local fish shops stock pure ammonia which is a bit frustrating... Im considering the prawn or possibly other means. Ive seen people mention Ammonia Sulphate from Bunnings. I realise that using either of these methods is tricky as you cant measure the amount of ammonia to add to the system but im worried about the possibility of starving the cycle.

    Is this the product I should use? https://www.bunnings.com.au/richgro-...monia_p2982771

  13. #13
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    There are many opinions on this issue.

    IMHO if the nitrites are sky high, just do a 50% water change and wait. No need to stress about continuing to add ammonia.

    Given seeded media, I think your cycle should complete in the next 3 weeks or so.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebel View Post
    IMHO if the nitrites are sky high, just do a 50% water change and wait. No need to stress about continuing to add ammonia.

    Given seeded media, I think your cycle should complete in the next 3 weeks or so.
    Thanks Rebel.

    I did do a 20L WC 4 days ago to clean up some detritus around the tank and clean off some muck, looked like a small amount of white hair algae/diatom strands on a small portion of the dwarf hair grass. At the point of this WC ammonia was at 1-2ppm, nitrites appeared 5 days before climbing daily from .15, .25, .5, 1 & 2ppm. and i started to see nitrate climb from 5 thru to 30ppm.

    Since the WC ammonia has stayed at around .5ppm, nitrite has climbed from 1 to +5ppm and nitrate from 5 to 20-30ppm over the last 3-4 days.

    I do have some brown algae (silica algae?) growing on the main rock on the right side only. I think this is from that area having a bit of poor water flow, i adjusted the outflow to circulate flow around this area a bit better now but still yet to clean up the growth. Was planning on doing that when I needed to reset the water next, so if I should do a partial WC to reset the nitrites a bit ill give this area a scrub n siphon tomorrow with the filter off.

    Ive setup a stiff toothbrush with air line siphon attached to suck it up as quickly as its scrubbed, plan is to go slow and not make a big mess and get it out of the water column as its dislodged.



    Tank is going well tho.
    DHG is sending runners and there are new shoots. Got a good sized amount of Mini Pellia from the LFS for $12 which covered the surfaces of both main stones and is growing. The Monte Carlo is doing ok, tiny bit of die off but its starting to stabalise and send roots into the sub. One of my Buce's has sent up its first new leaf this week as well. Overall the growth is what ive expected from a no CO2 setup so far.
    Last edited by FishyFellow; 09-11-18 at 11:31 AM.

  15. #15
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    good plan. Some small water changes may be needed to keep that nitrite from going beyond 2ppm.

    I think you are less than 2 weeks away from the appearance of nitrates.

    Before you add fish, you should do a 100% water change day prior.

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