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BlueWolf's Howl

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October 05, 2018

The cycle moves forward

Water testing 10/5/2018:

Angel tank:
0 ppm ammonia
0.25 ppm Nitrite
20 ppm Nitrate
7.0 pH
This is almost cycled. Just a few more bacteria turning nitrite into nitrate and this tank is home free.The last two angel fish have survived the process. I would think that next week I can start adding some fish and expect them not to die. Whew.
[screeching record sound]
Rut-roh. Just checked the angels in the tank. The newest one came to me with a few spots. They look like grains of salt. I'm not sure if it's ick or some other bacterial disease. With 4 ppm ammonia, I really didn't expect that either of these fish would make it through the cycle. I was going to use the cycle time to "quarantine" this fish in the tank with the other koi angel as a test of contagion. For about a week, the koi was clean. Today I noticed a grain of salt on the koi. Ugh. This means I need to treat the tank with the fish in it before I put any other fish in the tank. I guess I needed to do that anyway and if they can survive the nitrogen cycle, hopefully they can survive the treatment.

Crayfish tank:
0 ppm ammonia
1.0 ppm nitrite
10 ppm nitrate
7.2 pH
This tank is still going through the cycling process. It still really has a low bio load - only one small pleco and one crayfish. The crayfish lives inside the decoration and I really have to keep checking to see if it's still alive (found it and saw it move today). The pleco cleans the outside of the decoration and is easy to see. Let's see what the readings are next week - and I may put some new fish in there.

Goldfish tank:
4 ppm ammonia
0 ppm nitrite
5 ppm nitrate
6.0 pH
Not sure what's up with this tank. The readings for pH are unexpected. I'll have to look into this. I haven't been testing pH while the tanks have been cycling, so that may be normal. I believe that all the fish that are going to be in this tank are already there, so I'll just let this tank do its thing. The water looks very clear, the hornwort is healthy and not too badly nibbled and the fish seem content.

Danio tank:
0 ppm ammonia
0.5 ppm nitrite
20 ppm nitrate
6.8 pH
This tank went to 0 ppm ammonia a while ago. Not sure why this is taking so long to cycle. The tank has two hang on back filters and a sponge filter. One of the two HOB filters was changed to "upscale" it (mirroring the Aquaclear setup) and the other was left with the filter cartridge normally used by Penguins. I was going to swap out the other cartridge this weekend, but I think I'm going to wait another week to do that.

Reef tank:
0.25 ppm ammonia
1.0 ppm nitrite
40 ppm nitrate
8.2 pH
1.022 salinity
19 drops 380 ppm Calcium
15 drops ??? ppm KH - not sure since the chart stops at 12
0.25 ppm Phosphate

The two clown fish seem to be enjoying their home. I have played with the arrangement of the rocks for quite some time. It was a lot harder than expected. I have several pieces of "life rock" and about twice as much dry rock. There really is no set way to arrange them. And you are talking about several irregular size pieces of rock that must be put together in some "natural" looking formation. It was like a puzzle with no picture on the front of the box to reference. I started off with trying for two arches, but only one side made a good arch and the other side looked like a pile of rocks. You want the rocks as far back as possible to allow space in the front for the fish to swim freely. You also want to provide as many little holes for the smaller fish to slip through or hide in. You also have to take into account that you have multiple devices (filter tubes, heater, skimmer) at the back of the tank. The instinct is to hide them, but you have to balance that with disrupting their function or water flow. You don't want any dead spots of water flow and you don't want to block your powerheads as they spit out water. It took a few hours and multiple iterations to get it set the way that I think is workable. I can see several areas where I would put corals and it looks somewhat natural. In addition to the major pieces that I initially bought, I added a bunch of smaller pieces. They were very helpful to get the bigger pieces to fit together. It seems like the clown fish approve - as they frequently dart through the holes. Oh - and expect as you arrange these rocks, your tank will get cloudy. It cleared quickly.

FOWLR tank:
0 ppm ammonia
1.025 salinity

Not testing the rest of the parameters since I just set up the tank and it's just substrate, water and rock. The "life rock" is supposed to have beneficial bacteria on it and cycle the tank faster. [Claims it cycles a tank in two days, but the reef tank shows that's not true.]

Yes - I set up the 2nd saltwater tank! It also has an undergravel filter with two powerheads, heater and I bought a little mini skimmer for it today. I saw the mini skimmer at the LFS (local fish store) on a frag tank. With this being only 20 gallons, it's going to be a challenge to keep the parameters stable. I know I won't be able to put very many fish in this tank, so I have to choose wisely. This tank will not have corals but is using CaribSea Arag-alive for substrate, life rock and dry rock. The smaller tank was much easier to arrange - since only a few pieces (and one level) is going to fit. Both saltwater tanks use arag-alive but the reef tank substrate seems to be a bit more coarse and the FOWLR tank seems to be more fine-grained. I thought I had bought the same thing for both tanks.

I went to the LFS today to get some fish to cycle this tank. I wasn't really sure what kind of fish I wanted for this - and instead I got some Ammonium Chloride Solution to use for a "fishless" cycle. I've seen some mention of "ghost feeding" so that the food decays and cycles the tank and I really didn't want a lot of decaying food sitting in the tank (just another mess to eventually clean). This seems like a better option. However - the directions say to use 4 drops per gallon of water. They should give an alternative dosage for 5 ml of the solution. All the other solutions have this 5 ml per X gallons of water dosage directions so it seems a bit odd. I'll let you know if it works.

Posted by BlueWolf on October 5, 2018 07:41 PM