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Freshwater Cycle problems

Discussion in 'Freshwater Tanks' started by Fourthwind, Sep 11, 2017.

  1. Fourthwind

    Fourthwind Amphipod M.A.S.C Club Member

    Ok so I am maybe being impatient, but this is driving me nuts. I have been running tanks for 30 years, and I have never had a tank do this. I installed a 75 gallon seaclear II AIO modified for freshwater in my sons room. Used matrix media set up with positive water pass through instead of the wet dry as it was designed for. I also have run a flexible 12 inch air diffuser under the matrix. Did this to make sure there was an adequate gas exchange and kept detritus moving. Filled it with RODI, and mineralized the water with Kent RO right till I had a TDS of 100. PH of 7.6, an a KH of 80. These parameters have been stable the last 6 weeks. In the beginning I seeded the tank from a healthy tank, and added seachem stability. Then threw in a bag of frozen krill. Left on vacation for three weeks. Came home to 2.0 ammonia, and no nitrites or nitrates. Took out the krill. week later still had 2.0 ammonia and no nitrites or nitrates. So at week 4 with no changes, I did a 35% water change, treated with prime, added more bacteria seed, more stability, a couple live plants, and a few barbs to see if live fish poop would help. Now we are sitting at week 6. Still holding 1 to 2 ammonia (verified by two different test kits) No nitrites, no nitrates, ph 7.6, temp 79 degrees. The barbs are active, eating and not showing duress. Why is this tank seeming to be stalled and not cycling? Decorations in the tank are a thin layer of natural gravel, plastic plants, live plants, two plastic decorations and large piece of drift wood. live plants added after pic was taken.
  2. Fourthwind

    Fourthwind Amphipod M.A.S.C Club Member

    For anyone interested I think I got this figured out. What I am seeing in the tank is NH4 and not NH3. Both my ammonia test kits are total free ammonia.. The matrix media as lot of you are aware of are designed to harbor anaerobic bacteria. In the freshwater environment Anaerobic bacteria breaks down nitrates into Ammonium. Ammonium in lower PH is not harmful to fish. IE why I am not seeing nitrates, and the fish are not stressed a bit. My guess is as the tank gains more maturity, the whole mess will right itself. meanwhile just going to run Zeovite
  3. halmus

    halmus Cuttle Fish Staff Member M.A.S.C Club Member M.A.S.C. B.O.D. M.A.S.C Secretary

    I know next to nothing about freshwater but I'm glad you figured it out.

    I've got a friend with a planted tank having challenges he's never seen before.

    How did you figure out the chemical composition you're actually seeing?
  4. Fourthwind

    Fourthwind Amphipod M.A.S.C Club Member

    It came to me as a hunch while banging my head on the wall lol. Got a test that tested for nh4 and nh3 separately. Then started adding things up while reading a recent study on new developments regarding the nitrogen cycle. I truly believe with the very quick increase in technology in the aquarium industry we are seeing things in chemistry that we just didn't see before. For instance I never knew that anaerobic bacteria in a fresh water aquarium could break down nitrates into Ammonium. this can be dangerous if your PH is high. What I dont know is how the oxidation and bacteria eventually break the ammonium down. seems like it would be a vicious self feeding cycle. Still got a lot of reading to do. I pretty much stopped last night at the point of learning about the anaerobic bacteria. total ah hah moment..

    I would have your friend go to the planted tank forum. Those guys are good at what they do.
  5. halmus

    halmus Cuttle Fish Staff Member M.A.S.C Club Member M.A.S.C. B.O.D. M.A.S.C Secretary

    Thanks for the feedback. I think he's been asking around on forums. It seems that the fresh water community is similar to us salty folks in that there are sometimes conflicting views and strong opinions. It's not always easy to know what approach to adopt.
  6. Fourthwind

    Fourthwind Amphipod M.A.S.C Club Member

    I tend to take a consensus from forums, and then research the idea. The problem is that every single tank is different. Yes there are some generalities, but every tank behaves different. I take idea's, research the validity, and then experiment. Never take anyone's method as gospel. I figured out my current problem because of what someone said on a facebook group. It wasn't that their statement was correct, but it made a theory pop into my head. Did some tests and some research and bam! I had me answer for my situation.

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