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Ridiculous cycle time
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Flame Angel
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Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Location: Sydney, Australia

PostPosted: 2012.04.21(Sat)18:46    Post subject: Ridiculous cycle time Reply with quote

OK massively frustrating rookie-error moment:

Quick summary
- Moved places (but tanks were still set up at old house) and planned to breed peppermint BNs.
- Brought 30gal to new place (which had been established as a planted tank for a few years). Didn't use the same filter, but brought all the gravel up (but not plants). 7-8cm (about 3 inches) thick layer of fairly standard aquarium gravel (3-5mm).
- Set tank up with air driven sponge filters (currently have FIVE in there).
- I had assumed because I had used the same gravel, it would be all sweet to add the peps. Added four 8-10cm ones, on 12th Feb.
- Couple of days later...AMMONIA
- Now: there is still ammonia present...more than 2 months later!


Obviously I've stuffed up big time here. I'm concerned gill membranes are burnt by now (supposedly irreparable?).

The peps are still kicking though...(assuming low pH and temp, with constant water changes is keeping them alive).

Fairly confident the gravel has to be the problem. The tank is sparse - the filters, a heater, a powerhead (currently switched off), some slate caves, couple pieces of driftwood, and the gravel.

A few ideas:
When I'm changing water, I'm using a gravel vac - obviously disturbing the substrate. Could the gravel be too thick, so only the top layer has aerobic bacteria growing, so when I disturb it, it all gets mixed up and the bacteria basically has to start from scratch.
Someone suggested something similar, but related to anaerobic bacteria on say the bottom inch of the gravel bed. I wouldn't have thought it's a thick enough layer of gravel (not sand), for anaerobic bacteria to live.

Ideas?


Probably going to thin out the substrate to say 2-3cm soon...I need to do something. That's really the only thing I can think of which would cause this.


Thanks in advance for someone who has a better understanding than myself! Feeling very foolish right now.
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Flame Angel
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Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Location: Sydney, Australia

PostPosted: 2012.04.26(Thu)2:16    Post subject: Reply with quote

It worries me when not even you guys can help Laughing

Anyway, I thinned the gravel out. Well keep an eye on water quality and see how it goes.
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Osprey
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Joined: 15 May 2006
Location: Okotoks, AB

PostPosted: 2012.04.26(Thu)10:30    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tend to agree with your assessment, Flame. Three inches is an unusual depth for a gravel bed; chances are you are experiencing problems with anaerobic zones at the bottom.

I'm not a big fan of air-driven sponge filters, although I know a lot of breeders do use them; I might be tempted to switch to something a little bit more potent until the ammonia is gone.

Another thought: you're sure your test kits are accurate?
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Flame Angel
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Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Location: Sydney, Australia

PostPosted: 2012.04.26(Thu)17:53    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great, thanks for the reassurance Smile

I can't remember my original logic for having so much gravel - I think it might have been because I was growing big swords in there which were doing well in it, and I didn't want to fork out and buy proper planting substrate Laughing

Test kits should be accurate - bought new just before I put the peps in. Giving readings of 0 ammonia on other tanks too. And the ammonia readings in this tank seem to be fairly consistent with time-since-last-WC.

Quote:
I'm not a big fan of air-driven sponge filters, although I know a lot of breeders do use them; I might be tempted to switch to something a little bit more potent until the ammonia is gone.


I've got a big-ish internal power filter lying around here (and some powerheads I could make something out of), but it hasn't been set up - would the bacteria really get going in it faster than on gravel/the sponge filters? If I had a canister or something here which had been running on a tank for a while I'd just chuck that on.
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Osprey
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Joined: 15 May 2006
Location: Okotoks, AB

PostPosted: 2012.04.28(Sat)1:01    Post subject: Reply with quote

It may make a difference. It depends on whether or not the flow rate you're getting through the filtrate in your air-driven filters is adequate. Sometimes the water bypasses the filtration media in them.
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Flame Angel
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Joined: 07 Nov 2006
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PostPosted: 2012.05.09(Wed)18:49    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seems to be working. 2 days without a water change and only a trace of ammonia, 0 nitrite reading. Fingers crossed.
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nikelodeon79
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Joined: 08 Nov 2007
Location: Wisconsin, U.S.A.

PostPosted: 2012.05.25(Fri)16:03    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you tested your tap water for ammonia?
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Flame Angel
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Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Location: Sydney, Australia

PostPosted: 2012.05.27(Sun)2:58    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did when I first set the tanks up - there was very-little/none. I guess it'd be a good idea just to check again now though.
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