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Need help! ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates 20ppm and a little bit of hair algae. Is my tank cycled and ready for stock ?


Steff

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Please help me. I am relatively new to the hobby. My new tank is a five gallon. It’s been cycling for 3-4 weeks. I have been adding a bit of fish food to feed the nitrifying bacteria. Ammonia was high originally, but it’s gone down with nitrites too, to 0ppm. I now only have 20ppm in nitrates. But I noticed a little bit of algae (small flowy white hairs) on the glass sides of the tank (it appears to be hair algae but I’m not entirely sure). Is this normal and harmful? Should I just remove it? Is my water chemistry not correct or something ? My tank has just been receiving natural light as I have not installed any light, I have aqua soil, but this wasn’t a problem a couple weeks ago. I just want to be careful with the steps I take from here on out as to ensure I do not mess up my cycle. All help is greatly appreciated. 

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Staticmoves

How much natural light?

You may want to limit any direct sunlight, or you may have an algae issue and possible heating issue.

lets see some picture and more info on light exposure.

and tank temp throughout the day.

and if you don’t have any livestock, a total black out of the tank for three days or so may help rid of anything trying to take a foot hold.

and Welcome to NR!

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Nathans_Reef
4 hours ago, Steff said:

Please help me. I am relatively new to the hobby. My new tank is a five gallon. It’s been cycling for 3-4 weeks. I have been adding a bit of fish food to feed the nitrifying bacteria. Ammonia was high originally, but it’s gone down with nitrites too, to 0ppm. I now only have 20ppm in nitrates. But I noticed a little bit of algae (small flowy white hairs) on the glass sides of the tank (it appears to be hair algae but I’m not entirely sure). Is this normal and harmful? Should I just remove it? Is my water chemistry not correct or something ? My tank has just been receiving natural light as I have not installed any light, I have aqua soil, but this wasn’t a problem a couple weeks ago. I just want to be careful with the steps I take from here on out as to ensure I do not mess up my cycle. All help is greatly appreciated. 

With the hair algae, it's not harmful and it is totally normal to see algae especially in these beginning stages of a tank's life, you can just remove it if it's unsightly. The ammonia and nitrite has depleted due to the nitrogen cycle, and the fact that you started with high ammonia which has now gone down and you're now just getting nitrate readings and algae, shows that your tank is cycling well! But as @colormegone asked, is this a freshwater tank? Not that it changes how the cycling process works.

 

Also just in case you ever get confused by nutrient spikes or a lingering source of ammonia, aquasoil will leach ammonia into your water due to it's high nutrient content as it's purpose is for growing freshwater plants, when starting a tank with aquasoil it's usually advised to do regular water changes and keep and eye on the ammonia (Which you seem to have done a great job with, so no need to worry!)

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Nathans_Reef
4 hours ago, Steff said:

Please help me. I am relatively new to the hobby. My new tank is a five gallon. It’s been cycling for 3-4 weeks. I have been adding a bit of fish food to feed the nitrifying bacteria. Ammonia was high originally, but it’s gone down with nitrites too, to 0ppm. I now only have 20ppm in nitrates. But I noticed a little bit of algae (small flowy white hairs) on the glass sides of the tank (it appears to be hair algae but I’m not entirely sure). Is this normal and harmful? Should I just remove it? Is my water chemistry not correct or something ? My tank has just been receiving natural light as I have not installed any light, I have aqua soil, but this wasn’t a problem a couple weeks ago. I just want to be careful with the steps I take from here on out as to ensure I do not mess up my cycle. All help is greatly appreciated. 

Another thing to mention, don't worry so much about messing up the cycle while you have no livestock, it can always be fixed with time and a simple water change! It's also great that as a new hobbiest you seem to have a good understanding of the nitrogen cycle and testing your water 👍

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On 4/8/2024 at 3:07 AM, Staticmoves said:

How much natural light?

You may want to limit any direct sunlight, or you may have an algae issue and possible heating issue.

lets see some picture and more info on light exposure.

and tank temp throughout the day.

and if you don’t have any livestock, a total black out of the tank for three days or so may help rid of anything trying to take a foot hold.

and Welcome to NR!

Sorry for the late reply ! I was away for a few days and wasn’t online. The light is just light throw a window. It doesn’t really filter directly through my window so I don’t think it’s an issue. I actually have another 5-gallon that is receiving the same amount of light and it’s doing fantastic. Thank you for the welcome 🙂

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On 4/8/2024 at 5:05 AM, colormegone said:

You have aqua soil in your tank? That's for fresh water. Is this a freshwater tank?

Yes it’s a fresh water tank , 5-gallon.

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On 4/8/2024 at 5:30 AM, Nathans_Reef said:

With the hair algae, it's not harmful and it is totally normal to see algae especially in these beginning stages of a tank's life, you can just remove it if it's unsightly. The ammonia and nitrite has depleted due to the nitrogen cycle, and the fact that you started with high ammonia which has now gone down and you're now just getting nitrate readings and algae, shows that your tank is cycling well! But as @colormegone asked, is this a freshwater tank? Not that it changes how the cycling process works.

 

Also just in case you ever get confused by nutrient spikes or a lingering source of ammonia, aquasoil will leach ammonia into your water due to it's high nutrient content as it's purpose is for growing freshwater plants, when starting a tank with aquasoil it's usually advised to do regular water changes and keep and eye on the ammonia (Which you seem to have done a great job with, so no need to worry!)

Thank you ! Sorry for the late reply. I was away for a bit and not online. I took your advice and cleaned out the hair algae because it was only a little and on the glass sides of the tank. I did a water change and everything was looking really good and it didn’t grow back. Since then, I have added the betta fish, and he is doing really good , thank you very much for your help ! 

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First two photos are of the tank in question, while the third one is my separate and already established 5-gallon. It is been going strong for almost 1 year and was cycled the same way my new tank is. 

DDD0F999-0614-427A-AEA8-16A71E1578F6.jpeg

F5815E33-AFF3-46E0-8D9F-E3AEE5FCDA49.jpeg

4859DFBC-E9C7-479D-91D0-BE751689B237.jpeg

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Nathans_Reef

Awesome, glad the tank is doing well! Just a quick note about the tank in the first two images, the plant closest to the glass looks to be Java fern and often starts to rot if the roots and rhizome of the plant are buried into the soil the same way as most other plants. It's known as an epiphyte plant and grows on solid surfaces like wood or rocks the same way as other ferns on tree branches in a forest! Just thought i'd let you know in case you started to see signs of the plant not doing well and wondered why 🙂

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1 hour ago, Nathans_Reef said:

Awesome, glad the tank is doing well! Just a quick note about the tank in the first two images, the plant closest to the glass looks to be Java fern and often starts to rot if the roots and rhizome of the plant are buried into the soil the same way as most other plants. It's known as an epiphyte plant and grows on solid surfaces like wood or rocks the same way as other ferns on tree branches in a forest! Just thought i'd let you know in case you started to see signs of the plant not doing well and wondered why 🙂

Oh ! I didn’t know that , thanks so much. So is it best if I glue this plant onto a rock or something like that ? You are super knowledgeable. Also thanks for the help with my other post about the 10-gallon! 

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Nathans_Reef
3 hours ago, Steff said:

Oh ! I didn’t know that , thanks so much. So is it best if I glue this plant onto a rock or something like that ? You are super knowledgeable. Also thanks for the help with my other post about the 10-gallon! 

No problem! Yep glueing is a great method to attach any epiphyte, some people manage to wedge the roots between crevices of wood or rocks to hold them in place, but that's not always possible so you could also use some cotton or fishing line to tie it in place. Whatever works best for you. If you do choose to glue it in place, go for a cyanoacrylate super glue gel 👍

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