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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm cycling my first ever tank and becoming frustrated with the lack of progress. I did a bunch of research before starting and had read that you can cycle a tank just using fish food and letting bacteria break it down into ammonia, allowing the cycle to begin. I've been feeding the tank twice daily (missed a bit early on, but generally consistent) for weeks now and testing ammonia, nitrite, and sometimes nitrate every few days. Ammonia started a 0ppm and immediately went to 0.25ppm, where it has stayed. Nitrite has never read above 0.

To complicate matters (I don't know what this may or may not affect), I have a few plants in the aquarium since I read that they should do fine during a fishless cycle. I also gave them a few root tabs. After a bit of wilting towards the bottom the plants have been stable, and at least one appears to be dropping roots. I read later that plants might consume ammonia, so perhaps that's the problem? I'm afraid to add straight ammonia to the tank (I only learned you could do that very recently) in case it might damage the plants.

In case it matters, I'll mention that I also added a piece of spider wood (long branches, didn't leech any tannins) which is now growing dark green tufts of algae on some of its surface and weird white stuff thickly on its cut ends. I take the algae as a good sign that my tank is conducive to life, but I don't know what the white stuff is. It's sort of bubbly-looking and has some hairy slime-looking filaments going into the water.

My tank is also very alkaline, around 8.0, down from 8.2 when I had the air bubbler on. I think that's a separate problem but figured I should mention just in case.

I have no idea what's going on in my tank and would appreciate information and advice.
 

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Hi!
What kind of fish do you want to keep? The water parameters depends on the type of fish you want to keep. And if want to lower the pH level of the tank I suggest to add indian almond leaves. Since you bought the driftwood that wouldn't leech tannins maybe you don't want to try this method. Because you don't want the leaves to turn the water brown. And if you want other method to lower your pH but still have clear water ,I can't help you. I read some articles that you need to add vinegar to lower the pH, but I haven't tried it yet. Soo I don't tell others what to do unless I tried it first. Still, it depends of the fish you keep.
Hope this helps!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi!
What kind of fish do you want to keep? The water parameters depends on the type of fish you want to keep. And if want to lower the pH level of the tank I suggest to add indian almond leaves. Since you bought the driftwood that wouldn't leech tannins maybe you don't want to try this method. Because you don't want the leaves to turn the water brown. And if you want other method to lower your pH but still have clear water ,I can't help you. I read some articles that you need to add vinegar to lower the pH, but I haven't tried it yet. Soo I don't tell others what to do unless I tried it first. Still, it depends of the fish you keep.
Hope this helps!
Hi Bettabreeder, thanks for responding! I'll look into the indian almond leaves.

My plan has been to keep neon tetras first, and find some other species that go well with them. I'd love to also add a shrimp species for variety. It's only a 20 gallon tank so I don't expect to have a ton of variety, and the neon tetras will take up a good chunk of the bioload since they like same-species company, but I'd like to diversify where I can.

Tank update for anyone reading: The water had become cloudy for a week or more recently, but the cloudiness has pretty abruptly almost totally gone away. I've read about this before, that it's some sort of bacterial bloom that's normal for new tanks, so I guess at least that part the tank cycling is going normally.
 

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Have you tried adding a little bit more flakes? If you want to you could try adding a very small amount of ammonium chloride for fishless cycling to the tank but you should be careful not to poison the plants. If your plants are growing well they could be absorbing the ammonia and nitrites as fertilizer.
 
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