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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
OK guys, this is my first aquarium build ever so I thought the best way to share and get advice is to create a journal. I've got pictures in the photography thread if you're interested. I'm trying to cycle this 29 gal freshwater tank fishless using direct ammonia addition, so we'll see how that goes. So far, everything looks good and the only thing I'm a bit concerned with is that the glass on my tank bows out just a bit (maybe a quarter inch) at the top. From the replies in my other thread, it doesn't sound like that is normal, so I'm not sure what is going on.

I 've got my water chemistry record separate below so hopefully, it is a bit easier to follow than if it was mixed in with my journal. I also checked the pH of my tap water and was a bit surprised how high it was. It comes out of the faucet at about 8.8 and if I let it sit for a few hours, it drops to about 7.8. Is that normal? I'm thinking I might have to let my water sit overnight before doing water changes, but then it might be difficult to get the temperature up before adding. I guess that's one more thing I need to figure out. Any suggestions?

Comments and questions are welcome. Thanks for looking guys!

9/19 - Filled the new tank and added water conditioner.
9/21 - Installed the heater, set to 82 (to encourage bacterial growth) and added half a bottle of bacterial starter (whatever good that may do).
9/23 - Decided to try the fishless cycle and added 4 teaspoons of ammonia to the tank. A few hours later, I added the other half of my bacterial starter.
9/29 - My first sign of nitrites just showed up! So far so good, although it looks like I may need a little extra reinforcement on my tank stand.
I think I discovered the source of the curvature at the top of my aquarium glass may be due to a slight curvature in the supporting shelf that is not supporting it properly. I've got some ideas on how to fix that over the next week or so.
10/4 - Things are definitely progressing now with the first bacteria. Interesting that the pH is dropping. I've heard that the nitrites are a little acidic, but I didn't expect them to have enough of an effect to counter the ammonia basicity.

Water Chemistry Record:
Date | pH | NH3 | NO2 | NO3 | Notes
9/21 | 7.9 | 0.1 | 0.00 | 0.0 |
9/23 | 7.9 | 4.0 | ---- | --- | Added 4 teaspoons (~20 mL) ammonia
9/24 | 8.0 | 4.0 | 0.00 | 8.0 |
9/26 | 8.0 | 4.0 | 0.00 | 7.0 |
9/29 | 7.8 | 4.0 | 0.10 | 6.0 |
10/1 | 7.8 | 3.5 | 0.25 | 5.0 |
10/4 | 7.6 | 3.0 | 0.50 | 5.0 |
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