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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have had something really strange happen and i haven't figured out the cause, would like to see if anyone else has this problem come up.
Here are specs:
20gal
96watts light t5 HO
Florabase / flourite dark substrate
No wood, lots of granite
Loaded with fast growing stems

I started slow and didn't add fish until week 5, barely any plants. Tank seemed to have finished cycling by week 8. Nitrite finally dropped to 0. and plants started pearling (Low pearling seems to be a sign of high Nitrite IME).

Now all of a sudden i started notice a tiny bit of diatom and a small amount of thread algae, no big deal. I bought 2 ottos and they kept the diatoms from spreading but were not eliminating it. I bought 2 more... the next day some weird stuff happened (I also hacked my plants back the day prior and did 2x30% water changes but used declorinated within minutes of adding tapwater). My plants aren't pearling as much (I have kept ferts constant) So to me this means somehow my nitrite went back up, tested it and sure enough 1ppm nitrite. My tank already cycled... what gives? Could the water that the ottos came in have been so high in nitrite that is boosted mine up? I cycle my tanks with very few plants so that i actually build the bacteria in the filter and dont just rely on my plants (I run very very quick tanks. very high co2 and very high lighting). I only add full plant load once tank cycled on its own.

Anyone have any input? I know my fish wont die because i cycled with them, but i wanted to get some rare fish but i obviously wont do that until the tank is fully stable. I have ideas but i am not a fish guy, i wanted to see what the people who know more about cycling have to say.
 

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I will look at it as plants aren't making food. If NPK, and micro is addressed. I think it should be fine. Also, what is the lighting duration? When plant stop making food, algae still will.

O2 can help to convert NO2 to NO3
 

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Hey Shane, just a couple of things to throw at you. How long is your photoperiod? 96W on a 20 is a lot of lighting, and any issues with the water, ferts, CO2 etc is going to swing the pendulum towards the algae side. You said you started out real slowly, perhaps that last step was too large a jump with light duration, or something else. As far as the nitrites go, my guess is you weren't as cycled as you thought. If you're heavily planted, you know this won't be an issue. HTH.
 

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Hi Shane,

Real good call on the waiting.

I don't know what your water is like, but mine is very hard and alkaline. I cycled my tank with Tanganyikan cichlids (who love hard water) and an Ancistrus pleco...all passed with flying colors. About week five, added a Congo puffer...he did not pass...well, except into the next life.

What kind of fish are ya looking at, and what's your native hardness and ph like?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
pH is low GH is 11 put of tap slightly higher in tank. KH is 2 out of tap and 3-4 in tank.
I want to keep Galaxy rasboras. Also i am considering keeping wild type neocaridinia.
 

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I think the plants had taken over from the nitrifying bacteria and were removing most of the ammonia, thus starving out the bacteria.

Then you cut back the plants. In essence, removing your ammonia removal system.

The ammonia removing bacteria seem to have enough population to take care of an ammonia spike (maybe there was a small one and you missed it) but the nitrite removing bacteria cannot come back this fast, so there was a nitrite spike. The nitrite removing bacteria are slower growing.

Nitrite crosses the gills, enters the fishes' blood and alters it so it does not carry oxygen very well, resulting in brown blood disease. Add sodium chloride at the rate of 1 teaspoon per 20 gallons to reduce the amount of nitrite entering the fishes' blood. This is a very low dose of salt and is tolerated by all fish and plants. Other sources of chloride will work, too. Google Brown Blood Disease and include the word fish in your search to see what alternate sources of chloride you want to use and at what dose.
Keep up the water changes to keep the nitrite under 1 ppm.

Next time you need to prune, perhaps do it in 3 stages, a week apart, and leave more thriving plants to do biofilter duty.
 
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