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Not sure if my planted tanks are cycled.....

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  • Not sure if my planted tanks are cycled.....

    I have a 29 gallon and a 16 gallon biocube - both heavily planted. I set them up in March and April with a fishless cycle and plants. I got to point of the cycle where I saw just a bit of nitrates (5ppm) and then I thought I was cycled. I started the 29 gallon thinking the 16 was ready and even added a few fish. Since the middle of April, I have seen the same readings on from my API Master Kit test --- very low to no ammonia, zero nitrites and zero nitrates. I haven't had a trace of either since April. Not even 5ppm. I've kept up with weekly water changes, and just did very quick rinse with my filter media in old tank water.
    I've gotten to the point where I feel like my tank cycle crashed, but I may just be too unfamiliar with the whole process that I just don't recognize what is going on.
    I bought 2 active sponge filters from Angels Plus that I added to both of my tanks to ensure that they are cycled. But still getting the same readings.
    Someone on a group that I'm a member of said that I may never see nitrates because of my heavily planted tanks. Has anyone been in my shoes before? If this is the case, my readings will always look like my tanks aren't cycled. Should I stop stressing about this? Do you think my tanks are cycled? Also, if this is the case, how will I ever know if anything is wrong with my tanks? Thanks for any help you can give!

  • #2
    Good day erincoolio76,

    Your group member is correct; heavily planted aquariums rarely, if ever, have free ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate as the plants take it up quickly. In fact, it's often necessary to add nitrate and phosphate in order to meet the nutritional requirements of plants. The best ways to tell if something's wrong in a heavily planted tank are if the plants are showing signs of nutrient deficiency and algae start proliferating. Otherwise, keep up with the water changes, supplement nutrients as needed (I recommend the entire Flourish line for this), and keep your filter clean.

    Kind regards,