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The last tank I cycled a 2ft tank took approx 4 weeks. This one is a 1 ft tank and has been running for nearly 5 weeks, ammonia approx 4ppm, nitrite 2ppm and nitrate approx 80ppm (I'm not overly concerned about this result as I always get 40ppm on any test I do on a tank)All 3 seem to be minimally lower than yesterday. But about the same level as 2 weeks ago. There are plants in the tank but all look reasonably good to me. I did use a QuickStart style product to start with and used it as per directions on bottle. I don't understand where the ammonia side of the results are coming from as there's nothing I can see that will be adding any form of waste. Have I just not waited long enough? Or is there something else I should be checking?

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There are no fish and have not had fish in it yet, but there are plants in the tank, I used one of the startup style liquids and put a few flakes of food in. I followed the instructions on the bottle that said to dose at whatever it was (can't remember off hand) for 7 days and job right. I did that and 5 weeks later those are the results. I have no idea where the ammonia is coming from it makes no sense to me. The tank has about 15 litres in it and is only a small internal filter with foam in it. The tank is only going to have plants in it and the mrs wants a betta.

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It seems like the Beneficial Bacteria colony is not big/strong enough. You may need to add some dedicated bio media like ceramic noodles or a small bit of marine pure to the filter. The foam will have a Beneficial Bacteria colony but not a big enough one.

How big is the internal filter? or what type and brand of filter is it?

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The thing I don't understand is what is making the ammonia side of things not dropping, I don't ever remember seeing all three right up at once. It appears that they have all spiked as about 2 weeks ago had ammonia and nitrite was starting to get up and no nitrate. But 2 weeks later I would of assumed all would of been good but everything is still right up. The only other thing I have noticed is a bit of algae is starting to grow around the place unless it has something to do with it

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Has ammonia been up the whole time?

The quick start type thing you used would have put ammonia in the tank and if it hasn't dropped it means you don't have enough bacteria to convert it to nitrite then nitrate.

Could you ditch the tiny internal and go with a xy380 sponge filter?

It sounds like you don't have enough space in the little internal for good bacteria to grow.

The algae is from the high nitrates.

Cheers mick

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Algae will be eating some of the nutrients in the tank, doubt it will be causing the spiking.

I remember why my last tank cycled everything went up and then crashed overnight and 2 days later added more ammonia to tank and few hours later tested small mount few more hours later nothing but was showing nitrates.

The initial cycling is the most stressful as it pulls stunts like this.

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I wasn't going to bother about a filter but, thought it would be good to turn the water over a little might be able to stretch out water changes a bit as I'm away 2 weeks at a time. It is only housing 1 betta when it eventually finishes its thing. Was hoping to get one this break

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Some plant soils will produce some Ammonia, I do not think the Ista will produce much in that way - Amazonia is more known to produce more Ammonia than others but the same I do not mind that as it will help with building bacteria levels. I missed the part in the beginning with Quickstart type - sorry I thought you were using Quickstart - with Quickstart it does mention to add if finding levels of Ammonia - and wonder if the one your using suggests to do the same. It does not mention on the one that you have if it should be refrigerated?

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It was an old filter that hasn't been used in years, I cleaned it all out in hot water before use as I do with most things. I can't remember the brand it was just a cheap filter with foam with pump on top. The product I used for a quick start was seachem stability

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Would you be able to fit a couple of ceramic rings or even one marine pure sphere into the internal? it would do alot more than a sponge in regards to growing bacteria.

If you can fit something like that I have some of both in a cannister that's already cycled you could have. The best way to cycle is to cheat lol.

Cheers mick

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I was thinking bout cutting a lump of sponge off a sponge filter and put it in the filter, I'll have to have a look and see what I can fit in there today sometime. The thing I don't understand is what's in the tank to create the bio load to cause these results, nothing has been added for around 4 weeks after I stopped the stability. I've never seen everything at these levels all at once I have seen them like that one at a time, I'll check the levels again today and hopefully everything is starting to drop. Would a bit of a water change help? Bring levels to a manageable level because if these levels are built up wouldn't there be too much in there for 1 fish and then we get the problem all over again as the tank settles?

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I'll give it a go, I have tried that once before and the tank cycled normally took a few weeks. But will give it a go, it's not that important I just don't understand why this one is taking so long and the levels being as they are. And not sure wether the stability has added to the length of time it is taking

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Today's tests' look very similar to yesterday's and day before a

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I've now cut a lump off a sponge filter out of a running tank and put it into the filter see if that helps things I also did a 50% water change see if that speeds things up

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Tested water today and ammonia is slowly starting to drop and nitrite is also starting to drop. Nitrate is going up. Still unsure what's gone on but it all seems to be working now. Could it have been something like the tank cycled and then while I was at work seeing there was nothing in there it all died off causing a second cycle?

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