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Is my tank ready ?


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This is my first shrimp tank so definitely don't want to rush it but i am getting pretty antsy the tanks been setup for two months cycling I plan on keeping mischlings to start with and adding some tbs later my parameters are ph 6.4, nitrites nitrates and ammonia are at 0 gh is at 6 kh is 0 i've had some mystery snails in for the last month and they're still going strong. But before I put any shrimp in I thought would more shrimpers and see what y'all thought

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Did you do tests throughout the cycle and if so did you see the nitrites rise and fall? If nitrates are 0 then it would appear there's been no beneficial bacterial activity. OR you are using the API test and haven't thoroughly mixed the #2 bottle enough and that can cause a spurious result. OR maybe you've got a chemical nitrate-reducer in there in which case you have no way of knowing whether it's cycled or not other than using livestock (not recommended). The nitrifying process always ends with nitrate being produced and the only other way to reduce nitrates non-chemically is by doing water changes. 


I don't like using livestock as an ammonia source - it's unreliable and needlessly unkind to the livestock when there are other sources. Also you have no control over how much is being added and sometimes that can lead to nitrite levels so high the cycle stalls. Far better imho to add a known quantity then you are in control. I cycled my shrimp tank using a handful of gravel from my other fish tank and adding appropriate household ammonia (ie no additives) using an interactive ammonia calculator on another forum I'm a member of. It took me 5 weeks to cycle the tank using only 6 doses of ammonia. 

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It would be a shame to lose stock for the sake of testing properly. If it's planted it may well be that the plants are taking up the ammonia and in the process starving out the bacteria. This means you have to keep the tank planted or risk a mini-cycle if you change or reduce the planting. I don't think you can tell for sure if it is ready unless you challenge the bacteria with 1-2 ppm ammonia and only if both ammonia and nitrite are zero after 24 hours would I consider it safe to add shrimp. 

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