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How can you tell when cycling has finished?
Hi, I'm currently cycling a small tank (15l) for shrimp. It's been running 2 weeks, planted with small amounts of Java moss, Subwassertang and a large moss ball, it has 5 small MST in it, as a bioload. The plants have started to show signs of growth, although the water is cold, fluctuating from 18-20 degrees, and the snails seem happy, doing their thing, under the gravel when the lights on, on the top at night. My water is very hard, so I cut it with 20% clean rainwater, and my original parameters were:
pH 7.5
NH3 0
NO2 0.25
NO3 0.25
KH 6
GH 12

I have been using ammonia to help cycle, raising the level to 2. I have changed the water once.
My parameters now are:
pH 7.5
NH3 2
NO2 0.25
NO3 20
KH 2
GH 12
Should I continue to add ammonia every few days, or change the water, or both. The tank smells like the local aquarium tanks do, so I'm assuming that's good.

How near am I to completing the cycle? I have no experience, and am unsure if I just carry on or what. Thanks for any help you could give me.
The simplest way to tell is to test after adding the ammonia, and again 24 hours later. If both the ammonia spike and the nitrite spike has been cleared away by 24 hours then you're pretty much at the end of the cycle. Both ammonia and nitrite need to be hitting zero though, and you should see a massive spike in nitrate levels, often accompanied by a pH swing. I tend to find it takes a long time to do using household ammonia though, as the bacteria you want need more than this to thrive, hence I use Biomature instead as my nitrogenous wastes source. Smile

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