Newly cycled tank—Now White Fluffy Growth on Plants and Hides

Lexicopp

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Hello all,

new axolotl owner here—I’ve combed through existing forums and haven’t found my specific question so sorry if it’s a repeat.

we’ve been doing a fishless cycle for our juvenile axolotl (he’s been tubbed with 100% water changes daily during the process) and have been really struggling with ammonia spikes. For the past couple days, it seems like we’ve finally cycled the tank! (I really hope). The ammonia is 0, nitrates and nitrites both 0. we’ve developed some white fluffy strands all over our hides and live plants now though—which I know from other forums and poststhat people usually do a cleaning and water change to get rid of—but my question is: we FINALLY seem to have our levels right, and I’m worried about disturbing the bacteria we’ve been working hard to develop! Is there any concern with this, or should I just go ahead and do a big water change and scrub? Thank you so much for any help. I’m attaching photos and a video too. :)
 

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Calgarycoppers

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How long have you been cycling?

Nitrates should never be zero in a cycled tank

This could be a biofilm or protein buildup on biofilm and debris is there isnt enough water flow .

How big of a tank?
What types and sizes of filters?
 

Lexicopp

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How long have you been cycling?

Nitrates should never be zero in a cycled tank

This could be a biofilm or protein buildup on biofilm and debris is there isnt enough water flow .

How big of a tank?
What types and sizes of filters?

Darn it I was afraid it was too good to be true. Thanks for the info about nitrates, thought I’d read that once before too but wasn’t sure. Our PH is also low now so definitely not cycled fully at all. Our tank is 20 gallon long, and filter is tetra whisper IQ for 20 gallon tank
 

Lexicopp

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Oh also we’ve been cycling for almost 2 months but we just can’t seem to get it right. I know mostly it just takes time but every time one level seems to be reliably good another level hits the fan! I guess it’s patience, a lot of testing, and reading more and more about people’s advice.
 

Calgarycoppers

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Here is my basic guide to cycling

Once you start cycling

Test daily
Dose your ammonia back to 4ppm daily
Add a heater 76-78 degrees
Add nitrifying bacteria supplement daily at highest dose for 7 days

If ....
ammonia is over 4ppm - 33% water change and retest to verify 4ppm still
Nitrite is over 2ppm - 33-50% water change
Nitrate is over 160ppm - 75% water change
pH lower than 6 or higher than 8.2 AND your cycle has stalled - 50% water change

In your testing daily you should see....
-ammonia dropping at some point
-nitrite starting to rise at some point
-eventually you will start to see nitrates - do a happy dance
Once you have nitrates keep testing daily and dosing ammonia to 4ppm.
When you notice you dose ammonia and within 24 hours and retest you have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and all nitrates do a massive happy dance time for your 3 day challenge!!
3 day challenge is status quo - test, dose ammonia to 4ppm and wait 24 long hours repeat 24 hours repeat.
If your tests came to 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and all nitrate you are cycled !!
Now to get your temp down very slowly, get your pH in check - you do need to continue feeding the cycle through this.

Examples of nitrifying bacteria supplements
Seachem Stability
Seachem Pristine - if you have low ph or massive stalls sometimes you need this one
Dr Tim's One and Only
Tetra Safe Start plus
Nutrafin Cycle


Oh also we’ve been cycling for almost 2 months but we just can’t seem to get it right. I know mostly it just takes time but every time one level seems to be reliably good another level hits the fan! I guess it’s patience, a lot of testing, and reading more and more about people’s advice.
 

Lexicopp

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Here is my basic guide to cycling

Once you start cycling

Test daily
Dose your ammonia back to 4ppm daily
Add a heater 76-78 degrees
Add nitrifying bacteria supplement daily at highest dose for 7 days

If ....
ammonia is over 4ppm - 33% water change and retest to verify 4ppm still
Nitrite is over 2ppm - 33-50% water change
Nitrate is over 160ppm - 75% water change
pH lower than 6 or higher than 8.2 AND your cycle has stalled - 50% water change

In your testing daily you should see....
-ammonia dropping at some point
-nitrite starting to rise at some point
-eventually you will start to see nitrates - do a happy dance
Once you have nitrates keep testing daily and dosing ammonia to 4ppm.
When you notice you dose ammonia and within 24 hours and retest you have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and all nitrates do a massive happy dance time for your 3 day challenge!!
3 day challenge is status quo - test, dose ammonia to 4ppm and wait 24 long hours repeat 24 hours repeat.
If your tests came to 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and all nitrate you are cycled !!
Now to get your temp down very slowly, get your pH in check - you do need to continue feeding the cycle through this.

Examples of nitrifying bacteria supplements
Seachem Stability
Seachem Pristine - if you have low ph or massive stalls sometimes you need this one
Dr Tim's One and Only
Tetra Safe Start plus
Nutrafin Cycle
Thank you so much for this!!! Fingers crossed we can get it sorted soon :)
 
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