Habitat - Indoor :: Cycling time line

Turtle tank setups and other indoor configurations.

Post Posted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 1:38 pm   Cycling time line

Hi - I'm new to forum - it great! and have a cycling question for a new 45 gal tank filled 4 days ago for my daughter 2 RES that are about 3" each. While I understand the cycling process, stages - I cant seem to find a time line other than a full-cycle time expectation. Can anyone give me a rough idea of the expected time line for each stage?...for example "From new water in about 3 days you will see an ammonia spike which may last for 10 days then a nitrite spike that may last for 10 days" .. cant seem to find info along those lines. I am asking because I had to put the turtles in their new tank before cycling...I just ran it empty for a day with a heater to get it up to temp then added the turtles. I transferred the river rock substrate, plastic plants, and small tetra filter to the new tank and did not rinse them in hopes that they have bacteria. I also threw in a couple of live floating plants. Aside from the old 20gal tetra filter which has about 5 active dirty bioballs I installed a new Fluval 406 (380GPH) with all new media (Fluval black egg sponge in bottom tray, fluval ceramic in the middle 2 trays, charcoal under a fine sponge in the top tray) I am asking about a more specific stage timeline because the turtles have been in the tank for 4 days and the ammonia level has remained a steady .5 from day 1 and has not spiked. I have to go away for 3 days and I am worried that the spike will happen while I am not there. So, after 4 days with 2 turtles in the tank should the ammonia level be rising yet? If it spikes while I am away will they be ok at the high level for a couple of days till I get home the change some water? Thanks for the help!
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Post Posted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 5:24 pm   Re: Cycling time line

You can get varying degree of answers on this one. Cycling time line is different for everyone as the setup's are a little different. You got the basics. Same river rock ,yes saved that good bacteria. I use river rocks. You could put depending on size of tank a few feeder fish in , one or two may make it. Then will just be food for the turtles! You could / should have used the old bio ball's to in the new filter that would help to , rings-balls never go bad. I've been using same ones for years. Those things will speed it up but really not by much. Did you test your tap water ? That's where it all starts at.

Turtles , RES's are tough and do not breath in water so not as important as for fish. You don't want chlorine in water , that could burn there skin and hurt there eyes. Get the temp correct , use de chlorinate , if not run carbon in your filter for a day to remove chlorine. Old days we let it sit and would evaporate out , no chemicals. That's good enough for the RES's , go right in ! Water may get cloudy in the cycling and will NOT hurt the turtles. They breath air not in the water. Doing it this way for years and all was / is good. If you feed in the tank his poop will help get that cycle started to. But do keep tank clean , maintenance a must with messy turtles. Look's like you are doing your homework , great. If it does spike when away its ok. In hobby since 1961 this is my opinion.

How big the new tank? Do not get rid of old tank. Those two are getting old enough to tell the sex ! You may have to separate them like two males or one's more aggressive to the other!
litefoot
 
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Post Posted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 7:12 pm   Re: Cycling time line

Hi Litefoot - Thank you SO Much! for your quick reply and advice, I can breath easier now. As it turns out, there are now 3 RES in the tank... my 11 year old was jealous of her 9 yr old sister's new set up and put hers in this morning after I left for work. Her's is a bit smaller and came from a 10gal with perfect testing water. So 3 RES in what think is a new 45 gal, maybe 55 gal but it is 36" long x 12" front to back and 24" tall. Do you think the 3 will overwhelm the cycling process? I transferred the 10 gal tetra filter over too..so now running a brand new (4 days) Fluval 406, with an established tetra 20 gal and with an established tetra 10 gal filter - all on the new tank. Do you think this is a good idea? Will the established small filters prevent the new Fluval from growing enough good bacteria. My thought is it might help keep things balanced during the cycling...once things seem balanced I will remove the 2 smaller ones at different times so that the Fluval can catch up if needed. Anyway, the 3 turtles seem happy - no bullying and looks like enough room for now. Going to try to post a pic. I also built an above tank basking platform today out of PVC lumber and slate...running zoomed mini lights with 50W halogen for heat and 10 UVB above it...also a second double dome over the tanks with 2 UVB 10 bulbs. Is that overkill on the UVB? Is Too much UVB Bad?

You asked about the balance of the starting water...using a API Master Test Kit
Sunday PM filled tank, I'm in Boston and we have great tap water...it actually still runs partly through old wooden aqua-ducts! So, not much chlorine but added a dechlorinator, ran new filter and water heater overnight
day 1 - Monday Morning - Added 2 RES Turtles. Pre-Turtles Water tested at PH - 8 (highest on the chart), Ammonia .25. Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0. water temp 79-80 degrees, low of 76 at night.
day 2- Tuesday - only tested ammonia - .5 Added 2 small bunches of live floating plants from Petco
day 3- Wednesday - only tested ammonia - .5
day 4 - today - added 3rd RES early morning. Tested water late afternoon. ammonia .25, Nitrite .25, Nitrate 20-40 ppm but closer to 20ppm
water has consistently had a very slight haze that is only noticeable if you look down the 36" length of the tank...looks clear front to back

So things seem to be going in the right direction but awfully quick...nitrites and nitrates are showing up after only a few days....is this unusual? should I expect a crash?
I'm trying hard not to give them too much food but all 3 are such the beggars, it's cute but kinda heartbreaking at the same time :)
Again, I really appreciate your input as I only recently made the real commitment to the little guys. They were a handed-off from our teenage babysitter a year ago who got them in Chinatown- were about the size of a silver dollar when she gave them to us...3-4" now - they grow fast!
R
Rick
 
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Post Posted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 7:32 pm   Re: Cycling time line

Here is a pic of the new set-up - day 4 tank cycling!
R
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Rick
 
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Post Posted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 8:13 pm   Re: Cycling time line

Here's the basking platform I made today out of 3/8" PVC sheet topped with 11 7/8" x 10 1/2" natural slate floor tile and clear plastic viewing sides The slate really holds the heat nicely so I had to raise the lamp higher. I used my old Zoo Med floating basking area as the ramp. I was concerned it was too steep but hear a couple of splashes as I just entered the room! Lights: Zoo Med Mini Duel Dome - 50w halogen and UVB10 bulbs. The lower Domes over the ramp contain 2 UVB10 bulbs that I can raise and replace with another halogen if need more heat. Hope they like it!
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Post Posted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 8:43 pm   Re: Cycling time line

Rick ,you may want to slow down a little. First two at 3" each and now another. Lets just say all 3" that's 9" of turtle. Rule is for every 1" of turtle 10 gallons of water. That's 90 gallons of water not tank size.
http://www.aquariumdimensions.com/
The 36x12x24 you said is a 55 gallon tall even full with a ATBA will be small for three. Could be ok for a little while , then another upgrade soon as they grow fast. That's why I start a tank even for a baby at the adult size first , saves money from several upgrades. A 55 gal long tank would be better BUT the load on that filter would still be a lot. Fluval 406 is rated for 100 FISH gallons , turtle filter needs to be at least 2x's to 3x's fish gallons due to how messy they are. Say 50 water gal's need a filter rated 100 gal for one turtle two turtles maybe ok but no way for three turtles. Cleaning every 4-5 days. How about the 11 yr old having her (smaller turtle) in that old tank in her room , all hers. Two 3" in the 55gal just for the 9 yr old , all for her. Two in 55 gal would be much better than three at that size ! Then the filter will have a chance.
One 10.0 UVB and 1 heat lamp over basking area in each tank. Three in one tank NO , three 10.0's UVB is still a 10.0 of UVB not thirty. Yes to much UVB can give a sunburn and hurt there eyes. Use other regular light if want more light. UVB's cost $$$ and only produce UVB rays 6-8 months but will still produce regular light ! That's a regular UVB bulb and please read instruction on box for placement. Same for the UVA / heat bulb , placement !
City water boy it varies , the chemicals used ! What your annual city water report say that's law. As I said RES's are tough! Water will cycle.
Cycle yes will have ups/downs...crashes...remember turtles breath air and are tough!
TIP : feed all out the tank ( small container with water , turtles have no tongue uses water to swallow and let them poop in that container saves on maintenance in regular tank.
Tank with two feed one at a time out the tank , make sure both ate !
TIP # 2 : slow down a little. Lets get it done correct once ! I am a old man. Ha Ha !

Also cycling is not a one time thing , every water change it cycles !
Note not bullying today but one day will have to separate someone. Had a 18 yr old male RES with others years later he killed one of his roommates. My fault , that hurt !
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Post Posted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:25 pm   Re: Cycling time line

Good advise! Yip- was planning on keeping the 3rd separate but she put it in despite my wishes. But was hoping they could stay together. She had him in her room until a few weeks ago and I moved him to the kitchen. It became a lot more friendly in the kitchen with more people around. When we were given the three turtles this little one was separate because the other two picked on it. His old tank is still set up with heated good water so ill move him back to it... hopefully he didn't enjoy the bigger tank too much. Also going to get rid of the extra uvb bulbs! The interesting thing about Boston tap is that it is among the best urban water in the country. Will give you an update in a few days...I'm sure to have more questions by then. Thx again for the input...nothing speaks better than experience.
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Post Posted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 2:20 am   Re: Cycling time line

Welcome to the forum Rick! I agree that the cycling time is different for everyone and wouldn't be too concerned about it right now. At 3", you will know their genders soon and can plan accordingly.
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Post Posted: Wed Mar 22, 2017 11:54 am   Re: Cycling time line

Hi Litefoot and Steve et. al.
Sort of a follow -up question as I'm a newbie. 8 days into cycling. Ammonia and nitrite have dropped and both read 0 and my nitrates level was at about 30 ppm the day before yesterday BUT nitrates really spiked in less than 48 hours to somewhere resembling the 160 color. I changed about 1/3rd of the water this morning and conditioned the new water and vacuumed the river rock bottom. re-did the nitrate test about 15 minutes after and it was maybe 80 to slightly lower. To litefoots earlier comment, I have not yet moved out the 3rd of the 3" turtles but have a 20 gal tank running and will move him out tonight into his own tank.... leaving two 3.5" turtles in a 55 gal tank and since there will be two turtles I added a Fluval U4 this morning to help with the load. So will be running the 55 gal with a fluval 406 and a fluval U4 for two 3.5" turtles going forward til next upgrade. And also A single 3" turtle in a 20gal tank with a U4. keep both tanks almost to rim.
Other than the nitrates being very high, the water tests, looks, and smells good. So do you think all well here? does this nitrate spike combined with 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite indicate my tanks has cycled? Will my nitrate level stabilize after I remove one of the turtles...is the high nitrate level a sign that the Fluval 406 is undersized for the load? Thanks for you help! Rick
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Post Posted: Wed Mar 22, 2017 6:14 pm   Re: Cycling time line

I no longer have the test kit and don't currently do any testing, so I really can't help with any specifics. There will be some adjustments once they are in there and since they can produce a lot of waste, you will see fluctuations. Wether or not the tank is fully cycled won't bother RES.
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