Cycling Day 3
It has been 48 hours since we dumped food in the tank so we're on day 3 of the cycle. It's time to do an ammonia test. Follow the instructions and see what you get. This is the result of my test:
This is exactly what we expected! To me, it looks closest to 0.50 ppm of ammonia. Although this is great progress, we want to see a higher concentration, maybe 2 ppm. So, we're going to wait two more days and test again.
I noticed that most of the pellets had clustered in the same spot in the sand and in front of the rocks. Also, they have not decayed much. This leads me to a few thoughts:
Perhaps I added too many pellets.
It may have been better to use flake food that would decay faster.
There may be a dead spot right there - a spot with not enough water movement. This is not great because ideally we should have enough water movement to pick up all decaying matter from the sand and move it around so that it eventually ends up being filtered out. Some types of pest bacteria also thrive in areas of low flow. While adjusting the direction of the return nozzles may help, we will probably want to add a power head to remedy this.
For now, I'm not going to change anything while we wait for the ammonia concentration to rise. Let's go on to day 5.