Is there a way to tell i the pond is cycled?


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The previous years before the renovation, I could tell by the rising and then dropping of ammonia level, but this new pond has been running for 3 weeks and I have yet to see the ammonia rising. I test the water daily and every reading shows 0 ammonia, Is there a different way to determine if a cycle is established?

My pond is 3000gl,
Fish: eleven fish most of them between 9"- 15". I feed them as usual 3 times a day and only what they consume in the first few minutes (no food is ever left uneaten and no food ever gets in the skimmer)
Filter: two 22" waterfalls with a 10" skimmer box
Plants: several water hyacinth, 2 taro, 2 cannas, 1 water garlic, 1 water marigold, 2 iris, 1 water lily

I read online that I should overfeed the fish to spike the ammonia level so that the bacteria grow, but that's a bit scary, I'm afraid it would kill my fish and so I don't think I want to do that!
 
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Mmathis

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The previous years before the renovation, I could tell by the rising and then dropping of ammonia level, but this new pond has been running for 3 weeks and I have yet to see the ammonia rising. I test the water daily and every reading shows 0 ammonia, Is there a different way to determine if a cycle is established?

My pond is 3000gl,
Fish: eleven fish most of them between 9"- 15". I feed them as usual 3 times a day and only what they consume in the first few minutes (no food is ever left uneaten and no food ever gets in the skimmer)
Filter: two 22" waterfalls with a 10" skimmer box
Plants: several water hyacinth, 2 taro, 2 cannas, 1 water garlic, 1 water marigold, 2 iris, 1 water lily

I read online that I should overfeed the fish to spike the ammonia level so that the bacteria grow, but that's a bit scary, I'm afraid it would kill my fish and so I don't think I want to do that!
Are you also checking the nitrite and nitrate levels? And no, don't over feed the fish.
 

Meyer Jordan

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If your pond has indeed cycled, you should definitely detect Nitrate and as Mmathis stated do not overfeed your fish.
 
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The term "Cycled" in relation to ponds I thin is a bit of a misnomer in my opinion, as ponds are generally always cycling. The term refers to the nitrogen cycle, meaning ammonia gets converted to nitrite, and nitrite to nitrate. There will always be trace levels of all of these things at any time, just the same way there will always be nitrogen converting bacteria in trace amounts which will be converting ammonia to nitrite and nitrite to nitrate, so in effect the nitrogen cycle is always happening to some degree. Since the end product is nitrate, as Meyers said you "should" be able to detect nitrate levels if there has been enough nitrogen flowing the the process. However, plants absorb nitrate so if you have a lot of plants the nitrate may be getting absorbed as fast as it is being produced so the levels may be to low to detect. Also it is possible (hopefully not) that your source water could also contains measurable levels of nitrates which would give you a false positive, so it would be good to compare test your source water as well and compare the two.

I'm not so conservative as TurtleMommy. If you want to really observe the nitrogen conversion cycle in your pond in action, I would slowly increase the levels of food until you detect a slight level of ammonia then stop feeding and continue testing for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels and document what happens. If everything goes by the book you should see the ammonia levels drop, the nitrite rise, and then the nitrite levels drop and the nitrate levels rise, and if you have plants the nitrate levels should drop later too.
Keep in mind if your bacteria colony is established and your pond is well "cycled" and you have lots of plants, your pond could be considered "balanced" and under normal circumstances all levels of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate could very well remain very low and undetectable with common water testing kits. This doesn't mean your nitrogen cycle isn't happening, quite the opposite, it means it is functioning perfectly. :)
 
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Are you also checking the nitrite and nitrate levels? And no, don't over feed the fish.
Other than Ammonia, I check for Nitrite and Phosphate, they too are always negative!
I use a Pondcare Master Kit, it does not come with a solution to test Nitrate! I'm confident that the test kit is good because it is the same I used last month to test the water of the holding pool, where I had the fish during the renovation of the pond, and it did detect Ammonia then.
 
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Keep in mind if your bacteria colony is established and your pond is well "cycled" and you have lots of plants, your pond could be considered "balanced" and under normal circumstances all levels of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate could very well remain very low and undetectable with common water testing kits. This doesn't mean your nitrogen cycle isn't happening, quite the opposite, it means it is functioning perfectly. :)
I'm so hoping this is the case, that's why I was wondering if there are ways (other than the ammonia spike and dropping) to determine if a balance is established
 
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I need to purchase a new test kit for that! I wonder why there is no Nitrate mentioned in my Pondcare "Master" kit:banghead:
 

Mmathis

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I need to purchase a new test kit for that! I wonder why there is no Nitrate mentioned in my Pondcare "Master" kit:banghead:
The Freshwater Master kit contains nitrates (no phosphates) image.jpeg

The Master Pond kit (?) contains phosphates (no nitrates).
 
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but if they're both equally important, shouldn't they both be included in "any" Master Kit?
 
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Buy the freshwater master kit and a separate phosphate kit only. Or pond plus a nitrate kit. The freshwater kit has two pH kits and you will only use one. IIRC, the pond kit has a single wide range pH kit. While you are at it, get the GH/KH combo kit as well.
 
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