29 Gallon Tank 1 1/2 months Fishless Cycle for Future Axolotl - Need some advice, please :)

seuleext777

Hello everyone!
I am currently 1 1/2 months into my fishless cycle and I need some advice on how to know if it's finished or not along with some other things.

Tank specs:
-29 gallon
- Filtration: AquaClear 30 Power Filter
- Temperature: 70 degrees
- One small golden pothos plant hanging out of the filter
- some decor including fake plants and two caves
- I have insulation wrapped around it to keep it cold for in the future along with a clip-on fan
- I have not done a single water change other than adding water from evaporation(dosed with prime)

Now, I tested the water 3/8/21 and the results were
PH: 7.2
Ammonia: 1.0ppm
Nitrite: 2.0 ppm
Nitrate: 5.0 ppm

I then dosed the ammonia back up to around 2ppm
(I don't test my tank every day so it can run through its own motions)
But I came back 3/14/21 and the results were:
PH: 7.4
Ammonia: 0.25ppm
Nitrite: 5.0 ppm
Nitrate: 10.0 ppm

I dosed it back up to 3 ppm

I came back 3/16/21 and the results were:
PH: 7.4
Ammonia: 0.25ppm
Nitrite: 5.0 ppm
Nitrate: 40.0 ppm

I dosed it back up to 2 ppm

I came back around an hour ago and the results read:
PH: 7.4
Ammonia: 0.50 ppm
Nitrite: 5.0 ppm
Nitrate: 5-10 ppm

What the heck is going on.. haha. Do I need to finally do a water change? Keep dosing ammonia or just wait it out?

Also, I realize I need to change the carbon filter but after reading: The (almost) Complete Guide and FAQ to Fishless Cycling I bought some filter media to replace it with but I'm not sure how to go about it... I don't want to kill any bacteria

Also, I want to change my HOB filter to a sponge filter because I realized axolotls like it to be quiet in the tank and I don't want to stress it out....but how does one go about changing filters?

SORRY FOR ALL THE QUESTIONS THANK YOUUU
 

Ouse

Welcome to the forum!

I think you’re dosing on ammonia too much. If there’s ammonia present at all then there’s no reason to dose on more. Change the water by about 50% initially to see if that brings it back to 0ppm. If not then change it again later until you get a reading of 0ppm. Ensure that you‘re using a liquid test kit rather than strips. Since you‘re actually getting readings I assume you’re using a liquid kit as recommended.

Once you achieve this then you can practice dosing less often. Maybe dose once every other day to ensure that the bacteria colony has something to eat but by dosing to 2ppm each time the bacteria won’t catch up with the ammonia.

If the ammonia reading is 0ppm a while after dosing this is a sign that the bacteria can catch up with the ammonia buildup and keep it at equilibrium. This ammonia is converted into nitrite of course, and nitrifying bacteria will need to develop to bring this down in the same fashion as ammonia.

Hope this helps.
 
Upvote 1

StarGirl

Welcome to Fishlore!

Put the sponge filter in and let it run along with the HOB.
 
Upvote 0

ZachG

I use a sponge filter and I love them However most of the bacteria in your tank is going to be in the HOB filter, so if you remove that too soon you’ll have to start all over again. To change filters without doing this I would leave both filters running for a while after your tank has cycled so all the bacteria that’s in your HOB can colonize the sponge. Once that has happened the you can remove the HOB filter. I read you have plants in your tank which is probably what brought the nitrate levels down. What temperature do you keep the tank at?
 
Upvote 0

seuleext777

Welcome to the forum!

I think you’re dosing on ammonia too much. If there’s ammonia present at all then there’s no reason to dose on more. Change the water by about 50% initially to see if that brings it back to 0ppm. If not then change it again later until you get a reading of 0ppm. Ensure that you‘re using a liquid test kit rather than strips. Since you‘re actually getting readings I assume you’re using a liquid kit as recommended.

Once you achieve this then you can practice dosing less often. Maybe dose once every other day to ensure that the bacteria colony has something to eat but by dosing to 2ppm each time the bacteria won’t catch up with the ammonia.

If the ammonia reading is 0ppm a while after dosing this is a sign that the bacteria can catch up with the ammonia buildup and keep it at equilibrium. This ammonia is converted into nitrite of course, and nitrifying bacteria will need to develop to bring this down in the same fashion as ammonia.

Hope this helps.
Hi! Thank you for the welcome
Yes, I am using the API Freshwater Master Test Kit.
So what you're saying is, I should do a 50% water change to see the Ammonia go back to 0 ppm or the Nitrites and Nitrates?
Also wouldn't bringing the ammonia down to 0ppm starve the bacteria? Or am I essentially starting over..
I use a sponge filter and I love them However most of the bacteria in your tank is going to be in the HOB filter, so if you remove that too soon you’ll have to start all over again. To change filters without doing this I would leave both filters running for a while after your tank has cycled so all the bacteria that’s in your HOB can colonize the sponge. Once that has happened the you can remove the HOB filter. I read you have plants in your tank which is probably what brought the nitrate levels down. What temperature do you keep the tank at?
Thank you! As of right now, the temperature fluctuates between 65-70 degrees. It's at 70 right now. How long should I let the sponge filter cycle with the HOB filter
 
Upvote 0

ZachG

Hi! Thank you for the welcome
Yes, I am using the API Freshwater Master Test Kit.
So what you're saying is, I should do a 50% water change to see the Ammonia go back to 0 ppm or the Nitrites and Nitrates?
Also wouldn't bringing the ammonia down to 0ppm starve the bacteria? Or am I essentially starting over..

Thank you! As of right now, the temperature fluctuates between 65-70 degrees. It's at 70 right now. How long should I let the sponge filter cycle with the HOB filter
Because the water is cooler I would run them together for a month before removing the HOB. Maybe a week longer just to be on the safe side.
 
Upvote 0

StarGirl

Hi! Thank you for the welcome
Yes, I am using the API Freshwater Master Test Kit.
So what you're saying is, I should do a 50% water change to see the Ammonia go back to 0 ppm or the Nitrites and Nitrates?
Also wouldn't bringing the ammonia down to 0ppm starve the bacteria? Or am I essentially starting over..

Thank you! As of right now, the temperature fluctuates between 65-70 degrees. It's at 70 right now. How long should I let the sponge filter cycle with the HOB filter
Until your tank is cycled at least. I would leave it for a month myself.
 
Upvote 0

Ouse

I’d go ahead and do the water change seeing as the ammonia level is too high. By bringing it down to say, 0.25ppm, dosing every other day should keep the bacteria fed and eventually allow it to keep ammonia at 0ppm even after a dose. Nitrite should also be 0ppm in a cycled tank so you want to bring this down similar to with the ammonia. Don’t panic; you aren’t starting over.

I like to keep nitrate at 20ppm or lower.
 
Upvote 0

seuleext777

I’d go ahead and do the water change seeing as the ammonia level is too high. By bringing it down to say, 0.25ppm, dosing every other day should keep the bacteria fed and eventually allow it to keep ammonia at 0ppm even after a dose. Nitrite should also be 0ppm in a cycled tank so you want to bring this down similar to with the ammonia. Don’t panic; you aren’t starting over.

I like to keep nitrate at 20ppm or lower.
Okay great! Thank you so much!
Until your tank is cycled at least. I would leave it for a month myself.
Okay great thanks!!
Because the water is cooler I would run the together for a month before removing the HOB. Maybe a week longer just to be on the safe side.
Thank you!!
 
Upvote 0

mattgirl

Bacteria grows slower at lower temps. You may be able to speed the process up if you could raise the temp in this tank until the cycle is complete. Other than that I wouldn't change anything else you are doing.

I will recommend you do a water change since you've not done one since starting this cycle. The top offs are refreshing some of the minerals normally in our tap water and can be depleted during the cycling process but a 50% water change will add more.

Once you warm up the water and do the water change I suspect this cycle will move forward much quicker than it has been. I know your little guy needs the cooler water so allow it to go back down to a temp he will be comfortable in once the cycle is done.

I would let the ammonia get down to at least .25 before adding more. I am sure you already know this but just in case I will mention, you are looking to see zero for both ammonia and nitrites. Once that happens you can get the nitrates down with a water change before you put your little guy in there.
 
Upvote 0

seuleext777

Bacteria grows slower at lower temps. You may be able to speed the process up if you could raise the temp in this tank until the cycle is complete. Other than that I wouldn't change anything else you are doing.

I will recommend you do a water change since you've not done one since starting this cycle. The top offs are refreshing some of the minerals normally in our tap water and can be depleted during the cycling process but a 50% water change will add more.

Once you warm up the water and do the water change I suspect this cycle will move forward much quicker than it has been. I know your little guy needs the cooler water so allow it to go back down to a temp he will be comfortable in once the cycle is done.

I would let the ammonia get down to at least .25 before adding more. I am sure you already know this but just in case I will mention, you are looking to see zero for both ammonia and nitrites. Once that happens you can get the nitrates down with a water change before you put your little guy in there.
Thank you so much for this information!!
 
Upvote 0

Similar Aquarium Threads

  • Question
Replies
2
Views
145
jtjgg
  • Question
Replies
8
Views
258
Azedenkae
Replies
18
Views
281
mattgirl
  • Question
Replies
21
Views
319
huyndreds
Replies
1
Views
190
NevermindIgnoreMe
Top Bottom