2 Months And Still Not Cycled :( Help

  1. Cheesewoman

    Cheesewoman Valued Member Member

    Ok, this is my second tank (the first one I did a fish-in cycle due to being a total noob, it took about a month, there were no casualties etc, all happy).

    So, after my initial success I decided to start up a second tank to house a betta and some corydoras. I started with 6 corydoras in the tank (it's a 10 gallon, plant substrate with lots of live plants, driftwood etc.) and an internal filter.

    I wish I'd been more patient and not been such a noob with doing this tank as well. I realise I should've waited to put any fish in there, and trust me next time I will do a FISHLESS cycle for sure, I have learned my lesson here guys.

    It has been 2-3 months since I set this tank up, and the ammonia readings always creep back up to 4ppm+ if I don't do regular water changes every other day or so (I do water changes with API Stress Coat+ around 20-40% depending on how high the ammonia is, to keep it around 1-2ppm if possible).

    I've tried adding all sorts of products, tried not adding products, tried not doing water changes, tried doing more water changes, tried adding ammonia remover, the lot, and STILL this bloomin tank will not cycle. I even swapped the filters with my other tank (which stayed cycled), but even that hasn't worked. I'm seriously losing the will to live with it... The corys seem to be doing ok, but I might move them into my other tank just to let them have some decent water quality while that tank cycles (it would be temporary, there's nothing in there that they can't be with and it's currently under-stocked anyway).

    I'm using an API Master Test kit:

    Ammonia: 4
    Nitrite: 0
    Nitrate: 0

    PH (not tested - I'll do this later but it's usually around 7-8)

    Any ideas?
     
  2. Mazeus

    Mazeus Well Known Member Member

    Hello and welcome!

    What type of cories? And what temperature are you keeping the tank?
     
  3. OP
    OP
    Cheesewoman

    Cheesewoman Valued Member Member

    Thank you :)

    I have 3 albino and 3 pepper - all seem very healthy and active, they eat well, no redness etc. I feed once a day, one catfish pellet each.

    Temperature is kept at 26 degrees C / 78 degrees F - I use the thermometer on the heater and also a secondary one on the opposite side of the tank for accuracy.
     
  4. Genghis Karp

    Genghis Karp Valued Member Member

    How is your other tank running? Could you not just wash out the media from the filter in that tank in the new tank and 'bobs your uncle'?
    Sorry - Just noticed you've tried that but I would try again, give it a good rinse and not feed the small tank for 3-4 days
     
  5. OP
    OP
    Cheesewoman

    Cheesewoman Valued Member Member

    Thanks, I will give that another go this evening ^^ at this point I'll try anything twice!! (love the name btw)
     
  6. Genghis Karp

    Genghis Karp Valued Member Member

    :) Thanks
    That method always works for me with multiple tanks, I actually haven't cycled a tank since the first one, I've had about 9 since!
     
  7. Mazeus

    Mazeus Well Known Member Member

    Huh, it is unusual that you haven't seen any nitrites or nitrates yet. When you say you moved the filter from the established tank do you mean you moved the entire filter (media and all)? If that is the case I'm really suprised your existing tank kept its cycle (unless you have more than one filter?).

    This is unusual- a few additional questions-

    What else is in the tank in terms of decor? Did any of the tanks decoration come from an unsual source (e.g. you found a nice rock in a park and put it in the tank).

    What dechlorinator are you using?


    Also, you have some stocking issues if you wanted to discuss them.
     
  8. OP
    OP
    Cheesewoman

    Cheesewoman Valued Member Member

    I agree it is unusual - I swapped the two filters entirely, as in the whole thing. My first tank (only had the one filter!) stayed cycled I think because I have a good 2 inches of gravel where I'm guessing the bacteria has maintained healthy colonies.

    I'm using API Stress Coat+ for dechlorinator.

    I don't have any stocking issues that I'm aware of? I was just saying that my first tank isn't fully stocked, so it wouldn't be an issue to move my cories into there temporarily ;)
     
  9. Mazeus

    Mazeus Well Known Member Member

    .

    This is bizarre, moving over the filter should atleast have established some nitrites. This makes me think there is something in the tank that is killing off the BB. What about decor?

    I'm assuming the albinos are C.aeneus- they often are but do correct me if i am wrong- different cories normally don't school together so you would need 6 of each type. However, 10g is too small for any corydoras. The C.aeneus need a 20 g long and the C. Paleatus need a 20g high minimum. What size if your other tank? If its bigger i would suggest moving either of the types of cories and upping the school to 6. If the albinos are also c.paleatus (which is possible) then they should be fine in their existing group but in a 20g tank.
     
  10. mattgirl

    mattgirl Well Known Member Member

    Well alright then...This is an unusual one. Did you buy this tank new? or used? It sounds like there is something in there that is killing off the bacteria before it has a chance to grow a colony.
     
  11. Aqua Hands

    Aqua Hands Well Known Member Member

    Do you have Ammonia in your tap water?
     
  12. OP
    OP
    Cheesewoman

    Cheesewoman Valued Member Member

    So I actually bought this tank USED - I did clean it all before using and ran it fishless for a couple of weeks, but now that you mention it I do wonder if that has something to do with the issues with cycling. I know it had Goldfish before, but it did look clean and well looked after so I wasn't really concerned.

    There's no ammonia in my tap water, I use the exact same water in my other tank.

    To be honest I'm really not sure about the specific sub-species of albino Cory that I have, I got them from the Pets at Home across the way from my house, so probably the more generic kind. I appreciate that they should be in a bigger tank and bigger schools, but I was told by my LFS that a 10g would be okay for them as they're only sharing it with (eventually) a betta and nothing else. Also LFS told me that they would school together regardless of the different sub-species (they do seem to interact with one another). Regardless my other tank is not really much bigger than this one, so it wouldn't really do for an upgrade for them :oops:

    I am hoping to get a bigger tank at some point (I'd like a 40-50g tank), but I've just put my house up for sale to move to a bigger place and I'd rather get that done before buying any other tanks :cat:
     
  13. Mazeus

    Mazeus Well Known Member Member

    .

    When you did run it fishless, did you happen to test the water? Did you see anything unusual (e.g. ammonia showing up before anything being added)?


    We've all been there, the LFS giving less than ideal advice. I'm sure they will be very happy when you upgrade.:)
     
  14. mattgirl

    mattgirl Well Known Member Member

    The problem with getting a used tank is you never can know what it has previously been used for. or... If it was cleaned with some kind of solvent it is possible that the silicone has absorbed something that can't be washed away and it is leaching into the water killing off the bacteria before it has a chance to established. Sadly, this tank may never cycle.
     
  15. Genghis Karp

    Genghis Karp Valued Member Member

    Yes the corys should school together, the 10G is not ideal if you base it on them getting to full size but how often do you get a 3" Cory, they normally don't get much over 2". Personally I'd do 6 in a 10G with a Betta but I do understand people saying ideally they should have 15-20G.
    If there is no ammonia in the tap water which was a good question, I don't see what else you can do but keep rinsing the other filters media or buying the start up stuff. Limit the feedings dramatically until its under control.
     
  16. OP
    OP
    Cheesewoman

    Cheesewoman Valued Member Member

    Thanks Mazeus - to be honest I don't remember if I did a test before I added the fish but the ammonia has been there since day one - I was using test strips back then as well but they were somewhat unreliable and sometimes gave false readings (especially the ammonia ones), hence why I now use the liquid ones instead.

    I'm sure they will enjoy the upgrade, and I have certainly learned to do my own research and not just trust what LFS says alone! :shame:

    I really hope this isn't the case - I'm worried about it now -.-

    oh, and I forgot to mention before, I have 2 ornaments that I got from LFS (washed before use), and a piece of driftwood in the middle which I soaked for a few hours before putting it in the tank (it soaked in the tank for a couple of weeks before I put the fish in there). The driftwood actually got a white fungus on it for a while, but it seems to be dying off now...
     
  17. Genghis Karp

    Genghis Karp Valued Member Member

    Id pull the driftwood with the fungus out and see if that helps also
     
  18. OP
    OP
    Cheesewoman

    Cheesewoman Valued Member Member

    I did read that the fungus on the driftwood was harmless, but I will take it out and see if situation improves.
     
  19. mattgirl

    mattgirl Well Known Member Member

    It is possible that I am wrong but it is odd that after all you have done this tank isn't showing any signs of cycling. It is possible that either the ornaments or the driftwood is causing the problem. Fortunately that is an easy fix. Just remove the driftwood, do a big water change (at least 75%) to get the ammonia down and see if it continues to rise. If it doesn't you have found your problem. If it does, remove the ornaments and repeat.

    Even that won't explain why the tank isn't cycling though. Under normal circumstances if there is an ammonia source a tank will cycle.

    What kind of substrate do you have in there?
     
  20. OP
    OP
    Cheesewoman

    Cheesewoman Valued Member Member

    I have a layer of about 2-3 inches of fine gravel substrate (from LFS), I washed it thoroughly before putting it into the tank. There's also about an inch thick layer of Tropica Plant Growth Substrate underneath the gravel substrate for the plants. I am going to try the 75% water change when I get back, hopefully the cories don't freak out on me...