3 Weeks of Fish-in cycle No Ammonia?

JohnnyGromis

New Member
I'm currently cycling my planted 29 gallon tank going in to week 3 now. And there's no detectable ammonia, nitrites, or nitrates with my API master kit. The kit is not expired and is reading nitrates and nitrites on my other aquarium. I let the tank run for about two weeks use with some bio media from my other tank, and then added some minnows, along with some fritz zyme 7. Its been over a week with the fish and there's still no detectable ammonia. I've been waiting to use my prime but no fish have died and no ammonia has spiked. I've been feeding frozen blood worms and flakes. Is there such thing as over filtering? I have a HOB topfin 30 silent filter and a topfin 40 sponge filter running. Am I possibly filtering out the ammonia? I had detectable ammonia within two days of adding fish in my last tank. It just seems like at this pace my cycle wont be done for another month or so...

Is there anything I'm using that would affect these readings?

I have a planted tank with java fern, swords, anubias
Using flourish fertilizer, flourish excel, and flourish root tabs
Used stress coat or topfin WC in the beginning for my tap water

Thanks in advance for any advice!
 

cjcummings

Active Member
what was the size of your last tank and was it also planted?
 
OP
JohnnyGromis

JohnnyGromis

New Member
it was only a ten gallon and it wasn't planted
 

86 ssinit

Fishlore Legend
Well the used bio-media is eating the ammonia and nitrites and the plants are working on the nitrates. How many minnows did you add and are you changing water?
 

Flyfisha

Fishlore VIP
You moved media ( bio home ) from an existing established tank. You possibly moved bacteria over at the same time?
It possibly the tank as the beginnings of an established cycle .

If this is correct you may not see ammonia or nitrites.
You may only see nitrates which is a good thing.
 

cjcummings

Active Member
what was the size of your last tank and was it also planted?
Ok cool. So there was a reason why I asked you that question. I will try to cover some things in the most logical way and possible reasons.

First, you are comparing a 10 to a 29 gallon tank experience. You basically tripled the size so it will naturally take it longer to build up the same ammonia levels that would be more detectable in the smaller tank. (provided that you used the similar number of fish to cycle).

Second, do not rule out a bad test kit as this has personally happened to me. I had a test kit which had not expired yet, but the ammonia bottle was not working properly or went bad. I confirmed this by getting a new kit which worked as expected. The only real way for you to know for sure if your bottle is still good is to dose ammonia to a 1 gallon water sample. If turns super dark green then its good. If it barely moves up....then the bottle might be no good...(which is what happened in my case)

Third you preseeded filter media AND you added Fritz Zyme. You probably already have bacteria already devouring up what little ammonia is produced. And when I say little...I mean little compared to your 10 gallon tank. 1 PPM ammonia in a 10 gallon tank would equate to a lesser amount in a 29 gallon tank.

But then that means you should be getting some nitrate readings. But because you have plants now...(which you didn't before) is probably eating away at the nitrates quicker than it can build up.

For now...if you're fish seem fine and not struggling...and you are continuing monitoring ammonia the next few weeks.... I think you are ok.
 

SparkyJones

Well Known
I'm currently cycling my planted 29 gallon tank going in to week 3 now. And there's no detectable ammonia, nitrites, or nitrates with my API master kit.
Reason 1 there's no detectable ammonia it's planted.

I let the tank run for about two weeks use with some bio media from my other tank, and then added some minnows, along with some fritz zyme 7. Its been over a week with the fish and there's still no detectable ammonia.
Reason 2, 3 and 4 why there's no detectable ammonia. The biomedia, the few minnows, and some fritz zyme.

It's very possible you have some sort of cycle on it by reason 2,3 and 4 small bioload, Jumpstart off another tank and a bio booster, and whatever is being produced in ammonia nitrite or nitrates is being used immediately by the plants, which I'd assume are transplants from another tank and well adjusted and have no downtime as they acclimate to aquatic conditions like new store bought plants would have to do.
 
OP
JohnnyGromis

JohnnyGromis

New Member
Well the used bio-media is eating the ammonia and nitrites and the plants are working on the nitrates. How many minnows did you add and are you changing water?
I added about 15 minnows no water changes yet was waiting for my levels to rise. But the fish seem fine
You moved media ( bio home ) from an existing established tank. You possibly moved bacteria over at the same time?
It possibly the tank as the beginnings of an established cycle .

If this is correct you may not see ammonia or nitrites.
You may only see nitrates which is a good thing.
I have no detectable nitrates either, I’m thinking either my test kit is bad or my bio load is too small
 

FishDin

Well Known
I added about 15 minnows no water changes yet was waiting for my levels to rise. But the fish seem fine

I have no detectable nitrates either, I’m thinking either my test kit is bad or my bio load is too small
You've already stated that the tests work for your other aquarium, but for peace of mind you could have your LFS test the water for you.

Do you have bottled ammonia at home? Put a couple drops in a test tube and fill to the line with tap water. See if it tests positive for ammonia.

EDIT: I doubt all 3 tests would fail at the same time.
 

Flyfisha

Fishlore VIP
It’s been over a week with 15 minnows in the 29 gallon I believe?

If you still have not changed some water I would.
No need to wait for anything to rise?

Nitrates are bacteria poop not the bacteria themselves.

Removing bacteria poop ( nitrates) will not slow stop or lessen the cycle in any way.

edit
Don’t clean the filter or touch the glass, gravel etc.
 

86 ssinit

Fishlore Legend
Yes it’s time to change the water at least 10g. I’m guessing the minnows are small so not that much waste. Next when doing the nitrate test are you shaking the second bottle. This bottle needs to be shaken a lot to mix whatever is in there than after adding to the first bottle the vial needs to be shook.
 
OP
JohnnyGromis

JohnnyGromis

New Member
Reason 1 there's no detectable ammonia it's planted.


Reason 2, 3 and 4 why there's no detectable ammonia. The biomedia, the few minnows, and some fritz zyme.

It's very possible you have some sort of cycle on it by reason 2,3 and 4 small bioload, Jumpstart off another tank and a bio booster, and whatever is being produced in ammonia nitrite or nitrates is being used immediately by the plants, which I'd assume are transplants from another tank and well adjusted and have no downtime as they acclimate to aquatic conditions like new store bought plants would have to do.
The plants were all new from a tube. but I never considered that the plants would bring my levels down as this is my first planted tank. I'm going to get a different test kit and ill keep monitoring. Thanks for the insight!
Ok cool. So there was a reason why I asked you that question. I will try to cover some things in the most logical way and possible reasons.

First, you are comparing a 10 to a 29 gallon tank experience. You basically tripled the size so it will naturally take it longer to build up the same ammonia levels that would be more detectable in the smaller tank. (provided that you used the similar number of fish to cycle).

Second, do not rule out a bad test kit as this has personally happened to me. I had a test kit which had not expired yet, but the ammonia bottle was not working properly or went bad. I confirmed this by getting a new kit which worked as expected. The only real way for you to know for sure if your bottle is still good is to dose ammonia to a 1 gallon water sample. If turns super dark green then its good. If it barely moves up....then the bottle might be no good...(which is what happened in my case)

Third you preseeded filter media AND you added Fritz Zyme. You probably already have bacteria already devouring up what little ammonia is produced. And when I say little...I mean little compared to your 10 gallon tank. 1 PPM ammonia in a 10 gallon tank would equate to a lesser amount in a 29 gallon tank.

But then that means you should be getting some nitrate readings. But because you have plants now...(which you didn't before) is probably eating away at the nitrates quicker than it can build up.

For now...if you're fish seem fine and not struggling...and you are continuing monitoring ammonia the next few weeks.... I think you are ok.
That makes a lot sense. i'm learning so much from this site already. I will definitely try and get my water tested at my LFS. I'll do a water change today just in case. But I hope my tank has cycled and my plants have ate up my nitrates.
You've already stated that the tests work for your other aquarium, but for peace of mind you could have your LFS test the water for you.

Do you have bottled ammonia at home? Put a couple drops in a test tube and fill to the line with tap water. See if it tests positive for ammonia.

EDIT: I doubt all 3 tests would fail at the same time.
I don't have any ammonia So ill just test my water at the LFS. Thanks for the help!
It’s been over a week with 15 minnows in the 29 gallon I believe?

If you still have not changed some water I would.
No need to wait for anything to rise?

Nitrates are bacteria poop not the bacteria themselves.

Removing bacteria poop ( nitrates) will not slow stop or lessen the cycle in any way.

edit
Don’t clean the filter or touch the glass, gravel etc.
Yes it’s time to change the water at least 10g. I’m guessing the minnows are small so not that much waste. Next when doing the nitrate test are you shaking the second bottle. This bottle needs to be shaken a lot to mix whatever is in there than after adding to the first bottle the vial needs to be shook.
Okay thanks so much! I will do a water change today. And as far as the tests I've followed the directions to a T, wash and dry everything thoroughly so I don't think that's the issue.
 

86 ssinit

Fishlore Legend
Ok than all is well. Your cycle started with the used media. I do this regularly when starting a new tank. It’s referred to as an instant cycle. Now in the future when adding fish just add a few and wait at least a week before adding more. This will give the bacteria a chance to grow for each fish added. Bacteria only grows for the amount of waste used.
 

SparkyJones

Well Known
Enough plants to fish waste ratio, and you really don't need a cycle, the plants will do it all technically and keep things zeroed, but it's a bit advanced and a balance is required. plants can run deficient, or excesses can build up if it's not balanced. In time a cycle appears on some level regardless of plants using up all testable levels also, the colony can build off the trace amounts the plants can't get to,Any from of nitrogen, even ammonia is acceptable to a plant, so in essence ammonia might not even make it to nitrites or nitrates for a good long while or in very small amounts if the plants are using it up before the bacteria can get to it.

Very likely though the tank has jump started off the media you used and has a cycle and the plants are using the remaining nitrates though.
 
OP
JohnnyGromis

JohnnyGromis

New Member
Enough plants to fish waste ratio, and you really don't need a cycle, the plants will do it all technically and keep things zeroed, but it's a bit advanced and a balance is required. plants can run deficient, or excesses can build up if it's not balanced. In time a cycle appears on some level regardless of plants using up all testable levels also, the colony can build off the trace amounts the plants can't get to,Any from of nitrogen, even ammonia is acceptable to a plant, so in essence ammonia might not even make it to nitrites or nitrates for a good long while or in very small amounts if the plants are using it up before the bacteria can get to it.

Very likely though the tank has jump started off the media you used and has a cycle and the plants are using the remaining nitrates though.
Just tested again today. My nitrites are off the charts purple, zero ammonia, and what looks like a fairly small amount of nitrates. I just did a 30 percent water change with prime, will test again in a few hours. Does this mean I'm on the right track or does zero ammonia still sound weird? Could my ammonia test be off?
 

SparkyJones

Well Known
Just tested again today. My nitrites are off the charts purple, zero ammonia, and what looks like a fairly small amount of nitrates. I just did a 30 percent water change with prime, will test again in a few hours. Does this mean I'm on the right track or does zero ammonia still sound weird? Could my ammonia test be off?
No, it sounds like you are on track, usually the ammonia breakers establish first and knock out the ammonia to nitrites, and then the nitrate breakers can get up to speed and grow the colony out to break all the nitrites no nitrates.
the first one has to get up to size before the second one can really get up to size. it should go quickly, just sometimes it happens like that were it's steps.1, to 2, then 2 to 3, and then just nitrates start building up. and ammonia and nitrites are zeros.

nitrites can be a problem if too high, so might want to water change and get it down, at the least the nitrites are stressing the fish if it's that high, might not kill them, but can open them up to illness which can kill them, it's conditional from species to species and their immune systems of individuals.
 

86 ssinit

Fishlore Legend
Was this your first water change? Strange why it showed up now. 30% may not be enough. Retest and test your other tank. Make sure test is working. How are the fish doing?
 
OP
JohnnyGromis

JohnnyGromis

New Member
first water change as I had no detectable levels and my fish were swimming around fine. I'm starting to think my test is off both tanks are off the charts purple. and zero ammonia in both. Im gonna take my water to my local fish store to confirm. Fish are still fine but I dosed with prime so idk if thats helping them
 

86 ssinit

Fishlore Legend
Test a bottle of water and see what you get.
 

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