40g fishless cycle help!!!

cjohno87

Hey guys!

So l’ve been fishless cycling my 40 gal freshwater tank for 7 days now (4/19). PH 8.2 - staying steady, temp 82.9.
I dosed 4ppm ammonia (Dr Tim’s ) which has maintained that level ever since, also dosed Seachem Stability according to instructions. I tested nitrites & nitrates two days ago and got a slight reading on both. Today my nitrites have spiked to the highest color 5ppm on the test (api master test kit), also nitrates are reading 20ppm. My tap water reads 1ppm ammonia 0 nitrites and nitrates.
I’m really worried the ammonia isn’t decreasing at all. It has remained steady this whole time at 4ppm.. should I see a drop soon? I was planning on adding more when it got below 1ppm. Also should I be getting a nitrate reading so soon? I feel I’m going crazy!!!
 

Wrench

I would venture to say if you have ammonia and nitrites you will have nitrates soon...I'd wait till tomorrow and see if nitrates have gone up, if it was me and the nitrates rose and ammonia and nitrites ha e fallen even the slightest I would do a big water change to see how much more of the ammonia you could get rid of.
 
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cjohno87

I would venture to say if you have ammonia and nitrites you will have nitrates soon...I'd wait till tomorrow and see if nitrates have gone up, if it was me and the nitrates rose and ammonia and nitrites ha e fallen even the slightest I would do a big water change to see how much more of the ammonia you could get rid of.
Well I’m already testing nitrates at 20ppm today. Im just worried my ammonia isn’t dropping.
 
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Wrench

Well I’m already testing nitrates at 20ppm today. Im just worried my ammonia isn’t dropping.
Have you done any water changes to the tank yet at all?
 
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cjohno87

Nothing since I first got things started.
 
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Wrench

Nothing since I first got things started.
Do a 50% or 80% water exchange that should do it then if you have not changed the water
 
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cjohno87

Nothing since I first got things started.
Do a 50% or 80% water exchange that should do it then if you have not changed the water
ok ! I’ll give it a shot
 
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Anthony1976

A fishless cycle can take 3 to 4 weeks to complete . You are doing well just be patient
 
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cjohno87

A fishless cycle can take 3 to 4 weeks to complete . You are doing well just be patient
Haha thanks man! I think patience is the key!! I definitely want to do it right too - don’t wanna jump the gun.
 
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mattgirl

Sometimes things can move fast when adding bottled bacteria if conditions are just right. Looks like your conditions are. Personally I wouldn't do anything just now. I don't think a water change is called for yet. You are probably processing some ammonia or you wouldn't be seeing the level of nitrites and nitrates you are seeing. Some of them could be coming from the bottled bacteria though. Right now it is going to take time and patience. You are very early in the cycling process.
 
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Islandvic

welcome to the forum cjohno87 . You're on the right track. Due diligence and patience is key.

Here is a link to a thread on the forum that may be of interest to you regarding ideas and examples for adding extra media to your filters

Diy Media Guide For Top Fin Silenstream, Aquaclear And Other Hob Filters | Filters and Filtration 385506

Adding a block of foam sponge cut to fit your filter is an easy and effective way to boost your biological and mechanical filtration at once, because of all the extra internal surface area it provides.

Adding some more media to the filter will give the beneficial bacteria more surface area to colonize on. This might help your tank cycle faster.
 
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cjohno87

UPDATE!!!! My nitrites well exceed 5ppm.. it turns dark purple almost instantly. My ammonia tested at 1ppm this morning.... FINALLY A DROP!! I tested it when I got home from work - yes the geek I am .50ppm!!! Super excited to see results! Is it normal for it to drop so quick? I'm guessing the bacteria just gobbled it up!!! I'm not sure when I should bring the ammonia back up to 2ppm? I've heard it's not wise to let the ammonia drop too much as the bacteria may starve? Also, thanks mattgirl for the great advice!! Thanks
 
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cjohno87

I dosed back up to 2ppm Ammonia.
 
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mattgirl

UPDATE!!!! My nitrites well exceed 5ppm.. it turns dark purple almost instantly. My ammonia tested at 1ppm this morning.... FINALLY A DROP!! I tested it when I got home from work - yes the geek I am .50ppm!!! Super excited to see results! Is it normal for it to drop so quick? I'm guessing the bacteria just gobbled it up!!! I'm not sure when I should bring the ammonia back up to 2ppm? I've heard it's not wise to let the ammonia drop too much as the bacteria may starve? Also, thanks mattgirl for the great advice!! Thanks
I don't know how I missed this last night.

As you are seeing, cycling a tank is a hurry up and wait game. It seems like nothing is happening and then seemingly overnight we see this. I say seemingly because we know things are gradually building up and doing their things and then all of a sudden things reach their peak and either up or down they go.

Your ammonia eating bacteria was in there leisurely snacking on the ammonia. Each little nibble wasn't big enough to show a drop in the level. But as it was snacking it was replicating itself and then each little bacteria was nibbling. All of a sudden it was all out war because there were so many in there wanting just a nibble and wham all of it was gone.

Anything that eats eventually has to poop. Ammonia eating bacteria eats ammonia and poops out nitrites. Thankfully there is another bacteria growing in there that feast on that poop and you guessed it, that bacteria is gonna poop out nitrates.

Of course there are scientific names for all these bacteria's but isn't it more fun to play with words 'specially if we are still saying the same things.

You want to let your ammonia get down to or close to 0 before adding more. At this point in the cycle you can either add 2ppm every other day or if more comfortable you can add 1ppm daily. We want to give the nitrite eating bacteria time to catch up with the ammonia eating bacteria now and 1ppm ammonia daily is plenty to keep it going.

Just continue doing this until your nitrites start dropping and nitrates keep going up. Should your ammonia stop going down it will be time to do a water change to get it moving forward again.
 
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