55 gallon tank cycling process

Clockwork3
  • #1
I just started my freshwater 55 gallon tank about maybe 3 weeks ago. In my tank I have
-Gravel substrate
-Driftwood decor
-Buddha statue decor
-Aqueon 75 filter
-Penguin 150 filter
-Aqueon heater
-fluval E series heater
-2 Airstones

I am currently doing a fish less cycle.I seeded my tank with about a half cup of my cousins established fish tank sand. I sprinkled it over my gravel. I have the water at around 82-82 degrees. I use household ammonia from ace hardware store. I drop about 4 PPM of ammonia into my tank. I use the API master test kit to test my waters. Every couple of days the ammonia levels will drop to 1 or 2 PPM and I redoes it back up to 4 PPM. Every time I do a nitrite and nitrate test I get 0 PPM. Is this normal? Can anyone tell me where I am in the cycling process? Should I have nitrite or nitrate readings?
I just need a little expert advice since this hobby is quite new to me. Any tips to speed up the cycling process? Anything will help. Thank you for your time.
 
bowen747x
  • #2
I'm sorry I don't have an answer to help you. I too am setting up a new 55 gallon (my first ever) I was wondering if you bought the same one from PetCo? On sale last month I think my filter is the same as yours but I was wondering why you decided for 2 filters?
 
Clockwork3
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Yes! Its the same exact one. I thought the price was too good to pass up.
I have 2 filters because I had originally had the Penguin but the tank came with one. I just put them both in. Some extra filtration never hurt right?
 
jdhef
  • #4
It sounds like you have started processing ammonia, so I would expect to see a rise in nitrite at this point, since the bacteria converts the ammonia into nitrite. Maybe it just hasn't converted enough to be detectable with your test kit yet, so I would suspect you'll be testing positive for nitrites real soon. Of course, since you used some "seeded" sand, it is possible that you will skip the nitrite spike, so keep an eye on your nitrate level. If nitrates start rising and you have 0 nitrites, you're cycled.

Also, be sure you really shake and bang nitrate test bottle #2. It contains crystals suspended in liquid and the crystals tend to percipitate out and clump together at the bottom of the bottle. If the crystals don't get re-suspended, you'll get a bad nitrate test reading.
 
brodylane1122
  • #5
I just started my freshwater 55 gallon tank about maybe 3 weeks ago. In my tank I have
-Gravel substrate
-Driftwood decor
-Buddha statue decor
-Aqueon 75 filter
-Penguin 150 filter
-Aqueon heater
-fluval E series heater
-2 Airstones

I am currently doing a fish less cycle.I seeded my tank with about a half cup of my cousins established fish tank sand. I sprinkled it over my gravel. I have the water at around 82-82 degrees. I use household ammonia from ace hardware store. I drop about 4 PPM of ammonia into my tank. I use the API master test kit to test my waters. Every couple of days the ammonia levels will drop to 1 or 2 PPM and I redoes it back up to 4 PPM. Every time I do a nitrite and nitrate test I get 0 PPM. Is this normal? Can anyone tell me where I am in the cycling process? Should I have nitrite or nitrate readings?
I just need a little expert advice since this hobby is quite new to me. Any tips to speed up the cycling process? Anything will help. Thank you for your time.


A few things I did to help speed up cycling:
-Set up a filter from one of my established tanks to run alongside my new filter (have to have another tank with multiple filters of course)
-used decorations and plants from established tank (again! )
-went several times to local aquarium store and had then ring one of their filter sponges from a healthy, established tank into a bag. Then seeded my new filter with that. (won't add a whole lot of bacteria, but should get some to start)
-of course their's liquid seeding chemicals, which I used as an additive measure (I added some just for good measure. Most hobbyists agree they don't do much on their own, if anything)

Of course, you'll need to still have ammonia in the tank for the new "seeded" bacteria

Just a few of the things I did! Hope it helps.
 
Clockwork3
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
Thank you jdhef. I will keep an eye out for nitrates. Oh and trust me I shook that bottle until my arm was sore. So as soon as I see Nitrates I am cycled?

And thank you for the advice brody.
 
Clockwork3
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
Just did my three tests using the API master test kit
Ammonia: 2 PPM
Nitrite: 0 PPM
Nitrate: 0 PPM
 

jdhef
  • #8
Oh and trust me I shook that bottle until my arm was sore.

See...you didn't shake it enough, you need to shake it until your arm actually falls off!

Assuming ammonia drops to 0ppm, nitrites are 0ppm and you have nitrates, you'll be cycled.
 
Clockwork3
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
may 11th 2012
after testing
Ammonia : 4 PPM
nitrite: 0 PPM
Nitrate: 0 PPM

Note: I dosed my tank with 2 ML of ammonia since the last time I did a test. I was expecting a fall in Ammonia but there was none.
 
Clockwork3
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
It seems my tank has stalled? I did a test again today. 5/13/12
Ammonia : 4 PPM
nitrite: 0 PPM
Nitrate: 0 PPM

All the same as last time. anyone help me?
 
Steve106
  • #11
hmm, you could try a safe start product, I hear they're really horror show ; )
 
Clockwork3
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
did my three usual tests today got the same results as 2 days ago. I did a PH test though. the high PH test it tested 8.4 I don't think that's normal can anyone help me in that department?
 
jdhef
  • #13
During cycling pH can be all over the map. The only time pH is a concern when cycling is if it drops below 6.0 at which point the cycling process can stall.
 
Clockwork3
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
Do you think my cycle has stalled? since ammonia has not dropped for about a week.
 
tekjunkie28
  • #15
I defiantly think ur tank has stalled. What filter does ur cousin have? Can you go by his place and cut some of the filter off and put it in a bag of tank water and being it home "immediately"?

I have had my tank for about 3 weeks. It's a 20 gal tall and I just started to get nitrites 1ppm but have been getting nitrates at 2-4 ppm for about 2 weeks. Last night I moved EVERYTHING over to a 55 gal. Will I need to add more food or something since I have less fish per gallon? 3 demasonI cichlids, 1 yellow lab, 2 glo fish and one Chinese algae eater. I don't mean to hijack the thread but this to me is another relevant ? That could help the OP out at some point also.
 
kinezumi89
  • #16
Do you think my cycle has stalled? since ammonia has not dropped for about a week.

What temperature is your tank? Higher temps mean the cycle will progress more quickly. 80s is good, but you can crank it up to the 90s if you wish (as long as there are no fish, of course!).
 
Clockwork3
  • Thread Starter
  • #17
My cousin has the same filter I have plus he has some canister filter. I could take a piece of his filter media. Orrrr I can swap out one of his medias for one of my medias? And I could have itb ack at my house in about 30 minutes.

My tank temperature is at 82 degrees. I think its stalled because my PH is so high around 8.4? possibly? IDK :\
 

tekjunkie28
  • #18
No a high ph is good. nything below 6 is going to stall. Yea if he has some media just swap it out.
 
kinezumi89
  • #19
My tank temperature is at 82 degrees. I think its stalled because my PH is so high around 8.4? possibly? IDK :\

Nope, high pH isn't a problem. Mine is around 8.2. It's actually low pH you want to watch out for, as the bacteria become dormant below 6.0 (I think..somewhere around there).

If your cousin has extra media, and is willing to give/lend some to you, then by all means, go for it! If you have enough properly cycled media to seed your tank with, you could have an instant cycle. Many members keep extra media in their filter housings, in case they wish to start up another tank. Then they have media to seed the new tank.
 
Clockwork3
  • Thread Starter
  • #20
ohhh okay then. I will ask my cousin If I could swap media with him next time I see him. Thank you for the advice.
 
Clockwork3
  • Thread Starter
  • #21
Hey guys I know I haven't really been updating you guys cuz I've been busy with school and work. But today when I did my tests I got
ammonia: 1-2 PPM
nitrites: 0 PPM
nitrates: 5-10 PPM

the number are in ranges cuz I can't really tell if the color is either.
 
Clockwork3
  • Thread Starter
  • #22
Ammonia: 2PPM
nitrite: 0PPM
nitrate: 5PPM

I have added tetra safestart because I was getting no where waiting around. It has worked for me, as I am seeing a rise in nitrate. Thinking about buying another bottle of the stuff just to speed up the process. good idea? bad idea?
 
catsma_97504
  • #23
Welcome to Fishlore.

TSS is designed to work with fish, not ammonia, so you may not get the expected results long term.

Any time the cycle stalls on me, I simply do a small water change. This is usually enough to get things moving along again.

You are very close to being cycled. After adding the ammonia, try testing just the ammonia levels about 2 hours later to make sure you have the expected levels. Sometimes I've not added as much as I thought because I was taking the water sample in the same general area I dumped the ammonia. By waiting you are giving it time to be mixed and dispersed into the entire tank.

I would also crank the heat as high as possible. Heat makes bacteria grow faster.

Good luck!
 
jdhef
  • #24
Thinking about buying another bottle of the stuff just to speed up the process. good idea? bad idea?

Adding another bottle most likely will not speed up the cycle. There should be enough bacteria in the bottle you already added, so long as it was a bottle for your size tank. But as mentioned, you may run into trouble since you are not using it with fish.
 
Clockwork3
  • Thread Starter
  • #25
Ill keep an eye on my readings cuz I am seeing a rise in nitrate since adding TSS. Keep you guys updated.
 
Clockwork3
  • Thread Starter
  • #26
Hey guys another update. after adding 1 ML of ammonia since my last test and waiting til now my results are
Ammonia 1 PPM
Nitrite: 0 PPM
Nitrate: 10-20 PPM give or take. closer to 10 I would believe.

should I add more ammonia right now? or wait for it to drop even more?
 
catsma_97504
  • #27
I bump it up to 2 PPM, but you can let it go another day or two. Just don't let the ammonia level stay at 0.
 
Clockwork3
  • Thread Starter
  • #28
thanks alright ill add about 1.5 ml just to stay on the safe side then do a ammonia test in 2 hours
 
Clockwork3
  • Thread Starter
  • #29
ammonia at 1 PPM again. Nitrites still at 0 PPM. Nitrates closer to 20 PPM? colors are hard to read aha I wish these test were digital -_-
 
Clockwork3
  • Thread Starter
  • #30
added ammonia a couple days ago. ammonia is back to .5-1 PPM. Also added about 1.5 ML of ammonia just now
I just swapped out one of my filter medias in my aqueon 70 filter with my cousins. hopefully the cycle should speed up.
 

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