6 Full Weeks To See Nitrites!

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Cruella, Jun 24, 2018.

  1. CruellaNew MemberMember

    I know I have read forum after forum looking for info on how long it would take for my tank to cycle with fish. And the answer is always something along the lines of "every tank is different, get some safe start." I stubbornly didn't want to pay for safe start if this thing would cycle naturally.

    So in my case, here's how it's going. 20 gallon tank, 3 little fishies, some free snails, and a live plant. One week in got ich, had to remove filter to treat, so set my cycle back to fresh. Weeks 2-4, not much happened. Manageable ammonia roughly .25 to .5, water changes every couple days. Week 5, went out of town and left tank in care of college neighbor kid. Also, started using Prime since I wouldn't be around to change water. He sure as heck fed them, I assume he dosed the Prime correctly as the fish lived and the tank was a wreck. Week 6, came home to nasty tank with all sorts of food floating in it, extremely cloudy water, and brown algae everywhere. Thought my plant was dying. Removed it to more sunlight for a couple days, gave it a hydrogen peroxide bath, rinsed and returned to tank. Ammonia was out of control. Changing water daily and sincerely questioning if the new use of Prime was some bad advice. Beginning of Week 7, woke up and plant suddenly looked fabulous, lush green color coming back and pushing out loads of new growth. Plant must be enjoying this ridiculous ammonia. The water is clearer too. I think the brown algae has almost run its course. Test the waters, heck I'll check Nitrite too (I hadn't been checking it since ammonia wasn't dropping). Wow! Something's happening! There's actually Nitrites! Barely but definitely there! I didn't change the water immediately as it was light, so I dosed Prime and checked next day. Nitrites much higher! I couldn't get a good read on the color. The lighting is funny in my house at sunset and I couldn't tell if it was showing the 2nd or the 4th level of purple. Did a 50% water change since I couldnt tell the intensity and will now be on the lookout for Nitrates.

    I've read some accounts saying it takes twice as long to see Nitrates as it does to get Nitrites, and I've read other that say the Nitrites happened so fast they missed it. I'm hoping mine is of the faster timeline! Oh, and fishies remain happy and healthy so far!
  2. Discus-Tang

    Discus-TangWell Known MemberMember

    I have learned to steer clear of fish-in, I regret putting my betta through it, even in a planted 7g :(

    Since there's no going back for you, make sure you are doing 50% water changes every 1-2 days, because stuff could spike.

    Fish-in cycles are much quicker, averaging around 4 weeks using Dr. tims.
  3. 83jaseValued MemberMember

    I'd say you meant fishless cycle with ammonium chloride supplement and auto correct god's got ya lol

    Won't do another fish in again fishless all the way plus you can build up a biggwr bioload easier cleaner and quicker so on the day 1 of cycled can dump all your qt fish in instead of dribs and drabs waiting for bioload to adjust
  4. countryrain

    countryrainWell Known MemberMember

    Ok, I have a theory about how fast an aquarium can go through a full cycle. It all depends on where a person lives. Me, I live in a very humid, wet climate. I have lakes all around me, and a mayor river flowing within a mile of my house. My first aquarium did a full cycle in less than two weeks. Yes I did fish in, because of at the time I didn't know any better. At first I was using test strips, but after learning a lot here on fishlore, I bought a liquid test kit. I have cycled two more aquariums and because I was using cycled media form the first one, I got instant cycles.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2018
  5. oldsalt777Well Known MemberMember

    Hello cru...

    You just need to know the proper procedures for fish-in tank cycling. This type of cycling has been done safely for decades and won't harm your fish if you use a hardy species and carefully check the water every day. The cycle won't take much more than a month, if you do it right. The problems begin with not using the right fish, not checking the water consistently and not removing the right amount to grow the good bacteria. If you're interested in getting this done the right way and in a reasonable amount of time, then let me know.

  6. OP

    CruellaNew MemberMember

    Thank you for offering your wisdom! I wish I had checked here before starting. This was a gift for my child's birthday, so we dove in head first without researching. The last time I had fish was 25 years ago, a 15 gallon tank with an air stone and no filter. I loaded it up with fish, changed part of the water once a week, and the survivors lived a couple years (several nipped at the others til they died early on.) I was a kid then and don't remember which were the tough ones. I guess I was lucky then, maybe I've been lucky this time too.

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