8 Weeks And Still Not Cycled - Frustrating!!

Bocks

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Hi all. Got my 38 Gallon freshwater tank all setup on Feb 1 doing a fish in cycle (4 White Cloud Tetra’s) and since then I have been doing 15% water changes every 3 days on the dot. I have had pretty consistently high Ammonia (.25 - .50) and Nitrate (5.0) but have never recorded any Nitrite. I am using the API Mastertest kit.
I have changed the filters every 30 days (always leaving 2 old and 2 new in place to not remove all of the beneficial bacteria) and done 50% gravel cleanings ever other week. I am also getting a decent amount of brown algae in my tank the last couple weeks. Took more readings tonight and got the exact same results telling my I am still not cycled.

I am about to give up and get some Tetra Safestart and slowly start adding fish.

What am I doing wrong? Help appreciated.
 

Jenoli42

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Bocks said:
Hi all. Got my 38 Gallon freshwater tank all setup on Feb 1 doing a fish in cycle (4 White Cloud Tetra’s) and since then I have been doing 15% water changes every 3 days on the dot. I have had pretty consistently high Ammonia (.25 - .50) and Nitrate (5.0) but have never recorded any Nitrite. I am using the API Mastertest kit.
I have changed the filters every 30 days (always leaving 2 old and 2 new in place to not remove all of the beneficial bacteria) and done 50% gravel cleanings ever other week. I am also getting a decent amount of brown algae in my tank the last couple weeks. Took more readings tonight and got the exact same results telling my I am still not cycled.

I am about to give up and get some Tetra Safestart and slowly start adding fish.

What am I doing wrong? Help appreciated.
Hi! Sorry you're having difficulty and i can certainly appreciate your frustration. If you have nitrates it means you do have some cycle. some of us never see nitrites, but science dictates that if you have nitrates, then you have nitrobacter.

the issue i'm seeing is with your ammonia. have you tested your tap water ammonia directly from the tap?

do you have any fertiliser or root tabs in there? sometimes those cause ammonia and it takes your bacteria time to catch up.

i dont' quite understand why you're changing your filters every 30 days? i believe that may be hindering your process. you can easily rinse your filters and the media in them in a bucket of tank water every month instead. replacing the filter media will remove some of your BB. sorry if i have misunderstood what you meant
 

AquaticJ

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Jenoli42 said:
Hi! Sorry you're having difficulty and i can certainly appreciate your frustration. If you have nitrates it means you do have some cycle. some of us never see nitrites, but science dictates that if you have nitrates, then you have nitrobacter.

the issue i'm seeing is with your ammonia. have you tested your tap water ammonia directly from the tap?

do you have any fertiliser or root tabs in there? sometimes those cause ammonia and it takes your bacteria time to catch up.

i dont' quite understand why you're changing your filters every 30 days? i believe that may be hindering your process. you can easily rinse your filters and the media in them in a bucket of tank water every month instead. replacing the filter media will remove some of your BB. sorry if i have misunderstood what you meant
Unfortunately, my tap water has 5-10ppm of nitrates, as do a lot of other people. So that doesn't necessarily mean that. What brand of filter(s) do you have?
 

Jenoli42

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AquaticJ said:
Unfortunately, my tap water has 5-10ppm of nitrates, as do a lot of other people. So that doesn't necessarily mean that. What brand of filter(s) do you have?
AH! ok, that's good to know and changes my thinking.

we are running a total of 8 filters on 5 tanks at the moment!! 2 filters in our 165L, 1 filter in our 250L, 1 filter in our 65L QT and 2 hob filters in our 21L QT...so it's hard to answer your question!

we have an internal AquaOne and an external cannister Eheim 2213 in our 165L
we have an external Sunsun HW-304B cannister for our 250L
we have an external eheim 2222/2224 for our 65L (yes, WAY over filtered, long story)
we have an internal AquaOne and an HoB unsure of the brand that has one of those cartridges in our 21L
we have a ReptileOne hob and ReptileOne cannister in our turtle tank

phew! so, do you have a sponge filter or one of those that has a cartridge or something? is that why you change out the whole thing?
 

Hunter1

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Jenoli42 said:
AH! ok, that's good to know and changes my thinking.

we are running a total of 8 filters on 5 tanks at the moment!! 2 filters in our 165L, 1 filter in our 250L, 1 filter in our 65L QT and 2 hob filters in our 21L QT...so it's hard to answer your question!

we have an internal AquaOne and an external cannister Eheim 2213 in our 165L
we have an external Sunsun HW-304B cannister for our 250L
we have an external eheim 2222/2224 for our 65L (yes, WAY over filtered, long story)
we have an internal AquaOne and an HoB unsure of the brand that has one of those cartridges in our 21L
we have a ReptileOne hob and ReptileOne cannister in our turtle tank

phew! so, do you have a sponge filter or one of those that has a cartridge or something? is that why you change out the whole thing?

I think AquaticJ was asking the OP that question, but nice to know. :)

I wonder if the OP if he has ammonia in his tap water?
 

Jenoli42

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Hunter1 said:
I think AquaticJ was asking the OP that question, but nice to know.

I wonder if the OP if he has ammonia in his tap water?
HA! you're totally right! sorry, i didn't even check that! lolz. that's what i was wondering...
 

Lunnietic

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When you change your filter out every 30 days you are literally throwing out your cycle. The Bacteria needed to complete the cycle and keep it running live there.

If you are still going to do a fishless cycle the water changes arent needed unless ammonia gets over 4ppm.
 

trainandfishguy

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Try some Tetra Safe Start Plus. My bro in law and I cycled his 10 gallon in 3 weeks. We set up the tank, put some flake food in and added TSS. We waited 2 weeks, added another bottle of TSS and introduced thee small danios. A week later, we retested and the tank was cycled. TSS might just get you where you need to be.
 

Mom2some

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I have successfully used TSS+. However you have to follow the instructions precisely. 1 inch of fish (or slightly more) per 10 gallons and no water changes or fish additions for 14 days.
Another vote for only replace filter media when it is literally falling apart & then do at least a month of old & new together (cut the old out of the frame and jam it in).
 

mattgirl

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Bocks said:
Hi all. Got my 38 Gallon freshwater tank all setup on Feb 1 doing a fish in cycle (4 White Cloud Tetra’s) and since then I have been doing 15% water changes every 3 days on the dot. I have had pretty consistently high Ammonia (.25 - .50) and Nitrate (5.0) but have never recorded any Nitrite. I am using the API Mastertest kit.
I have changed the filters every 30 days (always leaving 2 old and 2 new in place to not remove all of the beneficial bacteria) and done 50% gravel cleanings ever other week. I am also getting a decent amount of brown algae in my tank the last couple weeks. Took more readings tonight and got the exact same results telling my I am still not cycled.

I am about to give up and get some Tetra Safestart and slowly start adding fish.

What am I doing wrong? Help appreciated.
Have you tested your tap water for nitrates? If nitrates are in it that might be where your nitrate readings are coming from and your cycle is stalled.

It is possible that 4 little white cloud tetras are not producing enough ammonia to cycle a 38 gallon tank. You might want to consider adding a few more or cut back on the water changes to allow the ammonia to go a little higher.

If you are using Prime for your water conditioner you can safely allow it to get up to at least 1.0 before doing a water change to lower it. Just add a full dose of prime each 24 hours as long as it is 1.0 or lower. Once it gets to 1 do a water change to lower it and then add the prime.

It is good that you aren't changing out all of your filter media but I am curious as to why you are changing out any of it. It is best to just rinse it out in some tank water and only replace it once it is literally falling apart or gets so clogged up water will no longer flow through it freely.
 

Mick Frost

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White Clouds are temperate (65-70ish) fish, the high temperature might be causing issues with appetite or digestion. If they're eating and pooping, it should be fine.

+1 to above for not changing your filter. I've gone to using the air powered sponge filters almost exclusively, and I only clean them maybe once every 2 months (my Mollies/Otos/Shrimp/Plecos keep them pretty clean)

+1 to above for knowing your water chemistry. For unfiltered water, Lowes sells a DIY test kit that tests for like 30 different contaminants for like $20.

TSS+ may be a good idea, I use Seachem Stability for a booster when I add new fish and it works well, although iirc the Tetra stuff deals with Chloramines as well (I'm on a well, don't have that issue).
 
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