Advice Needed - Cycling Tank Help

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Zerokyo2, Jun 24, 2019.

  1. Zerokyo2

    Zerokyo2Valued MemberMember

    Hello all,

    I am new to this forum. Though not new to fish keeping, this is my first time fishless cycling my aquarium from scratch. I have read through both threads about cycling and ammonia and cycling, but i did not feel that my question was answered by reading them, so hoping someone can offer some insight.

    Aquarium Info:
    60 gallon 48x12x24
    Eheim Classic 2217 (originally had a 2213 but learned that was way too small but switched out the old media and put into new cannister)
    Eheim Jäger heater (79degrees)

    Tap Water:
    PH - 7.5
    Ammonia -1 ppm
    Nitrite - 0 ppm
    Nitrate - 5 ppm

    When i first started the tank, i added 2-3 inches of gravel, with driftwood and large Ohko stones. Filled up the tank and added Seachem Prime and then added Seachem Stability. A few days in, i added Dr. Tims ammonia Choloride and got it to around 2ppm. By the end of the week, Ammonia got to 0 ppm. I then added more ammonia and got to around 2 ppm again and basically within 24 hours, ammonia will go to 0 ppm. I am now at the point where my Nitrites and Nitrates are high. To my eyes, Nitrite is at 2 ppm (for the last week and a half) and Nitrate 80+ ppm maybe even at 160 ppm. I have since added some plants (java fern, crypt, hygro, and anubias) to maybe help with nitrates.

    So my question is...
    1. Has my cycle stalled?
    2. If not, because my nitrites/nitrates are so high should i do a partial water change?
    3. if neither of the above, do i still keep adding ammonia every few days to feed the bacteria or should i not add ammonia until i see nitrites go down? I've been adding every 2-3 days once my ammonia goes back down to 0 ppm.

    I added pics of one of the last tests i did (there is slight ammonia reading since i added ammonia the day before)

    Attached Files:

  2. mattgirl

    mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

    In my humble opinion it is time for a water change. First I would run a nitrite dilution test to determine how much to change out. To run the dilution test put 1ml of tank water and 4mls of your source water in the test tube and run the test on that solution. You may find that your nitrites are much higher than they appear to be. If you still see dark purple in the tube you will know that it is going to take either an 80% water change or a couple of smaller ones to get them down to a reasonable level.

    If the tank is still processing the ammonia you add down to close to zero within 24 hours your cycle hasn't stalled and you can just wait it out. I always say, why wait when you can help it along with water changes to help get things closer to balanced. Personally I would do water changes to get both nitrites and nitrates down to prevent a stall instead of waiting for it to happen.

    BTW: Stability has been known to actually work to speed up a cycle and it seems it is working for you. When did you start this one?
  3. OP

    Zerokyo2Valued MemberMember

    Hi @mattgirl

    Thanks for the quick response. I literally started the aquarium June 8th. So it hasn't been that long. I just dropped some more ammonia (Dr. Tims) in today so i will check it tomorrow and see if it goes back down to 0ppm. If it does, i will do a water change on Wednesday. I guess the last question for you is, am i supposed to keep adding ammonia every so often to keep feeding the bacteria? or should i be stopping any addition of ammonia? Thank you!

    Going to do the dilution test now!
  4. mattgirl

    mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

    You want to continue adding ammonia up until the cycle is complete. It is food for your bacteria and you want to keep it fed. At this point though you can add it every other day even if it goes back to zero within 24 hours.

    It looks like the Stability is working really good for you to be seeing this much progress in just 2 weeks.
  5. OP

    Zerokyo2Valued MemberMember

    @mattgirl Seems like with the dilution test, I'm showing closer to .25 - .50 ppm on nitrites. With this information, should i still do a water change? not really sure what the dilution test is supposed to tell me.

    Attached Files:

  6. mattgirl

    mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

    It tells us that you can hold off on the water change for now. Lots of times it is still a dark purple even using 1ml of tank water. In your case it is telling us that your nitrites aren't too high. If they continue to rise you may want to consider a water change but only if they rise high enough to be off the chart even diluted..

    As long as the ammonia continues to go down the cycle is moving forward and it is just a matter of time until the cycle is complete.
  7. OP

    Zerokyo2Valued MemberMember

    @mattgirl got it, that makes a lot of sense. unfortunately i spoke too soon, looks like it did get darker after about ten minutes (somewhere between 1-2ppm). so i am going to go ahead and do a small water change and see where i go from here. I really appreciate all of your advice.

    Attached Files:

  8. mattgirl

    mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

    It does tend to get darker if it stays in the test tube past the 5 minutes. The color you see at 5 minutes is what it is. A water change definitely won't hurt though as long as you use your water conditioner if you have chlorine/chloramines in your source water and temp match the water you are replacing..