Ammonia hasn't changed in new tank

  1. Ioana Initiate Member

    Ok so it's my first new 20gal tank fully set up. I filled the tank with water and added primer then I put janitor grade ammonia 26days ago to 4ppm. (Fish less cycle) and I added nite out starter bacteria. It never dropped once and yet I started getting 5ppm nitrites and 20ppm nitrates. I have one tiny plant in there. On day 22 my ammonia was the same 4 but my nitrites dropped to 1ppm and my nitrates stayed at 20. Fearing a stalled cycle I did a water change 4 days ago to dilute ammonia to 2ppm. Still hasn't changed, at all. So now my stats are ammonia at 2ppm, nitrites at .5, and nitrates at.25. My ph has always been 7.6 and my temp is 78F. Am I in a cycle even? And why isn't the ammonia budging at all? Especially if I have nitrites and nitrates! I'm feeling discouraged.
  2. Bithimala Fishlore VIP Member

    Welcome to the forum!

    I'd say you're definitely at least somewhere in the cycling process since you are seeing nitrites and nitrates, so don't be discouraged! I am very confused about the ammonia not moving though, it certainly should be. It almost seems to me like whatever they have in there for BB that convert ammonia grows much slower than the BB that converts nitrite, which is the opposite of how it usually works.

    I did, however, manage to find a few older posts running around from people who experienced similar situations with nite out.

    If it were me, I think I would go pick up a bottle of Stability and use that instead. I have always had good luck with it. With that, you add an amount on day one, and then add more in for the next week (instructions for the amount are on the bottle).

  3. Ioana Initiate Member

    Thank you I am going to get the tss and add that.
  4. Bithimala Fishlore VIP Member

    Lots of people on here have had really good success with it. I haven't used it personally, but from what I've read the two things you really have to make sure you do... 1. Make sure it has been at least 24 hours since you added Prime or any other dechlorinator to the tank. 2. Do not do water changes for 2 weeks.

    You will, however, need to keep adding ammonia so that the BB doesn't die off, since it should be working through it.

  5. CindiL Fishlore Legend Member

    Hi, welcome to fishlore :;hi2

    I think TSS+ will work good as long as your ammonia isn't above 2.0.

    Don't add ammonia again until it hits 0 (which it should with TSS+). You can start testing after a couple of days to see what your readings start looking like.

    If you want to post them here we can help you determine when you should re-dose. Basically when ammonia hits 0 if nitrites are less then 5 you can re-dose but keep it at 2.0 or under, ideally a little lower.
  6. Ioana Initiate Member

    Thanks! I will
  7. Ioana Initiate Member

    Ok so day 36...I'm almost done using Stability (couldn't find tss) and my ammonia is still at 2ppm while my nitrites and nitrates have all gone down to zero.

  8. Bithimala Fishlore VIP Member

    That really doesn't sound right, but since it's being very strange, I'm going to defer to Cindi's experience. Hopefully she'll have some additional thoughts on what may be going on.

    Just trying to cover all bases, but you did use a dechlorinator and you do have a filter running in the tank, right? (Sorry if those sound like silly questions, but I'm definitely confused by the situation).
  9. CindiL Fishlore Legend Member

    Hi, I agree that this is quite odd. Sometimes nitrates can drop to 0 with a fishless cycle but the fact that your ammonia is still at 2ppm makes little sense.

    Would you test your tank ph today?

    Do you have any plants in there? Anything that could be rotting? Have you ever put any fish food in there?

    What are the ingredients in your ammonia? should only be ammonia and water.

    Have you added any water without dechlorinator?

    Depending on your ph I would do the following, but wait until we know what the ph is. This is what I would do....I would do 100% water change, re-fill with dechlorinator added first if you are using a hose. Did you say you are using Prime? I would dose ammonia to 1.0 and see where it along with nitrites and nitrates are in 24 hours and let us know. We'll go from there.

    Make sure to let us know the answers to the above also just for clarification.
  10. Aquaphobia Fishlore Legend Member

    Is there an expiry date on the Stability? Did you shake the bottle really well? Do you add any fertilizers for your plant? What kind of substrate?

  11. Ioana Initiate Member

    Yes filter running and I use prime for the water yes

    ok my ph is 7.4-7.6 . I do have one plant in there and one of its leaves has rotted but a very small one. The ammonia is ace janitorial ammonia. Because of my small thank it's actually hard to add the right amount of prime for a quart of water addition when it evaporates so I think I use a little more prime because of the difficulty in measuring.

    Hi aqua phobia,
    yep the stability expiration is 2020 or something like that. I CHE led and have plenty of time. Yes I shake the bottle very well each time I added. No no fertilizers for the plant I just used substrate. The substrate I used is little neon blue rocks I bought from petco...I don't have the bag anymore for the name. But here's what it looks like. Sorry picture came out double ! It's just one tank.[​IMG] [​IMG]

    Oh and no I don't use fish food. Sounds too messy. But I do think in the very beginning I may have added too much ammonia. But I thought the water change would have fixed that. I will check all my stats again tonight and repost them all. Thank you guys. I really appreciate it.
  12. Aquaphobia Fishlore Legend Member

    An eyedropper might be helpful for you to dose the tank more easily. I keep several on hand for everything from filling my test tubes to dosing fertilizers;)
  13. Bithimala Fishlore VIP Member

    Not on the cycle issue, but a side note, it looks like the plant is an annubias. If so, it needs to not have the rhizome planted. Can't tell if it's under the rocks from the pic, but if it is, it will probably do much better if it's pulled up and held in place with the décor instead of under the gravel.
  14. Ioana Initiate Member

    Oh ok I didn't know that about the plant. I'll dig it up. My ammonia finally started to go down! In the last few days it's gone down to .5! I'll wait until it goes to .25 to dose it back up to 2. No nitrites yet but hopefully they will come soon?
  15. Bithimala Fishlore VIP Member

    Yay!!! Finally some progress :) Very happy to hear that you're seeing a change finally.
  16. CindiL Fishlore Legend Member

    Do you have any nitrates? Make sure to bang nitrate bottle #2 for 30 seconds hard on the palm of your hand or counter top before testing.
  17. Ioana Initiate Member

    I just checked, no nitrites or nitrates. Ammonia still at .5
  18. Bithimala Fishlore VIP Member

    Do you have a lot of plants in there? The ammonia that was in there had to go somewhere.
  19. Ioana Initiate Member

    No just the one little plant and 3 furry green balls-no clue what they're called. Checked stats again and .5 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and 5 confused because the nitrites should have started going up.
  20. Bithimala Fishlore VIP Member

    Maybe your BB just decided to grow opposite of normal and the nitrite eating ones colonized first? Just looked back at the first post, you had nitrites in there a while ago...