Ammonia Takes 3 Days To Clear, But It Should Be Cycled By Now?

Discussion in 'Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle' started by HenryC, Aug 19, 2019.

  1. HenryC

    HenryCValued MemberMember

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    I set up a 20 gal tank for a pair or golden rams that I acquired (breeder is still "babysitting" them for me). It was close to a month ago. I'm using an aquaclear 50, and stocked it up with with:
    35% coarse sponge
    35% medium sponge
    10% superfine polishing pad
    15% ceramic media (used the cerammic media it comes with).

    I seeded the filter with some bio rings of my 4 month established 40 gallon tank, as well as a fistful of substrate (inert, super naturals torpedo beach). I also "injected" the filter with some tank water after I did a gravel vac of my established one. I think all of this should have seeded the filter well enoigh right?

    Been dosing 2ppm everytime I see ammonia go .25ppm and kept doing this for a month now. At first I had tons of nitrites, but now after a month, I get zero nitrite, every time, which tells me there are nitrifying bacteria breaking them up and producing nitrate (got about 40ppm right now, doing 90% water change today).

    But why does my ammonia take so many days to go down? It takes 3-4 days to go down to .25, all while having zero nitrite. Shouldn;t it be compeltely seeded by now? I thought that at this time I would be converting the 2ppm ammonia to 0 in 24 hours, just as I did with my first, bigger tank.

    On water changes I've been using 3/4 RO water and 1/4 of tap water to achieve a PPM of 100 to 150 (coralbandit suggested around 100ppm is ideal for rams). My pH is super low, 6 or maybe even lower. Does this pH is causing ammonia to linger longer? Or maybe interfering with the nitrifryng bacteria doing it's job?

    Or perhaps my bacteria takes too long to break down the 2ppm ammonia because I do not have enough media for bacteria to live in? I also got 2 big peices of driftwood, an chance those are interfering?

    Since my first tank took a month to completely cycle (4ppm to 0 ammonia in <24hf rom scratch, no seeding), I'm not sure why this one is not cycled completely after 1 month too, especially since I seeded it. I added an air stone just in case there was not enough oxygenation. I'm keeping the temperature at about 84 F to accelerate the process as well.

    Here are some pics of the setup, let me know if I should ditch some of my sponge media to place more ceramic media.
    Imgur

    Thanks a lot!
     
  2. Ronniethewitch

    RonniethewitchValued MemberMember

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    Low ph can definitely slow the process. If it goes below 5 I've been told it can actually crash a cycle. Not saying that's your issue but definitely something to keep in mind.
     
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    HenryC

    HenryCValued MemberMember

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    How do I raise/stabilize pH without raising TDS or hardness? Is that even possible? Trying to keep TDS and hardness low for my future rams. I checked out seachem neutral regulator/discus regulators but both are phosphate buffers and I read these can be bad for plants? @coralbandit help me out again please! haha. I know you said don't worry about pH, but is a really low pH bad for the cycle?
     
  4. Ronniethewitch

    RonniethewitchValued MemberMember

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    Questions far outside my realm of information but try asking @jdhef if still available- or @Momgoose56 have seen this type of question answered before. Trying to find it now but not having much luck with the search bar right now
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2019
  5. Dechi

    DechiValued MemberMember

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    I don’t see any pics.

    How high is your ammonia and which test kit are you using ? I just read in another thread that API test kit is only accurate by +/- 0.25 ppm for ammonia because it also measures ammonium. So you might well be cycled.
     
  6. Mongo75

    Mongo75Valued MemberMember

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    So, what I'm reading, everything except your ammonia looks cycled, but ammonia never drops below 0.25. Is that correct? Are you using the API test kit? There have been several threads here that pretty much say API ammonia test are becoming notorious for showing 0.25 when it's actually zero. This is becoming a known issue.
     
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    HenryC

    HenryCValued MemberMember

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    Hi everyone, I'm using API master's kit. It does not drop below .25, but it takes about 3 days to get there from 2ppm. Shouldn't I be converting the ammonia in less than 24h? The pics are at the bottom of the original post, imgur link, but here they are again: Imgur
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2019
  8. Mongo75

    Mongo75Valued MemberMember

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    Sorry, I missed the part that you were still dosing the ammonia. Outside of my knoweledge.
     
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    HenryC

    HenryCValued MemberMember

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    Perhaps seeding didn't work that well? I was under the impression that by seeding the new filter I would be cycled in about a week or two. So, causes might be:
    • not enough media
    • ph too low for cycling
    • simply need more time
     
  10. Ronniethewitch

    RonniethewitchValued MemberMember

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    i found the thread I was thinking of. Can't copy the link.. It's labelled ph help fish are dying...about halfway down the thread it gets a bit more technical. Hope it helps! :y
     
  11. mattgirl

    mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

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    If I understand it correctly when the PH drops down below 6.5 or less the ammonia isn't the best food for the struggling bacteria. the ammonia reverts to ammonium. the bacteria can still eat it but not nearly as well or fast as ammonia. Raise your PH and I think your ammonia will start going down within 24 hours just as it should be doing at this point in your cycle.
     
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    HenryC

    HenryCValued MemberMember

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    Thank you very much, I'll do a massive water change, this time with half RO, half tap, to see how it goes. My tap water is exceptionally hard, so hopefully I will have enough buffers.
     
  13. Ronniethewitch

    RonniethewitchValued MemberMember

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    Let us know how you get on?
     
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    HenryC

    HenryCValued MemberMember

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    Will do, if my cycle is in fact completed, I should have no ammonia tomorrow, now that the water will have 7+ ph
     
  15. Ronniethewitch

    RonniethewitchValued MemberMember

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    Oooh a full cycled tank not yet stocked! How exciting! Fingers crossed!
     
  16. OP
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    HenryC

    HenryCValued MemberMember

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    Well it's been two days of having 7.6pH and it still takes lot to clear the ammonia, it's going down like .25pmm each day. I guess it was not the pH? I wonder what else is causing this, probably I have not enough media? Stock media from aquaclear filter bad? Or perhaps this is a stubborn tank and needs more time than the 40gal one? Hmm.
     
  17. Ronniethewitch

    RonniethewitchValued MemberMember

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    Give it a bit longer for the bacteria, which you clearly have, to multiply. More media can only help, if you have room and it doesn't slow down your flow too much.

    Patience is something that this hobby keeps trying to teach me. Seems we can learn it together! :)

    Thanks for the up date- know eep keeping us posted. It helps others when we get to hear how these threads end up.
     
  18. OP
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    HenryC

    HenryCValued MemberMember

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    Thanks! I have no problem being patient, learned that with the 40 gal one haha, it's just that I guess I get paranoid thinking something might be off in the tank, epsecially since it was seeded and has been a month already. I'll give it more time!
     
  19. Ronniethewitch

    RonniethewitchValued MemberMember

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    i am so sorry. I go into 'Mom mode' when I'm typing. Or at least it looks like it. At that very moment I was having a concern of my own and preaching to myself about patience.

    I really do want to read about how it all turns out for you though.
     
  20. OP
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    HenryC

    HenryCValued MemberMember

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    I'll update the results! Yesterday I replaced a coarse sponge block I had in the filter for even more ceramic media, well cycled from my main tank. We'll see if my problem was not enough media for bacteria.
     
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