Are These Numbers Good For New Cycle?

YATT
  • #1
20g long
80 degree F
pH 8-8.2
GH 3
KH 10
Ammonia 1.5
NO2/NO3 0

Here is why I’m asking. I’m new to the testing but I started this 5 days ago. I swear I was 3ppm ammonia. I saw a lighter color so I added more. Now it appears to be 1.5 ppm. No nitrite or nitrate. I realize it is a short time but ammonia seems to be changing or I’m screwing up the ammonia test.

I have no plants but wanted to buy some today. Starting with a couple crypts as they are tough but perhaps I shouldn’t do anything yet.

Thanks for advice.

If I hold away from card it is lighter

C09F97ED-CBCC-49C1-8F76-4014C0F48220.jpeg

If I press against cars it is darker

1F350E4A-A8D2-4228-A163-E37A58B66C86.jpeg
 
TadpoleMadtom
  • #2
Have you had nitrate and nitrite yet?
 
YATT
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Seasoldier
  • #4
Hi, I'd say your cycle is in early days yet, when you add ammonia to get it to 4ppm & it goes down to 0 or 1 over 24 hours you'll be on the way & you should start seeing nitrites rising at that time & then again they'll drop & the nitrates will increase. You could put some plants in but as they'll use the nitrates as food it may screw your readings up a bit.
 
YATT
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Hi, I'd say your cycle is in early days yet, when you add ammonia to get it to 4ppm & it goes down to 0 or 1 over 24 hours you'll be on the way & you should start seeing nitrites rising at that time & then again they'll drop & the nitrates will increase. You could put some plants in but as they'll use the nitrates as food it may screw your readings up a bit.

Maybe my understanding of the nitrogen cycle isn’t right. I thought if ammonia disappears it turns to nitrite. I dosed it to 3ppm and then I saw a dip and added a small amount more of ammonia. Now I see it at 1.5-2.5ppm but no nitrate. Is there any other way ammonia disappears?
 
Seasoldier
  • #6
I wouldn't keep adding small amounts to keep the ammonia up, dose it up to 3 to 4ppm then leave it 24 hours & check again, if it's dropped to 0 to 1ppm dose it again up to 3 to 4 you'll need to keep doing this until the BB colony in your filter starts to process the ammonia into nitrites then you'll see the nitrite levels increase then another kind of bacteria will start to process the nitrite into nitrate & you should start getting readings after a time of around 0, 0 & 5 - 20ppm nitrates when those readings are stable your cycle will be complete but it can take a month or a bit more sometimes. Can you get some used filter media from anywhere to seed your filter? that will quicken up the process for you.
 
YATT
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
I wouldn't keep adding small amounts to keep the ammonia up, dose it up to 3 to 4ppm then leave it 24 hours & check again, if it's dropped to 0 to 1ppm dose it again up to 3 to 4 you'll need to keep doing this until the BB colony in your filter starts to process the ammonia into nitrites then you'll see the nitrite levels increase then another kind of bacteria will start to process the nitrite into nitrate & you should start getting readings after a time of around 0, 0 & 5 - 20ppm nitrates when those readings are stable your cycle will be complete but it can take a month or a bit more sometimes. Can you get some used filter media from anywhere to seed your filter? that will quicken up the process for you.

I’ve got no friends with aquariums. New to town.
 
Kalyke
  • #8
Plants use ammonia, so plants will be good. Ammonia is toxic to animal life, not plants (unless it is too high).
 
Seasoldier
  • #9
I’ve got no friends with aquariums. New to town.
That's a shame, you could try a liquid starter culture instead, some people don't hold with them & think they're a waste of money but I've used JBL Denitrol with good results, I've also done fish in cycles using it & never lost any fish.
 
Kalyke
  • #10
I didn't have friends either. I went to a mom-and-pop fish store and begged for some used aquarium gravel. Offer money. You know, you can buy a bag of Carib sea with beneficial bacteria in it. Are you near a stream or lake? Do you realize that they are "cycled" and the medium in them is "cycled?" Another option is to go to a garden center that has koi ponds. As long as the aquarium or pond has been running for a year or two, and no fish have died, it is usually cycled.

Obviously never put anything cycled into regular tap water. If I were near a natural body of water and needed to get a tank quickly cycled, I would go down there with a baggie or two or other containers, and scoop up some sand or rock (with a bit of water in it). Now there "Maybe" worms or all sorts of things in the water/gravel. I would use a medication that does not destroy beneficial bacteria. The medication must be "gram negative" because BB is gram negative. Salt might also work. You have to look this up.
 
YATT
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
So, it’s a few days later now and zero change. Ammonia the same and still zero nitrite, zero nitrate.

This sucks.

Any thoughts?
 
Seasoldier
  • #12
Still early days, you're only a week in & a fishless cycle can take a month or a bit longer sometimes, I'm afraid patience is the answer.
 
YATT
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
Still early days, you're only a week in & a fishless cycle can take a month or a bit longer sometimes, I'm afraid patience is the answer.

Ok. I’m 2 weeks in actually. I thought I’d see something. Reading about all these people that cycle in < 3 weeks. Maybe I’ll buy a couple plants this weekend. The LFS keeps them tanked with fish. Maybe some bb will come along for the ride.
 
Seasoldier
  • #14
Ok. I’m 2 weeks in actually. I thought I’d see something. Reading about all these people that cycle in < 3 weeks. Maybe I’ll buy a couple plants this weekend. The LFS keeps them tanked with fish. Maybe some bb will come along for the ride.
Yeah, sorry I went by when you originally posted & forgot you'd said that was after 5 days but even so 2 weeks isn't that long, if you're going to add plants don't you sterilise them first? you never know what's hitching a ride on them, pest snails, hydra, etc. besides you won't get much BB from them, most of the BB colony lives in the filter media & very little lives in the water column or substrate, you could ask the LFS guys if they have any mature media they could let you have.
 
YATT
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
Yeah, sorry I went by when you originally posted & forgot you'd said that was after 5 days but even so 2 weeks isn't that long, if you're going to add plants don't you sterilise them first? you never know what's hitching a ride on them, pest snails, hydra, etc. besides you won't get much BB from them, most of the BB colony lives in the filter media & very little lives in the water column or substrate, you could ask the LFS guys if they have any mature media they could let you have.

Finally purple and some yellow nitrate. Happy!
My best guess
0.5-1ppm ammonia
2-5ppm nitrite
5ppm nitrate

So do I dose it back to 4ppm ammonia???


EC0E61D2-AD5A-4220-8082-047D9DE8A62C.jpeg
 
Seasoldier
  • #16
Looks like you're almost there, keep dosing until ammonia goes to zero in 24 hours & nitrite = 0 & you get nitrate readings < 20ppm then you'll be good to go.
 

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