Can't Get My Tank to Cycle

Discussion in 'Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle' started by Wendy Lubianetsky, Mar 15, 2012.

  1. Wendy Lubianetsky

    Wendy LubianetskyWell Known MemberMember

    I have a 60 gallon tank with a 2.5 inch Bonsai Kilin Flowerhorn, 4 inch Oscar and 2 1.5 inch Blood Parrots. I will be moving them to a 100+ gallon tank soon, but for now they have plenty of space as the tank is 4 feet long.

    I maintain the tank very well. I vacuum the poop and extra food out daily or at least every other day because I know these fish are very "dirty" fish. I have to do at LEAST a 25% water change daily because my nitrite reading is very high. I use Prime to keep the water safe for the fish. I change enough water to bring the nitrite back down to 0. But my nitrates are always 0. This has been going on for 10 weeks. Obviously the ammonia changing bacteria is there, but not the nitrite? Does anyone know why it is taking so long?

    I have put extra biorings anywhere I can put them to develope more surface for bacteria to colinate.

    Am I going to have to continue this for ever or will it cycle? If I have to do it everyday.... that is okay, I would just like to know what to expect.
  2. Jaysee

    JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    No, the tank ought to be able to cycle.

    Is your aquarium information up to date?
  3. Heather12404Valued MemberMember

    I'm a big believer in Tetra Safe Start. It has cycled my 29G and my 10G and it has made adding fish so easy. You just dump it in your tank and wait 10-14 days for the tank to cycle....and during this time do not do any water changes/gravel vacs.
    I highly recommend it.

  4. OP
    Wendy Lubianetsky

    Wendy LubianetskyWell Known MemberMember

    Yes, my aquarium information is up to date. I am afraid to use TSS because I get so high nitrate readings that I am afraid it will kill my fish after a few days.

  5. jdhef

    jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    Since you keep bringing your nitrite level down to zero, you never have a constant flow of nitrites going thru the filter, and therefore there is no steady food source to grow the nitrite consuming bacteria.

    I would be sure to keep some nitrite in the water column at all times. The Prime will keep it detoxed so no need to worry about it harming your fish. Just don't let the levels get higher than what Prime can detox.
  6. Jaysee

    JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    This is one of my biggest pet peeves. Nitrates WILL NOT kill your fish. Many people convey this message but it is simply wrong and just a bunch of fear mongering. There is no level of nitrates that your tank could conceivably reach that will kill your fish.

    I'm not saying you are spreading this, but that you are a victim of it.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2012
  7. Heather12404Valued MemberMember

    I agree with Jaysee. TSS won't kill your'll just cycle your tank.
  8. iZaO JnrWell Known MemberMember

    1. Do smaller WC's. You do want some nitrite there to allow for the bacteria to grow. Since you're using prime, itl keep our fish safe.

    2. You have 3 tanks running, so i dont know why TSS is being recommended. Transfer some established media(anything will work) from the other tanks to this one. One nitrite-consuming bacteria have grown, it is easy to reproduce them. Its getting them to grow which is the difficult part. It took my 55g 6 days even with seeded media to allow the bacteria to catch on.

    3. It is believed that nitrite-consuming bacteria grows faster in the presence of more nitrite exposed over a longer period of time. I think this is why my 55g took a while. IMO i would allow nitite to build up (using prime to keep it safe) and then the filter should catch on.

    4. I am not familiar with any of your filters, but a consideration to make is that there possibly isnt enough volume withing your filters to handle the bioload in your tank.

    5. When do you test your tank water and more importantly have you tested your tap water? If there are any toxins in your source, and you are testing soon after the WC, this could be the issue.

    Lastly i just think the water changes are preventing your filter the chance to grow the bacteria needed. IMHO #3 is the best thing you can do at this point. Be sure to try seeding the tank too!
  9. CichlidnutFishlore VIPMember

  10. iZaO JnrWell Known MemberMember

    Nitrate at this point i believe is not an issue
  11. CichlidnutFishlore VIPMember

    I was just wondering. Don't know of a kit that goes that high lol
  12. Heather12404Valued MemberMember

    I was suggesting TSS because it works. I didn't read any of her tank info so I didn't know she already had tanks running.
  13. iZaO JnrWell Known MemberMember

  14. OP
    Wendy Lubianetsky

    Wendy LubianetskyWell Known MemberMember

    I must have miscommunicated. It is the nitrite levels that are high and I am getting NO nitrates. It is not continuing the cycle process. But, from the helpful information above, I believe that I have the answer. I need to leave some nitrites in the water in order for the bacteria to grow at all. That is me always overdoing it. I thought I was doing a good thing dropping the nitrites down to 0. Also, it seems to me, and maybe my observation is wrong, that whenever I let the nitrites go up a little (with Prime or no Prime) my Oscars fins start to tatter a bit. That is why I was trying to keep it 0.

    I hope that makes sense. Thank you Ryan for so much information (and everyone else too).:;thx
  15. iZaO JnrWell Known MemberMember

    I have cycled a filter outside of a tank before if that helps. I hooked it up to a bucket, added a dosage of pure ammonia each day and then it cycled because it had the presence of a lot more NH3 and NO2. I dont know how easy that would be with an oscar's bioload, but perhaps that and large daily or bi-daily WC's are the call?... Just a possibility.

    No need to thank. Thats what we are all here for
  16. jdhef

    jdhefModeratorModerator Member

    I have no experiance with Oscars so this may be wrong, but I believe Oscars are pretty sensitive to water conditions. So if that is correct, then it could be possible that even in a detoxed state he is being affected.

    This is just another reason why it is better to cycle fishless (even though I am a big fan of SafeStart)
  17. Jayha68

    Jayha68Valued MemberMember

    With using the Prime will it still show nitrites during testing (it being in the water just safe for the fish so the nitrite eating bacteria will grow) or will it show a 0 reading for the nitrites?
  18. CichlidnutFishlore VIPMember

    It will still show, but while the prime is working, it's safe.
  19. EchostaticWell Known MemberMember

    If nitrates won't kill fish, why do we try to keep the nitrate levels low? And what about fish that need nitrates particularly low, like the little otos? This is news to me o.0
  20. Jaysee

    JayseeFishlore LegendMember

    Because most people do as they're told and happily repeat it.

    high and low are relative. Many people think that 20 ppm is high, and yet to others it's low.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2012

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