could my tank really be cycling?

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lvnoahsark

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Ok....So about 8 weeks ago I got my first 10 gallon tank and since I didn't know much about cycling and stuff I put my Betta (Fred) in there.  I read up about the cycling process, found this site, got a test kit and did water changes to keep the ammonia down.  After 6 weeks I still had somewhat high ammonia levels (~1.0ppm) and No nitrites.  ???  I assumed that since it was just a Betta in a 10 gallon, the cycle was just going to take a long time.  Well I came home one day to  find Fred with shorter and torn-up fins  :'(.  I don't know whether it was from high ammonia or the plants that I had in there.

I took him out to medicate and get him into a better quality of water.  I did a small water change and changed the bio-bag in the filter (I think it was clogged or something that contributed to the poor water quality...).  But I left it running until I figured out how to do a fishless cycle.  I tested the water tonight and the ammonia was down (.50)...I figured it was due to having no fish in there for about 2 weeks but I tested the nitrites just  because and guess what!  I GOT A READING!!!!      It is about .50ppm also...Since I got a reading on that I then tested for Nitrates and got a reading of 5ppm. 

So...What do I do now?  Do I just wait for the bacteria to do its thing? And do you think there is enough ammonia and nitrites to push it through the cycle (if thats what this is...)  Any help is greatly appreciated!  Thanks!

----Andrea
 

Gunnie

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You can keep the cycling process going by adding pure clear ammonia to the tank. Make sure it has no additives or detergents. Once your cycle is complete, do a massive water change, and you are done!
 

Butterfly

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Freds fin problem could be from the ammonia readings. Good clean water should help him alot
Carol
 
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lvnoahsark

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Thanks! I guess Ill go pick up some clear ammonia tonight. How much do I need to use?
 
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lvnoahsark

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Thanks for the link!  Unfortunately the "clear" ammonia I have has surfacants in it and I havent had time to pick up some pure clear ammonia until tomorrow....Is the tank ok for another day?  Also is it possible for the cycle to go backwards if there is no direct ammonia source?

I tested the water today and am getting a reading of .50 ppm ammonia, 0ppm nitrites and 5ppm nitrates.
Its been about two and a half weeks since Fred was in the tank...

Silly question but what if I put some of the water that Fred is in now into the tank instead of the pure ammonia...or would that not contain the concentration of ammonia the bacteria needs?

Thanks,
Andrea 
 
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lvnoahsark

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Just an update...

I still cant find any pure clear ammonia. I looked at 5 different stores and all but one had ammonia with surfactants. The other one said 10% ammonium hydroxide but didn't tell me what the other ingredients were so I didn't get it. Anyways I am using the fish flake method instead. However now i have tiny worms in the tank. After researching I think they are nematodes due to the uneaten food. Someone else told me not to worry about the worms and keep adding flakes and testing...letting it cycle. What do you guys think? Thanks!
 

Butterfly

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You asked about water from Freds tank. The water its self has very little bacteria in it. Keep on doing what your doing, the worms are from the uneaten food. You maybe adding too much also. When it's cycled give it a good vacuum to get all that rotting food out though.
Carol
 
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lvnoahsark

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Ok....so I fed the tank every day with a pinch of flake food and raised the temperature to 86. Ammonia went up to 2 and is now 0 for the second day in a row. Nitrites are 0 (has been that way since I started fishless cycling) and Nitrates are at 10ppm. I am going to do a 50% water change and test my water to see what the parameters are.

Is it possible that it is cycled without seeing any nitrites during the process? ???

Thanks,
Andrea
 

Gwenz

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It is possible that the NitrIte spike to have happened in between your testing the tank. Maybe you just missed it. ??? :-\ I'm not sure though, so I would wait for Carol or someone to see what she thinks.

Gwenz
 
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lvnoahsark

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Well could it be possible that when Fred was in the tank there was a cycle and this was just a mini cycle of sorts?
Added a bit of fish food last night and tested this morning....still 0 ammonia, 0 nitrates and 10 nitrates

Im confused but would like to put Fred into the 10 gallon as soon as possible...

The vase he is in seems so small and it is unheated so the water is a bit on the cold side...(athough around 75-76 degrees...) and the water changes every other day are getting a little annoying...

Thanks,
Andrea
 

chickadee

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The ammonia that I used when I cycled also had surfactants in it and it worked fine. The thing you do not want is scents and phosphorous. It will say somewhere on the bottle that it contains no phorphorous. It will work because you will be doing a water change before you add any fish anyway and I promise I used it and it did not kill my fish. Just not the 'Lemon Scented" or any of the fancy stuff. Just follow the rest of the directions of Option 3 to the letter and it will cycle your tank in no time and give you a good cycle. It is cheaper and much more available than Bio-spira but not as quick or dependable as that of course.

Rose
 
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lvnoahsark

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Ok...the ammonia I have has no phosphorus or scents as it is clear ammonia from frys..the generic kind. I read somewhere that surfacants were a no-no that is why i didnt want to risk it. But if you used it and your fishies are fine, I guess I will try it.

I tested the ammonia last night and there was .25 again...still no nitrites and 10 nitrates. And this morning there was no ammonia. Its not going to hurt the tank if I just change the method right? and seeing that this is the 3rd attempt at cycling there should be at least a few little bacteria on the sponges I have in my filter which would make the cycle a little faster correct?

Im sorry for all the questions, Im just a little frustrated... :-\
 

Butterfly

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Questions are fine, don't worry about it changing methods shouldn't hurt anything. Hopefully soon you'll have a cycled tank good luck!
Carol
 
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lvnoahsark

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Ok so I think my tank is cycled because when I add ammonia my nitrates increase...which I think is what a cycled tank does right?

Wednesday afternoon I added 5 drops of ammonia as per option 3 and tested 3 hours later .25 ppm ammonia and 10 nitrates

Thursday morning tested 0 ammonia 10 nitrates, Thursday afternoon added 5 drops and tested 3 hours later .25 ppm ammonia and nitrates 10 and 20.

Friday morning tested 0 ammonia, between 10 and 20 nitrates. Friday afternoon added 3 drops and tested 3 hours later 0 ammonia and between 20 and 40 nitrates!

That means its cycled right!?!?! (Ill test in the morning also...)

THANKS!!!!

Andrea
 

chickadee

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When the Bacteria that we are trying to produce uses up the ammonia, it produces firstly nitrites and then nitrates. so when the nitrates start to show up and there are 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites then your tank is cycled. I would say you are there. you may want to do the 30% water change, quit with adding ammonia (right before adding a couple of fish). Please do not add a whole tank full as this type of cycle is not strong enough to handle a full load right away. It must be worked into a couple of fish at a time.

Rose
 
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lvnoahsark

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Thanks! I will do a water change and test the water...if everything looks good, Fred will be going back home!

Thanks again!
Andrea
 

Butterfly

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Got my fingers crossed!!!
Carol
 
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Thanks Carol!

I did the water change and tested and everything was good so I put Fred back in (acclimated him of course ). He looks like he is very happy with the room and the warmer constant temperature. I watched him very carefully but left him alone for most of the day to get used to the tank.

He was flaring and swimming back and forth underneath the filter. Im not sure if he was threatened by the filter (I put a sponge in the output so the flow isnt that strong) or if he saw his reflection. He would get tired and rest on the plants for about 5 mins and then go back to flaring. I was a little worried but he only occasionally does that now. He swims around exploring his tank and when he sees me he'll come over to me doing the "hungry dance". He seems very happy!

Thanks everyone for seeing me though this...Fred is a very happy betta because of it!

--Andrea
 
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