Cycle advice- desperate

Jludwick78

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I've had my tank for 13 weeks. At first I had 6 zebra danios after a day and adding tetra safe start from advice from my LFS. Long story short, they're dead and I'm not cycled after 13 weeks. I've tried everything.

I have:
20 gallon tank, the top fin complete kit so I'm not sure what filter it came with.

Temp 79
Amm 2-4ppm
Ph 7.8
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0
All other factors are good according to the test strip.
I test the water with API test kit and tetra easy strips.

Two weeks ago I tried adding seachems stability. Nothing has changed.

I'm about to quit. Any advice?

I did water changes when I had fish, but they died anyway.
 

Dom90

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Your ammonia is too high that it will kill off your Stability or SafeStart bacteria. Essentially, your cycle has stalled before it started. Do a water change to bring your ammonia back to around 1-2 ppm and restart your cycle. Add Stability following the directions on the bottle. Once your ammonia falls to 0, dose 1 ppm of ammonia till your nitrites drop and both ammonia and nitrite are 0.

Since you have no fish now, you should do a fishless cycle using pure ammonia.
 

LiterallyHydro

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If you're without fish now, you don't need to do anything at this very second. I'd monitor the ammonia closely and add pure ammonia such as Dr. Tim's Aquatics Ammonium Chloride whenever the ammonia gets low. You want to keep adding ammonia in such a manner until you can dose the ammonia to 2ppm and within 24 hours it's down to 0 along with nitrites and you have nitrates.

When that happens, you have a cycled tank. Don't add any fish at this time, a fishless cycle is so much easier.
 

Dom90

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If your ammonia is too high to begin with, your cycle may not start at all. A 50% water change is advised at this point. Then add in TSS or Stability. Then just wait patiently, don't do anything.


 
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Jludwick78

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Yes it is liquid test kit.

Ok I did a water change. I hope this helps. I've read all kinds of advice and nothing is helping me.
 
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Dom90

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Well you've come to the right place. I cycled a new tank by super dosing Stability in 5 days


 

LiterallyHydro

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I've not tried stability yet. Are you able to do water changes and dose with prime while using it? I'd much prefer using stability if that was the case.
 

Dom90

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Yea you can use Stability 30 minutes right after you dose Prime. As for water changes, it's not advisable unless your cycle stalls or something.


 
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Jludwick78

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Well I feel like I've stalled. Granted I had ph issues many weeks ago, I'm guessing from dirty water. But I just can't understand how after a month of stable water, nothing.
 

Dom90

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It's because even the bacteria can't survive when ammonia or nitrite levels are too high, they will die off.


 

Dom90

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With fish it's considered dangerous and very toxic... Or was that after the fish died?


 

Dom90

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Ok but if the OP had no results with 2-4, then you gotta change it up and go with lower ppm imo. It's better to grow a small colony of BBs in the beginning than to get no results with higher initial ammonia dosing.


 

LiterallyHydro

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Well, there is definitely a problem since there is no BB appearing at 2-4ppm. I dose to 2ppm for fishless cycling, I wouldn't do 4 personally. That does seem a bit high.
 

Dom90

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Yea like I said start low around 1-2 ppm to see if he gets any results. It's better to shoot for the sky than the moon


 

LiterallyHydro

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I suppose so. When cycling my tank I'm going to start at 2ppm and when it converts it 100% in 24 hours I'm going to raise it up until 4ppm. Given it's a high bio-load tank.
 

Dom90

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Yea that's the more way efficient to do it... Or you're gonna have a huge nitrite spike from dosing 4 ppm ammonia and you'll have to do a big water change to get the nitrites down or your cycle will stall.


 
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