Cycle Crashed? HELP!

Ilya16v

Hey guys, so this was my first time fish-less cycling a 29 gallon tank and for the past month it has been cycling. Last week it was 0 ammonia, 2 nitrite, 80 nitrate. It has been steady since today. Woke up today to 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 0 nitrate. Does this mean it crashed? Why can't I see nitrate? I'm trying to stay calm because as much as I love this hobby, I do not want to start all over again. Currently put in 2ppm of ammonia to see if it processes it over the next few hours.
 

AJ34

How are you cycling the tank? Are you using pure ammonia, fish food (fish out) or are you using fish in method. If so what is your stocking? Filter? Live Plants? Just a few things I would examine in a situation like this!
 

Ilya16v

How are you cycling the tank? Are you using pure ammonia, fish food (fish out) or are you using fish in method. If so what is your stocking? Filter? Live Plants? Just a few things I would examine in a situation like this!

okay so I am doing the fish-less cycle with pure ammonia. It is heavily planted so maybe that's what ate the nitrate? My filter is the Marineland penguin but I modified it with a sponge and bio-filter. Everything was working well until this morning.
 

AJ34

I would guess it's the plants. I don't have the most experience with fishless cycles and none with pure ammonia. But I'm sure someone else here does and will chime in. I have some tanks with "plants" but not heavily planted. I can let my tanks with plants go a little longer for water changes. I think you can do fish in if you don't overstock and you wouldnt have an issue with that size tank heavily planted but that is just my two sense. I know people have varying oppinions on bacteria additives but I had good success with them when I restarted the hobby prior to that I had a lot of disaster but I also knew a lot less about the nitrogen cycle.
 

Andyfischer

If you have not done a water change since your original results one must question your analysis. Ap. Master kit?I just introduced a sick fish into my tiny hospital tank that had weird numbers so.....I will test and change water as necessary. Don’t fret. Stuff happens. You are doing the right thing
 

Ilya16v

I would guess it's the plants. I don't have the most experience with fishless cycles and none with pure ammonia. But I'm sure someone else here does and will chime in. I have some tanks with "plants" but not heavily planted. I can let my tanks with plants go a little longer for water changes. I think you can do fish in if you don't overstock and you wouldnt have an issue with that size tank heavily planted but that is just my two sense. I know people have varying oppinions on bacteria additives but I had good success with them when I restarted the hobby prior to that I had a lot of disaster but I also knew a lot less about the nitrogen cycle.

Thank you so much, yeah I dosed another 2ppm ammonia and will see if that goes away in 24 hours. If it does then I will stock the tank with fish if not I guess I'm going to have to restart

If you have not done a water change since your original results one must question your analysis. Ap. Master kit?

I was doing water changes but the last one was about 4 days ago. Yesterday I had nitrite spiking and nitrate at around 80ppm. Haven't done a water change and got these results today. I am using API master kit.
 

AJ34

I was doing water changes but the last one was about 4 days ago. Yesterday I had nitrite spiking and nitrate at around 80ppm. Haven't done a water change and got these results today. I am using API master kit.

What percent of the water did you change?
 

Andyfischer

Well. If you have nitrates you are cycling. Too high nitrates might hamper the cycling it seems to me. Make sure nitrates are <20 and test all perimeters daily. If ammonia doesn’t budge then you that bacteria is having trouble. If nitrites too high then that bacteria having trouble. When you change water get your new baseline numbers. Plants eat nitrates. I would not expect a connection but don’t have live plants in my aquariums.

The danger of NITRITES (and how to get rid of them!)

If you introduce fish test tes test. That’s what I do and change water for spikes. When introducing fish into a cycledtank one should watch for a minI cycle. I’ve done it and seen it. Don’t fear
 

TerryCHJ

Do you have water sprite in your tank? That stuff soaks up nitrates like a sponge.
 

mattgirl

If you've not done so you may want to run the nitrate test again. Fast growing plants will remove some nitrates but not all of them that quickly. Seeing no ammonia nor nitrites is a good thing and what you want to see but the nitrate shouldn't have gone from 80 to zero over night or even from 40 to zero if you had gotten them down to that number with the 50% water change.
 

Ilya16v

Thank you guys, and no I don't have any water sprites. But I will do another test in an hour or so and update you guys. Hopefully by tomorrow morning the ammonia is gone which would be the tank is cycling and I can go and introduce some fishies
 

DuaneV

A heavily planted tank will mess up your cycling process as the plants will consume ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. Depending on what you want for stock and just how heavily the tank is planted (post a pic?) you could probably add some fish safely any time.
 

Ilya16v

A heavily planted tank will mess up your cycling process as the plants will consume ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. Depending on what you want for stock and just how heavily the tank is planted (post a pic?) you could probably add some fish safely any time.

it’s not crazily planted but has all love plants and yeah I’m planning on getting the fish tomorrow.
 

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DuaneV

How big is it exactly and what are you hoping to put in it tomorrow?
 

DuaneV

A Honey Gourami is going to want much warmer temps than Danios and most Pleco. What Id do is, pick out a good stock of temp compatible fish and add the most peaceful, biggest school, first.

So say you were going to put a Honey Gourami with a school of Harlequin Rasboras and a Clown Pleco. Id do the tank at 80 degrees and add 6-8 little Rasboras first. Then Id add the Pleco after QTing it, then the Gourami last. If you do it that way, you should be okay with your cycle and you can add some more Harlequins down the road.
 

Ilya16v

A Honey Gourami is going to want much warmer temps than Danios and most Pleco. What Id do is, pick out a good stock of temp compatible fish and add the most peaceful, biggest school, first.

So say you were going to put a Honey Gourami with a school of Harlequin Rasboras and a Clown Pleco. Id do the tank at 80 degrees and add 6-8 little Rasboras first. Then Id add the Pleco after QTing it, then the Gourami last. If you do it that way, you should be okay with your cycle and you can add some more Harlequins down the road.

hmm, okay I like that idea! I will give it a try tomorrow. Thank you!

Update: so looks like I’m fully cycled. 2 hours after dosing ammonia the results are 1ppm ammonia, .25 nitrite, 5ppm nitrate. So after 24 hours should be down to 0 on ammonia and nitrite.
 

Ilya16v

Update: Hey guys, so I was looking forward to getting fish because of yesterday's results. I have no idea why the results went all whacky on me, but today it seems like it's still cycling and not finished yet. This morning the numbers are Ammonia 0.50 ppm, Nitrite around 2 ppm, Nitrate closer to 20 ppm. I will continue to monitor and see if maybe it changes tomorrow. (Very disappointed but can't control everything)
 

mattgirl

Update: Hey guys, so I was looking forward to getting fish because of yesterday's results. I have no idea why the results went all whacky on me, but today it seems like it's still cycling and not finished yet. This morning the numbers are Ammonia 0.50 ppm, Nitrite around 2 ppm, Nitrate closer to 20 ppm. I will continue to monitor and see if maybe it changes tomorrow. (Very disappointed but can't control everything)
The first time your ammonia went down to zero did you add more each time it went to zero? If not then that is why you are seeing what you are seeing this morning.
 

Ilya16v

The first time your ammonia went down to zero did you add more each time it went to zero? If not then that is why you are seeing what you are seeing this morning.

oh no! So I got mix messages on here. I was dozing ammonia every time it went to zero until 5 days ago when my nitrite and nitrate went through the roof and was told on here to wait for my nitrites to go down and not dose ammonia does this mean longer cycle now?
 

Tez

okay so I am doing the fish-less cycle with pure ammonia. It is heavily planted so maybe that's what ate the nitrate? My filter is the Marineland penguin but I modified it with a sponge and bio-filter. Everything was working well until this morning.
Some tanks can finish a cycle quicker than others and the plants have stripped your nitrite out which is good as it's showing your plants are doing their job, I would test your water in another couple of days and if they come in the same that's fine and then do it after a further 2 days and if the same again your cycle as finished.
Other members may think differently
 

Ilya16v

Some tanks can finish a cycle quicker than others and the plants have stripped your nitrite out which is good as it's showing your plants are doing their job, I would test your water in another couple of days and if they come in the same that's fine and then do it after a further 2 days and if the same again your cycle as finished.
Other members may think differently

so should I dose more ammonia when it’s 0 even though nitrites might be spiking? Or wait again for both to drop to 0?
 

Tez

so should I dose more ammonia when it’s 0 even though nitrites might be spiking? Or wait again for both to drop to 0?
In my opinion your tank should be left alone now and tested tomorrow and if they come in at 0 leave well alone but if ammonia shows add some, as it shows then that it's not properly finished but if it's 0 again for all 3, it shouldn't be tested again then till friday.
 

mattgirl

oh no! So I got mix messages on here. I was dozing ammonia every time it went to zero until 5 days ago when my nitrite and nitrate went through the roof and was told on here to wait for my nitrites to go down and not dose ammonia does this mean longer cycle now?
I have seen some folks say one should stop dosing ammonia until the nitrites go down but I can't agree with that. The bacteria needs a steady supple of ammonia to keep growing. Now that you have added some food (ammonia) your bacteria is growing again. I often recommend just adding ammonia every other day once it is going down to zero but I never recommend one stop adding any at all until the nitrites go to zero.

Now that you are feeding the bacteria it really should grow quickly.
 

Ilya16v

In my opinion your tank should be left alone now and tested tomorrow and if they come in at 0 leave well alone but if ammonia shows add some, as it shows then that it's not properly finished but if it's 0 again for all 3, it shouldn't be tested again then till friday.

ok sounds good, the ammonia will be zero by tonight because just tested and it looks like it’s .25 ppm meanwhile nitrite is spiked, so I’ll just wait until both are zero. Thanks again.

I have seen some folks say one should stop dosing ammonia until the nitrites go down but I can't agree with that. The bacteria needs a steady supple of ammonia to keep growing. Now that you have added some food (ammonia) your bacteria is growing again. I often recommend just adding ammonia every other day once it is going down to zero but I never recommend one stop adding any at all until the nitrites go to zero.

Now that you are feeding the bacteria it really should grow quickly.

would the spiked nitrite and nitrate stall the cycle?
 

Tez

ok sounds good, the ammonia will be zero by tonight because just tested and it looks like it’s .25 ppm meanwhile nitrite is spiked, so I’ll just wait until both are zero. Thanks again.
If you don't mind me asking what test kit are you using? for .25 it should show like a slight lime green in it.
 

Ilya16v

If you don't mind me asking what test kit are you using? for .25 it should show like a slight lime green in it.

yeah that’s what I’m seeing, it’s the apI master kit. Ammonia is the easier to read while nitrite is a bit harder when it gets deep purple
 

mattgirl

would the spiked nitrite and nitrate stall the cycle?
Only if they got super high. You can know a cycle is stalled if both nitrites and nitrates are off the chart and the ammonia stops going down. Even if they are off the chart as long as the ammonia is still going back to zero within 24 hours the cycle is still moving forward. Since you weren't adding ammonia we can't know if that was happening.
 

Ilya16v

Only if they got super high. You can know a cycle is stalled if both nitrites and nitrates are off the chart and the ammonia stops going down. Even if they are off the chart as long as the ammonia is still going back to zero within 24 hours the cycle is still moving forward. Since you weren't adding ammonia we can't know if that was happening.

oooh gotchu, alright I’ll see how the next week goes and hopefully next week I can finally introduce some fish lol
 

Tez

yeah that’s what I’m seeing, it’s the apI master kit. Ammonia is the easier to read while nitrite is a bit harder when it gets deep purple
I use the API master test kit and the easiest way of testing for me besides double checking by the kitchen window is this way, I put each one on the end and just look across at the one that needs testing.
Nitrite test.
 

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Ilya16v

I use the API master test kit and the easiest way of testing for me besides double checking by the kitchen window is this way, I put each one on the end and just look across at the one that needs testing.
Nitrite test.

haha I never even thought of putting it like that! Will do that from now on! Because I seriously have to always be near the window or right under my room light to check it. Thank you so much!
 

mattgirl

oooh gotchu, alright I’ll see how the next week goes and hopefully next week I can finally introduce some fish lol
I know it is hard to know what to do when you are getting different answers as to what to do from different folks. Just know that bacteria needs food. That food is ammonia. If you stop adding ammonia once the nitrites spike eventually the nitrites will zero out but as soon as ammonia is added again, be it bottled ammonia or fish, the nitrites will spike again.

If the cycle (bacteria) has a steady supply of ammonia the nitrites will only spike one time because they have had a steady supply of necessary food. Once the added ammonia processes straight through to nitrates the cycle will be done. The tank is still producing nitrites but there is enough bacteria to almost instantly process through to nitrates so they don't show up in the test tube.
 

Ilya16v

I know it is hard to know what to do when you are getting different answers as to what to do from different folks. Just know that bacteria needs food. That food is ammonia. If you stop adding ammonia once the nitrites spike eventually the nitrites will zero out but as soon as ammonia is added again, be it bottled ammonia or fish, the nitrites will spike again.

If the cycle (bacteria) has a steady supply of ammonia the nitrites will only spike one time because they have had a steady supply of necessary food. Once the added ammonia processes straight through to nitrates the cycle will be done. The tank is still producing nitrites but there is enough bacteria to almost instantly process through to nitrates so they don't show up in the test tube.

yeah I’m really learning how to be patient here I really want this to be over but also don’t want to kill any fish so have to wait until everything is ready to go. Hoping that this virus won’t close my LFS before my cycle is done
 

Tez

haha I never even thought of putting it like that! Will do that from now on! Because I seriously have to always be near the window or right under my room light to check it. Thank you so much!
Make sure you have kitchen roll under it and I always lean down to look across as I find it shows the true colour than standing, as you can see from my nitrate roughly at 8 but not quite 10ppm.
 

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Ilya16v

Make sure you have kitchen roll under it and I always lean down to look across as I find it shows the true colour than standing, as you can see from my nitrate roughly at 8 but not quite 10ppm.

Oh wow I can seriously see the difference! Dang thanks for that tip!
 

Tez

Oh wow I can seriously see the difference! Dang thanks for that tip!
Let us know when you do your tests how things are going
 

Ilya16v

Update: Good news, its been 48 hours and this morning the results are. Ammonia 0ppm, Nitrite .25ppm, Nitrate 20ppm. So will be giving another dose of Ammonia and hoping that in 24 hours it clears. Definitely looking good. Thank you guys!
 

Tez

Update: Good news, its been 48 hours and this morning the results are. Ammonia 0ppm, Nitrite .25ppm, Nitrate 20ppm. So will be giving another dose of Ammonia and hoping that in 24 hours it clears. Definitely looking good. Thank you guys!
Yes dose it again and it's nearing it's cycle to me with how your readings are going
 

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