5 Gallon Tank Cycle stalled? Nitrites not descreasing, day 25 - Page 2

sak

Hi All,
I am very new to the hobby and this is my first time cycling a tank to ensure I have everytging ready before I bring my fish in. I am on day 25 and not sure if I just need to continue doing what I am doing or I am missing something... hence reaching out to you experts :)
I have answered all questions from the template below and more details on the bottom.

Thank you for taking the time to read and help me out.

Are you doing a fish in cycle, fishless cycle or was your tank cycled and you had a sudden ammonia or nitrite spike?: Fishless cycle

Tank
What is the water volume of the tank?: 5 gallon
What type of water are you using in your tank? (tap, well, RO/DI, other): tap water - treated with water conditioner
When did you start cycling the tank?: 21-May
What type of filtration are you running on this tank? (sponge, HOB, canister, other): Fluval chi foam/filter combo
If canister or HOB list all the media you are running in it. (manufactured cartridges, sponge, etc.):
Do you have good water agitation/surface movement?: Yes
What is the water temperature?: 82F


Products used while cycling
If this is a fishless cycle what ammonia source are you using? (fish food, Dr Tim’s ammonia, other): Fritz fishless fuel
If adding liquid ammonia how often do you dose ammonia in your tank and in what quantity? (1ppm, 2ppm etc.): daily, 1ppm
If using fish food as your ammonia source how much are you adding and how often?: No
Are you using a dechlorinater and if so, which one?: Fluval water conditioner (about to run out, will use Prime after)
Are you using bottled bacteria and if so, which one?: No
Did you add seeded media from a previously cycled tank?: No
What other products/chemicals are you using? (list them all): No


Testing and cycling process
What was your knowledge of the nitrogen cycle before beginning to cycle your tank? (none, beginner, intermediate (please explain), advanced): beginner
What do you use to test the water? (API liquid, test strips, other): API master test kit
Did you test your tap water for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates and pH, if so post the results below?: Yes
Have you done any water changes and if so, when?: Yes, 2 times.
How much water did you change?: day 16 - 25% to increase pH, day 20 - 50% to increase pH and also added 1/2 tsp baking soda
Did you vacuum the substrate?: No
Did you clean your filter, filter media, decorations and/or glass?: No
If using disposable cartridges have you replaced one recently?: N/A



*Parameters - Very Important
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.
Tank water:
Ammonia: 0 after 24 hrs (I have not tested before 24 hrs)
Nitrite: 2-5 range starting day 8. (more detail in description below)
Nitrate: 5
pH: 8 (after baking soda on day 20, before that kept dropping down to 6)

Tap water:
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
pH: 7.4


Details:
I have a 5 gallon Fluval Chi tank with heater and also 2 live plants (java fern). I started by cycle by dosing the tank to 4ppm liquid ammonia. Day 8 - nitrites started appearing as expected and ammonia dropped to 2ppm. Since then, I daily dose the ammonia back up to the 3ppm range, on testing after 24 hours, ammonia reduces, but nitrites were constantly in the 2-5 range.
Day 11 - ammonia started dropping to 0 after 24 hours but nitrites still at the same level (not going down or getting darker).
Day 15 - I checked my pH based on research of a stalled cycle and it was at 6. I did a 25% water change and it got up to 7. kept dosing daily to 1ppm now to not produce a lot of nitrites.
day 20 - pH dropped to 6 again. did 50% water change and added 1/2 tsp pf baking soda. pH has been at 8 since then. continue dosing to 1ppm and ammonia is 0 the next day with no change in nitrite level.

Nitrates have shown up at 5ppm since day 9 so I am not sure if they are just high nitrites showing up as nitrites.

Day 22 (Friday am)- I had to be out for the weekend, I dosed the ammonia back up to 1ppm and left
Day 24 (Sunday pm) - came back home and tested - Ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates 0. I dosed to 1ppm again tested after an hour, ammonia was at 1ppm and nitrites at .25ppm
Day 25 (today) - ammonia 0, nitrites at .5, nitrate 5.

so nitrites still continue to rise. is this expected? I know the cycle can take upto 2 months to complete, but I wanted to make sure I am not missing anything or suggestions to make it faster? what else I should watch out for? any mistakes you can point out?

Thank you!
 

sak

I know we are going to see the slightest change and will imagine all kinds of things. Some folks see things, freak out and start medicating. Almost everything can be prevented by simply keeping their water fresh and clean.

I will admit some fish are not a healthy as they should be when we get them. Their health depends on how well they were taken care of before they came to live with us. Hopefully your beautiful little guy is healthy.

It is a good sign that he is already accepting food. I am sure he was getting hungry since I don't know if they get fed while in those little cups they are kept in. Now that he has had a big meal I would probably feed him several times a day but just one bite of food each time. Give him time between feeding to digest the previous bite.

I've never fed Betta pellets so don't know how big they are. Put one in some water and see how much it swells after soaking. The size it swells up to is what happens once he eats them. If they swell quite a bit imagine what is happening inside your little guy if he eats several of them all at the same time. If they don't swell up and actually break apart quickly then feeding more than one at a time shouldn't cause problems. This is just something I would have to know.

All this to say, the bulge may be food that hasn't broken down yet.
Thank you. I did soak the pellets before hand these ones did not swell much and broke down pretty easy. I had the other ones that swell to 3 times their size and it did not make sense to me to feed those.

i also got freeze dried bloodworms and brine shrimp that I have not given him yet. Wanted to start slow and understand his habits first.

what food do you recommend that is easybto manage for a beginner?

also - checked water parameters this am and everything looked great!
 
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mattgirl

Thank you. I did soak the pellets before hand these ones did not swell much and broke down pretty easy. I had the other ones that swell to 3 times their size and it did not make sense to me to feed those.
Good job on discarding the ones that swell so much. They could have caused problems.

i also got freeze dried bloodworms and brine shrimp that I have not given him yet. Wanted to start slow and understand his habits first.

what food do you recommend that is easybto manage for a beginner?

also - checked water parameters this am and everything looked great!
As I said, I don't have a Betta but do recommend the bloodworm only be given as a treat no more often than maybe once or twice a week. Soak them well and if i were feeding this food I would only give him one small worm or since the brine shrimp are small maybe two or three. Use your own judgement on how many to feed. If they swell keep it down to just one. His main diet should be his pellets.

I truly do think your little guy is going to live a long healthy life in your care. Weekly 50% water changes may be overkill but i would do it anyway. Fresh clean water is the very best thing we can give our water pets.
 
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sak

Good job on discarding the ones that swell so much. They could have caused problems.


As I said, I don't have a Betta but do recommend the bloodworm only be given as a treat no more often than maybe once or twice a week. Soak them well and if i were feeding this food I would only give him one small worm or since the brine shrimp are small maybe two or three. Use your own judgement on how many to feed. If they swell keep it down to just one. His main diet should be his pellets.

I truly do think your little guy is going to live a long healthy life in your care. Weekly 50% water changes may be overkill but i would do it anyway. Fresh clean water is the very best thing we can give our water pets.
I truly hope so. thank you for all your help
 
Upvote 0

Teahaus

I have to agree with mattgirl about water changes especially with this small tank. I do 70% every week and my tank is very stable and seasoned. This also helps with keeping algae in check. My livestock doesn't mind and I've read the bettas really enjoy the time when human is cleaning and swishing around his home. Also, a 70% water change takes like 20 minutes!!
 
Upvote 0

sak

I truly hope so. thank you for all your help
Hi there! I am back... lol.

my water test this am showed .25 ammonia,no nitrites and around 10 nitrates. I know with the fish in, ammonia would rise but should it not go through the cycle quickly or is this expected?

what should my next steps be? Leave it alone and test in another 4-5 hours to make sure it has converted to trites/trates or water change? He parameters were pristine yesterday am.

I planned on daily tested for a week or so until I am sure the system is working as expected. Is that an overkill and I keep myself worries unnecessarily? How frequently should I be testing once the cycle is established?

thanks!
 
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Teahaus

I would say to observe the fish more than worry about testing everyday. He'll be the best indicator if your chi is having issues. Every morning I take a quick look around my chi and make sure everyone looks happy. If so, I let them do their thing. If I see any distress, gasping, acting unusual, out comes the test kit and the bucket for a water change! Fresh water is the lifeblood of these tanks.
 
Upvote 0

mattgirl

Hi there! I am back... lol.

my water test this am showed .25 ammonia,no nitrites and around 10 nitrates. I know with the fish in, ammonia would rise but should it not go through the cycle quickly or is this expected?

what should my next steps be? Leave it alone and test in another 4-5 hours to make sure it has converted to trites/trates or water change? He parameters were pristine yesterday am.

I planned on daily tested for a week or so until I am sure the system is working as expected. Is that an overkill and I keep myself worries unnecessarily? How frequently should I be testing once the cycle is established?

thanks!
This is something I have observed happening once fish are added after doing a fishless cycle. I have seen it often enough to have posted this thread. PSA: Something I am seeing more and more often, fishless cycling.... | Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle Forum | 477380

Run your ammonia test once a day close to the same time each day until the cycle stabilizes. As long as the ammonia goes no higher than the .25 just give the bacteria a chance to clear it out. If it goes higher than .25 change out half the water to get it down.

Once the cycle stabilizes and you are no longer seeing any ammonia run the test once a week just before your water change for at least another month. By then your cycle should be established enough to no longer see any ammonia or nitrites. By testing each week before the water change you will get an idea as to how much nitrate is being produced.

As long as you do your weekly water changes for the life of this tank testing the water shouldn't be necessary after you are sure the cycle is well established. Just for grins I spot check my tanks from time to time.

I run my pH test more than the rest of the test though. I run it every few months to be sure the crushed coral I run in my tanks is still doing its job. If the pH has dropped I know it is time to scrub the CC or add more. Scrub meaning put the media bag in tank water pulled from the tank and rub it roughly to remove the layer of bio-film that may be preventing it from dissolving as well as it should.
 
Upvote 0

sak

This is something I have observed happening once fish are added after doing a fishless cycle. I have seen it often enough to have posted this thread. PSA: Something I am seeing more and more often, fishless cycling.... | Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle Forum | 477380

Run your ammonia test once a day close to the same time each day until the cycle stabilizes. As long as the ammonia goes no higher than the .25 just give the bacteria a chance to clear it out. If it goes higher than .25 change out half the water to get it down.

Once the cycle stabilizes and you are no longer seeing any ammonia run the test once a week just before your water change for at least another month. By then your cycle should be established enough to no longer see any ammonia or nitrites. By testing each week before the water change you will get an idea as to how much nitrate is being produced.

As long as you do your weekly water changes for the life of this tank testing the water shouldn't be necessary after you are sure the cycle is well established. Just for grins I spot check my tanks from time to time.

I run my pH test more than the rest of the test though. I run it every few months to be sure the crushed coral I run in my tanks is still doing its job. If the pH has dropped I know it is time to scrub the CC or add more. Scrub meaning put the media bag in tank water pulled from the tank and rub it roughly to remove the layer of bio-film that may be preventing it from dissolving as well as it should.
Thank you. I checked today and ammonia was zero. This is very good advice, I will go through the added thread as well.
 
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