Cycle Stalled?

Aaronlint27

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so I bought a used 240, set it up starting cycling. River sand substrate, washed throughly. Large peice of driftwood that was in the previous owners set up. Fish in cycle. (Using prime daily) fish are eating great and the convicts are even breeding.

Dillema is;

Ammonia spiked, water got cloudy everything was going good. Was doing small water changes here and there, not feeding a whole lot. And using prime. Got my nitrites up to 1ppm or so. Then a day or two later they were gone. Ammo is still high 2ppm-4ppm. No nitrites or nitrates. So tested ph and found it to be 6.0. My tap is 7.2. Driftwood screwed it up. So now I'm doing 40% water changes every other day and dosing with apI ph up. Nothings happening. Ph is at 7.0 , temp is at 80. Water is crystal clear now. I did add a new fx6 while the water was cloudy. Couple days and the water cleared up. Whats going on? Do I take the driftwood out to maintain that 7.2? Keep dosing and wait? What am I doing wrong? Its been nearly a week and no nitrites.
I know I'm all over the place with this I just want to provide all the information.
Tank has been set up for 3 weeks. Week one I had the nitrites and now I dont.
My filtration is;
2- fx6
1-aquatop 400 canister
1-aquaclear 110 hob (that was previously cyled)
1- aquatop 75-90 filter (previously cycled)
1- large spong filter(previously cycled.)

I used the cycled filters to jump start mine. Did not work. I plan on adding another fx6 to replace the aquatop 400. No carbon.
 

Skavatar

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do you have a GH/KH test kit? they go for about $7-8 on ebay.

i'm guessing convicts are the American Cichlids and need soft water? I believe its possible to not need to cycle a soft water tank b/c most of the ammonia is the safe ammonium. hopefully someone with a soft water Central/South American or Discus tank can help.

edit:
according to this, in leiu of a nitrogen cycle, you'll have to use zeolite to remove ammonia.
The Soft Water Aquarium: Risks and Benefits
"Filtration can be a problem. Filter bacteria work best at around pH 7.0, and as the pH drops, their performance sharply decreases. Below pH 6.0, filter bacteria are hardly working at all. Chemical filter media that remove ammonia directly (such as zeolite) are the only option in such aquaria. Because chemical filter media need to be replaced or recharged, regular water testing and routine filter maintenance are essential. The idea is to change the filter media before ammonia is detectable -- not afterwards! "
 
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Aaronlint27

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Thank you, id hate to go down that road but am willing to do whatever is possible to keep them healthy. I just don't understand why I'm not seeing any nitrites since I got the ph back up 7.0 range. Will pick up a gh/kh test tomorrow.
 

mattgirl

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By using the seeded media I have to think there is enough nitrite eating bacteria in there to keep the nitrites at zero. If it were me I wouldn't be concerned about not seeing them now that they were there and are now gone. That is actually what we expect to happen.

Now that you have your PH up the cycle should start moving again and you should start seeing nitrates soon. For now just try to keep the ammonia level down below one with water changes and add enough Prime to treat the full volume of water to detox what is left after the water change. Water changes should keep the PH up to the level of your source water so PH up or down shouldn't be needed.
 
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Aaronlint27

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Well that's what I'm thinking too about the seeded bacteria but I would think by now something would show. Hopefully I didnt kill the bacteria and its just dormant for now. I have a 125 with 3 aqua clear 110s on them I could take some more media out of that and put it in one of the hobs on the 240.
 

TacoRoberts

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Nitrite eating bacteria take a long time to reproduce. Like 15-20 hours.

It takes people weeks-months.

Having the pH dip down low wasn't good for them - they prefer things to be slightly basic/alkaline.

Keep the pH around 7.0 - 8.0

Keep the temp around 75-80

Give it a few weeks (like, possibly even over a month).

Keep dosing prime every 24 hours until ammonia and nitrites are reading 0

It's hard to say when exactly to change water - You need there to be some ammonia and nitrite there for the bacteria to feed off of. For me - I would change water when ammonia gets to 2ppm and when nitrites get to 5ppm. Don't constantly change the water trying to keep both at 0 - the bacteria need their food or they won't increase in number, and won't be able to handle your bio burden.


Good luck! Hopefully things kick into gear sooner rather than later.

Waiting can suck sometimes.
 

mattgirl

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I know folks say one has to let the ammonia and/or nitrites rise and removing them will keep a tank from cycling. That may be so in some cases but in my humble opinion water changes to keep them down to negligible levels may lengthen the cycling process but when fishes lives are at stake keeping the levels down is critical.

In my case I took a 55 gallon tank from dry to totally cycled in 6 weeks. Not once did I get and ammonia reading in this tank. I know it was there because the tank did in fact cycle.

When cycling with fish they are constantly adding ammonia so keeping it down to next to nothing will not hinder the cycling process. There will always be enough in there to feed the growing bacteria.
 

TacoRoberts

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Mattgirl -

I agree with you on the ammonia, for sure.

My concern would be with the Nitrite. Those bacteria, under good conditions, grow slowly, and I would be worried that constantly removing their food is going to make a long process take longer.



Like you said - protecting fish lives are what's most important. For me the question is: Is it better to leave the nitrite levels a wee bit higher and maybe have a shorter time to get cycled. Or is it better to have lower nitrite levels, but possibly having to endure those lower levels for a longer period of time.....

*shrug*



However - if the pH, temp, and KH are kept in check, and Prime is used... the fish are much more likely to do well.
 
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Aaronlint27

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Thank you all for the replys, still waiting for nitrite to show back up. I added crushed coral in the bags they give for ceramic rings in hopes to stablize ph. Along with dosing with api-ph. This driftwood really messes with the ph, its huge. 30” wide tank and the driftwood it probably 26” wide.
 

TacoRoberts

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Aaron - Are you making sure to test pH again like 5-10 minutes after you add the API stuff?

also, since you are messing with pH, you should go ahead and get testing kits for KH (alkaline hardness) KH works to resist changes in pH. Keeping KH around 3-4 seems to be a general recommendation for freshwater aquariums.

GH (General Hardness), pH, and hardness are all related. Usually affecting one affects the other two.

There are different GH recommendations for different things - but I wouldn't stress too hard about keeping it "perfect". Just know that GH is a thing, and that its linked in a triangle with pH and KH.

Keeping your KH around 3-4 and your pH between 7.0 - 8.0 is a very reasonable goal and will lead to a happy aquarium.
 
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Aaronlint27

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Ive been waiting an hour to test ph levels to let the filters work it through and move it around. I get up to about 7.0 but the next day its back down to 6.4. Not sure how I'm ever going to cycle this tank when I can't even keep up with this ph level.
 

Skavatar

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surprised there's no one with a soft water aquarium...

i've looked through a few dozen sites about Discus and Central/South American cichlids. they don't talk about how they cycle their tanks with soft water and low pH.
 

TacoRoberts

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Aaron - your KH is probably low. a lower KH

I recommend you doing two things:

1) If you haven't yet - Purchase a kit to test KH (make sure its for KH, not GH)
2) Buy stuff that lets you alter pH. I have seachem's acid buffer and alkaline buffer. Seachem's website even has a calculator for you to use to know how much of each to put in, based on the current KH/PH, the size of your tank, and your desired KH/PH



Also, to clear up confusion - Soft / Hard water is about General Hardness (GH), which is something separate from pH.


GH, KH, and pH are all kinda linked... if you change one, the others will likely change in response.
 
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Aaronlint27

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Well folks todays test is much better, used searchem regulator 7.0 last night and I just got home and the ph sits at 6.8
Ammonia 1.5ppm
NITRITE .50-.75ppm
Nitrate was a darker yellow.

Looks like its getting there! Waters still crystal clear, wonder if itll get cloudy again.
Just dosed again with the searchem regulator to bring it up to the 7.0 mark.
 

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