Help Cycle Stalled?

Caffee

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so i have been cycling my tank for a little over a month now and have been stuck in the nitrite phase for 22 days now and still have not seen a drop at all in my nitrites. I was told that nitrites have a sudden drop and not a gradual one but now im seeing other sources saying that nitrites have a gradual drop. Im just overall confused. Ive been dosing ammonia every time my ammonia drops to 0 and im wondering now if thats what causing my nitrites to be stuck so high. Heres my chart of my progress. What are your guys thoughts?

Day 1: added 20-22 drops of ammonia and 10ML of bacteria.

Day 2: added 10ML Of bacteria

Day 3: ammonia 2.0ppm-3.0ppm and nitrite 0ppm. Added 10ML of bacteria

Day 4: added 10ML of bacteria

Day 5: add 10mL of bacteria

Day 6: ammonia 1.0ppm and nitrite 0ppm. Added 10ML bacteria.

Day 7: add bacteria

Day 8: add bacteria

Day 9: ammonia 2.0ppm and nitrite 0ppm. Added 15ML bacteria

Day 10: ammonia 2.0ppm and nitrite 0.25-0.5ppm. Added 10ML bacteria

Day 11: ammonia 2.0ppm and nitrite 0.5-0.1ppm. Added 10ML bacteria

Day 12: ammonia 2.0ppm and nitrite 2.0ppm.
Added 10ML bacteria

Day 13: ammonia 1.0ppm and nitrite 2.0ppm-5.0ppm. Added 10ML bacteria

Day 14: ammonia 0.25ppm and nitrite 2.0-5.0ppm and nitrates 10ppm. Added 10ml bacteria

Day 15: ammonia 0.25ppm, nitrite 2.0-5.0ppm, nitrate 10ppm. Added 10ML bacteria

Day 16: ammonia 0.25ppm, nitrite 2.0-5.0ppm, nitrate 10ppm. Added 10ML bacteria

Day 17: ammonia 0.25ppm, nitrite 2.0-5.0ppm, nitrate 10ppm, PH 7.6.

4pm: did 75% water change. added 15 drops ammonia. Spiked ammonia back to 2ppm

Day 18: ammonia 1ppm, nitrite 5.0ppm, nitrate 10ppm. Did 85% water change and added 15 drops ammonia.

12:17pm: ammonia 2ppm, nitrite 5ppm, nitrates 5ppm

Day 19: ammonia 0.5ppm, nitrites 5.0ppm, nitrates 0ppm. Added 10 drops ammonia, spiked back to 2ppm

Day 20: ammonia 0ppm, nitrites 5.0ppm, nitrates 5ppm. Added 15 drops ammonia. Spiked back up to 2ppm.

Day 21: ammonia 0.5ppm, nitrites 5.0ppm, nitrates 5ppm. Added 10 drops ammonia. Spiked back up to 2ppm then added 10ML bacteria

Day 22: ammonia 2ppm, nitrites 5.0ppm, nitrates 0ppm. Added 15ML bacteria. Did a 90% water change did not add ammonia.

Day 23: did not test

Day 24: ammonia 0ppm, nitrites 5ppm, nitrates 0ppm. Added 10 drops ammonia and spiked back up to 2ppm.

Day 25: ammonia 0ppm, nitrites 5ppm, nitrates 5ppm. Added 10 drops ammonia and spiked back up to 2ppm.

Day 26: ammonia 0ppm, nitrites 5ppm, nitrates 5ppm. Added 10 drops ammonia and spiked back to 2ppm

Day 27: ammonia 0ppm, nitrites 5ppm, nitrates 5ppm. Added 15 drops ammonia and spiked back to 2ppm

Day 28: ammonia 0.25ppm, nitrites 5ppm, nitrates 5ppm. Added 10 drops ammonia and spiked back to 2ppm

Day 29: ammonia 2ppm, nitrites 5ppm, nitrates 5ppm. Added 10ml bacteria

Day 30: ammonia 2ppm, nitrites 5ppm, nitrates 5ppm.

Day 31: ammonia 2ppm, nitrites 5ppm, nitrates 5ppm. Did 50% water change.

Day 32: did not test

Day 33: did not test

Day 34: ammonia 0ppm, nitrites 5ppm, nitrates 5ppm. Added 5 drops ammonia.
 

mattgirl

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Have you done any water changes? I am thinking your nitrates may be much much higher than the 5ppm you are seeing. For some odd reason the nitrate test will default back down to 5 when they get over a certain amount.

It may take more than one water change to get this cycle back on track. In fact you may very well find that your cycle is done but it is so far out of balance it can't finish up.

oops, I see you have been doing an occasional water change.
 

oldsalt777

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Hello Caff...

If you want a tank to cycle in roughly a month, you need a steady source of ammonia. Typically fish provide it, but when you add chemicals and the dose is even a bit inconsistent, this can delay the cycle indefinitely as you're apparently experiencing. What you generally end up with, when the tank does cycle is an unstable water chemistry.

Old
 
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Caffee

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What bacteria are you adding?
I was adding 10ML of API quick start. I was told to stop adding the bacteria which is why you stop seeing it being added on the chart.

Have you done any water changes? I am thinking your nitrates may be much much higher than the 5ppm you are seeing. For some odd reason the nitrate test will default back down to 5 when they get over a certain amount.

It may take more than one water change to get this cycle back on track. In fact you may very well find that your cycle is done but it is so far out of balance it can't finish up.

oops, I see you have been doing an occasional water change.
Yes i did 3 large water changes and also a 50%. None of those brought down my nitrites.

Hello Caff...

If you want a tank to cycle in a roughly a month, you need a steady source of ammonia. Typically fish provide it, but when you add chemicals and the dose is even a bit inconsistent, this can delay the cycle indefinitely as you're apparently experiencing. What you generally end up with, when the tank does cycle is an unstable water chemistry.

Old
I have been using doctor tims ammonia for the entire process of the cycle and ive been adding it each time my ammonia drops to or around 0ppm.
 
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mattgirl

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Yes i did 3 large water changes and also a 50%. None of those brought down my nitrites.
I will tell you how I got my nitrites to drop to zero from off the chart. Keep in mind though I was doing a fish in cycle so getting them down quickly was critical.

When the nitrites spiked I did a 30% water change every day. For 4 days straight the nitrites were still off the chart after each change. After the water change on the 5th day the nitrites dropped down to zero never to be seen again.

You can continue to wait it out and hopefully the nitrites will finally go down. Problem with just letting it be is what you are experiencing right now. The nitrites will stay where they are and the nitrates will keep going up.

I recommend you do several back to back (meaning daily) 40% or more water changes. Do them until you see a decrease in nitrites. Then this cycle should start moving forward. Water changes will restart a seemingly stalled cycle.
 
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Caffee

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I will tell you how I got my nitrites to drop to zero from off the chart. Keep in mind though I was doing a fish in cycle so getting them down quickly was critical.

When the nitrites spiked I did a 30% water change every day. For 4 days straight the nitrites were still off the chart after each change. After the water change on the 5th day the nitrites dropped down to zero never to be seen again.

You can continue to wait it out and hopefully the nitrites will finally go down. Problem with just letting it be is what you are experiencing right now. The nitrites will stay where they are and the nitrates will keep going up.

I recommend you do several back to back (meaning daily) 40% or more water changes. Do them until you see a decrease in nitrites. Then this cycle should start moving forward. Water changes will restart a seemingly stalled cycle.
Okay, thank you!
 

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What I don't understand is how you were adding ammonia day after day, getting a reading of zero ammonia the next day, yet nitrites and nitrates never rose. You have added ALOT of ammonia for the nitrites to never rise above 5 or the nitrates above 10. Are there any live plants in this tank?
 

oldsalt777

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Hello again Caff...

Just word of caution. A cycle that's been working on dealing with nitrites for three weeks isn't routine, so the water chemistry is really suspect. I would add some floating aquarium plants like Water sprite, Hornwort. Water lettuce or Anacharis to help steady the tank water, to see if you can help the bacteria get a handle on processing the nitrites. At this point, I'm not sure fish would survive in the water in this tank, even when it does finally cycle. Once the cycle is complete, whenever that is, I would begin removing and replacing half the water weekly, once the fish are in. I would also suggest a very hardy species like Guppies, Danios or any of the kinds of Minnows. They're pretty tolerant of less than optimum water conditions.

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Caffee

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What I don't understand is how you were adding ammonia day after day, getting a reading of zero ammonia the next day, yet nitrites and nitrates never rose. You have added ALOT of ammonia for the nitrites to never rise above 5 or the nitrates above 10. Are there any live plants in this tank?
Im actually pretty positive that my nitrites are above 5ppm, but i just labeled it as that because you cant tell with the test kit. Also, i have live plants that i plan to put in the tank after the cycle is complete. As of rn, the tank is empty besides with a gravel substrate.

Hello again Caff...

Just word of caution. A cycle that's been working on dealing with nitrites for three weeks isn't routine, so the water chemistry is really suspect. I would add some floating aquarium plants like Water sprite, Hornwort. Water lettuce or Anacharis to help steady the tank water, to see if you can help the bacteria get a handle on processing the nitrites. At this point, I'm not sure fish would survive in the water in this tank, even when it does finally cycle. Once the cycle is complete, whenever that is, I would begin removing and replacing half the water weekly, once the fish are in. I would also suggest a very hardy species like Guppies, Danios or any of the kinds of Minnows. They're pretty tolerant of less than optimum water conditions.

Old
The fact you say that is very worrying. Im hoping your wrong in that case because the tank is supposed to be a shrimp tank (its only a 5 gal).
 
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jdhef

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When I cycled my first tank, it was a fish-in cycle. Not knowing any better, I took the advice given to me at PetSmart and didn't do any water changes until it cycled.

It took 3 weeks to get through the ammonia phase and then 3 weeks to get through the nitrite phase.
 
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Caffee

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When I cycled my first tank, it was a fish-in cycle. Not knowing any better, I took the advice given to me at PetSmart and didn't do any water changes until it cycled.

It took 3 weeks to get through the ammonia phase and then 3 weeks to get through the nitrite phase.
This is actually my first cycle. I decided to follow an online youtube tutorial for mine, but then went on to do a few things different through the advice of others online. Not sure if that was the right call.
 

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I will add that in my cycle mentioned in the previous thread, I had a overnight nitrite drop, which really surprised me (this was pre-FishLore for me)
 
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Caffee

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I will add that in my cycle mentioned in the previous thread, I had a overnight nitrite drop, which really surprised me (this was pre-FishLore for me)
I was told that the drop does suddenly happen so thats honestly what ive been waiting for.
 

mattgirl

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When I cycled my first tank, it was a fish-in cycle. Not knowing any better, I took the advice given to me at PetSmart and didn't do any water changes until it cycled.

It took 3 weeks to get through the ammonia phase and then 3 weeks to get through the nitrite phase.
Did you actually go 6 weeks without a water change while doing your first fish in cycle? Did all the fish survive and go on to live relatively long fish lives?

Way way way back when i first got into this hobby I was a stickler for changing water even then. Did I cause myself a lot more work than was necessary?

I will admit that the only things I tested for were ammonia and the PH level. I didn't even know about the possible nitrite phase nor the fact that the end result of the cycle is nitrates. Keep in mind, this was well before the internet so info wasn't right there at my fingertips. I did have a little leaflet that gave me the basics. I think it came with my very first 10 gallon tank.

I just did my large weekly water changes and most of my fish eventually died of old age. That is until the night my heater malfunctioned. Lost everyone but one little cory. Put the little guy in his own small tank and broke the 55 down. It was 6 years before I set it back up again. Little cory went on to live for several more years all by himself.
 

oldsalt777

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Im actually pretty positive that my nitrites are above 5ppm, but i just labeled it as that because you cant tell with the test kit. Also, i have live plants that i plan to put in the tank after the cycle is complete. As of rn, the tank is empty besides with a gravel substrate.


The fact you say that is very worrying. Im hoping your wrong in that case because the tank is supposed to be a shrimp tank (its only a 5 gal).
Caff...

The fish keeping hobby is the opposite of others. To give yourself the best chance for success, you start large and work to small. The larger the tank, the better chance for success. A five gallon tank would be a challenge for even the most experienced tank keeper. The reason being, there's not much water in a small tank to dilute mistakes. When the tank cycles and you put in the fish, make sure you add just a few small fish and remove and replace half the tank water every few days. It doesn't take long for the ammonia from the fish waste to build up in just 5 gallons of water.

Old
 

jdhef

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Did you actually go 6 weeks without a water change while doing your first fish in cycle? Did all the fish survive and go on to live relatively long fish lives?
Yes, I actually went 6 weeks without a water change. I had put 4 danios in a 36g tank. Did all my fish survive, what are you kidding? Sadly two died during the cycling process. The two that survived the cycled, died several weeks later. I still feel bad about it.

The ironic thing is that I had kept fish off and on through out my entire life. At one point I dabbled in Saltwater for a little while. I was taught to cycle the saltwater tank, but until I joined FishLore I didn't know fresh water tanks needed to be cycled or needed water changes. It was pretty stupid on my part to have never correlated that if saltwater tanks needed to be cycled that freshwater tanks would need to be cycled also.
 

mattgirl

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Yes, I actually went 6 weeks without a water change. I had put 4 danios in a 36g tank. Did all my fish survive, what are you kidding? Sadly two died during the cycling process. The two that survived the cycled, died several weeks later. I still feel bad about it.

The ironic thing is that I had kept fish off and on through out my entire life. At one point I dabbled in Saltwater for a little while. I was taught to cycle the saltwater tank, but until I joined FishLore I didn't know fresh water tanks needed to be cycled or needed water changes. It was pretty stupid on my part to have never correlated that if saltwater tanks needed to be cycled that freshwater tanks would need to be cycled also.
Gotcha. It really would have surprised me it any of the fish survived. The only good thing about it was your tank did cycle and was then a safer place for more fish. It was also good that you learned that both saltwater and freshwater needs to be cycled.

I am glad we added some clarification so new folks won't read your original post and think if he could do it I can too and they decide not to do water changes.
 

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I was told that the drop does suddenly happen so thats honestly what ive been waiting for.
the nitrites are supposed to be way over 5ppm, its just that the API test can't test higher than 5ppm. if you want you can do a 50% water change to replenish minerals and carbonate that the nitrogen cycle has consumed. and i bet if you tested the nitrites right after the water change it'll still show 5ppm. i did 2 fish in cycles when i started, and a few months later had a major nitrite spike b/c of improper Purigen regen. the nitrites will drop suddenly.

keep dosing ammonia, you don't want to starve and stall the ammonia-eating bacteria.
 
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Caffee

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the nitrites are supposed to be way over 5ppm, its just that the API test can't test higher than 5ppm. if you want you can do a 50% water change to replenish minerals and carbonate that the nitrogen cycle has consumed. and i bet if you tested the nitrites right after the water change it'll still show 5ppm. i did 2 fish in cycles when i started, and a few months later had a major nitrite spike b/c of improper Purigen regen. the nitrites will drop suddenly.

keep dosing ammonia, you don't want to starve and stall the ammonia-eating bacteria.
Thank you for clarifying. I started doing 30% changes daily to see if that would help, but i will keep dosing my ammonia per usual. I think im on the right track, its just my nitrites are a little “stuck” so to speak. A lot of the other replies have been making me worry though. This cycle has been taking so long and im really trying not to loose hope in it.
 
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