Cycling 10 gallon for 4 weeks, Nitrite wont go down

HoltD94

I have been cycling my 10 gallon tank for 4 weeks now doing a fishless cycle with Dr Tim's ammonia chloride. the ammonia went to 0 ppm after about 2 weeks and nitrite went to 4-5ppm as expected. I have been adding around 0.5ppm of ammonia daily for the past 2 weeks and it is always at 0 the next day. the Nitrite however will not budge. i have tested for Nitrates and it shows between 80 and 160 PPM so something is being converted but the Nitrite still shows 4-5ppm steadily. Am i doing everything right? the pH dropped to around 6.6 and i did a 30% water change with dechlorinated tap water to bring it back to 7.2. that was 3 days ago and it has dropped to 7.0 again. the water change also brought down the Nitrate to around 20ppm.

in short:
Ammonia 0ppm
Nitrite 5ppm
Nitrate 20ppm
pH 7
temperature 81 Fahrenheit
4 weeks of cycling, 2 of which nitrite has been at 5ppm, should it drop soon?
 

gouramii39

I have been cycling my 10 gallon tank for 4 weeks now doing a fishless cycle with Dr Tim's ammonia chloride. the ammonia went to 0 ppm after about 2 weeks and nitrite went to 4-5ppm as expected. I have been adding around 0.5ppm of ammonia daily for the past 2 weeks and it is always at 0 the next day. the Nitrite however will not budge. i have tested for Nitrates and it shows between 80 and 160 PPM so something is being converted but the Nitrite still shows 4-5ppm steadily. Am i doing everything right? the pH dropped to around 6.6 and i did a 30% water change with dechlorinated tap water to bring it back to 7.2. that was 3 days ago and it has dropped to 7.0 again. the water change also brought down the Nitrate to around 20ppm.

in short:
Ammonia 0ppm
Nitrite 5ppm
Nitrate 20ppm
pH 7
temperature 81 Fahrenheit
4 weeks of cycling, 2 of which nitrite has been at 5ppm, should it drop soon?
Just keep at it, sometimes cycles take longer than 4 weeks, especially fishless cycles.
 
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ForceTen

Go to your local fish store and get a couple cheap fish and a bottle of Seachem Stability.
Add two cap fulls of Stability first, then add the fish.
If the fish do just fine, buy more.
The nitrogen cycle is factual. Waiting is silly.
 
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gouramii39

Go to your local fish store and get a couple cheap fish and a bottle of Seachem Stability.
Add two cap fulls of Stability first, then add the fish.
If the fish do just fine, buy more.
The nitrogen cycle is factual. Waiting is silly.
I mean, yeah, you could risk it, but you could also make everything worse too. Just be careful. I believe Fluval also makes Nitrite removers that you can add to your filter? What kind of filter to you have?
 
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ForceTen

I mean, yeah, you could risk it, but you could also make everything worse too. Just be careful. I believe Fluval also makes Nitrite removers that you can add to your filter? What kind of filter to you have?
I would rather loose a couple inexpensive feeder fish than wait two months for a natural cycle. Its crazy and the number one question or comment on this forum.
Adding the BB and the fish speeds things up considerably.
I have been through the cycling and never will again.
My fish guy (45 years) has a small pet shop. He told me he its crazy as well.
 
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mattgirl

I have been cycling my 10 gallon tank for 4 weeks now doing a fishless cycle with Dr Tim's ammonia chloride. the ammonia went to 0 ppm after about 2 weeks and nitrite went to 4-5ppm as expected. I have been adding around 0.5ppm of ammonia daily for the past 2 weeks and it is always at 0 the next day. the Nitrite however will not budge. i have tested for Nitrates and it shows between 80 and 160 PPM so something is being converted but the Nitrite still shows 4-5ppm steadily. Am i doing everything right? the pH dropped to around 6.6 and i did a 30% water change with dechlorinated tap water to bring it back to 7.2. that was 3 days ago and it has dropped to 7.0 again. the water change also brought down the Nitrate to around 20ppm.

in short:
Ammonia 0ppm
Nitrite 5ppm
Nitrate 20ppm
pH 7
temperature 81 Fahrenheit
4 weeks of cycling, 2 of which nitrite has been at 5ppm, should it drop soon?
Welcome to Fishlore

You could just wait it out or you could change it out. We know that you have grown both ammonia and nitrite eating bacteria. You just haven't grown enough nitrite eating bacteria to clear out all the nitrites the ammonia eating bacteria is producing.

I have to think your nitrates weren't as high as you thought they were if a 30% water change lowered them from 80/160 all the way down to 20 but really that isn't all that important at this point.

If this were my tank I would change out at least 75% of the water. Make sure you temp match and add your water conditioner to the fresh water before pouring it in the tank. Be sure you keep your filter media wet during this process. That is where the strongest colony of bacteria is going to be so we don't want to keep it exposed to air and possibly drying out.

This water change should raise and stabilize your pH up to the level of your tap water and should also lower both nitrites and nitrates. Once the water change is done add enough ammonia to get it up to about 1ppm.

If you have only been adding .5ppm ammonia all along this 1ppm may not go back to zero within 24 hours since you've only grown enough bacteria to process .5ppm. If you have only lowered it to .5ppm recently and started out higher the 1ppm should still zero out within 24 hours.

If it zeros out within 24 hours get it back up to 1ppm. We need to keep the bacteria fed during this whole process. Some folks recommend we stop adding ammonia to allow the nitrite bacteria to catch up. In my humble opinion it is best to continue feeding the ammonia eating bacteria.

You may very well find that this cycle is actually done but needed to be brought back into balance. The big water change should accomplish that.
 
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HoltD94

Welcome to Fishlore

You could just wait it out or you could change it out. We know that you have grown both ammonia and nitrite eating bacteria. You just haven't grown enough nitrite eating bacteria to clear out all the nitrites the ammonia eating bacteria is producing.

I have to think your nitrates weren't as high as you thought they were if a 30% water change lowered them from 80/160 all the way down to 20 but really that isn't all that important at this point.

If this were my tank I would change out at least 75% of the water. Make sure you temp match and add your water conditioner to the fresh water before pouring it in the tank. Be sure you keep your filter media wet during this process. That is where the strongest colony of bacteria is going to be so we don't want to keep it exposed to air and possibly drying out.

This water change should raise and stabilize your pH up to the level of your tap water and should also lower both nitrites and nitrates. Once the water change is done add enough ammonia to get it up to about 1ppm.

If you have only been adding .5ppm ammonia all along this 1ppm may not go back to zero within 24 hours since you've only grown enough bacteria to process .5ppm. If you have only lowered it to .5ppm recently and started out higher the 1ppm should still zero out within 24 hours.

If it zeros out within 24 hours get it back up to 1ppm. We need to keep the bacteria fed during this whole process. Some folks recommend we stop adding ammonia to allow the nitrite bacteria to catch up. In my humble opinion it is best to continue feeding the ammonia eating bacteria.

You may very well find that this cycle is actually done but needed to be brought back into balance. The big water change should accomplish that.
Thank you, I will try a big water change and see what it looks like tomorrow. I didnt know if doing a big water change would affect the process in a negative way but this makes sense. i am only adding one Betta to this tank but i orginally had the ammonia at 4ppm when i began the process.
 
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mattgirl

Thank you, I will try a big water change and see what it looks like tomorrow. I didnt know if doing a big water change would affect the process in a negative way but this makes sense. i am only adding one Betta to this tank but i orginally had the ammonia at 4ppm when i began the process.
The big water change shouldn't cause a problem. The bacteria isn't free floating in the water so changing it isn't going to be removing any of it.

Starting out with the ammonia that high explains the high nitrites and nitrates and also the drop in the pH. The big water change should balance all of that out and there should be enough bacteria to clear out the 1ppm ammonia I am recommending you add after the water change. I suspect the nitrites will drop to zero quickly too.
 
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HoltD94

The big water change shouldn't cause a problem. The bacteria isn't free floating in the water so changing it isn't going to be removing any of it.

Starting out with the ammonia that high explains the high nitrites and nitrates and also the drop in the pH. The big water change should balance all of that out and there should be enough bacteria to clear out the 1ppm ammonia I am recommending you add after the water change. I suspect the nitrites will drop to zero quickly too.
After the water change the tank parameters were:
ammonia 1ppm
nitrite 0.5ppm
pH 7.5

24 hours later i have:
ammonia 0.25ppm
nitrite 2ppm
pH 7.2

should i keep adding ammonia daily?
 
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mattgirl

After the water change the tank parameters were:
ammonia 1ppm
nitrite 0.5ppm
pH 7.5

24 hours later i have:
ammonia 0.25ppm
nitrite 2ppm
pH 7.2

should i keep adding ammonia daily?
I would. What we are trying to do is replicate what is going to happen once we add fish. Those fish are going to be adding ammonia constantly.

What you may want to do though instead of adding more liquid ammonia you may want to start ghost feeding this tank instead. By doing so you will be producing close to the same kind of ammonia your fish will be producing. You ghost feed by adding a tiny pinch of crushed flakes daily.

This thread will explain my thoughts on adding fish food and why I think it is a good thing to do. PSA: Something I am seeing more and more often, fishless cycling.... | Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle Forum | 477380

In the thread I suggest adding liquid ammonia along with the fish food but in this case since this cycle is almost complete I wouldn't add any more liquid ammonia. When I say a tiny pinch I mean maybe one flake crushed up for this size tank and future resident. I recommend flakes over pellets because the flakes will decompose easier and quicker. Pellets seem to just fungus over. You want to ghost feed the tank about what you will be feeding the future fish.
 
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