Cycling Advice Please

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Dena, Apr 21, 2019.

  1. DenaNew MemberMember

    Just started cycling a 20 gallon bow front using One & Onky & Dr Tim’s Ammonium. I am also user the API master year kit.

    Day 1: Added One and Only & Ammonium (4 drops per gallon)
    Day 2: PH:7.8 Ammonia: between 2 & 4, Nitrite: 0, Nitrate:5
    Day 3: PH: 7.6, Ammonia: 4, Nitrite: between 0 & .25, Nitrate: 5

    The instructions on Dr Tims’s website say to add more Ammonium (another 4 drops per gallon= 80 drops) on Day 3, unless it is under 5, so technically since I am only getting a reading of 4, I should add more, right?
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2019
  2. SkavatarWell Known MemberMember

    4 ppm is good.

  3. Momgoose56Well Known MemberMember

    You should follow the directions. ONE EXCEPTION. Your tank is not cycled if your ammonia and nitrites aren't dropping to zero within 24 hours of adding ammonia. Dr. Tim's says a reading of .5 ppm of ammonia is safe for fish. It isn't. Even traces of Ammonia and Nitrites can harm fish, and sensitive species especially. Your tank is cycling like it's supposed to. On day 9, instead of adding fish, add enough ammonia to bring the ammonia level up to 2ppm. 24 hours later, if you still have an ammonia level at all, keep adding ammonia to get tank to 2ppm every other day until your tank can eliminate 2ppm in 24 hours AND your nitrites are reading 0ppm. It can take up to 4 weeks to fully cycle an aquarium even with the addition of a bacteria supplement.

  4. AquadisiacNew MemberMember

    Also, I would recommend you test your tap water if you haven’t already, so you have a baseline to compare your results. My tap has nitrates so I have to take that into account when cycling and testing water.

  5. Morpheus1967Well Known MemberMember

    I used Dr. Tim's and there is absolutely no way I would have added fish on day 9, and quite frankly, I think it is irresponsible of them to make such a blanket statement. It took me a full 6 weeks until I had ammonia (2ppm) and nitrites processing back to zero after 12 hours. I would not add fish until then.
  6. DenaNew MemberMember

    Thanks for all the feedback. One thing I’m still not sure about though is how do I “dose to 2ppm”. I originally added 4 drops per gallon and it took my ammonia reading to somewhere between 2 & 4ppm but the Dr Tim’s instructions only ever say to add 4 drops per gallon, it doesn’t say anything about dosing to a certain ppm.
  7. AquadisiacNew MemberMember

    You can add a few drops and test ammonia levels. Repeat until you get to your desired dosing. Keep track of the drops used.
    Another method is to dose a 5 gallon bucket so you know how many drops per 5 gallons to get to desired ppms.
  8. Momgoose56Well Known MemberMember

    Another thing you can do, if you can find the strength (%) Dr. Tim's ammonia is, you can use this handy dandy ammonia dosing calculator!

    Okay, I just looked it up. The Dr. Tim's ad said the concentration is "50 mg per liter" but that's wrong. I believe they meant 50mg per milliliter which is a 5% concentration (which makes more sense). Try plugging that in to the calculator I gave you, then dose your tank with what it tells you, wait about 10 minutes for it to circulate then test your tank ammonia level.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 23, 2019
  9. DenaNew MemberMember

    Thanks, I was actually just looking that up because I couldn’t find the concentration % anywhere!
  10. Momgoose56Well Known MemberMember

    Yeah, at 50 mg per liter, the concentration would be .005%. So to raise the ammonia level in a 10 gallon tank by 1ppm you'd have to add about 3 cups of the ammonia! Lol! One more thing few people are aware of, 15 standard "drops" from standard bottles with dripper tips is about 1 ml. There are bottles that have smaller holes in the tip and typically those are about 1/2 the size of a standard dropper or 30 drops per ml.
    *Note though, the calculator I gave you assumes that the 'standard' drop delivers 20 drops per ml, which may be right. I am going by laboratory measurements and typical intravenous and infusion device droppers.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
  11. Morpheus1967Well Known MemberMember

    To get to 2ppm in a 75 gallon, I added 3 teaspoons. So 1 teaspoon per 25 gallons. And a teaspoon is about the equivalent of 100 drops.
  12. DenaNew MemberMember

    On Day 6 of cycling. I added ammonia this morning since my levels had dropped down to 1.
    I took another reading tonight and am seeing ammonia 4, nitrite 2, nitrate 5

    I’m wondering if I need to do a partial water change to bring the nitrates down.
    Any advice?
  13. Morpheus1967Well Known MemberMember

    Nitrates are fine. 5 is really nothing. You had that on day 2 of testing, so I am assuming you have that right out of the tap.

    At this point, I would wait until ammonia reaches zero. The first step of cycling, ammonia to nitrites, is not complete until it converts all the ammonia in your tank to 0ppm in 24 hours. So when you reach 0 ammonia, wait 24 hours. Re-dose to your desired concentration, say 4ppm. If that is back to 0 in 24 hours or less, the first step is complete.
  14. DenaNew MemberMember

    I thought I was cycled as my tank was processing 2ppm ammonia within 24 hours for three consecutive cycles, However, it doesnt look like my nitrites were also clearing, I never saw them get below 2ppm (which at the time, I didn’t realize was an issue). Over the weekend I added 3 fish (2 dwarf gourami & one swordtail) and two mystery snails.
    I did a large water change before adding fish.
    I have been testing my parameters all weekend and it seems like I am going through a nitrite spike because I saw a spike on my first reading after adding fish, have done 3, 50% water changes and double dosed with prime for each water change. I tested my parameters last night and got ammonia: 0.25 Nitrite: 2ppm (it was at 5ppm on Saturday) and nitrate: between 5 & 10ppm (it’s hard to tell).

    Should I just keep doing 50% water changes daily and dose prime until parameters are correct?
  15. Morpheus1967Well Known MemberMember

    Yes. With fish in their now, there are lots of water changes in your immediate future. You want to try and keep nitrites plus ammonia combined to be less than 1ppm. So with .25 ammonia and 2ppm nitrite, you are double where you need to be while you are cycling with fish in. So do what ever water changes it takes to get your nitrites under 1ppm, and that should help the ammonia as well. And no matter what size water changes, dose Prime for the full 20 gallons.

    This may take a couple of weeks, so be patient.
  16. DenaNew MemberMember

    Ok, that’s what I was afraid of. Thanks for the feedback. Would you recommend just do the rexomended dosage but for all 20 gallons OR 2-3x dosage for the full 20 gallons?
    Is daily water changes the right frequency
    And Is there a way that I will know it is ‘working’?
  17. Morpheus1967Well Known MemberMember

    You will need to test. You need to get the nitrites under 1ppm. And do what you can to keep them there. Double dosing with prime will not hurt anything. But I think just dosing for the entire tank should be sufficient if you do a 50% change. (Basically double dosing anyways)