Cycling Confusion

TheGameAce

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Well I'm back once again because I can't tell if my cycling is screwed up right now or not. I've been using a seed filter from my well established 55g tank as well as some large lace rocks from the same tank. I also finally got the API Master Test Kit, and prior to that had been dosing ammonia daily. Currently, I'm left rather confused as to what's going on with the tank water.

As soon as I got the kit, I did a full round of tests. Showed ammonia around 4 - 5 ppm, nitrites at 0, and nitrates at 15 - 20 ppm. Since then I've tested daily for ammonia. The 2nd day showed about the same, the 3rd looked a little less dark, and today looks slightly lighter as well, but not by much (Will add a picture for clarity) and re-tested to show no nitrites still. Seed filter and rocks have been there for about a week now, and I can't figure out what's up with everything. Any ideas?

Tested my tap water for nitrates already too, and shows none. Still a bit of decaying food in the tank, but I can't imagine that would keep the ammonia levels that high. I transferred a little water from my 55 about two weeks ago which could explain the nitrates, but it was very little, and doesn't explain what appears to be the ammonia slowly creeping down, or why after about a week the seed filter at least wouldn't be processing a good deal of the ammonia. Should I buy some of the bottled bacteria? Switch a cartridge out from this filter with the other one from my 55g?

Lastly as a side note, I have to figure out how to open up my canister filter to add more media in (some Biohome in the top with some starter balls, which are supposed to dissolve and do a direct release of BB, if that'd help anything), and some coarse and medium pads at the bottom. Any tips for opening it up without water going everywhere from the tubes, or killing any bacteria that may have already formed in it?
 

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Jenoli42

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TheGameAce said:
Well I'm back once again because I can't tell if my cycling is screwed up right now or not. I've been using a seed filter from my well established 55g tank as well as some large lace rocks from the same tank. I also finally got the API Master Test Kit, and prior to that had been dosing ammonia daily. Currently, I'm left rather confused as to what's going on with the tank water.

As soon as I got the kit, I did a full round of tests. Showed ammonia around 4 - 5 ppm, nitrites at 0, and nitrates at 15 - 20 ppm. Since then I've tested daily for ammonia. The 2nd day showed about the same, the 3rd looked a little less dark, and today looks slightly lighter as well, but not by much (Will add a picture for clarity) and re-tested to show no nitrites still. Seed filter and rocks have been there for about a week now, and I can't figure out what's up with everything. Any ideas?

Tested my tap water for nitrates already too, and shows none. Still a bit of decaying food in the tank, but I can't imagine that would keep the ammonia levels that high. I transferred a little water from my 55 about two weeks ago which could explain the nitrates, but it was very little, and doesn't explain what appears to be the ammonia slowly creeping down, or why after about a week the seed filter at least wouldn't be processing a good deal of the ammonia. Should I buy some of the bottled bacteria? Switch a cartridge out from this filter with the other one from my 55g?
it sounds like your nitrobacter (the stuff that eats nitrites and poos out nitrates) are established but your nitrosoma (sp? the stuff that eats ammonia and poos nitrites) are needing to catch up.

what's your substrate? any chance something is leeching ammonia?

regardless it looks like you're making process and it's just patience at the moment... your bacteria will be a robust colony once you're finished the mini cycle. seeding filters are great, but my experience is it's rarely "instant."

sorry can't help on your filter - each is different so i'll defer to others to advise
 
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TheGameAce

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Jenoli42 said:
it sounds like your nitrobacter (the stuff that eats nitrites and poos out nitrates) are established but your nitrosoma (sp? the stuff that eats ammonia and poos nitrites) are needing to catch up.

what's your substrate? any chance something is leeching ammonia?

regardless it looks like you're making process and it's just patience at the moment... your bacteria will be a robust colony once you're finished the mini cycle. seeding filters are great, but my experience is it's rarely "instant."

sorry can't help on your filter - each is different so i'll defer to others to advise
Hmm, that first bit, solely considering my seed filter, concerns me a bit. I'd think the seed filter should be breaking down the ammonia at least, considering it came out of a well established tank. Maybe I'm just thinking wrong there, but it at least sounds a tad concerning to me.

Anyways, no substrate in the tank yet. I have 150 pound of Black Diamond Blasting Sand sitting outside right now, with a bag of it in a large bucket, still trying to figure out how to clean all the dust and oils out of it, since there seems to be no end in sight... But yeah, tank is currently bare-bottom, with only some rotting fish food on the bottom (used that to start things before I was able to get the pure ammonia), some lace rocks, a few dead bugs (had the window open when I first filled it, because I used the hose, so that's probably where they came from), and a tiny bit of java moss growing on one of the rocks.
Outside of that, only the remainders of food should be leeching any ammonia if I'm correct. There's also a ton of pest snails (they hitched a ride on the rocks and have already multiplied like rabbits...) in there, but I don't think they have even close to enough bio load to keep the ammonia up there.

Hopefully you're right though and this is just a mini cycle, because I'm quite eager to have this done with so I can get to work on fish and making sure everything else is just right!
 
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