20 Gallon Tank Cycling Help/Advice for a 19 gallon tank.

DevonM

Hey guys,

I'm a new fish keeper and I set up my 19 gallon tank to cycle about 8 days ago. I'm doing the fishless cycle and so I haven't added in any fish yet. I used Dr.Tims Ammonium Chloride to setup an ammonia source in my tank and I have been dosing Seachem Stability on a daily basis. There was only a slight drop in ammonia from 4ppm to 2ppm on the second day. Ever since then however, the ammonia level has remained the same since today being day 8. The parameters are: Ammonia: 2ppm, Nitrite: 0, Nitrate: 0, pH: 7.5. I've got heater and sponge filter running in the tank since day 1. Is there something I'm doing wrong or need to do to at least see a slight drop in Ammonia and appear seeing small levels of Nitrites? The staff at the aquarium where I purchase my items said I would start seeing Nitrite around about day 6 to 7. However, it being day 8 there doesn't appear to be any signs that there are based on the water tests I've been doing everyday. Can someone please give me some advice on this because I don't really know what to do next.

Thanks.

Devon.
 

Azedenkae

Well that's certainly odd. On that note, I feel like you probably had 2ppm from the start, rather than 4ppm. The readings can be a bit hard to differentiate.

Stability is not exactly known to work very well all the time, so there is always potentially that. D:

Personally I would have gotten something that has been proven to work recently, like FritzZyme 7, or preferably FritzZyme TurboStart 700. But anyways, that'd be additional expenditure, and not sure if you'd want to do so.
 

Dunk2

Hey guys,

I'm a new fish keeper and I set up my 19 gallon tank to cycle about 8 days ago. I'm doing the fishless cycle and so I haven't added in any fish yet. I used Dr.Tims Ammonium Chloride to setup an ammonia source in my tank and I have been dosing Seachem Stability on a daily basis. There was only a slight drop in ammonia from 4ppm to 2ppm on the second day. Ever since then however, the ammonia level has remained the same since today being day 8. The parameters are: Ammonia: 2ppm, Nitrite: 0, Nitrate: 0, pH: 7.5. I've got heater and sponge filter running in the tank since day 1. Is there something I'm doing wrong or need to do to at least see a slight drop in Ammonia and appear seeing small levels of Nitrites? The staff at the aquarium where I purchase my items said I would start seeing Nitrite around about day 6 to 7. However, it being day 8 there doesn't appear to be any signs that there are based on the water tests I've been doing everyday. Can someone please give me some advice on this because I don't really know what to do next.

Thanks.

Devon.
Because you’re only on day 8, I wouldn’t be concerned yet. But I do have a few questions. . .

What is the water temperature of your tank?
What kind/brand of filter are you running?
What kind of media is in the filter?
Does your tank have substrate?
What water conditioner or dechlorinator are you using?

I agree with the comment above about your ammonia level. . . Your tank wouldn’t have processed 2 ppm ammonia after only a couple days. Dosing your tank to 2 - 3 ppm is fine. . . 4 ppm isn’t necessary.

I’d suggest you read this.
Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle
 

mattgirl

The staff at the aquarium where I purchase my items said I would start seeing Nitrite around about day 6 to 7
Unfortunately they weren't correct about this. It isn't unusual for it to take 3 weeks or longer for nitrites to show up. You aren't going to see nitrates until the nitrites show up and then start going down,

Answering the questions Dunk2 asked will help us help you.

As Azedenkae pointed out. Stability does sometimes help but more often than not it doesn't. I wouldn't be too concerned if it doesn't speed up the cycling process. In other words, don't start thinking you did something wrong.
 

DevonM

Hi guys, thanks for you responses and sorry for the late reply.
I've noticed a drop in Ammonia in the past 2 days when testing it is now at 1ppm, while there is still no Nitrites shown at 0.

In response to Dunk2's questions:

What is the water temperature of your tank?
around 80-82F
What kind/brand of filter are you running?
Orca Sponge filter
What kind of media is in the filter?
Sponge
Does your tank have substrate?
Yes, Gravel.
What water conditioner or dechlorinator are you using?
I have seachem prime but I have not used it yet because a friend of mine told me that it can kill or affect the growth of beneficial bacteria growth and to use it when the cycling process has been completed.
Furthermore, I live in Australia, and I have found that I don't have access to some of the fish keeper products that are retailed or used in the States. So that can be tricky. But I'm doing best to try to stay on top of things.

Cheers :)
 

Dunk2

Hi guys, thanks for you responses and sorry for the late reply.
I've noticed a drop in Ammonia in the past 2 days when testing it is now at 1ppm, while there is still no Nitrites shown at 0.

In response to Dunk2's questions:

What is the water temperature of your tank?
around 80-82F
What kind/brand of filter are you running?
Orca Sponge filter
What kind of media is in the filter?
Sponge
Does your tank have substrate?
Yes, Gravel.
What water conditioner or dechlorinator are you using?
I have seachem prime but I have not used it yet because a friend of mine told me that it can kill or affect the growth of beneficial bacteria growth and to use it when the cycling process has been completed.
Furthermore, I live in Australia, and I have found that I don't have access to some of the fish keeper products that are retailed or used in the States. So that can be tricky. But I'm doing best to try to stay on top of things.

Cheers :)
If your ammonia level is continuing to drop, your cycle is progressing. Because you used bottled bacteria (Stability), don’t be surprised if you never see nitrites.

Prime will not affect the growth of beneficial bacteria or the cycling process. I (and many others) have used it while cycling several tanks.
 

DevonM

If your ammonia level is continuing to drop, your cycle is progressing. Because you used bottled bacteria (Stability), don’t be surprised if you never see nitrites.

Prime will not affect the growth of beneficial bacteria or the cycling process. I (and many others) have used it while cycling several tanks.
Hey, so quick update. I managed to get some bio media containing beneficial bacteria from the local aquarium I put that into my tank and let it run for 2 days. However, I haven't seen any change in the results from the previous being 1ppm Ammonia, 0 Nitrites and Nitrates. Will it take a few days for the beneficial bacteria to become established?

Also I was making modifications to my internal filter to reduce the flow speed and I constantly took it out and put it back in the tank to test the flow. I guess my second question is if I'm moving things around in the tank with my hands will this affect the cycling process? I'm a bit paranoid now but I had to do something about the filter as it was pretty loud and we couldn't get any sleep when we added it in.

Please let me know. Thanks.
 

mattgirl

If my calculations are correct you started this cycle about 2 weeks ago. You are still early in the cycling process. It isn't unusual for it to take 3 weeks or more for nitrites to show up. Now that you have added some seeded media it is possible you will skip the nitrite spike and will start seeing nitrates.

While cycling it is best not to mess with the media. We want to disturb the media as little as possible. Right now the main thing you need is time.
managed to get some bio media containing beneficial bacteria from the local aquarium I put that into my tank and let it run for 2 days.
I am not sure what you mean. Did you remove it after 2 days? If so it hadn't had time to do much for this tank.
 

DevonM

If my calculations are correct you started this cycle about 2 weeks ago. You are still early in the cycling process. It isn't unusual for it to take 3 weeks or more for nitrites to show up. Now that you have added some seeded media it is possible you will skip the nitrite spike and will start seeing nitrates.

While cycling it is best not to mess with the media. We want to disturb the media as little as possible. Right now the main thing you need is time.

I am not sure what you mean. Did you remove it after 2 days? If so it hadn't had time to do much for this tank.
Thanks for your response mattgirl.
Basically what I meant was that I took the internal filter out of the tank a few times and placed it back it in. I added a piece of tubing to reduce or stem the fast flow I was getting from the filter. I also shifted the position of the filter. So my question regarding that was if I'm like moving stuff around in the tank will it have some impact on the cycling and the establishment of the beneficial bacteria. But like you said I guess I need to be more patient and give it some more time.
 

DevonM

Latest Update. Ok I think my tank has finally completed or close to completing the cycling process. Ammonia: 0, Nitrite between 0 and 0.25 (Hard to tell because the color is in between light blue = 0 and grey = 0.25), Nitrate: 40ppm. My pH is slightly higher than I'd like at 7.6 or above. Is it safe to add Distilled water as a water change for about 25-50% to get it down to 7? My tank is 70 Litres (18.49 Gallons). Thanks again guys, Merry Christmas!
 

StarGirl

What kind of of fish are you thinking of keeping? 7.6 is fine for most fish. Do you have the high pH test? Chasing pH levels leaves more chances for mistakes. Stable is always better. Using your tap makes temperature matching so much easier also.

I would wait for fish when that Nitrite is just light blue.

Merry Christmas to you too! :)
 

DevonM

What kind of of fish are you thinking of keeping? 7.6 is fine for most fish. Do you have the high pH test? Chasing pH levels leaves more chances for mistakes. Stable is always better. Using your tap makes temperature matching so much easier also.

I would wait for fish when that Nitrite is just light blue.

Merry Christmas to you too! :)
Hi StarGirl,

I'm thinking about keeping a Betta with small school of Rummynose Tetras. I know that Betta's prefer a pH level of 7 or below. So this is the reason why I'm trying to get the pH level down in time before purchasing the fish.

Thanks for your response, Merry Christmas :)
 

StarGirl

7.6 is fine for those fish. I dream of that pH level. Mine is 8.0-8.2. I have bettas and all different tetras. Its fine IMO. Unless you are getting a wild type betta. Then that would be different. Petco/smart, lfs bettas will be just fine.
 

DevonM

Hey guys, just wondering if this is ok?
So it's been nearly 2 weeks since my tank completed the cycling process and I added a koi betta and java fern to it. I was going to do a 25% water change after testing the water parameters. Before adding the betta and java fern my readings were Ammonia: 0, Nitrates: 0 & Nitrates: 20. But now I'm getting a reading of Ammonia: 0, Nitrates: 0 & Nitrates: 0. Of course the plants would consume some Nitrates but I would imagine that some would remain? Does this mean that my tank didn't cycle properly or that the beneficial bacteria is dead or inactive?
Please let me know. I've also adding some photos to give references (the test results reads as Ammonia left and Nitrates right to avoid any confusion.

Thanks.

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mattgirl

The 2 most important numbers are 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites. One little betta in this 20 gallon tank is not going to produce much nitrates. Your plants could have consumed the ones left after the cycle was complete. If you are not doing so already you may need to add ferts to feed the plants before much longer. The one little guy isn't going to produce enough to keep them fed.

Instead of me reading back through this thread I will just ask, How much ammonia was this tank processing when you finished the cycling process? If it was processing over 1ppm ammonia I would go ahead and start stocking with your other planned fish. Over time excess bacteria will die off without enough food. This one fish isn't going to produce enough ammonia to keep it fed.
 

DevonM

The 2 most important numbers are 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites. One little betta in this 20 gallon tank is not going to produce much nitrates. Your plants could have consumed the ones left after the cycle was complete. If you are not doing so already you may need to add ferts to feed the plants before much longer. The one little guy isn't going to produce enough to keep them fed.

Instead of me reading back through this thread I will just ask, How much ammonia was this tank processing when you finished the cycling process? If it was processing over 1ppm ammonia I would go ahead and start stocking with your other planned fish. Over time excess bacteria will die off without enough food. This one fish isn't going to produce enough ammonia to keep it fed.
Hey Mattgirl,
Thanks for your response. The tank was constant at 1ppm Ammonia before I added a full bottle of dr tims one and only and it boosted the process. I was looking at getting more fish yesterday. However, I wasn't satisfied with the water and tank conditions of the aquarium that I went to, as there were a few dead fish in the tanks and water quality didn't seem to be great. I will look at getting more fish this weekend from another aquarium.
 

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