Cycling is apparently stuck - Update

sarxlives

My 10 gal aquarium seems to be stalling at the cycling process. I started the process about a month ago (not exactly sure what date) doing a fish-less cycle. I added fish food and let it decompose into Ammonia and got a decent start of about 1ppm. I kept adding the fish food until the kit read 2ppm and left it for a few days. Checking the water everyday, I found that the nitrite level kept reading around 0.5-1.0 ppm but the Ammonia was still stuck at 2ppm. There still appears to be no nitrate in the tank yet as the kit reads 0ppm to this day. I'm not sure what to do now. I changed the water about twice this week but nothing changed (only the nitirite went down I guess). The only thing in the tank is the substrate and a heater which keeps the water at about 80-85c. The filter is a mechanical filter with disposable cartridges.

Any help?
 

mattgirl

What is your pH reading?
 
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sarxlives

What is your pH reading?

Unfortunately I haven't tested the pH in a while (I just ordered another kit that's gonna arrive tomorrow) but the last time I checked the pH was between 6.0 - 6.5. I haven’t done anything to change the pH however
 
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mattgirl

Unfortunately I haven't tested the pH in a while (I just ordered another kit that's gonna arrive tomorrow) but the last time I checked the pH was between 6.0 - 6.5. I haven’t done anything to change the pH however
This low pH is why your cycle is so sluggish. If at all possible you need to get it up to at least 7. When you get your testing supplies test both tank and tap. If your tap water is higher put some of it straight from the tap into a container. Run the test right away and then again 24 hours later on the same water. The number you get at 24 hours is your true pH reading. If it is the 6/6.5 you are seeing in the tank you may have to run some crushed coral in this tank to stabilize the pH up to at least 7.
 
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sarxlives

This low pH is why your cycle is so sluggish. If at all possible you need to get it up to at least 7. When you get your testing supplies test both tank and tap. If your tap water is higher put some of it straight from the tap into a container. Run the test right away and then again 24 hours later on the same water. The number you get at 24 hours is your true pH reading. If it is the 6/6.5 you are seeing in the tank you may have to run some crushed coral in this tank to stabilize the pH up to at least 7.

Okay so apparently the PH of the water is already at 7.6 on a normal scale and 7.4 at a high range scale. Now there's 2ppm of Ammonia, 0ppm of nitrite, and 0ppm of nitrate. Clueless why it's stuck
Okay so apparently the PH of the water is already at 7.6 on a normal scale and 7.4 at a high range scale. Now there's 2ppm of Ammonia, 0ppm of nitrite, and 0ppm of nitrate. Clueless why it's stuck

Yikes. The water is over 100F
 
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RayClem

A pH of around 7.5 is fine.

An ammonia level of 2 ppm is good for this point in the cycle.

A temperature of 100 F will definitely mess up the cycle. Even if it does not kill the bacteria, it will lower the oxygen content to the point the beneficial bacteria will have difficulty converting ammonia.

What size heater do you have in your 10 gallon tank. Depending upon the room temperature, you need a 50 - 100 watt heater. If the temperature is up to 100 degrees, it sounds like your heater may be oversized and the thermostat stuck closed. If you had fish in the tank, they would be dead. There are a few fish that like temperatures above 80 degrees, but most will do just fine between 75 and 80 degrees; some even like it cooler. I do not like preset heaters, but those are typically set at 78 degrees if they are properly calibrated.
 
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sarxlives

A pH of around 7.5 is fine.

An ammonia level of 2 ppm is good for this point in the cycle.

A temperature of 100 F will definitely mess up the cycle. Even if it does not kill the bacteria, it will lower the oxygen content to the point the beneficial bacteria will have difficulty converting ammonia.

What size heater do you have in your 10 gallon tank. Depending upon the room temperature, you need a 50 - 100 watt heater. If the temperature is up to 100 degrees, it sounds like your heater may be oversized and the thermostat stuck closed. If you had fish in the tank, they would be dead. There are a few fish that like temperatures above 80 degrees, but most will do just fine between 75 and 80 degrees; some even like it cooler. I do not like preset heaters, but those are typically set at 78 degrees if they are properly calibrated.

I have like a heater for like 20 gal tanks but I can like change the setting however it may just be too big
I have like a heater for like 20 gal tanks but I can like change the setting however it may just be too big

Okay. So I switched the heater. Did a 50% water change and added Tetra Safestart. Crossing my fingers for a change
 
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sarxlives

And there's the change. Ammonia has went down to 0.50ppm, nitrites are at 0ppm, and nitrates are at 5.0ppm.
 
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RayClem

And there's the change. Ammonia has went down to 0.50ppm, nitrites are at 0ppm, and nitrates are at 5.0ppm.

I suggest you check to see if you have nitrates n your tap water. Having 5 ppm nitrates this early in the cycle is rather unusual. Many people test their water and learn there are nitrates, especially if you live in an area where there is runoff from farms upstream.
 
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sarxlives

I suggest you check to see if you have nitrates n your tap water. Having 5 ppm nitrates this early in the cycle is rather unusual. Many people test their water and learn there are nitrates, especially if you live in an area where there is runoff from farms upstream.

Well I'll be. The nitrates from the tap water is also 5.0ppm. This is so weird because I did a 100% water change a while back and a 50% before and there was no nitrates present. This is actually the first time I found any since this a whole month since I've been cycling it. Is it probably the safestart?
 
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sarxlives

This is an update from a previous thread I started with this same tank.

This time I've finally gotten somewhere with my aquarium tank. After restarting doing a 100% water change and adding pure amonnnia instead of flakes, I've finally gotten more nitrites. The cycle started @ 2.0ppm and then proceeded to drop to 0ppm and the nitrite raised to 2.0ppm in about 3 days. After the three days I added a second dose of 2.0ppm of Ammonia which brought it back to 2.0. A few days later,I saw that some nitrate was forming but it was relatively small. Another couple days the nitrate stopped at where it is now which is about 10-20ppm but now everything seems to be at a halt. A week haspassed and nothing is happening. The nitrates is stuck at 5.0ppm, the ammonia is the same, and the nitrate is still above 10ppm. What's halting the process now? I also added plants to help the cycle out.
I'm not sure if it's the PH since it's about 6.4 instead of the usual 7
 
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Freshfishguy

This is an update from a previous thread I started with this same tank.

This time I've finally gotten somewhere with my aquarium tank. After restarting doing a 100% water change and adding pure amonnnia instead of flakes, I've finally gotten more nitrites. The cycle started @ 2.0ppm and then proceeded to drop to 0ppm and the nitrite raised to 2.0ppm in about 3 days. After the three days I added a second dose of 2.0ppm of Ammonia which brought it back to 2.0. A few days later,I saw that some nitrate was forming but it was relatively small. Another couple days the nitrate stopped at where it is now which is about 10-20ppm but now everything seems to be at a halt. A week haspassed and nothing is happening. The nitrates is stuck at 5.0ppm, the ammonia is the same, and the nitrate is still above 10ppm. What's halting the process now? I also added plants to help the cycle out.
I'm not sure if it's the PH since it's about 6.4 instead of the usual 7
I'm not sure if the lighting is causing me to see the ammonia as darker than it actually is, but to me it looks like you could have reached 4-5ppm ammonia, so you might have overdosed ammonia and stalled the cycle. Also just FYI, those nitrates definitely look to be at least 40ppm. Have you added any bacteria starter? Also, it sounds like you're about 2 weeks into the process, so the cycling process isn't taking any longer than usual. Cycling can sometimes take more than a month.
 
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sarxlives

I'm not sure if the lighting is causing me to see the ammonia as darker than it actually is, but to me it looks like you could have reached 4-5ppm ammonia, so you might have overdosed ammonia and stalled the cycle. Also just FYI, those nitrates definitely look to be at least 40ppm. Have you added any bacteria starter? Also, it sounds like you're about 2 weeks into the process, so the cycling process isn't taking any longer than usual. Cycling can sometimes take more than a month.

Now that you mention it, the Ammonia does look a bit dark. I'm going to change that it's probably at 4.0ppm. I'm about 3 weeks into the process now to this upcoming Friday. Not that I think it should be done but I just wonder if something is supposed to be happening? It's kinda just been stuck at these readings for this and last week. Shouldn't there technically only be nitrite/nitrate at this stage since that bacterial colony has somewhat developed? I haven't added any bacteria starter.
 
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Freshfishguy

Now that you mention it, the Ammonia does look a bit dark. I'm going to change that it's probably at 4.0ppm. I'm about 3 weeks into the process now to this upcoming Friday. Not that I think it should be done but I just wonder if something is supposed to be happening? It's kinda just been stuck at these readings for this and last week. Shouldn't there technically only be nitrite/nitrate at this stage since that bacterial colony has somewhat developed? I haven't added any bacteria starter.
Adding some starter, like Tetra Safe Start may help speed things up. Hopefully someone else can chime in and give their opinion on why the ammonia hasn’t gone down yet. The only thing I can think of is that you could have added too much ammonia at some point which stalled the cycle, but the bacteria will eventually process it. Once it goes down below 2ppm, just make sure that it you don’t add enough to make it rise above 2ppm. Also, I’ve always added my ammonia daily when I’ve cycled tanks.
 
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