Cycling Issue?

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Levibeast

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I am still cycling my tank I think. It's been 4 weeks now. It has a betta in it who seems fine and active. I finally have nitrates at approximately 5ppm and my nitrites reached 0ppm now... but my ammonia is at 1ppm or maybe even more! It's hard to tell. I know my tap water has 1ppm ammonia... but I feel like my nitrites have never been higher than .25ppm also. I have been changing 20% water every other day at least with added seachem prime. Sometimes more. I don't know what to do. Is my bacteria dead somehow? Since none of them are converting it to nitrites anymore? Thanks.
 

malowmar

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Hi, how much ammonia did you dose originally?
 
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Levibeast

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I never dosed with ammonia. I just had my betta fish and my tap water has 1ppm when I tested it as well.
 

jmarks

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you may never see a nitrite spike since you are cycling with only a betta. His ammonia load is pretty minimum. It is common to see "some ammonia" when testing, especially if your tap has some. Since you are producing nitrates, you are good to go IMO. Just keep up with regualr water changes.
 
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Levibeast

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So should I wait until my ammonia is 0 to know it is done cycling?
 

malowmar

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In my opinion, if your tank can convert 4 ppm of ammonia to nitrates within 24 hours, then it is cycled.
 

jmarks

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Levibeast said:
So should I wait until my ammonia is 0 to know it is done cycling?
Some ammonia is common on API tests. I have a 36 gallon tank that has been up and running for well over a year. Time to time I will still test ammonia, and never get a solid yellow result. I always get a very slight green reading (approx 0.25 to 0.5 ppm).....
 
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jdhef

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You will be cycled when you have 0ppm ammonia, 0ppm nitrites and some nitrates,

But since you have 1ppm ammonia in your tap water, you'll need to wait 24 hours after a water change to test. Once your tank is fully cycled you will be able to zero out that 1ppm of ammonia within 24 hours.

You will want to dose water that you add with Prime. A standard dose of Prime will detox 1ppm of ammonia for 24 hours, and since your tank will be processing that 1ppm of ammonia within 24 hours, your fish will be safe from ammonia exposure.

Normally, when cycling with fish, you want to do daily water changes to keep the ammonia level down. But with you having 1ppm of ammonia in your tap water, you'd be better off just adding Prime directly to the tank (without a water change) to detox the ammonia. If your ammonia drops down, do a water change with Prime, wait 24 hours, test. If ammonia is 0ppm you've cycled, if ammonia is still elevated add some Prime to the tank. Repeat until that ammonia is 0ppm after 24 hours.

Best of luck!
 
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Levibeast

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Do I still dose the same amount of Prime if I add it directly in the tank?
 
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jdhef

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Dose enough Prime to treat the entire tank.
 
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Levibeast

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Okay It's been 5 weeks now. My ammonia is around .5ppm or maybe a little higher. I still have 0 nitrites and my nitrates are at 5ppm. I tested my tap water again last week and the ammonia was .5ppm and the tap water also has nitrates I think 5ppm too. So now my tank has the same parameters as my tap water? Is it still cycling?
 

malowmar

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Levibeast said:
Okay It's been 5 weeks now. My ammonia is around .5ppm or maybe a little higher. I still have 0 nitrites and my nitrates are at 5ppm. I tested my tap water again last week and the ammonia was .5ppm and the tap water also has nitrates I think 5ppm too. So now my tank has the same parameters as my tap water? Is it still cycling?
I think you are cycled, since you have no ammonia besides what is already in your tap water.

If you want to make sure, then just dose the ammonia to maximum 4 ppm, and if in 24 hours it drops to 0.5 (in your case) and the nitrites drop to 0, then you are definitely cycled.
 
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