cycling question

  1. ivonko Member Member

    hey guys,

    ive read a whole lot about cycling and about aquariums in general, heres the problem.
    ive been doing a fishless cycle for about a week now. i purchased ammonia solution from wally world to get the cycle going
    when i started cycling the first 3 days the ammonia would go down about 2 ppm in 12 hours, (i kept the ammonia at around 4-5 ppm)
    after that its like all my bacteria died or something, i have had 4-5 ppm of ammonia in there for 36 hours now without the levels dropping much at all. it got a TINY bit lighter but not even going down by one level.

    please help, am i doing something wrong or is this normal?
     
  2. Lupinus Member Member

    4-5 iirc is where it gets toxic to the bacteria itself. Is keep it a bit lower.
     

  3. ivonko Member Member

    oh man... so your saying i was killing my own bacteria? :(

    i got my information off this sticky
    https://www.fishlore.com/fishforum/...9627-ammonia-instructions-fishless-cycle.html

    here is what it said
    it should be changed if you are right that way people arnt doing more harm than good to their new tanks
     

  4. Lexi03 Well Known Member Member

    Are you sure your tests where accurate? It isn't normal for the ammonia to drop that fast in the first week.

    From what I have read it doesn't start to kill the bacteria until around 8ppm.
     

  5. JoannaB Well Known Member Member

    How big is your tank? And did you use anything from an established tank in this new tank? I know that using something from an established tank can speed up fishless cycling, but even then, I am surprised that you saw any Ammonia drop within such a short time. I only saw an ammonia drop about a week after I started my fishless cycle, and it took another two weeks after that to fully cycle our tank, which is a 30 gallon tank. If your tank is a completely different size, your mileage may vary, but still I have never heard/read of an instant cycle (even though there are some products out there that claim to be instant, but they are not) -- unless you used stuff from established tank, of course, and then the bacteria may already be there.
     
  6. toosie Well Known Member Member

    Had you been adding the ammonia every 12 hours when you noticed it was dropping within that time, or did you wait 24 hours to bring your ammonia level back up? A lot of people cycle with pure ammonia and use 5ppm as their top up point. 5ppm doesn't seem to be a problem for beneficial bacteria but there is such a thing as too much, so I wouldn't try using more than 5ppm. If you were however adding ammonia more often than once per day it may have been enough to set back your cycle and as an added bonus your nitrites will get far too high and you will have problems with that portion of the cycle.
     
  7. ivonko Member Member

    i have a 30 gallon long tank, also the substrate i purchased is a plant substrate that also claims "has cycling bacteria in the substrate to speed up the tank cycling process" in the directions it told me not to rinse the substrate to not wash out the bacteria that was within it (the substrate was wet within the bag and had about 8 ounces of water in it as well) i put the water in the tank the day after i got it, it stood with the substrate for about 2 days before adding the first dose of ammonia, i am confident that the ammonia test was done correctly because i havent changed my ways in measuring it so it has been constant. i also have been adding ammonia every 12 hours as needed to keep the levels around 4-5 ppm, but when ammonia levels werent dropping i didnt add any to not do an ammonia overkill. i guess i will just wait and see what happens? also the nitrite levels have been very near 0 without much fluctuation.
     
  8. toosie Well Known Member Member

    ok. Give the tank another day or two and if the ammonia level isn't starting to go down, do just a 10% water change. Sometimes it's enough to kick start things again. Do you have a pH test kit? Sometimes during a cycle the pH drops in the tank due to acids that are being produced during the cycling stage. If pH drops too much (below 6.0ppm) the cycle will stall and a small water change helps to bring the pH back up again and restarts the cycle. It is totally normal for pH to fluctuate during the cycling process, you just want to make sure it doesn't drop too low.

    When the ammonia starts to decrease again, only add ammonia once every 24 hours. As the bacteria develops to oxidize the ammonia into nitrites it should be able to convert the 5ppm ammonia into nitrites within a 24 hour period once the colony is strong enough. If you add ammonia every time you test because it is below your 5ppm, or even if you add more every 12 hours, you will not know when your bacteria is strong enough to process 5ppm ammonia in a 24 hour time frame. This is why it is important to only add the ammonia every 24 hours. It will also help keep the nitrites from skyrocketing out of line when they do start to develop.
     
  9. ivonko Member Member

    I did look into ph levels because I read about low ph and cycling but it was at its normal 7.6 so that's not it. Thank you for the advise I will start only doing ammonia treatments in 24 hour increments. I added about 3 gallons of water today due to evaporation. I will give it a few days and see what happens
     
  10. toosie Well Known Member Member

    Sounds great.

    Good luck for a speedy cycle. Let us know how you make out.
     
  11. Aquarist Fishlore Legend Member

    Good morning,

    It's my understanding when you use pure ammonia to cycle the aquarium, the ammonia level should be 4 and below or the beneficial bacteria will not be able to take control and complete the cycling process.

    Ken