Cycling Stress !!!

By-tor
  • #1
O.K. So I am still trying to get the first stage of my new tank cycle going. New 46 gallon freshwater. I am doing fish less pure ammonia routine. Ammonia is the good stuff (ace hardware janitorial 10%). Doing the add and wait method.
Filled the tank and used water conditioner. Heater set to around 84 degrees, Air stone running, Fluval 306 running with 2 trays of Biomax for about a week before.
So on August 31, I dosed it to around 4ppm. PH is around 7.4. I have been testing ammonia every day since September 1st. Today, (Sept. 14) ammonia is still around 4 ppm and no signs of nitrites or nitrates.
I was planning to just keep waiting but now I am wondering if I need to do something else. I don't really want to use a quick start or anything like that.
Should I do a water change at this point or just keep waiting?
I wanted to get some of your opinions on this.

Thanks for help and input.

Eric
 
DillonPhoenix
  • #2
Have a read of the link I've posted below, it tells you exactly what to do at every stage of the cycle and how long it will take. In my experience sometime it just takes a while to get going!

 
BettagoSplenda
  • #3
O.K. So I am still trying to get the first stage of my new tank cycle going. New 46 gallon freshwater. I am doing fish less pure ammonia routine. Ammonia is the good stuff (ace hardware janitorial 10%). Doing the add and wait method.
Filled the tank and used water conditioner. Heater set to around 84 degrees, Air stone running, Fluval 306 running with 2 trays of Biomax for about a week before.
So on August 31, I dosed it to around 4ppm. PH is around 7.4. I have been testing ammonia every day since September 1st. Today, (Sept. 14) ammonia is still around 4 ppm and no signs of nitrites or nitrates.
I was planning to just keep waiting but now I am wondering if I need to do something else. I don't really want to use a quick start or anything like that.
Should I do a water change at this point or just keep waiting?
I wanted to get some of your opinions on this.

Thanks for help and input.

Eric
By-tor Two weeks stage is the worst time ever. Just at the cusp of success or signs of change (usually 3 weeks). One thing I did that most guides don't mention is I completely blacked out my tank with dark trash bag/s. Apparently the bacteria do not need light. Since you chose the add and wait method, clearly you are in the waiting period. Sound like you are doing the right things so just hold on to the belief that you are on the right course. How about some pix? Of course do the blackout only if you have no plants. Is your's a planted tank?
 
Gone
  • #4
Adding live plans will help the cycle get moving. They contain bacteria. Not lots, but enough to seed.
 
Hunter1
  • #5
I would use a starter beneficial bacteria although you said you are avoiding it.

TetraSafeStart squirted into the intake of your filter will work wonders.
 
Discus-Tang
  • #6
Be warned, I believe TSS can be killed by more than 2ppm of ammonia. You may be betta off getting stability or something.
 
imba
  • #7
Fish less cycle takes patience. Sometimes it'll take months. Obviously using bottled bacteria will help greatly moving it along
 
Ravenahra
  • #8
Be warned, I believe TSS can be killed by more than 2ppm of ammonia. You may be betta off getting stability or something.
Tss is can survive up to 3 ppm ammonia. Most of the dose will die, but some will survive. At 4 ppm, none of it will survive. And tss will give false readings of 1 to 1.5 ppm ammonia for most of the first week after its put in the tank.
 
Gone
  • #9
Natural cycling should take about six weeks, maybe four if you add live plants.
 
By-tor
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
Have a read of the link I've posted below, it tells you exactly what to do at every stage of the cycle and how long it will take. In my experience sometime it just takes a while to get going!

Thanks. I will check it out.


IMG_3884.JPG
By-tor Two weeks stage is the worst time ever. Just at the cusp of success or signs of change (usually 3 weeks). One thing I did that most guides don't mention is I completely blacked out my tank with dark trash bag/s. Apparently the bacteria do not need light. Since you chose the add and wait method, clearly you are in the waiting period. Sound like you are doing the right things so just hold on to the belief that you are on the right course. How about some pix? Of course do the blackout only if you have no plants. Is your's a planted tank?

Thanks. No live plants. Just fake plants. I would like to do live plants but I don't really have enough experience with them.
 
Discus-Tang
  • #11
Natural cycling should take about six weeks, maybe four if you add live plants.
Come on now, live plants don't hold much bacteria at all. There's almost no surface area or water flow compared to the filter.

I've done a fishless cycle in a little less than two weeks without bottled bacteria. It's sort of hit and miss, but I'd say it should take 1 week or more.
 
By-tor
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
Added a pic.
IMG_3884.JPG

Here are some pics of the water tests. The first tests are from September 1st. The second tests are from September 14.

IMG_3872.JPG
IMG_3879.JPG
 
Gone
  • #13
Come on now, live plants don't hold much bacteria at all. There's almost no surface area or water flow compared to the filter.

I've done a fishless cycle in a little less than two weeks without bottled bacteria. It's sort of hit and miss, but I'd say it should take 1 week or more.

I'm into guppies, which means I have tanks coming out of my ears. Over my lifetime I've probably cycled 100 tanks. Right now I'm setting up a new fish room with 25 tanks, and going through cycling currently on 12. I log all my water test results.

Saying that adding plants will speed the cycling process is my experience, which is certainly not as extensive as some, but much more extensive than others.

Different things work for different people.

I am interested to hear what your experience has been with using plants to cycle a tank naturally.

Fishless cycle naturally in less than two weeks? Man, that's impressive!
 
Inactive User
  • #14
Be warned, I believe can be killed by more than 2ppm of . You may be betta off getting or something.

is can survive up to 3 ppm . Most of the dose will die, but some will survive. At 4 ppm, none of it will survive. And tss will give false readings of 1 to 1.5 ppm ammonia for most of the first week after its put in the tank.

From my reading of the literature, I don't believe this is correct.

Simm, Mavinic and Ramey (2006):

"These [previous] authors reported free ammonia was likely to be inhibitory towards nitrite oxidizers in the range of NH3 concentrations of 0.1 to 1 mg/L (NH3 -N, 0.08 to 0.8 mg/L) and to ammonia oxidizers in the range of NH3 concentrations of 10 to 150 mg/L (NH3 -N, 8.2 to 123.5 mg/L)."

TSS (and its original formulation as Dr Tim's One and Only) primarily uses Nitrospira spp. as nitrite oxidisers.

Simm et al. (2006) report the following:

"Free ammonia concentrations (NH3 -N) as high as 10 mg/L were not toxic or inhibitory to pure cultures of Nitrospira moscoviensis grown in batch cultures."

To reach a concentration of 10 mg/l NH3-N in a pH of 7.4 and 28.9 degrees Celsius (per the OP's tank parameters), it would require a total ammonia (NH3 + NH4+) concentration of 657.24 ppm.
 
Ravenahra
  • #15
From my reading of the literature, I don't believe this is correct.

Simm, Mavinic and Ramey (2006):

"These [previous] authors reported free ammonia was likely to be inhibitory towards nitrite oxidizers in the range of NH3 concentrations of 0.1 to 1 mg/L (NH3 -N, 0.08 to 0.8 mg/L) and to ammonia oxidizers in the range of NH3 concentrations of 10 to 150 mg/L (NH3 -N, 8.2 to 123.5 mg/L)."

TSS (and its original formulation as Dr Tim's One and Only) primarily uses Nitrospira spp. as nitrite oxidisers.

Simm et al. (2006) report the following:

"Free ammonia concentrations (NH3 -N) as high as 10 mg/L were not toxic or inhibitory to pure cultures of Nitrospira moscoviensis grown in batch cultures."

To reach a concentration of 10 mg/l NH3-N in a pH of 7.4 and 28.9 degrees Celsius (per the OP's tank parameters), it would require a total ammonia (NH3 + NH4+) concentration of 657.24 ppm.
I hadn't seen those reports. I just followed the information in this link which a forum member got from tetra and have never had a problem with tss.

Q & A With Tetra about Tetra SafeStart


But it's good know that tss can survive in higher ammonia concentrations so it can be used more quickly with crashed tanks.
 
BettagoSplenda
  • #16
Added a pic.View attachment 479073

Here are some pics of the water tests. The first tests are from September 1st. The second tests are from September 14.
View attachment 479074 View attachment 479075
Thanks for the pix and the water test results. Looks like things are still getting started. Just to show that you are not alone here is a thread on a fishlorist asking how long a canister filter will take to get beneficial bacteria: How long for filter to get beneficial bacteria?
It seems all your conditions are ideal so simply relax and enjoy the process. Most of the beneficial bacteria should be colonizing the medium in your canister filter and your gravel medium. BTW your tank already looks great. I am usually a nervous wreck by week three. One of the things that trips folks up is the shaking of the second bottle in the API Freshwater Master Kit's nitrate test o. Please make sure you really shake your second bottle well, I do a minute of vigorous shaking of the bottle before adding the drops to the test tube. Then you must shake the entire mixture again for another minute. There are cases when of the so called silent cycle where you get nitrate reading without seeing a huge nitrite spike. However, the ammonia should decrease. So since you have not added any additional ammonia I think the cycle is just taking its proper time. Of course, just show my paranoia....your canister filter is working properly right? There is controversy on bacteria in a bottle. Dr. Tim's One and Only has been mentioned. I used Seachem Stability but really it's more to make myself feel better and the debate is that the bacteria doesn't work consistently. So since you said no to adding bottled bacteria, the only non-controversial way to speed up the cycling process is to add filter medium and gravel from an established tank to your new tank.
 
SegiDream
  • #17
I'm into guppies, which means I have tanks coming out of my ears. Over my lifetime I've probably cycled 100 tanks. Right now I'm setting up a new fish room with 25 tanks, and going through cycling currently on 12. I log all my water test results.

Saying that adding plants will speed the cycling process is my experience, which is certainly not as extensive as some, but much more extensive than others.

Different things work for different people.

I am interested to hear what your experience has been with using plants to cycle a tank naturally.

Fishless cycle naturally in less than two weeks? Man, that's impressive!
Hmm. Why do you cycle so many tanks if you already have tanks up and running? Just curious, I only have minI cycles in new tanks because of the dirt releasing so much ammonia in the beginning. I could see how plants help reduce the ammonia etc by consuming it, but they would likely only have a little bit of BB on them.

OP you can always try some easy floating plants if you want. Like water sprite, dwarf water lettuce, frogbit... avoid duckweed at all costs. Just throw them in there. I wouldn't get any other plants until the ammonia has come down.
 
By-tor
  • Thread Starter
  • #18
Thanks for the pix and the water test results. Looks like things are still getting started. Just to show that you are not alone here is a thread on a fishlorist asking how long a canister filter will take to get beneficial bacteria: How long for filter to get beneficial bacteria?
It seems all your conditions are ideal so simply relax and enjoy the process. Most of the beneficial bacteria should be colonizing the medium in your canister filter and your gravel medium. BTW your tank already looks great. I am usually a nervous wreck by week three. One of the things that trips folks up is the shaking of the second bottle in the API Freshwater Master Kit's nitrate test o. Please make sure you really shake your second bottle well, I do a minute of vigorous shaking of the bottle before adding the drops to the test tube. Then you must shake the entire mixture again for another minute. There are cases when of the so called silent cycle where you get nitrate reading without seeing a huge nitrite spike. However, the ammonia should decrease. So since you have not added any additional ammonia I think the cycle is just taking its proper time. Of course, just show my paranoia....your canister filter is working properly right? There is controversy on bacteria in a bottle. Dr. Tim's One and Only has not been mentioned so I will throw in that name. I used Seachem Stability but really its more to make myself feel better and the debate is that the bacteria doesn't work. So since you said no to adding bottled bacteria, the only non-controversial way to speed up the cycling process is to add filter medium and gravel from an established tank to your new tank.

Thanks. I guess I was getting paranoid about the 14 days with no changes. I will wait more and as soon as I see some changes I will post test results and dates.
Thanks again.

Eric
 
Inactive User
  • #19
Come on now, don't hold much bacteria at all. There's almost no surface area or water flow compared to the filter.

but they would likely only have a little bit of on them.

I don't think it's unreasonable (I've used a similar strategy to good effect). It's not a miraculous, instant cycle of course, but I do think that there's a tendency to underestimate the ubiquity of nitrifiers. Here's an excerpt from Eriksson (2004):

In aquatic environments, bacteria and other microorganisms attach to solid surfaces producing complex microbial communities, which are referred to as biofilms or periphyton (Fletcher & Marshall 1982). ... Because of the large surface area provided in particular by submersed macrophytes, epiphytic biofilms have been shown to be important for the transformation and cycling of nutrients in shallow freshwater ecosystems, (Wetzel 1979; Eriksson & Weisner 1997). ... High densities of nitrifying and denitrifying bacteria have been reported on submersed macrophytes (Kjrner 1999). In nutrient-rich aquatic systems, nitrification can be ten times higher with than without submersed macrophytes and epiphytic denitrification can be of similar importance as sediment denitrification (Eriksson & Weisner 1997, 1999).
 
By-tor
  • Thread Starter
  • #20
Hmm. Why do you cycle so many tanks if you already have tanks up and running? Just curious, I only have minI cycles in new tanks because of the dirt releasing so much ammonia in the beginning. I could see how plants help reduce the ammonia etc by consuming it, but they would likely only have a little bit of BB on them.

OP you can always try some easy floating plants if you want. Like water sprite, dwarf water lettuce, frogbit... avoid duckweed at all costs. Just throw them in there. I wouldn't get any other plants until the ammonia has come down.

I am planning to get some of those Marimo moss balls after I had my fish stock. I wonder if I could put those in when cycling? I am afraid anything like that will throw off the ammonia readings.
 
Gone
  • #21
Hmm. Why do you cycle so many tanks if you already have tanks up and running? Just curious, I only have minI cycles in new tanks because of the dirt releasing so much ammonia in the beginning. I could see how plants help reduce the ammonia etc by consuming it, but they would likely only have a little bit of BB on them.

OP you can always try some easy floating plants if you want. Like water sprite, dwarf water lettuce, frogbit... avoid duckweed at all costs. Just throw them in there. I wouldn't get any other plants until the ammonia has come down.

When I've set up fish rooms for guppies, I haven't set up one tank, then another, then another. I'm trying to get many tanks set up at the same time, starting from scratch. Most recently I gutted my fish room and threw everything out, life was happening and I couldn't do maintenance. I recently started it back up. Once I get going I keep extra filters operating so I can instantly cycle additional tanks.

My theory on why plants help the cycling process is not that they absorb ammonia and nitrogen, it's because they introduce the seed bacteria. Not in large amounts, but if you just wait for the bacteria colony to form on its own, it can take weeks, and it's not very predictable. I used to wait until my tanks were cycled before I put in plants. Once I started adding plants at the beginning, I found that particularly nitrites would show up immediately. When I'd set up tanks without plants, it would typically take about six weeks to cycle. Once I started adding plants at the beginning, it started taking about a month.

I've also had the experience of overcleaning my tanks and breaking my cycle. I had a day off, and scraped the glass, vacuumed the gravel, did water changes, and changed the filter cartridges. A couple days later I tested and had ammonia. Some people insist there's no material amount of bacteria on anything but filter media, but in my experience, there is bacteria. Not as much, but enough to seed.

"In nutrient-rich aquatic systems, nitrification can be ten times higher with than without submersed macrophytes and epiphytic denitrification can be of similar importance as sediment denitrification (Eriksson & Weisner 1997, 1999)."

Yeah, what he said!
 
Discus-Tang
  • #22
I'm into guppies, which means I have tanks coming out of my ears. Over my lifetime I've probably cycled 100 tanks. Right now I'm setting up a new fish room with 25 tanks, and going through cycling currently on 12. I log all my water test results.

Saying that adding plants will speed the cycling process is my experience, which is certainly not as extensive as some, but much more extensive than others.

Different things work for different people.

I am interested to hear what your experience has been with using plants to cycle a tank naturally.

Fishless cycle naturally in less than two weeks? Man, that's impressive!
The two week cycle had plants in it
 
SegiDream
  • #23
I have lots of plants in my 40b, I planted right away and lots of floaters all extras from my established tanks and lots of seeded filter media. And the plants didn't seem to help speed the cycle up (4ppm ammonia for a long time even with nitrites and nitrates) it actually took 3 agonizing weeks for the cycle to catch up instead of the usual 1-2.
 
By-tor
  • Thread Starter
  • #24
I just wanted to update my cycle progress. I have been fishless cycling my 46 gallon. Started with first dose ammonia to 4ppm. I started to get a little worried after 2 weeks with no change in parameters (4-0-0).
So I go out of town for a week. I got back home on September 29. I couldn't wait to do my water tests hoping to see some change or progress. Well, nothing yet...... : ( Ammonia did seem to drop a little to maybe 2 or 3. Not really enough to get excited about.
I reluctantly did a 25% water change with declorinated water (stress coat) last night just to freshen things up a bit. I dosed ammonia back to around 3 ppm after the water change. As of today, water test results are (3 - 0 - 0) PH is 7.4.

Here are the tests. First pic. is September 6. Next one is September 29.

sept 6.JPG
sept 29.JPG

The first sign of any change I will be sure to post.

Cheers!
Eric
 

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