Cycling tank, no readings yet, any ideas?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Coolbeans5, Jun 21, 2016.

  1. Coolbeans5New MemberMember

    Hey everyone!
    So I have a 29 gallon tank, all planted and a hob filter. I started the cycle exactly a week ago. I am using established media, a filter and some substrate from an established tank. This is a fishless cycle, and I am not adding amonia. I have been adding fish flakes daily, and a 25% water change each week. However, I am reading 0 for nitrates and amonia. I have the api test kits, not the strips! I am new to this and I have been getting a lot of conflicting information on the cycling process. I'm just wondering if I am doing anything wrong, and what I should do to get this cycle started. I'm just puzzled how I'm getting a zero reading for everything. Any information would be really appreciated :) thanks! -Megan
  2. AndrewJ54

    AndrewJ54Valued MemberMember

    Based on what you've said, there could be a few possibilities as to why you're getting 0 readings for everything. Are you testing daily or after each of your water changes? And how many flakes are you adding to the tank?
  3. OP

    Coolbeans5New MemberMember

    I have been testing everyday, and never after a water change. I have been putting in a pinch. So probably a teaspoon? That's my guess

  4. AndrewJ54

    AndrewJ54Valued MemberMember

    And you're adding the flakes once or twice a day? My only theory would be that adding flakes is not causing a substantial amount of ammonia, and the cycle cannot start without it. Many people who cycle with fish food find that it is very messy and slow, in order for ammonia to build up you'd have to allow the flakes to sit and deteriorate in the tank and since you are changing water weekly it's not getting the chance to buildup and sustain the BB. I personally recommend either adding pure ammonia or doing a fish in cycle with Seachem stability and prime or even TSS.
  5. Skyy2112

    Skyy2112Valued MemberMember

    The flakes need to deteriorate, dont do waterchanges. Also if you already have filtered media it may be taking w/e you do add and convert to nitrites to nitrates and the plants (if enough) are eating it up.

    I personally swap media and dont see any spikes, instantaneous cycled tank. Best of luck!
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 21, 2016
  6. el337

    el337Fishlore LegendMember

    Welcome to the forum :)

    If you already added established media and substrate, there really wouldn't have been a need to cycle the tank. Depending on how long that established tank was cycled and what the bioload was in it, you should have been able to add fish right away that had a similar bioload to the BB you added.

    What's the temp and pH of the tank?
  7. Skyy2112

    Skyy2112Valued MemberMember

    Depending how long its been, your bacteria can die. =[
  8. OP

    Coolbeans5New MemberMember

    The pH is around 7.6 and the temp is 78. I'm wondering if I should add a couple fish and see what happens. I tested again today, and all zeros across the board. I'm wondering if perhaps my test kit is old? Im thinking I should add a couple fish and continue to test. It's been exactly a week with a used filter, some gravel in a net, drift wood and plants. All from an established tank. I'm just concerned all of the good bacteria have died off without any source of amonia.
  9. OP

    Coolbeans5New MemberMember

    I'm still testing zero. The temp and pH is fine, and the water is slightly cloudy. I'm just wondering if the tank was cycled and I just waited too long. It's been exactly a week, so maybe the good bacteria is gone now. I was thinking of adding a couple fish, I just don't want any casualties.
  10. el337

    el337Fishlore LegendMember

    You should have seen some ammonia with the addition of the fish flakes but again, fish food takes longer to break down. Do you see an expiration date on the test bottles?

    You could also do a fish in cycle using 3-4 small fish and a bacteria supplement like Tetra SafeStart Plus or Seachem Stability.
  11. oldsalt777Well Known MemberMember

    Hello Cool...

    By using the media and some gravel from an established tank, your new tank is instantly cycled. All you have to do is add a few small fish and test the water in the new tank to make sure the bacteria colony is working. If you have a positive test for ammonia or nitrite, you change out 5 or 6 gallons of water and replace it with pure, treated tap water. The bacteria colony will grow quickly if there's more food in the form of dissolved fish waste. When several daily tests show no traces of ammonia or nitrite, the tank is cycled and you can add a few more fish. Add fish, test and remove and replace the water until the tank is fully stocked. Once you have the tank stocked, you remove and replace half the water weekly for the life of the tank.


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