Cycling Tanks With Food

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Bek, Apr 9, 2017.

  1. BekValued MemberMember

    I started cycling my 2.5gal tank back on the 4th but I didn't notice my test kit didn't have ammonia (so much for all in one!) So I got one a couple days later.
    And I also went and got a 10gal tank, so I've been feeding that one for a couple days now too.
    I know alot of people prefer to buy pure ammonia, and I guess I could if I really need to? but I kind of want to see how this goes with fish food.
    I read alot on it after I got my ammonia kit, I had knowledge of the process, but not about the numbers to expect (and to spot if it was stalling).
    And I figure I can have someone check my homework, just to make sure :)

    Tank 1: (start-zyme added, first couple days of data unavailable)
    April 6:
    8 Ammonia
    20 Nirite
    3.0 Nitrate
    (this sounds wrong? using test strips.)

    My goal is to get ammonia at 4 I believe? I did a big water change

    April 6: (after water change)
    5 Ammonia
    20 Nirate
    1.0 Nitrite

    Small water change the next day, traded water from my newly set up tank.
    Tank:1 ________________________ Tank 2: hopefully this doesn't get too ____________________________________confusing?
    ____________________________ Start-zyme added partial dose + [FED]
    April 7:
    4 Ammonia _____________________.25 Ammonia

    April 8:
    3 Ammonia_____________________.50 Ammonia
    25 Nitrate________________________10 Nitrate
    7? Nitrite (hotpinkish? not on chart) ____1.0 Nitrite

    April 8:
    2 Ammonia ____________________.50 Ammonia
    50 Nitrates_______________________ 20 Nitrate
    5 Nitrite ______________________ 1.0 Nitrite

    Nirates too high? Water change then feed? Ill continue to feed tank 2 until ammonia hits 4

    How is my cycle going? Did tank 1 get that phase 1 ammonia spike or is it from the water changes?
    I've read to try and keep it at 4, but i've also read to just let it go, but don't let it starve...
    Thanks for your expertise! I appreciate it greatly.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2017
  2. Lindsay83Valued MemberMember


    I fishless cycled my first tank using fish food. I would aim to keep ammonia at 2ppm. Put a handful of fish food in a stocking, suspend it in the water (of Tank 2 especially) and leave it for a few hours, then check. Remove the ammonia ball once 2ppm is reached, throw it out, and let ammonia fall to 0. That will give you an idea of how long it's taking the filter to convert the ammonia into nitrite. Once ammonia drops to 0ppm, so long as nitrite isn't too high, do up another ammonia ball (fish food in stockings) and repeat.

    Are you sure it's nitrIte (NO2) that's 20 and 50ppm? That seems really high. :confused: I'd expect NitrAte (NO3) to be that high - not NO2.

    I'd also invest in a drip test kit, such as the API master test kit.
  3. BekValued MemberMember

    Oh okay great, I will feed the tanks some more then, im using a teabag right now and am letting the pellets dissolve. Guess I need some more food in the bag though, and to feed tank 1 some more too? Easy enough :)
    Do I risk starving the bacteria if I let it drop all the way to zero?
    And if the nitrites are too high do I just do a water change before feeding again? (also what is "too high")
    I should've gotten the master test kit, my ammonia is a drip test and I like it.

    Whoops! Fixed that. Thanks for catching my typo, big difference!
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 10, 2017
  4. Lindsay83Valued MemberMember

    Lol. Nitrate is fine - you can basically let that get as high as you like, because you'll be doing a large water change at the end of the cycle, anyway. Nitrite is a little high in Tank 1, but as long as the filter is bringing it down, I'd be tempted to leave it and let the filter do its job.

    If it stops converting it into nitrate, then you intervene and do a water change to bring it down a bit.

    And no - you won't starve the bacteria by letting ammonia fall to 0, unless you forget to replace the ammonia ball once it does and leave it for days with no ammonia in the tank. In a fully cycled tank, there should be no ammonia present at all, anyway because the bacteria will be dealing with it as soon as it hits the filter.
  5. BekValued MemberMember

    Thanks for your help :)

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