Day 14 fishless cycle progress - been a week with the same results

Fishbish24

Member
This is day 14 of my fishless cycle and my ammonia and nitrites haven’t changed for a week, the nitrates increased a bit since 5 days ago. I’m running the tank on 81-82 degrees. I started the cycle with tss+ and fritz pro ammonium chloride. I haven’t dosed ammonia for 4-5 days since it won’t go down.
The picture of the lighter purple nitrite test is a diluted test. I have not done any water changes. Should I?
 

PeteStevers

Member
I would say just keep going. Try to keep your ammonia around 5ppm or so. You have nitrate so I think you're almost there.
 

Dechi

Member
I see about 1 ppm of ammonia, 1 ppm of nitrites and 40+ ppm of nitrates. If you have none of those in your tap water, then your cycle has started and doing fine.

I would let it continue.
 
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Fishbish24

Member
Should I add any ammonia today or let it get to 0?
Dechi said:
I see about 1 ppm of ammonia, 1 ppm of nitrites and 40+ ppm of nitrates. If you have none of those in your tap water, then your cycle has started and doing fine.

I would let it continue.
should I add ammonia or let it get to 0?
 

PeteStevers

Member
Ammonia is food for the nitrites\nitrates. Letting it go to zero will eventually stall your cycle. I'd add a bit of ammonia just to get it up to about 5ppm.
 

Dechi

Member
Fishbish24 said:
Should I add any ammonia today or let it get to 0?


should I add ammonia or let it get to 0?
I’m right on the middle of cycling with ammonia myself. If you go by what Dr Tim says, and if everything goes according to plan, you’re supposed to be done by day 9 and add fish. And you’re on day 14.

I’m not saying you’re done but you might be close. I would let it go to zero, then add a little bit, measure it and see if it goes to 0 in 24 hours. If so, then I guess you’re done !
 

mattgirl

Member
Fishbish24 said:
This is day 14 of my fishless cycle and my ammonia and nitrites haven’t changed for a week, the nitrates increased a bit since 5 days ago. I’m running the tank on 81-82 degrees. I started the cycle with tss+ and fritz pro ammonium chloride. I haven’t dosed ammonia for 4-5 days since it won’t go down.
The picture of the lighter purple nitrite test is a diluted test. I have not done any water changes. Should I?
What size tank are you cycling? The bigger the tank the higher we need to get the ammonia since the bio-load in a bigger tank will normally be higher. A 5 gallon tank won't need to grow as much bacteria as a 55 gallon tank.

Have your run all the tests (pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate) on your tap water? We need to know if any of the readings we see are coming from our tap instead of from the cycling process. Your temp is good for cycling. If your pH is 7 or above it should be good too but if it is lower than that the cycling process will be slowed down. If it is down to 6 cycling will stall.

Even though you added TSS+ you are still early in the cycle. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Since your ammonia isn't going down after 2 weeks I have to think it hasn't worked for you. If you don't have nitrites and nitrates in your tap water something is happening though.
 
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Fishbish24

Member
mattgirl said:
What size tank are you cycling? The bigger the tank the higher we need to get the ammonia since the bio-load in a bigger tank will normally be higher. A 5 gallon tank won't need to grow as much bacteria as a 55 gallon tank.

Have your run all the tests (pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate) on your tap water? We need to know if any of the readings we see are coming from our tap instead of from the cycling process. Your temp is good for cycling. If your pH is 7 or above it should be good too but if it is lower than that the cycling process will be slowed down. If it is down to 6 cycling will stall.

Even though you added TSS+ you are still early in the cycle. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Since your ammonia isn't going down after 2 weeks I have to think it hasn't worked for you. If you don't have nitrites and nitrates in your tap water something is happening though.
I have a 10 gallon tank, tap water is 0 on everything except ph. Tank ph is around 8. I increased my ammonia to 2ppm yesterday and after 24hrs it’s still 2ppm. Should I add more bacteria?
 

mattgirl

Member
Fishbish24 said:
I have a 10 gallon tank, tap water is 0 on everything except ph. Tank ph is around 8. I increased my ammonia to 2ppm yesterday and after 24hrs it’s still 2ppm. Should I add more bacteria?
At this point I would just give it time. It shouldn't hurt to add more bacteria but I don't think it is needed. Has this cycle processed any ammonia at all? I know you have 2ppm right now and it has been to same for several days but has this tank processed any ammonia at all since you first set it up. If the 2ppm ammonia you are seeing right now is the same 2ppm you started the tank with then this cycle hasn't started.
 
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Fishbish24

Member
mattgirl said:
At this point I would just give it time. It shouldn't hurt to add more bacteria but I don't think it is needed. Has this cycle processed any ammonia at all? I know you have 2ppm right now and it has been to same for several days but has this tank processed any ammonia at all since you first set it up. If the 2ppm ammonia you are seeing right now is the same 2ppm you started the tank with then this cycle hasn't started.
It usually takes 48-72 hrs to process 1 ppm. It doesn’t go below 1 though. Do you think a water change would help? I’ve had the nitrites at the same level for 6 days. I attached today’s readings. Also, the tank has lost a lot of water, would it be ok if I add some water with prime to top it back up?
 

mattgirl

Member
Doing a water change wouldn't hurt anything as long as your temp match and add your water conditioner to the fresh water before pouring it in there. Should you choose to just top off the evaporated water again be sure you treat it first. Since you don't need the ammonia detoxed, any of the many water conditioners will work just fine since this is a fishless cycle.

Since this tank is processing some ammonia the cycle is moving forward. For now it is just a matter of waiting and watching. I am going to recommend along with the ammonia you are adding you also add a tiny pinch of crushed fish flakes to help this cycle along.

This thread will explain why I am recommending the fish food. https://www.fishlore.com/aquariumfi...-more-and-more-often-fishless-cycling.477380/
 
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Fishbish24

Member
mattgirl said:
Doing a water change wouldn't hurt anything as long as your temp match and add your water conditioner to the fresh water before pouring it in there. Should you choose to just top off the evaporated water again be sure you treat it first. Since you don't need the ammonia detoxed, any of the many water conditioners will work just fine since this is a fishless cycle.

Since this tank is processing some ammonia the cycle is moving forward. For now it is just a matter of waiting and watching. I am going to recommend along with the ammonia you are adding you also add a tiny pinch of crushed fish flakes to help this cycle along.

This thread will explain why I am recommending the fish food. PSA: Something I am seeing more and more often, fishless cycling.... | Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle Forum | 477380
Thank you for replying! At what ppm should I add more ammonia?
 

mattgirl

Member
Fishbish24 said:
Thank you for replying! At what ppm should I add more ammonia?
I normally recommend letting it get down close to 0 before adding more. If after a few days it isn't going to 0 but is going down from 2 to 1 each time then add more each time it goes back down to 1.
 
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Fishbish24

Member
Ok thank you!
 
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Fishbish24

Member
mattgirl said:
I normally recommend letting it get down close to 0 before adding more. If after a few days it isn't going to 0 but is going down from 2 to 1 each time then add more each time it goes back down to 1.
I did a 25% water change yesterday and these are today’s results. I’m thinking the ammonia is either 0.75 or 1 ppm. Dose ammonia today or leave it until it’s closer to 0? I read what you stated above but does that still apply after a water change?
 

mattgirl

Member
I would let it get closer to 0 before adding more. This water change may get things moving forward.
 
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Fishbish24

Member
mattgirl said:
I would let it get closer to 0 before adding more. This water change may get things moving forward.
If ammonia still isn’t going down and nitrites/nitrates are starting to creep up again 2 days after a water change, would another bottle of tss+ help? Or maybe some other bacteria?
 

mattgirl

Member
Fishbish24 said:
If ammonia still isn’t going down and nitrites/nitrates are starting to creep up again 2 days after a water change, would another bottle of tss+ help? Or maybe some other bacteria?
I don't have a great deal of confidence in bottled bacteria but some folks have had some success when using it. It won't hurt although it seems we can get unexpected readings when we do use it. Without it we pretty much know what to expect.

Hopefully your ammonia will start going down and the nitrates will start creeping up. That is what we want to happen. Without having to re-read the thread I will just ask. Have you seen nitrites at any point during this cycle? Some folks report never seeing nitrites after adding TSS. I have to think the spike happened but was too quick and was missed. If your ammonia starts going down and the nitrates start going up then the cycle is doing what it is supposed to do.

Right now you just need something that doesn't come in a bottle. That something is a boatload of patience.
 
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Fishbish24

Member
mattgirl said:
I don't have a great deal of confidence in bottled bacteria but some folks have had some success when using it. It won't hurt although it seems we can get unexpected readings when we do use it. Without it we pretty much know what to expect.

Hopefully your ammonia will start going down and the nitrates will start creeping up. That is what we want to happen. Without having to re-read the thread I will just ask. Have you seen nitrites at any point during this cycle? Some folks report never seeing nitrites after adding TSS. I have to think the spike happened but was too quick and was missed. If your ammonia starts going down and the nitrates start going up then the cycle is doing what it is supposed to do.

Right now you just need something that doesn't come in a bottle. That something is a boatload of patience.
Nitrites and nitrates showed up on day four and nitrites spiked on day 11. Nitrates spiked on day 14. Was losing water to evaporation so I did a 25% water change with prime on day 15, everything decreased with water change but is now increasing back up on day 17. I know I need A LOT of patience .
 

mattgirl

Member
As long as you temp match and add your water conditioner to the fresh water you can top this tank off each time it starts going down due to evaporation.

Seeing the nitrates going up is good. I do have to wonder why the ammonia would be going up instead of down. Given enough time it should start going down though. Now that the nitrites have spiked and have gone back down you may never see them again and that is alright.
 
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Fishbish24

Member
mattgirl said:
As long as you temp match and add your water conditioner to the fresh water you can top this tank off each time it starts going down due to evaporation.

Seeing the nitrates going up is good. I do have to wonder why the ammonia would be going up instead of down. Given enough time it should start going down though. Now that the nitrites have spiked and have gone back down you may never see them again and that is alright.
Well the nitrites have been increasing back up 2 days after the water change. But I will wait for the ammonia to drop as much as it can then dose ammonia again. Should I not do another water change unless nitrites and nitrates are astronomical?
 

mattgirl

Member
Fishbish24 said:
Well the nitrites have been increasing back up 2 days after the water change. But I will wait for the ammonia to drop as much as it can then dose ammonia again. Should I not do another water change unless nitrites and nitrates are astronomical?
I wouldn't. Since this is a fishless cycle it is better to just let it do its thing. If the nitrites are going up then ammonia is being processed. Simply put, Nitrites are ammonia eating bacteria poop so your ammonia eating bacteria is working. Also if your nitrates are going up you have nitrite eating bacteria because nitrates are nitrite eating bacteria poop. You just don't have enough of either to eat all the ammonia or nitrites. It will happen. You just need to give it time to happen.

Did you read the thread I linked about adding fish food? If so are you adding a tiny pinch of it every third day now? Starting out I recommend adding it each day but this far into the cycle every third day should be sufficient.
 
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Fishbish24

Member
mattgirl said:
I wouldn't. Since this is a fishless cycle it is better to just let it do its thing. If the nitrites are going up then ammonia is being processed. Simply put, Nitrites are ammonia eating bacteria poop so your ammonia eating bacteria is working. Also if your nitrates are going up you have nitrite eating bacteria because nitrates are nitrite eating bacteria poop. You just don't have enough of either to eat all the ammonia or nitrites. It will happen. You just need to give it time to happen.

Did you read the thread I linked about adding fish food? If so are you adding a tiny pinch of it every third day now? Starting out I recommend adding it each day but this far into the cycle every third day should be sufficient.
Yes I’ve been adding the fish food. The food is laying on the substrate now. I will start doing it every third day
 
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Fishbish24

Member
mattgirl said:
I wouldn't. Since this is a fishless cycle it is better to just let it do its thing. If the nitrites are going up then ammonia is being processed. Simply put, Nitrites are ammonia eating bacteria poop so your ammonia eating bacteria is working. Also if your nitrates are going up you have nitrite eating bacteria because nitrates are nitrite eating bacteria poop. You just don't have enough of either to eat all the ammonia or nitrites. It will happen. You just need to give it time to happen.

Did you read the thread I linked about adding fish food? If so are you adding a tiny pinch of it every third day now? Starting out I recommend adding it each day but this far into the cycle every third day should be sufficient.
I have another question. This is what one of my filters looks like after adding the tss+ 2 1/2 weeks ago. Could this be why I still have ammonia in my water? It’s been five days since the water change and ammonia still hasn’t changed. Nitrites and nitrates are spiking
 

mattgirl

Member
Fishbish24 said:
I have another question. This is what one of my filters looks like after adding the tss+ 2 1/2 weeks ago. Could this be why I still have ammonia in my water? It’s been five days since the water change and ammonia still hasn’t changed. Nitrites and nitrates are spiking
Since nitrites and nitrates are rising then your cycle is moving forward. Some ammonia has to be being processed. I don't know why your test is telling you it isn't going down.

I wouldn't do anything to the filters. You don't want to disturb them at this point.
 
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Fishbish24

Member
mattgirl said:
Since nitrites and nitrates are rising then your cycle is moving forward. Some ammonia has to be being processed. I don't know why your test is telling you it isn't going down.

I wouldn't do anything to the filters. You don't want to disturb them at this point.
Ok so here a today’s results. Add 2ppm of ammonia, wait, or less ammonia?
 

mattgirl

Member
It looks like progress is happening. What size is this tank? If 10 gallons or less add enough ammonia to get it back up to 1ppm. If bigger than 10 gallons get it up to 2ppm. Do this each time it gets down close to zero but no more often than every 24 hours.
 
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Fishbish24

Member
mattgirl said:
What size is this tank? If 10 gallons or less add enough ammonia to get it back up to 1ppm. If bigger than 10 gallons get it up to 2ppm. Do this each time it gets down close to zero but no more often than every 24 hours.
Yes it’s 10 gallons. Thank you, I appreciate you !
 
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Fishbish24

Member
mattgirl said:
It looks like progress is happening. What size is this tank? If 10 gallons or less add enough ammonia to get it back up to 1ppm. If bigger than 10 gallons get it up to 2ppm. Do this each time it gets down close to zero but no more often than every 24 hours.
mattgirl said:
I wouldn't. Since this is a fishless cycle it is better to just let it do its thing. If the nitrites are going up then ammonia is being processed. Simply put, Nitrites are ammonia eating bacteria poop so your ammonia eating bacteria is working. Also if your nitrates are going up you have nitrite eating bacteria because nitrates are nitrite eating bacteria poop. You just don't have enough of either to eat all the ammonia or nitrites. It will happen. You just need to give it time to happen.

Did you read the thread I linked about adding fish food? If so are you adding a tiny pinch of it every third day now? Starting out I recommend adding it each day but this far into the cycle every third day should be sufficient.
Hello,
I’ve been adding the fish food every few days but this morning, my sand, fish food pieces that floated to the bottom, and filter is looking a bit dirty and fuzzy. Normal or should I do a light vacuum?
 

mattgirl

Member
It's pretty normal but since you are also using liquid ammonia to control the amount along with the fish food you can go ahead and siphon out the excess food and gently rinse the filter media if it is getting too heavily coated. Doing so shouldn't affect the cycling process as long as you temp match and add your water conditioner to the fresh water before refilling the tank.
 

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