Delay in cycling tank

Rsha94

I have been cycling my 60l tank for a month exactly, my problem is that i am still on the ammonia spike stage. My parameters are ammonia 0.25ppm nitrite 0 and nitrate 0 pH 7
I was hoping to have some nitrites present so the cycle can continue but over a week of ammonia and still nothing.
i am doing a fish in cycle with 4 neon tetras. Looking back i would do a fishless cycle but as i am new to keeping fish i was told it was safe to run my filter etc for a week and then add the fish. I am also doing daily water changes of 30% to keep my ammonia as low as possible and using prime to condition the water.
is there anything i am doing wrong or that i can do differently?
Thanks in advance
 

Flyfisha

How big is the tank and how many fish are in it?
Its possibly you can change to small water changes every second day?
You are using Prime? = primer
Prime will help keep the fish safe from UP TO 1 ppm of ammonia for 48 hours. But still leave the ammonia for the bacteria to eat.
 

Rsha94

How big is the tank and how many fish are in it?
Its possibly you can change to small water changes every second day?
You are using Prime? = primer
Prime will help keep the fish safe from UP TO 1 ppm of ammonia for 48 hours. But still leave the ammonia for the bacteria to eat.
Tank is 60 litres and 4 neon tetras in there. I am using seachem prime with every partial water change which is everyday at the moment. I was told this would benefit my fish and avoid them being affected bu the ammonia spike. Can i do less water changes? Would that be beneficial? I am new to this its my first tank so any advise would be welcome.
 

Flyfisha

With 4 neons you will not get much ammonia each day. Ammonia comes from poop and breathing of fish.
With 4 small fish in 60 litres or 15.85 gallons a feel safe in suggesting you can wait longer between small water changes. Only a water test will tell you for certain that the ammonia is staying below 1 ppm?
I believe the ammonia will stay lower than 1 ppm?

It will help the bacteria numbers grow if the bacteria have a little something ( ammonia) to eat.
 

Rsha94

Yes the ammonia has always been less then 1ppm. I can try doing water changes every other day. Would you recommend i try this? Also i am dosing prime so shall i continue with that or just dose when i do my partial water change?
 

Azedenkae

What I would recommend is stop doing daily water changes. I highly doubt it is doing much anyways, aside from making it a chore for you.

Two things.
1. 0.25ppm ammonia is very commonly measured using the API test kits, even in established tanks. We don't exactly know where from, but the hypothesis is it's a baseline amount of ammonia produced that has yet to be consumed by ammonia-oxidizers. Probably much less than 0.25, but since it is >0, registers on the test as 0.25ppm anyways.
2. The lack of nitrates is the weirder thing. Do you have plants and/or algae growing? Either way, make sure to follow the instructions to a tee when measuring nitrates, it is a pain.

For fish-in cycling, I'd recommend dosing Prime every 48 hours, and only do a water change if ammonia actually hits 1ppm. If it's below 1ppm, 1x dosage of Prime will handle it. That means you won't need to do water changes, and you can then track your cycle better.

Actually, third thing. Nitrites don't always show up during cycling, especially when fish-in cycling with minimal fish. Sometimes you have enough nitrite-oxidizers to take care of nitrite produced from the start, so basically ammonia is just oxidized straight to nitrate.
 

Rsha94

What I would recommend is stop doing daily water changes. I highly doubt it is doing much anyways, aside from making it a chore for you.

Two things.
1. 0.25ppm ammonia is very commonly measured using the API test kits, even in established tanks. We don't exactly know where from, but the hypothesis is it's a baseline amount of ammonia produced that has yet to be consumed by ammonia-oxidizers. Probably much less than 0.25, but since it is >0, registers on the test as 0.25ppm anyways.
2. The lack of nitrates is the weirder thing. Do you have plants and/or algae growing? Either way, make sure to follow the instructions to a tee when measuring nitrates, it is a pain.

For fish-in cycling, I'd recommend dosing Prime every 48 hours, and only do a water change if ammonia actually hits 1ppm. If it's below 1ppm, 1x dosage of Prime will handle it. That means you won't need to do water changes, and you can then track your cycle better.

Actually, third thing. Nitrites don't always show up during cycling, especially when fish-in cycling with minimal fish. Sometimes you have enough nitrite-oxidizers to take care of nitrite produced from the start, so basically ammonia is just oxidized straight to nitrate.
I used to test for 0 ammonia when i first set up the tank and now after 4 weeks its measuring 0.25ppm which is how i know there has been a increase in ammonia.
also, yes i have a slight amount of brown algae growing around the glass of the tank.
Nitrites and nitrates have always tested 0
I will definitely try testing and keeping ammonia below 1ppm and dosing prime rather then doing water changes.
My water has also gone slightly cloudy the last few days, i read this could be a bacteria bloom. Would that be correct?
What I would recommend is stop doing daily water changes. I highly doubt it is doing much anyways, aside from making it a chore for you.

Two things.
1. 0.25ppm ammonia is very commonly measured using the API test kits, even in established tanks. We don't exactly know where from, but the hypothesis is it's a baseline amount of ammonia produced that has yet to be consumed by ammonia-oxidizers. Probably much less than 0.25, but since it is >0, registers on the test as 0.25ppm anyways.
2. The lack of nitrates is the weirder thing. Do you have plants and/or algae growing? Either way, make sure to follow the instructions to a tee when measuring nitrates, it is a pain.

For fish-in cycling, I'd recommend dosing Prime every 48 hours, and only do a water change if ammonia actually hits 1ppm. If it's below 1ppm, 1x dosage of Prime will handle it. That means you won't need to do water changes, and you can then track your cycle better.

Actually, third thing. Nitrites don't always show up during cycling, especially when fish-in cycling with minimal fish. Sometimes you have enough nitrite-oxidizers to take care of nitrite produced from the start, so basically ammonia is just oxidized straight to nitrate.
I have fake plants in there hoping to add live plants but haven't got any yet
 

Flyfisha

Hey Rsha94,
I agree with what Azedenkae has written about not doing water changes until you see more ammonia, but I am more cautious in offering that advice to someone unknown on the internet at the risk of their fish dying.

A cloudy tank for a few days in the beginning of building a cycle is a good sign . Yes it’s likely a bacteria bloom.

Personally I don’t add Prime to any tanks at random times, but a lot of people do , and recommended it to others.
 

Rsha94

Hey Rsha94,
I agree with what Azedenkae has written about not doing water changes until you see more ammonia, but I am more cautious in offering that advice to someone unknown on the internet at the risk of their fish dying.

A cloudy tank for a few days in the beginning of building a cycle is a good sign . Yes it’s likely a bacteria bloom.

Personally I don’t add Prime to any tanks at random times, but a lot of people do , and recommended it to others.
Thank you for your advise i guess I’ll just have to wait and see hopefully all goes well :)
 

Rsha94

Hi everyone, so today i tested my tank water again and surprisingly i got the following results.
Left to right
Nitrite 0 ammonia 0 nitrates between 0-5 ppm
Does this mean my cycle is towards the end or ending. Today is the first day i am getting these results. Also let me add that i managed to track my ammonia spike during the cycle process but no nitrites.
 

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mattgirl

Hi everyone, so today i tested my tank water again and surprisingly i got the following results.
Left to right
Nitrite 0 ammonia 0 nitrates between 0-5 ppm
Does this mean my cycle is towards the end or ending. Today is the first day i am getting these results. Also let me add that i managed to track my ammonia spike during the cycle process but no nitrites.

These numbers do tell us that this tank now has enough bacteria to process the ammonia through to nitrates. It is time to go to your weekly water changes.

Keep in mind you have only grown enough bacteria to handle the very low bio-load of the 4 fish in this tank. If you plan on adding more fish you will need to add them very slowly. Don't add more than 2 or 3 at a time.

You may experience a low ammonia spike after each addition but it shouldn't last long. Once a tank is cycled it doesn't take long for the bacteria to catch up to an increased bio-load (more ammonia). Just keep an eye on the numbers. Don't let the ammonia go much over .5 after each addition of fish. Make sure it has gone to zero before adding the next 2 or 3 fish.
 

Rsha94

These numbers do tell us that this tank now has enough bacteria to process the ammonia through to nitrates. It is time to go to your weekly water changes.

Keep in mind you have only grown enough bacteria to handle the very low bio-load of the 4 fish in this tank. If you plan on adding more fish you will need to add them very slowly. Don't add more than 2 or 3 at a time.

You may experience a low ammonia spike after each addition but it shouldn't last long. Once a tank is cycled it doesn't take long for the bacteria to catch up to an increased bio-load (more ammonia). Just keep an eye on the numbers. Don't let the ammonia go much over .5 after each addition of fish. Make sure it has gone to zero before adding the next 2 or 3 fish.
I do plan on adding more fish but not until im certain that the cycle has finished. I will keep a close eye on the numbers. Thank you for the advise.
 

mattgirl

I do plan on adding more fish but not until im certain that the cycle has finished. I will keep a close eye on the numbers. Thank you for the advise.
If in another week with no water changes the ammonia and nitrites remain at zero and the nitrates have gone up even a little bit you can be pretty sure this tank is cycled. Cycled simply means it has grown enough bacteria to process the ammonia through to nitrates so all you see is nitrates.
 

Flyfisha

Congratulations Rsha94
I suggest you test your tap water today to double check there are no nitrates in your tap water? Misleading the tank water test.

The choice of the words “ certain that the cycle has finished “ is something I feel the need to comment on if I may please Rsha94 ?

A cycle is never finished in my opinion.
Each time we move fish from tank to tank or a fish breeds etc the daily poop load changes. Any change in the daily poop load has an adjustment in bacteria numbers. While it’s not something we need worry about we should never forget about it ether.

As an example I have a small tank in my fish room that is right at eye level. I use this tank to keep an eye on fish. Anyway this eye level tank got 10 new pencil fish put in it today. Having removed half a dozen endler females that had been in the tank since I removed 4 cherry barb juveniles a fortnight ago. In the meantime I found a single baby corydoras in another tank and it’s in this tank at the moment to. My point is the endler females got feed once a day if they were lucky last week and the new pencil fish and baby corydoras got 4 meals of food today. While I have no intention of wasting time testing the water for an ammonia spike which is definitely going to be there I will instead definitely change a few extra litres of water tomorrow and again soon as the bacteria numbers adjust to the new poop load. The point is the numbers of bacteria are constantly changing.
 

Rsha94

If in another week with no water changes the ammonia and nitrites remain at zero and the nitrates have gone up even a little bit you can be pretty sure this tank is cycled. Cycled simply means it has grown enough bacteria to process the ammonia through to nitrates so all you see is nitrates.
Thank you i will be sure to check
Congratulations Rsha94
I suggest you test your tap water today to double check there are no nitrates in your tap water? Misleading the tank water test.

The choice of the words “ certain that the cycle has finished “ is something I feel the need to comment on if I may please Rsha94 ?

A cycle is never finished in my opinion.
Each time we move fish from tank to tank or a fish breeds etc the daily poop load changes. Any change in the daily poop load has an adjustment in bacteria numbers. While it’s not something we need worry about we should never forget about it ether.

As an example I have a small tank in my fish room that is right at eye level. I use this tank to keep an eye on fish. Anyway this eye level tank got 10 new pencil fish put in it today. Having removed half a dozen endler females that had been in the tank since I removed 4 cherry barb juveniles a fortnight ago. In the meantime I found a single baby corydoras in another tank and it’s in this tank at the moment to. My point is the endler females got feed once a day if they were lucky last week and the new pencil fish and baby corydoras got 4 meals of food today. While I have no intention of wasting time testing the water for an ammonia spike which is definitely going to be there I will instead definitely change a few extra litres of water tomorrow and again soon as the bacteria numbers adjust to the new poop load. The point is the numbers of bacteria are constantly changing.
Of course I completely understand. What i meant was getting through the initial nitrogen cycle when setting up a new tank. But thanks for that, any advise is always welcomed as i said before i am new to fish keeping.
 

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