55 Gallon Tank Does this sound Cycled yet?

Brimstonepdx
Member
God I feel like an annoying little kid in the backseat of a car asking mom every 15 min "Are we there yet?"

So on the 13th I started off with 0, 0, 10ppm at 8.0Ph and the tank around 81 degrees with a handful of live plants. I put in my raw shrimp and walked away.

On the 15th I got my first ammonia reading of 0.25ppm, all other lvls unchanged.

I then waited until today the 20th to test the water again and now I read 0,0, 20ppm at 8.0 ph tank still at 81 degrees. Plants look healthy though covered in slime.

Does this sound like I am cycled and its safe to do a water change and maybe get my first couple of critters this weekend? I really hope you guys can confirm this cause that shrimp (which I have named Frankie)... its not so pretty and its really starting to smell


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Thanks
 
joy1125
Member
wow, that'd be pretty incredible if you cycled a 55 gallon tank in 8 days using the shrimp method !!!

did you ever have a nitirite reading ? ? ? ?
 
dvc_r
Member
It usually takes 4-6 weeks to cycle a tank if you have no other source of "jump start". I read some of the other posts but I do not think you're cycled. I'm not sure why you are getting nitrAte readings (may be false readings) Also the "smell" sounds like the rise in ammonia. Your tank's ammonia should reach around 1.5 start to drop and your nitrites will rise to about 2.5. When that starts to drop (which will pretty fast) then nitrAtes will start. This will take about 4 weeks. A sure sign of a cycled tank that no one ever mentions is that you will start to see a slight film of algae on the glass. Then you're ready!
I know that's not what you want to here but that's from watching a lot of tanks go through it.
 
joy1125
Member
I just noticed where you said you started off with 10ppm..... was that nitrAtes?? Did you bring in media from another tank to boost start the cycle ?
 
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Brimstonepdx
Member
joy1125 said:
I just noticed where you said you started off with 10ppm..... was that nitrAtes?? Did you bring in media from another tank to boost start the cycle ?

Yes as we discovered per a previous post my tap water starts off at 10ppm Nitrates. And the only other media introduced would be from whatever the live plants brought with them and the effectively dead filters I reused from when I had my rescue chiclids the week before.

No I never saw a nitrite reading because I have only tested the water 3 times since I introduced the shrimp, instead of doing it every other day, its been a busy week. Something else to keep in mind that I forgot to mention is that I had the tank set up and going 3 or 4 days prior, it just wasn't until the 13th that I added the shrimp.

As to the false Nitrate reading, I have taken it 3 times to be sure (my arm hurts from all the bottle shaking ) and it reads 20ppm each time using the API Master Test Kit.

And trust me the smell was from the shrimp I went a head and just took it out since it was making the room stink.
 
joy1125
Member
dvc... the smell is the rotting shrimp. Brimstone, wait till around week 2 of the shrimp .... lol.... That's when you'll find yourself googling for the nearest Ace Hardware store, to buy some pure ammonia !!! LOL.... well, at least that's what I did. I started out with 2 shrimp.
 
joy1125
Member
sorry brim, we must've been posting at the same time, I didn't see your latest post ....

thatnks for the clarification regarding the nitrates from your tap.

You may want to try to the ammonia method, there's some good links here on FishLore that explains it. Just make sure to buy ammonia that contains no surfectants, no soaps, no scents, etc. It you shake the bottle, and it foams on top, or bubbles, donn't buy it.

The only place I could find it, was Ace Hardware.
 
joy1125
Member
the ammonia method is Sticky'd right up top here, on the beginners forum!

sorry, I know this is a bummer, you were thinking you were cycled.... but, if it's any condolance, my 30 gallon took since April 10th (around there ) to cycle, high nitrites lasted for weeks on end...Then nitrates came, and when I thought it was finally cycled, after consecutive readings of 0/0/20, the tank starting playing head games with me, and a glitch of nitrites appeared, and struck around for a bit.

cycling has a mind of its own, it seems. It's definitely an exercise in patience, on our part.
 
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Brimstonepdx
Member
joy1125 said:
sorry brim, we must've been posting at the same time, I didn't see your latest post ....

thatnks for the clarification regarding the nitrates from your tap.

You may want to try to the ammonia method, there's some good links here on FishLore that explains it. Just make sure to buy ammonia that contains no surfectants, no soaps, no scents, etc. It you shake the bottle, and it foams on top, or bubbles, donn't buy it.

The only place I could find it, was Ace Hardware.
Thanks but I'd rather not with this tank. Its become my personal science experiment. Its not so much that I am in a hurry to get it cycled to put fish in it. Its more of a "Am I reading my stuff right this time? and if not why not" kind of thing.

In short ammonia back to 0 and a 10ppm increase of the nitrates says to me that according to all the info I have read and been given that I am cycled but I missed the nitrite because I was not testing on a more regular basis. Honestly I do not remember seeing anything about how long all of this should take, but you can't get an increase of Nitrates without there having been some Nitrites can you?
 
joy1125
Member
you'll need to see nitrites. But you'll need a source of ammonia for that to happen. If your not doing the ammonia method, are you gonna toss the shrimp back in ???

In a nutshell, it's ammonia>nitrites> nitrAtes. The ammonia will rise considerably, then the nitrite stage lasts weeks it seems, and then you slowly see nitrAte readings, while still seeing nitrites.

finally, when it's close to the end, your readings will be >>> ammo drops to 0, nitrites drop to 0, with nitrates (that are removed via water changes, and you'll have an acceptable level aof 10 to 20)
 
joy1125
Member
wait a sec, I get what you're trying to ask !!! sorry Bristone.

What you're asking, is that since your nitrAtes (that came from your tap water) seem to be building up to 20, you managed to bypass the nitrite phase, and are cycled, right ??? That's your question, correct?
 
joy1125
Member
this is very interesting. I wonder how quick your tank can process ammonia? Why not go get some ammonia (the pure kind I mentioned above) and add a drop of two just enough to get a reading of .50 or so, to see if it will process within 8 hours? I think that'll give you your answer, on whether or not your tank is truly cycled and ready for fish !

post back Brimstone ! You got me curious about this
 
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Lucy
Moderator
Member
joy1125 said:
this is very interesting. I wonder how quick your tank can process ammonia? Why not go get some ammonia (the pure kind I mentioned above) and add a drop of two just enough to get a reading of .50 or so, to see if it will process within 8 hours? I think that'll give you your answer, on whether or not your tank is truly cycled and ready for fish !

post back Brimstone ! You got me curious about this
I agree. After reading everyones responses it would be a good idea to test the bacteria before adding fish.
However, since the by product of nitrite is nitrate I don't know why else the nitrate level could have risen.
 
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Brimstonepdx
Member
joy1125 said:
wait a sec, I get what you're trying to ask !!! sorry Bristone.

What you're asking, is that since your nitrAtes (that came from your tap water) seem to be building up to 20, you managed to bypass the nitrite phase, and are cycled, right ??? That's your question, correct?

I'm not saying I bypassed it at all. My thought was that because I went (what is in my mind a long time) between testing paramaters that I simply missed seeing nitrites before they turned into nitrates...

Yeah Ill go to the store on friday or saturday and get some ammonia and see what happens
 
joy1125
Member
the more I think about this, the more convinced I am that the introduction of nitrAtes from your tap, sped the process along at lightning speed, really ! Because you only went a week from 10 to 20 nitrate. And if your nitrItes appeared then diminished to zero during that brief window, all I can say is WOW !!

But this is great news for you Brim.... figure out a way to market your cycle-boosting nitrate tap water....lol... I know I would've bought some from you !!

but the real test will be how quick ammonia can be processed. Let us know how you make out over the weekend !
 
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Brimstonepdx
Member
Will do. Though I would to think if its truly cycled its probably a combination of the higher temp and PH along with whatever the plants brought with them, the rotting shrimp and whatever else is in the tap water that we don't know about...
 
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Brimstonepdx
Member
I can't find anywhere around here that sells pure ammonia. I have tried True Value, Wal-Mart, a couple of general pharmacies and local grocery stores and nothing.

So other than tossing in a fish to see if it lives or not how can I tell if I am cycled and my water parameters are correct?
 
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Lucy
Moderator
Member
You could use raw shrimp or fish food. It the nitrates continue to rise and the other levels stay at 0, it's cycled. If, in a few days you get ammonia readings, it's not.
I don't think the introduction of nitrates through tap water will speed up a cycle. The bacteria needs ammonia to survive.
 
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Brimstonepdx
Member
Thanks Lucy
 
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Lucy
Moderator
Member
Your welcome, I went back and re-read your first post. You already had shrimp in it, your nitrates are rising.

Granted, it's pretty fast for a cycle, but I'm inclined to think that you're there already.
 
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Brimstonepdx
Member
Well good news and bad news.

First the good news:

I was finally able to upgrade my lights to some nice dual T5 just in time my Anubias where looking really bad they have now really perked up. My Nana sprouted a new leaf in 48 hours of new lights

I also got a single fish on Monday and good news 3 days later I am reading 0 NH3, 0 NO2, and its hard to tell looks like its between the 20 and 40ppm on the NO3. I think I'm going color blind from all these tests! lol Tomorrow I'll do a small water change if it still tests that high. I have noticed that the plants seem to drop it about 10ppm every couple of days though.

Now the bad news:

I still can't seem to figure out what is making my PH 8.0. The tank when it was set up for cichilids ran about 7.8ish but I completely gutted it and everything in the tank except the filter is new. I tried the vinegar test on all of my stones with no fizzy results using white vinegar. I have two pieces of driftwood in the tank and I'm using pool filter sand instead of the gravel that it came with.

While I had been doing all of my research on getting a catfish I was suckered by the petsmart fish guy and ended up bringing home a African Brown Knife which I knew nothing about he just assured me it would do well in 8.0ph and would not get bigger than 8"... So with a change in my "big" fish (which apparently I will never see as it only comes out when its dark and no one is near the tank ) I now need to figure out what else I can keep in there that it won't eat, will tolerate a high PH, is not a cichlid and will come out of hiding while its light. I have a feeling my options will be super limited.

Over all though I think I have a happy start for this tank and Magic Fast Cycled Water that I need to patent and trade mark This makes me rethink moving!
 
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jdhef
Moderator
Member
From what I've read, sometimes as a tank ages the ph drops a little. That could be why your at 8 now as opposed to 7.8 previously.

A ph of 8 isn't that bad, and most fish should adapt to it. But if you are looking for fish the prefer a higher ph, many of the varieties of Rainbow Fish like a ph of 8 or above. They are hardy and active, but I don't know if they will get along with your knife fish.
 

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