Fish In Cycle - Ammonia 1ppm

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by iky, Apr 19, 2017.

  1. iky

    ikyNew MemberMember

    Hey, can I please have some advice.

    I have been cycling my 7.5 gallon tank for the past month or so, adding 4 head and tail tetras. I am still at the Ammonia stage maxing to .5ppm making sure to drop Ammonia levels below .25ppm, changing the water every other day with Seachem Prime to control the Ammonia levels.

    I have also added some Interpet Quick Safe Start per water change along with Prime as advised by my petshop to quicken the cycle. Also following the packaging to use with some hardy fish.

    Testing with API Master Test Kit before and after water changes and testing every day to ensure it was below 1ppm, it's always stayed at .5ppm before the days following the water changes.

    Yesterday I had left it around 4 days and Ammonia levels were at 1ppm, doing a 30% water change bringing it back to .25ppm, today was similar back up to 1ppm and did a 30% water change and added the recommended dose of Seachem Prime and Quick Safe Start. But it remained at 1ppm yet no signs of Nitrites... I have been feeding them sparingly, once a day small incriments and will start cutting back to every other day. Can someone please advise me? What am I doing wrong?

    After reading endless posts and reviews I have just bought Fluval Cycle Biological Enhancer and API Ammo Lock 2 but I don't want to add anything else until I know exactly how it should be dosed.
  2. AngelTheGypsy

    AngelTheGypsyFishlore VIPMember

    Don't use the ammolock. I'm editing this post to give you more info. Please stand by...

    The ammolock will mess with your ammonia readings. I used it in my first tank, and for 2 weeks with water changes, etc. ammonia read 8 ppm with 2 fish. I did a 100% WC to get rid of it.

    The fluval should work, as it has good reviews, but I have not used it. Follow the instructions on the bottle. I know with TSS, if you don't follow the instructions it doesn't work. This is what I would do:

    Do a 100% WC. Treat with prime and add fish. Wait 24 hours and add fluval. Follow the instructions on the bottle.

    If you've already used the fluval, I'd get a bottle of TSS, as I know it works. But use the fluval if you still have it.

    It seems your fish are pretty hardy. You just need to get that bacteria growing. Without a bacteria starter, this could take months, and it sounds like the first one you used was ineffective.

    I don't know how the ammolock will affect the fluval if you've already added them both. But if not, I highly advise not to use the ammolock. It's a gimmick bandaid.

    Feel free to ask if you have any more questions. I have a feeling none of what I typed makes sense...
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017
  3. Kiks

    KiksWell Known MemberMember

    I know this is too late, but I'll always advise to cycle without fish. It's nicer for the fish, but in my opinion it's definitely nicer for you as well. Cycling without fish using pure ammonia is much easier and in my experience faster.
    From reading your post I don't see that you're doing anything wrong or should be doing anything differently, so my guess is that you just need to give it more time. I know that usually nitrites come after adding an ammonia source, but out of curiosity have you tried testing for nitrates? There has been cases of people adding an ammonia source, then testing only ammonia and nitrites with no nitrites showing up but lots of nitrates.
    What are your other readings?
  4. MikeRad89

    MikeRad89Well Known MemberMember

    Cycling with with fish is far faster. All this new stuff makes me feel old and I'm not even 30.
  5. Kiks

    KiksWell Known MemberMember

    I don't know what's usually faster or if it's always the same method that's the fastest, but I've tried both and in my experience cycling with pure ammonia is much faster than cycling with fish.

    And the chances of hurting or killing your fish is smaller.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 19, 2017
  6. OnTheFly

    OnTheFlyWell Known MemberMember

    I've tried both on four different tanks lately using both methods. I'm not noticing any big difference in time table. Cycling with fish is a chore if you care about the fish. About the only thing I am convinced of is the guy with low PH and mineral water should probably not expect the identical results as somebody with high PH liquid rock coming out of the tap. I have spiking nitrites in about 48 hours, while others wait weeks.
  7. PaulaMPi

    PaulaMPiValued MemberMember

    Since he is having an issue with ammonia, wouldn't Prime+Stability be better than TSS? (When I was having this issue, that's what was recommended to me because of my ammonia levels... Since you shouldn't do water changes or use Prime with TSS?)
  8. AngelTheGypsy

    AngelTheGypsyFishlore VIPMember

    If you want the flexibility to test and do WC yes stability is the better choice. I have done it both ways, and I found prime + stability to take longer and be more stressful than using tss. Of course right now he's using fluval cycle booster.

    @iky let us know if you need any more help or have more questions. Your thread got sidetracked a little but maybe we can get it back on track
  9. OnTheFly

    OnTheFlyWell Known MemberMember

    I'll offer a suggestion. It's been a month and nitrites aren't happening so he is buying chemicals and making zero progress. As I said I have nitrites in about 48hrs in tank after tank. With no bacteria starter. He is using starter bacteria. If he doesn't have an extra small aquarium I'd buy a new 5G bucket for three bucks and pull the good fish for now. Then feed the bacteria some real ammonia and make something happen. Either add liquid ammonia from Ace hardware (three more bucks), or a dozen feeder goldfish (or whatever will make a mess). 2-3 ppm of ammonia should get it going.

    If you stay the course with good fish in tank, don't be overly fearful of .50 ammonia. The bacteria has to be fed. My well water is over .25 and the fish are not dying when I do a water change. You can't grow bacteria and have zero ammonia. Your first fish will have it a little rough. That is the cost of a cycle with fish.

    I do use Prime. The stuff is great but only up to about 1PPM. It won't cure everything, but it can protect fish from a nitrite spike when you get lucky enough to have that problem.
  10. OP

    ikyNew MemberMember

    Hi, thank you Angel, makes perfect sense! Sorry for the late reply!.. I haven't used Fluval nor AmmoLock just yet and won't use the AmmoLock now that you mentioned it, but at this minute I have prepared for my next water change, upon testing Ammonia and Nitrites this time... Ammonia is still at 1ppm and NITRITES ARE .25PPM :D :D Never thought I'd be so excited for such a harmful bacteria.

    I have a few 5g bucket lying around already, should I still continue to try this method and add and build up enough ammonia for nitrites to eat it out? Now that I have my very first reading of nitrite in my tank, should I complete the nitrogen cycle quicker in the 5g bucket, once everything is at 0 and nitrAtes below 40ppm can I just add that water? I will hold off on this WC and wait for you guys to advise.

    Tomorrow will be the last time I can do a WC until sunday as I will be away for the weekend, if you can advise me on how I can prep the tank before this it would be appreciated. I'll wait for you guys to be on as we have a good 6 hour time difference and you're probably fast asleep! Thank you for your truly valuable advice guys, I really do appreciate it.

    Hi Kiks, tested all 3, Ammonia = 1ppm, Nitrite NOW at .25ppm and Nitrate still at 0... I didn't test for Nitrate much as I didn't have any good readings for Nitrite, plus your arm gets sore from all the shaking. xD Also my water is also at a consistent 7.4ppm testing high and low ranges.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2017
  11. OnTheFly

    OnTheFlyWell Known MemberMember

    The purpose of the bucket was to segregate your good fish and add significant ammonia in an attempt to finally get some nitrites started. You have nitrites now and that is good. I think I would just watch the aquarium numbers for awhile. You do need some ammonia source to keep the process going. I might even be tempted to add a few more cheap fish fairly soon if things continue to go well. At some point your nitrites should spike to some degree, and they will hang there for a while. (days at least) As far as dumping a bunch of random chemicals in the tank, I'm not a fan of that. Too many threads here where the chemical mixing experiment doesn't go well. You can also produce some ammonia by overfeeding your fish for just a day or two. You have to watch your numbers and be ready to do a small WC if needed. If you have bacteria now they will consume most of it quickly and you'll barely see it on your water tests.

    1ppm ammonia is my water changing trigger but I use tough cycling fish. My tank has seen higher during cycle. Just don't get on a quest to hit zero just yet and conduct constant water changes. Bacteria can't grow with zero. I'm not saying fry your fish, but you can't make it perfect for them yet or you'll be changing water three times a day. This is why some prefer a cycle without fish in the tank.

    On a side note I visited a friend yesterday who knows nothing about aquariums. He started a tank two months ago. He immediately threw in a minnow and a crayfish from the creek. One month later he pulls them and adds four tropical fish. Never changes the water. I checked his water and it is now perfectly cycled. And he used water out of his water softener which is a bad idea. His tetras and cory look very healthy to me. Eventually nature tries to fix everything as long as we don't do something way out of line like a huge fish overstock or massive chemical additive error.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2017
  12. OP

    ikyNew MemberMember

    Bloody , for someone to get such water conditions on the first try!.. Is there anything I can do or put in (I know you don't like chemicals) to reduce stress and protect the fishes while the nitrite eat off the ammonia? Like API Stress Coat...

    I'm thinking of quarantining these little guys and adding some pure ammonia to the bucket to get their living standards upto par? The Fluval Bio Enhancer that I have; reading up on it, it has nothing but the best reviews out there compared to others like tss, qss, on how it adds beneficial bacteria and it's effectiveness maybe dose my tank with that tomorrow after a WC?
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2017
  13. OnTheFly

    OnTheFlyWell Known MemberMember

    I do use Seachem Prime as I mentioned. It does protect against the lower level toxin numbers like you have. I don't have a problem with proven good chemicals. Attempting to mix and match a number of chemicals and brands during a cycle that isn't going well is what I don't believe in. Most of us aren't chemists or biologists, and they don't tell us the products ingredient formula anyway. Just turns into a bad experiment. Pick a product line with a good reputation and stay with it. Doesn't have to be Prime.

    Fish in the bucket, adding ammonia in the tank is what you are suggesting right? That would be fine if the filter stays with the aquarium, and temps are reasonably close to correct.

    And the ammonia I use is VERY strong. Add a few drops and check levels after at least a half hour pass. It is easy to overdose and stall a cycle. You can do a WC and reduce it of course but easier to just avoid the problem. If I wasn't clear, never dose water that contains fish with ammonia. You probably realize that but your last post didn't sound correct.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2017
  14. AngelTheGypsy

    AngelTheGypsyFishlore VIPMember

    If youbfish are doing fine, your numbers aren't off the charts. So I think you could let it ride. However if you are going away for the weekend I would do a WC since you won't be able to monitor your tank while your gone. Even if you do a 100% WC and get the ammonia and nitrite to 0, your fish will steadily create more to feed the bacteria. I suggest you do a water change and add the fluval. I don't know if prime will interact badly with it, so if you have another conditioner you can use that so you can use the fluval immediately.

    In all reality your tank is doing well, just that the original bacteria supplement didn't do its job. Without a jump start, the bacteria will eventually grow, it just takes longer. I think if you add the fluval, it should get going for you, as I have seen it have great reviews as well.

    I'm not big on a bunch of additives either. Treat the tap water and dose bacteria if you need it. Other than that, I just use fertilizer for my plants
  15. OnTheFly

    OnTheFlyWell Known MemberMember

    At this point I think this is the best course. It shouldn't be a problem for four fish to keep the cycle going in a 7.5G Now that nitrites started, you'll probably have more than you want in a few more days.
  16. OP

    ikyNew MemberMember

    I LOVE YOU GUYS. I did the 100% WC on Friday and ammonia was quite high before I got back on Sunday @1 - 2ppm, did another 50% WC I then added the Fluval Bio Enhancer as per the instruction on the bottle and everyday for 3 days, today being the second day.

    Ammonia is at .25ppm... Nitrite is at 0ppm...
    NITRATE IS AT 5 - 10PPM... How in the f did it cycle so quickly, I can already see my fishes behaviours changing it's almost miraculous.

    As soon as the cycle has settled and I have the perfect parameters I will be investing in a much larger tank (around 100g) later this year definitely with a fishless cycle this time, but there's still soo much I need to revise before that happens, I thought I was confident enough for this 7.5g! Made such schoolboy errors.

    I really really can't thank you guys enough for your golden advices.
  17. AngelTheGypsy

    AngelTheGypsyFishlore VIPMember

    Very glad it is working for you.
  18. OnTheFly

    OnTheFlyWell Known MemberMember

    Keep an eye on it Iky. Add fish slowly for a while to make sure it is stable. You'll know in a few days. All cycles are a little different. We have a lot of data, but we don't have it all. Bacteria counts, specific bacteria strains etc.

    I probably mentioned I just cycled a 60G, the last part with fish. I won't do that again. Definitely do a fishless with your 100G. You can't change the water fast enough if the nitrites go crazy for a week. Get some seasoned media or a large used sponge filter to add to your 100G. Or stick a medium in your 7.5 a month in advance. Sponges are cheap and easy. It will speed things along some. You don't need a lot of bacteria to start, but it sure helps if you have a starter culture. One that doesn't come in a bottle. If you grow bacteria starter in local water, it will likely thrive in your local water.
  19. Herkimur

    HerkimurWell Known MemberMember

    That's how I feel with all these tech gadgets and iThis or iThat.
    In regards to fishless cycling though, it takes half the time than doing fish-in.
    And a of a lot LESS stress.
  20. OnTheFly

    OnTheFlyWell Known MemberMember

    After cycling five tanks this month the time frame statement is a generalization. No matter how I did it, it is was give or take one day from 21 days with no starter bacteria or media. My fastest cycle was with fish but I hit it hard with feeders. Probably depends some on your water. Agree on the stress. What a hassle in a large tank cycle with fish! I will never do it on a large tank again. Fishless is definitely easier.