Fishless Cycle Advice....please Help Plan My Next Move.

ShaneB

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I set my 60 gallon tank up Jan 23rd. Used Prime and Let tank sit for a day. Next day I dosed to 4 PPM ammonia and started using Stability (and followed directions for the next 7 days as well).

PH in tank is about 7.6-7.8 I am keeping the temp at 81 and filter (fluval 406) and all other equipment running.

I went the first 3 weeks or so with no change at all. 4 PPM ammonia and 0 nitrites and nitrates. I decided to try Tetra Safe start ( I ordered stability online and was afraid the bacterial died in shipping process)

A week after TSS ammonia down to .25 PPM 0 nitrites and just under 20 PPM nitrates. At this point I am thinking I am on my way but it seems to have stalled. I add ammonia whenever it drops to 0-.25 PPM and then test but it is still taking about a week to drop back down and nitrates are staying around 20 PPM.

I have read up on the fishless cycle a good bit and have read if it stalls a water change can help get it going again.

So my question....

Should I let it ride a bit longer (going on 7 weeks now) and keep adding ammonia as needed when it drops?

Should I add another bottle of TSS to see if that will get it moving again and keep a eye on readings?

Should I do a water change to see if it will get it up and going again?

This is my first fishless cycle so any advice will be greatly appreciated! I just don't want to mess it up and have to go back to step 1....

Thanks for any advice
 

DaFishNerd

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I've personally never done fishless. Dosing with ammonia never seems to work and always stalls. I know many people think it's cruel but if you do it right it isn't terrible. Your cycle should definitely not last 7 weeks with TSS and Stability. I know Stability doesn't work well in a fishless cycle and TSS has never worked for me. What you could do however is a water change and instead of dosing with ammonia try adding fish food and see if that works better for you.
 

fjh

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I am no expert on fishless cycling (I always just take a but of cycled media to start a new tank) but heres my 2 cents:
adding more TSS won't help anymore than it already has. you have the bacteria in there, not you need it to keep reproducing in the filter, not the water column.
you do need to keep adding ammonia until you get fish, otherwise the bacteria will die out and you will loose the cycle.
I would definitely do a water change. It seems strange to me that you only have 20ppm nitrate after 7 weeks, especially after multiple dosages of 4ppm ammonia (unless you have a lot of plants or something). Are you shaking the bottles well? either way there have been accounts of high nitrate stalling a cycle so I would do the WC just to rule this out. besides, you will have to do this before you add fish anyways.
Lastly, I would say go ahead and get some fish. Its rare that fish manage to produce 4ppm ammonia and <.25 ppm won't harm them unless you have really high ph or temperature. If you want to be absolutely sure, dose to 2ppm ammonia and if it can eat that in less than 2 days Id say you are fine.
 

DanInJakarta

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ShaneB said:
I set my 60 gallon tank up Jan 23rd. Used Prime and Let tank sit for a day. Next day I dosed to 4 PPM ammonia and started using Stability (and followed directions for the next 7 days as well).

PH in tank is about 7.6-7.8 I am keeping the temp at 81 and filter (fluval 406) and all other equipment running.

I went the first 3 weeks or so with no change at all. 4 PPM ammonia and 0 nitrites and nitrates. I decided to try Tetra Safe start ( I ordered stability online and was afraid the bacterial died in shipping process)

A week after TSS ammonia down to .25 PPM 0 nitrites and just under 20 PPM nitrates.
If I am reading correctly, in 7 days TAN went from 4ppm to .25ppm. Is that correct?

ShaneB said:
At this point I am thinking I am on my way but it seems to have stalled.
Please explain what a stalled cycle is in your mind.

I see:

TAN=4.0 ppm, NO2=0 ppm and NO3=0 ppm seven days ago and see
TAN=.25 ppm, NO2=0 ppm and NO3=20 ppm as of your post date.

Looks like it's working to me.

ShaneB said:
I add ammonia whenever it drops to 0-.25 PPM and then test but it is still taking about a week to drop back down and nitrates are staying around 20 PPM.
Ammonia to 4PPM every time it drops down? I don't understand why.

If the goal is TAN=0, NO2=0 and NO3=>0 (nitrates rarely go away by themselves), is not your tank cycled?

ShaneB said:
I have read up on the fishless cycle a good bit and have read if it stalls a water change can help get it going again.
I don't understand why you have been told that.

TAN (NH3/NH4) → NO2 → NO3 → N2 (This last part, NO3 → N2) will probably not happen in your tank, although it can). The bacteria already have plenty of H20 to oxidize ammonia, ammonium, and nitrites.

ShaneB said:
So my question....

Should I let it ride a bit longer (going on 7 weeks now) and keep adding ammonia as needed when it drops?

Should I add another bottle of TSS to see if that will get it moving again and keep a eye on readings?

Should I do a water change to see if it will get it up and going again?

This is my first fishless cycle so any advice will be greatly appreciated! I just don't want to mess it up and have to go back to step 1....

Thanks for any advice
I don't give advice. I believe your tank is cycled as you have said TAN reads between 0-.25 ppm. It is not "established".
 

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