10 Gallon Tank Fishless Cycle: Ammonia Decreasing; Nitrites still at 0

shotcaller88
Member
I have a 10 gallon I am setting up for African Dwarf Frogs. I decided to do a fishless cycle about 7 weeks ago. I used Ace Ammonia as I have heard many people used.
For about 5 weeks the ammonia remained at 4ppm, Nitrites 0, Nitrates 5.
At 6 weeks I did a test and ammonia dropped to 1ppm. Nitrites at 0. Nitrates at 20.
The last 3 days I have been adding a few drops of ammonia every day and testing every day. The ammonia has since dropped to 0. Nitrites still at 0. I have never seen an increase in Nitrites. Nitrates do appear to be increasing slightly. They look to be in between 20 and 40.
I just put 5 drops of ammonia in about 90 minutes ago. Ammonia only seemed to go up .25. No other changes. Previously I was waiting 24 hours after adding ammonia to test. I'm just trying to figure out what's going on here. I would like to do a water change to lower Nitrates, but not sure if this is the right time.
 
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Lucy
Moderator
Member
Welcome to Fish Lore

Weird that you never got a nitite reading. Did you test everyday, maybe you missed it?
Did you seed the tank with anything from an established tank?

Congrats on going fish less, or in your case frog less
I love ADF's. I hope you'll post pics when you get them.
 
bettafish2816
Member
i've heard of people "skipping" the nitrIte phase. as long as all of the ammonia that you add is being converted after 24 hours and you're getting 0 ammonia and nitrite and 5-20 nitrAte consistently for at least a few more days then you should be good to go for your ADFs
 
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shotcaller88
Member
Lucy said:
Welcome to Fish Lore

Weird that you never got a nitite reading. Did you test everyday, maybe you missed it?
Did you seed the tank with anything from an established tank?

Congrats on going fish less, or in your case frog less
I love ADF's. I hope you'll post pics when you get them.
Thank you both for your replies!

The past 3 or 4 days, I have been testing at least once every 24 hours. I did use a $10 bottle of Tetra SafeStart at about week 2. I think my ammonia levels may have been too high & killed it off because I didn't notice any changes until much later.
Ammonia is definitely dropping.

One last question. I will be going out of town for 4 days. Will this tank be ok with no ammonia being added? I don't want the bacteria to die off because of lack of food. Thanks.
 
Sharkitty
Member
You could toss in a bit of shrimp to feed your bacteria while you are gone. That's my only deep thought.
 
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Lucy
Moderator
Member
If you started the cycle 7 weeks ago, but just started testing daily 3-4 days ago, it's possible that you didn't see the nitrite spike.
I agree, with high ammonia, TSS could have been overwhelmed.

Once the bacteria can process about 4 or 5 ppm of ammonia to 0 in 10-12 hrs, with 0 nitrite, you're cycled.
 
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shotcaller88
Member
Lucy, thanks for the stats. I've read that 5 or so drops of ammonia should get my 10 gallon near 4ppm. This doesn't seem to be the case though. I'm barely getting 1ppm with 5 drops.
I probably did miss the nitrite spike. I was testing daily at first, but I was getting frustrated after weeks with no change and thought I was doing something wrong. At that point I was only testing once or twice a week. Yeah, I got lazy. I will continue testing 1-2x a day and will hopefully get this figured out soon.
 
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Lucy
Moderator
Member
It doesn't sound like you've got far to, hang in there.
If you have a 5 gallon bucket, you can test the number of drops of ammonia it should take to get to 4ppm. Double and that should bring your 10 gallon to 4ppm. Becareful not to OD the tank and kill of what bacteria has developed.
Could be different brands of ammonia have different strengths.
 

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