Fishless cycle dilemma/stalled

Lordofwar

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Started fishless cycle on 4th jun 20 everything was going great until yesterday. 23 days in cycle. Ammonia which was reading 0 until yesterday is now creeping up again. Nitrite is off the scale and nitrate is in between the readings. Details are in the attachment.

304L tank (holding 230 ltrs)
Ohko rocks
Driftwood
Black minute gravel as substrate

Hydor Canister 450 series with biohome ultimate as media along with sponges and seachem matrix.

Used prime and stability. Used pure ammonia for pollution. Maintained 3ppm initially and then redosed to 1ppm daily as nitrites were off the scale. Is the cycle stalled? Should i perform water change?

Ph is somewhat ok kh dropped to 2 from constant 3.

Please help.
 

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Lordofwar

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Readings after 3 hrs of water change:-
Ammonia - ~0.7
Nitrite - 0.1 brownish in colour not pinkish
Nitrate - 13
Gh-4
Kh-2
Ph-7.3

Read some articles by Mattgirl and water change was recommended to others as per the article so i reckon im on correct path. Will wait for others to chime in.

Shall i opt for seachem replenish? So that kh doesn’t go that low in between water changes? Though still the fishless cycle is on. Cycling not yet completed.

Thanks.
 

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It sounds like the water change got you back on track. The cycling process can cause the KH to be depleted. The water changes alone should keep it up and stable. As long as your pH isn't going down below 7 I wouldn't add anything to raise the KH.

edited to add: Add more ammonia each time it reaches 0. I don't know how your ammonia could be going up if you aren't adding any but you do want to continue to feed your cycle. After the water change I would recommend you get the ammonia reading back up to no less than 2pmm.
 
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Lordofwar

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mattgirl said:
It sounds like the water change got you back on track. The cycling process can cause the KH to be depleted. The water changes alone should keep it up and stable. As long as your pH isn't going down below 7 I wouldn't add anything to raise the KH.

edited to add: Add more ammonia each time it reaches 0. I don't know how your ammonia could be going up if you aren't adding any but you do want to continue to feed your cycle. After the water change I would recommend you get the ammonia reading back up to no less than 2pmm.
Ammonia is being added every 24 hrs as the reading was 0. The value 0 in the screenshot is after adding ammonia post 24 hrs. However, today instead of being 0 it creeped up. Have not added ammonia today. Will see tomorrow morning what the reading says as have performed the water change.

Thanks much !! Appreciate it.
 

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Lordofwar said:
Ammonia is being added every 24 hrs as the reading was 0. The value 0 in the screenshot is after adding ammonia post 24 hrs. However, today instead of being 0 it creeped up. Have not added ammonia today. Will see tomorrow morning what the reading says as have performed the water change.

Thanks much !! Appreciate it.
Please keep us updated. I love reading happy endings :)
 
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Lordofwar

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After water changes the readings this mornings are:-

Ph-7.4
Gh-4
Kh-2
Nitrite-0.1 (brownish in color, yet to show pink)
Nitrate-10
Ammonia- ~0.75

Have added 1ml of pure ammonia. And no it was not zero this morning. Unsure whether the cycle was stalled or does it need to be started all over again? Somewhat confused as ammonia was being processed at 0 post 24 hrs. until couple of days ago. Is was due to off the charts nitrites that water change was performed. Now there is trace of ammonia post 24 hrs. will observe and report.
 

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Lordofwar said:
After water changes the readings this mornings are:-

Ph-7.4
Gh-4
Kh-2
Nitrite-0.1 (brownish in color, yet to show pink)
Nitrate-10
Ammonia- ~0.75

Have added 1ml of pure ammonia. And no it was not zero this morning. Unsure whether the cycle was stalled or does it need to be started all over again? Somewhat confused as ammonia was being processed at 0 post 24 hrs. until couple of days ago. Is was due to off the charts nitrites that water change was performed. Now there is trace of ammonia post 24 hrs. will observe and report.
The cycle does not need to be started again. The bacteria you have previously grown is still there. Some may have gone dormant and t is waking up now that things are moving forward again.
 
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Lordofwar

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Im unsure what is happening? It seems that a cycle within a cycle has now started. Its been 31 days in cycling the tank. All was ok until last week wherein ammonia declined to 0 for about 5 days every 24 hrs. & nitrite was off the scale. Nitrate was within the limits. It was then that after 5 days ammonia started to creep up whilst nitrite still being off the scale.

I then proceeded with 60% water change post which ammonia is around 2ppm just like the initial days. Nitrite is brownish in colour around 0.1 and yet to show pinkish tinge.

The confusion is should i start all over again? Im loosing the patience and moreover unsure if all would re-happen again once ammonia drops back to 0?

Readings from today after 31 days in cycling
Ammonia 2ppm
Nitrite 0.1
Nitrate 10
Gh 3
Kh 2
Ph 7.8
 

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I am not sure what you mean by start over. I know cycling a tank can be frustrating and time consuming.

I think I understand now what you mean when you say the ammonia is creeping up. I am thinking you just mean it isn't going down to zero within 24 hours. Please correct me if I am wrong.

I am confused by the nitrate reading. With as much ammonia as this cycle has processed the nitrates should be much higher than they are right now. For some reason unknown to me the parameters in this tank are way off balance. I know it may seem counterproductive but I think water changes should get whatever is throwing this cycle off balance corrected. Instead of one big one I will recommend you change out no more than 50% of the water. Once in the morning and again in the afternoon/evening. After the second water change go ahead and get your ammonia reading up to at least 2ppm.

When you do them be sure you both temp match and use your water conditioner in the new water. We can't see the bacteria but it is a living thing and needs to be treated with as much care as we would once we have fish in the tank.

If this doesn't get this cycle back on track we are going to have to dig deeper and try to find out what is going on. Keep in mind though, sometimes cycling a tank can take 6 weeks or longer. I know the last time I cycled a tank from scratch it took a full 6 weeks to go from dry to fully cycled. I was doing a fish in cycle though so lots of water changes during those 6 weeks.
 
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Lordofwar

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mattgirl said:
I think I understand now what you mean when you say the ammonia is creeping up. I am thinking you just mean it isn't going down to zero within 24 hours. Please correct me if I am wrong.
Thats true. After 3 weeks of cycle ammonia started to go zero every 24 hrs. for 4-5 days however nitrite was off the scale. At this time i reduced the ammonia dosage to half of original about 2ml (originally entered 5ml) on day-1. It was during this phase that ammonia started to again rise and was not turning 0 every 24 hrs. Nitrite was still off the scale.
I then performed 60% water change last week and have added ammonia twice till date 2ml each time. Im not dosing it every day.


mattgirl said:
When you do them be sure you both temp match and use your water conditioner in the new water.
Yes.They are temperature matched. Seachem prime is being used as conditioner and so also Stability
mattgirl said:
I know it may seem counterproductive but I think water changes should get whatever is throwing this cycle off balance corrected. Instead of one big one I will recommend you change out no more than 50% of the water.
Till date in past 31 days only 1 water change has been done last week by 60%
mattgirl said:
I am not sure what you mean by start over. I know cycling a tank can be frustrating and time consuming.

I think I understand now what you mean when you say the ammonia is creeping up. I am thinking you just mean it isn't going down to zero within 24 hours. Please correct me if I am wrong.

I am confused by the nitrate reading. With as much ammonia as this cycle has processed the nitrates should be much higher than they are right now. For some reason unknown to me the parameters in this tank are way off balance. I know it may seem counterproductive but I think water changes should get whatever is throwing this cycle off balance corrected. Instead of one big one I will recommend you change out no more than 50% of the water. Once in the morning and again in the afternoon/evening. After the second water change go ahead and get your ammonia reading up to at least 2ppm.

When you do them be sure you both temp match and use your water conditioner in the new water. We can't see the bacteria but it is a living thing and needs to be treated with as much care as we would once we have fish in the tank.

If this doesn't get this cycle back on track we are going to have to dig deeper and try to find out what is going on. Keep in mind though, sometimes cycling a tank can take 6 weeks or longer. I know the last time I cycled a tank from scratch it took a full 6 weeks to go from dry to fully cycled. I was doing a fish in cycle though so lots of water changes during those 6 weeks.
Attaching the screenshots in case they help further. GH and KH are only stable out of the lot of all entries :) atleast something is right.

Thanks for all your help and support. You indeed are a Legend.
 

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We have to hope the water changes will help balance this tank out. I am not sure what is causing what we are seeing so the only thing I can suggest at this point is the water changes. Even though we don't know what is causing the imbalanced the water change should correct it and get this cycle back on track.

BTW: Fishlore Legend simply means I type a lot :D
 
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Below are all the details till date:-

DateTemp (degrees)pHGHKHAmmoniaNitriteNitrateTDSAmmonia Added (mL)Prime (Cap)Stability (Cap)Water Added (Ltrs.)Remarks
03-Jun-201.56225Day-1
04-Jun-2030.683200053
05-Jun-2029.78.24333
06-Jun-2029.78.24330.081603
07-Jun-2029.87.84330.11623
08-Jun-2030.284331653
09-Jun-203184321680.25310Water Top-Up
11-Jun-20328.24320.1168
13-Jun-2032.78.24320.2166
14-Jun-2032.21.50.2171
16-Jun-2032.78531.50.31621.20.5114Water Top-Up
17-Jun-203343212178
18-Jun-2032.8431.5281741.2
19-Jun-2033431.52101801.8
20-Jun-2031.9430.32151812.40.25214Water Top-Up
21-Jun-2031.74306151703
22-Jun-2031.44306151783.3
23-Jun-2031.78.64306151804
24-Jun-2031.57.84306201812.1
25-Jun-2031.78.14306201952
26-Jun-2031.97.406181912
27-Jun-2032.57.3520.762018612140Water Change
28-Jun-2033.37.4420.750.1101261
29-Jun-2033.18.1320.750.116127
30-Jun-2032.77.31.10.1510126
01-Jul-2032.77.30.750.1510129
02-Jul-2032.77.420.750.1101322
03-Jul-2033.27.60.750.1101342
04-Jul-2032.87.83220.1101323
 
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Lordofwar

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Performed a 50% water change yesterday & added 4ml ammonia

Reading prior water change -
Ammonia 1.5, Nitrite NOT SURE, Nitrate 25, Gh 3, kh 2, ph 7.6

Reading 24hrs after water change-
ammonia 2, Nitrite NOT SURE, nitrate 10, Gh 3,
Kh 2, ph 7.2

Nitrite - NOT SURE attaching the pic how it shows on the scale. I’m uncertain whether its in between 0 & 0.25 or is it below 0?

Are things moving in right direction? Shall i keep dosing ammonia daily unless Nitrite is on the scale?
 

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I don't understand what is happening?

Things are just not moving. Need help please :nurse: !!!. It been almost 40 days in cycle. 60% water change was done on 6th Jul'20. Cycle was started on 3rd Jun'20.

In my previous post I attached the pic of Nitrite. Its been the same and is not coming on scale. I dont know whether to read it as Zero or something else hence have chosen it at 0.1 ppm as it is not 0.

Water change has been done twice during the cycling phase till date. 1st time 50% and 2nd time 60%

Below are the latest readings:- (gh-3, kh-2 is stable & constant) rest are as depicted.
DatepHAmmoniaNitriteNitrateAmmonia Added (mL)
06-Jul-207.61.50.1254
07-Jul-207.220.110
08-Jul-207.41.50.110
09-Jul-207.41.750.112
10-Jul-207.61.50.115
11-Jul-207.51.50.120
12-Jul-207.51.50.1153
 

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This one has me throughly stumped. I really don't know why the ammonia has stopped going down. All of the numbers tell us that the water is fairly well balanced. Meaning nothing is high enough to be off the chart. pH is in a good range. The only thing I can suggest is time since I can't think of anything else you can do to get this cycle complete. What temp are you keeping this tank? Bacteria grows better at higher temps. Since there are no fish that would be bothered with higher temps I would be running it up to 80 or even a bit higher. 85 wouldn't be too high.
 
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mattgirl said:
I really don't know why the ammonia has stopped going down.
Would you recommend to keep hitting it 4ppm daily please? As of now I'm only dosing ammonia it if it comes till 1ppm/1.5ppm. (Also i'm not refilling it upto 4ppm its somewhat in the range of 3ppm)

mattgirl said:
What temp are you keeping this tank?
Average would be 31 Degrees Centigrade (~88 F)

Lastly would you recommend that I start feeding some pellets as well in empty tank? Reason being that the minerals etc. shouldn't be depleted completely from the tank. Since its a fishless cycle will the feed in turn produce phospate thereby generating algae to bloom in the tank? (that would be the last thing I want at this stage).

Many thanks as always.
 

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Lordofwar said:
Would you recommend to keep hitting it 4ppm daily please? As of now I'm only dosing ammonia it if it comes till 1ppm/1.5ppm. (Also i'm not refilling it upto 4ppm its somewhat in the range of 3ppm)


Average would be 31 Degrees Centigrade (~88 F)

Lastly would you recommend that I start feeding some pellets as well in empty tank? Reason being that the minerals etc. shouldn't be depleted completely from the tank. Since its a fishless cycle will the feed in turn produce phospate thereby generating algae to bloom in the tank? (that would be the last thing I want at this stage).

Many thanks as always.
I wouldn't add more ammonia until what's in there drops close to zero. When it does, go ahead and dose it back up to 4ppm. With a tank this size 4ppm seems like a good number and by growing enough bacteria to process that much ammonia you will be able to add all the fish you plan on adding all at once.

I think I would lower the temp slightly. I don't know that having it up to 88 is a problem but it might be. 85 is about as high as I would be comfortable with.

Adding some fish food may not be necessary but I can't see it being a problem. It is possible the food will help. Should you decide to do so put it in a media bag and hang the bag where water will be running over and through it. I could be way off base but I think fish or fish food adds something necessary that liquid alone doesn't provide. I can't prove this but it just makes sense to me and just seems it is more natural. By having it in a media bag it will be easier to clean out when that time comes. Should you start seeing algae you can easily remove the fish food.

Some folks that do fishless cycling using only liquid ammonia experience a mini-cycle once they add fish. I could be way off but I think the bacteria grown from liquid ammonia is somewhat different than bacteria that has been fed real food meaning ammonia being produced from the waste from fish. I think but of course can't prove that processed fish food grows a stronger more natural bacteria.
 
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Lordofwar

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Not much progress made. Its now 45 days in cycle. Readings for past 5 days are in the table:-

20 litres of RO water was topped up this week
0.25 Cup of Prime was added & 3 cups of Stability
GH & KH are 3 & 2 respectively
DatepHAmmoniaNitriteNitrateAmmonia Added
(mL)
13-Jul-207.52.50.115
14-Jul-207.62.50.115
15-Jul-207.21.75-20
16-Jul-207.6--20
17-Jul-207.50.10105
18-Jul-207.41.5015
19-Jul-207.20.250155

I've also bought API master test kit as the older one got over. Nitrite is still ZERO so not a fault with test kit too. Unsure whether Nitrite cycle is completed or is it yet to show on the scale. I'm at the end of my wits.

Is there a possibility that Nitrite bacteria is already multiplied to the level reqd.? Last water change was done on 6th Jul'20 (60% - around 130 ltrs.). Lastly, have added small pellets as well in nylon bag in small quantity. Tied in the center of the tank at the top (to the center bracing of aquarium).

Please let me know what to do?
 

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Some folks say they never see a true 0 reading for ammonia when using the API ammonia test. If that is the case then I have to think your cycle is done. If the ammonia you add goes down to .25 and your nitrates go up then I have to think this cycle is done.

Lots of folks don't see a high spike in nitrites when using bottled bacteria so what you are seeing isn't a problem. When a cycle is complete you will see 0/.25 ammonia, 0 nitrites and the nitrates gradually going up within 25 hours of adding ammonia. Your chart is telling me that is what's happening. I have to think this tank is ready for fish.
 

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