Fishless Cycle Help!

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jmarks

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Starting a new 36 gallon tank and trying to perform a fishless cycle. I have an aqueon quiet flow HOB filter, some decorations, 2 heaters, gravel, and an air wand setup. I am on day 9 and my ammonia hasnt budged. I started by adding Prime to tap water and cycling for for a couple of hours, then I added roughly 5mls (calculated from online calculator to equal 4ppm ammonia) of ACE Hardwares 10% ammonium hydroxide solution (janitorial strength). Tank water before spike was 0ppm for amm, nitrite, and nitrate. Slight pH increse to just over 8 with the amm hydroxide. After a couple of days of nothing, i decided do roughly a 10 gallon water change in which Aqueon water conditioner was used before adding water to tank. I kind of believed that my ammonia may have been too high. This did drop ammonia levels a little but the color chart (API master kit) is hard to read but i believe my ammonia to be just shy of 4ppm and has been holding here since (pH back to neutral). After the water change i did add an entire bottle of tetra safe start to see if this bacteria may jump start the process. Day 7 with nothing happening i was able to go to LFS and get some gravel from established tanks which i split up in womens leggins and put one in tank and one in filter. For days 1-6 water temp was steady at 78F (preset heater with no adjustment), while day 7 a second larger heater was added and now water temp is holding around 88F. After adding the gravel, I did get a spike in nitrates that I believe to be from some water that made its way into the tank from the bag of gravel from LFS. Right now ammonia still hasnt dropped (holding around 4ppm), nitrites are 0, and nitrates are around 5ppm. Any ideas or suggestions as to why nothing is happening!
 

Wolf65

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Your bacteria build up in the media of your filter, i.e. ceramic rings or similar, biological filter sponge and so on.

Usually the bacteria should start to grow as you have enough ammonia. Unless you have no proper media for them to build up.

Using the gravel from established tanks will not speed up your bacteria build up but, as you noticed can have an influence in your PH and Nitrate levels.

As many here told me....patience is the key to success.

Did you test your tap water for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates?

And finally I hope you had a look at the Nitrogen Cycle description, this really helps.
 

CindiL

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Hi, welcome to fishlore

Nothing stands out to me as far as why you're not seeing anything yet. The gravel from the petstore would only help a little bit but I would have expected TSS to work....so either you got a bum bottle or the bacteria don't like your water! just kidding.

Fishless cycling with TSS is best done with ammonia at 2.0, not 4.0 as too high ammonia will kill off their bacteria (this would be true for any bottled bacteria).

I think if it was me I would get ammonia down to 2.0, and maybe this time put in a whole bottle of Seachem Stability (or you could do 1/2 bottle, then a day or two later the other 1/2)- the bacteria are different and are supposed to be able to thrive in a wider ph and temperature range of tanks.
 
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jmarks

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Thanks for the responses. Tap water and begining tank water were all zeros to start. I may give it another day or 2 as I just added a bag of Biospira to see if it would do anything. If I still dont see an ammonia drop in 48 hrs, Ill do a water change, bring ammonia down, and use stability and prime (as i have both). However, if i do that, should i wait a day or 2 to add stability or just dump it in after the prime dosage? Thanks again for the help!
 

CindiL

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With stability you can put it in at the same time.


 
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