Fishless Cycle... I Feel Like I Keep Messing Up! :(

Discussion in 'Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle' started by tastetherainbow, Aug 4, 2017.

  1. tastetherainbowNew MemberMember

    This is my first real aquarium and I started my cycle five days ago. I've got a 5g tank and am planning on having a betta in it. I've got four marimo balls, two anubias, and a java fern as well which are in there now. I feel like I'm in a constant battle with the ammonia! I'm using the ACE janitorial strength ammonia and tried using TSS. The first time I put it in with a dechlorinator at the same time which I'm assuming killed it. The second time, today, I put it in and the ammonia levels were 4ppm -- which I then read online meant that the ammonia would kill the TSS. So I did a water change about two hours after adding it and got the ammonia back down to .25ppm. Is my TSS bacteria still going to be lingering, or would it still have been in the water column at that point? Should I get more? :( I'm planning on keeping ammonia levels at around 2ppm instead.
  2. minervalongWell Known MemberMember

    Yep, pretty much gone. I have never used TSS+ without a fish in the cycle, so I don't know how to tell you to dose for ammonia when you use it. I do know that without it takes longer.
  3. stella1979ModeratorModerator Member

    Chlorine in your tap water will also kill bacteria... I'm sorry to say but I think you should dechlorinate your water, then wait 24 hours, then dose ammonia to 1ppm and dose TSS again. Do not test right away after using TSS... there are wild parameter shifts for the first few days. Let it ride for about 3 days at least. Then test for ammonia. If it is 0.5 or higher, wait another day and test again. When ammonia is .25ppm or lower, you can then dose ammonia to 1ppm again and keep testing to see how your cycle is moving.

    Here's a great article for fishless cycling. I've followed these exact instructions several times and it works like a charm.

    Ammonia Instructions when Cycling with TSS+ or other Bacterial Starter

    One thing to note, bacterial starters are not always viable, meaning the bacteria in the bottle died for some reason. Using TSS+ I have cycled in as little as 11 days, or as much as 30. I'm fairly certain the month long cycle was due to viability of the bacteria in the bottle.

    I know it can be frustrating... I've been there. Good luck!;)
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2017
  4. tastetherainbowNew MemberMember

    Thank you both so much for the help! :) I've dechlorinated the water, I'm going to let it sit 24-48 hours, then dose with TSS and start the ammonia process again. I've read mixed reviews about bottled bacteria but TSS seemed to be mostly positive so I figured I'd give it a try.

    Thank you!
  5. stella1979ModeratorModerator Member

    You're welcome!:) I would only add- dose the ammonia to 1ppm just before you add the TSS. The product is intended to be used after an ammonia producing fish is added to the tank. So, to mimic that, add the ammonia first.:)
  6. AllieStenFishlore VIPMember

    Hi there. You have gotten some good advice for sure. If you want to post your results here once you test your tank, you can. We can help walk you through getting the cycle on track.

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