60 Gallon Tank Fishless cycle issues?

Harraj128
Member
Hi all,

So around 2 weeks ago purchased a 60G aquarium with filter tank etc. The LFS sold us a aqua care bioboost filter bacteria and the water conditioner and said it was all we need. Filled up the tank same day, setup filter/heater, added conditioner and then added the bacteria next day dosing accordingly for 3 days. Since then I've been patient waiting, adding some fish food every couple days. Tested levels a few times recently and I've seen Ammonia is less than 0.5ppm, nitrites are 1-5ppm and nitrates are 10-20ppm. The LFS sold me these aquarium bombs that were supposedly meant to remove nitrites by adding more beneficial bacteria so I did a 25% water change and added this in last week. Here we are today and nitrites are still too high, ammonia is pretty much 0 and nitrates are just above 0.

pH is tested and around 7.2/7.6

This is a plantless tank, so I'm not sure what's going wrong am I just being impatient as its only been 2/3 weeks? Should I be dosing with liquid ammonia? How can I speed up the cycling process?

Thanks all for your assistance apologies for the long post.
 
Heron
Member
What your doing will work, you just need to be patient, it takes a while after the ammonia eating bacteria develop for the nitrite eating bacteria to develop. Adding ammonia from the start would have sped things up a bit but now the first stage bacteria have already grown it won't make a difference much now. It's hard to say how long it takes to cycle a tank because every set up is different. I find to fully cycle a tank usually takes 4 weeks or more and adding lots of bottled bacteria makes little difference.
Just be patient
 
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Harraj128
Member
Heron said:
What your doing will work, you just need to be patient, it takes a while after the ammonia eating bacteria develop for the nitrite eating bacteria to develop. Adding ammonia from the start would have sped things up a bit but now the first stage bacteria have already grown it won't make a difference much now. It's hard to say how long it takes to cycle a tank because every set up is different. I find to fully cycle a tank usually takes 4 weeks or more and adding lots of bottled bacteria makes little difference.
Just be patient
Firstly thanks for your response Heron and I agree with what you say fully.

Just a couple questions then, as my tank has no living things (plants etc) is it best to not do any further water changes until I finally have fish?

Secondly what bottled bacteria would you recommend that's the best bang for buck? I'm UK based so hopefully something that may be available worldwide? Just asking as I don't have anymore of this and was wondering if there's a good one. I've also got seachem prime to use in any future water changes as was told that was good.

Thanks once again
 
Heron
Member
I'm in the UK too. If the nitrates get off the scale they may inhibit the growth of the bacteria in which case water changes would help but if not there is no need to change water too much, as the bacteria mainly grow on the filter media and substrate water changes don't slow things down much. Once cycled you should do some large changes to reduce the nitrates to about 5-10 before adding fish.
For bottled bacteria I like API quick start. But adding lots is a waste of money, it only speeds things up by a few days even if you add a whole large bottle
Seachem prime is a very good water conditioner , it also detoxifies ammonia so if you are doing a fish in cycle or you have an ammonia spike it can be used to protect the fish.
 
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Harraj128
Member
Heron said:
I'm in the UK too. If the nitrates get off the scale they may inhibit the growth of the bacteria in which case water changes would help but if not there is no need to change water too much, as the bacteria mainly grow on the filter media and substrate water changes don't slow things down much. Once cycled you should do some large changes to reduce the nitrates to about 5-10 before adding fish.
For bottled bacteria I like API quick start. But adding lots is a waste of money, it only speeds things up by a few days even if you add a whole large bottle
Seachem prime is a very good water conditioner , it also detoxifies ammonia so if you are doing a fish in cycle or you have an ammonia spike it can be used to protect the fish.
Hey Heron, okay great to hear you are also in the UK.

My plan of attack is this then. I will just dose the tank with API quick start every few days with beneficial bacteria to slowly speed up the process following the normal dosing recommendations on the bottle.

I'll also dose abit of ammonia just to ensure that the bacteria doesn't starve itself as I'm worried with 0 ammonia this bacteria may die off?

I've also raises the tank temp to 29/30C to get it nice and optimal for bacterial growth.

Any thoughts or concerns please let me know. Thanks once again for your advice.
 
Heron
Member
Harraj128 said:
Hey Heron, okay great to hear you are also in the UK.

My plan of attack is this then. I will just dose the tank with API quick start every few days with beneficial bacteria to slowly speed up the process following the normal dosing recommendations on the bottle.

I'll also dose abit of ammonia just to ensure that the bacteria doesn't starve itself as I'm worried with 0 ammonia this bacteria may die off?

I've also raises the tank temp to 29/30C to get it nice and optimal for bacterial growth.

Any thoughts or concerns please let me know. Thanks once again for your advice.
Sounds like a good plan, I hope everything goes smoothly for you.
 
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Harraj128
Member
Heron said:
Sounds like a good plan, I hope everything goes smoothly for you.
Cheers will keep you updated!

Ammonia arrived yesterday and so did the API quick start so added a small amount as don't want to send ammonia crazy and also added 50ml API Quick start once ammonia had been detected.
 
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Harraj128
Member
So this is where we are at now, ammonia has been dosed so let's leave it be, adding API Quick start daily and waiting.
 
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Harraj128
Member
Ammonia dropping I believe from yesterday and I can't really tell but does it look like Nitrites slightly dropping too? Also tested for presence of nitrates and they're definitely there.

Should I wait for ammonia to go yellow colour before topping up?
 
mattgirl
Member
Harraj128 said:
Ammonia dropping I believe from yesterday and I can't really tell but does it look like Nitrites slightly dropping too? Also tested for presence of nitrates and they're definitely there.

Should I wait for ammonia to go yellow colour before topping up?
Yes, I would wait for the ammonia to drop down close to zero before adding more. You don't have to wait for a pure yellow. .25ppm is low enough. When fully cycle you want to see the pure yellow for ammonia, a solid blue for nitrites and some nitrates. Meaning 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites.

You can of course continue testing for nitrates but it isn't necessary at this point. The ammonia and nitrites are what's important in this part of the cycle. An occasional check on pH is a good idea too. Quite often the cycling process can cause the pH to drop as the minerals in the tank get depleted. Normally if that happens a partial water change will take care of it and get the pH back where it needs to be.
 
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Harraj128
Member
mattgirl said:
Yes, I would wait for the ammonia to drop down close to zero before adding more. You don't have to wait for a pure yellow. .25ppm is low enough. When fully cycle you want to see the pure yellow for ammonia, a solid blue for nitrites and some nitrates. Meaning 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites.

You can of course continue testing for nitrates but it isn't necessary at this point. The ammonia and nitrites are what's important in this part of the cycle. An occasional check on pH is a good idea too. Quite often the cycling process can cause the pH to drop as the minerals in the tank get depleted. Normally if that happens a partial water change will take care of it and get the pH back where it needs to be.
Okay great, hoping I'm not too far off being cycled, it's been 3 weeks or and my kids are asking me where the fish are

Yeah I thought I'd check the pH as you said to see it hadn't crashed and stalled the cycle but it looks okay. Those nitrites are just so persistent, need them to drop, once I see blue I'm going to celebrate as this has been a journey and definitely not a "couple days" which my LFS said lol!
 
mattgirl
Member
Harraj128 said:
Okay great, hoping I'm not too far off being cycled, it's been 3 weeks or and my kids are asking me where the fish are

Yeah I thought I'd check the pH as you said to see it hadn't crashed and stalled the cycle but it looks okay. Those nitrites are just so persistent, need them to drop, once I see blue I'm going to celebrate as this has been a journey and definitely not a "couple days" which my LFS said lol!
Sometimes bacteria boosters work but more often than not they don't. Fishless cycling definitely does test our patience. Even when adding bottled bacteria it often takes a month or more for a tank to complete the cycle. I really wish fish stores would stop giving out false hope. They have made a profit from selling bacteria but quite often the buyer ends up wondering if maybe they did something wrong because it didn't work. More often than not they go back and buy more hoping the second bottle will work better. :(

Quite often it takes 3 weeks or so for ammonia to start going down even when adding bacteria in a bottle. That event is soon followed by nitrites showing up. We then think the nitrites are never going to drop but then one day we run the test and finally see that beautiful blue in the test tube. Once both are zero it is time to get the nitrates down with a water change and finally get our water pets. :)
 
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Harraj128
Member
mattgirl said:
Sometimes bacteria boosters work but more often than not they don't. Fishless cycling definitely does test our patience. Even when adding bottled bacteria it often takes a month or more for a tank to complete the cycle. I really wish fish stores would stop giving out false hope. They have made a profit from selling bacteria but quite often the buyer ends up wondering if maybe they did something wrong because it didn't work. More often than not they go back and buy more hoping the second bottle will work better. :(

Quite often it takes 3 weeks or so for ammonia to start going down even when adding bacteria in a bottle. That event is soon followed by nitrites showing up. We then think the nitrites are never going to drop but then one day we run the test and finally see that beautiful blue in the test tube. Once both are zero it is time to get the nitrates down with a water change and finally get our water pets. :)
So I've tested again, I think the fish food I put in prior to getting my ammonia sample have boosted the ammonia abit but I'm not dosing anymore ammonia.

Do you think my nitrites are too high and potentially stalling the cycle or below 5ppm and just wait now? Took a pic with/without flash to hopefully show the colour better
 
mattgirl
Member
For now I would do nothing to the tank other than testing. You just recently added the ammonia so now we need to give the bacteria time to get to work. Since you have added so much bottled bacteria it is going to be difficult to determine if the readings we are seeing for nitrites and nitrates are from bacteria growing in the tank or from the bottles.

Have you run all 4 tests on your tap water? Let's make sure the nitrates you are seeing in the tank aren't coming from the tap. It is always a good idea to know the parameters of the water we are using in our tanks.

If the nitrites are pegging out the chart you can do a dilution test to see just how high they really are. Start out by putting 2.5mls tanks water and 2.5mls tap water in your test tube and run the test on that mixture. If you see a lower number you will know about how high the nitrites really are.
 
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Harraj128
Member
mattgirl said:
For now I would do nothing to the tank other than testing. You just recently added the ammonia so now we need to give the bacteria time to get to work. Since you have added so much bottled bacteria it is going to be difficult to determine if the readings we are seeing for nitrites and nitrates are from bacteria growing in the tank or from the bottles.

Have you run all 4 tests on your tap water? Let's make sure the nitrates you are seeing in the tank aren't coming from the tap. It is always a good idea to know the parameters of the water we are using in our tanks.

If the nitrites are pegging out the chart you can do a dilution test to see just how high they really are. Start out by putting 2.5mls tanks water and 2.5mls tap water in your test tube and run the test on that mixture. If you see a lower number you will know about how high the nitrites really are.
Hey mattgirl.

So as instructed I've tested the tap water (already checked the 3 other parameters previously and they were all 0 and pH neutral. I however never checked the nitrates and you can see the result on the picture I've attached.

With regards to nitrites, I did a half tap water half aquarium water to dilute the reading and have also attached.

My thoughts are firstly im sad now as those nitrates we've seen are just my flipping tap water lol... Secondly it seems maybe nitrites are higher than 5ppm?

Thanks for your help so far and awaiting your thoughts on what next steps I should take?
 
mattgirl
Member
Harraj128 said:
Hey mattgirl.

So as instructed I've tested the tap water (already checked the 3 other parameters previously and they were all 0 and pH neutral. I however never checked the nitrates and you can see the result on the picture I've attached.

With regards to nitrites, I did a half tap water half aquarium water to dilute the reading and have also attached.

My thoughts are firstly im sad now as those nitrates we've seen are just my flipping tap water lol... Secondly it seems maybe nitrites are higher than 5ppm?

Thanks for your help so far and awaiting your thoughts on what next steps I should take?
It is good that we now know where the nitrates are coming from. Note that number. It will be your baseline number.

Nitrites this high shouldn't stall the cycle. Several things have to happen to actually stall one. Normally when I read about a stalled cycle both nitrites and nitrates have pegged out the chart. That alone normally doesn't stall the cycle though. If both peg out the chart and the pH drops down below 7 a stall often happens.

We know the cycle has stalled when the ammonia that has been going down stops going down. As long as the ammonia continues going down in the same amount of time then the cycle is still moving forward. If that happens normally all it takes is a water change to get things moving forward again.

You can do a water change now to get the nitrites down to a readable level. Since it appears the 50% dilution test didn't lower the number below 5 it is going to take either a bigger water change or more than one. As long as you temp match and add your water conditioner to the fresh water before pouring it in the tank the water change isn't going to hurt the cycling process.

The water change will also replenish the minerals the cycling process removes from the tap water and should help keep your pH up where it needs to be. Once the water change(s) are done go ahead and get your ammonia up to about 2ppm. I wouldn't add anymore bottled bacteria right now. We know you already have ammonia eating bacteria because you have nitrites so let's just let it do what it needs to do. When your nitrates go up from the baseline of your tap water we will know your nitrite eating bacteria is growing.

Don't add anymore ammonia until the 2ppm gets down close to zero.
 
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Harraj128
Member
mattgirl said:
It is good that we now know where the nitrates are coming from. Note that number. It will be your baseline number.

Nitrites this high shouldn't stall the cycle. Several things have to happen to actually stall one. Normally when I read about a stalled cycle both nitrites and nitrates have pegged out the chart. That alone normally doesn't stall the cycle though. If both peg out the chart and the pH drops down below 7 a stall often happens.

We know the cycle has stalled when the ammonia that has been going down stops going down. As long as the ammonia continues going down in the same amount of time then the cycle is still moving forward. If that happens normally all it takes is a water change to get things moving forward again.

You can do a water change now to get the nitrites down to a readable level. Since it appears the 50% dilution test didn't lower the number below 5 it is going to take either a bigger water change or more than one. As long as you temp match and add your water conditioner to the fresh water before pouring it in the tank the water change isn't going to hurt the cycling process.

The water change will also replenish the minerals the cycling process removes from the tap water and should help keep your pH up where it needs to be. Once the water change(s) are done go ahead and get your ammonia up to about 2ppm. I wouldn't add anymore bottled bacteria right now. We know you already have ammonia eating bacteria because you have nitrites so let's just let it do what it needs to do. When your nitrates go up from the baseline of your tap water we will know your nitrite eating bacteria is growing.

Don't add anymore ammonia until the 2ppm gets down close to zero.
Hey so as suggested I did quite a large water change at around 80% and refilled as suggested dosing the water treatment before adding to tank to ensure the BB don't die!

So I've re tested and ammonia pretty much went up 0, nitrites have got alot lighter I'd say between 1-2ppm (hard to tell in pictures and tbh I find reading this kits so subjective but defo way lighter than previously). I've now dosed ammonia to the amount that should get us to around 2ppm maybe slightly lower so will retest in around 12 hours and see where we are at!
 
mattgirl
Member
Harraj128 said:
Hey so as suggested I did quite a large water change at around 80% and refilled as suggested dosing the water treatment before adding to tank to ensure the BB don't die!

So I've re tested and ammonia pretty much went up 0, nitrites have got alot lighter I'd say between 1-2ppm (hard to tell in pictures and tbh I find reading this kits so subjective but defo way lighter than previously). I've now dosed ammonia to the amount that should get us to around 2ppm maybe slightly lower so will retest in around 12 hours and see where we are at!
I would wait for a full 24 hours before testing again. The ammonia may drop to 0 in 12 hours but we don't want to add anymore for 24 so no need to run the test before then.
 
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Harraj128
Member
mattgirl said:
I would wait for a full 24 hours before testing again. The ammonia may drop to 0 in 12 hours but we don't want to add anymore for 24 so no need to run the test before then.
Okay will retest tonight :)
 
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Harraj128
Member
mattgirl said:
I would wait for a full 24 hours before testing again. The ammonia may drop to 0 in 12 hours but we don't want to add anymore for 24 so no need to run the test before then.
Het Mattgirl,


Just incase you are offline when I check the levels, I'm going to test ammonias and nitrites in maybe 4 hours time as it'll be around 24 hours. What should we hopefully see? I'm assuming a drop in ammonias and maybe nitrites?

And should I dose 2ppm again if ammonia drops?

Thanks!
 
mattgirl
Member
Harraj128 said:
Het Mattgirl,


Just incase you are offline when I check the levels, I'm going to test ammonias and nitrites in maybe 4 hours time as it'll be around 24 hours. What should we hopefully see? I'm assuming a drop in ammonias and maybe nitrites?

And should I dose 2ppm again if ammonia drops?

Thanks!
We are hoping to see 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites. Seeing 0 nitrites may be wishful thinking but it is a possibility. Nitrites are strange little creatures. We think they are never going to drop and then one day we test and they have dropped to zero.

If you see 0 ammonia go ahead and get it back up to 2ppm.
 
alven
Member
mattgirl said:
We are hoping to see 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites. Seeing 0 nitrites may be wishful thinking but it is a possibility. Nitrites are strange little creatures. We think they are never going to drop and then one day we test and they have dropped to zero.

If you see 0 ammonia go ahead and get it back up to 2ppm.
Wait I'm confused. I though seeing 0 ammonia was good? Or do you mean if he sees 0 ammonia when his nitrites are not 0 then add more ammonia?
 
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Harraj128
Member
mattgirl said:
We are hoping to see 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites. Seeing 0 nitrites may be wishful thinking but it is a possibility. Nitrites are strange little creatures. We think they are never going to drop and then one day we test and they have dropped to zero.

If you see 0 ammonia go ahead and get it back up to 2ppm.
Honestly if we see 0 nitrites I'll probably be screaming the house down with joy and wake up the children (who this aquarium was originally intended for but now it's all mine ).

Will drop you an update soon as tests are done in the next couple of hours. It'll probably be around 22 hours since the last test as I stayed up late last night doing a water change with buckets haha, hopefully that should be okay.
 
mattgirl
Member
Harraj128 said:
Honestly if we see 0 nitrites I'll probably be screaming the house down with joy and wake up the children (who this aquarium was originally intended for but now it's all mine ).
I am ready to do the happy dance with you when you finally see that beautiful blue in the test tube. It will be time to celebrate :D
Nivlaa said:
Wait I'm confused. I though seeing 0 ammonia was good? Or do you mean if he sees 0 ammonia when his nitrites are not 0 then add more ammonia?
Answered on your thread. We don't want to derail this one.
 
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Harraj128
Member
mattgirl said:
I am ready to do the happy dance with you when you finally see that beautiful blue in the test tube. It will be time to celebrate :D

Answered on your thread. We don't want to derail this one.
So sad news :(

We still have nitrites... I feel like they're between the 2-5ppm range. Ammonia however is at 0.

Please see attached photo.

Should I dose ammonia once again? Where are my nitrifying bacteria hiding grrr
 
mattgirl
Member
Harraj128 said:
So sad news :(

We still have nitrites... I feel like they're between the 2-5ppm range. Ammonia however is at 0.

Please see attached photo.

Should I dose ammonia once again? Where are my nitrifying bacteria hiding grrr
I would go ahead and add ammonia again and continue adding it every 24 hours until the nitrites finish up. I know it seems like it is never going to happen but 99.9% of the time it just takes time. Guess we are gonna have to wait a bit longer before we do the happy dance.

I've been working with a young lady through PM's. She was in the same boat you are in. I got to do the happy dance with her this morning.
 
Jo7984
Member
Harraj128 said:
So sad news :(

We still have nitrites... I feel like they're between the 2-5ppm
It's a slow process but trust it.

I'm cycling a tank (fishless) at the minute too, nitrates peaked on 16th April and they're still there!!
One day you will test and they will just have vanished!
That's what happened in my last tank!
It's just like magic!! :)
 
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Harraj128
Member
mattgirl said:
I would go ahead and add ammonia again and continue adding it every 24 hours until the nitrites finish up. I know it seems like it is never going to happen but 99.9% of the time it just takes time. Guess we are gonna have to wait a bit longer before we do the happy dance.

I've been working with a young lady through PM's. She was in the same boat you are in. I got to do the happy dance with her this morning.
Ahh i was mentally prepared for a happy dance haha. Okay I've dosed 2ppm ammonia again, will retest tomorrow and see.

Am I right in assuming however that if nitrites are say 2/3ppm and we dose ammonia it'll continue to raise them as ammonia is converted into nitrites. I feel like this part of the fishless cycle is like an evil mind game.. I told my wife and she was like "those **** nitrites"
Jo7984 said:
It's a slow process but trust it.

I'm cycling a tank (fishless) at the minute too, nitrates peaked on 16th April and they're still there!!
One day you will test and they will just have vanished!
That's what happened in my last tank!
It's just like magic!! :)
I'm waiting for that moment I've actually been cycling the tank since 7th April but as you said one day these dreaded nitrites will be defeated!
 
mattgirl
Member
Harraj128 said:
Ahh i was mentally prepared for a happy dance haha. Okay I've dosed 2ppm ammonia again, will retest tomorrow and see.
I know the feeling. Hard to wait but wait we must. :D
Am I right in assuming however that if nitrites are say 2/3ppm and we dose ammonia it'll continue to raise them as ammonia is converted into nitrites. I feel like this part of the fishless cycle is like an evil mind game.. I told my wife and she was like "those **** nitrites"
Maybe or maybe not. You really should have some nitrite eating bacteria now. You just don't have enough of it yet. They may hold here, they may go up or they may go down. It is impossible to know exactly what they are going to do.

If your nitrates start climbing you will know for sure the nitrite eating bacteria is getting to work so there are signs of progress we can track.
 
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Harraj128
Member
mattgirl said:
I know the feeling. Hard to wait but wait we must. :D

Maybe or maybe not. You really should have some nitrite eating bacteria now. You just don't have enough of it yet. They may hold here, they may go up or they may go down. It is impossible to know exactly what they are going to do.

If your nitrates start climbing you will know for sure the nitrite eating bacteria is getting to work so there are signs of progress we can track.
That makes sense. So plan of action is we test tomorrow night and continue the ammonia dosing till we see nitrites die! I'll probably post test results daily so others can use this a journey to follow and maybe take away some good knowledge! Have a good evening ladies :)
 
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Harraj128
Member
So I'm really confused now.. Dosed 2ppm last night (100 drops of Dr Tim's ammonia for a 230L tank) and I've checked after 24 hours and this is the result :(

Ammonia looks like 0.5ppm and nitrites around 2ppm.

Should I not dose any ammonia now and wait another 24 hours to see if it gets to 0?
 
mattgirl
Member
I would hold off on adding any more ammonia until it gets closer to zero. Just adding it every other day isn't a problem at this point. This is where that boat load of patience comes into play. One day, and I don't think it is that far into the future, the nitrites will drop to zero. I did the happy dance with a young lady just this morning. She was in the boat with you but was finally able to go ashore. :D
 
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Harraj128
Member
mattgirl said:
I would hold off on adding any more ammonia until it gets closer to zero. Just adding it every other day isn't a problem at this point. This is where that boat load of patience comes into play. One day, and I don't think it is that far into the future, the nitrites will drop to zero. I did the happy dance with a young lady just this morning. She was in the boat with you but was finally able to go ashore. :D
Sounds like a plan! No happy dances yet but glad to see a happy dance was done for the young lady! Gives me hope especially when you think it's not that far away haha!

Should hopefully see 0 ammonias or close to 0 tomorrow then I'll redose :)
 
Jo7984
Member
Fingers crossed for your nitrites to disappear soon.

My nitrites dropped to zero today so hopefully you wont be too far behind :)
 
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Harraj128
Member
mattgirl said:
I would hold off on adding any more ammonia until it gets closer to zero. Just adding it every other day isn't a problem at this point. This is where that boat load of patience comes into play. One day, and I don't think it is that far into the future, the nitrites will drop to zero. I did the happy dance with a young lady just this morning. She was in the boat with you but was finally able to go ashore. :D
Not sure if ammonia conversion is taking longer but just tested now some 36 hours later and this is where we are at. Should I just wait till it looks fully yellow before dosing more? As its definitely a green shade somewhere between 0.25ppm-0.5ppm. Nitrites are a vibrant purple so I'd say maybe 2ppm.
 
alven
Member
Hang in there! This is a longggggg process obviously. In my opinion, your ammonia seems to be dropping a little bit. Which is good because the nitroso monas bacteria is eating it. :)
 
mattgirl
Member
Harraj128 said:
Not sure if ammonia conversion is taking longer but just tested now some 36 hours later and this is where we are at. Should I just wait till it looks fully yellow before dosing more? As its definitely a green shade somewhere between 0.25ppm-0.5ppm. Nitrites are a vibrant purple so I'd say maybe 2ppm.
Have you added or have I mentioned adding just a pinch of fish food to help this cycle out? If not, these are my thoughts on the benefits of doing so. PSA: Something I am seeing more and more often, fishless cycling.... | Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle Forum | 477380

A few of the folks I've helped have done this. It seems their ammonia doesn't stall. It seems the fish food adds something the bacteria needs but bottled ammonia is missing. It still takes what seems like a very long time for the nitrites to drop. That is just how nitrites act and we can't rush the process.
 
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Harraj128
Member
mattgirl said:
Have you added or have I mentioned adding just a pinch of fish food to help this cycle out? If not, these are my thoughts on the benefits of doing so. PSA: Something I am seeing more and more often, fishless cycling.... | Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle Forum | 477380

A few of the folks I've helped have done this. It seems their ammonia doesn't stall. It seems the fish food adds something the bacteria needs but bottled ammonia is missing. It still takes what seems like a very long time for the nitrites to drop. That is just how nitrites act and we can't rush the process.
Hey Mattgirl,

Nope I've not added any fish food ever since I got the dosing ammonia. I did add some right at the start but didn't notice anything but the fish food I have are like really small balls so any suggestions on a brand or style I should use?

And for the time being until I get some fish food any suggestions on what to do based on above testing results?

Thanks again for all your patience and help :)
 
mattgirl
Member
Harraj128 said:
Hey Mattgirl,

Nope I've not added any fish food ever since I got the dosing ammonia. I did add some right at the start but didn't notice anything but the fish food I have are like really small balls so any suggestions on a brand or style I should use?

And for the time being until I get some fish food any suggestions on what to do based on above testing results?

Thanks again for all your patience and help :)
I can't recommend a specific brand but I do think flakes will be best. It seems pellet type food quickly grows fungus. Just get a high quality food since it will be one you may be feeding your fish once this cycle is done.

Since this is a 60 gallon tank it is going to take more to do the job than say a 5 gallon tank. What you may want to do is put the fish food in a media bag with fine netting. This will prevent a buildup of it on your substrate. Instead of a pinch you can go ahead and add at least a teaspoon of it to the media bag. Situate the bag where water is flowing over/through it. I don't think it is going to take long to finish up this cycle so adding fish food the one time may do the job.

But to answer your question. Go ahead and get the ammonia back up to 2ppm. You will still be adding ammonia even after you add the fish food. We aren't depending on the fish food as our ammonia source.
 
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Harraj128
Member
mattgirl said:
I can't recommend a specific brand but I do think flakes will be best. It seems pellet type food quickly grows fungus. Just get a high quality food since it will be one you may be feeding your fish once this cycle is done.

Since this is a 60 gallon tank it is going to take more to do the job than say a 5 gallon tank. What you may want to do is put the fish food in a media bag with fine netting. This will prevent a buildup of it on your substrate. Instead of a pinch you can go ahead and add at least a teaspoon of it to the media bag. Situate the bag where water is flowing over/through it. I don't think it is going to take long to finish up this cycle so adding fish food the one time may do the job.

But to answer your question. Go ahead and get the ammonia back up to 2ppm. You will still be adding ammonia even after you add the fish food. We aren't depending on the fish food as our ammonia source.
Perfect just ordered some media bags from amazon and some fish flakes! Will dose ammonia up to 2ppm tonight and get them fish flakes in there tomorrow. I'm thinking maybe put the media bag directly above the airstone where the bubbles make contact with the surface?
 
mattgirl
Member
Harraj128 said:
Perfect just ordered some media bags from amazon and some fish flakes! Will dose ammonia up to 2ppm tonight and get them fish flakes in there tomorrow. I'm thinking maybe put the media bag directly above the airstone where the bubbles make contact with the surface?
That should work but if you have a HOB filter you may want to hang the bag right below the outflow of water. This way water is running through it and the benefits of the fish food is being pulled back through the filter.

You may not like the looks of them but instead of an air stone have you considered a sponge filter in its place. Sponge filters serve double duty. They both aerate the surface and are a magnet for bacteria.
 
  • Thread Starter
Harraj128
Member
mattgirl said:
That should work but if you have a HOB filter you may want to hang the bag right below the outflow of water. This way water is running through it and the benefits of the fish food is being pulled back through the filter.

You may not like the looks of them but instead of an air stone have you considered a sponge filter in its place. Sponge filters serve double duty. They both aerate the surface and are a magnet for bacteria.
Would I be able to use my normal airstone pump on these sponge filters?

So I put a teaspoon of fish flakes into my media bag (ended up ordering quite a big one by accident ) and attached it near the outlet of my canister filter.

I think the flakes are quite I guess "bitty" as now I have lots of little flakes flying around the water. Is this okay?

Edit - so I've removed the bag as I think it wasn't fine enough and ordered some extremely fine ones that'll be coming tomorrow. The little flakes have settled now so I guess there has been an addition to the tank of fish food anyway.
 
mattgirl
Member
Harraj128 said:
Would I be able to use my normal airstone pump on these sponge filters?
Yes, you use the same air pump to power a sponge filter as you would an air stone. Both just have to have air pushed through them. The best of both worlds though is an airstone inside a sponge filter.
Aquarium Co-Op Coarse Sponge Filter
Never Clog Air Stone

So I put a teaspoon of fish flakes into my media bag (ended up ordering quite a big one by accident ) and attached it near the outlet of my canister filter.

I think the flakes are quite I guess "bitty" as now I have lots of little flakes flying around the water. Is this okay?
Not a problem. Some will have gotten into your filter. Even that isn't a problem unless too much gets in there and clogs the filter media. They will start decomposing and giving the bacteria what it needs.

Edit - so I've removed the bag as I think it wasn't fine enough and ordered some extremely fine ones that'll be coming tomorrow. The little flakes have settled now so I guess there has been an addition to the tank of fish food anyway.
I know you probably thought you had really messed up by following my advice on this one :D Now that this much fish food has been added to the mix you probable already have enough in there to get the job done. Don't try to vacuum any of it out of there. Although unsightly it should help get this cycle over the hump.
 
  • Thread Starter
Harraj128
Member
mattgirl said:
Yes, you use the same air pump to power a sponge filter as you would an air stone. Both just have to have air pushed through them. The best of both worlds though is an airstone inside a sponge filter.

Not a problem. Some will have gotten into your filter. Even that isn't a problem unless too much gets in there and clogs the filter media. They will start decomposing and giving the bacteria what it needs.

I know you probably thought you had really messed up by following my advice on this one :D Now that this much fish food has been added to the mix you probable already have enough in there to get the job done. Don't try to vacuum any of it out of there. Although unsightly it should help get this cycle over the hump.
Oh wow that is awesome will definitely order two of those then as have two airstones running!

And hahaha no I was like darn is this meant to happen, scrolled back to your comment and saw you said fine and mine that I ordered just weren't fine enough :D

But yes as you said we've got fish flakes in there now, I'm just dosing the ammonias back up to 2ppm and will leave 24hrs for a retest.

Should I still go ahead and add a teaspoon of fish flakes into the newer media bags tomorrow? These have draw strings so I can basically have it directly in front of the outflow meaning soon as water comes out of the filter it gets pushed through this first
 
mattgirl
Member
Harraj128 said:
Oh wow that is awesome will definitely order two of those then as have two airstones running!

And hahaha no I was like darn is this meant to happen, scrolled back to your comment and saw you said fine and mine that I ordered just weren't fine enough :D

But yes as you said we've got fish flakes in there now, I'm just dosing the ammonias back up to 2ppm and will leave 24hrs for a retest.

Should I still go ahead and add a teaspoon of fish flakes into the newer media bags tomorrow? These have draw strings so I can basically have it directly in front of the outflow meaning soon as water comes out of the filter it gets pushed through this first
I don't think you will be disappointed with the sponge filters with air stones running inside of them. I tried to link their write up about how to dismantle the sponge filter and add the airstone but I can't seem to find it again. I am sure you will be able to figure it out once you get it though.

I would hold off on adding anymore fish food. If we don't see some good forward progress within 3 days we can add some more but this time in a bag they can't escape from. :D
 
joe919
Member
Hi, you should just leave alone your tank, nature will take care of things by itself. You just have to be patiant. Don't do any water change. I know it is hard to just seat back and wait, humane nature.
Did you check what is your tap water or whatever water you use the parameters? 7 is neutral anything below is acidic, anything above is base. How Important Is Your Aquarium's pH Level?
 
  • Thread Starter
Harraj128
Member
mattgirl said:
I don't think you will be disappointed with the sponge filters with air stones running inside of them. I tried to link their write up about how to dismantle the sponge filter and add the airstone but I can't seem to find it again. I am sure you will be able to figure it out once you get it though.

I would hold off on adding anymore fish food. If we don't see some good forward progress within 3 days we can add some more but this time in a bag they can't escape from. :D
So tested now here's ammonia 24 hours prior and then after. I think I dosed slightly over 2ppm and it's processing it quite quickly based off the colour. But look at the stupid Nitrites :( I'm at the phase of the fishless cycle when all my family members are asking "why aren't there any fish yet" and its sooo annoying haha!

joe919 said:
Hi, you should just leave alone your tank, nature will take care of things by itself. You just have to be patiant. Don't do any water change. I know it is hard to just seat back and wait, humane nature.
Did you check what is your tap water or whatever water you use the parameters? 7 is neutral anything below is acidic, anything above is base. How Important Is Your Aquarium's pH Level?

Yes I checked and my aquarium pH is around 7.8
 
mattgirl
Member
I know it seems like the nitrites will never drop. It does seem like it is taking much longer than it should but I have to think it won't be much longer.

I have to be perfectly honest with you but you don't have to tell the family. :D I couldn't handle tending to a fishless tank either. I had no idea fishless cycling or bottled bacteria was a thing before I joined this forum. I have had to learn about both to better help folks that choose to do fishless cycling but I've never done it myself. I've always just set up a tank. Made sure all is working as it should and add fish. It takes a lot of water changes but I never minded that part. Taking care of the fish seems to make the time and process go by faster.
 
  • Thread Starter
Harraj128
Member
mattgirl said:
I know it seems like the nitrites will never drop. It does seem like it is taking much longer than it should but I have to think it won't be much longer.

I have to be perfectly honest with you but you don't have to tell the family. :D I couldn't handle tending to a fishless tank either. I had no idea fishless cycling or bottled bacteria was a thing before I joined this forum. I have had to learn about both to better help folks that choose to do fishless cycling but I've never done it myself. I've always just set up a tank. Made sure all is working as it should and add fish. It takes a lot of water changes but I never minded that part. Taking care of the fish seems to make the time and process go by faster.
I did a 2 fold dilution (half tap water, half aquarium) and a 4 fold (3 parts tap water, 1 part aquarium) and both came up the same colour of purple :/ should I test for nitrates as maybe if we see a ton of nitrates it could just be there's an excess of nitrites?

And yes I tbh never knew about fishless cycling but being a fish noob the LFS told me this was a thing and lo and behold here we are and it's too late for an alternative :D
 
mattgirl
Member
Harraj128 said:
I did a 2 fold dilution (half tap water, half aquarium) and a 4 fold (3 parts tap water, 1 part aquarium) and both came up the same colour of purple :/ should I test for nitrates as maybe if we see a ton of nitrates it could just be there's an excess of nitrites?

And yes I tbh never knew about fishless cycling but being a fish noob the LFS told me this was a thing and lo and behold here we are and it's too late for an alternative :D
Wouldn't hurt. It is possible they are sky high too. Those dilution tests are telling us your nitrites are sky high. If nitrates are too it might be time for another water change to get both down.

Please refresh my memory. Have you added any bottled bacteria?
 

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