55 Gallon Tank Fishless Cycle - Ruined?

Dandy88
Member
Good Afternoon all,

I hope today is going well for you!

First let me give you all a run down, I have been doing a fishless cycle since the 1st May as I've read a lot of pros and cons to using fish in cycle and decided to go with the fishless method. I've researched loads and I think this is where I've gone wrong.

Originally, I was using this guide:

Ammonia Instructions when Cycling with TSS+ or other Bacterial Starter | Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle Forum | 251982

I've created this whole overwhelming process in my head and I think its now time to ask the professionals so here I am and hoping someone could help me.

So, I started with the correct dosing of Dr Tims Ammonia, the ammonia went up and then the nitrites took over. After the Ammonia went to 2ppm I put in 2ml of Ammonia each day as I heard not to starve the nitrites. Over the next few days my Nitrites where well over 5ppm so I did a 50% water change to try get the nitrites down (and nearly got divorced in the process - I flooded the Livingroom, hose went all over the tv, sky, router, computer, Wii and sound bar - as you can see I'm in desperate need of help)

So, my test recently I had:

2.0ppm Ammonia
5ppm+ Nitrites
5.0ppm Nitrates
7.6ppm PH

My main questions are:
  • Do I keep feeding Ammonia if I have high nitrites? Am I meant to feed Ammonia through the whole process?
  • I'm aware this might be the 'Nitrite Spike' but is this normal to have low Ammonia and lowish Nitrate?
  • Will my wife divorce me if I keep flooding the livingroom?
Additionally, I have tested my tapwater and the nitrite is absent from my tapwater I want to say thank you for reading my post, I'm sure you all get tons of posts regarding fishless cycle, I wouldn't be asking if I wasn't desperate. I appreciate your time.

Thanks,

Dan
 
mattgirl
Member
welcome to Fishlore :)

Yes, you do need to continue feeding the bacteria. Wait until the ammonia drops to or close to zero before adding more.

Yes, what you are seeing is normal.

I can't tell you whether or not your wife will divorce you but there is a limit to how much water we have to help clean up before we say we've had enough :D
 
  • Thread Starter
Dandy88
Member
Hello Mattgirl,

Thank you so much for your response, okay so at the moment I can tell there is a tiny bit of ammonia in there so I will add some more! This process is so worrying to me.

As for the wife, the worst bit is.... I filled up the bucket and forgot to empty the tank first... I emptied the tank successfully, filled the bucket back up in the corridor and did it again!!!! doh!

Thanks again
 
mattgirl
Member
Dandy88 said:
Hello Mattgirl,

Thank you so much for your response, okay so at the moment I can tell there is a tiny bit of ammonia in there so I will add some more! This process is so worrying to me.

As for the wife, the worst bit is.... I filled up the bucket and forgot to empty the tank first... I emptied the tank successfully, filled the bucket back up in the corridor and did it again!!!! doh!

Thanks again
You are so very welcome. The first cycle is always the most nerve racking. Once you really understand what is happening and what to expect you will one day understand it really is a simple process. You are basically growing 2 types of bacteria. The first eats the ammonia. The waste product of the ammonia eating bacteria is nitrites. Before long the nitrite eating bacteria starts growing. The waste product of that bacteria is nitrates. Most of us never grow the bacteria that removes the nitrates so we keep them down to safe levels with water changes.

At some point in all cycling tanks you will see all three (ammonia, nitrites and nitrates) in the tank. Each time the ammonia goes down close to zero we add more. Eventually you will have grown enough of both types of bacteria to keep both ammonia and nitrites at a constant zero.

Since you just started this cycle 10 days ago I have to wonder how it is moving forward so quickly. Did you add some type of bottled bacteria? If so, which one.
 
Flyfisha
Member
Hey Dandy88,
Here is a way of thinking about the ammonia that’s feeding the bacteria.
Adding a little each day is like a fish pooping each day. The ammonia/ poop is in a never ending supply.
You may not have to actually add ammonia every day if the test tells you yesterdays is still there but think of it as a replacement for fish waste. Fish not only pee and poop ammonia but they breathe it out as well, plus any uneaten food soon finds a place that fish can’t get to it and begins to rot. Rotting fish food soon turns into more ammonia.

You are trying to have a daily supply of ammonia equal to the daily waste ( poop load/ bio load ) of a tank full of fish. Or whatever number of fish be it just one betta etc.
 
  • Thread Starter
Dandy88
Member
Hello Jtjgg
I'm not sure how to calculate higher then 5ppm with nitrite as the test only shows a max of 5ppm (API master kit)

Hello Mattgirl
Thank you for explaining, that makes sense, I'm also glad I didn't have to worry about posting here! I thought I was going to get a right
telling off for another cycling post. I'm using Dr Tims Ammonia, however I also thought it was incredibly fast and I haven't overdosed at all.
I do have a planted rock tank (It's not much, but it's mine! :) | Freshwater Fish and Tank Photos Forum | 498577) which might explain some things.

Hello Flyfisha
Thank you for also explaining, that makes a lot of sense, however my thought is, if I keep adding ammonia, won't the nitrites keep getting so high that the nitrates won't be able to consume so much?


P.s if someone can help me figure out how to sue the +quote that would be amazing! haha
 
jtjgg
Member
you don't need to worry about the nitrite as it won't get that high to stall the cycle. red is dead is a good reminder on nitrate, b/c 40ppm (red) is the max EPA allowed for tap water, 80ppm (darker red) is close enough to start stalling the cycle.

also, i've found that a wet vac is very handy when you accidentally overfill the tank.
 
mattgirl
Member
Dandy88 said:
Hello Jtjgg
I'm not sure how to calculate higher then 5ppm with nitrite as the test only shows a max of 5ppm (API master kit)
You can get a better idea as to how high the nitrites are by dong a dilution test. Start by putting 2.5ml tank water and 2.5ml tap water in the test tube. Run the test on that mixture. If you are still seeing 5ppm nitrites you will know they are higher than 10ppm.

Hello Mattgirl
Thank you for explaining, that makes sense, I'm also glad I didn't have to worry about posting here! I thought I was going to get a right
telling off for another cycling post. I'm using Dr Tims Ammonia, however I also thought it was incredibly fast and I haven't overdosed at all.
I do have a planted rock tank (It's not much, but it's mine! :) | Freshwater Fish and Tank Photos Forum | 498577) which might explain some things.
Are you saying you moved something from this tank to the one you are cycling. If so then yes, that would explain the speed of this cycle or is this the tank we are working on?

Hello Flyfisha
Thank you for also explaining, that makes a lot of sense, however my thought is, if I keep adding ammonia, won't the nitrites keep getting so high that the nitrates won't be able to consume so much?
When fishless cycling having high nitrites isn't a problem. Eventually you will grow enough bacteria to consume however much nitrites the ammonia produces. I am not sure what you mean about the nitrates consuming something. Nitrates are the waste produced by ammonia and nitrite eating bacteria. Nitrates don't consume nitrites. Nitrite eating bacteria does. Nitrates don't really do anyhting except keep rising since they are basically ammonia/nitrite poop.


P.s if someone can help me figure out how to sue the +quote that would be amazing! haha
Click on the +Quotes for each post you want to quote. Once you have chosen each one click on the Insert quotes right below the reply box and follow the prompts.
 
  • Thread Starter
Dandy88
Member
jtjgg said:
you don't need to worry about the nitrite as it won't get that high to stall the cycle. red is dead is a good reminder on nitrate, b/c 40ppm (red) is the max EPA allowed for tap water, 80ppm (darker red) is close enough to start stalling the cycle.

also, i've found that a wet vac is very handy when you accidentally overfill the tank.
Oh that is an awesome way to look at it, thank you for teaching me that!

I managed to buy an aquarium pump and pipe today so I can do water changes and empty the tank without... hefty consequences!
mattgirl said:
You can get a better idea as to how high the nitrites are by dong a dilution test. Start by putting 2.5ml tank water and 2.5ml tap water in the test tube. Run the test on that mixture. If you are still seeing 5ppm nitrites you will know they are higher than 10ppm.

Really good idea! something I'm definitely going to try after work!

Are you saying you moved something from this tank to the one you are cycling. If so then yes, that would explain the speed of this cycle.

Not quite, I brought rock from Swallow Aquatics in Norwich (if your UK based) and I believe these rocks may have been in a tank prior to sale.

When fishless cycling having high nitrites isn't a problem. Eventually you will grow enough bacteria to consume however much nitrites the ammonia produces. I am not sure what you mean about the nitrates consuming something. Nitrates are the waste produced by ammonia and nitrite eating bacteria. Nitrates don't consume nitrites. Nitrite eating bacteria does. Nitrates don't really do anyhting except keep rising since they are basically ammonia/nitrite poop.

Oh sorry, I was still getting confused! I get it now :)

Click on the +Quotes for each post you want to quote. Once you have chosen each one click on the Insert quotes right below the reply box and follow the prompts.
Buggered that post up didn't I haha
 
mattgirl
Member
Dandy88 said:
Oh that is an awesome way to look at it, thank you for teaching me that!

I managed to buy an aquarium pump and pipe today so I can do water changes and empty the tank without... hefty consequences!
I don't want to be argumentative here but in my humble opinion high nitrates alone should not stall the cycling process. I have seen them stall when both nitrites and nitrates are sky high but I'm not sure it is those high numbers causing the stall. Quite often when both are high the pH is also dropping. Normally when it happens a simple water change to refresh depleted minerals will get the cycle moving forward again.

In other words. It isn't just one thing causing the stall. It is a combination of things.
 
  • Thread Starter
Dandy88
Member
mattgirl said:
I don't want to be argumentative here but in my humble opinion high nitrates alone should not stall the cycling process. I have seen them stall when both nitrites and nitrates are sky high but I'm not sure it is those high numbers causing the stall. Quite often when both are high the pH is also dropping. Normally when it happens a simple water change to refresh depleted minerals will get the cycle moving forward again.

In other words. It isn't just one thing causing the stall. It is a combination of things.
I don't think you're being argumentative at all :) I'm guessing this is one of them situations where people have different opinions? However, thank you all for your comments, it really helps to make you feel more confident in this situation!
 
jtjgg
Member
its a good way to start thinking about it now, so when you get fish you already have that mind set. you definitely want to keep the nitrate below 40ppm(red), preferrably below 20ppm(orange).
 
mattgirl
Member
jtjgg said:
its a good way to start thinking about it now, so when you get fish you already have that mind set. you definitely want to keep the nitrate below 40ppm(red), preferrably below 20ppm(orange).
I agree. Once fish are in the tank it is best to see orange in the test tube. :)
 
  • Thread Starter
Dandy88
Member

16208394626104803471050928716039.jpg


Hello all,

It appears my nitrates have gone up slightly but i am now in the midst of horrid brown algae? Is this normal? I threw a few zenra snails in to help
 
mattgirl
Member
This seems to happen in most new setups. You may be able to slow it down if you can cut back on the time the light is on.
 
  • Thread Starter
Dandy88
Member
mattgirl said:
This seems to happen in most new setups. You may be able to slow it down if you can cut back on the time the light is on.
Hello mattgirl,

Hope you're well

So is this a good or bad sign in the cycle? I'll shorten the length of time the lights are on
 
mattgirl
Member
Dandy88 said:
Hello mattgirl,

Hope you're well

So is this a good or bad sign in the cycle? I'll shorten the length of time the lights are on
Hi back at you. :)

Not really a sign either good or bad with the cycle. It is just something new tanks often go through. Something about excess silicates or something like that.
 
  • Thread Starter
Dandy88
Member
Is anyone there?? I think something bad has happened :(

16210114961671793511257865804014.jpg

16210119535672759658663224929626.jpg


I'll test a few more just in case :( typical me screw bits up
 
mattgirl
Member
Dandy88 said:
Is anyone there?? I think something bad has happened :(

I'll test a few more just in case :( typical me screw bits up
What makes you think something bad has happened?
 
  • Thread Starter
Dandy88
Member
mattgirl said:
What makes you think something bad has happened?
I tend to not be very intelligent when it comes to stuff like this. I've done everything I've been doing from the start
 
mattgirl
Member
Dandy88 said:
I tend to not be very intelligent when it comes to stuff like this. I've done everything I've been doing from the start
I don't know what you are seeing that you think is a problem. I am seeing zero or close to zero ammonia. I am seeing zero nitrites and some nitrates. Please explain what you think you are having a problem with.
 
  • Thread Starter
Dandy88
Member
mattgirl said:
I don't know what you are seeing that you think is a problem. I am seeing zero or close to zero ammonia. I am seeing zero nitrites and some nitrates. Please explain what you think you are having a problem with.
Sorry Mattgirl, I think I am mid panic and struggle with my words.

So basically yesterday my Nitrites was sky high, I tested today and I have zero Nitrites. I'm not sure if I have done something to stop the cycle or ruin it. I may have added too little ammonia last night.

Sorry again Mattgirl
 
mattgirl
Member
Dandy88 said:
Sorry Mattgirl, I think I am mid panic and struggle with my words.

So basically yesterday my Nitrites was sky high, I tested today and I have zero Nitrites. I'm not sure if I have done something to stop the cycle or ruin it. I may have added too little ammonia last night.

Sorry again Mattgirl
This is what nitrites do. What you are seeing is a good thing. Seeing none now simply means you now have enough nitrite eating bacteria to get and keep them down to zero. This means this cycle is done. :)
 
  • Thread Starter
Dandy88
Member
mattgirl said:
This is what nitrites do. What you are seeing is a good thing. Seeing none now simply means you now have enough nitrite eating bacteria to get and keep them down to zero. This means this cycle is done. :)
Really!? My god I thought I failed!! May I ask something?? What do I do now? I read I need to put 4/5ppm of Ammonia in. Is that right? I'll do the water change first thing tomorrow. My god I'm so excited. Not bad in 14 days. Thank you thank you!!
 
mattgirl
Member
Dandy88 said:
Really!? My god I thought I failed!! May I ask something?? What do I do now? I read I need to put 4/5ppm of Ammonia in. Is that right? I'll do the water change first thing tomorrow. My god I'm so excited. Not bad in 14 days. Thank you thank you!!
How much ammonia have you been adding?
 
  • Thread Starter
Dandy88
Member
mattgirl said:
How much ammonia have you been adding?
I've added 5ml everyday to just keep it going
 
mattgirl
Member
Dandy88 said:
I've added 5ml everyday to just keep it going
I should have worded that question better. 2ppm?, 3ppm? What level does that 5 ml get it up to?

What size is this tank? that will determine how much bacteria we need to grow.
 
  • Thread Starter
Dandy88
Member
mattgirl said:
I should have worded that question better. 2ppm?, 3ppm? What level does that 5 ml get it up to?

What size is this tank? that will determine how much bacteria we need to grow.
See I'm not entirely sure this is the bit I struggled with. I think it went to about 2ppm. My tank is 240l
 
mattgirl
Member
Dandy88 said:
See I'm not entirely sure this is the bit I struggled with. I think it went to about 2ppm. My tank is 240l
gotcha. If you want to fully stock this tank with lots of fish all at the same time we need to grow a bit more bacteria. If you want to just add a few fish at a time we have grown plenty already.
 
  • Thread Starter
Dandy88
Member
mattgirl said:
gotcha. If you want to fully stock this tank with lots of fish all at the same time we need to grow a bit more bacteria. If you want to just add a few fish at a time we have grown plenty already.
Ah that makes sense. Okay so what I was thinking was, tomorrow I can go to pet shop and pick up some Harleyquin Rasboras (12?) and 2 Kribensis. However if this is too much in one go I can get just 2 kribensis
 
mattgirl
Member
Dandy88 said:
Ah that makes sense. Okay so what I was thinking was, tomorrow I can go to pet shop and pick up some Harleyquin Rasboras (12?) and 2 Kribensis. However if this is too much in one go I can get just 2 kribensis
You have grown enough bacteria for that bio-load so I say, go for it :) If you've not done a water change since starting this cycle I will recommend you do one before getting fish. we want them to start out with fresh water. Personally I would change out 50% of it.
 
  • Thread Starter
Dandy88
Member
mattgirl said:
You have grown enough bacteria for that bio-load so I say, go for it :) If you've not done a water change since starting this cycle I will recommend you do one before getting fish. we want them to start out with fresh water. Personally I would change out 50% of it.
Perfect!! I have a plan (sorry if this is a bore)

Tonight I'll put 8ml of Ammonia in.

Tomorrow morning (10am) I'll do a 50% WC.

Put the new heater in and heat the water up with declorinator.

Sunday go and get the kribs and harleyquins
 
mattgirl
Member
Dandy88 said:
Perfect!! I have a plan (sorry if this is a bore)

Tonight I'll put 8ml of Ammonia in.

Tomorrow morning (10am) I'll do a 50% WC.

Put the new heater in and heat the water up with declorinator.

Sunday go and get the kribs and harleyquins
Since you have only been adding 5mls of ammonia you may very well see nitrites again and still see some ammonia even after 24 hours. By adding more ammonia than you have been adding, extra bacteria has to grow to handle it. You have grown enough bacteria with the original 5mls so I wouldn't change it now.

Be sure you add your water conditioner to the fresh water before pouring it in the tank if using buckets. If using a python system to refill, turn off your filter and add enough water conditioner to treat the full volume of the tank before refilling it.
 
  • Thread Starter
Dandy88
Member
mattgirl said:
Since you have only been adding 5mls of ammonia you may very well see nitrites again and still see some ammonia even after 24 hours. By adding more ammonia than you have been adding, extra bacteria has to grow to handle it. You have grown enough bacteria with the original 5mls so I wouldn't change it now.

Be sure you add your water conditioner to the fresh water before pouring it in the tank if using buckets. If using a python system to refill, turn off your filter and add enough water conditioner to treat the full volume of the tank before refilling it.
May I ask, is there a difference to adding declorinator straight to the water? Its what I've been doing over the last few years..eek

Can I gravel vac the gravel to get rid of the brown algae now??
 
dwc13
Member
Dandy88 said:
I flooded the Livingroom, hose went all over the tv, sky, router, computer, Wii and sound bar - as you can see I'm in desperate need of help)

My main questions are:
  • Will my wife divorce me if I keep flooding the livingroom?
Thanks,

Dan
Anyone who has ever kept an aquarium for more than a few days has likely had spilled water somewhere and/or on something it shouldn't have gone. At least it wasn't a 70% water change. Perhaps run the vacuum cleaner in a few rooms in the very near future, lol.

Good luck with the aquarium cycling.
 
  • Thread Starter
Dandy88
Member
dwc13 said:
Anyone who has ever kept an aquarium for more than a few days has likely had spilled water somewhere and/or on something it shouldn't have gone. At least it wasn't a 70% water change. Perhaps run the vacuum cleaner in a few rooms in the very near future, lol.

Good luck with the aquarium cycling.
Good idea haha, I've now got to think how I fill a 110l bucket full of water in the house with a house on my own and make sure it doesn't happen again!
 
Flyfisha
Member
Trying to help but not confuse.
Dandy88 it’s possible you will never see nitrites in a test ever again. ?
In a fully cycled tank they are consumed continuously.
 
  • Thread Starter
Dandy88
Member
Flyfisha said:
Trying to help but not confuse.
Dandy88 it’s possible you will never see nitrites in a test ever again. ?
In a fully cycled tank they are consumed continuously.
Hello Flyfisha,

My thought would be that I would never notice it due to the constant cycling
 
mattgirl
Member
Dandy88 said:
May I ask, is there a difference to adding declorinator straight to the water? Its what I've been doing over the last few years..eek

Can I gravel vac the gravel to get rid of the brown algae now??
Folks that fill their tank straight from the faucet just add the dechlorinator to the tank first. Thankfully it works quick enough to almost instantly remove the chlorine. You have been doing it right. We that use buckets add it to each bucket. Either way works.

I wouldn't want to get carried away with the gravel vac right now. we don't want to disturb the bacteria any more than needed until it has time to get firmly established. Have you considered getting a nerite snail or two to help you out with the brown algae? Folks claim they do a really good job at cleaning it up.
 
  • Thread Starter
Dandy88
Member
mattgirl said:
Folks that fill their tank straight from the faucet just add the dechlorinator to the tank first. Thankfully it works quick enough to almost instantly remove the chlorine. You have been doing it right. We that use buckets add it to each bucket. Either way works.

I wouldn't want to get carried away with the gravel vac right now. we don't want to disturb the bacteria any more than needed until it has time to get firmly established. Have you considered getting a nerite snail or two to help you out with the brown algae? Folks claim they do a really good job at cleaning it up.
Hello :)

Oh okay thank you! I'll do that :)

I have added a few nitrite snails in there but not really seeing much of a difference. I do have some sechem excel but being Dyslexic I'm struggling to work out the initial dose :(
Mattgirl,

Sorry I have made a mistake. I've been using 2ml Ammonia
 
mattgirl
Member
Dandy88 said:
Hello :)

Oh okay thank you! I'll do that :)

I have added a few nitrite snails in there but not really seeing much of a difference. I do have some sechem excel but being Dyslexic I'm struggling to work out the initial dose :(
Mattgirl,

Sorry I have made a mistake. I've been using 2ml Ammonia
I too have Excel but to be honest I've not seen where it helps much if at all. hopefully your snails will get to work and help you out.

Gotcha, not a problem at all. Just add the same amount you have been adding and all should be fine. Since your cycle appears to be done you should only need to do it one more time before you get your fish.
 
  • Thread Starter
Dandy88
Member
mattgirl said:
I too have Excel but to be honest I've not seen where it helps much if at all. hopefully your snails will get to work and help you out.

Gotcha, not a problem at all. Just add the same amount you have been adding and all should be fine. Since your cycle appears to be done you should only need to do it one more time before you get your fish.
Oh really?? Did you struggle to work out the initial dose? I don't understand why the first dose is huge compared to the daily dosage.

So say if I got the fish on Sunday, should I do another ammonia injection tomorrow? Or its okay now?

Thank you for all of everyones support in this.
 
mattgirl
Member
Dandy88 said:
Oh really?? Did you struggle to work out the initial dose? I don't understand why the first dose is huge compared to the daily dosage.

So say if I got the fish on Sunday, should I do another ammonia injection tomorrow? Or its okay now?

Thank you for all of everyones support in this.
I think the daily dose is supposed to be a maintenance dose. It has been quite a while since I used it so don't really remember. I fel sure I just followed the directions on the bottle. I am thinking the after water change dose was about 25ml for my 55 gallon tank.

To be perfectly honest I don't think another dose of ammonia is necessary if fish are going to be added Sunday. If something comes up and fish can't be added go ahead and add the original amount every other day until the day before fish are added.
 
  • Thread Starter
Dandy88
Member
mattgirl said:
I think the daily dose is supposed to be a maintenance dose. It has been quite a while since I used it so don't really remember. I fel sure I just followed the directions on the bottle. I am thinking the after water change dose was about 25ml for my 55 gallon tank.

To be perfectly honest I don't think another dose of ammonia is necessary if fish are going to be added Sunday. If something comes up and fish can't be added go ahead and add the original amount every other day until the day before fish are added.
Thanks Mattgirl. The ammonia I added earlier has made around 2ppm. Should be good for fish on Sunday
 
mattgirl
Member
Dandy88 said:
Thanks Mattgirl. The ammonia I added earlier has made around 2ppm. Should be good for fish on Sunday
It should be. Run the ammonia test just before heading out to get the fish to make sure it is back down to zero.
 
  • Thread Starter
Dandy88
Member
mattgirl said:
It should be. Run the ammonia test just before heading out to get the fish to make sure it is back down to zero.
Will do! Thanks again
 
  • Thread Starter
Dandy88
Member
Morning all,

So the tank now has two kribensis, a pleco and some Rasbora's.

I noticed this morning some white fungus on the bottom, but I'm guessing this is due to left over food? I need to learn to feed a bit less then I am. However, is this normal?
 
Flyfisha
Member
Yes food will rot as it grows a white fungus.
We all feed to much even when we try not to. A plastic turkey baster from the two dollar shop is a handy tool. You can vacuum it out with a hose as soon as possible. Never hurts to do a clean up of old food with an extra water change of even a small amount. You still probably should not be disturbing the gravel as your cycle is so new.
 
  • Thread Starter
Dandy88
Member
Flyfisha said:
Yes food will rot as it grows a white fungus.
We all feed to much even when we try not to. A plastic turkey baster from the two dollar shop is a handy tool. You can vacuum it out with a hose as soon as possible. Never hurts to do a clean up of old food with an extra water change of even a small amount. You still probably should not be disturbing the gravel as your cycle is so new.
Thanks for the response, how long should I leave it before disturbing the gravel??
 

Random Great Thread

Saltwater aquarium start-up series:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Latest threads

Aquarium Calculator

Aquarium Photo Contests

Find a Guru

Top Bottom