40 Gallon Tank Fishless cycle seems to be going well...

BradleyH2O

Started a fishless cycle in my 40GB on 10/24/2021. Tap water base test produced results of 8.0 pH, and 0ppm for ammonia, nitrates and nitrites. I added Dr. Tim’s Ammonium Chloride and 2 ounces of Fritz-zyme TurboStart 700 and then retested after an hour and the results were 8.0 pH, 4ppm Ammonia and 0 for nitrates and nitrites. I also tested water quality from the tap and the test results showed zero for chlorine, as our town water is only filtered, but not treated. It comes from an underground aquifer created by the Missoula Ice age floods and is quite pure.

After 24 hours, the test results were 8.0 pH, 4ppm ammonia, 5ppm nitrates and 0ppm nitrites.

At 48 hours...8.0 pH, 2ppm ammonia, 5ppm nitrates and .25ppm nitrites

At 72 hours...8.0pH, 2ppm ammonia, 10ppm nitrates and .25ppm nitrites, I added more ammonium chloride to bring ammonia level back up to 4ppm

Day 4 8.0 pH, 4ppm ammonia, 5ppm nitrates and .25ppm nitrates

Today is Day 5 and I haven’t tested yet, but wanted to see public opinion on how things are going. I was surprised to see nitrates and nitrites after only 48 hours.
 

Bgreen82

When using a bacteria booster it usually will kick start the process pretty well. Your numbers look pretty good to me
 

mattgirl

Congratulations. It looks like the bottled bacteria is working as it should. I would let the ammonia get closer to zero before adding more. I would only add enough ammonia to get it up to 2ppm. 4ppm is about 2ppm more than you actually need.
 

BradleyH2O

Thanks for the replies y’all. I was following the instructions from the Dr. Tim’s website, but it makes sense to keep the ammonia at 2ppm. I’m hoping that my test results today will yield 2ppm or less.

Based on what I’ve read from this great site is once the ammonia and nitrites are both at zero or less then .5ppm within 24 hours after adding ammonia, then the tank is cycled...is this correct?

mattgirl , I’ve read many threads on this forum regarding other members cycle and you seem to know quite a bit about this topic. I appreciate your dedication on trying to help folks navigate through this somewhat tricky aspect of fishkeeping.
 

Bgreen82

Agree, Mattgirl is definitely your cycle guru. When your tank can completely process 2ppm ammonia into nitrate in 24 hours your cycle is complete.
 

BradleyH2O

Agree, Mattgirl is definitely your cycle guru. When your tank can completely process 2ppm ammonia into nitrate in 24 hours your cycle is complete.
Nice! Thanks for the confirmation
 

mattgirl

Thanks for the replies y’all. I was following the instructions from the Dr. Tim’s website, but it makes sense to keep the ammonia at 2ppm. I’m hoping that my test results today will yield 2ppm or less.

Based on what I’ve read from this great site is once the ammonia and nitrites are both at zero or less then .5ppm within 24 hours after adding ammonia, then the tank is cycled...is this correct?

mattgirl , I’ve read many threads on this forum regarding other members cycle and you seem to know quite a bit about this topic. I appreciate your dedication on trying to help folks navigate through this somewhat tricky aspect of fishkeeping.
Thank you for the kind words. I really enjoy helping folks navigate this sometimes confusing process.

I don't consider the cycle complete until both ammonia and nitrites are zero within 24 hours of adding ammonia. Some folks never see a true zero reading so don't get overly concerned if you don't. For some folks it constantly shows some but normally less than .25
 

BradleyH2O

Awesome! Now only 5 more....Er four more posts until I can buy, trade or sell :D

Been wanting to hit Stargirl up for some Vals
 

mattgirl

Awesome! Now only 5 more....Er four more posts until I can buy, trade or sell :D

Been wanting to hit Stargirl up for some Vals
She does have some beautiful Vals. If I could get them to grow I would be getting some from her too. Unfortunately they don't like my soft water. Even adding Equilibrium and Thrive all in one fert didn't help them for me. Sadly not even amazon swords grow for me. Thankfully java ferns and various crypts like the conditions. I am waiting for my crypts to come back to their original beauty. I found out too late that rabbit snails enjoy both them and water wisteria.
 

BradleyH2O

She does have some beautiful Vals. If I could get them to grow I would be getting some from her too. Unfortunately they don't like my soft water. Even adding Equilibrium and Thrive all in one fert didn't help them for me. Sadly not even amazon swords grow for me. Thankfully java ferns and various crypts like the conditions. I am waiting for my crypts to come back to their original beauty. I found out too late that rabbit snails enjoy both them and water wisteria.
Interesting. Is your water soft from conditioning or just comes from the tap that way?

When I decided that I was doing a Lake Tanganyika tank, I hadn’t really checked into the parameters of my tap water. Turns out, my tap water is just about perfect for African Rift Lake biotopes
 

mattgirl

Mine is just naturally soft. The lake our water comes from is fed mainly by a river that starts about 50 miles from us. It runs through forests and mostly granite type rock. No industry at all along the way so nothing but fresh clean water goes into the lake. I have been told the parameters of the water straight from my tap is close to the same as RO water.

My fish did well in my water but all plants struggled. Once I started adding Equilibrium some plants started doing well for me. Before that just about everything melted even though I was adding ferts. Both liquid and root tabs.

You are very fortunate you inadvertently chose the type of fish your water was perfect for. It is great that you won't have to adjust it.
 

BradleyH2O

Today’s test resulted in 8.0 pH, 4ppm ammonia, 10ppm nitrates and .5ppm nitrites (highest value yet).

Hoping by Sunday that the ammonia level is down to 2ppm or less
 

BradleyH2O

Today’s test results revealed 8.0 pH, 2ppm ammonia, 20ppm nitrates and 2ppm nitrites.

Highest reading of nitrites and nitrates thus far. Hoping tomorrow that Ammonia can be added and then we’ll see where we’re at
 

BradleyH2O

Today’s reading was exactly the same as yesterday’s...8.0pH, 2ppm ammonia, 20ppm nitrates and 2ppm nitrites.

Thinking about adding more nitrifying bacteria. I also have Fritz Complete Full Spectrum water conditioner and nitrogen cycle management ( Fritz’s version of Prime). I’ve never used it, because my tap water doesn’t have chlorine, ammonia, nitrates or nitrites in it. What would adding some of this do?
 

mattgirl

Even though you have used bottled bacteria you are still fairly early in the cycle. I do have a suggestion that has helped several tanks complete the cycle. You may want to start adding some fish food to help this cycle. I recommend you start out by adding about a teaspoon of fish flakes in a fine mesh media bag. Hang it where water is running over it. Add another teaspoon of it every third day until this cycle is complete. This thread will explain why I am recommending you do this. PSA: Something I am seeing more and more often, fishless cycling.... | Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle Forum | 477380

We are not depending on the fish food for our ammonia source so you will continue adding liquid ammonia each time it drops close to zero. The fish food will just add that one little thing that helps to grow a strong cycle.
 

BradleyH2O

Even though you have used bottled bacteria you are still fairly early in the cycle. I do have a suggestion that has helped several tanks complete the cycle. You may want to start adding some fish food to help this cycle. I recommend you start out by adding about a teaspoon of fish flakes in a fine mesh media bag. Hang it where water is running over it. Add another teaspoon of it every third day until this cycle is complete. This thread will explain why I am recommending you do this. PSA: Something I am seeing more and more often, fishless cycling.... | Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle Forum | 477380

We are not depending on the fish food for our ammonia source so you will continue adding liquid ammonia each time it drops close to zero. The fish food will just add that one little thing that helps to grow a strong cycle.
Pretty interesting thread, thanks! I’m heading to PetCo to get a fine media bag right now. Interesting to see people’s different opinions on fish-in vs fishless cycles and the varying results everyone has. Guessing this comes down to everyone’s situation has different variables like gallons of water, water type/chemical makeup, tank conditions etc
 

mattgirl

Pretty interesting thread, thanks! I’m heading to PetCo to get a fine media bag right now. Interesting to see people’s different opinions on fish-in vs fishless cycles and the varying results everyone has. Guessing this comes down to everyone’s situation has different variables like gallons of water, water type/chemical makeup, tank conditions etc
Right. It comes down to each tank is different. Sometimes even when someone is cycling two different tanks at the same time.
 

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