Fishless Cycle....time For A Water Change?

Discussion in 'Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle' started by KevInLA, Aug 3, 2017.

  1. KevInLAValued MemberMember

    Hey everyone,
    I'm about a week and a half into my cycle of a 60 gallon tank, I used a bottle of Fritz turbo 700 a week ago. Using the api test kit, It's at about .75-1ppm ammonia, looking like up to around 5 on the nitrIte, and about 10-20 on the nitrAte. I think I should do a water change and add a little more ammonia. Does this sound like I'm on the right track? Thanks for any help!

    Edit: I'm running a Fluval 306, and having a 206 delivered today for the other side.

  2. stella1979ModeratorModerator Member

    Very high nitrites can stall a cycle. I have not used Fritz, but I have used other bacterial starters and did water changes if ammonia was >4, nitrates were >3 or nitrates were >80. I've found multiple sources stating that if either of those climb past the stated numbers, it can stall a cycle.

    Are you keeping your Fritz in the fridge? I see that instructions say to do so. I'm just thinking about my own bacterial starter experiences. Sometimes they work, other times they don't. Sometimes the bacteria will not be viable, either due to age or an issue with temperatures. With my most recent cycle I used TSS+. The ammonia phase ended within days but the nitrite phase took a couple of weeks. Every tank is different though, so you may have a different experience. Sorry to say it but, you may need to be patient awhile longer. Not what you wanted to hear I'm sure. Good luck!;)

  3. KevInLAValued MemberMember

    Yea the fritz was bought from the fridge of my LFS and was put in my fridge 20 minutes later...stayed there until I used it the next day. My main concern is the ammonia, it hasn't really dropped on its own very much. I can handle the patience part, I'm just wanting to make sure I'm not doing it wrong. If I'm supposed to have readings on all 3 right now then I'll leave it. I did do a small 20% water change a little bit ago and just added a small amount of ammonia and it's back up to around 2-3 range... no change on the nitrites...still close to 5, and nitrates around 20ish...
  4. stella1979ModeratorModerator Member

    I think if I were you I would do more water changes, until your ammonia reading is 1ppm. In my experience it is better to start at 1ppm, then when your media can convert 1ppm in 24 hours or less you will be cycled. You could then add higher amounts of ammonia, say 2 or 3ppm and wait for that to be able to convert in a day. Cycling to 2-3ppm will allow you to add more fish at a time. This is usually necessary for someone having fish shipped, thus being unable to add them slowly. Here's a link to a great cycling guide. I've used this guide to cycle 4 tanks in the last 6 months... it was very helpful to me when I started questioning if I was doing everything right. Plus, CindiL, the writer, is our cycling and fish disease guru.. ;)

    Ammonia Instructions when Cycling with TSS+ or other Bacterial Starter
  5. KevInLAValued MemberMember

    Wow, thanks Stella! This should help me out a lot. Ive tried to be meticulous with following instructions but everything I rad has things done differently so its been a bit nerveracking for me on whether Im on the right track or not. Since I just did a small water change yesterday and added a bit more ammonia ill give it a little time. I guess I was jsut confused as to where exactly in the cycling I was since I started getting readings on all 3 parameters out of the blue (Id previously only kept track of the ammonia until yesterday).
  6. stella1979ModeratorModerator Member

    No prob. ;) When I did my 1st fishless cycle I read several guides and they were wildly different in how to start. I decided to go with one that said to begin by dosing ammonia to 4ppm. A week went by and nothing happened. I asked for help here and the general consensus was that dosing so high at the start was a bad way to go. Someone referred me to the same link I posted for you. I've used that method for freshwater & saltwater about 4-5 times now... with differing timeframes. That's where the viability of your starter comes in. I've cycled in as little as 10 days, and as much as 30 days using CindiL's instructions. Now I have several tanks running and am keeping extra media in two of them... so I can instant cycle if my MTS gets the best of me again, or to set up a quick QT.;)
  7. stella1979ModeratorModerator Member

    Oops, also meant to say... having early readings for nitrites and nitrates are not unusual when cycling with a bacterial starter. Parameters can differ depending on brand and viability.

    Edit: It's also worth running tests on your source water to see if you have any ammonia, nitrite or nitrate in it. My tap has 40ppm nitrates. Other members here have ammonia in their tap.
  8. KevInLAValued MemberMember

    Thanks! Another question, if you dont mind...Is the nitrIte level ok where it is now even with me dosing the ammonia back up to about 2-3? My gut says these parameters are fine (as of last night...2-3 ammonia, 2-5 nitrItes..though its prob better described as just purple on the api test kit, and 20 on the nitrAtes) and just wait a while for the ammonia to drop and dose again....
  9. stella1979ModeratorModerator Member

    Well, it's hard to say. If you're neurotic like me then you'll run a dilution test to see for sure if those nitrItes are under 4ppm. A dilution test is pretty simple, but you've got to be sure you have source water that is free of nitrItes. Have you ever done one?
  10. KevInLAValued MemberMember

    Well I did do a water hardness test before I got the tank about 2 weeks ago, and both results came back at around 11 to 12.
    Edit: I note recall that my initial nitrite test when i first started came back at 0....

    Also....The way I did it was after the initial water tests, adding the fritz, I only looked at the ammonia for the next week to wait for a drop in it. It wasn't until yesterday that I tested for the nitrite and nitrate fit the first time and got the results I previously posted. I freaked out and thought I messed up since I wasn't expecting the other parameters to show just yet...
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2017
  11. stella1979ModeratorModerator Member

    OK, well if you're confident there is zero nitrIte in your tap, then you could do a dilution test, if you want to.;) Just mix 1/2 tank water with 1/2 tap, then test as normal. You would have to double your result of course. If you have one of these 5ml medicine dosers with the plunger, (you can get them for free from a pharmacy, they are for infants), the you could even to a 1ml tank/4ml tap test, which would be multiplied by 5.

    I'm not trying to nag, just let you know.;) I do this whenever nitrItes are purple because it's impossible to know if they're reading at 2 or 5, and I'm a little neurotic about it.:wacky: I've read that nitrItes over 4 will stall your cycle so I just do water changes to keep it around 2.
  12. KevInLAValued MemberMember

    Oh no, no nagging taken...i appreciate your help and advice. Im going to give it until tomorrow to see if anything changes...if no change by this weekend ill do another water change. Hopefully ill do this right =)

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