Fishless cycle

Greener099
Member
Good Morning, I've been doing my fishless cycle now since 3/6/21 and my ammonia has never dropped to zero in this time, and for the last few day it's been 2ppm on every rest, I've got 0 Nitrite and 5.0 Nitrate showing, I've got a Juwel190 tank with the built in Bioflow filter which consists of bioPad, bicarb, Nitrax, bioPlus coarse and bioPlus Fine, would any of these slow the process down? My results since the 3/6/21 are attached below, every time ammonia dropped below 4 I readded and now reading up to 2ppm but it never drops to zero over a 24HR period. Thanks.
 
Flyfisha
Member
Hey Greener099,
Have you done a small water change since starting the fishless cycle? If not it will do no harm to freshen up the water a little.

No cleaning. No deep vacuuming, just a 20% water change to add a few minerals etc foe the bacteria.

I see the ammonia was very high on the 1-7
 
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Greener099
Member
Flyfisha said:
Hey Greener099,
Have you done a small water change since starting the fishless cycle? If not it will do no harm to freshen up the water a little.

No cleaning. No deep vacuuming, just a 20% water change to add a few minerals etc foe the bacteria.

I see the ammonia was very high on the 1-7
Yeah it went really high I added some live plants in and fertiliser so not sure if that was the issue so I did a water change then but nothing since.
 
Flyfisha
Member
I don’t claim to be an expert on fishless cycles or anything really. But from what I have read a small water change can jump start the bacteria when it’s slow.

When you think about it we change water continuously with fish in a tank and the bacteria are happy . The bacteria are living creatures .

If you read as many old posts as I have seen it’s a common suggestion to add a bit of new water. Especially after this amount of time.

mattgirl #mattgirl
Mattgirl answers many questions on fishless cycles.
As your thread had gone a couple of hours without a reply I bumped it . You may get a reply from another member now?
 
FishDin
Member
Have you tested your source water for ammonia?
 
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Greener099
Member
FishDin said:
Have you tested your source water for ammonia?
Yes the water I use from tap to refill tank is 0 ammonia.
 
mattgirl
Member
How long has it been now since you did the last big water change? I am not sure what these are bicarb, Nitrax. Are they some kind of chemical filtration? If so they may be disrupting the cycling process.

It would have been better if all of this had been kept in the original thread but I was able to go over there to help refresh my memory. The mods may see this and will merge the two threads.
 
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Greener099
Member
mattgirl said:
How long has it been now since you did the last big water change? I am not sure what these are bicarb, Nitrax. Are they some kind of chemical filtration? If so they may be disrupting the cycling process.

It would have been better if all of this had been kept in the original thread but I was able to go over there to help refresh my memory. The mods may see this and will merge the two threads.
I did my last big water change when it went up to 10ppm which was the 30/6/21. The bicarb and nitrax are sections of the filter but like sponges is the best way to explain them.
 
Azedenkae
Member
Greener099 said:
every time ammonia dropped below 4 I readded
Sorry, just to clarify. You have been constantly adding more ammonia, every time ammonia dropped?
 
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Greener099
Member
Azedenkae said:
Sorry, just to clarify. You have been constantly adding more ammonia, every time ammonia dropped?
Yes I was told every time it dropped to readd ammonia to the start amount of ammonia I started with which was 4ppm, after my big water change after it went to 10ppm I've been adding up to 2ppm.
 
Azedenkae
Member
Greener099 said:
Yes I was told every time it dropped to readd ammonia to the start amount of ammonia I started with which was 4ppm, after my big water change after it went to 10ppm I've been adding up to 2ppm.
I am still confused - what increased to 10ppm? Ammonia or nitrate?
 
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Greener099
Member
Azedenkae said:
I am still confused - what increased to 10ppm? Ammonia or nitrate?
Ammonia increased to 10ppm wasn't 100% why I added live plants a couple of days before and added a feed for them so wasn't sure if this was why
 
mattgirl
Member
Greener099 said:
I did my last big water change when it went up to 10ppm which was the 30/6/21. The bicarb and nitrax are sections of the filter but like sponges is the best way to explain them.
I see. Some filters come with chemical media designed to remove some of the things we need to cycle a tank. I wasn't sure if these 2 things might be something like that. Since it has been almost 3 weeks since the last water change i am going to recommend you change out half the water now. Doing so will replenish the minerals.

Run your ammonia test after the water change. If there is still some ammonia in the tank don't add any more. If the water change gets it down to or very close to zero get it back up to no more than 2ppm.
 
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Greener099
Member
mattgirl said:
I see. Some filters come with chemical media designed to remove some of the things we need to cycle a tank. I wasn't sure if these 2 things might be something like that. Since it has been almost 3 weeks since the last water change i am going to recommend you change out half the water now. Doing so will replenish the minerals.

Run your ammonia test after the water change. If there is still some ammonia in the tank don't add any more. If the water change gets it down to or very close to zero get it back up to no more than 2ppm.
Thank you will do that tonight.
mattgirl said:
I see. Some filters come with chemical media designed to remove some of the things we need to cycle a tank. I wasn't sure if these 2 things might be something like that. Since it has been almost 3 weeks since the last water change i am going to recommend you change out half the water now. Doing so will replenish the minerals.

Run your ammonia test after the water change. If there is still some ammonia in the tank don't add any more. If the water change gets it down to or very close to zero get it back up to no more than 2ppm.
Thank you will do that tonight.
mattgirl said:
I see. Some filters come with chemical media designed to remove some of the things we need to cycle a tank. I wasn't sure if these 2 things might be something like that. Since it has been almost 3 weeks since the last water change i am going to recommend you change out half the water now. Doing so will replenish the minerals.

Run your ammonia test after the water change. If there is still some ammonia in the tank don't add any more. If the water change gets it down to or very close to zero get it back up to no more than 2ppm.
I've done the water change, and result has come out at 0.5 ammonia, so would you say take it back up to 2ppm or leave it how it is for now?
 
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Greener099
Member
mattgirl said:
How long has it been now since you did the last big water change? I am not sure what these are bicarb, Nitrax. Are they some kind of chemical filtration? If so they may be disrupting the cycling process.

It would have been better if all of this had been kept in the original thread but I was able to go over there to help refresh my memory. The mods may see this and will merge the two threads.
I've just checked the box Nitrax is a Nitrate remover so this may be where my issue lies. Would it be best to move this Sponge until tanks ready?
 
mattgirl
Member
Greener099 said:
I've just checked the box Nitrax is a Nitrate remover so this may be where my issue lies. Would it be best to move this Sponge until tanks ready?
I would remove any media that claims to remove anything from the tank. Most tanks don't need chemical filtration and they are really not needed while trying to cycle a tank.

Let me reword that because some normal media does claim to remove ammonia and nitrites. In most cases it isn't media doing the removing. It is the bacteria growing on the media that is doing it. Bio-media and normal sponge material should be all you need in this filter.
I've done the water change, and result has come out at 0.5 ammonia, so would you say take it back up to 2ppm or leave it how it is for now?
If you are sure it is .5 then let's see if the bacteria will lower it even more.
 
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Greener099
Member
mattgirl said:
I would remove any media that claims to remove anything from the tank. Most tanks don't need chemical filtration and they are really not needed while trying to cycle a tank.

Let me reword that because some normal media does claim to remove ammonia and nitrites. In most cases it isn't media doing the removing. It is the bacteria growing on the media that is doing it. Bio-media and normal sponge material should be all you need in this filter.

If you are sure it is .5 then let's see if the bacteria will lower it even more.
The Nitrax Sponge has now been removed from tank fingers crossed I will start getting some different results
 
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Greener099
Member
Well after taking the Nitrax Sponge out of my filter, ammonia has stayed at 2 over night, but I have Nitrite 1 and Nitrate 10 which hopefully is a good sign mattgirl
 
mattgirl
Member
Greener099 said:
Well after taking the Nitrax Sponge out of my filter, ammonia has stayed at 2 over night, but I have Nitrite 1 and Nitrate 10 which hopefully is a good sign mattgirl
This is a good sign of forward progress but did the ammonia go up on its own again or did you add some this time?
 
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Greener099
Member
mattgirl said:
This is a good sign of forward progress but did the ammonia go up on its own again or did you add some this time?
From the water change the other day I added it back up to 2ppm as it was on 0.5ppm.
 
mattgirl
Member
Greener099 said:
From the water change the other day I added it back up to 2ppm as it was on 0.5ppm.
I am happy to hear that you added some. At least we have gotten past the point where it was going up on its own. For now it is just a waiting game. Since this is a fishless cycle we don't have to be overly concerned about the nitrite and nitrate levels. Finally seeing them is a good sign that things are moving forward. Some ammonia is being processed.
 
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Greener099
Member
mattgirl said:
I am happy to hear that you added some. At least we have gotten past the point where it was going up on its own. For now it is just a waiting game. Since this is a fishless cycle we don't have to be overly concerned about the nitrite and nitrate levels. Finally seeing them is a good sign that things are moving forward. Some ammonia is being processed.
I will keep testing every couple of days now and will keep you updated with how things are going. Thank you
 
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Greener099
Member
Good morning me again ‍♂ so I've tested again this morning Ammonia on 1ppm, Nitrite is 0 and Nitrate is on 20. Fingers crossed this is a good sign.
 
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Greener099
Member
Good morning mattgirl fishless cycle now been going on for just over 7 weeks, today's test results ammonia 1 (still hasn't dropped to 0), Nitrite 0 and Nitrate 10. I'm still unsure why my ammonia has never dropped to 0, I'm starting to get inpatient now and just want to add fish to the tank.
 
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jdhef
Moderator
Member
Okay, I looked through this entire thread and here are my thoughts:

I know it is frustrating to have a tank without any fish, but you shouldn't add fish until the tank is cycled.

It is surprising to me that after all this time you still don't have a colony of ammonia converting bacteria. So this leads me to wonder, what is the pH level in your tank. A Ph level to far below 7.0 will prevent that ammonia converting bacteria from developing.

Best of luck and hang in there!
 
mattgirl
Member
Greener099 said:
Good morning mattgirl fishless cycle now been going on for just over 7 weeks, today's test results ammonia 1 (still hasn't dropped to 0), Nitrite 0 and Nitrate 10. I'm still unsure why my ammonia has never dropped to 0, I'm starting to get inpatient now and just want to add fish to the tank.
The answer to jdhef 's question may help us out. Thank you bunches for helping me out. I failed to ask that one important question.
 
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Greener099
Member
mattgirl said:
The answer to jdhef 's question may help us out. Thank you bunches for helping me out. I failed to ask that one important question.
My pH level is 8, I'll take a photo of my tank in a bit once the light comes on looks really messy alot of algea growth looks like a really dirty tank
 
mattgirl
Member
Greener099 said:
My pH level is 8, I'll take a photo of my tank in a bit once the light comes on looks really messy alot of algea growth looks like a really dirty tank
pH isn't slowing down the cycling process. I help a lot of folks so tend to forget. How long has it been since you changed out some of the water? We may need to refresh the minerals.
 
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Greener099
Member
Done a water change on 15th July. This is how my tank looks.
 
mattgirl
Member
Greener099 said:
Done a water change on 15th July. This is how my tank looks.
You shouldn't need another water change right now then.

Beautiful tank. Does the algae on the sand feel kinda slimy? Is it also growing on all the other surfaces in the tank? If it feels slimy it may not be algae but instead could be cyanobacteria. It is actually easier to deal with than algae. A product called UltraLife blue-green slime remover will quickly and easily kill it off. This product won't affect the cycle or fish so is safe to use even while cycling.
 
Flyfisha
Member
Hey jdhef,
I watched an interesting video from prime time aquatics not long ago. I think it was this one in the link. It was news to me that there are multiple strains of bacteria , some of which prefer different levels of PH . As long as PH is stable even low levels of PH can have the necessary bacteria if I understand the video correctly ?
 
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Greener099
Member
mattgirl said:
You shouldn't need another water change right now then.

Beautiful tank. Does the algae on the sand feel kinda slimy? Is it also growing on all the other surfaces in the tank? If it feels slimy it may not be algae but instead could be cyanobacteria. It is actually easier to deal with than algae. A product called UltraLife blue-green slime remover will quickly and easily kill it off. This product won't affect the cycle or fish so is safe to use even while cycling.
Yes it sort of peels off everything in a sheet like form. I will order some of that now.
 
mattgirl
Member
Greener099 said:
Yes it sort of peels off everything in a sheet like form. I will order some of that now.
Yep, cyanobacteria. Often it also smells pretty bad. When you get the ultralife just follow the easy to understand directions and this ugly stuff should soon be gone. I went ahead and added it the second time although it looked like the first one killed it off. Fortunately it hasn't come back in either tank I had it in.

You may find your cycle moving forward much quicker once this stuff is out of there.
 
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Greener099
Member
Is this the one?
 
mattgirl
Member
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Greener099
Member
mattgirl said:
Yes, that is the one I used.
Brilliant I've just ordered that now
 
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