Fishless Cycling, Ammonia Hasn't Dropped At All In A Month?

Discussion in 'Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle' started by jobleak, Aug 4, 2017.

  1. jobleakNew MemberMember


    I am relatively new to the fish keeping world. I first had my aquarium (10 gallon) set up about a year ago, and due to poor advice from a LFS, I did not cycle my tank and had nothing but problems. Log story short, I am starting fresh (still with the same 10 gallon tank, thoroughly cleaned with water and with all new substrate) and I am trying to do it right this time with a fishless cycle.

    Now after searching everywhere for pure ammonia and finding nothing, I went online and I bought some   Ammonia Chloride. I put in the recommended dosage and tested my water conditions (API test kit). The ammonia was about a 4ppm, 0 nitrites, 0 nitrates, about a 7.8ph, water temp 78-80. I waited checking daily for the ammonia to go down and nothing happened. A week and a half goes by, still no change whatsoever. So I did some research online and read that too much ammonia could be toxic, so I did a water change and got it down to about 2ppm. I waited, and another 2 weeks went by, still nothing. No change in ammonia, 0 nitrites, and 0 nitrates.

    I am not sure what I am doing wrong. I have used prime with water changes, I have the filter going all the time, I try to keep the air stone on high to make sure there is enough oxygen, I have tried to make sure the ph doesn't get too low (I heard that can kill bacteria), I even tried some tetra safe start to see if the ammonia would go down, and still nothing! It has been about a month since I first put Dr Tim's ammonia into the tank, and the only time the ammonia went down is when I did a water change. I haven't had to put any more in because it hasn't dropped. I don't know what else to try, and I feel like I am not making any progress. It seems like something must be wrong, but I can not figure out what. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  2. el337Fishlore LegendMember

    Cycling can take up to 12 weeks though I would think you should see a little progress. When did you add the TSS? There are specific instructions when using it like adding the entire bottle and making sure not to add a water conditioner within 24 hours of using it.

    I would suggest increasing your temp to 84-85F to promote bacteria growth. Has the pH stayed consistently at 7.8? You could try adding another bottle of TSS+ (make sure it's the Plus version appropriate for your tank size) or Dr Tim's O&O.

  3. jobleakNew MemberMember

    el337, thank you for your response! I didn't add the whole bottle, maybe that would help if I did. It has been about a week since I added the TSS. I can pick up another bottle and try that. Would Dr Tim's O&O work better that the TSS+? The ph has been pretty constant throughout all of this, and I would raise my temp but my heater is one of those preset ones. I could get a new heater, but I don't want to spend the money on one unless I have to.
  4. el337Fishlore LegendMember

    Either product would work. They're actually invented by the same person (Dr. Tim). :)

    It would be ideal to raise the temp but it's ok if you can't.

    After you dump the entire bottle of whichever product you go with, re-test in 24 hours. Feel free to post your numbers here as a log or if you want us to help further. :)
  5. jobleakNew MemberMember

    I didn't realize that they were made by the same person, that's interesting! I will get another bottle and give that a shot, fingers crossed that works! Thank you for your help, and I will update this as my cycle progresses (or doesn't haha)
  6. jobleakNew MemberMember

    Does using prime affect the bacteria at all, or make the ammonia in the tank unusable by the bacteria? I have heard mixed things, and I want to make sure that I do it right with the next bottle of TSS or O&O.
  7. el337Fishlore LegendMember

    I don't know about the O&O but TSS recommends not to use ANY product (not just Prime) that binds ammonia or removes chlorine within 24 hours of adding their product to your tank.

    As long as it's been more than 24 hours of adding a water conditioner, it's safe to use the bacteria supplement.
  8. jobleakNew MemberMember

    Okay, so I have added a whole bottle of TSS, and finally the ammonia has been dropping a little. But it has been slowly dropping for a week and a half or more now and I have still yet to see any nitrites. Every couple days when the ammonia gets low, I add a few more drops of Dr Tim's ammonia chloride to get the ammonia back up. Still 0 Nitrites, and 0 Nitrates. Not sure what the problem is, do I just have a really slow cycle? Or am I doing something wrong?
  9. JenovaValued MemberMember

    That does sound a bit odd... That ammonia has to be going somewhere!
    Do you have any plants in the tank? What sort of media do you have in your filter?
  10. el337Fishlore LegendMember

    What are your current parameters? Have you made sure to shake the daylights out of nitrate bottle #2 before testing? And how much ammonia have you been adding?
  11. jobleakNew MemberMember

    Update: So it has been a few more weeks and now something strange has happened. I did a partial water change shortly after the last update since I was getting a little frustrated with the lack of progress, I figured maybe a little water change would help get things going. Well after the water change (about 25%), the ammonia has not dropped at all. The weird part is that even though it hasn't dropped, I have nitrates. I have been testing the water everyday, the ammonia has not gone down in weeks, and there have never been ANY nitrites. But recently I got some nitrates (up to about 80 ppm). So I did another water change (about 50% again) to help get the nitrates down some (now about 30-40 ppm). That was a few days ago, and I still haven't seen any drop in ammonia, and the nitrates have held constant. I really am confused as to what has gone wrong with my cycle, any advice would be great, and thank you all for the help!
  12. el337Fishlore LegendMember

    Did you do the water change within 2 weeks of adding TSS+? If so, it would have caused TSS+ to fail. What is the current pH and ammonia out of the tank? Have you been adding any ammonia since that water change? If so, how much? Were you testing the water right after dosing the ammonia? And do you have any tap ammonia?

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