Going Nuts Over Fishless Cycle - Page 2

Misterfu02

I rinsed the filter and sponge in tank water before I added the fish.
 

Misterfu02

Found a better way to reduce flow by chopping a blade off of the impeller. Works much better than stuffing sponges in the intake tube.

Ammonia was between .25 and .5 a little while ago. I just did another water change. Fish is still eating and seems content.
 

Fish99

Found a better way to reduce flow by chopping a blade off of the impeller. Works much better than stuffing sponges in the intake tube.

Ammonia was between .25 and .5 a little while ago. I just did another water change. Fish is still eating and seems content.
Huh??
 

Misterfu02

The impeller in the water pump motor. It has three blades from the factory. Now it has two. Lol
 

JeremyW

The impeller in the water pump motor. It has three blades from the factory. Now it has two. Lol

If it works it works I suppose. But that's not what I would have recommended.

Impellers, much like tires, are supposed to be balanced. If they aren't, that will lead to vibration, which leads to wear, which leads to more vibration, which leads to excessive noise and premature failure.

I won't say that you've ruined your filter, because its obviously still working for you. But you have most likely shortened its life by a fair bit. And at some point, you may end up with a noise problem.
 

Fish99

Misterfu02
yes, it will likely wear out pretty quick from being out of balance. Then the impeller will probably just stop. Then, you risk killing your fish.
I would never mess with something so very important to keep the fish from dying.
Besides, flow is a very important part of the filter.
I would get a new impeller and figure out a better way to control the flow.
 

JeremyW

Misterfu02
yes, it will likely wear out pretty quick from being out of balance.
I would never mess with something so very important to keep the fish from dying.
Besides, flow is a very important part of the filter.
I would get a new impeller and figure out a better way to control the flow.

As long as its still moving water, I'd let it run its course.

Flow is important, but Bettas can be sensitive to high flow. So I understand why the OP thought it might be necessary to reduce it.

There's no point in replacing things that aren't broken yet. Its hard to say how long it could go. And it will most likely start making a racket before it actually quits.
 

Misterfu02

I don’t think it will make much of a difference. I’ve seen boat impellers with missing fins and they were ran that way for years without any problems. The impeller body is metal but the blade is plastic and I don’t think it’ll affect it much if at all in terms of balance. It sounds exactly the same as it did beforehand.

I tried stuffing the intake tube with a sponge but it got sucked into the impeller and the filter was off for a few hours before I noticed. Worst case the filter fails and I replace it with one that has adjustable flow.
 

mattgirl

Instead of stuffing foam in the uptake tube using a pre-filter sponge may have been the better option. There are sponges made specifically for this purpose. It serves dual purposes. It slows down the flow and is a great place for bacteria to grow.
 

JeremyW

I don’t think it will make much of a difference. I’ve seen boat impellers with missing fins and they were ran that way for years without any problems. The impeller body is metal but the blade is plastic and I don’t think it’ll affect it much if at all in terms of balance. It sounds exactly the same as it did beforehand.

I tried stuffing the intake tube with a sponge but it got sucked into the impeller and the filter was off for a few hours before I noticed. Worst case the filter fails and I replace it with one that has adjustable flow.
Most boat impellers also don't run 24/7, 365 days per year at full speed. And the phrase "without any problems" means different things to different people. An aquarium filter would put in more hours of operation in a week than most recreational boats would in a year.

But hey I don't want to come across as being negative about it. I fully encourage people to tinker with their gear. And the truth is I have no idea how long your filter will last. If your mod works for you, then have at it. Its not the end of the world when a filter fails. They all do eventually. That's just not a modification I would recommend.
 

Misterfu02

This tank still hasn’t cycled. I tested the water on Sunday and had around .5 ppm ammonia without any nitrites or nitrates.

I’ve been through an entire bottle of Stability and initially was dosing Prime daily, but have since stopped. The fish (single betta) is not showing any signs of stress.

I’m just going to continue weekly water changes and testing.
 

mattgirl

I’ve been through an entire bottle of Stability and initially was dosing Prime daily, but have since stopped. The fish (single betta) is not showing any signs of stress.

I’m just going to continue weekly water changes and testing.
This sounds like a very good plan. :)
 

Fish99

This tank still hasn’t cycled. I tested the water on Sunday and had around .5 ppm ammonia without any nitrites or nitrates.

I’ve been through an entire bottle of Stability and initially was dosing Prime daily, but have since stopped. The fish (single betta) is not showing any signs of stress.

I’m just going to continue weekly water changes and testing.
And another bacteria in a bottle success story huh?
Good idea, stop putting that stuff in your water and only change enough to keep the fish safe from ammonia. I think .5 ppm is a good number.
There is no need to test nitrate yet, just watch for nitrite and then your ammonia will disappear. Then test the nitrite and change water just enough to keep it down to about .5 ppm or less IMO.
I wonder if your low flow missing impeller fin setup is slowing things down. Filters do need good flow to work good.
Patience always trumps magic chemicals. You will be fine, just wait it out.
 

Peaches1710

Your pH is good. As the pH drops the ammonia turns to ammonium which is harder for the bacteria to eat.

What is the water temp? You want it around 80 F

I use this product when I start a new aquarium. Bottled bacteria is a gamble. Seachem products have never let me down. Seachem - Stability

As mentioned above it may be your test kit. If you are using strips change to liquid. If you are using liquid check the expiration date on it.
I am currently cycling a 20g and have a question that is slightly related to this thread:

I have heard that during the cycle if your pH is under 7 the bacteria goes dormant and the ammonia is in the ammonium form (As Thunder_o_b mentioned). Well I increased my pH to 8.2 just for the cycle since my tanks are usually 6.6, and once the tank is finished cycling, I am going to do a very large water change and let it go back to it's original pH of 6.6. I just want to know if anyone can explain to me how it works? Once I have fish and my tank is up and running, since the pH is 6.6, is the BB dormant then too and not actually doing anything but the reason the fish are only alive is because the Ammonium is less toxic and not as lethal to fish as Ammonia? Does this make sense? This is probably a very dumb question and quite unrelated but I'd like to know. Thanks for any thoughts...
 

Thunder_o_b

I am currently cycling a 20g and have a question that is slightly related to this thread:

I have heard that during the cycle if your pH is under 7 the bacteria goes dormant and the ammonia is in the ammonium form (As Thunder_o_b mentioned). Well I increased my pH to 8.2 just for the cycle since my tanks are usually 6.6, and once the tank is finished cycling, I am going to do a very large water change and let it go back to it's original pH of 6.6. I just want to know if anyone can explain to me how it works? Once I have fish and my tank is up and running, since the pH is 6.6, is the BB dormant then too and not actually doing anything but the reason the fish are only alive is because the Ammonium is less toxic and not as lethal to fish as Ammonia? Does this make sense? This is probably a very dumb question and quite unrelated but I'd like to know. Thanks for any thoughts...
Not sure about the dormant part, but yes less harmful.
 

MacZ

Well I increased my pH to 8.2 just for the cycle since my tanks are usually 6.6, and once the tank is finished cycling, I am going to do a very large water change and let it go back to it's original pH of 6.6.
Absolutely unnecessary. In low pH other species of bacteria, archaeans, fungi and yeasts take over the cycle. So in high pH you grow bacteria that will then first go dormant, then die off and be replaced with different bacteria.
Takes longer to cycle in low pH, but it will cycle nontheless. Patience is all you need. What you did cost you weeks, if not months.

And yes, Ammonium is far less harmful. Still the levels should not be higher than maybe 2 mg/l of Ammonium.
 

Azedenkae

I am currently cycling a 20g and have a question that is slightly related to this thread:

I have heard that during the cycle if your pH is under 7 the bacteria goes dormant and the ammonia is in the ammonium form (As Thunder_o_b mentioned). Well I increased my pH to 8.2 just for the cycle since my tanks are usually 6.6, and once the tank is finished cycling, I am going to do a very large water change and let it go back to it's original pH of 6.6. I just want to know if anyone can explain to me how it works? Once I have fish and my tank is up and running, since the pH is 6.6, is the BB dormant then too and not actually doing anything but the reason the fish are only alive is because the Ammonium is less toxic and not as lethal to fish as Ammonia? Does this make sense? This is probably a very dumb question and quite unrelated but I'd like to know. Thanks for any thoughts...
Yes, you are correct. For this method basically one is relying on the balance between ammonia and ammonium at a lower pH to keep it less toxic.

However, it is not an advisable method. Without nitrification total ammonia (free ammonia and ammonium) can still keep climbing to reach actual toxic levels. It takes a very long time for this to occur, but it can still occur, especially if there is a sudden rise in pH and a lot of ammonium can suddenly convert to free ammonia.

Instead, it is recommended to cycle at the pH you want long term.

Nitrifiers are a very broad group of organisms, the ones we often think of are just a small group of bacteria. There are many other bacteria capable of nitrification, and even non-bacteria, including some types of archaea. In fact, there has been at least one study that suggests nitrifying archaea, rather than bacteria, are the dominant nitrifiers in our filters.

The above paragraph is mainly to highlight the abundance of nitrifying species out there. They are also very diverse in the metabolic potential. Some species/strain perform both ammonia and nitrite oxidation for example. Some can survive at more extreme temperatures. And importantly, they are all adapted to different pH. There’s quite a few that are adapted to lower pH, and even utilize ammonium instead of ammonia for nitritication.

So rather than growing the ‘wrong’ type of nitrifier, the better way is to set your pH at 6.6 and cultivate the right type of nitrifier for your system. It is a bit more difficult as you have to kinda just toss in all manners of potential sources of nitrifiers into the tank. A lot of conventional bottled bac products contain nitrifiers adapted to higher pH and so may not work. Though if they work, just not as well, that’s still okay.

Just an entirely made up example, if a species can only perform nitrification at 50% of the rate they can at a higher pH, then you just need to cultivate twice the population. Practically, that translates to double the amount of biomedia, essentially.

Of course, unless you know the exact species (or strain even) of nitrifier growing, and even then gotta know their nitrification capacity, you can’t really make this judgment. So it’s just a matter of cycling as usual and making changes when/if necessary.
 

Peaches1710

Wow! Thanks so much Azedenkae for the very helpful information! That makes alot more sense. Basically, there is some nitrifier for any reasonable pH level and that I should have cycled at the pH I would have kept. Unfortunately about 2 weeks ago I did raise the pH using baking soda to 8.2. Since this is quite an extreme pH for the fish I want to keep, I will be lowering it gradually with water changes and then I am thinking of putting a fine mesh bag in my filter with some dolomite to keep it at a constantly raised pH - between 7-7.5. Is this a good idea?
 

Azedenkae

Wow! Thanks so much Azedenkae for the very helpful information! That makes alot more sense. Basically, there is some nitrifier for any reasonable pH level and that I should have cycled at the pH I would have kept. Unfortunately about 2 weeks ago I did raise the pH using baking soda to 8.2. Since this is quite an extreme pH for the fish I want to keep, I will be lowering it gradually with water changes and then I am thinking of putting a fine mesh bag in my filter with some dolomite to keep it at a constantly raised pH - between 7-7.5. Is this a good idea?
Yeah, that makes sense. So long as you reckon a pH between 7-7.5 makes sense for your fish, it should be all good. ^_^

On the side: here's one species that not only can grow and carry out nitrification at a very low pH range (<5.5), but is actually obligatory, i.e. cannot grow at higher pH: https://www.pnas.org/content/108/38/15892.full. :D It is a soil microbe btw, not aquatic per se. But just in case you were interested in seeing an example.
 

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