Help me debug my (not cycling) fishless cycle

Discussion in 'Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle' started by Dakrisht, Jun 24, 2016.

  1. DakrishtNew MemberMember

    Hi everyone, I'm struggling with a fishless cycle and getting some weird results. Hope some of the experts can shed some light on the issues.

    Started with a brand new tank, substrate, purigem insert and bio material (using the Fluval Spec V tank)

    Added treated water with Seachem. Waited 24 hours before introducing One and Only bacteria + 5ppm pure ammonia.

    The numbers I'll give are Ammonia / Nitrites / Nitrates

    Day 1: 3ppm / 0ppm / 0ppm
    Day 2: 3ppm / 0ppm / 0ppm
    Day 4: 2ppm / 0ppm / 0ppm
    Day 5: 2ppm / 0ppm / 0ppm
    Day 6: 4ppm / 0ppm / 0ppm (added more ammonia)
    Day 7: 4ppm / 0ppm / 0ppm
    Day 8: 3ppm / 0ppm / 0ppm
    Day 9: 3ppm / 0ppm / 5ppm
    Day 10: 3ppm / 0ppm / 5ppm

    So it appears that NITRATES are showing up but ammonia is still high. And I never saw an increase in nitrite values.

    What on earth is going on?

    Should I do a water change? Can't seem to bring ammonia levels down.

  2. NicoldemeValued MemberMember

    Just keep waiting. Add a bottle of TSS (Tetra Safe Start) to boost it. My 2.5 took almost two months to cycle. Do you have any other tanks set up? If you do, take some gravel or filter floss and put it in the new tank. Maybe you have a friend with a tank? Ask if you could take a decoration from their tank for a few weeks. Just make sure whatever you use to seed your tank is from a clean, healthy environment.

  3. DakrishtNew MemberMember

    Believe it or not, I added TSS 4 days ago as well.

    No additional tank, so I'm waiting and frustrated because so many are cycling in 7-10 days.

    Whats strange is the Nitrate levels up.

  4. AquaphobiaFishlore LegendMember

    Nitrites sometimes don't show up on the test. Something about the bacteria that convert nitrites to nitrates being quicker to colonize than the ammonia to nitrites. Not sure I buy that explanation, it's entirely possible that the process takes less time!

    I've also read that the TSS gives false readings for the first couple of weeks. It does appear that your tank is cycling, you just need a little more patience;)
  5. NicoldemeValued MemberMember

    +1 Aquaphobia ^
  6. CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    Hi, welcome to fishlore :;hi2

    Let the ammonia drop to 0 before re-dosing it. I wouldn't have recommended dosing it to 5.0 with Dr. Tim's one and only. I'm pretty sure he says to only dose to 2.0? I can't remember now. He was the creator of TSS+ also btw and you don't want to dose past 2.0 ammonia with live bacteria. It becomes toxic to them and inhibits the bacteria from multiplying.

    I would just be patient and let the ammonia drop. It's not uncommon to see some nitrates and nitrites and ammonia all at the same time. In helping people with cycling I see that when they use TSS+ (similar to Dr. Tim's I'm sure) the nitrospira bacteria (nitrite converting) must be more plentiful then the nitrosonomas bacteria or more hardy because that is usually the first to complete. Normally without their bacteria, nitrites are the last to finish up because the bacteria take up to 36 hours to multiply vs nitrosonomas which take more along the lines of 12 I think.
  7. slayer5590Well Known MemberMember

    Since nobody has asked yet what is your pH?
  8. DakrishtNew MemberMember

    Thanks for the advice so far everyone.
    slayer5590 - pH is around 7.8, water temp at 82°

    I wanted to add that I use the correct amount of Seachem Prime when doing a water change. And I started using Stability in the last 5 days as well.

    the latest numbers are:

    Day 11: 1.5ppm / 0ppm / 10ppm
    Day 12: 1.5ppm / 0ppm / 10ppm
    Day 13: 1.0ppm / 0ppm / 10ppm (Stability daily now)
    Day 14: 1.0ppm / 0ppm / 10ppm (water change)
    Day 15: 1.0ppm / 0ppm / 10ppm (water change)
    Day 16: 1.0ppm / 0ppm / 10ppm
    Day 17: 1.0ppm / 0ppm / 10ppm (water change)

    Ammonia refuses to drop below 1ppm. I've heard Prime gives off a "false" reading using API test kits but still, it should drop.

    I tested the tap and am reading 0.25ppm of ammonia (barely), mixing prime into a test bucket of tap water yields the same result. So the ammonia is in the tank!

    Thoughts on continuing the water change daily?

    Note: I haven't added any more ammonia.
  9. AquaphobiaFishlore LegendMember

    I would just let the water changes go at this point but keep testing and adding Stability. Are there any possible sources of ammonia in your tank? Hitchhiker snails maybe?
  10. DakrishtNew MemberMember

    Negative. Only live plants and inert rocks.

    Stop the water changes?

    Thinking that adding 1ppm more of ammonia might be a good idea since ammonia seems to have stalled...
  11. AquaphobiaFishlore LegendMember

    I don't think that adding more ammonia will "unstall" the cycle, if it has stalled there's got to be a reason. I would wait for the ammonia to drop to zero before redosing.
  12. CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    You don't need to do any more water changes I agree. You can put 1/2 the bottle of stability in today and another half in a couple of days. Don't re-dose the ammonia until it gets down to 0-.25.

    If you post daily we'll keep an eye on how things are going. I'm assuming your nitrates are increasing?
  13. slayer5590Well Known MemberMember

    Dose the stability using the directions on the bottle and you will be fine. Just make sure to shake it up really good. You want to see a white cloud come out of the cap when you put it in. If it doesn't shake it up some more.
  14. DakrishtNew MemberMember

    I guess what's strange is that my ammonia is not dropping below 1ppm even after 5 days of Stability.

    Nitrates are stable at 10ppm but there could be nitrate in the tap. I've never seen Nitrites.

    The food is there, the bacteria isn't biting. Even after One and Only and TSS and now Stability.

    Ps - my filter has the stock Fluval bio media and Purigem in the top slot. Wonder if the Purigen is messing things up.
  15. CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    It just takes time....I would put in 1/2 bottle of stability like I mentioned before. There is no reason not to and just wait after that. Test once a day, try and not be too frustrated.
  16. DakrishtNew MemberMember

    No changes to ammonia so far.

    Dumped more Stability.

    Funny enough, seems the tap reads 0.50ppm ammonia.

    Will fill up a bucket and dose with Prime to see what happens to the tap ammonia.
  17. CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    What did your test show?

    Also, test your tap for nitrates. You may never see nitrites since you used TSS+.

    You were doing a lot of water changes before and adding in ammonia then with each water change from your tap.
  18. DakrishtNew MemberMember

    My ammonia has been stuck at 1ppm for the past few days or since this adventure started. It is simply not going down. At all.

    Tap ammonia is at 0.50ppm

    Tap nitrates are at 0ppm

    Tank nitrates are at 10ppm

    Should I do a water change with Prime?

    (Tap ammonia with Prime is at 0.25ppm)
  19. CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    No, I wouldn't. If your tank is still at 1.0 ammonia I'd leave it. The fact that your tank is registering 10nitrates and your tap 0, tells us something is going on, which is good.

    I'd just be patient. Sorry, that is all you can do. A "normal" without bacteria added fishless cycle can take 4-10, even up to 12 weeks. With bacteria is should be quicker but every water source is different.

    What is your ph today and your temperature in the tank?
  20. DakrishtNew MemberMember

    pH is 7.8 and temp is 83.5°

    Strange that after all the TSS and Stability, the bacteria aren't hungry / feeding. Most likely, these products simply aren't helping in the establishment of bacteria vs. their claims.

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