Help with my fishless cycle

  1. Antonr90 Initiate Member

    So I just got started with this new hobby a couple of weeks ago, did a considerate amount of reading, decided to go the fishless route. Picked up a 29 gallon and I've had it fully setup and running without fish for the past 2 weeks.

    Dosed to 3-4ppm ammonia with ace hardware ammonia the first day, ammonia stayed pretty consistent for the whole week (which was expected). On day one of the second week I added an AngelsPlus active sponge filter to run along side my fluval 70. I read a lot of great things about these active filters giving a significant boost in cycling, so I decided why not.

    24 hours after I added the filter I had ammonia drop from 4ppm to 1ppm. I tested for nitrites and saw 0, then went ahead and tested for nitrates and bam 5ppm (I have none in my tap water). I went ahead and re-dosed to 4ppm ammonia and let it sit for another 24 hours. The next day I went ahead and tested everything again, ammonia was back down to 1ppm, nitrites still 0 and nitrates are now about 80ppm.

    Is it possible that I completely skipped the nitrite spike part of the cycle. If I'm consistently reading ammonia drops and nitrate rises without any sign of nitrite where exactly am I in the cycle?
     
  2. Phishphin Well Known Member Member

    Are you using test strips or liquid drops to check your water?

    Welcome to fishlore and gratz on starting your tank off right!
     

  3. Antonr90 Initiate Member

    Using drops, specifically the API kit.
     

  4. Phishphin Well Known Member Member

    Well, with an empty tank that's going through a fishless cycle (and no nitrates in the tap), the only way you are getting those nitrates are from converted nitrites. Test kits aren't perfect, but it would seem to me that your cycle is well underway and possibly into the last leg!
     

  5. Antonr90 Initiate Member

    I sure hope so! Should I keep dosing ammonia up to 3/4ppm on a daily basis until I start seeing ammonia drop to 0 in the span of 24 hours?

    From what I've read I should be re-dosing ammonia daily to 4ppm until it starts completely converting to nitrite > nitrate. I assume I can consider the cycle complete if 24 hours after dosing I have 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrite and a readable measurement of nitrate.

    I wasn't expecting the active filter to bump my cycle this far along.
     
  6. jdhef Moderator Moderator Member

    Welcome to FishLore!

    The reason you fishless cycle a tank is to build a colony of bacteria in your filter. The bacteria colony contains two different bacteria's. One bacteria consumes ammonia and releases nitrite into the water. The second bacteria consumes the nitrite the other bacteria released and releases nitrate.

    It will take several weeks of having ammonia in the water for this bacteria to develop. Then it will take several weeks of having nitrite in the water for the second bacteria to develop.

    But by adding the AngelPlus sponge filter, you have added a filter that has been "pre-seeded" with those two bacteria. But there just isn't quite enough of the bacteria consuming bacteria to handle all 4ppm of ammonia, but there is enough nitrite converting bacteria to handle all the nitrites that are being released by the ammonia consuming bacteria.

    So you could just do a large water change to remove all ammonia and most nitrate and add some fish. But don't add too many fish since you will have more ammonia production than you will have bacteria.

    Then after about two weeks you can add one or two more fish, then wait 14 more days add one or more fish until full stocked. The reason for waiting is because the ammonia and nitrite are the food sources for those two bacteria. Because of this you will not have any excess bacteria since any excess would starve off. By waiting 14 days you give the bacteria colony time to grow and catch up with the increased ammonia the additional fish are producing.
     
  7. Antonr90 Initiate Member

    Thanks for the extremely detailed reply jdhef! I'll go ahead and perform a water change to drop ammonia to 0 and nitrates to a safe level and then add a couple of fish every few weeks. Looks like the active filter was a great investment.