How Long Will A Bacterial Bloom Take Place

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Dhrogara, Apr 20, 2018.

  1. Dhrogara

    DhrogaraNew MemberMember

    Hi all! I have a ten gallon freshwater tank with no fish yet... I added Tetra safestart to kickstart the nitrogen cycle and it resulted in a white cloudy bacterial bloom.

    From what I read I should just be patient and it will clear in "a few days."

    My question is exactly how long is a few days? 2 days? 20 days? If it varies what's the longest I should wait before being concerned. My mom is already complaining it looks disgusting and just rolls her eyes when I say it's suppossed to be normal.

    Also this morning everything (gravel, fake plants etc.) was covered in a clearish-white film.... Should I be concerned about that or is it just part of the bloom?

    Yesterday my pH was 7, ammonia was between 0 and .5, nitrite was 0, nitrate was 20, chlorine was 0. My water is super hard (untreated pH 8.5) so I added an api pH buffer to it (I think it's called proper pH 7). Temp has been between 72 and 76 depending on if it is night or not. I've had the tank set up about 3 weeks trying to do a fishless cycle with fish food, but I only added the safestart 2 days ago. I plan on adding tropical fish and inverts.
  2. mattgirl

    mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

    I am sure someone that knows more about fish-less cycling than I do will be along soon but I see a couple of things that could be slowing your cycle down.

    You really need a heater in there to keep the temp at a constant temp, preferably at at least 79/80 degrees and you should leave your PH alone. Just go with what you have.

    You also need to get that ammonia up. The bacteria you are trying to grow needs food and to get strong bacteria it needs lots of food. That food is ammonia. If at all possible you need to get some liquid ammonia. Just be sure it is pure ammonia, you don't want one with any kind of additives such as soap in it.

    I am not sure where those nitrates are coming from. Have you tested your source water for them?
  3. Fashooga

    FashoogaFishlore VIPMember

    I just depends on how "raw" the tank is. Typically they go from 2-7 days. Once the milky white stuff is gone doesn't mean the tank is ready for fish. Fishless cycles can take at least 4 weeks for it to be ready for some fish.
  4. OP

    DhrogaraNew MemberMember

    I have a heater (Aqueon Pro 50)... I live in the northeast so it's been cold at night and the temp will drop a few degrees if it's cold enough. I had it set to 76 since it was in the middle range of most of the species I wanted to get... it's typically there most of the day... only last few days it's been colder... should I raise the temp still?

    source water tests 0 for ammonia, 0 for nitrite, 0 for chlorine, and looks like 10 for nitrate.... unless its the glass I am using or the test kit... maybe there's organic matter in our well? We had it dug up last fall cuz the pipe fell off... it's over 20 years old. Dad still hasn't filled in the hole. Also I've been adding fish food since day 1 as the ammonia source... I know it takes longer that way.
  5. mattgirl

    mattgirlFishlore VIPMember

    Yes, it would be best to turn the heater up. You can lower it once your cycle has completed if you have fish that need cooler temps. From everything I have read the temp needs to be higher for the bacteria to grow. It will grow at lower temps but since you don't have fish in there that would be affected you probably want to turn it up for the bacteria.

    That explains where the nitrates are coming from. Your tank will probably complete its cycle with just the fish food but you really do need to get the ammonia level a bit higher. The more ammonia the stronger the bacteria and more of it. Bacteria just needs time and food. The more food the better up to a certain point.
  6. OP

    DhrogaraNew MemberMember

    Thanks all! I turned the heater up to 80 for now... I will turn it back down once it has cycled