How Quickly Should A Cycle Consume Ammonia/nitrite

Discussion in 'Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle' started by Bizarro252, Apr 16, 2017.

  1. Bizarro252Well Known MemberMember

    All my previous cycles I have been fortunate enough to get or use seeded media/filters from another tank, a large amount of seeded material so I had always added fish pretty much right away.

    However, this time its a bit different as I am starting a discus tank, getting them shipped in instead of getting locally, and I am wanting to make 1000% sure the tank is ready before loading it up with hundreds of dollars worth of fish.

    So! I got everything all set up today, the filters are a seeded sponge filter (size #5) and an AC50 with a bag of mostly new BioHome Ultimate, and just a few sticks of it from a seeded filter to help get it rolling.

    This is a 55gal so I dosed 2.2ml of ammonia to get 1ppm (tested and it was basically perfectly 1ppm) using this calculator to figure that out btw:


    Anyways, I am going to check ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate tomorrow, I want to see 0's on ammonia and nitrite before I am satisfied we are ready, the question is...How long should it take? I am not sure what 1ppm dumped in all at once is simulating in terms of fish load - I assume a TON since its all at once instead of spread out...

    Those who have fishless cycled and kept a good eye on your numbers, what times were you seeing per ppm to drop to 0 on ammonia and nitrite? Just wondering what 'normal' looks like!

  2. AWheelerWell Known MemberMember

    I am thinking it was 24 hours or less. I didn't use ammonia though, I used fish food and waited for it to drop.

  3. Bizarro252Well Known MemberMember

    Thanks, I measured this morning because I was to excited to wait, and it looks like its down to 0.25 - in about 8 hrs it will have been 24, we will see what we see then. 0 Nitrites at the moment tho, maybe that colony was stronger :p

  4. CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    Hi, how many discus will you be getting at once?

    Agree you'll want to see a 24 hour turn around from ammonia -- to nitrites to nitrates to be cycled properly.
  5. Bizarro252Well Known MemberMember

    Thanks! I will be getting 6 all at once, 3" size. It seems like a lot of people have success with this number in a 55gal. I do not really have room for much bigger (I guess I could fit a 75 or 90 in the same spot) but the plan is to have these as adults as well so 6 is the limit IMO :p

    I measured ammonia at about the 24 hour mark and we were at 0.25. I will let it go to 0 and then dose again and see how we look. Not seeing any Nitrites.
  6. CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    Oh ok, well based on that I think you'll want to work up to 3-4ppm ammonia to stock them fully like that. Just slowly increase the ammonia as it handles it, the way you would fish. Looks like your seeded media is handling the 1ppm pretty well already.
  7. Bizarro252Well Known MemberMember

    Thanks @CindiL - I dosed back to 1ppm tonight as well as dumping in more Stabilty, lets see how that looks tomorrow :) I guess I am also just curious if there is some 'standard' amount of ammonia a fish produces in a given timeframe... Example, I have a CIchlid right now in timeout - in a 5 gal bucket with a heater and airstone because he got the snot kicked out of him, I test the water every day and never see ammonia, I do a 90% change anyways but still strange to me to see NONE. I even was busy Sat night and forgot, he went about 36 hours, still no ammonia, still did a 90% change anyways lol.
  8. CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    This of course depends on the bio-load of the fish, size and amount they each eat but my very un-scientific guess ;) is each of the 6 fish will put out somewhere between .25-.50 ammonia per 24 hours so I think you'd be safe cycling up to 3.5-4.0. Might be overkill but better that then having to do constant water changes after you get them. Generally speaking a tank handling 4.0 in 24 hours can for the most part be fully stocked at once.
  9. Bizarro252Well Known MemberMember

    Wow, thats crazy! I would not have guessed it would be that high (especially given I have a 4" Cichlid in 5 gal and even after 36 hours with no filter we are at 0)

    The plan for this tank is 6x 3" discus so Bioload should not be that bad, food load is where it will be coming from I think. I plan on daily WCs anyways so if its not QUITE ready I at least already plan on doing what you would need to do in that situation - obviously I do not want to expose my $$$ discus to any ammonia if it can be avoided however :)

    I am going to steal some more sticks of BioHome out of the Cichlid filter too (swapping in some fresh sticks when they get here) if I dont see it very low when I get home from work.

    Edit: to clarify I do not have a cichlid housed in a 5gal tank, its a recovery bucket because he got beat up :p
    I found a home for him so thats great news! I tried puttin him back and that is just not going to work, the other male went right after him again.
  10. CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    When I was cycling a 20g tank with two medium size goldfish several years ago the ammonia would rise close to 1.0 each day and then I'd do a 75% water change.
    I don't know why you're not getting ammonia readings with your cichlid, is he eating? lol.
  11. Bizarro252Well Known MemberMember

    LOL, he didnt for a day or two but he has been. I guess I do clean any extra food out of the bucket right away since I was paranoid he would get poisoned.
    Good to know what you were seeing on that goldfish tank... I did put a heater and airstone in the bucket from the cycled tank...I wonder if there is just enough BB on those surfaces to keep it under control in there LOL

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