I (nearly) give up...3 months of fishless cycling not working

Vis

Essentially I started this process in May, waited until June and added some TSS+ (since there were no signs of bacteria) and waited about 1 month till i took to Fishlore to be told that should not have been letting my ammonia get near 0 ppm before redosing, but rather 1ppm before dosing it back to 2ppm. So I did a 50% water change to get rid of dead water, followed those instructions. Since then I’ve added a sponge filter (I currently have an HOB running)

My results are below:
Ammonia: measured every 24 hours
2ppm
1ppm (dose back to 2ppm)
1ppm (dose back to 2ppm)
1ppm (dose back to 2ppm)
1ppm (dose back to 2ppm)
1ppm (dose back to 2ppm)
2ppm
1ppm (dose back to 2ppm)
2ppm
1ppm (dose back to 2ppm)
At this point I felt the cycle was slowing down so I did a water change:
2ppm
1ppm (dose back to 2ppm)
2ppm
1ppm (dose back to 2ppm)
^evidently its slowing down

Temp: 29°C
pH: 7.4
Nitrates: ≈15 ppm
Nitrites = 0 ppm


I lost too many fish in the past due to new tank syndrome so i really want to get this right but it’s been nearly 3 months in the making and i’m losing hope. I am open to plants but i don’t want an algae bloom with all the ammonia I’m dosing, and I don’t see the point of adding plants if the tank cant even establish itself. Any help?
 

kattiq

So you do have NitrAtes now?? That's great! Is the Ammonia at 1 ppm?
If so, wait till your ammonia is at 0, and do a big water change. Then you are ready for fish!
And I personally love having a planted tank and sort of a great fail safe that sucks up the extra nitrates and just overall improves the quality of your fish lives too. But even certain fake plants also can do the trick for the fish as well. If anything plants help the tank cycle and stay cycled even better.
I find in my heavily planted tank I never had any ammonia spikes and my nitrate lvls stay pretty much at 0 even with the addition of new fish.

Also to prevent an algae bloom just make sure to have your lights on a timer and not on for very long (If you did low light plants, I'd say start at 6-7 hours and then work your way up to find the happy spot between maybe 10ish hours). But you can get a bloom with or without plants regardless.

Don't give up though! I know this process has been a real drag, but it will all be worth it in the end.
 
Upvote 0

Blueberrybetta

So you do have NitrAtes now?? That's great! Is the Ammonia at 1 ppm?
If so, wait till your ammonia is at 0, and do a big water change. Then you are ready for fish!
And I personally love having a planted tank and sort of a great fail safe that sucks up the extra nitrates and just overall improves the quality of your fish lives too. But even certain fake plants also can do the trick for the fish as well. If anything plants help the tank cycle and stay cycled even better.
I find in my heavily planted tank I never had any ammonia spikes and my nitrate lvls stay pretty much at 0 even with the addition of new fish.

Also to prevent an algae bloom just make sure to have your lights on a timer and not on for very long (If you did low light plants, I'd say start at 6-7 hours and then work your way up to find the happy spot between maybe 10ish hours). But you can get a bloom with or without plants regardless.

Don't give up though! I know this process has been a real drag, but it will all be worth it in the end.

She is not ready for fish. Her tank needs to convert both ammonia and nitrites from 2ppm to 0ppm in under 24hrs. She still has 1ppm Ammomia the next day, therefore she is not cycled yet, she hasn't even had her nitrite spike yet.

I would try dosing ammonia to 3ppm and stop doing random water changes. Water changes are not necessary during fishless cycling and will only slow the cycle down.
 
Upvote 0

Vis

So you do have NitrAtes now?? That's great! Is the Ammonia at 1 ppm?
If so, wait till your ammonia is at 0, and do a big water change. Then you are ready for fish!
And I personally love having a planted tank and sort of a great fail safe that sucks up the extra nitrates and just overall improves the quality of your fish lives too. But even certain fake plants also can do the trick for the fish as well. If anything plants help the tank cycle and stay cycled even better.
I find in my heavily planted tank I never had any ammonia spikes and my nitrate lvls stay pretty much at 0 even with the addition of new fish.

Also to prevent an algae bloom just make sure to have your lights on a timer and not on for very long (If you did low light plants, I'd say start at 6-7 hours and then work your way up to find the happy spot between maybe 10ish hours). But you can get a bloom with or without plants regardless.

Don't give up though! I know this process has been a real drag, but it will all be worth it in the end.
Thanks for your kind words.

I think my issue that my tank is showing no signs of converting 2ppm of ammonia to 0ppm of ammonia in 24 hours, it was able to covert 1ppm in 24 hours, and now it’s taking 48 hours to convert that same amount (1ppm) so it just feels as though it’s slowing down.
 
Upvote 0

kattiq

She is not ready for fish. Her tank needs to convert both ammonia and nitrites from 2ppm to 0ppm in under 24hrs. She still has 1ppm Ammomia the next day, therefore she is not cycled yet, she hasn't even had her nitrite spike yet.

I would try dosing ammonia to 3ppm and stop doing random water changes. Water changes are not necessary during fishless cycling and will only slow the cycle down.

I asked if those certain parameters were there. Not that they are definitely ready for fish right now. Maybe I just misunderstood, so I was clarifying.
And I agree that WCs are unnecessary right now.
 
Upvote 0

altwitch

Sorry to be cynical but that's why I fish-in cycle with appropriate species or more recently insta-cycle with filter from established tank.
 
Upvote 0

AvalancheDave

What ammonia source are you using?
 
Upvote 0

Vis

She is not ready for fish. Her tank needs to convert both ammonia and nitrites from 2ppm to 0ppm in under 24hrs. She still has 1ppm Ammomia the next day, therefore she is not cycled yet, she hasn't even had her nitrite spike yet.

I would try dosing ammonia to 3ppm and stop doing random water changes. Water changes are not necessary during fishless cycling and will only slow the cycle down.
Speak of the devil I did not test my tank for 2 days and I have a nitrite spike!!!! I honestly have read a lot on what to do, but I do not want to mess this up, hence why I am back asking for instructions (please forgive me)

My ammonia is sitting around 1 ppm/ 1.5 ppm

Nitrites: 5ppm

Nitrates: 30 ppm

pH: 7.4

What are my next steps?
 
Upvote 0

LynnInColorado

Sorry to be cynical but that's why I fish-in cycle with appropriate species or more recently insta-cycle with filter from established tank.
You are a brave poster. I read exhaustively and purchased all the chemicals/test kits to do a fishless cycle for my first tank in 15 years. When I went to my well regarded LFS to buy plants, I was encouraged to buy some hardy tetras (I got 6 bloodfin tetras and 6 flame tetras). He said not to worry about water parameters, but to bring in a sample for them to test in 2 weeks. I intended to keep a close eye on their behavior and test the water if they didn't want to eat or weren't actively swimming, but no such problem. Two weeks later I began adding more fish. It was a few months before I lost one of the tetras. One and a half years later, I still have 6 of them.
 
Upvote 0

Vis

Sorry to be cynical but that's why I fish-in cycle with appropriate species or more recently insta-cycle with filter from established tank.
I don’t know anyone with an aquarium

Also I’ve lost 11 fish to new tank syndrome (although it was 2 years ago) so I’m a little traumatized from that, hence why I’d like to fishless cycle
 
Upvote 0

LynnInColorado

I don’t know anyone with an aquarium

Also I’ve lost 11 fish to new tank syndrome (although it was 2 years ago) so I’m a little traumatized from that, hence why I’d like to fishless cycle
Good for you. I'm just not that patient. Were the fish 2 years ago purchased from a good LFS?
 
Upvote 0

Vis

Good for you. I'm just not that patient. Were the fish 2 years ago purchased from a good LFS?
There’s only 1 petsmart somewhat near where I live (im out of town a little) so honestly I cannot say it was good. But i was also naive back then, unaware of the nitrogen cycle. Since I’ve finally reached my nitrite spike phase, I might as well wait it out now.
 
Upvote 0

Similar Aquarium Threads

Replies
41
Views
305
Bensonwho
Replies
8
Views
164
Demonskid
Replies
6
Views
195
Skrabbitskrabbit
Replies
13
Views
339
Holly89
Replies
12
Views
427
Tez

Random Great Thread!

Latest Aquarium Threads

Top Bottom