I Need Cycling Help

Fanatic

I know how to cycle, but I quit the hobby for about a year and I just got back into it recently. I set up a five gallon tank and started cycling it, and I have to admit it’s getting the best of me.

I used the Tetra SafeStart, and dosed about five drops of ammonia to start. I didn’t test anything until the next day after I had added the substrate, and then I immediately dosed eight more drops of ammonia. It was reading around 2-4 ppm, and stayed like that for about a day, and still reads a bit over 1 ppm because the test tube is a solid green color. There are no nitrites, but plenty of nitrates.

I’m somewhat confused, should I change the water and test again and dose accordingly, or wait it out?

Thanks!
 

StarGirl

How long has it been cycling? Do you have Nitrates in your tap water? I believe with the TSS you are supposed to wait it out. Do as the directions say.
 
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Fanatic

How long has it been cycling? Do you have Nitrates in your tap water? I believe with the TSS you are supposed to wait it out. Do as the directions say.

I started the cycle on Tuesday I believe, and there are around 5 ppm of nitrates in the two water last I checked.
 
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mattgirl

When adding TSS+ and doing a fishless cycle it is best to only run the ammonia test and add more ammonia when it drops down close to zero. If you run all the other test you will be tempted to disrupt the process with water changes. I believe the instructions say not to do anything for 2 weeks after adding it.
 
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Fanatic

Thank you for your input! I also wanted to mention if cycling with a sponge filter made any difference?
 
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mattgirl

Thank you for your input! I also wanted to mention if cycling with a sponge filter made any difference?
If you mean a seeded sponge filter then yes, it would speed up the cycle but if you mean your filter for this tank is a new sponge filter then no, it shouldn't make a difference. A sponge filter in a 5 gallon tank should be enough filtration.
 
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Fanatic

If you mean a seeded sponge filter then yes, it would speed up the cycle but if you mean your filter for this tank is a new sponge filter then no, it shouldn't make a difference. A sponge filter in a 5 gallon tank should be enough filtration.

I have a chance to get a cycled sponge, it’s a lot bigger than the one I currently have in there, but how long does it take to seed the new sponge?
 
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mattgirl

I have a chance to get a cycled sponge, it’s a lot bigger than the one I currently have in there, but how long does it take to seed the new sponge?
It takes about as long to seed a new sponge as it does to complete a cycle. I wouldn't consider one to be well seeded until it has been running for at least a month in a cycled tank.

If you have a chance to get a seeded sponge you may want to consider getting it. The amount of bacteria on it is going to depend on how long it has been in the tank and the bio-load of the tank it is coming from.
 
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Fanatic

It takes about as long to seed a new sponge as it does to complete a cycle. I wouldn't consider one to be well seeded until it has been running for at least a month in a cycled tank.

If you have a chance to get a seeded sponge you may want to consider getting it. The amount of bacteria on it is going to depend on how long it has been in the tank and the bio-load of the tank it is coming from.

It’s been in a 125 for about a year.
 
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mattgirl

It’s been in a 125 for about a year.
The size of the tank doesn't determine the amount of bacteria there will be on the filter media. The bio-load (amount of ammonia) processed through to nitrates determines the amount. I suspect a tank this size has a high enough bio-load to seed a sponge filter well enough to almost instantly cycle your 5 gallon tank though.

By adding the seeded sponge the ammonia you add should go down quickly and it would surprise me if you see nitrites. I suspect the nitrates will rise within a few days. If this sponge filter is too big for your tank you may want to run both it and the one you plan on keeping in the tank for at least a month. You can then take the big one out. Your small one should be well seeded by then. Bacteria should have grown on everything in the tank by then too.

Instead of adding ammonia you may want to just go ahead and add your fish. There should be plenty of bacteria the handle the amount of ammonia your fish will produce.
 
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Fanatic

The size of the tank doesn't determine the amount of bacteria there will be on the filter media. The bio-load (amount of ammonia) processed through to nitrates determines the amount. I suspect a tank this size has a high enough bio-load to seed a sponge filter well enough to almost instantly cycle your 5 gallon tank though.

By adding the seeded sponge the ammonia you add should go down quickly and it would surprise me if you see nitrites. I suspect the nitrates will rise within a few days. If this sponge filter is too big for your tank you may want to run both it and the one you plan on keeping in the tank for at least a month. You can then take the big one out. Your small one should be well seeded by then. Bacteria should have grown on everything in the tank by then too.

Instead of adding ammonia you may want to just go ahead and add your fish. There should be plenty of bacteria the handle the amount of ammonia your fish will produce.

Thanks! I plan to add both and wait a few hours to see if the ammonia goes down at all or completely gone, if it does I’ll add the betta.
 
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mattgirl

Thanks! I plan to add both and wait a few hours to see if the ammonia goes down at all or completely gone, if it does I’ll add the betta.
Don't get overly concerned if it takes up to 24 hours for all the ammonia to be gone.
 
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Fanatic

mattgirl So the ammonia was completely gone before 24 hours, and I did a water change and added the betta. I was wondering if there is any other way that I can remove the larger seeded sponge so that I can finish the decorating on the tank instead of having to wait a whole month before I can touch anything? I know it would be easier if I had seeded media instead of a sponge, but I wanted to know if there's a method to still seed it without having the entire sponge in there with the smaller one I plan to use.
 
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mattgirl

mattgirl So the ammonia was completely gone before 24 hours, and I did a water change and added the betta. I was wondering if there is any other way that I can remove the larger seeded sponge so that I can finish the decorating on the tank instead of having to wait a whole month before I can touch anything? I know it would be easier if I had seeded media instead of a sponge, but I wanted to know if there's a method to still seed it without having the entire sponge in there with the smaller one I plan to use.
If you don't mind cutting up the big sponge you can just leave part of it in the small tank. Just attach a piece of it to your little sponge filter. Maybe you could somehow slice a piece off the top of the sponge and then situate that round piece of sponge either on top of or on the bottom of the little one.

Or you may be able to keep the sponge intact. The whole filter doesn't have to be running in the tank to transfer the bacteria. All you really need is the sponge.
 
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Fanatic

If you don't mind cutting up the big sponge you can just leave part of it in the small tank. Just attach a piece of it to your little sponge filter. Maybe you could somehow slice a piece off the top of the sponge and then situate that round piece of sponge either on top of or on the bottom of the little one.

Or you may be able to keep the sponge intact. The whole filter doesn't have to be running in the tank to transfer the bacteria. All you really need is the sponge.

I'll give this a try, thanks!
 
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