Is my fishless cycle stalled??

fishyguy75

So, we are on day 26 of our fishless cycle and am getting anxious. I've been adding ammonia to keep 20gal aquarium at around 3ppm.
Nitrites were initially 0 (as expected), but we had a small amount of nitrates (10ish) right from the start. Is that at all normal?
Initially I would add some ammonia every 1-2 days, but now (at day 26) I can go at least 3-4 days and the ammonia doesn't seem to be going down much. Is that at all normal?
My nitrites are currently 5+ and nitrates are 160! We did a 30% water change a couple days ago because of high nitrites and nitrates, but they are still rising.
I'm thinking I need to do another significant water change, but I'm wondering why my ammonia seems to be stagnating. I would have thought that at this point any ammonia I add would be processed into nitrite within 24-48 hours, but that doesn't seem to be happening?
Just an fyi, I had been using test strips which I thought was giving me faulty numbers, but we recently got the API Master kit and it's confirming those readings.
Any advice appreciated... Thanks!
 

Azedenkae

Yep, sounds like it stalled. You probably have way too much nitrite and it is inhibiting both ammonia and nitrite oxidation.

I'd recommend doing as big a water change as possible, like a 100% if possible. Then return to dosing ammonia again but ONLY re-dose once both ammonia and nitrite hit zero. Best way to make sure you don't stall your cycle.
 
Upvote 0

Aaronious

What is the pH? if it's low, under 7, I don't recall the line(I wanna say, 6.5), but it can cause Ammonia to be Ammonium which behaves differently. Mostly it stops being able to be broken down and builds. Once it builds high enough it creates a toxic environment.
 
Upvote 0

fishyguy75

Thanks everyone for the feedback and the article mattgirl. My ph is regularly around 8, so I think that's ok. I did a 75% water change and have been waiting for the numbers to come down. Finally down to 0 ammonia today and 2 nitrites (I think... I have a real hard time interpreting the purple), and 5ish nitrates. Just added a little ammonia to hopefully bring it back up to 2ppm. I really hope we're getting close!

Thanks again for any help!
 
Upvote 0

mattgirl

Good job. It does sound like you are getting close. :)
 
Upvote 0

fishyguy75

Argh... 24 hours later and the ammonia hasn't 0'd out. Shouldn't I be at the point where the ammonia cycles within 24 hours? I'm 30 days in.
 
Upvote 0

mattgirl

Argh... 24 hours later and the ammonia hasn't 0'd out. Shouldn't I be at the point where the ammonia cycles within 24 hours? I'm 30 days in.
How low is the ammonia? Some folks, it seems, never see a true zero reading. If you are seeing no more than .25 that may be as low as it is going to go. I do know it feels like a cycle is never going to end but eventually it does.
 
Upvote 0

fishyguy75

This morning (after 36 hours) my ammonia is down to 1. It was at true yellow 36 hours ago, so I know my water is able to read at that level. According to the API Master my nitrites are at 5+... My test strips tell me it's 10+. Nitrates are at 100 according to the test strips.

36 hours ago I dosed with Fritz Fishless Fuel according to the specs to bring it up to 2ppm. Maybe I overdosed?? I'm just concerned that my ammonia is not dropping back down very fast. Again, we're 30 days into the cycling here. :(

Any advice people can give would be appreciated... Thanks!
 
Upvote 0

HKsai

This morning (after 36 hours) my ammonia is down to 1. It was at true yellow 36 hours ago, so I know my water is able to read at that level. According to the API Master my nitrites are at 5+... My test strips tell me it's 10+. Nitrates are at 100 according to the test strips.

36 hours ago I dosed with Fritz Fishless Fuel according to the specs to bring it up to 2ppm. Maybe I overdosed?? I'm just concerned that my ammonia is not dropping back down very fast. Again, we're 30 days into the cycling here. :(

Any advice people can give would be appreciated... Thanks!
I suggest water change…a big one.
 
Upvote 0

fishyguy75

HK, are you suggesting that because of the nitrites and nitrates being high? Just curious what your rationale is because minimal water changes seems to be the rule of thumb.

Thanks for your help!
 
Upvote 0

HKsai

HK, are you suggesting that because of the nitrites and nitrates being high? Just curious what your rationale is because minimal water changes seems to be the rule of thumb.

Thanks for your help!
Yes! When I was cycling my tank, I misunderstood and “overdosed” on ammonia (thought I had to keep the bacteria alive and maintain 2ppm ammonia). Nitrite and nitrate spiked without me realizing it (test just show 2-4ppm nitrite, and 5ppm nitrate). It wasn’t until someone told me to dilute it then realized it was ridiculously high. Did two giant major changes. First one was 80% and not enough. Second one completely removed…well everything. Redosed ammonia to 2ppm. Finished cycling after 2-3 days afterward?
 
Upvote 0

mattgirl

HKsai is correct. Get both nitrites and nitrates down with one or two water changes. since you did a 75% water change Thursday I have to think both nitrites and nitrates were spiked way off the chart. Get them down as low as possible with water changes. Once you do add enough ammonia to get it up to no more than 2ppm. The water changes should get things moving forward again. In fact you may very well find that your cycle is actually done.
HK, are you suggesting that because of the nitrites and nitrates being high? Just curious what your rationale is because minimal water changes seems to be the rule of thumb.

Thanks for your help!
In my humble opinion minimal water changes aren't really the rule of thumb. we need to base our water changes on the numbers. In your case the numbers are telling us big water changes are needed.
 
Upvote 0

Azedenkae

HK, are you suggesting that because of the nitrites and nitrates being high? Just curious what your rationale is because minimal water changes seems to be the rule of thumb.

Thanks for your help!
Somewhere along the line one or more people somehow believed or just kinda threw around the water changes are bad for the cycle, and people just latched on to it. A lot of cycling guides still purport this misconception unfortunately, to the point where some would say ANY water change no matter how big or small can be damaging.

The truth is, water changes can only stall a cycle if you remove so much to reduce either ammonia and nitrite to zero, and then only if it would prevent additional propagation of the specific microbes that one is trying to get happen.

It can also additionally just be a factor when one tracks how a cycle is going.

Otherwise no, water changes are not a big deal at all during the cycle. Even 100% ones.
 
Upvote 0

Similar Aquarium Threads

  • Question
2 3
Replies
99
Views
2K
mattgirl
  • Question
Replies
5
Views
230
mattgirl
  • Question
Replies
31
Views
401
Freakboy1303
Replies
22
Views
286
jb153
  • Question
5 Gallon Tank Is My Cycle Stalled?
2
Replies
51
Views
605
RayClem

New Aquarium Cycle Threads

Top Bottom