I've Kept 5 Tanks. Why Can't This Tank Cycle?! 20 Gallon Tank

  1. KaitlynR

    KaitlynR Well Known Member Member

    Tank Stats
    • 20 gallon tall hexagon tank (24 inches tall for reference)
    • Sword plants, and some Anubias plants, nothing fancy.
    • A single male betta
    • Ammonia: .25-.5, Nitrite: 0, Nitrate: 0
    Here's the deal y'all. We decided to do an in fish cycle because bettas are fairly hardy and we want to get fish in the tank before I have to leave for college again. I know this is a super debated topic, I usually only do fishless cycling, but this is a betta who is super hardy and I always make sure to use prime to keep the ammonia from hurting him.

    Anyways, the tank just will not cycle. It's been at a steady .25-.5 ppm of ammonia for 2 weeks now. Nothing else has ever showed up in the tank, and I don't understand why.

    I've tried adding filtered media from my tank into the tank (i.e swishing it in the 20 gal water). i've tried Stability, I've tried adding in lots of food. I don't know what else to do.

    I will mention the filter itself already has a ton of gunk on it. lots of bacteria is already built. I just don't understand how it's there if ammonia is still showing up, and the tank never showed any nitrites/nitrates before...

    Please help!
     
  2. K

    Keith83 Valued Member Member

    Don't add bacteria until 24 hours after you've dosed with prime. I think it binds the amonia to where the added bacteria cant use it. Try Tetra Safe Start. It cycled my 55 gallon tank in two weeks.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    KaitlynR

    KaitlynR Well Known Member Member

    I'll have to try tetra safe start. thanks.
     
  4. K

    Keith83 Valued Member Member

    Also I'm not sure lots of gunk translates into beneficial bacteria necessarily. Unconditioned water can kill bacteria making the gunk useless for example
     
  5. aussieJJDude

    aussieJJDude Well Known Member Member

    Could you add established media from another tank into this ones filter, instead of swishing it around?

    Also, have you considered going in store and getting it tested for you to ensure your test kit hasn't expired or something?
     
  6. OP
    OP
    KaitlynR

    KaitlynR Well Known Member Member

    The test kit, on each individual bottle anyways, says it doesn't expire until 2022. So i feel like it should be fine... otherwise nowhere to test the water. unfortunately.

    I can try adding in some sponge from another tank.