Jump start my fishless cycle?

  1. jhappach Member Member

    Help please with what to do here

    Brand new 20g tall freshwater tank
    AquaClear 50 filter w/ foam/carbon/bio media that it comes with
    Dosed ammonia up to 4ppm 16 days ago using pure ammonia (no surfectants)
    I have an airstone going in there
    Water temp 81.5 degrees

    Zero movement in 16 days; still 4ppm, 0 nitrites

    ph in tank is 8.2 (7.5 coming out of my tap)

    Any thoughts to get this going? Or do I just need to stay patient?

    I was thinking maybe to do a PWC to get ammonia down to 2ppm and then add a bottle of TSS+ to try to kick start it. I already have the bottle of TSS+ on hand so cost is not an issue.

  2. el337 Fishlore Legend Member

    I would definitely go ahead with your plan using TSS+. Just remember to wait 24 hrs after the water change before adding it.

  3. CindiL Fishlore Legend Member

    I agree sounds like the right plan.

    Do you have any nitrate readings at all yet?
  4. jhappach Member Member

    0 nitrates

    I did a 50% water change, tested ammonia and it was 1ppm
    Dosed ammonia back up to 2ppm
    Cranked heater up to 83.8 degrees
    Left a little gap so there's a nice waterfall from the filter, + airstone, lots of surface agitation

    Tomorrow I will add a bottle of TSS+

    Will report back in a few days. Hopefully this gets things going. This is my first tank so I don't really know what I'm doing but I think I'm doing all the right things.

  5. CindiL Fishlore Legend Member

    Sounds good. Let ammonia fall to 0 before re-dosing, don't re-dose it every day. You can post your results here for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates if you want and we can keep an eye on it.
  6. jhappach Member Member

    Will do, thanks so much for the help! This place has been an invaluable resource.
  7. jhappach Member Member

  8. CindiL Fishlore Legend Member

    Hi, no I don't think so. I agree to maybe remove the carbon (from the other thread) to make enough room for the bio-max. Is water flowing through it or is some of it actually dry? Nitrifying bacteria will attach to all surfaces including substrate and sponges so you would see some change.

    Just to double check a few things, what are the ingredients in your ammonia bottle? What is your water conditioner?
    Did you add water conditioner when you did the 50% water change? and when did you add the TSS+ after the water change? It was going to be the next day right?
  9. jhappach Member Member

    Ammonia didn't have an ingredient list. Bottle said "pure ammonia" though, and it didn't foam when I shook it. It's a 10% dilution.

    Prime is my conditioner.

    Yes I used it on the water change.

    I added TSS+ about 28 hours after the WC.
  10. CindiL Fishlore Legend Member

    Did you bang bottle no. 2 of nitrate on your palm or countertop for 30 seconds before testing? Make sure to do that or you'll get a false negative reading.

    Also, when was the last time you dosed ammonia? Has it not changed since the 20th initial dosing?

    What is the ph in your tank right now?

  11. jhappach Member Member

    I have only dosed ammonia twice ever. Once on June 4th to 4ppm for the initial start of the fishless cycle, and again on June 20th after the PWC, to get it back up to 2ppm 24 hours prior to adding TSS+. No other ammonia has been added.

    I just ran tests and came up with the following.

    Ammonia: 2ppm
    Nitrites: 0ppm
    Nitrates 0ppm-5ppm (color in between)
    ph: 7.4

    I was shaking the nitrate #2 solution vigorously for 30 seconds prior to adding, per API instructions. This time I banged it on the table quite a bit as part of the shakeup. Still essentially zero.

    Here is a picture of the bottle of ammonia I used.

  12. CindiL Fishlore Legend Member

    It's possible you had a bad bottle of TSS+. You can wait and see if anything else happens over the next couple of days or buy another bottle of TSS+ or Seachem Stability and add that in.
  13. jhappach Member Member

    Even if the TSS+ was bad, doesn't really explain why I've had a tank with 2-4ppm ammonia and zero nitrite production in 24 days. It should have started cycling by now even without additive.

    So frustrating.
  14. CindiL Fishlore Legend Member

    One thing I should say about TSS+ is that people often see no nitrites with it when they are cycling. I think their ratio of nitrite oxidizers in the bottle are much greater then their ammonia oxidizers.

    What's confusing in your tank is the lack of nitrates but again I see that with fishless cycling too if there are no organics (like food or fish waste).

    The fact that your ammonia is not falling is the concerning issue here especially as your ph is in an acceptable range. What temperature is the tank? You could increase the temperature and wait a few more days. Maybe add in a pinch of fish food too.
  15. jhappach Member Member

    I jacked it up from 81 to 83 on 6/20. I have added a pinch of fish food every once in awhile (maybe 3 times total).

    I'm trying everything!
  16. CindiL Fishlore Legend Member

    I am not familiar with that ammonia brand so I can't say anything negative about it. I'd give it more time (ugh, I know) and add in a bottle of stability.
  17. jhappach Member Member

    I'm perfectly willing to accept the possibility that the ammonia source is bad. In which case I suppose I'd have to empty the whole thing out and start over.

    Are there any indicators that would tell me my ammonia is bad, other than just cycling is not starting? Hate to keep adding TSS+ and stability, and throwing good time and money after bad.
  18. CindiL Fishlore Legend Member

    Not that I know of.....you can start a thread about that particular ammonia and see if anyone has cycled with it. Maybe you could find some information that way. I could not actually locate an ingredient list for it which is weird. I thought they had to list whats in a bottle.
  19. jhappach Member Member

    OK so for the last 9 days since dosing TSS+ I swear the ammonia has been a solid 2, and today it was between 1 and 2. Definitely lightening up a little bit.

    No nitrites or nitrates yet though.

    I removed the carbon media from my filter, so now it's just a sponge and the little bio-stone thingies. All media is now fully submerged.

    I'm losing a little bit of water to evaporation but I had a gallon jug full of water I treated like a week ago, I topped it off a tad with that AFTER I took the ammonia test.
  20. CindiL Fishlore Legend Member

    Well that's good. Another person cycling with TSS+, fishless just got his nitrite readings after 7 days so I think you're close. Patience, patience easier to say than do, I know.