My 7 Gallon Aquarium still won't cycle!

Discussion in 'Aquarium Water' started by guppylady, Jun 28, 2016.

  1. guppyladyNew MemberMember

    So, here's the thing, for over 2.5 months I've been running a 7 gallon tank so that my Beta named Mr. Sparkles, would have a nice big home for himself with heater, filter and lots of space to call his own. I had him in a .7 gallon bowl for a while but decided that since It might take longer for the tank to cycle that I'd keep him in a larger 2 gallon bowl. After a month, leading to today, I decided to do a water test. Now the thing is the PH is at 7.6 or so, Nitrites are at 0, Nitrates are 5.0 and ammonia is through the roof. I also tested the bowl he has been living in and thing is it was FAR worse off and so he's been shifted carefully into the larger aquarium.

    I've tried, with no luck, to get the big tank to cycle but for whatever reason it just won't go to "safe" limits. 2.5 months since I started it and it STILL hasn't cycled as far as I can tell. I do 1 water change a week, probably going to step it up to 2 since there's a fish in there now.

    I'm frustraited to say the least and haven't a clue why things just aren't working out for me. I want to give Mr. Sparkles a great life with a happy home but so far...ALL not good. Someone please help me figure out what's going wrong.


  2. Dave125gFishlore LegendMember

    It sounds like your close you have some nitrates, like a cycled tank should. What is your exact ammonia reading?

  3. el337Fishlore LegendMember

    Can you also test your water source for ammonia and nitrates? How are you rinsing your filter media?

  4. guppyladyNew MemberMember

    Ammonia was sitting at 8.0 ppm. I use a gravel sucking thingy to clean the bottom. This is a 2 month old tank mind you and has, until today, been empty. When I rinsed off the filter stuff it's under warm water. I use a pipe cleaner thing with a plastic string to yank through the narrow/tight spots in the filter. I think the tank is too new for it to be really dirty yet though.

    So far he looks happy and healthy, no signs of discomfort or distress. I wouldn't have put him in the larger tank except it had better readings than his bowl. His bowl kept getting a layer of dust atop it and always clouded over, didn't seem to effect him however as he's still bright and beautiful as ever.
  5. guppyladyNew MemberMember

    Oh I did test my water, it has a reading of 0.0 on the Ammonia so it's not coming from the water though the water is hard and has a high PH...don't remember exact reading on strait from the tap.

    I don't have this problem with my 30 gallon tank, which would be Mr. Sparkles home if it didn't already have a beta in it. Mr. Sparkles' tank is on my desk, 7 gallons of space all to himself with heater + Filter and lots of gravel/decorations shown in photo on first post.
  6. el337Fishlore LegendMember

    First, what test kit are you using?

    Secondly, if you've been rinsing the filter media under tap water for either tank, the bacteria that had colonized would have been killed off by the chlorine/chloramines in your tap water.

    I would just drain the entire 7g tank and do a thorough vac of the substrate. I would also rinse off any excess gunk off the filter media in dechlorinated tap water. Re-fill the tank with new treated tap water, test the water and then let us know what you get.
  7. guppyladyNew MemberMember

    I haven't rinsed the filter stuff off at all. But that's a good point, I should use treated water to clean off the stuff in the filter so I don't accidentally kill the good bacteria growing there. I haven't done anything more than water changes thus far, trying to let the bacteria grow and not disturb it. How frequently should I be doing water changes at this point? Daily...2x a week or...? Should I change the charcoal bag now as I haven't in 2.5 months.
  8. Dave125gFishlore LegendMember

    I would do a 100% water change, and see if you can do a fish in cycle
  9. el337Fishlore LegendMember

    Ok, in post #4 you mentioned you rinsed the filter stuff in warm water? Were you referring to something else besides filter media?

    And you didn't say what kind of test kit you are using?

    Daily water changes will be required to cycle this tank. You can also buy Tetra SafeStart Plus or Seachem Stability to cycle the tank.
  10. guppyladyNew MemberMember

    Using the API drops testing kit with all the stuff included. How much water Daily? And as for rinsing in water I was talking the sub strait, before i added it to the tank. I just changed the filter cartrage it was filthy as heck
  11. el337Fishlore LegendMember

    Oh no, you don't want to replace the filter cartridge as you will lose any beneficial bacteria that may have colonized there. Is it in the trash already? You only need to rinse it in dechlorinated tap water or in the tank water that's removed. The only time you want to replace it is if it's falling apart or water isn't flowing through it anymore. And when you do replace it, just cut out the floss and place it behind the new cartridge.

    If you've been replacing it, that might be why you are having problems cycling this tank because you were throwing out your cycle.
  12. guppyladyNew MemberMember

    Yeah the charcoal bag was trashed but the sponge wasn't touched. I always have at least 2 stage filtration so not to upset the balance too much. Not even sure how frequently charcoal should be changed to be honnest. On my big tank I only change the charcoal every two or three months, when I did it more frequently I had a lot more loss in fish. The only reason I cleaned the filter at all was due to a cat hair build up on the intake. I also have done a 1 gallon water change. Figure 1/7 would be a good idea but I could be wrong.

    Mr. Sparkles seems so very happy in his big home. His colors are back to super vibrant and he's happily playing games in the filter's flow plus chasing my fingers, I point at his tank from the outside and he'll chase my finger as it goes. His belly has also gone back to a "normal" size as I figure before with no filter he had no reason to exercise really and so he was getting fat.

    At least with Mr. Sparkles in the aquarium it should step up the process a bit...I hope. In all honesty without this forum I might have given up out of frustration.
  13. el337Fishlore LegendMember

    Ok, good. Carbon loses its effectiveness after about 3-4 weeks but it's really optional so it's up to you whether or not you want to keep replacing it. Can you test your water parameters now - ammonia, nitrite, nitrate? Depending on where your levels are, you may or may not need to do more water changes.

    Glad to hear Mr. Sparkles is doing better and appears happier in his new home. :)
  14. guppyladyNew MemberMember

  15. el337Fishlore LegendMember

    I don't get how your ammonia can be that high and Mr. Sparkles isn't dead already. Are either one of your ammonia bottles expired? What does it test on your 30g?
  16. guppyladyNew MemberMember

    Yeah I don't get how the ammonia is so high and yet Mr. Sparkles is doing fine either. Doesn't make any sense. Give me a min on the big tank.
  17. guppyladyNew MemberMember

    30 Gallon is sitting at 0.25 ppm apparently. Usually it's at a 0 but the water in the tube is slightly green.

    Make that 0.50...that's not right.
  18. el337Fishlore LegendMember

    Maybe do another test on a sample taken from a bottle of spring water just to be sure the ammonia bottles are not faulty or expired. If it's zero, then I would move Mr. Sparkles to the 2g bowl while you fully drain the 7g, do a thorough gravel vac, rinse the media in dechlorinated tap water, then re-fill the tank w/ conditioned tap water. Retest and then post results.

    On the 30g, what are the nitrite and nitrates? What fish do you have in it?
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2016
  19. guppyladyNew MemberMember

    I'll test the tap water and see where it's at. If that's a 0 yeah I think I'll drain the big one and re-fill with water and hope it's better off.

    Exp Date is 04/2021 so...
  20. guppyladyNew MemberMember

    Tap water is at 0.5 ppm...that's not right...gonna check the distilled water...

    Distilled water is at 0 ppm...
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2016

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice