New Aquarium / freshwater fishless cycle

Kwinsee
Member
mattgirl

as requested


Hi

I read that you’re the cycle guru, so I figured I’d reach out.
Here is the template filled out to the best of my newbie ability.


Are you doing a fish in cycle, fishless cycle or was your tank cycled and you had a sudden ammonia or nitrite spike?:



Tank
What is the water volume of the tank?: 30 Gallon
What type of water are you using in your tank? (tap, well, RO/DI, other): Tap
When did you start cycling the tank?: March 8th
What type of filtration are you running on this tank? (sponge, HOB, canister, other): HOB Aquaclear 50
If canister or HOB list all the media you are running in it. (manufactured cartridges, sponge, etc.): Sponge and biomax. (Was told to remove carbon for now)
Do you have good water agitation/surface movement?: standard air rock
What is the water temperature?: 69


Products used while cycling
If this is a fishless cycle what ammonia source are you using? (fish food, Dr Tim’s ammonia, other): fish food
If adding liquid ammonia how often do you dose ammonia in your tank and in what quantity? (1ppm, 2ppm etc.):
If using fish food as your ammonia source how much are you adding and how often?: hard to say. I was told to add as much as I would if I were feeding my fish. I started with goldfish pellets and then I was told to use flakes instead. So I’m adding enough flakes for one fancy goldfish per day... I think.
Are you using a dechlorinater and if so, which one?: prime
Are you using bottled bacteria and if so, which one?: Nutrafin cycle
Did you add seeded media from a previously cycled tank?: no
What other products/chemicals are you using? (list them all):none


Testing and cycling process
What was your knowledge of the nitrogen cycle before beginning to cycle your tank? (none, beginner, intermediate (please explain), advanced): none
What do you use to test the water? (API liquid, test strips, other): API
Did you test your tap water for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates and pH, if so post the results below?:
Have you done any water changes and if so, when?:
How much water did you change?:
Did you vacuum the substrate?:
Did you clean your filter, filter media, decorations and/or glass?:
If using disposable cartridges have you replaced one recently?:



*Parameters - Very Important
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.
Tank water: 67 degrees
Ammonia: 0-0.25 ppm
Nitrite: 2-5 ppm
Nitrate: 5 ppm
pH: 6.8-7

Tap water:
Ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 0ppm
pH: 7.2ish

Explain your cycling problem in detail. (Please give a clear explanation of what is going on, include details from the beginning of the problem leading up to now)

I started a thread and have had help so far (
Beginner / New Aquarium owner | Welcome to FishLore Forum | 494130)

Please forgive my lengthy post. Got my daughter an aquarium for her bday. She wanted fancy goldfish (2). Was told by the pet store employee that I needed to establish my water for a week before adding fish. Waited a week, brought my water in for a test and all the parameters were good. Bought 2 fish and put them in. After a week of having them in the tank, i vacuumed / water change (nearly 50%). This is what the employee told me I’d have to do each week. I tested the water with the kit I bought and the ammonia / nitrite were very high (2ppm). I THINK the ammonia spike could be because were over feeding the fish (according to the bottle we had to feed as much as they’d eat in 2 minutes, but that’s not very obvious for someone who’s never done this before and we were feeding them like 15 pellets or more per feeding). The ammonia could also be because the tank was no where close to being cycled at this point. Who knows. After reading through forums I read that I’d have to perform water changes to lower the ammonia. Which I did several. Unfortunately both fish died. The ammonia went down and has stayed at 0-0.5 at most since having no fish. The nitrite has been stuck at 2ppm almost the entire time and nitrate at 5ppm. I live in Canada so pure ammonia is hard to come by so I’ve been adding fish food consistently for some time now. Started with pellets and then changed to flakes as recommended.

I don’t know what forum etiquette is. I don’t want to start another thread and come off as though I’m spamming, but I would love more opinions as to wether there’s anything else I should be doing at this point. If you read through the thread I started, I was told it’s just a matter of waiting now, and I’m willing to wait if I’m sure I’m doing everything right now. No water changes. No prime or Nutrafin cycle. Just fish food daily. Nothing else whatsoever.
Any thoughts?
 
mattgirl
Member
First, I am so sorry you were led astray by the folks at the fish store. Sadly it happens all the time. I am doubly sorry because of their advice you lost your fish. :(

Your numbers are telling me you are now well on your way to a fully cycled tank. One thing I will suggest you do is raise the temp up close to 80. Bacteria grows faster in warmer water. Normally goldfish don't need a heater but if you have one this would be the time to use it.

It is easier to control the amount of ammonia with liquid ammonia but fish food will get the job done. Since you are seeing both nitrites and nitrates we know that you have both ammonia and nitrite eating bacteria. You just don't have enough of either yet to lower both down to zero.

For now raise the temp up to 80 if possible. At this point in the cycling process I would just be adding a pinch of fish food every third day. It takes about that long for it to break down and start forming ammonia. By adding every third day you are giving your bacteria a constant source of food. It is hard to quantify a pinch so approximately 4 or 5 medium sized crushed flakes every third day.

Also, keep a close eye on your pH level. The cycling process uses up the minerals in your tap water. If they get to low the pH drops and the cycle can slow down. If it drops too low the cycle can stall. We want to keep it up to at least 7. Should it start dropping a water change should replace the depleted minerals and get it back up close the level of your tap water.

For now it is just a matter of time. I wouldn't do another water change until both ammonia and nitrites drop to zero or sooner should the pH drop. It will happen. It just takes time.
 
  • Thread Starter
Kwinsee
Member
Thanks so much
I’ll go out and get a heater tomorrow. Maybe that’ll help it along as you mentioned.

I’ll keep you posted
 
  • Thread Starter
Kwinsee
Member
Hi mattgirl

the heater should arrive today, however, something interesting has been happening with my fishless cycle the past 2 days. I didn’t want to get my hopes up, but the nitrites seemed to have dropped from 2 PPM which it was stuck at for weeks, to 0.25ppm. It’s held at 0.25ppm for 2 days straight now.
Parameters :
PH: 6.8-7ish
Ammonia: 0.25-0.5 (hard to tell)
Nitrite: clearly 0.25ppm
Nitrate: 5.0ppm.

Is this a good thing? I thought my nitrates would go up as my nitrites dropped.
I’m wondering at this point if I should
1) continue feeding fish food?
2) just tough it out since the nitrites are moving in the right direction?
3) stop feeding food for a couple of days to see if the ammonia and nitrite go to a clear 0ppm.

Thoughts?
Maybe I’m close?
see attached photo
 
mattgirl
Member
This is a very good thing. The nitrite phase of the cycle seems like it isn't ever going to drop and then one day like magic it is gone. At this point I have to think this cycle is almost complete. If it has been more than 2 weeks since a water change you may want to go ahead and change out half the water now. The fresh water should give this cycle the boost it needs to finish up.

As to your nitrates are you sure you are shaking bottle number 2 really really well making sure the sediment in the bottom of the bottle is broken loose and mixed well?
After adding drops from bottle number one are you capping and gently shaking the test tube?
Once you have drops from both bottles in there are you shaking the test tube for a full minute? (I missed this important part when I first got my kit)
Are you then waiting a full 5 minutes for the color to fully develop.?

If you are doing all of this and still it seems the nitrates aren't going up like you feel they should I wouldn't be overly concerned. The most important numbers are the ammonia and nitrites. We want to see both of them at a steady zero.
 
  • Thread Starter
Kwinsee
Member
mattgirl said:
This is a very good thing. The nitrite phase of the cycle seems like it isn't ever going to drop and then one day like magic it is gone. At this point I have to think this cycle is almost complete. If it has been more than 2 weeks since a water change you may want to go ahead and change out half the water now. The fresh water should give this cycle the boost it needs to finish up.

As to your nitrates are you sure you are shaking bottle number 2 really really well making sure the sediment in the bottom of the bottle is broken loose and mixed well?
After adding drops from bottle number one are you capping and gently shaking the test tube?
Once you have drops from both bottles in there are you shaking the test tube for a full minute? (I missed this important part when I first got my kit)
Are you then waiting a full 5 minutes for the color to fully develop.?

If you are doing all of this and still it seems the nitrates aren't going up like you feel they should I wouldn't be overly concerned. The most important numbers are the ammonia and nitrites. We want to see both of them at a steady zero.
When you say water change, should I vacuum the gravel as well? Or a simple 50% WC? I assume I should add prime and cycle once I change the water as well?

I was able to order some Dr Tim’s ammonia from Amazon after all and it should arrive tomorrow. Should I dose the tank with it?

I have been doing the exact steps you mention with the nitrate.
10 drops bottle 1. Shake for 5 seconds
Shake bottle 2 vigorously for 30 seconds and then add 10 drops.
shake combined bottle 1 and 2 for 1 min, vigorously.
Let it sit for 5 mins.

I am concerned that the nitrate hasn’t gone up since the nitrite has gone down. But if you say to not be overly concerned, I won’t :)

so a WC and that’s it? Or should I add more food? Or should I wait for my ammonia tomorrow?
 
mattgirl
Member
Don't gravel vac. Just dip or siphon the water out. Be sure you both temp match and add Prime to the water before pouring it in there. Temp matching may not be totally necessary since there are no fish in here but I consider the bacteria a living thing.

Hold off on adding anymore fish food since you are getting your ammonia tomorrow. When you get it add enough to get the level up to 2ppm. Lots of folks that follow the instructions on the bottle end up with the level much higher than it needs to be. Add maybe a third of what's recommended. Wait about 30 minutes to give it time to get well mixed in the tank and then run the ammonia test. Add more if needed to get it up to 2ppm.
 
  • Thread Starter
Kwinsee
Member
Ok perfect.
Last question for now, when you say add prime to the water before pouring it in there, do you mean add prime to the remaining 50% aquarium water before adding the fresh water? Or do you mean add prime to the new water before adding it to the aquarium? The latter might be more difficult since I use a python to empty/refill the aquarium (not sure if the python is a bad thing).
Also I notice you didn’t mention anything about adding Nutrafin Cycle when changing the water. Aren’t I supposed to? The bottle instructions say to add 5ML per 10 gallon for water changes. So if I change 50% of my 30 gallon I’d add 7.5ML of cycle... right?
 
mattgirl
Member
I use buckets so just add enough to treat each bucket before pouring them in there.

Since you are using a python to do your water changes add enough Prime to treat the full tank before refilling the tank. I also recommend you turn off your filter before refilling. We don't want to pull untreated water through it. A python is not a bad thing. In fact lots of folks consider it a life saver. :)

You are far enough into the cycle to no longer need to add bottled bacteria. I know a lot of them tell us to add it with each water change but once we have grown ammonia and nitrite eating bacteria it is just a waste of money. Adding it won't hurt anything so since you have it you may as well use it up. To be perfectly honest, I have never used bottled bacteria. I didn't even know it was a thing until I joined this forum.
 
  • Thread Starter
Kwinsee
Member
Ok so update, I just tested the water again and CRYSTAL BLUE 0.0PPM Nitrite and 0.0 Ammonia. So excited I tested twice to be sure lol
The nitrates are still stuck at 5ppm.
im freaking out a bit lol
I’m gonna go ahead and do that 50% WC you said to do. Not vacuuming the gravel just removing water.

i guess I’ll check the water tomorrow morning and hope it’s still 0 after the water change. Then add the ammonia and cross my fingers .

if you have any other suggestions please ler me know :)
 
alven
Member
Congrats!! Your tank looks cycled, but the ammonia is so hard to differentiate between 0ppm and 0.25ppm but you should wait for what mattgirl says.
 
mattgirl
Member
Kwinsee said:
Ok so update, I just tested the water again and CRYSTAL BLUE 0.0PPM Nitrite and 0.0 Ammonia. So excited I tested twice to be sure lol
The nitrates are still stuck at 5ppm.
im freaking out a bit lol
I’m gonna go ahead and do that 50% WC you said to do. Not vacuuming the gravel just removing water.

i guess I’ll check the water tomorrow morning and hope it’s still 0 after the water change. Then add the ammonia and cross my fingers .

if you have any other suggestions please ler me know :)
This is some super good news. Since the nitrites dropped to zero the water change isn't as important now but if you've already done it, no problem.

Since you have already ordered it and are getting it tomorrow go ahead and add the ammonia when you get it. Just get it up to 2ppm. Once you are sure it is up to 2ppm don't run the tests again for 24 hours. You want to give the bacteria that much time to process it all the way through to nitrates.

You may experience a slight nitrite spike but don't let it alarm you. 2ppm ammonia may be a bit more than the fish food alone was producing. If that is the case the tank will have to produce a bit more of both ammonia and nitrite eating bacteria.

This will be a good test of the strength of your cycle.
 
  • Thread Starter
Kwinsee
Member
mattgirl said:
This is some super good news. Since the nitrites dropped to zero the water change isn't as important now but if you've already done it, no problem.

Since you have already ordered it and are getting it tomorrow go ahead and add the ammonia when you get it. Just get it up to 2ppm. Once you are sure it is up to 2ppm don't run the tests again for 24 hours. You want to give the bacteria that much time to process it all the way through to nitrates.

You may experience a slight nitrite spike but don't let it alarm you. 2ppm ammonia may be a bit more than the fish food alone was producing. If that is the case the tank will have to produce a bit more of both ammonia and nitrite eating bacteria.

This will be a good test of the strength of your cycle.
i was reluctant to do the water change since it was a clear 0, but I did anyways.
I should be getting the ammonia at some point today but I’ve been reading the instructions online and it says:add 4 drops of Dr.Tim's Ammonium Chloride solution per gallon of aquarium water to achieve an ammonia concentration of 2 mg/L-N (2ppm) of ammonia. In my 30 gallon tank that would mean I’d add 4x 30 for a total of 120 drops. You mentioned at some point to add a third of that (40 drops). Is that still the case?

how will I know if I’ve reached 2ppm? Do I test after 30 mins of adding the ammonia?
I just want to be sure I don’t over/under add.

as for the WC. At what point do I vacuum the gravel? There’s still a bunch of decaying fish food at the bottom.

Thanks again
 
mattgirl
Member
Kwinsee said:
i was reluctant to do the water change since it was a clear 0, but I did anyways.
I should be getting the ammonia at some point today but I’ve been reading the instructions online and it says:add 4 drops of Dr.Tim's Ammonium Chloride solution per gallon of aquarium water to achieve an ammonia concentration of 2 mg/L-N (2ppm) of ammonia. In my 30 gallon tank that would mean I’d add 4x 30 for a total of 120 drops. You mentioned at some point to add a third of that (40 drops). Is that still the case?

how will I know if I’ve reached 2ppm? Do I test after 30 mins of adding the ammonia?
I just want to be sure I don’t over/under add.

as for the WC. At what point do I vacuum the gravel? There’s still a bunch of decaying fish food at the bottom.

Thanks again
Correct on the amount of ammonia. 40 drops instead of 120. Several folks have reported adding the recommended amount of ammonia and it shot the ammonia level up much higher than the bottle says. It's almost like they strengthened the formula and then didn't change the instructions. Allow the filter to circulate the ammonia for at least 30 minutes before running the ammonia test. You can add more, a few drops at a time, if the 40 drops doesn't get it up to 2ppm. If you go a bit over it isn't going to be a problem but we do want at least 2ppm. Keep track of how many total drops it takes to get up to 2ppm because I am going to have you add it a couple more times. May even be more than that if the nitrites do spike after adding the ammonia the first time. I do expect that to happen but it won't be something to get concerned about. It will just mean the nitrite eating bacteria needs to catch up with the higher bio-load in the tank.

Since you have already gone through the nitrite spike adding the bottled ammonia really isn't needed but since you are getting it we may as well find out just how much ammonia this cycle can handle. Fish food doesn't normally get the ammonia very high so we aren't sure how much bacteria we have grown. By adding some now we can get a pretty good idea how strong your cycle is.

You can siphon the top of your gravel but only enough to remove the build up of food. You don't want to deep clean it right now. We want to give the bacteria time to get settled in well down there.
 
alven
Member
Kwinsee said:
i was reluctant to do the water change since it was a clear 0, but I did anyways.
I should be getting the ammonia at some point today but I’ve been reading the instructions online and it says:add 4 drops of Dr.Tim's Ammonium Chloride solution per gallon of aquarium water to achieve an ammonia concentration of 2 mg/L-N (2ppm) of ammonia. In my 30 gallon tank that would mean I’d add 4x 30 for a total of 120 drops. You mentioned at some point to add a third of that (40 drops). Is that still the case?

how will I know if I’ve reached 2ppm? Do I test after 30 mins of adding the ammonia?
I just want to be sure I don’t over/under add.

as for the WC. At what point do I vacuum the gravel? There’s still a bunch of decaying fish food at the bottom.

Thanks again
I would wait 12 hours after* adding the ammonia then test.
 
mattgirl
Member
Nivlaa said:
I would wait 12 hours after* adding the ammonia then test.
Why would you wait 12 hours? We are trying to determine how much ammonia to add not how much ammonia has been processed.
 
alven
Member
mattgirl said:
Why would you wait 12 hours? We are trying to determine how much ammonia to add not how much ammonia has been processed.
Oh sorry then. I thought you were testing the strength of her cycle.
Nivlaa said:
Oh sorry then. I thought you were testing the strength of her cycle.
*How fast the beneficial bacteria can eat up the ammonia and convert it into nitrates.
 
mattgirl
Member
Nivlaa said:
Oh sorry then. I thought you were testing the strength of her cycle.

*How fast the beneficial bacteria can eat up the ammonia and convert it into nitrates.
You weren't totally wrong. First we need to determine how much ammonia it is going to take to get the ammonia level where we want it to be. Once we get the amount right we will then wait not 12 hours but actually 24 hours before running the test again.
 
  • Thread Starter
Kwinsee
Member
Well it’s been 40 mins now and it seems we got it right at 2ppm with the 40 drops.
Nothing to do now but wait 24 hours and check back in.
no need to check nitrite now right?
Thanks
 
mattgirl
Member
Kwinsee said:
Well it’s been 40 mins now and it seems we got it right at 2ppm with the 40 drops.
Nothing to do now but wait 24 hours and check back in.
no need to check nitrite now right?
Thanks
Right, no need to check anything for 24 hours from the time you added the ammonia. Please don't be alarmed if you see some nitrites. You may not but I just wanted to forewarn you that it is a possibility.

If the ammonia has dropped back down to or close to zero (.25 or less) after 24 hours add another 40 drops. If it hasn't dropped that low wait until it does to add more. 2ppm ammonia may be more ammonia than the fish food had produced so more bacteria has to grow to clear the excess out.
 
alven
Member
mattgirl said:
Right, no need to check anything for 24 hours from the time you added the ammonia. Please don't be alarmed if you see some nitrites. You may not but I just wanted to forewarn you that it is a possibility.

If the ammonia has dropped back down to or close to zero (.25 or less) after 24 hours add another 40 drops. If it hasn't dropped that low wait until it does to add more. 2ppm ammonia may be more ammonia than the fish food had produced so more bacteria has to grow to clear the excess out.
Mattgirl, as your teaching her, I'm trying to learn as well. So she's adding more ammonia because her actual ammonia produces more than the fish food ammonia therefore, she has to add more when it drops so enough bacteria is built to handle larger amounts?
 
mattgirl
Member
Nivlaa said:
Mattgirl, as your teaching her, I'm trying to learn as well. So she's adding more ammonia because her actual ammonia produces more than the fish food ammonia therefore, she has to add more when it drops so enough bacteria is built to handle larger amounts?
Correct. We are mimicking what would happen if we slowly started stocking a tank. Each addition of fish would add to the bio-load (the amount of ammonia produced). We give the tank time to grow enough bacteria to handle the higher bio-load before adding more fish. When we are fishless cycling it is better to grow more bacteria than will be needed. Excess will eventually die off.

Right now we are testing the amount of bacteria in this tank. I think the tank is cycled but we want to know for sure.
 
  • Thread Starter
Kwinsee
Member
Hi again
24 hour update.
it seems the ammonia hasn’t really budged. So still around 2ppm. Nitrite is now 0.25ppm.

I guess at this point I have to wait for the ammonia to go back to 0? Or do I wait for both the ammonia and nitrite to go back to 0?

Thoughts ?
 
alven
Member
I believe that we shouldn't add any ammonia at this point. I think we just have to wait and see if your nitrites rise or drop even further. The reason I say that is because you have around 2ppm ammonia so there is no reason for the bacteria to starve.
 
mattgirl
Member
Kwinsee said:
Hi again
24 hour update.
it seems the ammonia hasn’t really budged. So still around 2ppm. Nitrite is now 0.25ppm.

I guess at this point I have to wait for the ammonia to go back to 0? Or do I wait for both the ammonia and nitrite to go back to 0?

Thoughts ?
This is telling us that the fish food hadn't been producing a great deal of ammonia. The less ammonia the less bacteria. We know you have both ammonia and nitrite eating bacteria so for now just give it time for both types of bacteria to increase. We know some of the ammonia has been processed because the nitrite went up a bit. The nitrites will probably go even higher as the ammonia goes down.
 
  • Thread Starter
Kwinsee
Member
48hr update
Ammonia 1.0ppm
Nitrite 0.25ppm

Just continue waiting?
 
alven
Member
Kwinsee said:
48hr update
Ammonia 1.0ppm
Nitrite 0.25ppm

Just continue waiting?
Hmm. Your Ammonia looks like 2ppm to me. Also, you might want to ask Mattgirl to see what she says. However, I think we just have to wait still. :(
 
mattgirl
Member
Kwinsee said:
48hr update
Ammonia 1.0ppm
Nitrite 0.25ppm

Just continue waiting?
Yes, now we wait. The fact that it went from 2ppm down to 1ppm is a good sign that progress is being made. Seeing the nitrites at the same level is a good sign that your nitrite eating bacteria is doing its job too.
 
  • Thread Starter
Kwinsee
Member
72hr update

Ammonia 1.0ppm
Nitrite 0.25ppm

holding tight. Update tomorrow
 
JPH1970
Member
It seems to be a bigger pain to go through a fishless cycle than it's worth. I'll never do one of those again.

Just my two cents
 
mattgirl
Member
JPH1970 said:
It seems to be a bigger pain to go through a fishless cycle than it's worth. I'll never do one of those again.

Just my two cents
I agree it can get frustrating. The beauty of having a cycled tank is with a bit of pre-planning we should never have to go through thus long drawn out process again. I run extra sponge filters in my main tank. With them I can quickly cycle another tank.
 
JPH1970
Member
mattgirl said:
I agree it can get frustrating. The beauty of having a cycled tank is with a bit of pre-planning we should never have to go through thus long drawn out process again. I run extra sponge filters in my main tank. With them I can quickly cycle another tank.
Tanks can be cycled without the usual adding ammonia, waiting, testing, etc.
 
alven
Member
JPH1970 said:
Tanks can be cycled without the usual adding ammonia, waiting, testing, etc.
How..?
Nivlaa said:
**I'm just very curious because I've never heard of a way of cycling without ammonia.
 
JPH1970
Member
Nivlaa said:
How..?

**I'm just very curious because I've never heard of a way of cycling without ammonia.
Tetra safestart plus. Worked well for me on a 29 gallon tank. Read the directions

And I started out with more fish than I was supposed to
 
alven
Member
JPH1970 said:
Tetra safestart plus. Worked well for me on a 29 gallon tank. Read the directions

And I started out with more fish than I was supposed to
Yes, but isn't Tetra SafeStart a bacteria starter? In essence if you add it without any ammonia, won't it starve? Or maybe because you added it while you had fish (that produced the ammonia) which is still risky in my opinion because it accelerates the cycling process and doesn't automatically complete it; which means that your fish are still prone to ammonia/nitrites.
 
JPH1970
Member
Nivlaa said:
Yes, but isn't Tetra SafeStart a bacteria starter? In essence if you add it without any ammonia, won't it starve? Or maybe because you added it while you had fish (that produced the ammonia) which is still risky in my opinion because it accelerates the cycling process and doesn't automatically complete it; which means that your fish are still prone to ammonia/nitrites.
As I said, I started out with fish, more fish than I was supposed to.

It was actually cycled in a little less than two weeks. It's been going on for a month and never has a loss of fish due to ammonia spikes, nitrite spikes, etc.

Nitrates showed up a few days after I started and the highest it ever got was 20. Mid last week the nitrates were still 20.

And I was also treating for ich at the same time using aquarium salt and elevated heat
 
mattgirl
Member
JPH1970 said:
Tanks can be cycled without the usual adding ammonia, waiting, testing, etc.
You are correct. When doing a fish in cycle the fish are adding the ammonia. There is still testing and waiting though. Only the length of time it takes might be different.

But we are derailing Kwinsee 's thread. She has chosen to do a fishless cycle.
 
  • Thread Starter
Kwinsee
Member
Hi all
Just to clarify, I’m a “he” :)

update today
Ammonia 0.5-1ppm
Nitrite 0 ppm
Nitrate 5ppm.

I wasn’t expecting the nitrite to go down to 0 before the ammonia. Do I just continue to wait for the ammonia to go to 0?

thanks
 
mattgirl
Member
Kwinsee said:
Hi all
Just to clarify, I’m a “he” :)

update today
Ammonia 0.5-1ppm
Nitrite 0 ppm
Nitrate 5ppm.

I wasn’t expecting the nitrite to go down to 0 before the ammonia. Do I just continue to wait for the ammonia to go to 0?

thanks
Oops, sorry about that. :)

Now that the nitrites have dropped back down to zero go ahead and do a water change and try to get as much of the build up of food out of there as you can. The water change should get the ammonia down to or close to zero. Once done add your 40 drops of ammonia again.
 
  • Thread Starter
Kwinsee
Member
Just to be sure? What % WC do I aim for (not sure the % even matters)? Also, I treat with prime as usual right?
 
mattgirl
Member
Kwinsee said:
Just to be sure? What % WC do I aim for? Also, I treat with prime as usual right?
Yes, if your source water has chlorine or chloramines in it you always want to add your water conditioner. Even when I do top off the tank the top off water gets conditioned before going in the tank. Back when we used well water with no chlorine in it I still used my water conditioner. I consider it a very inexpensive insurance.

Basically we are now trying to get the buildup of food out of there. Change out however much it takes to get it out of there. If not for the buildup of food a water change wouldn't need to be done right now.
 
  • Thread Starter
Kwinsee
Member
Hi all

it took a 50% WC for me to clean out the fish food I could see. Then added enough Prime for the whole 30 gallons since I use a python and refilled. I waited 30 mins and then tested to see if the ammonia had gone down and it was around 0.25-0.5ppm. Then added 40 drops of ammonia

tested today
Ammonia 1.0 ish
Nitrite 0 ppm
Nitrate 5ppm.

make sense? I think it’s a good sign that the ammonia isn’t at a clear 2 today as it was the last time I added 40 drops and waited 24 hrs.

do I add more ammonia or wait again?
 
mattgirl
Member
Kwinsee said:
Hi all

it took a 50% WC for me to clean out the fish food I could see. Then added enough Prime for the whole 30 gallons since I use a python and refilled. I waited 30 mins and then tested to see if the ammonia had gone down and it was around 0.25-0.5ppm. Then added 40 drops of ammonia

tested today
Ammonia 1.0 ish
Nitrite 0 ppm
Nitrate 5ppm.

make sense? I think it’s a good sign that the ammonia isn’t at a clear 2 today as it was the last time I added 40 drops and waited 24 hrs.

do I add more ammonia or wait again?
Sound like progress. :) Wait until it gets closer to zero before adding more.
 
  • Thread Starter
Kwinsee
Member
No progress today
Same readings as yesterday
Ammonia 1
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 5

guess we’ll see tomorrow
:)
 
  • Thread Starter
Kwinsee
Member
hi all

Decided to skip a daily report yesterday since the readings were still
Ammonia 0.5-1ppm
Nitrite 0

today it’s:
Ammonia 0.25ish-0.5
Nitrite 0

should I wait for the ammonia to be a clear 0, or pump it back up with another 40 drops?

will it ever be a clear 0? As in YELLOW... I find the colors difficult to distinguish when it’s just a shade or 2 away.
Thanks
 
mattgirl
Member
Kwinsee said:
hi all

Decided to skip a daily report yesterday since the readings were still
Ammonia 0.5-1ppm
Nitrite 0

today it’s:
Ammonia 0.25ish-0.5
Nitrite 0

should I wait for the ammonia to be a clear 0, or pump it back up with another 40 drops?

will it ever be a clear 0? As in YELLOW... I find the colors difficult to distinguish when it’s just a shade or 2 away.
Thanks
The good news is the ammonia is finally going down. Forward progress is always good news. Yes, at .25 go ahead and add another 40 drops. If the 40 drops raises the ammonia level higher than 2ppm don't worry about it. It will just mean there was more already in there than we thought there was.

I know it is difficult to distinguish the different colors but if yours ends up like mine you will see a true yellow in your test tube. It seems a lot of folks never do for one reason or another. I have to think when it gets to difficult to tell if it is .25 or less it is close enough to zero the call it good enough.

Please refresh my memory. Have we gone through the nitrite spike or are they still there? Are you seeing any nitrates?
 
  • Thread Starter
Kwinsee
Member
Ok so I’ll add 40 drops and see what happens in 24 hrs

as for the nitrite, this discussion started because I was concerned about my nitrite being stuck at 2.0. However, just before adding the pure ammonia, the nitrite dropped to 0 and then only went up as high as 0.25 afterwards. Pretty much always back down to 0. I think this means the nitrite processing bacteria are pretty strong now :)
The nitrates are at 10-20 ish, which is the highest I’ve ever seen them. All good signs right?
would love to just see that obvious yellow on the ammonia and then I think we’re finally cycled !
I’ll let you know tomorrow
 
mattgirl
Member
Kwinsee said:
Ok so I’ll add 40 drops and see what happens in 24 hrs

as for the nitrite, this discussion started because I was concerned about my nitrite being stuck at 2.0. However, just before adding the pure ammonia, the nitrite dropped to 0 and then only went up as high as 0.25 afterwards. Pretty much always back down to 0. I think this means the nitrite processing bacteria are pretty strong now :)
The nitrates are at 10-20 ish, which is the highest I’ve ever seen them. All good signs right?
would love to just see that obvious yellow on the ammonia and then I think we’re finally cycled !
I’ll let you know tomorrow
Perfect. I help so many folks I sometimes lose track of where each tank is in the cycling process. I think we are almost there with this one.

It is possible you will not see a true bright yellow in the test tube but if it is obviously green we will know we still have a way to go. If we can't tell if it is green or not then I have to think it is low enough.
 
  • Thread Starter
Kwinsee
Member
hi again

Skipped a day of updating because the ammonia was sitting at close to 2ppm again yesterday (2 days in a row after adding 40 drops).
Tested today
Ammonia 0.5-1ish.
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 10

I decided to test the PH and it’s around 6.6 which is apparently low.

What should I do at this point?
50% WC to bring the PH up? Add 40 more drops of ammonia (even though my ammonia isn’t as low as it was last time I added drops) ?
 
mattgirl
Member
Can you get your hands on some crushed coral or oyster shells? If so we can stabilize your pH up to at least the level of your tap water.

I would let the ammonia get closer to zero before adding any more ammonia. We know some ammonia is being processed because your nitrates are going up. Hopefully if we can get your pH stabilized this cycle will finally finish up.

It isn't actually the low pH causing the slow down. It is the lack of minerals that make up the pH that is causing the problem. It is just simpler and easier to understand if I just say add something to get it up and stable. In most cases we don't have to know the details. We just need to know how to fix it the most natural way possible. :)
 

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