Nitrogen cycle help

Kjelli

Member
So I set up a 29 US gallon tank on thursday January 28th. I used prime to declorinate the tank and then added stability by the same company to help with the nitrogen cycle. I have no fish in here. My parameters so far is no ammonia, >20 nitrate (color is between white 0 and light pink 20), 0 nitrite, and an 8.4 ph. Is my nitrogen cycle complete or just hasn't started? Also there's floating stuff asides from the flakes I just added in the water. Please help
I've also been adding the stability every day like the bottle says to
 
Best Answer - View Dunk2's answer

Dunk2

Member
What is your source of ammonia?
 
  • Thread Starter

Kjelli

Member
Fish flakes
I just added more
Do I need to go buy ammonia? And if so what type of ammonia
 

Dunk2

Member
Your cycle is only just starting.

Tanks typically take 4 - 6 weeks to cycle, unless you use seeded media from an established tank.

Have you tested your tap water for nitrates?
 
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Kjelli

Member
So I just tested pure tap water no prime and it reads actually pretty much the same for my tank. So yea the nitrogen cycle isn't even started. So then what is all the floaties in the water
 

Dunk2

Member
Kjelli said:
Fish flakes
I just added more
Do I need to go buy ammonia? And if so what type of ammonia
Fish flakes will work. I’ve cycled using pure ammonia. . . It still takes 4 - 6 weeks unless you used seeded media.
 
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Kjelli

Member
My temperature on my tank is currently 76 should I turn it up to 80 or 82?
 

Dunk2

Member
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Kjelli

Member
And then should I go buy ammonia and if so what type
Also my filter looks like this is that normal?
 

Dunk2

Member
Kjelli said:
And then should I go buy ammonia and if so what type
I didn’t say that, but you can use a combination of fish flakes and ammonia.

I always recommend Ace Hardware brand ammonia, but whatever you get make sure it’s pure with NO additives.
 
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Kjelli

Member
I completely missed you post where it talked about the fish flakes. Im sorry. And also I've never bought ammonia but I've seen a lot of people on here talk about using it
 

Dunk2

Member
The fish flakes will accomplish the same thing. It just takes time. And patience.

I prefer pure ammonia because you can control dosage.
 
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Kjelli

Member
Yea I know im just worried because I just learned about the nitrogen cycle unfortunately and don't understand completely how it works even with reading the entire article. also does my filter look okay?
 

Dunk2

Member
Give yourself credit for finding out about it now. You’re doing a fishless cycle, so there’s nothing to harm but your tank.

About your filter. . . Do you have any wood in the tank?
 
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Kjelli

Member
True. And no I dont have any in there. I have a fake wood hide out 2 plastic plant decorations and a leave lounge for my beta. Theres a picture of the entire set up
I plan to get plants and wood but I want to complete the cycle first
 

Dunk2

Member
I was thinking maybe the brown on the filter was tannins (released from driftwood). Maybe it’s from the gravel if you didn’t rinse it well?

Honestly, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Focus on getting your tank cycled!
 
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Kjelli

Member
Hmm maybe. I rinsed the gravel a lot but it was a lot of gravel too. So idk maybe I didn't rinse it well enough. Ill try to find the ammonia and use that but for now stick to the fish flakes and ill give you an update on the progress when I see change and should I be checking the water parameters daily ?
 

Dunk2

Member
There’s no need to check daily at this point. I’d give the fish food a couple more days before testing again.

Post your test result here.
 
  • Thread Starter

Kjelli

Member
Okay thank you!
 

Dunk2

Member
You’re welcome.

If you decide to get ammonia, make sure it’s pure. Here’s a picture of what I use, but it’s sometimes hard to find.


BFCED946-0F8C-471C-B24F-7A7028AEC917.jpeg


One more thing about the filter cartridge you showed earlier. . . Don’t throw it away until it’s literally falling apart. That’s where a lot of beneficial bacteria will grow.

Is there any other media in the filter (sponge, ceramic rings)? If not, is there room to fit anything else?
 
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Kjelli

Member
I'll show you what all is in there when I get home from work. I'll look at the box too and see if there's anything else I cant see
 
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Kjelli

Member
This is whats in my filter. I probably could fit something else into it or maybe even in the part that goes into the tank
 
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Kjelli

Member
How big are the seachem ones
 

Dunk2

Member
Kjelli said:
How big are the seachem ones
They are like pebbles. . . Each one is less than a half inch.

If you have room, just put some in a small media bag and place in your filter.
 
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Kjelli

Member
Okay I'll have to do that
 
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Kjelli

Member
So im now getting what im assuming is algae in my tank
 

Sofiafish17

Member
I don’t really see any algae but I could be wrong. If you are talking about the green splotches on the ceramic log decoration than it may be, but a lot of times for some reason companies make fish tank decorations with some green splotches like that. I think it is supposed to be algae, but idk why they put it on the decorations. If you are talking about the tiny particles in the water, that’s probably just a mini bacteria bloom, no issue there. If not then it could just be pieces of filter media or some sort of particles in there. You don’t need to worry about it now because you don’t have fish in the tank yet. It could be a problem depending on what the particles are.
 
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Kjelli

Member
The green wasn't on the ceramic log before so yea its gotta be and im also talking about the brown on the green plastic leaves
 
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Kjelli

Member
So the algae is continuing to grow but no readings of ammonia. So I think im going to go buy concentrated straight ammonia like you have
 
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Kjelli

Member
So I went out and bought the ammonia you recommended and the current readings for the ammonia is 1 ppm
 

Dunk2

Member
Kjelli said:
So I went out and bought the ammonia you recommended and the current readings for the ammonia is 1 ppm
Ace Hardware ammonia? When did you dose and test?

So mattgirl doesn’t get mad at me, be sure to periodically add a small amount of fish flakes to your ammonia dosing.

And here’s an ammonia dosing calculator if you’re interested.


I’d suggest dosing ammonia to 2 - 3 ppm.
 
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Kjelli

Member
Sooooooooo. I added safe start today as well. And I dosed it about 5 minutes after I posted i had not tested because I just added. I added a little less than 1/4 a teaspoon because i wasnt sure how much to add to get it up to 3 and I just checked the ammonia now and its between .5 and 1 ppm now im so confused whats going on. Should I check the nitrites and nitrates
And before this i was dosing with fish flakes
 

Dunk2

Member
Kjelli said:
Sooooooooo. I added safe start today as well. And I dosed it about 5 minutes after I posted i had not tested because I just added. I added a little less than 1/4 a teaspoon because i wasnt sure how much to add to get it up to 3 and I just checked the ammonia now and its between .5 and 1 ppm now im so confused whats going on. Should I check the nitrites and nitrates
And before this i was dosing with fish flakes
You saw the ammonia dosing calculator I linked above? Buy a cheap syringe and dosing is very simple.

Yes, I would at least test for nitrites. Possibly some ammonia is being converted?
 
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Kjelli

Member
Okay should I dose it back up to 3 ppm again
 

Dunk2

Member
Kjelli said:
Okay should I dose it back up to 3 ppm again
Yep, 2 or 3 would be fine.

What size was your tank?
 
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Kjelli

Member
I have .5 to 1 ppm of nitrites. I just dosed the tank to 3 for ammonia cant check it till it all works itself in so ill test it again in the morning and if it drops again just dose it another time?. And at that point also check the nitrite and nitrates?
 

Dunk2

Member
That’s progress!

Yes, try to maintain it around 3 ppm. I‘d definitely keep testing nitrites. You can check nitrates, but don’t be disappointed if you don’t see any yet.
 
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Kjelli

Member
So I checked the ammonia this morning about 3 hours ago and it was at about 3 ppm. So ill check the nitrites and nitrates when I get home then the ammonia again before I go to bed to make sure they are still at 3
 

WateryDreams

Member
Kjelli said:
So I just tested pure tap water no prime and it reads actually pretty much the same for my tank. So yea the nitrogen cycle isn't even started. So then what is all the floaties in the water
It could be broken down or breaking down fish food. You're in for weeks of cycling. If you put enough flakes in to begin with (not much needed), you can just sit back and let it run and test it every week. Remember ammonia will spike first, then nitrites (ammonia lowering to 0 as nitrites climb), then finally nitrates (as nitrites lower to 0). You want the end result to be 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and X nitrates.

Nitrates should be between 5 - 20 for a healthy tank. If it's higher than 20, say 20-40 or heaven forbid 40-80 depending on how much fish flake you put in/etc, try a 50% water change a day until you're in range and keep testing. It's not a fast process so just be patient and use the extra time to do extra research.

That's my plan anyway, LOL.
 
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Kjelli

Member
I have pure ammonia now that I'm using to dose the tank and the nitrites are climbing they are at 1.0 ppm and the nitrates are sitting between 20 and 30 (my tap water is 20 ppm. ) so ill keep watch of my ammonia daily and wait for it to hit .5 or zero or at least have a major drop before adding more
 
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Kjelli

Member
So its been almost a week and the ammonia hasn't dropped one bit so just waiting on that
 

mattgirl

Member
Kjelli said:
So its been almost a week and the ammonia hasn't dropped one bit so just waiting on that
Are you keeping an eye on your pH level. Quite often the cycling process can cause it to drop. If it has, a water change will get it back up and get the cycle moving forward again. It might be a good idea to go ahead and change out half the water either way. The pH drops because the minerals are depleted. The water change will build them back up. Just make sure you temp match and add your water conditioner to the fresh water before pouring it in the tank.

The bacteria we are growing isn't free floating in the water so doing a water change isn't going to hurt the cycle as long as you use your water conditioner to remove the chlorine/chloramines.

You may want to read this thread. Symptoms of a Stalled Fishless Cycle and How to Fix it | Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle Forum | 429601 It goes into what may be happening in this tank and how to fix it.
 
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Kjelli

Member
Ph is still 8.2 the ammonia is still at 2.0. The nitrites are at 0 and the nitrates are between 20 and 40. Tap water is at 20 for nitrates. Ill do a large water change of at least 50% and let you know of the results from the testing right after
Oh and my temp is at 83
Ammonia is down to 1 ppm
My ph is now 7.6 with a water change
Im dosing back to 2 ppm
 
  • Thread Starter

Kjelli

Member
So I took the ammonia readings again today and they are still at 2 ppm. Also it seems as if I have algae taking over the tank
 

mattgirl

Member
Kjelli said:
So I took the ammonia readings again today and they are still at 2 ppm. Also it seems as if I have algae taking over the tank
I have to ask, Are you sure you added your water conditioner to the fresh water when you did the water change? What brand water conditioner are you using? It seems something has stalled or at least slowed down this cycle. You had nitrites and now you are seeing zero. You are seeing a rise from your base line nitrates. That is what we want to see but your ammonia should also be going back down to zero within 24 hours of adding it.

Algae is unsightly but shouldn't affect the cycling process. If you are leaving your light on, turn it off. You don't need to have the light on unless you have live plants in there that need the light.

I scrolled back through the thread and was looking at this tank. There really aren't many surfaces in the tank for bacteria to grow on. That may or may not have an impact on the cycling process. I may have missed it but what kind of filter are you running on this tank?

Since Dunk2 has been helping you hopefully s/he will stop by to see if I've missed anything.
 

Dunk2

Member
mattgirl Don’t ever hesitate to jump in! So we don’t overwhelm Kjelli, I’ll give them time to answer your questions.
 
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Kjelli

Member
Okay so I can go out and buy more decorations if I need to. I dont remember what filter im running on it ill reply to that when I get home but I use prime water conditioner and I added if I may have added too much of it if anything to be honest
 

mattgirl

Member
Kjelli said:
Okay so I can go out and buy more decorations if I need to. I dont remember what filter im running on it ill reply to that when I get home but I use prime water conditioner and I added if I may have added too much of it if anything to be honest
A bit too much conditioner shouldn't be a problem. Not adding any would have been the only problem because the chlorine in your water could have killed off some bacteria. Hopefully now that you have done your water change things will start moving forward again. I do think it will help to add more things for the bacteria to grow on. If you are running a HOB filter and are only running a single cartridge in it there isn't much surface area in there to grow bacteria on.
 
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Kjelli

Member
So with my filter im running the tetra whisper for the 30 gallon. I have the activated carbon cartridge, the blue thing that has all the holes in it. A few of the fluval biomax things in the filter and then 3 ceramic rings in the intake thats inside the tank. Ill go buy more decorations tomorrow or this weekend for more area for the bacteria to grow on. I cant do too much because I do want live plants in there I just want to get through the cycle first
 

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