Please Help- Tank Cycle Sending Me Crazy...

Caitlinmary

New Member
Messages
5
Reaction score
2
Points
1
Hello everyone,
I’m new here to this forum and I’ve been reading a few related posts and everyone seems so helpful so I’m hoping some of you can help me out too!
I’ve been cycling my tank for nearly 9 weeks now. Everything was going according to plan, I was adding food each day to keep the ammonia up, I then had nitrites appear, I kept up the ammonia adding and then nitrates appeared. At week 6 I finally had my nitrite Plummet to 0 and I really thought I was finally at the end of the cycle. At this stage my nitrates had also come back down to20-40 also. however- the ammonia level has been the never ending nightmare - it just WONT drop to 0, no matter what I do. I’ve been adding ammonia to keep it up to 2ppm and once I accidentally addedtoo much and it rose to 8 or more and so I did a water change to lower it - caused nitrites to spike again but they dropped back to 0 within24 hours . But not the ammonia....
Any clues ?? Have I done something wrong. ??
The only thing I can think that I’ve done differently is switch from using food as an ammonia source to using bottled ammonia and the ingredients are definitely only ammonia on the bottle.
It seems strange that it’s been over 2 weeks since my nitrite dropped to 0 but nothing has happened to lower my ammonia to 0
Sigh. I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel .... what should I do ? Please help me fulfil my dream of a new Axolotl
 

Jenoli42

Well Known Member
Messages
1,348
Reaction score
830
Points
98
Experience
4 years
Welcome to Fishlore!

Can you please clarify what your exact ammonia is now? and your temperature?

also have you checked your tap water for ammonia direct from the tap?

what's in your tank? substrate? plants?

hope we can help
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #3

Caitlinmary

New Member
Messages
5
Reaction score
2
Points
1
Hello!
My ammonia is at 2.0 right now.
I tested my tap water yesterday and there is no trace of ammonia. The temperature of the tank is 18.5 degrees Celsius ..

As I am preparing for an axolotl, I have a tiny sprinkling of sand (barely covers the bottom at all) no plants yet, some hides made from plastic piping and terracotta pot, some river rocks, all of which were in the tank before my axolotl passed (have all been cleaned before putting back into tank)
I have a filter running,
My tank is a 4ft holding approximately 100 litres I think.

Thank you!! :)
 

jdhef

Moderator
Messages
14,219
Reaction score
3,232
Points
583
Experience
More than 10 years
Welcome to FishLore!

Okay...the first thing that confuses me is you stated your Nitrates came down to 20-40ppm. Unless heavily planted, your nitrates will not drop on their own. Generally the only way to get nitrates lower is to do a partial water change.

The second thing is that cycling with fish food, IMO, is a bit tricky. Since you need to wait for the fish food to decompose to release ammonia, you have a pretty good lag between the time you add the fish food and the time ammonia starts to show up. Then on top of that, you have no way of knowing how much ammonia a given amount of fish food will release.

You will only build up a ammonia converting bacteria colony large enough to handle the amount of ammonia in the tank. This is because ammonia is the food source for the ammonia converting bacteria. So there is only enough food to support a given amount of bactreia. And then your nitrite converting bacteria colony will only get as large as it's food source (nitrites) will allow.

So when you upped your ammonia level to 8ppm, there was suddenly much more nitrites available than bacteria to convert it into nitrites, so you had a nitrite spike until the bacteria could catch up.

I may be possible that when you overdoses with ammonia, you actually killed off some of your ammonia converting bacteria, and now that colony needs to grow back, but regardless, it appears something has happened to your ammonia converting bacteria colony.

So (finally...right?) I would recommend just bring your ammonia back up to 2ppm every 24 hours. Once that 2ppm of ammonia is dropping to 0ppm with that 24 hours and you have 0ppm nitrites and growing nitrates, you'll be cycled.
 

Jenoli42

Well Known Member
Messages
1,348
Reaction score
830
Points
98
Experience
4 years
ok. I suggest raising your temp to 25ºC or even 27ºC to encourage your bacteria along. you can always lower later once you're cycled before you add your axolotl

it's odd that your ammonia is a bit stuck without some other source but not uncommon. just want to check: you said your nitrates came down to 20-40... that's not possible unless you have live plants or you did a water change? if neither is true, I'm slightly concerned something hurt your cycle.

if you just did a water change & that's why nitrates came down, then my suggestion to finish up your cycle is to grab a bottle of stability and dose double the recommended amount for up to a week (until your ammonia disappears). if you do that & ammonia drops & don't see a nitrite spike, only nitrates, I reckon you're ready
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #6

Caitlinmary

New Member
Messages
5
Reaction score
2
Points
1
Thank you!
Ok yeah so now that I think about it I did do a partial water change so that’s probably why my nitrates dropped.

It does make sense now about how the overdosing may have affected the bacteria so I shall keep on dosing to about 2ppm and wait to see if it drops. I feel like I’ve been doing that for a while now lol, is that normal? I’m being impatient aren’t I ? Hehe


jdhef said:
Welcome to FishLore!

Okay...the first thing that confuses me is you stated your Nitrates came down to 20-40ppm. Unless heavily planted, your nitrates will not drop on their own. Generally the only way to get nitrates lower is to do a partial water change.

The second thing is that cycling with fish food, IMO, is a bit tricky. Since you need to wait for the fish food to decompose to release ammonia, you have a pretty good lag between the time you add the fish food and the time ammonia starts to show up. Then on top of that, you have no way of knowing how much ammonia a given amount of fish food will release.

You will only build up a ammonia converting bacteria colony large enough to handle the amount of ammonia in the tank. This is because ammonia is the food source for the ammonia converting bacteria. So there is only enough food to support a given amount of bactreia. And then your nitrite converting bacteria colony will only get as large as it's food source (nitrites) will allow.

So when you upped your ammonia level to 8ppm, there was suddenly much more nitrites available than bacteria to convert it into nitrites, so you had a nitrite spike until the bacteria could catch up.

I may be possible that when you overdoses with ammonia, you actually killed off some of your ammonia converting bacteria, and now that colony needs to grow back, but regardless, it appears something has happened to your ammonia converting bacteria colony.

So (finally...right?) I would recommend just bring your ammonia back up to 2ppm every 24 hours. Once that 2ppm of ammonia is dropping to 0ppm with that 24 hours and you have 0ppm nitrites and growing nitrates, you'll be cycled.
Great suggestions thank you!
I will try and raise the temperature, if it was still summer I’d be having no trouble at all!
And stability .... ok , I’ve seen this mentioned by a few people, is it a brand itself ? Can it sometimes be called something else ?

Thanks for your reply!


Jenoli42 said:
ok. I suggest raising your temp to 25ºC or even 27ºC to encourage your bacteria along. you can always lower later once you're cycled before you add your axolotl

it's odd that your ammonia is a bit stuck without some other source but not uncommon. just want to check: you said your nitrates came down to 20-40... that's not possible unless you have live plants or you did a water change? if neither is true, I'm slightly concerned something hurt your cycle.

if you just did a water change & that's why nitrates came down, then my suggestion to finish up your cycle is to grab a bottle of stability and dose double the recommended amount for up to a week (until your ammonia disappears). if you do that & ammonia drops & don't see a nitrite spike, only nitrates, I reckon you're ready
 

jdhef

Moderator
Messages
14,219
Reaction score
3,232
Points
583
Experience
More than 10 years
You're cycle does seem to be taking a little longer than average (which is usaully 6-8 weeks).

Also, cycling time is like dog years in reverse, where I day cycling feels like seven years! I'm a bit impatient myself, that's why I'm a big fan of doing a fish-in cycle with Tetra SafeStart.

When some asks when their tank will cycle, I usually say when you are absolutely, 100%, totally positive that it will never, ever, ever cycle...you're about a week away.

But hang in there...that tank will cycle eventually.
 

Mom2some

Well Known Member
Messages
2,139
Reaction score
626
Points
128
Experience
1 year
Stability is a product by Seachem, who also makes Prime. Sounds like your blip set you back a bit, and you are at the waiting phase. This phase is why I did fish-in - I knew there was NO way my kids could handle the waiting phase. Glad you have switched to bottled ammonia since that will dramatically improve your control. Different question - have you done a deep gravel siphon since you stopped feeding fish food? I am wondering if some pockets of fish food got trapped in the substrate or inside/under a decoration & are slowly breaking down? Just throwing it out there. Welcome to Fishlore. Glad to have you join us!
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #9

Caitlinmary

New Member
Messages
5
Reaction score
2
Points
1
Thank you!
No gravel in the tank, it’s pretty much a bare bottom apart from a sprinkling of sand as I wish to keep an axolotl in there when it’s all ready, and they can’t have gravel. It did make me think though... is it possible that whatever is stuck in the filter from when I did have fish food rotting , is still in there causing ammonia ?should I clean it ? Or will that disturb the cycle even worse? Obviously I would use tank water to rinse.

Mom2some said:
Stability is a product by Seachem, who also makes Prime. Sounds like your blip set you back a bit, and you are at the waiting phase. This phase is why I did fish-in - I knew there was NO way my kids could handle the waiting phase. Glad you have switched to bottled ammonia since that will dramatically improve your control. Different question - have you done a deep gravel siphon since you stopped feeding fish food? I am wondering if some pockets of fish food got trapped in the substrate or inside/under a decoration & are slowly breaking down? Just throwing it out there. Welcome to Fishlore. Glad to have you join us!
Than
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #11

Caitlinmary

New Member
Messages
5
Reaction score
2
Points
1
No because it won’t ever even drop that low lol. I’ve waited almost a week this week to see if it would drop by itself and nothing
 

kashbill

New Member
Messages
28
Reaction score
2
Points
1
Caitlinmary said:
No because it won’t ever even drop that low lol. I’ve waited almost a week this week to see if it would drop by itself and nothing
be patient, you will get it done, mine was 6 week total, if you got aquatic plant and driftwood it will help you more, my first 3 week daily dose seachem stability because i dont know it will delay all the process and i end up with nasty phosphate. 3rd week i redo it again and clean this time i use stability on first day only, then daily dose with corycat sinking pallets ( i watch my ammonia 4ppm daily,check if drop 2ppm add again if 4ppm wait decrease 3ppm yo add again . the corycat food not create cloudy and phosphate(you will see fish food quickly turn spongy and white things around it,thats sign of you going to done the cycle but keep check level and dont suprise got tiny white worm,it will help faster the cycle till it done keep it for a while then do 90% water change.never change water until you get nitrite and nitrate, by the end it is better and quick than fishincycle. once you got stable ppm 0amonia,0nitrite and 10-20nitrate then you change the water 90% twice first week after it maintain but wait 2week to clean the filter. best way to say- 1stability, maintain check4ppm amonia, if decrease add food, if same hold until get nitrite, then waiting time nitrate.btw i add one time a bit salt one week before it boots stable. *1-4-3-4-0-0-40(this my score for the process)
 
Toggle Sidebar

Aquarium Calculator

Follow FishLore!





Top Bottom