Pulling My Hair Out- Is Cycle Done?

Bubba's Mom
  • #1
This Saturday is 5 weeks I started fish less cycle on a 5 gal Fluval Spec.
It is filtered, heated to 78-80 degree range, have filtered media that came with plus I added Seachem Matrix. I have a couple of silk and a couple of plastic plants with ceramic caves.

I conditioned my water with Prime then started with 2 weeks of Seachem Seed and 3 to 4 pinches of Betta pellets during that time.
Three days after starting it I had a whitish cloud- had thought it was bacteria bloom but pretty sure it was the white ( Matrix type) bag of rocks that come with the tank- maybe I didn't rinse properly. Had white residue sitting on top of my ceramic caves. Fikter cleaned out and water was clear right away

5 days into it - I tested with strip and had no ammonia, nitrite or nitrate.

I was advised by Aquatics store people to just leave it alone...I did do another pinch here and there.

Took water samples to Aquatics store at 1 month and they did strip test. They said water was fine to go ahead and put my Betta in there ( he is in smaller tank that still has slight ammonia after 6 months.) Hence cycling bigger tank.

This last Saturday I got API Master kit and decided to do test. Results:
PH 7.6
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0

I think I have worn the the store people out and they are telling me my Betta will be fine because my parameters are perfect. I disagree and don't think after 5 weeks that water has done jack nothing.
So after all this history- would any of you out there be able to offer your opinion PLZ-- ?

Can water be stuck after almost 5 weeks of Seed, Matrix, the carbon media and sponges plus food?
Maybe I didn't put enough food in there... Never saw ammonia spike so just don't think anything has happened to that water.

If anyone could offer thoughts I would very much appreciated. Have plans to put Betta in there in 10 days but willing to wait.

I was a novice when I first got him and didn't cycle ( he had Fin rot and almost lost his tail) he survived all that and is doing so great in his old tank- even with slight ammonia-bubble nests and all. It will be awful if I stick him in this beautiful new tank and end up killing him.

THANK YOU IN ADVANCE. really appreciate any thoughts on what to do.
 
baldegale
  • #2
This Saturday is 5 weeks I started fish less cycle on a 5 gal Fluval Spec.
It is filtered, heated to 78-80 degree range, have filtered media that came with plus I added Seachem Matrix. I have a couple of silk and a couple of plastic plants with ceramic caves.

I conditioned my water with Prime then started with 2 weeks of Seachem Seed and 3 to 4 pinches of Betta pellets during that time.
Three days after starting it I had a whitish cloud- had thought it was bacteria bloom but pretty sure it was the white ( Matrix type) bag of rocks that come with the tank- maybe I didn't rinse properly. Had white residue sitting on top of my ceramic caves. Fikter cleaned out and water was clear right away

5 days into it - I tested with strip and had no ammonia, nitrite or nitrate.

I was advised by Aquatics store people to just leave it alone...I did do another pinch here and there.

Took water samples to Aquatics store at 1 month and they did strip test. They said water was fine to go ahead and put my Betta in there ( he is in smaller tank that still has slight ammonia after 6 months.) Hence cycling bigger tank.

This last Saturday I got API Master kit and decided to do test. Results:
PH 7.6
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0

I think I have worn the the store people out and they are telling me my Betta will be fine because my parameters are perfect. I disagree and don't think after 5 weeks that water has done jack nothing.
So after all this history- would any of you out there be able to offer your opinion PLZ-- ?

Can water be stuck after almost 5 weeks of Seed, Matrix, the carbon media and sponges plus food?
Maybe I didn't put enough food in there... Never saw ammonia spike so just don't think anything has happened to that water.

If anyone could offer thoughts I would very much appreciated. Have plans to put Betta in there in 10 days but willing to wait.

I was a novice when I first got him and didn't cycle ( he had Fin rot and almost lost his tail) he survived all that and is doing so great in his old tank- even with slight ammonia-bubble nests and all. It will be awful if I stick him in this beautiful new tank and end up killing him.

THANK YOU IN ADVANCE. really appreciate any thoughts on what to do.

more than likely if there's 0 nitrates your tank hasnt cycled. an easier way to cycle is to get pure ammonia (dollar tree has it) and dose your tank to 2ppm, then check the water parameters every 2-3 days, and whenever the ammonia + nitrites added together equal 5ppm then do a water change and dose back up to 2ppm again. you'll probably have to wait around a month for it to cycle if you keep that up
 
mattgirl
  • #3
Since you already have your Betta and he is living in a smaller tank with ammonia I would move him to the bigger tank and do a fish in cycle. I know a lot of folks are horrified by that concept but right now he is not living in a cycled tank so why not.

Now that you have your own test kit you can keep a close eye on the perimeters and he will never be in danger as long as you keep up with water changes as needed. If you don't already have it get a bottle of Seachem Prime. It is a water conditioner that will also bind low amounts of ammonia to protect your water pet and still provide food for the bacteria to feed on.

Keep a close eye on the ammonia levels. As long as it is below 1.0 just add enough Prime to dose the full 5 gallons. If it goes above 1.0 do a water change to get it back below 1.0 and add the Prime. Do this daily. Your fish will never be in any danger and your tank will cycle.

I feel sure the reason this tank hasn't already cycled is because it didn't have a constant supply of ammonia. Ammonia the first step necessary for a successful cycle. Your Betta will provide that necessary ammonia.
 
Ravenahra
  • #4
You can also do a fish in cycle by adding tetra safestart plus when you add your betta. Tss plus is live bacteria of the kind you're trying to grow. Just put it in the same time you put your fish in and your tank should be cycled in less than 1 week. Just test daily because you will probably have a nitrate spike that will be taken care of by a water change.
 
mattgirl
  • #5
You can also do a fish in cycle by adding tetra safestart plus when you add your betta. Tss plus is live bacteria of the kind you're trying to grow. Just put it in the same time you put your fish in and your tank should be cycled in less than 1 week. Just test daily because you will probably have a nitrate spike that will be taken care of by a water change.
Were you able to cycle a tank by using TSS this way? If so then I have been giving out untrue information.

I have never used a bottled bacteria but have read from folks that have had success when using TSS but instead of being cycled in a week the instructions and the folks that have had success with it say add Fish (or an alternative ammonia source) and the TSS. Then do nothing but feed lightly for 14 days and if done correctly the tank should be cycled. One should not do water changes during those 14 days.

If not done exactly as recommended it more than likely will not work and both time and money will be wasted. It is also recommended one not run the tests during the process other than the ammonia test if it is without fish because the tests will be way off and one will be tempted to do something that will interrupt the process. TSS is a hands off product. Pour it in and leave it alone for the full 14 days.
 
FishAddictFamily
  • #6
How often did you change the water ? If you did daily water changes I could see the numbers all being extremely low. Maybe the strip test should be replaced with the tube test to be sure ?
 
Ravenahra
  • #7
Were you able to cycle a tank by using TSS this way? If so then I have been giving out untrue information.

I have never used a bottled bacteria but have read from folks that have had success when using TSS but instead of being cycled in a week the instructions and the folks that have had success with it say add Fish (or an alternative ammonia source) and the TSS. Then do nothing but feed lightly for 14 days and if done correctly the tank should be cycled. One should not do water changes during those 14 days.

If not done exactly as recommended it more than likely will not work and both time and money will be wasted. It is also recommended one not run the tests during the process other than the ammonia test if it is without fish because the tests will be way off and one will be tempted to do something that will interrupt the process. TSS is a hands off product. Pour it in and leave it alone for the full 14 days.
It's the only way I got my tank fully cycled. I made plenty fo mistakes in my tank including adding 4 Mollies and a pleco to an upcycled tank so my ammonia was over 8 ppm.

Then I found a post on here from someone that wrote tetra for more info on tss.

I followed the parameters which was to get my ammonia to under 3 ppm which I did by repeated 30% water changes about every hour for almost 2 days. Then I waited 24 hours after the last addition of water conditioner then dosed my tank and left it alone for a couple of days. I tested 4 days later and had high nitrates so I did a 50 % water change and added a little more tss because my ammonia was about 2.5.

8 days after I added the tss, my ammonia was 0, my nitrites were 0 and my nitrates were about 40 so I did another water change and my tank's had perfect parameters ever since.

That's why I push tss so hard is because it got a tank with 5 very dirty fish cycled in 8 days.
 
mattgirl
  • #8
It's the only way I got my tank fully cycled. I made plenty fo mistakes in my tank including adding 4 Mollies and a pleco to an upcycled tank so my ammonia was over 8 ppm.

Then I found a post on here from someone that wrote tetra for more info on tss.

I followed the parameters which was to get my ammonia to under 3 ppm which I did by repeated 30% water changes about every hour for almost 2 days. Then I waited 24 hours after the last addition of water conditioner then dosed my tank and left it alone for a couple of days. I tested 4 days later and had high nitrates so I did a 50 % water change and added a little more tss because my ammonia was about 2.5.

8 days after I added the tss, my ammonia was 0, my nitrites were 0 and my nitrates were about 40 so I did another water change and my tank's had perfect parameters ever since.

That's why I push tss so hard is because it got a tank with 5 very dirty fish cycled in 8 days.
I am really happy for you and your fish. It is great that it worked so quickly for you. I am assuming you had been trying to get this tank cycled for some amount of time before you discovered TSS. If that is the case I can see where it could work quicker than starting from scratch. Thank you for pointing that out. There are a lot of folks struggling to get their tanks cycled that can benefit from your experience.

When recommending TSS it would be good to let folks know how you used it so they won't be disappointed and wondering what went wrong if they are starting from scratch and if they aren't cycled in 8 days.
 
remy113
  • #9
I am really happy for you and your fish. It is great that it worked so quickly for you. I am assuming you had been trying to get this tank cycled for some amount of time before you discovered TSS. If that is the case I can see where it could work quicker than starting from scratch. Thank you for pointing that out. There are a lot of folks struggling to get their tanks cycled that can benefit from your experience.

When recommending TSS it would be good to let folks know how you used it so they won't be disappointed and wondering what went wrong if they are starting from scratch and if they aren't cycled in 8 days.

I did my 30 gallon with the safe start to. I won’t say my tank cycled that quick. Mine was about 2 weeks. A week in I had a huge bacteria bloom so I did a water change and it helped kick that down and then it went away by its self and I checked it the following week and my tank was cycled .0,0,5 at the time and has been perfectly stable since.
5platys
4 Molly’s
Doing just fine lol
Definitely will use it on my next tank
 
Ravenahra
  • #10
I am really happy for you and your fish. It is great that it worked so quickly for you. I am assuming you had been trying to get this tank cycled for some amount of time before you discovered TSS. If that is the case I can see where it could work quicker than starting from scratch. Thank you for pointing that out. There are a lot of folks struggling to get their tanks cycled that can benefit from your experience.

When recommending TSS it would be good to let folks know how you used it so they won't be disappointed and wondering what went wrong if they are starting from scratch and if they aren't cycled in 8 days.

Thank you and you're right that I should always include that I used on a tank that was crashing.

I had tried to cycle my tank prior to adding my fish and I thought it was cycled but I had not done proper research so it wasn't cycled which is why it got as bad as it did as I kept trying to fix it.

A week in I had a huge bacteria bloom so I did a water change and it helped kick that down and then it went away by its self and

I had a bacteria bloom too about 3 days in but I expected it from my research. I didnt do a water change at that point because my research indicates that it wasn't dangerous unless it lasted more than a day. I did watch my fish for stress but they were fine so I left it alone until the next day when my nitrates were really high. So I did a water change and did a maintenance level dose of tss just in case.

Of course my fish were also mollies and pleco that were already dealing with high ammonia and had been dealing with 2 or more water changes a day for over a month so that may have been why they did ok with the bacteria bloom. They're tough fish.
 
MaverickCoast
  • #11
I've had good results with using Seachem's Prime and Stability. They protect your fish while the tank is cycling. Follow their recommended routine during the cycle process of around a month, and you should be good to go.
 
mattgirl
  • #12
Hopefully this discussion will help Bubba's Mom get her tank back on track. There have been some very good points made for using TSS Plus when nothing else seems to be working.
 
Bubba's Mom
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
Thank you all!

I spoke w the Seachem support team and she thinks it has cycled- somehow I don't believe all these folks that tell me I have cycled. I mentioned I and slight cloud on third day and that I thought it was residue from Matrix. I did condition my water with Prime but that was when I filled tank and that was it. I did use SEED which is a more intense Stability they make and have repeated it weekly.

I have gotten some light green algae growth on walls so will turn lights off but water looks clean. I have heard about Tetra TSS process being pretty full proof but scared to mix with all the SEACHEM product I have in there.

A very good point was made that he is living w some Ammonia so this new tank can't be worse. I am planning on moving him next weekend of 8/11 when I have the Monday after off-- just in case something wonky happens to him.
Will make sure not to overfeed him and to keep the Prime and Seed going.
I have not done any water changes at all as I was told to leave it alone...but was advised to do one 3 days before I put him in. Is that a good idea? there is rotting food in there.

I am so scared to put him in new tank I am getting my friend to come over. He is has gone through loosing his back fin due to fin rot from Petsmart and I nursed him back and it has fully grown back plus some! Will update soon on progress - having your comments means a lot and I appreciate all your wisdom.

GOOD LUCK TO ALL WITH YOUR FINBABIES! and thanks again.
 
mattgirl
  • #14
I am glad we were able to give you some food for thought. Yes, you will want to get as much of the food out as possible before you move your little guy over to this tank.

Please keep us updated.
 
snowballPLECO
  • #15
Lol, bacteria blooms aren’t harmful to fish at all, not sure where you read that and people over complicate the cycle process. get a couple skirt tetras and cycle your tank and if you care about keeping them alive dose prime. the cycling process is simple but people tend to make things harder.
 
DuaneV
  • #16
A betta is the perfect fish to cycle a small tank with. It produces such a small amount of waste that if you put it into a smallish tank alone, you feed it correctly (meaning don't overfeed), have the tank filtered and do small water changes, you'll never have to worry about the cycle. The ammonia and nitrites will never build up too a dangerous level and the tank will eventually cycle. No worries.
 
Bubba's Mom
  • Thread Starter
  • #17
Thanks for al the support guys!
Mattgirl- the folks at Seachem said same as you, Use Prime and Stability( or Seed ) . I am vacuuming tomorrow and will do a good vacuum. He is such a pig I'm afraid he will eat any rotten food I have in there. : )

The only difference is that she said to use my dose .5ml of Prime ( for my 5 gallon ) every other day and follow Seed dosage for a week. Yep and keep testing for levels water + small water changes as needed.
I think the LED lights are creating algae- gee this never ends! Think I may look into changing them as I have read this could happen. and the water feels a little slimy. But will clean out walls tomorrow as well.

Countdown for the big move next Saturday- will use my new API Master Test Kit tomorrow, Wed and then morning of the move.

I will acclimate him over an hour in tall cup I will place in new tank-keeping him in a third of his current water . At 20 mins I will add 1/3 of new tank water- then repeat. Have same heater in both tanks and that have been pretty consistent at 77.8-79.7. After and hour I think I will scoop him out since I rather not have any of his old water in new tank.

ONE LAST FAVOR...does this sound like a good plan ( to acclimate him) to you all? An why would my water feel slimy?
Will definitely post pictures of him in his new tank.

THANK SO MCUH FOR YOUR TIME AND GUIDANCE. A GREAT WEEKEND TO ALL!
 
Bubba's Mom
  • Thread Starter
  • #18
My new tank is the sleek FLUVAL SPEC V - 5 gal
Heated, filtered, Matrix, Carbon, Sponge- have electronic thermometer and Ammonia patch alert .
 
mattgirl
  • #19
The best way to move him is whatever is most comfortable for you. Since all of my tanks have the same water and are all basically the same temps I don't acclimate when I move a fish from one tank to another. If that isn't the case between the tank he is in and the one he is going into then acclimation is probably a good idea.

If you run the tests on both tanks and they are basically the same a long acclimation process isn't necessary.

Does the water itself feel slimy or is it just on the surfaces? I can't say I have ever experienced slimy water.
 
Bubba's Mom
  • Thread Starter
  • #20
THX Mattgirl-- ! its not like its cloudy but I use a serving fork to move plants and when I pull it out the water feels slimy.
Last week when I moved one of the plants it felt like it had a slimy coating on it...

but just now was looking in there with a loop and see pockets of white Fuzz on the base of some of my decorations. I am really frustrated aaarrggh. Have spent so much time and money (including this new tank) think I am throwing towel in! and just keep him in the smaller tank. He is thriving even with .25 Ammonia for 6 mos in smaller tank.

what could that possibly be? let me get photo and upload it. THX!
 
mattgirl
  • #21
Things like this aren't all that unusual in a new tank. Most new tanks will grow some unexpected things. We are recreating an underwater world. Every body of water in the world will have things growing in them that can make you go .... yuck ..... but it is part of nature.

Once the cycle gets established the unexpected things should stop. What you are experiencing right now could very well have been caused by the excess food you put in there for your ammonia source.
 
remy113
  • #22
THX Mattgirl-- ! its not like its cloudy but I use a serving fork to move plants and when I pull it out the water feels slimy.
Last week when I moved one of the plants it felt like it had a slimy coating on it...

but just now was looking in there with a loop and see pockets of white Fuzz on the base of some of my decorations. I am really frustrated aaarrggh. Have spent so much time and money (including this new tank) think I am throwing towel in! and just keep him in the smaller tank. He is thriving even with .25 Ammonia for 6 mos in smaller tank.

what could that possibly be? let me get photo and upload it. THX!

Is your tank near a window? Or any direct sunlight? I had mine near one with black out curtains and enough light was getting thru the sides and hitting the tank to create algae bloom. I run a led light with not issues that why I’m curious. And I leave my light on way to long... longer then I ever should lol because my tank is always being viewed by people going thru the room.
 
Bubba's Mom
  • Thread Starter
  • #23
Adding photos of the new dilemma...white fuzz on the crevices of my decorations. Plus glass cover I had cut to keep temperature - though pretty sure that has nothing to do with it,

If anyone as experienced this pls let me know what I may need to do. : (
And thanks again!
 

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mattgirl
  • #24
Adding photos of the new dilemma...white fuzz on the crevices of my decorations. Plus glass cover I had cut to keep temperature - though pretty sure that has nothing to do with it,

If anyone as experienced this pls let me know what I may need to do. : (
And thanks again!
I am sorry it took me so long to get back to you. For now just try to get all of the food out that you used for your ammonia source. I feel sure this is just one of the things that happen as a tank cycles. Once it is complete I feel sure it will be gone.

You can pull the decorations out of there and gently clean them off in some dechlorinated water. Some bacteria is growing on them. that is why I recommend dechlorinated water. You don't want to remove any bacteria this early in the cycle.
 
Bubba's Mom
  • Thread Starter
  • #25
Again you are right! The sales guy at the aquatics store I get my supplies said this is due to the pinches of food I used to try fish less cycle... They grew only in bases of decorations that had crevices....A BIG LEARNING LESSON for us newbies- he not only asked be to scrub all the decorations but to be on the safe side-consider starting over since the bacteria was all over the walls and gravel- : (

So big clean up for filter, media and got new gravel. Just over did it with all the food. I am now putting the food source in mesh bags so I can pull out. Will wait a couple of weeks then just do the earlier as you also suggested of Prime dosing.

Poor Bubba--he will have to wait a little-- I did get him some new decorations and did a small water change-- the ammonia is at 25-- so a slight lowering. He has been doing great. You are very kind to reply. I am so obsessed with this--!! Hope you are enjoying your weekend. I lived in Bentonvillle for a couple of years (for work). Best to you and very much appreciate all your time and direction. THX!
 

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