Questions about cycling

Discussion in 'Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle' started by klogue2, Dec 24, 2012.

  1. klogue2

    klogue2Valued MemberMember

    Some of you may know that I did a fish-in cycle with my 29 gallon... and didn't use a test kit on it, so I went in blindly... Some very poor decisions on my part.

    So since I'm restarting my 10 gallon, I'd like to do it right this time. But I've yet to find a few things that I need to know.

    What exactly in the parameters of the water will I be looking for? I know I want as little as possible (or none?) ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates.

    In a cycled aquarium, what are normal parameters? 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and little to none nitrate? That's just my guess.

    What kind of fluctuations can I expect during the cycle?

    How often do I test? Every day, or maybe every few days?

    I plan to start a log for this aquarium so I can reflect on it if and when I start any other aquariums :)

    Edit: I know I could use filter media from my 29g to cycle it quickly, but I want to experience the cycle if there may be a time when I can't instant-cycle an aquarium.
  2. jetajockey

    jetajockeyFishlore VIPMember

    Assuming you are doing it fish-in, you want to test daily until you get an idea of how fast the ammonia/nitrite builds up. Once you get a good grasp on that you can cut back on testing to every few days or whatever you set your water change routine to. Stock lightly, feed sparingly, and plant the tank if possible. Fish-in cycles are actually quite easy and safe to do if you start off with some decent planning.

    If you are doing a fishless cycle then you can test whenever, no sense in doing it daily, maybe weekly or something until you get some movement in the ammonia level. At that point you can start testing daily until you get both ammonia and nitrites at 0 within 24 hours of dosing.
  3. OP

    klogue2Valued MemberMember

    I'm doing it fishless this time :) Thank you for your help! I think I'll test every week then like you said until my ammonia changes.
  4. featherblue

    featherblueWell Known MemberMember

    So you may want to test more often, just to Guatemala the amount of ammonia to add each day. You don't want to drip it in and over load your baby BB colony and restart the whole process (high ammonia can kill offvthe colony before its established enough yo process it)
  5. beginner

    beginnerValued MemberMember

    i'm all about a fish's safety and health but, wouldn't it be easier to just put one little fishy in that 29g to cycle it? you are going to see a mini cycle every time you add more fish anyway. you just need to restrain yourself from coming home with five fish one day and five more the next. take your time. stock it over a longer period say like 2 months?
  6. featherblue

    featherblueWell Known MemberMember

    If u buff up you BB colony before adding, no mini cycle.

    Before I added my puffers I kept feeding the BB til the could eat 4 ppm of ammonia in 24 hours ( measuring ammonia conc as adding pure liquid into tank), 6 fish leaving half eaten snails all over and no spikes at all
  7. GrdnDelite

    GrdnDeliteNew MemberMember

    I tested water daily while doing a fishless cycle with ammonia. I added enough ammonia as needed to bring the tank to 3 ppm.

    First you'll see ammonia start to reduce and nitrites increase. Then nitrites increase to a hand-wringing sky high level. Nitrates, at least for me, started to increase before nitrites reduced.

    Eventually you'll be able to add ammonia to 3 ppm and, 24 hours later, read 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, & high nitrates. I did that for about three days, adding ammonia to bring the tank back up to 3 ppm after each day's water test. Then did three large (50% or more) water changes to bring nitrates down. Then added fish.

    In my case, 55 gallon tank. I added 6 danios first, and six Siamese algae eaters two weeks later. I did not experience any mini-cycle when I added the algae eaters.
  8. catsma_97504

    catsma_97504Fishlore LegendMember

    I saw in your other thread that you've decided to use fish food. As the food decomposes it will take time for the ammonia to build up. Use a nylon stocking and add about 1/4 cup and you can save yourself the messy cleanup with a tank full of rotting food down the road!

    Once the food decomposes and creates ammonia the bacteria will convert it into nitrite. As the nitrites climb the ammonia will begin to drop. I'd guess this would take about 3 weeks. The end of the process is to convert nitrite into nitrate. All in all I'd estimate this will be an 8 week process. That is simply a rough estimate as every tank will cycle in its own time.

    You are correct. It is the water changes that help to control the nitrate buildup. Ideally a cycled tank will have no measurable ammonia or nitrite; and it will have 20PPM or less nitrate.

    Everything will get out of whack. Just let the tank do its thing! pH will bounce around, nitrogen parameters (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate) will go into extremes. You tank may even begin to smell from the rotting food. Expect the unexpected!

    At first I'd test only the ammonia. Then, once it climbs up above 2 PPM, then add the nitrite test. Once nitrites climb, then add the nitrate test. I would test only once a week. No point in testing more often when there will be no livestock involved.

    Good luck with your cycling project!!
  9. beginner

    beginnerValued MemberMember

    you might wanna run to the fish store and get a bag of their water, to practice the acclimation process too. but then just dump the water in. that'll get you started
  10. OP

    klogue2Valued MemberMember

    I've been told not to dump fish store water into your tank, because of possible nasty stuff like ich or other diseases that could be floating in it. That's why I always net my fish before putting them in :)
  11. beginner

    beginnerValued MemberMember

    well most advice must be taken with a grain of salt. ich will die within 3 days I suppose if no host is found. ammonia is released through gill function. in part by rotting food , but mainly through respiration. so unless you know exactly how much you full stocking will breath in 24 hours. you will still have ammonia in your tank the day you come home with a dozen fish. is that your intention? to stock all at once?