Sluggish Cycle?

jessatiel

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Hi! I’m brand new to proper fish-keeping, and I’m 5weeks into fishless cycling my first 20 gallon tank (using Dr.Tim’s ammonia) and I’m a little confused about my water test results, and whether high nitrites are really a problem (I’ve seen both emphatic “yeses”, and “nos”). I have hard water that’s between 7.6-8 Ph.

Per Dr.Tim’s Instructions, I dosed ammonia to 4ppm, and waited for it to drop under 1ppm before re-dosing back up to 4ppm. I’m now seeing nitrites off the scale, and nitrates that were climbing, last testing at about 30ppm.

At that point, two days ago, I did a 50% WC (I dechlorinated, and kept temp similar). That dropped the nitrite to 1ppm. I dosed the ammonia back up. By the next day, nitrites were sky-high again.

Two questions:
1: given that I’m seeing nitrites and nitrates, I think the cycle must be cranking up. However, the ammonia doesn’t fall very **fast**. It seems on track to fall from 4ppm to under 1 ppm in about 4 days... not 24 hrs like I need for a fully cycled tank. Will this ammo process speed up on its own, or am I doing something wrong?

2: what’s the word on high nitrites? I’ve seen folks on this board say they’ll stall a cycle. But I’ve also seen convincing-seeming arguments that nitrites aren’t the problem, and it’s really the ph crash or de-mineralization that could follow high nitrites that would stall it. I have very hard water that’s just under a ph of 8. Am I ok? Doing 50% WC *every day* isn’t something I want to do unless absolutely necessary.

Thank you for your time!

Other info:
-20 gallon tank
-Marineland penguin 150 filter (bio wheel)
-airstone bubbler
-73-76 F temp.
-GH 60, KH 80, per test strips
-other tests are from API master kit
-Dr. Tim’s ammonia.
-unfortunately, no seeding material available
-API dechlorinator.
 
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jessatiel

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AquaticJ said:
4ppm of ammonia is too high to efficiently cycle. Stay at 1-2, because your nitrites are often times about 3-4 X your ammonia.
Thank you for your advice. As a beginner, I’m finding it’s hard to know the best path forward... there’s so much disagreement about it! Example— I got the 4ppm ammo advice from the Dr. Tim tutorial. -_-
 

Ms rose

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somewhere on here a well known memer cycles heir tank using 12ppm ammonia to start. you can probably find it somewhere within the search engine. its all personal opinion and preferancce
 

sfsamm

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Too high of Ammonia or nitrIte or even nitrAtes can stall your cycle. Granted the bacteria you want eats it, it can regardless be at toxic levels.

My personal limits are 4ppm Ammonia, when it hits 5ppm+ (maxes API kit chart) nitrIte and 100-120ppm nitrAte. Anything above those numbers I water change to get Ammonia or nitrIte to 2ppm or less and nitrAte under 40. I generally cycle with 2ppm Ammonia and if I'm stocking heavily after that is efficiently a 24 hour process I'll up my dosing as high as 4ppm. But I don't cycle beginning at 4.
 
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jessatiel

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sfsamm said:
Too high of Ammonia or nitrIte or even nitrAtes can stall your cycle. Granted the bacteria you want eats it, it can regardless be at toxic levels.

My personal limits are 4ppm Ammonia, when it hits 5ppm+ (maxes API kit chart) nitrIte and 100-120ppm nitrAte. Anything above those numbers I water change to get Ammonia or nitrIte to 2ppm or less and nitrAte under 40. I generally cycle with 2ppm Ammonia and if I'm stocking heavily after that is efficiently a 24 hour process I'll up my dosing as high as 4ppm. But I don't cycle beginning at 4.
Thank you! Do you have any insight on the other side of the argument regarding nitrites? (See Q2 in OP)
 

sfsamm

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jessatiel said:
Thank you! Do you have any insight on the other side of the argument regarding nitrites? (See Q2 in OP)
My opinion...
When I want something done why wait and see if something stalls or prohibits it, especially when you are speaking of things generally considered toxic to life.... If it gets high I change water leaving some available to continue feeding and growing what I do want. Maybe it's nearly 30 years in the hobby I'm starting another tank I might as well incorporate it now into the maintenance routine, but I just see it as silly to test the limits. Moderate levels have kicked me out full cycles in record times more often than not over the years.
Don't fix it if it's not broken?
Anything good in excess is no longer good?
Not sure the best suited quote but yeah. I'm not going to spend my research hours looking up information on something I see as unnecessary lol I'd rather be into my biotopes, or more efficient ways to build nitrAte reduction filtration that aren't massive, or new crochet patterns for that matter lol.
 
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jessatiel

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sfsamm said:
My opinion...
When I want something done why wait and see if something stalls or prohibits it, especially when you are speaking of things generally considered toxic to life.... If it gets high I change water leaving some available to continue feeding and growing what I do want. Maybe it's nearly 30 years in the hobby I'm starting another tank I might as well incorporate it now into the maintenance routine, but I just see it as silly to test the limits. Moderate levels have kicked me out full cycles in record times more often than not over the years.
Don't fix it if it's not broken?
Anything good in excess is no longer good?
Not sure the best suited quote but yeah. I'm not going to spend my research hours looking up information on something I see as unnecessary lol I'd rather be into my biotopes, or more efficient ways to build nitrAte reduction filtration that aren't massive, or new crochet patterns for that matter lol.
Fair enough! thank you for your thoughts!
 
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