Some Cycling Advice For A Novice...please!

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jmd4211

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Hi there,

Brand new to the hobby of keeping fish here, so I would really appreciate some guidance, as I seem to have hit something of a plateau in my cycling process, however, before going into that I thought it may be helpful to provide a bit of information about my equipment, and what I've done so far. I only just joined this forum today, I'm sure you must have loads of panicky newbies coming on, however I'd really appreciate some guidance to make sure I'm doing the right things in the longer term:

Tank

I went for the largest tank I could fit in the space I have, so went for an Interpet Fish Pod 120l, with matching cabinet. I'm using the Interpet CF3 filter that came with it, with no modifications made. I have a gravel substrate, and some basic decorations.

First (Failed) attempt

Once I had filled the tank, treated the water and heated it, I went to my local Fish shop in North London to seek some advice. Here my inexperience came in, as I entered the shop looking for advice on how to get up and running, and somehow left the shop with a couple of bottles of different stuff to kickstart the filter, and 8 Harlequin Rasboras. Bad move, as they were all dead within 48 hours - I never really fully understood exactly why, as my water parameters all looked fine. However, it wasnt something that I wanted to repeat, so I drained the tank completely, thoroughly rinsed everything, refilled and treated the water, and started reading up on fishless cycling.

Where I am now

Although I definitely didnt want to rush in like before, I was open to the idea of accelerating the process slightly. After lots of reading up, I liked the sound of what Seachem Stability was able to do, it seemed like a good option, however without any fish. So I turned up the temperature to around 30 degrees, dosed with Ammonia, and the next day began treatment with Stability.

After a couple of days, things looked like they were moving in the right direction, the Ammonia was still present, but on day 3, I tested for quite strong levels of Nitrite, which I took to be a good thing. However, what I can't really understand from what I've learned so far is that on every single day since then, there has been absolutely no variation in my Ammonia or Nitrite levels - it feels like I've ground to a complete halt. the picture here shows my test this morning, and it's completely unchanged from any of the others in the past 9-10 days!

I guess my main question is, am I wrong to have expected to see at least some degree of variation over this 10 day period. Ultimately my question is, am I being impatient, or have I done something wrong!

I'd really appreciate any guidance or input that any of you seasoned fishkeepss may have to help me along the road!



Oops, forgot to attach the photos!

This is the tank as it sits today

9c883ad158b509038b7080153b74af95.jpg


This morning's test, unchanged even slightly for 10 days

0c5946c802bdae6e7acbf8d761814070.jpg
 

MaddieTaylah

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Glad you have decided upon fishless cycling, IMO it's much better, not only because fish aren't harmed but also because it takes less time and is less work. It is normal to see a plateau in fishless cycling so don't worry, also the second bacteria which converts nitrites to nitrates takes a little longer as well, which is the stage you are currently at.
 
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jmd4211

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Thank you

I'm not as bothered about the Nitrite level not moving, as I understand that that takes longer - it was more the lack of movement in Ammonia that bothered me!
 

MaddieTaylah

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jmd4211 said:
Thank you

I'm not as bothered about the Nitrite level not moving, as I understand that that takes longer - it was more the lack of movement in Ammonia that bothered me!
The ammonia takes a while to go down as well.
 

GoldieBubbles

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This second phase takes a while, make sure to keep on dosing Ammonia to feed the hungry bacteria and eventually you should see some movement. Congrats on the new tank you already have a better start to fish keeping than most!
 
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jmd4211

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So keep adding ammonia even though I have always had strong levels of ammonia?
 

MaddieTaylah

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jmd4211 said:
So keep adding ammonia even though I have always had strong levels of ammonia?
There's no need to redose the ammonia if it is still high. For example, if you dose ammonia 4ppm and it goes down to 2ppm overnight then redose it to 4ppm in the morning, but if the ammonia is still 4ppm in the morning then adding more ammonia is not going to help.
 
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jmd4211

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Thank you very much for taking the time to give your advice


I'd hoped to add the first new residents this weekend, but I guess I need to cool my jets a bit!
 

jmarks

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Just stay patient. Fishless cycles can take some time to complete. As mentioned earlier, only redose ammonia once you notice it dropping. Nitrite eating bacteria take a little longer to develop. I have had this same thing happen to me. You are doing fine.
 
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jmd4211

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jmarks said:
Just stay patient. Fishless cycles can take some time to complete. As mentioned earlier, only redose ammonia once you notice it dropping. Nitrite eating bacteria take a little longer to develop. I have had this same thing happen to me. You are doing fine.
Thank you, I think that's exactly what I needed to hear!

My finger was hovering over the purchase button on Amazon to get some Safestart last night, but I doubt that would be the best way forward in the long run!
 

AngelTheGypsy

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Here is a very informative and useful thread on fishless cycling.

Ammonia Instructions when Cycling with TSS+ or other Bacterial Starter

Ammonia Instructions when Cycling with TSS+ or other Bacterial Starter

Starting with a large dose of ammonia will actually slow you down. It's easier to start small and work the dose higher as it starts to convert efficiently.

If your ammonia or nitrite levels get too high (over 4 ppm) it can stall out your cycle. Your ammonia in the photo looks to be 2? And nitrite 5? If your nitrite is that high I suggest doing a 50% water change to bring it below 4. After your water change, check your levels. If still over 4 do another change.

I would dose ammonia to 1 and see what happens. When your tank can convert 1 ppm in 24 hours to 0 ammonia and nitrite, dose ammonia to 2 ppm. You can follow this trend until you can convert the amount of ammonia you are aiming at. This depends on your intended stocking. Most cycle to 3-4 ppm then add fish.

Follow the directions in the thread I referenced. It will help tremendously. If you have any questions feel free to ask!

And welcome to Fishlore!!
 
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jmd4211

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Wow, that is helpful. I always had a niggling doubt that I had put too much Ammonia in at the start, guess I was right....



I'm not home tonight, so it will be interesting to see if anything has moved in the 36 hours from this morning to tommorow night.

On a side note, now I have some extra time on my hands before stocking the tank, is my water likely to be too 'toxic' to add live plants to? Do they do ok with just gravel as substrate, ie no Sand?
 

AngelTheGypsy

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Some plants will be okay. It's fine to add live plants during the cycle. They will feed off if the ammonia and nitrate. Look into low light plants such as

Java fern
Java moss
Anubias (many varieties)
Water wisteria
Hornwort
Amazon swords
Jungle val
Dwarf sag
S. Repens

Many others. If you come across one you like, you can google it. Avoid anything that needs moderate to high light and/or CO2 to survive. Also avoid semi-aquatic. Petco and Petsense sell some in tubes labeled semi aquatic don't buy these. Their other tube plants are pretty good though.

I've come to enjoy the plants as well as the fish!
 
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jmd4211

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Interesting, having live plants has always struck me being additional hassle - main priority is keeping the fish alive without worrying over the plants too. But I think my tank looks a bit sparse at the moment.

I dont want to keep it too heavily planted (on my first attempt when the Harlequin's all died) I had loads of plastic plants, and it was a nightmare trying to find the fish that were still alive as there was just too much in there, so would rather keep it reasonably simple.....
 

AngelTheGypsy

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If you start simple with easy beginner plants, they will grow in eventually, usually pretty slowly. Especially the stem plants like wisteria and hornwort. They are (usually) very easy to grow and grow quickly, and also very easy to trim. Especially if you use fertilizer and root tabs. There are also many other varieties . Some I can grow, others not so well. I use trial and error, as I'm pretty new to planted tanks. I've killed a few, but I try whatever looks good and see what it'll do! If it doesn't do well I just pull it.

Rambling...sorry
 
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jmd4211

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Fertiliser doesnt mess with the balance of the water, no? I feel like I already have enough going on trying to get my ammonia and nitrate down lol
 

AngelTheGypsy

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I use seachem flourish. It's designed for fish tanks and you just squirt a little in once a week. The root tabs are also for tanks and you just stick them in the substrate by the plant roots.
 
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jmd4211

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lol, I'm going to have no money to actually buy fish I'm spending so much on all the other stuff!
 

AngelTheGypsy

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I know right? I don't even want to think about adding up what I've spent!
 

Mom2some

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Welcome to fishlore! Sounds like you on the right track! Stay the course!
As far as plants - I could hold off on adding any fertilizers (ex Flourish) for a while. If you start with easy low light plants, such as mentioned above, fertilizers are nice but not necessary. Now while you are waiting for your cycle to complete - what are you planning for stocking? I had good luck browsing the stocking forums for threads by other people who had a similar tank size to me. Keep asking questions! I have learned a ton here & I think it makes the hobby all the more fascinating.
 
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