Starting Fishless Cyle 46 Gallon

Discussion in 'Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle' started by lnorman, Apr 17, 2018.

  1. lnormanNew MemberMember

    I have read through the lead post and I think i get it.

    Here is where I am so far:
    I have a used, cleaned, and filled 46 Gallon Bowfront tank with new gavel and a new Fluval 406 Filter. I added one capful of Prime to get rid if chlorine
    I have some "Old Country" ammonia cleaner that seems to be free of surfactants and additives, (no bubbles). I have tested it and it seems that one drop from a syringe I have raises 1 gallon by 1 ppm ( same as mg/L which is what my kit measures). I also found that 15 drops from this syringe =1ml
    Next step:
    Add enough of the Ammonia to bring it to 6 on the "Add and Wait" method, so 46gallons x 6 =276 drops, = 18.4 ml. Anyone want to check my math before I add a little over 3 and a half teaspoons of toxic cleaner to my new Aquarium? Does this sound about right? I think I have a few days of daily checking before I expect the Ammonia to drop and the Nitrite to start to show up. I also gather consensus is the Bacterial starter ( Nutrafin Cycle) I bought on recommendation of LFS is useless. Should I try it anyway or just return it? Will the right bacteria just find their way into the tank from thin air with no fish or any biologic material from an established tank? Appreciate any confirmation and feedback
  2. jaymethyValued MemberMember

    I'm not sure if the right bacteria will just find your tank....
    But bottled bacteria can't hurt, and will speed up your cycle, so I'd suggest that.
  3. lnormanNew MemberMember

    Day 4 readings 4/0/didn't test nitrates ph is pretty low, 7.0 tapwater was about 7.5, I don't think anything happening yet. I had added enough drops of ammonia initially to get up to 6 I thought, but I did not confirm that I had achieved that. Since I have 0 nitrite, I assume I have not lost any yet, so probably never got there. Added some more, now at 6/0/no test . I added 25ml/10gal of Nutrafin "Cycle" as advised for day #1 to try and move things along. I am not convinced based off reviews that its going to make much difference, but since I already bought it and have it around I figure I'll try it. Not sure why pH is so low, I have filter running but no Aeration at this point. Do I need to raise the pH to make cycle move forward, and if so, how?
  4. lnormanNew MemberMember

    Was sort of hoping for some more advice here. Is there a way to post this to indicate I'm looking for some help?
  5. jaymethyValued MemberMember

    There's no way to determine where you are getting with your cycle without complete and regular testing. So thinking you added enough drops to get to 6 isn't really enough information. If you had tested 6ppm, then it's easier to determine where you are at.
    So with running tests, bump your ammonia to 6ppm. It should drop over time as the bacteria develops, keep upping it to 4ppm minimum every time it drops, until it is reverting to 0ppm in 24 hours. So this will involve testing your ammonia and nitrates and nitrites every day. Eventually your bacteria colony will be big enough to process 4ppm of ammonia down to 0ppm in 24 hours. At this point (or a little bit sooner) you will begin to see nitrates. Continue dosing ammonia daily until your nitrates also return to zero. At that point you should be cycled.
    This will likely take several weeks total, and nitrates will only appear at the very end.

    pH 7.5 isn't particularly low, and I wouldn't suggest adding chemicals to try to mess with it. You could increase your temperature to about 80 to help speed the process along.

    As for posting to get more answers: I don't know if you added tags to your original post, but there are ways of doing that.
  6. lnormanNew MemberMember

    Thanks jaymethy,
    Agreed, I shoudlhave confirmed the 6.0 at start, but since nitrites still 0, I don't think I lost any ammonia yet. Is there any point to testing Nitrate at all until I see at least some nitrite? Seems like a waste of reagent. Have been running the tank at 80. Tapwater was pH 7.5 , but tank at 7.0. Either the Prime, the Ammonia or just running for 5-6 days seems to have dropped it. Should I keep adding the Nutrafin "Cycle" according to directions? There seems to be quite varying opinions on this product.
  7. jaymethyValued MemberMember

    I don't think you need to test nitrites until you see nitrates, but I could be wrong...
    I don't think there is anything wrong with your tank pH being at 7, and I prefer not to mess with pH.
    I'm not familiar with nutrafin cycle, but I don't think there would be any harm in using it. At the very least it could help speed up your cycle, or it could do nothing. So if you already have it, you might as well put it into the tank.
  8. lnormanNew MemberMember

    interesting discussion with LFS. Went in looking for TSS to help move things along. All they have is "Cycle" and "Colony". But in discussion, the salesperson basically stated that Fish out cycle is impossible, that anyone who claims to have done it is fooling themselves. I mentioned the many people on this forum who seem to have done it, and he said " the Forums are free, you get what you pay for".
  9. jaymethyValued MemberMember

    That's an interesting opinion that I have not heard before. Was this a fish store or a general pet store? I tend to trust aquarium stores a lot more, and believe very little of what pet store employees tell me regarding any pet to be quite honest. I had a pet store employee once tell me that my cat needed vegetables... Did the employee explain why fishless cyles aren't "real"?

    I personally think fishless cycles are definitely doable. You can introduce the bacteria that is needed, and the ammonia needed to sustain the bacteria. There's not much else too it (aside from time), so I don't see it being impossible. To the lfs employee's point, you cannot fishless cycle to the bacteria size colony to support your entire stock, which is why it's suggested to add a few fish at a time, wait a week or two and then add a few more. This enable's the bacteria to catch up with the level of ammonia being produced.

    I will caution you though, I've only heard of TSS being used in fish-in cycles, and I'm not sure if it would work in fishless cycles... I just used a basic bottled bacteria when I fishless cycled.
  10. lnormanNew MemberMember

    Tank finally cycled. I tried for a few weeks fishless, with a few differnet versions of bottled BB. No hint of any action at all. Since this was a project for my 11 y.o. son and I didn't want him to lsoe interest, we changed the plan and did "fish In" cycle, bought 10 small danios for $12 and managed to get a small amount of filter media. My son named all the Danios collectively the "Jeramiah's" , so he was prepeared for them to be potential sacrifices to the cycle. Not much change for a few weeks, but finally a week ago a big Nitrite spike, a few water changes and now a few days in a row of Zero Ammonia, Zero Nitrite. So I think we are there. Now we are thinking about how to stock the tank. I will start a new thread about that.