SUPER slow fishless cycle... Any thoughts?? - Page 2

  • Thread Starter

PizzaStina

Member
Gosh, my ammonia is still not zero today. It's close, but not yet. I finally officially tested my tap water and it has .5 ammonia in it, which is really frustrating because now every time I do a water change it is just adding some more ammonia. And it's just not processing this ammonia fast enough at all. GAHHHH.

I think like I said let's give this thing two more weeks... I have Prime, so as long as I can get it processing fast enough I think doing water changes with that should keep fish safe....
 

mattgirl

Member
PizzaStina said:
Gosh, my ammonia is still not zero today. It's close, but not yet. I finally officially tested my tap water and it has .5 ammonia in it, which is really frustrating because now every time I do a water change it is just adding some more ammonia. And it's just not processing this ammonia fast enough at all. GAHHHH.

I think like I said let's give this thing two more weeks... I have Prime, so as long as I can get it processing fast enough I think doing water changes with that should keep fish safe....
If it makes you feel any better some folks seem to never see a true zero ammonia reading. Once we are sure this tank is cycled the .5 ammonia in your tap water isn't going to be a big deal. Your bacteria should quickly take care of the small amount you will be adding when doing your water changes and Prime will protect your fish while it is doing it.
 
  • Thread Starter

PizzaStina

Member
Since my reading was around .25 yesterday, I decided to dose ammonia, only up to 1ppm to see if it would get it moving. 24 hours later and its still reading around 1ppm. UGH. I feel like I only ever had ONE moment of seeing significant ammonia drops in these last 7 and a half weeks, a week after a first big water change. Last week I did a big one and ended up doing a partial one too (tried vacuuming the gravel to get gunk out but my vacuum is bad...) and it seems as if my cycle is just totally stalled. Or at the very least the drops in ammonia are happening so slowly that I'm still not comfortable putting fish in. Very frustrating!! I'm out of town this weekend though so I need to wait a while anyway before getting fish...
 

mattgirl

Member
Well shoot. This one has me scratching my head. I really don't know what else to suggest other than just giving it more time. I can't see a reason for the ammonia eating bacteria not to grow and do its job. Are your nitrates going up at all?
 
  • Thread Starter

PizzaStina

Member
The highest I've gotten nitrates are at around 10ppm. I tested those yesterday before dosing ammonia, and they seemed to be between 5-10ppm (as I had done water changing not too long before that it, I guess it makes sense they haven't increased very much as a water change brings them down...)
Also, I've been ghost feeding the tank every 2 or 3 days and I have always had zero nitrites. At this point I feel like I'm making my tank dirty for no reason... should I continue to ghost feed anyway?
Also.... I definitely have a good layer of film all over the tank walls. I think a lot of it is the gunk thats still floating around a bit. I looked it up and read that having this film is a sign of a matured tank. That leads me to believe I really should be seeing fast ammonia drops by now.... but I just still am not. UGH!
 

mattgirl

Member
PizzaStina said:
The highest I've gotten nitrates are at around 10ppm. I tested those yesterday before dosing ammonia, and they seemed to be between 5-10ppm (as I had done water changing not too long before that it, I guess it makes sense they haven't increased very much as a water change brings them down...)
Also, I've been ghost feeding the tank every 2 or 3 days and I have always had zero nitrites. At this point I feel like I'm making my tank dirty for no reason... should I continue to ghost feed anyway?
You have done water changes to remove some of the nitrates but they are still very gradually going up so we know you have both ammonia and nitrite eating bacteria. Without both of them there would be no nitrates at all.

Problem being for some odd reason you don't have enough ammonia eating bacteria. Are you 100% positive your ammonia test is telling you the truth? Have you by any chance tested any water you know for sure will have no ammonia in it such as bottled drinking water or even distilled water?

I really wouldn't be concerned about not seeing nitrites. This is one of the reasons I don't care for bottled bacteria. Without it we know just what to expect. With it we don't always see what we expect to see. Since the fish food doesn't seem to be making any difference you may as well stop adding it. Don't vac out what's in there right now though.

I am just reaching for straws now. How well is your filter working? Did the build up of sludge slow down the flow? Maybe the ammonia laden water is not being pulled through the media well enough.
 
  • Thread Starter

PizzaStina

Member
I'm pretty sure my test kit is accurate. I also have Ammonia Alert hanging in my tank.... I've only ever seen it be gray or yellow. The one time it turned very clearly yellow, my test kit turned up yellow too. Any other time its gray-ish it has read .25 or above in the test tubes.

I haven't tested distilled water to see if it reads zero but thats not a bad idea.

I think my filter is running pretty well. When I did a partial change a few days ago it was all flowing out properly. This is post-sludge cleaning. I am almost worried if I could have cleaned the filter too thoroughly and killed my bacteria colony?! I really just swished it around and rubbed it off a bit with my hands in old tank water, though.

It was a couple of weeks pre-cleaning the gunk off the filter that I got that ammonia read of zero...

Also, not sure if you saw because it merged, but I definitely have a good layer of film all over my walls... not sure that means anything about the cycle though.
 

mattgirl

Member
I don't think you would have removed too much bacteria by cleaning the media as long as you cleaned it in water pulled from the tank or fresh dechlorinated water.

I don't think I've asked before. What kind of substrate do you have in this tank? What kind of decor? Live or artificial plants?

What you are seeing on the walls of the tank will be bio-film. If it is getting pretty thick I would be scraping it off. I wouldn't scrub the glass but would use something like an expired credit/gift card and scrape some of it off.
 

Dechi

Member
When everything else has been ruled out, a weak filter might be the cause of lingering ammonia.

I would try increasing water agitation (you can aim a powerhead to the surface if you have one, or the outlet of your filter).

It’s possible your filter isn’t powerful enough and not moving water enough around the bio-media, which explains why the BB colonization is not strong enough to deal with 100% of your bio load.

Look at the specs of your filter and see if it’s enough. If not, get a more powerful one.
 
  • Thread Starter

PizzaStina

Member
Ok. The film really is everywhere. I'm even seeing it attached to/floating about my fake plants. I took a look inside my filter and I even see it on there still... not the brown stuff, but a clear film.

I'll scrape it off tomorrow probably. You think I should clean up the filter again maybe?

I have gravel substrate, three fake plants (one large-ish one in the back and two skinny tall ones), two fake coral reef hiding spots and one little sleeping mermaid....
Dechi said:
When everything else has been ruled out, a weak filter might be the cause of lingering ammonia.

I would try increasing water agitation (you can aim a powerhead to the surface if you have one, or the outlet of your filter).

It’s possible your filter isn’t powerful enough and not moving water enough around the bio-media, which explains why the BB colonization is not strong enough to deal with 100% of your bio load.

Look at the specs of your filter and see if it’s enough. If not, get a more powerful one.
Here's what I've got running on my 10 gallon tank:

It says its for up to a 20 gallon, but maybe it's not the best?

Do you have any recommendations for better filters? If so, hopefully its one I can fit my somewhat-established filter media inside??
Also, I have a carbon filter in this thing. I'm now reading that carbon filters need to be replaced every month. But wouldn't that get rid of the bacteria I need?!

So with a non-carbon filter.... what exactly do I use? I'm so confused now. Lol
 

Kamikadze

Member
Hello, PizzaStina. In my experience the easiest way to do fishless cycle is by adding plants and snails (mystery, nerite). Mystery and nerites won’t have babies without you noticing them and easy to control if you don’t wanna more. Besides, snails are a good indicator of ammonia spikes - they will climb to the top to get some air. So, just set up your tank, add dechlorinated water, put in plants (optional) and snails and feed them with fish food or a piece of blanched vegetable once a week or so. In a month you’ll have the full cycle done.
 
  • Thread Starter

PizzaStina

Member
Wow, alright. Guess I should have researched filtration better. I figured they were all the same. Now I'm seeing what biomedia ACTUALLY means and its not some carbon filter you buy to put in this Aqueon I have.... Jeeeeesus.
Question.... I just ordered a better filter and Fluval biorings... But I'm wondering.... can I just keep the Aqueon filter I have but throw away the carbon filter, and just fill the thing up with the biorings?? It would save me money....
 

mattgirl

Member
PizzaStina said:
Ok. The film really is everywhere. I'm even seeing it attached to/floating about my fake plants. I took a look inside my filter and I even see it on there still... not the brown stuff, but a clear film.

I'll scrape it off tomorrow probably. You think I should clean up the filter again maybe?

I have gravel substrate, three fake plants (one large-ish one in the back and two skinny tall ones), two fake coral reef hiding spots and one little sleeping mermaid....


Here's what I've got running on my 10 gallon tank:

It says its for up to a 20 gallon, but maybe it's not the best?

Do you have any recommendations for better filters? If so, hopefully its one I can fit my somewhat-established filter media inside??
Looks like you have plenty of places for the bacteria to grow just not enough filtration/water movement.

I am leaning toward the suggestion Dechi made. I am thinking there just isn't enough filtration/water movement. The problem with most HOB filters is they are over rated. Seldom do they turn over as much water as they say they do. I am a firm believer in over filtration. I run a penn-plax cascade 150 on my 5.5 gallon tank. The company that makes it tells us it will take care of a 35 gallon tank. In my humble opinion they are blowing smoke. It is just barely strong enough for this little tank.

I am afraid the one you have just isn't powerful enough to get the job done. When you replace this one get one that will turn over the most water. Get the most powerful one you can that will fit your tank. You can never have too much filtration. Too much water movement but never too much filtration. If the current is too strong you can baffle it.

I am actually running a filter they say is for a 55 up to 100 gallon tank on my 12 gallon pleco grow out tank. The penn-plax cascades have a control knob to slow the flow but I run it full blast but have baffled the outflow with a piece of foam. the foam serves double duty. It baffles the flow and is another place for bacteria.

These are the filters I run n all my tanks. I have had very good luck with them. I don't use the cartridges they come with. I replaced them with a sponge and other permanent media. In my case that media consists of a mixture of matrix, lava rock and ceramic rings in media bags. .
 
  • Thread Starter

PizzaStina

Member
mattgirl said:
Looks like you have plenty of places for the bacteria to grow just not enough filtration/water movement.

I am leaning toward the suggestion Dechi made. I am thinking there just isn't enough filtration/water movement. The problem with most HOB filters is they are over rated. Seldom do they turn over as much water as they say they do. I am a firm believer in over filtration. I run a penn-plax cascade 150 on my 5.5 gallon tank. The company that makes it tells us it will take care of a 35 gallon tank. In my humble opinion they are blowing smoke. It is just barely strong enough for this little tank.

I am afraid the one you have just isn't powerful enough to get the job done. When you replace this one get one that will turn over the most water. Get the most powerful one you can that will fit your tank. You can never have too much filtration. Too much water movement but never too much filtration. If the current is too strong you can baffle it.

I am actually running a filter they say is for a 55 up to 100 gallon tank on my 12 gallon pleco grow out tank. The penn-plax cascades have a control knob to slow the flow but I run it full blast but have baffled the outflow with a piece of foam. the foam serves double duty. It baffles the flow and is another place for bacteria.

These are the filters I run n all my tanks. I have had very good luck with them. I don't use the cartridges they come with. I replaced them with a sponge and other permanent media. In my case that media consists of a mixture of matrix, lava rock and ceramic rings in media bags. .
Ok... I am really hoping this will solve my problem!!

Here's what I just ordered after doing quick research:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07NJ28T1X/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000HHSG5M/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Should I order anything else? Sponges etc? Will that Fluval come with a bag to put it in?!
 

mattgirl

Member
PizzaStina said:
Ok... I am really hoping this will solve my problem!!

Here's what I just ordered after doing quick research:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07NJ28T1X/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000HHSG5M/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Should I order anything else? Sponges etc? Will that Fluval come with a bag to put it in?!
Good job. It looks like you will have to buy a sponge or sponges. It looks like the only media that comes with this filter is matrix. Check out this thread. It will help you determine what kind of media to get for your new filter for optimal performance. Diy Media Guide For Top Fin Silenstream, Aquaclear And Other Hob Filters | Aquarium Filter Forum | 385506

I don't know if a media bag is supplied. I actually use the foot out of panty hose or the nylon knee highs. They work very well.
 
  • Thread Starter

PizzaStina

Member
mattgirl said:
Good job. It looks like you will have to buy a sponge or sponges. It looks like the only media that comes with this filter is matrix. Check out this thread. It will help you determine what kind of media to get for your new filter for optimal performance. Diy Media Guide For Top Fin Silenstream, Aquaclear And Other Hob Filters | Aquarium Filter Forum | 385506

I don't know if a media bag is supplied. I actually use the foot out of panty hose or the nylon knee highs. They work very well.
Awesome, stockings will do the trick I bet!

It's recommending on Amazon to buy the foam specific to the filter as well as Purigen. It seems this would cover all my bases... Mechanical filtration, bio filtration (the Fluval I bought, or even the Matrix) and then chemical filtration...??

Also.... would it be a good idea to put my old carbon cartridge in this new filter at first? I have a small sponge at the front too, that I can definitely put in. Or do we really not want an old carbon filter in here at all? Reading mixed things...
 

mattgirl

Member
PizzaStina said:
Awesome, stockings will do the trick I bet!

It's recommending on Amazon to buy the foam specific to the filter as well as Purigen. It seems this would cover all my bases... Mechanical filtration, bio filtration (the Fluval I bought, or even the Matrix) and then chemical filtration...??

Also.... would it be a good idea to put my old carbon cartridge in this new filter at first? I have a small sponge at the front too, that I can definitely put in. Or do we really not want an old carbon filter in here at all? Reading mixed things...
I would hold off on the purigen for now. I don't think you need chemical filtration at this point. You don't have to get a specific brand of foam but it is good to get different densities. Layer it where the coarsest foam is the one the water goes through first and gradually getting denser. Your bio-media such as matrix will be the last thing the water to goes through before going back in the tank. I am not sure how the Tidal works so can't really tell you exactly how to set it up.

You may want to start another thread so those that have this filter will be able to guide you through how they set theirs up for optional performance.
 
  • Thread Starter

PizzaStina

Member
mattgirl said:
I would hold off on the purigen for now. I don't think you need chemical filtration at this point. You don't have to get a specific brand of foam but it is good to get different densities. Layer it where the coarsest foam is the one the water goes through first and gradually getting denser. Your bio-media such as matrix will be the last thing the water to goes through before going back in the tank. I am not sure how the Tidal works so can't really tell you exactly how to set it up.

You may want to start another thread so those that have this filter will be able to guide you through how they set theirs up for optional performance.
Alright. I bought it anyway cuz I'm anxious to get this thing going but I'll just hold on to the Purigen for later.

I'll probably do a search through the forum and see if some tips on this filter already exist...

And THANK YOU for always replying to my crazy frustrated posts with all your tips!!!
 

Dechi

Member
PizzaStina said:
So with a non-carbon filter.... what exactly do I use? I'm so confused now. Lol
mattgirl has pretty much said it all.

Carbon is what we call a chemical media. It can be added to any filter and although some people routinely use it (that’s how it was in the old days), it is not necessary, it will take the place of more useful media and it can even be detrimental to some sensitive fish.

You should have some carbon handy, but only use it to remove chemicals in the tank. For example after dosing meds, you’d want to remove them from the water after it’s taken it’s course. It’s not meant to be used permanently and should be used for short periods of time only.

Filters need to be filled with mechanical media, to trap dirt particles, and with bio media, to house beneficial bacteria. On a per need basis, people will use carbon, or phosguard, etc. But as a fish keeper, you could go 10 years without even using it a single time.

I’m sure your new filter will help. :)
 
  • Thread Starter

PizzaStina

Member
Dechi said:
mattgirl has pretty much said it all.

Carbon is what we call a chemical media. It can be added to any filter and although some people routinely use it (that’s how it was in the old days), it is not necessary, it will take the place of more useful media and it can even be detrimental to some sensitive fish.

You should have some carbon handy, but only use it to remove chemicals in the tank. For example after dosing meds, you’d want to remove them from the water after it’s taken it’s course. It’s not meant to be used permanently and should be used for short periods of time only.

Filters need to be filled with mechanical media, to trap dirt particles, and with bio media, to house beneficial bacteria. On a per need basis, people will use carbon, or phosguard, etc. But as a fish keeper, you could go 10 years without even using it a single time.

I’m sure your new filter will help.
Wow. Yeah, in my rush of research I read basically what you just said.... that the carbon is not really needed unless you're treating sick fish. AND I read that those carbon filters I was told to buy for my filter actually go bad and need to be replaced every 4 weeks which really kind of defeats the purpose of getting you tank cycled?! As you want your filter media to stay put with all of its colonizing bacteria on it...!!

JEEZ how crazy. But also, super lame that Petco clearly doesn't know about any of this stuff. Really wish I had researched more on filtration earlier!!! Everything about the higher powered filters with the porous bio media that actually hold on to your bacteria colonies makes so much sense and I think this will get it going right.... I hope.
 

mattgirl

Member
I think you have a good grasp on what to do once you get you new filter. As I mentioned before, cut the fiber off the plastic frame. Toss the frame and the enclosed carbon. That piece of fiber is going to have bacteria on it so just put it in your new filter along with all the new media.

Just for general information. Media is simply a word that covers anything we put in our filter for holding bacteria
 
  • Thread Starter

PizzaStina

Member
Good tip!!

I figured media meant anything in your filter, but I had no idea there was a difference between these carbon filters/other filters and didn't know there were these separate bio media pieces!!!

Everything is coming tomorrow so I'm going to get it fired up as soon as I can. Hopefully there is enough bacteria still established to really ramp it up quickly!!!
 
  • Thread Starter

PizzaStina

Member
Filters up and running - it definitely seems more powerful! Super easy set up, and I put basically every piece of cloth and foam sans charcoal from the old filter in there just above the coarse filter. Then a bag mixed with both some Matrix and Fluval (the filter did come with a bag which is great. And foam too!)

I took an ammonia reading and it's sorta looking closer to .5ppm now. I was wondering, should I go ahead and see when that amount drops to zero? Or should I re-dose up to 2ppm as I did at the beginning of this whole process?
 

mattgirl

Member
PizzaStina said:
Filters up and running - it definitely seems more powerful! Super easy set up, and I put basically every piece of cloth and foam sans charcoal from the old filter in there just above the coarse filter. Then a bag mixed with both some Matrix and Fluval (the filter did come with a bag which is great. And foam too!)

I took an ammonia reading and it's sorta looking closer to .5ppm now. I was wondering, should I go ahead and see when that amount drops to zero? Or should I re-dose up to 2ppm as I did at the beginning of this whole process?
Great job. I think if it were me I would see if it will get down closer to zero before adding more.
 
  • Thread Starter

PizzaStina

Member
Well, my ammonia reading on Friday was still about .5, but I was going to be out of town for just over 48 hours, so I dosed it a touch, just up to 1ppm, to see if there'd be some kind of noticable drop by the time I returned... And nothing. Still at 1ppm today.

My nitrites on Friday were 0 and nitrates were at about 5.

I ordered a bottle of Stability and began dosing it to see if it will help anything.... Just kind of seems like I'm starting over again at square one with this new filter. Ugh!
 

mattgirl

Member
PizzaStina said:
Well, my ammonia reading on Friday was still about .5, but I was going to be out of town for just over 48 hours, so I dosed it a touch, just up to 1ppm, to see if there'd be some kind of noticable drop by the time I returned... And nothing. Still at 1ppm today.

My nitrites on Friday were 0 and nitrates were at about 5.

I ordered a bottle of Stability and began dosing it to see if it will help anything.... Just kind of seems like I'm starting over again at square one with this new filter. Ugh!
As long as you moved the media from the other filter over to this one you shouldn't be starting over. If there was bacteria on the media, that bacteria is now in the new filter.

I know it seems like we are going around in circles with this cycle. Are you willing to try bottled bacteria again?

If so then I am going to suggest you change out most of the water in this tank. Since you are using prime for your water conditioner wait 24 hours after the water change and then add enough ammonia to get it up to 3ppm. Once done pour a very well shaken bottle of Tetra Safe Start plus directly into your filter. For the next 2 weeks test nothing but the ammonia and add more as needed to keep it up to 3ppm. Make sure the temp of the tank is up close to 80 degrees during these 2 weeks.

Keep some prime treated water set aside for topping off the tank due to evaporation. You want to set it aside for at least 24 hours after adding prime before pouring it in the tank. Some folks think prime interferes with the TSS so we don't want to take a chance of it happening. If the TSS+ is going to work this tank should be cycled at the end of 2 weeks.
 
  • Thread Starter

PizzaStina

Member
mattgirl said:
As long as you moved the media from the other filter over to this one you shouldn't be starting over. If there was bacteria on the media, that bacteria is now in the new filter.

I know it seems like we are going around in circles with this cycle. Are you willing to try bottled bacteria again?

If so then I am going to suggest you change out most of the water in this tank. Since you are using prime for your water conditioner wait 24 hours after the water change and then add enough ammonia to get it up to 3ppm. Once done pour a very well shaken bottle of Tetra Safe Start plus directly into your filter. For the next 2 weeks test nothing but the ammonia and add more as needed to keep it up to 3ppm. Make sure the temp of the tank is up close to 80 degrees during these 2 weeks.

Keep some prime treated water set aside for topping off the tank due to evaporation. You want to set it aside for at least 24 hours after adding prime before pouring it in the tank. Some folks think prime interferes with the TSS so we don't want to take a chance of it happening. If the TSS+ is going to work this tank should be cycled at the end of 2 weeks.
I'm definitely willing to give the TSS+ another go. I actually have been using a regular water conditioner this whole time, since it's fishless (I basically have both a regular conditioner and Prime handy that I figure save to use when I get the fish for safety.) In which case I assume just follow the instructions minus waiting 24 hours for Prime to settle?? Also, do we think dosing with Stability is useless... ? Or should I keep trying that as well?
 

mattgirl

Member
PizzaStina said:
I'm definitely willing to give the TSS+ another go. I actually have been using a regular water conditioner this whole time, since it's fishless (I basically have both a regular conditioner and Prime handy that I figure save to use when I get the fish for safety.) In which case I assume just follow the instructions minus waiting 24 hours for Prime to settle?? Also, do we think dosing with Stability is useless... ? Or should I keep trying that as well?
Gotcha. It doesn't seem like this cycle has done anything while using the stability and there really is no need to use both it and TSS+. I would still wait 24 hours after the water change before adding the TSS. I have heard prime affects it and I've also heard others will too. I don't know how much truth there is in that but it is easy enough to just not chance it. We want to give the TSS every possible chance to work.
 
  • Thread Starter

PizzaStina

Member
mattgirl said:
Gotcha. It doesn't seem like this cycle has done anything while using the stability and there really is no need to use both it and TSS+. I would still wait 24 hours after the water change before adding the TSS. I have heard prime affects it and I've also heard others will too. I don't know how much truth there is in that but it is easy enough to just not chance it. We want to give the TSS every possible chance to work.
Ok - I'll do a big water change, wait a day and then give it another go with TSS+.

Should I keep my ammonia around 2-3ppm constantly? Or wait for a full drop to zero before re-dosing?
 

mattgirl

Member
PizzaStina said:
Ok - I'll do a big water change, wait a day and then give it another go with TSS+.

Should I keep my ammonia around 2-3ppm constantly? Or wait for a full drop to zero before re-dosing?
I would start out with 3ppm and add more when/if it drops down to 2ppm. Normally I want to see the ammonia drop closer to zero but in this case we want to keep the TSS bacteria well fed. Under normal circumstances I wouldn't be advising this much ammonia in this size tank but this is an unusual case. It has been a few days and I've replied to a lot of threads but if I am remembering correctly this is a 10 gallon tank we are working on.
 
  • Thread Starter

PizzaStina

Member
mattgirl said:
I would start out with 3ppm and add more when/if it drops down to 2ppm. Normally I want to see the ammonia drop closer to zero but in this case we want to keep the TSS bacteria well fed. Under normal circumstances I wouldn't be advising this much ammonia in this size tank but this is an unusual case. It has been a few days and I've replied to a lot of threads but if I am remembering correctly this is a 10 gallon tank we are working on.
Got it. Yeah, it's a 10 gallon tank.

I assume the goal would be to essentially see that 3ppm ammonia drop to zero within 24 hours?
 

mattgirl

Member
PizzaStina said:
Got it. Yeah, it's a 10 gallon tank.

I assume the goal would be to essentially see that 3ppm ammonia drop to zero within 24 hours?
Right. that is what we hope will be happening at the end of the 2 weeks. That and also seeing the nitrates go up.
 
  • Thread Starter

PizzaStina

Member
Question.... I just did a 75% water change on March 26th, and even about a 30% one a couple days after that.... do you think in that case I can just go ahead and dump this TSS+ without another big water change? ITs just a pain to do and I'm getting impatient, LOL.
 

flopperfrog

Member
PizzaStina said:
Hi everyone!

I am a newbie to aquariums and bought a 10 gallon tank on January 30th.

I stupidly did what the people at Petco tell you to do - which is to simply set it up, add dechlorinator and bottled bacteria, wait a week, and come back for your fish.

During that week I started reading about the nitrogen cycle and got a little nervous. I ordered the API Master Test Kit and got readings of .25 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and 0 nitrates, and soon found out that without an ammonia source, the cycle will not start.

But then I read about Seachem Prime and fish-in cycling and figured, well, maybe I can try a fish-in cycle with three small fish to start, so I ordered Prime, put some in the tank, and got 3 GloFish from Petco. I acclimated them for a pretty long time (maybe close to 2 hours) and they all seemed to be doing well at first.... until slowly one by one they all died. They lasted about 8 hours. I was very bummed!

So I decided I should give this fishless cycle thing a shot and I put pure ammonia in my tank on February 7th. I dosed it up to 4ppm, and waited and waited....a week an a half later there were no changes, so I did some more reading. I added an airstone (already had a filter of course), cranked my heater up to 84F, left the tank lid open, and also dumped in a bottle of TSS+ to see if I could get the right type of bacteria started up quicker.

Finally, a week after adding the TSS+, I start to get a slightly lower ammonia reading, around 2ppm (on February 24th). I have zero nitrites still, but now what seems to be a very slight nitrate reading (just a hint of orange).

The next day the ammonia looks to be closer to 1ppm, but the other readings are still the same. I read that for a 10 gallon tank its wise to try to keep your ammonia at around 2ppm, as to keep providing the food source for bacteria. So I dose just a teeny pinch.

Today my readings are about 2ppm, 0 nitrite, MAYBE 5ppm nitrate.

In a couple days it will have been three weeks since dosing my tank with ammonia and this just seems like a really long time for the cycle to hardly be doing anything?? I had read usually it takes 7-12 days for ammonia to drop, and while it seemed to have started dropping, it wasn't by that much, and due to evaporation I had topped off the tank a couple of times with dechlorinated water, could just that alone have dropped the ammonia? Just wondering if this is normal to take so long to see any significant change, and if not, what am I doing wrong?
i know this is old but i just wanted to add that i started my tank about the same time as yours, and it finished cycling a few days ago, for some it takes a few weeks but i wasnt so lucky haha
 

mattgirl

Member
PizzaStina said:
Question.... I just did a 75% water change on March 26th, and even about a 30% one a couple days after that.... do you think in that case I can just go ahead and dump this TSS+ without another big water change? ITs just a pain to do and I'm getting impatient, LOL.
We won't be starting with as fresh water as I would be doing but that might not be a problem. All we can do is go with it and see what happens.
 
  • Thread Starter

PizzaStina

Member
mattgirl said:
We won't be starting with as fresh water as I would be doing but that might not be a problem. All we can do is go with it and see what happens.
Yeah, I just went ahead and dumped it. The TSS+ I got this time is for up to a 50 gal tank which is more than I've dosed before. I got my ammonia up to what looks like 3-4ppm and dosed all of the TSS+ so here's hoping it gets going....
 
  • Thread Starter

PizzaStina

Member
It's been 48 hours, and it looks like my ammonia dropped close to 1ppm! So I dosed it a touch, enough to get it up to at least 2ppm (I have the Fritz Ammonia which is sorta hard to control exactly but I've mostly gotten the hang of it.)

It's definitely time for a top-off of water though, and one thing I'm wondering is, even if I'm not using Prime as conditioner, should I still let the water sit for 24 hours...? I'm afraid of ruining the TSS+ but not sure this matters with just regular conditioner...
 

mattgirl

Member
PizzaStina said:
It's been 48 hours, and it looks like my ammonia dropped close to 1ppm! So I dosed it a touch, enough to get it up to at least 2ppm (I have the Fritz Ammonia which is sorta hard to control exactly but I've mostly gotten the hang of it.)

It's definitely time for a top-off of water though, and one thing I'm wondering is, even if I'm not using Prime as conditioner, should I still let the water sit for 24 hours...? I'm afraid of ruining the TSS+ but not sure this matters with just regular conditioner...
Yay, It sounds like the TSS is helping.

I am not totally sure but I do think as long as you add a conditioner other than one that detoxes ammonia it should be safe to add the water immediately after adding the conditioner to it.
 
  • Thread Starter

PizzaStina

Member
Ok, I kind of assumed so, but wanted to check. It's what I had been doing before anyway, and I had at least some kind of bacteria colony at some point going in the old filter... so it must have not affected it. Thanks!
 
  • Thread Starter

PizzaStina

Member
Well, it seems like I'm still only processing about 1ppm ammonia within 48 hours (it takes about that long still to drop from the around 2ppm I dose it up to, to 1ppm.) Kind of frustrating as I was hoping to get fish this weekend. The nitrates have climbed to a solid 20 so something is definitely happening... I'm thinking, should I go ahead and leave the current 1ppm ammonia I just tested now and see how long that takes to drop to zero? Or go ahead and re-dose up to 2ppm as I've been doing...? Or maybe give it a big water change and re-dose...?
 

mattgirl

Member
PizzaStina said:
Well, it seems like I'm still only processing about 1ppm ammonia within 48 hours (it takes about that long still to drop from the around 2ppm I dose it up to, to 1ppm.) Kind of frustrating as I was hoping to get fish this weekend. The nitrates have climbed to a solid 20 so something is definitely happening... I'm thinking, should I go ahead and leave the current 1ppm ammonia I just tested now and see how long that takes to drop to zero? Or go ahead and re-dose up to 2ppm as I've been doing...? Or maybe give it a big water change and re-dose...?
If it has been less than 2 weeks since you added the TSS you may want to hold off on the water change for now. I know the instructions advise adding it and do nothing for 2 weeks to give it time to work. I would see if the ammonia will go down closer to zero before adding any more.
 
  • Thread Starter

PizzaStina

Member
Ah, ok. I think its been 9 or 10 days - so I won't do a water change, unless somehow the tank is magically ready for fish by this weekend? (Then I'd have to do a change to get nitrates down).

I'll leave my ammonia levels alone then and see if it gets close to zero soon.
 
  • Thread Starter

PizzaStina

Member
So every time my ammonia drops to about .5ppm, I re-dose it and it gets somewhere between 1-2ppm, never going over 2 for sure.

It's still seemingly taking 48 hours for that amount to drop down to just .5ppm. At this point it's been just over 2 weeks since I added the TSS+. Should I go ahead and do a big water change or something? I was really hoping to get fish this weekend, but am worried the ammonia still won't be processing fast enough. Nitrates are at around 20ppm, possibly close to 30 when I checked yesterday so something's happening...
 

mattgirl

Member
PizzaStina said:
So every time my ammonia drops to about .5ppm, I re-dose it and it gets somewhere between 1-2ppm, never going over 2 for sure.

It's still seemingly taking 48 hours for that amount to drop down to just .5ppm. At this point it's been just over 2 weeks since I added the TSS+. Should I go ahead and do a big water change or something? I was really hoping to get fish this weekend, but am worried the ammonia still won't be processing fast enough. Nitrates are at around 20ppm, possibly close to 30 when I checked yesterday so something's happening...
Yes, I would go ahead and and do a water change. By doing so it may speed up how quickly the ammonia goes down. Since it is processing the ammonia and you are seeing nitrates I have to think this cycle is done or at least very very close to it. If it were me I would change out at least half the water. Check to see if the ammonia is down to or very close to zero. If not do another water change and then add fish.

The thing is when we add ammonia we are adding a full days worth all at once. The fish are adding it just a tiny bit at a time. The bacteria should clear out that little bit constantly so it shouldn't rise.
 
  • Thread Starter

PizzaStina

Member
mattgirl said:
Yes, I would go ahead and and do a water change. By doing so it may speed up how quickly the ammonia goes down. Since it is processing the ammonia and you are seeing nitrates I have to think this cycle is done or at least very very close to it. If it were me I would change out at least half the water. Check to see if the ammonia is down to or very close to zero. If not do another water change and then add fish.

The thing is when we add ammonia we are adding a full days worth all at once. The fish are adding it just a tiny bit at a time. The bacteria should clear out that little bit constantly so it shouldn't rise.
Yeah, I am kind of thinking, it must be processing enough for some small fish to handle at least.

My tap water seems to have about .5 ammonia in it already so I am thinking maybe just hold off on feeding it any more ammonia til Friday night, do a big water change then, then get fish the next day, after theres been some time to process that bit of ammonia? And dose my new water with Prime to be safe?
 

mattgirl

Member
PizzaStina said:
Yeah, I am kind of thinking, it must be processing enough for some small fish to handle at least.

My tap water seems to have about .5 ammonia in it already so I am thinking maybe just hold off on feeding it any more ammonia til Friday night, do a big water change then, then get fish the next day, after theres been some time to process that bit of ammonia? And dose my new water with Prime to be safe?
Prime should detox the ammonia you will be adding with the water. I wouldn't add any extra. We are hoping the water change is going to kick the ammonia eating bacteria into high gear and will clear all of it out of there by Saturday.
 
  • Thread Starter

PizzaStina

Member
mattgirl said:
Prime should detox the ammonia you will be adding with the water. I wouldn't add any extra. We are hoping the water change is going to kick the ammonia eating bacteria into high gear and will clear all of it out of there by Saturday.
Right.... I guess I'm just thinking though that since I'll have to do a big water change to lower nitrates, I might as well wait to do that single water change Friday night? Then get my Fish Saturday? Or would you recommend I do a big water change today AND just before getting fish....? To see if today's water change gets the ammonia down quicker?
 

mattgirl

Member
PizzaStina said:
Right.... I guess I'm just thinking though that since I'll have to do a big water change to lower nitrates, I might as well wait to do that single water change Friday night? Then get my Fish Saturday? Or would you recommend I do a big water change today AND just before getting fish....? To see if today's water change gets the ammonia down quicker?
I would go ahead and do the water change now. By doing so you will have some time to see if the bacteria is going to clean out the ammonia you are adding when doing the water change. If it has you may not need to do another water change before getting fish. The nitrates won't have gone up enough to warrant another water change Friday.
 
  • Thread Starter

PizzaStina

Member
mattgirl said:
I would go ahead and do the water change now. By doing so you will have some time to see if the bacteria is going to clean out the ammonia you are adding when doing the water change. If it has you may not need to do another water change before getting fish. The nitrates won't have gone up enough to warrant another water change Friday.
Got it. I'll give it a good change tonight then. Nitrates should stay under 20 to be healthy, correct?
 

mattgirl

Member
PizzaStina said:
Got it. I'll give it a good change tonight then. Nitrates should stay under 20 to be healthy, correct?
Mine in my 55 gallon tank are normally higher than that but it is a heavily stocked tank. Some folks say 20 or lower others say 40 isn't too high. I can't say for sure how high is too high. I do try to keep mine in the orange range though.
 

Random Great Thread

Latest threads

Aquarium Calculator

Aquarium Photo Contests

Find a Guru

Top Bottom