29 Gallon Tank Tank hasn’t started cycling yet; should I be worried?

ThatDiverGuyfromNemo

Hey so I’m new to the forum. I’m a relatively new fish keeper who started a 5 gallon tank about 10 months ago with a single betta.
About a month ago, the betta died (not sure why, the water parameters were fine) and since then I have tried starting a community tank. I’ve got a 29 gallon with black sand, pebbles, a large hunk of Mopani wood, and a sponge filter and heater. I plan to add plenty of plants once I get a good amount of nitrate.
I tried staring the nitrogen cycle about 5 days ago by filling up with conditioned water and adding a little ammonia to about 2ppm along with daily doses of Seachem stability since then. The problem is that I’ve been testing daily and I haven’t even noticed a small change in parameters yet. I know 29 gallons will take longer to cycle than the 5 gallon did, but the fact that im not seeing any changes at all kind of has me worried. Do I have cause for concern?
 

Azedenkae

Yeah Seachem Stability is not suitable for cycling. Try a different bottled bac product. I recommend FritzZyme TurboStart 700. FritzZyme 7 or Tetra SafeStart works too.
 

Dunk2

Hey so I’m new to the forum. I’m a relatively new fish keeper who started a 5 gallon tank about 10 months ago with a single betta.
About a month ago, the betta died (not sure why, the water parameters were fine) and since then I have tried starting a community tank. I’ve got a 29 gallon with black sand, pebbles, a large hunk of Mopani wood, and a sponge filter and heater. I plan to add plenty of plants once I get a good amount of nitrate.
I tried staring the nitrogen cycle about 5 days ago by filling up with conditioned water and adding a little ammonia to about 2ppm along with daily doses of Seachem stability since then. The problem is that I’ve been testing daily and I haven’t even noticed a small change in parameters yet. I know 29 gallons will take longer to cycle than the 5 gallon did, but the fact that im not seeing any changes at all kind of has me worried. Do I have cause for concern?
Welcome to Fishlore!

What brand of ammonia are you using? And do you still have the filter media from the 5 gallon tank?

Because the cycling process can take 4 - 6 weeks, I wouldn’t be overly concerned since you’re only on day 5. And for whatever it’s worth, I wouldn’t characterize Seachem Stabilty as being “not suitable for cycling”. Like many bottled bacteria products, the results when using Stabilty are mixed.
 

Wonderingaloud

I’m new too. Such a great forum. You don’t need to panic, it takes weeks to properly cycle a tank. Mine has just finished today (yay) it took 4 weeks without using any bottled bacteria. The bacteria products are hit and miss I’ve heard.
You just need to wait now until your ammonia starts to drop. Once it gets to 0, dose back up to 2ppm and then start testing for nitrites, and wait for anmmonia and the nitrites to drop to 0 again. When they do too it up again and if your ammonia drops to 0 in 24hrs you’re cycled.
Nitrates are the end product.


Keep an eye on PH, if it gets too low it can cause the cycle to crash. Otherwise don’t change the water just let it be.

As a timeline (though every tank is different) my cycle took 18 days for the first lot of ammonia to go down to 0. After I topped it back up, it took another 6 days to get to 0 again. I never saw a nitrite spike though, just some nitrates. I topped it up again yesterday and today it’s 0
 

ThatDiverGuyfromNemo

Welcome to Fishlore!

What brand of ammonia are you using? And do you still have the filter media from the 5 gallon tank?

Because the cycling process can take 4 - 6 weeks, I wouldn’t be overly concerned since you’re only on day 5. And for whatever it’s worth, I wouldn’t characterize Seachem Stabilty as being “not suitable for cycling”. Like many bottled bacteria products, the results when using Stabilty are mixed.
I’m using Great Value ammonia from Walmart. It’s the only ammonia I could find that didn’t have a bunch of other stuff.
As far as filter media, I actually don’t have anything from the 5 gallon. It’s still running because it has a couple of Java ferns, some ghost shrimp, and a purple mystery in it right now. The 29 also has a sponge filter while the 5gallon has a hang on back, so it won’t transfer very well.

I do still have a ceramic decoration from when the betta was there. I’d put that in, but I’m worried about transferring some the brown diatoms that became a minor issue in the 5 gallon. Would the 2ppm ammonia kill those off?
 

Dunk2

I’m using Great Value ammonia from Walmart.
That brand of ammonia likely contains surfactants. Can you check the ingredients?

If it does contain surfactants, your tank isn’t going to cycle unfortunately.

Edit to add. . . Check the ingredients on your bottle of ammonia, but I found this on the net.


C63480E5-834C-494D-8205-71D9B98759B1.jpeg


DC5CE4C2-0C0D-46CC-80F3-694FE074662A.jpeg
 

ThatDiverGuyfromNemo

That brand of ammonia likely contains surfactants. Can you check the ingredients?

If it does contain surfactants, your tank isn’t going to cycle unfortunately.

Edit to add. . . Check the ingredients on your bottle of ammonia, but I found this on the net.


C63480E5-834C-494D-8205-71D9B98759B1.jpeg


DC5CE4C2-0C0D-46CC-80F3-694FE074662A.jpeg
Oof. So does that mean I need to drain and start over? If so, where do I get ammonia that’s better for fish tanks?
 

Dunk2

Oof. So does that mean I need to drain and start over? If so, where do I get ammonia that’s better for fish tanks?
Yes, assuming the ammonia you used contained surfactants (I’m fairly confident it does), you’ll need to drain the tank and rinse, rinse and rinse everything, including the filter and filter media. When you’re tired of rinsing everything, rinse some more. :)

As you said in a post above, pure ammonia has been very hard to find for a couple years. As a result, I suggest using Dr. Tim’s ammonium chloride.
https://www.amazon.com/DrTims-Aquat...021pAnSA==&sprefix=Dr+Tim’s+amm,aps,85&sr=8-4
 

ThatDiverGuyfromNemo

Well that sucks. Especially since I used the same stuff in the 5 gallon last year with no issues.
 

Wonderingaloud

Maybe that’s why the Betta died?
 

ThatDiverGuyfromNemo

Maybe that’s why the Betta died?
Possibly. But he lived for a good 9 months happy as a clam, so it doesn’t really make sense?


So while I’m getting all the surfactant-coated stuff rinsed I had this idea. Instead of waiting on an Amazon order, could I just throw a little bit of old fish food in there to restart the cycle? Just really don’t feel like waiting if I don’t have to.
 

ThatDiverGuyfromNemo

I’m new too. Such a great forum. You don’t need to panic, it takes weeks to properly cycle a tank. Mine has just finished today (yay) it took 4 weeks without using any bottled bacteria. The bacteria products are hit and miss I’ve heard.
You just need to wait now until your ammonia starts to drop. Once it gets to 0, dose back up to 2ppm and then start testing for nitrites, and wait for anmmonia and the nitrites to drop to 0 again. When they do too it up again and if your ammonia drops to 0 in 24hrs you’re cycled.
Nitrates are the end product.


Keep an eye on PH, if it gets too low it can cause the cycle to crash. Otherwise don’t change the water just let it be.

As a timeline (though every tank is different) my cycle took 18 days for the first lot of ammonia to go down to 0. After I topped it back up, it took another 6 days to get to 0 again. I never saw a nitrite spike though, just some nitrates. I topped it up again yesterday and today it’s 0
Wonderingaloud how big is your tank? What are you planning to put in it?
 

cjcummings

Oof. So does that mean I need to drain and start over? If so, where do I get ammonia that’s better for fish tanks?
See if your local grocery store sells Austin's Clear Ammonia. I have successfully cycled with it in the past. Plus it will be a lot cheaper initial cost than Dr Tim's and you won't have to wait for delivery. Or grab some Ammonia from ace hardware if there's a store by you.

could I just throw a little bit of old fish food in there to restart the cycle? Just really don’t feel like waiting if I don’t have to.
Yes. Raw shrimp is a sure thing too if you can handle the smell of it.
 

ThatDiverGuyfromNemo

See if your local grocery store sells Austin's Clear Ammonia. I have successfully cycled with it in the past. Plus it will be a lot cheaper initial cost than Dr Tim's and you won't have to wait for delivery. Or grab some Ammonia from ace hardware if there's a store by you.


Yes. Raw shrimp is a sure thing too if you can handle the smell of it.
Sweet. I’ll do that with some bottom feeder tablets that I never use. If that doesn’t work I’ll look at the other stuff. I’ll update the thread when I see results.
 

Wonderingaloud

Wonderingaloud how big is your tank? What are you planning to put in it?
It’s about 170l. Not sure what to put in it yet, would love a shoal of neons but I’ve read they’re not very hardy. Maybe rosy barbs I’ve read they’re good for hair algae.
 

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ThatDiverGuyfromNemo

Sweet. I’ll do that with some bottom feeder tablets that I never use. If that doesn’t work I’ll look at the other stuff. I’ll update the thread when I see results.
Update: Well it took a lil minute, but I finally have a tiny nitrite reading! Looks like it’s finally working. Now I just have to wait for the nitrates to show up.
 

Wonderingaloud

Your ammonia will likely have gone down (nitrites starting to eat it) and the nitrite colony will increase, and then go down usually pretty quickly. This is the ‘spike’ everyone talks about.
Nitrates will increase as they consume the nitrites.
Keep testing and top ammonia back up to 2ppm once your ammonia and nitrite levels hit 0.
If the ammonia goes to 0 in 24 hours you are cycled. I found after adding ammonia the second time it took afew days to get to 0, and after the third, done in 24hours. So you’re getting close, just watch the nitrite spike isn’t too high or your cycle will stall.
 

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