Tank Not Cycling After 8 Weeks

  1. K

    KenzieT New Member Member

    Hi everyone. I'm having an issue getting my 20 g tank to cycle. I'm doing a fishless cycle with Dr Tims ammonia. I have a sponge filter, a HOB filter, decorations and slate on the bottom. I have the heater set to 85 degrees. Stability didn't get my ammonia to drop nor did Dr. Tims one and only. I added two bottles of TSS within the last 3 weeks and saw a bit of a drop in ammonia. It seems that my ammonia will only drop for about a week and then when I redose ammonia it stops dropping. I have yet to see any nitrites but I have somewhere between 40-80 ppm in nitrates. Can someone please help me? I'm getting very frustrated with the whole process...

    Here are my current ammonia nitrite and nitrate readings.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. z

    zinodyta1 New Member Member

    I'm pretty new to this hobby too. Just wondering, are you using dechlorinated water? What's your PH?
     
  3. OP
    OP
    K

    KenzieT New Member Member

    Yes, I used dechlorinated water when I initially added the water 8 weeks ago and my PH is 7.6.
     


  4. AngelTheGypsy

    AngelTheGypsy Fishlore VIP Member

    Have you tested your high range pH or your tap water for nitrates? Just curious if that's where they are coming from, or it could come from the TSS. Have you done any water changes? (Your pH should be fine for cycling, but it is probably in the high range.)
    Sometimes it just takes a ling while for things to get going. Maybe try another brand of bottled bacteria. I've never had much luck with Stability, although TSS has worked for me. Dr. Tim's One and Only is my favorite one.
    If your ammonia is dropping, then not dropping when you redose, it may be that it is just a very small bacteria colony. i.e. If ammonia is dropping by .1 every day, you will see a difference in 3 days if ammonia is under 1 ppm, but if it is at 2 ppm, you won't see a change in your test results for 10 days.
    What was your ammonia reading when you re-dosed ammonia? what was your original dose, and how much did it drop, and how fast?
     
  5. OP
    OP
    K

    KenzieT New Member Member

    My tap water has 0 nitrates so it definitely came from the TSS as I did have a bit of an ammonia drop. Dr Tims one and only didn't do anything for me unfortunately... the picture shows where ammonia dropped to after 4 days from 2 ppm of ammonia and what I redosed it to. I don't believe it's dropped at all since I redosed 4 days ago.
     

    Attached Files:

  6. AngelTheGypsy

    AngelTheGypsy Fishlore VIP Member

    So it looks like it is dropping, just really slowly. Getting the cycle going can be really slow going and frustrating. Try waiting until it drops to .25 or 0 ppm before redosing. If you don't, it won't affect anything negatively, it just gives you a better idea how it's progressing.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    K

    KenzieT New Member Member

    I'll definitely try that. What do you suggest if it doesn't drop? My ammonia only recently dropped for the first time about 3 weeks ago. Before that I literally had no change in 5 weeks. Im worried my bacteria is dying somehow because it seems to be steadily dropping after adding bacteria and then stall out. I'm almost to the point of doing a water change and starting over.
     
  8. AngelTheGypsy

    AngelTheGypsy Fishlore VIP Member

  9. mattgirl

    mattgirl Well Known Member Member

    Being that this is where you are after 2 months the only thing I can think is that your cycle is stalled for whatever reason.

    If it were my tank I would do a very big water change (at least 75%). I would then dose the tank up with ammonia to at least 2 if it isn't already there after the water change. I wouldn't add any kind of bottled bacteria. Apparently it isn't working for you. Your tank should cycle without it as long as it has an ammonia source. After this amount of time there should be some bacteria in there and hopefully it will start multiplying.
     
  10. OP
    OP
    K

    KenzieT New Member Member

    I initially used topfin for dechlorinating but have since bought prime. I haven't changed or added any water since the start. I have a sponge and a HOB filter on the tank.

    Mattgirl- it's so strange because I thought the same thing from the beginning. That adding ammonia would be enough but after 5 weeks with just ammonia I had no changes so I added bacteria. I'm thinking I might just do a water change at this point though.
     
  11. AngelTheGypsy

    AngelTheGypsy Fishlore VIP Member

    How long has it been since you last added the TSS, and did you use prime when you did that?
    A water change will not hurt anything. Any bacteria you have built up is in the filter, not the water. If you added TSS in the last few days, that will be removed with the change, but that's no big deal.
    The thing with bottled bacteria is that it works for some, and not for others. No one can really pinpoint why. But using it really never hurts anything.
    In your HOB, are you using the cartridges that come with it, or other types of media? Have you cleaned the filter since starting?
     
  12. mattgirl

    mattgirl Well Known Member Member

    A water change won't hurt and it might actually help.
     
  13. AngelTheGypsy

    AngelTheGypsy Fishlore VIP Member

    Another thing I just thought of, the cycle process also uses phosphates. Some use fish flakes to add these (don't need much) or you may replenish these with a water change if you have it in your tap (I do). Just one more variable in the cycling mystery...
     
  14. Hunter1

    Hunter1 Well Known Member Member

    When you added the bottled bacteria’s, did you add it to your filter? Or just pour it into the tank?

    I add into my filter and have even put the bottle next to a sponge and squirted it. You can see the sponge suck the cloud into it.

    You should have progressed way past this so something is wrong. The gypsy may have nailed it, lack of phosphates.

    I’m sure you didn’t rinse your filters in tap water? Sorry but I had to ask.

    But i’m scratching my head here.
     
  15. mattgirl

    mattgirl Well Known Member Member

    This right here is one of the reasons I normally recommend water changes when problems arise. For most of us our tap water contains essential to life minerals. A water change replenishes those minerals.
     
  16. OP
    OP
    K

    KenzieT New Member Member

    When I added the bacteria I added it to the tank not the filter. I haven't rinsed anything in my tank. Thanks for the info about phosphates I didn't know about that aspect of cycling. I think I'll give the water change a try and see what happens from there.

    I added TSS over a week ago. In the HOB I took out the carbon and put some media from a friends canister filter in there. I think the media was already dried out though unfortunately.
     
  17. AngelTheGypsy

    AngelTheGypsy Fishlore VIP Member

    When I add bacteria, I do like to add it directly into the filter, and let it sit for 5-10 minutes before turning it back on. I honestly don't know if it helps, but it may give it more time to settle onto surfaces in the filter, which is where you want it anyway.

    But sometimes, no matter what you do, the cycle will develop on its own time. I have had tanks cycle in as little as 10 days, and others take months.
     
  18. Mike1995

    Mike1995 Well Known Member Member

    honestly, i used two containers of that marineland bacteria stuff in two different weeks. i dosed my tank up to 3ppm of ammonia and poured all the bacteria in. Did it again the next week and the ammonia part of my cycle was finished really quick. The nitrites took a little longer. Had to do some water changes when it got to 6ppm. Then after it got to 1-2ppm, i actually got my fish and put them in. Very lightly stocked but within 3 days the tank finished its cycle. It may be unethical, but sometimes fish in cycling on small tanks makes it a bit easier.
     
  19. OP
    OP
    K

    KenzieT New Member Member

    The hard thing for me is that I'm planning on getting an axolotl and I know that they're really sensitive to ammonia and excrete a lot of waste.