Tank will not cycle! Help!

helpmeimlosingmymind

This is my first time doing a fishless cycle. I’m currently (attempting) to cycle a 20 gallon long tank. I have been trying for over 5 weeks now and have still seen absolutely no progress. I dosed the water with prime when I initially put it in. Ammonia has stayed at 2ppm since I put it in pretty much and I’m using Dr. Tim’s ammonium chloride. It’s gone down in very small barely noticeable amounts since then, but I attributed that to evaporation since I’m still showing no nitrites or nitrates. Tank pH is at around 7.8-8.0 and the temperature is 70 degrees Fahrenheit. I did attempt to seed the filter with a filter pad from a friend’s established tank but I did not drip acclimate it so they likely all died. I also used a bottle of tetra safestart two weeks ago that did not seem to do anything.

I also noticed today while testing both my currently cycling tank and my established tanks’ parameters that the water in my cycling tank bubbles/foams up when it is being shaken in the test tubes but the water in my established tank doesn’t foam at all when shaken. Could this have something to do with why my cycle doesn’t seem to be going anywhere? I thought it could be surfactants in the ammonia that I purchased but it doesn’t bubble or foam up like that in the bottle when it is shaken. I guess it could also be from the safestart? This part could just be me over analyzing nothing though.

Any and all help is appreciated! I can’t seem to figure out what I’m doing wrong and it’s driving me crazy.
 

GlennO

Bacteria doesn't need drip acclimation. You say you have established tanks, could you steal some mature media from them?

It's strange that there's been no progress at all after 5 weeks, even in the absence of used media. The only thing I can suggest is to raise the temp into the high 70's. Bacteria reproduces quicker in warmer water.

Not sure about the foam issue, might help to list everything in the tank - substrate, decor, filters etc or even post a pic.
 

Azedenkae

Hey there! Let's see if I help ya.
This is my first time doing a fishless cycle. I’m currently (attempting) to cycle a 20 gallon long tank. I have been trying for over 5 weeks now and have still seen absolutely no progress. I dosed the water with prime when I initially put it in. Ammonia has stayed at 2ppm since I put it in pretty much and I’m using Dr. Tim’s ammonium chloride. It’s gone down in very small barely noticeable amounts since then, but I attributed that to evaporation since I’m still showing no nitrites or nitrates.
Just fyi, evaporation would increase concentrations, not decrease it. :3 But no nitrite nor nitrate does imply nitrification is not occurring, yeah. Unless algae or plants or whatever is soaking up nitrates and stuff of course.
Tank pH is at around 7.8-8.0 and the temperature is 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Temp is a bit low, but defo should not be too low to significantly inhibit nitrification.
I did attempt to seed the filter with a filter pad from a friend’s established tank but I did not drip acclimate it so they likely all died. I also used a bottle of tetra safestart two weeks ago that did not seem to do anything.

I also noticed today while testing both my currently cycling tank and my established tanks’ parameters that the water in my cycling tank bubbles/foams up when it is being shaken in the test tubes but the water in my established tank doesn’t foam at all when shaken. Could this have something to do with why my cycle doesn’t seem to be going anywhere?
Hm... I don't think so.
I thought it could be surfactants in the ammonia that I purchased but it doesn’t bubble or foam up like that in the bottle when it is shaken. I guess it could also be from the safestart? This part could just be me over analyzing nothing though.

Any and all help is appreciated! I can’t seem to figure out what I’m doing wrong and it’s driving me crazy.
The other thing is that the dying plants should also release ammonia. I am very curious why your ammonia would seem to remain the same no matter what you do.

Hm... what's your filtration setup?
 

helpmeimlosingmymind

Bacteria doesn't need drip acclimation. You say you have established tanks, could you steal some mature media from them?

It's strange that there's been no progress at all after 5 weeks, even in the absence of used media. The only thing I can suggest is to raise the temp into the high 70's. Bacteria reproduces quicker in warmer water.

Not sure about the foam issue, might help to list everything in the tank - substrate, decor, filters etc or even post a pic.
Here’s a picture of it. All of the decor is from Petsmart and I rinsed it all off before adding it to the tank. I’ve heard that bacteria like higher temps but I don’t want to buy a heater unless it’s necessary since I won’t need it after the cycling finishes.
Hey there! Let's see if I help ya.

Just fyi, evaporation would increase concentrations, not decrease it. :3 But no nitrite nor nitrate does imply nitrification is not occurring, yeah. Unless algae or plants or whatever is soaking up nitrates and stuff of course.

Temp is a bit low, but defo should not be too low to significantly inhibit nitrification.

Hm... I don't think so.

The other thing is that the dying plants should also release ammonia. I am very curious why your ammonia would seem to remain the same no matter what you do.

Hm... what's your filtration setup?
Hi there! Thank you for the insights. I have a fluval 50 power filter with all three types of filtration it comes with inside. I also rubber banded a sponge on the intake tube and made a baffle out of a soap holder and sponge to reduce the flow. There are no live plants in the tank and it’s substrateless so there’s really nothing that could be absorbing the nitrates. I’m just not quite sure what went wrong here. I did a lot of research prior to starting and as far as I can tell, I did everything right.
 

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GlennO

Lack of substrate might be a contributing factor but I would guess that the primary limiting factor is temperature. The optimal temperature for bacteria growth rate is around 82F. It will still cycle at 70F but might take another 4-5 weeks.
 

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