Thinking Of Giving Up

LiamS1510
  • #1
Hey all,
I have been having so much trouble with my tank recently. It refuses to cycle (been trying for months with dr tims ammonia) and the cycle seems to be stuck on 2-3 days to get 0 nitrites and ammonia. Every time I refill the tank bc of evaporation or do a water change, the cycle partially resets. I have had this tank for about 5-6 months and haven't had any success. The whole ordeal is immensely frustrating (especially so considering I've spent hundreds of dollars). Any advice would be appreciated greatly.
Thanks,
Liam
 
Fanatic
  • #2
Lunnietic
  • #3
What are your current parameters?

When you are "refilling" the tank are you using a water condinter or primer?
 
Celestialgirl
  • #4
My tank took 5 months to cycle and I honestly was beginning to think it never would!

Can give some more details? Are you doing a fish-in or fishless cycle? If fish-in, what is the size of your tank and how many fish are in it? If fishless, how are you dosing the tank? I think you’re doing fishless but I may have misunderstood.

Are you using a dechlorinator when you top off the tank? Do you know if you have high levels of chlorine in your tap water? You may need to double your dechlorinator dose.

What is the temp of your tank? Bacteria prefer warmer temps (ideally around 84F).
 
LiamS1510
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Have you been using Tetra SafeStart+ when cycling?
No

My tank took 5 months to cycle and I honestly was beginning to think it never would!

Can give some more details? Are you doing a fish-in or fishless cycle? If fish-in, what is the size of your tank and how many fish are in it? If fishless, how are you dosing the tank? I think you’re doing fishless but I may have misunderstood.

Are you using a dechlorinator when you top off the tank? Do you know if you have high levels of chlorine in your tap water? You may need to double your dechlorinator dose.

What is the temp of your tank? Bacteria prefer warmer temps (ideally around 84F).
I use prime, should that work?

What are your current parameters?

When you are "refilling" the tank are you using a water condinter or primer?
Prime. I just added ammonia last night, so probably around .25-.5 of nitrite and ammonia

My tank took 5 months to cycle and I honestly was beginning to think it never would!

Can give some more details? Are you doing a fish-in or fishless cycle? If fish-in, what is the size of your tank and how many fish are in it? If fishless, how are you dosing the tank? I think you’re doing fishless but I may have misunderstood.

Are you using a dechlorinator when you top off the tank? Do you know if you have high levels of chlorine in your tap water? You may need to double your dechlorinator dose.

What is the temp of your tank? Bacteria prefer warmer temps (ideally around 84F).
Fishless cycle. I have a heater but I think it's too weak or broken bc it's set at around 82-84 but the water temp is 77
 
Celestialgirl
  • #6
I Would try to increase that heat if you can. 77 is still decent, but warmer is better, especially if you’re struggling.

How frequently are you dosing with ammonia? For example, if your nitrites were .25-.5 this morning did you dose again? After you dose your tank with ammonia, what is your tank ammonia levels measuring?

Prime is a good dechlorinator and will work. If you have high tap chlorine double your dose. If you don’t know, let’s see what the answers to the other questions are first.
 
RSababady
  • #7
Sorry about that. Must be very frustrating.
Can you talk us through your set up and what you every day/week/month for us to understand your tank?

i.e
  1. tank size and what you have in it (ornaments, gravel etc)
  2. filter type and how it is connected and located
  3. your tap water parameters
  4. your tank water parameters before and after a water change
  5. your test kit make
  6. How often you add stuff to the tank . what you add and how much of it.
This should help us understand how to advise you........ There is no option. The tank has to cycle
 
bgclarke
  • #8
Are you using just ammonia to cycle the tank, or ammonia + bottled bacteria?

I know you said you are not using Tetra Safe Start, but are you using something else?
 
LiamS1510
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
Are you using just ammonia to cycle the tank, or ammonia + bottled bacteria?

I know you said you are not using Tetra Safe Start, but are you using something else?
Nope
 
mattgirl
  • #10
I agree with RSababady If you are feeding the bacteria with ammonia (either fish waste or pure ammonia) the bacteria will grow as long as it has something to grow on. It will grow on every thing in your tank but it will grow the most on the media in your filter. Media meaning sponge, fiber, bio balls or whatever you have there for it to grow on.

Have you tested your tap water to see if maybe there is some kind of problem there. I remember a year or so ago someone was having major problems getting his tank to cycle. Come to find out he was using distilled water. Once he started using his tap water the cycle finished up in a matter of days. Another lady was forgetting to add de-chlorinated water to top off her filters thus killing off the majority of the bacteria. Sometimes it is just one simple thing but that simple thing can throw off the cycle.

Please answer the questions above and let us help you figure out what is going on with yours.
 
LiamS1510
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
Sorry about that. Must be very frustrating.
Can you talk us through your set up and what you every day/week/month for us to understand your tank?

i.e
  1. tank size and what you have in it (ornaments, gravel etc)
  2. filter type and how it is connected and located
  3. your tap water parameters
  4. your tank water parameters before and after a water change
  5. your test kit make
  6. How often you add stuff to the tank . what you add and how much of it.
This should help us understand how to advise you........ There is no option. The tank has to cycle
1. 55 gal
Various plants, driftwood, and rock
2. 2 HOB marineland penguin biowheel 350
3. All 0's
4. Not sure exactly, I just notice that after a wc, the tank takes a day or two longer to get levels to 0
5. API master liquid test kit
6. I add 110 drops of ammonia when the nitrites/ammonia are at 0. Flourish once or twice a week. Prime when doing wc. (Capful of each)
Thanks
 
bgclarke
  • #12
Ok, that's good to know.

Cycling with just ammonia can take longer than using ammonia + bottled bacteria.

However since this has been going on for months, something else is going on.
 
Wraithen
  • #13
What's the ph of the tank and the tap water? Do you have a water softener? In a lot of cases like yours there is an underlying issue of low ph and or low gh. A low gh can cause ph swings. You can have a fish store test the gh for you so you aren't forced to buy strips or a reagent kit. I would do three ph tests. One on your tank, one on your tap water, and one on your tap water after you've let the water sit in a bucket at least 12 hours.

Eta: actually look at what numbers the gh says. Don't let the employee just say that it's fine.
 
laurieangel
  • #14
May I jump in with questions regarding my tank cycling or do I need to start my own post?
 
Wraithen
  • #15
May I jump in with questions regarding my tank cycling or do I need to start my own post?
Please start your own. It keeps it easier to help!
 
mattgirl
  • #16
May I jump in with questions regarding my tank cycling or do I need to start my own post?
It would probably be best to start another thread.
 
RSababady
  • #17
1. 55 gal
Various plants, driftwood, and rock
2. 2 HOB marineland penguin biowheel 350
3. All 0's
4. Not sure exactly, I just notice that after a wc, the tank takes a day or two longer to get levels to 0
5. API master liquid test kit
6. I add 110 drops of ammonia when the nitrites/ammonia are at 0. Flourish once or twice a week. Prime when doing wc. (Capful of each)
Thanks

That was quick

Test your tpa water and post the results.

Try taking the driftwood out. You can always put it back in later......... Depending where you got it from, I have heard people say that driftwood can counteract the process of necessary bacteria forming.

Have you ever cleaned the filters? How do you go about cleaning them?
 
RSababady
  • #18
May I jump in with questions regarding my tank cycling or do I need to start my own post?
Follow it by all means, but please don't take us off focus on the issue on hand - it will be confusing!
 
laurieangel
  • #19
Will do...thanks
 
emersongalicia
  • #20
Have you tried adding live bacteria? For my tank I was having difficulty as well and I went to an LFS and asked for bottled bacteria. It comes in a bottle and you add a cap size full once a day until you finish the bottle. I cycled my tank in about a week.
 
Wraithen
  • #21
Have you tried adding live bacteria? For my tank I was having difficulty as well and I went to an LFS and asked for bottled bacteria. It comes in a bottle and you add a cap size full once a day until you finish the bottle. I cycled my tank in about a week.
It most likely won't help the OP much in this circumstance. There is something about this tank causing issues. Once we get that fixed the bottled bacteria may be a choice.
 
radar
  • #22
AngelPlus seeded filter and end your frustrations. I can't count the posts of frustration over trying to cycle tanks. Hopefully people don't give up the hobby because of it. Get media from trusted source add few fish to feed the BB and be done with it. Good luck.
 
RSababady
  • #23
I wouldn't recommend you cycling with fish - that will be a most stressful experience if the tank doesn't cycle. Cycle the tank first and then add fish.

Let us have:
  1. your tp water parameters
  2. cleaning process of your filters
Those are basic requirements at the offset.
 
Wraithen
  • #24
I wouldn't recommend you cycling with fish - that will be a most stressful experience if the tanks doesn't cycle. Cycle the tank first and then add fish.

Let us have:
  1. your tp water parameters
  2. cleaning process of your filters
Those are basic requirements at the offset.
Please include ph since you can test that currently.
 
LiamS1510
  • Thread Starter
  • #25
I wouldn't recommend you cycling with fish - that will be a most stressful experience if the tank doesn't cycle. Cycle the tank first and then add fish.

Let us have:
  1. your tp water parameters
  2. cleaning process of your filters
Those are basic requirements at the offset.
By tp do you mean tap water? If so, there is no ammonia or nitrite from tap. I don't clean the filters bc I heard that kills bb.
 
RSababady
  • #26
If you haven't cleaned your filter for 5 months, they may not be working i.e. no water flow.
You can clean them - once a month by rinsing the muck out in tank water - so pour some tank water into a bucket and rinse the filter in the tank water in the bucket to get the muck out. The bacteria will stay in the filter - they are tardy little blighters that need much more then a rinse to get rid off
 
LiamS1510
  • Thread Starter
  • #27
Please include ph since you can test that currently.
Wow! I have a ph of 6.4. I did not realize it got that low, last I checked (two months or so) it was like 7.8!

If you haven't cleaned your filter for 5 months, they may not be working i.e. no water flow.
You can clean them - once a month by rinsing the muck out in tank water - so pour some tank water into a bucket and rinse the filter in the tank water in the bucket to get the muck out. The bacteria will stay in the filter - they are tardy little blighters that need much more then a rinse to get rid of
Gotcha!
 
Wraithen
  • #28
Wow! I have a ph of 6.4. I did not realize it got that low, last I checked (two months or so) it was like 7.8!
Was that in the tap water or the tank? I'm not jumping to conclusions but I think I see some aragonite in your future.
 
shiv234
  • #29
your problem is plants. Plants consume all the by products of ammonia and ammonia itself
 
LiamS1510
  • Thread Starter
  • #30
Was that in the tap water or the tank? I'm not jumping to conclusions but I think I see some aragonite in your future.
Tank. What is aragonite?
 
Wraithen
  • #31
Aragonite is crushed coral and some other stuff mixed in. Marine aquarists use it all the time. Usually in the freshwater hobby we spread some on the substrate or put it in the filter so we can get our gh higher. This prevents ph swings. Your cycle, plants, and fish will all use up things in the water column. If you start with a low amount, when it is near exhausted you will see a ph crash. This will stall your cycle. It will also kill fish. I would do the two tap water ph tests I recommended earlier. I'm betting straight from the tap is closer to 7.8 and after 12 to 24 hours with an airstone it's substantially lower. This is usually caused by dissolved gasses in the tap leaving the water. We call that test the off gas test.

If your gh is truly low, it is most likely the ghost you've been chasing. Using aragonite will stabilize your tank and allow your cycle to complete. You can use baking soda to do the same thing, it will raise kh but is less stable sometimes though. You may end up having to add a little bit during water changes, but we need the rest of your results to know for sure.
 
bgclarke
  • #32
If you don't want to buy a bag of crushed coral, pure cuttlebone (usually for birds) can also be used.
 
Wraithen
  • #33
I wouldn't use just a cuttlebone. The aragonite or crushed coral provides the best solution due to the amount of surface area. Cuttlebone would be great for snails or things that just need a calcium boost to the water column.
 
RSababady
  • #34
your problem is plants. Plants consume all the by products of ammonia and ammonia itself
That is a good point.

How are you testing to see if the tank is cycled if all the readings do NH4, NO2 and NO3 are zero?
What should happen is that you put in some form of ammonia (pure ammonia or some fish food that will rot after three days), then:
  1. day 1: Ammonia goes up and NO2 starts going up. NO3 is zero
  2. day 2: Ammonia goes down, NO2 still going up and NO3 goes up
  3. day 3: Ammonia zero, NO2 zero and NO3 up (unless as shiv234 pointed out you have plants that are taking up the NO3, then then NO3 will drop down to zero)
What is important is the change of parameters in time and not just one reading at any given point in time.
How are you testing to see if your tank is cycled?
 
shiv234
  • #35
That is a good point.

How are you testing to see if the tank is cycled if all the readings do NH4, NO2 and NO3 are zero?
What should happen is that you put in some form of ammonia (pure ammonia or some fish food that will rot after three days), then:
  1. day 1: Ammonia goes up and NO2 starts going up. NO3 is zero
  2. day 2: Ammonia goes down, NO2 still going up and NO3 goes up
  3. day 3: Ammonia zero, NO2 zero and NO3 up (unless as shiv234 pointed out you have plants that are taking up the NO3, then then NO3 will drop down to zero)
What is important is the change of parameters in time and not just one reading at any given point in time.
How are you testing to see if your tank is cycled?
rephrase the last part. Plants consume ammonia too...so day 3 should be NH3=0, No2=0 and NO3=0 since the plants will use ammonia for food
 
LiamS1510
  • Thread Starter
  • #36
That is a good point.

How are you testing to see if the tank is cycled if all the readings do NH4, NO2 and NO3 are zero?
What should happen is that you put in some form of ammonia (pure ammonia or some fish food that will rot after three days), then:
  1. day 1: Ammonia goes up and NO2 starts going up. NO3 is zero
  2. day 2: Ammonia goes down, NO2 still going up and NO3 goes up
  3. day 3: Ammonia zero, NO2 zero and NO3 up (unless as shiv234 pointed out you have plants that are taking up the NO3, then then NO3 will drop down to zero)
What is important is the change of parameters in time and not just one reading at any given point in time.
How are you testing to see if your tank is cycled?
The NO2 and NH4 do go up and down to zero, but it takes too long (more than the recommended 24 hours) to return to the proper level.
 
Wraithen
  • #37
Have you tested the tap water to see if it fluctuates also?
 
shiv234
  • #38
What type of filter do you have?
Does it have substantial surface area for the bacteria to colonize on?
Can I see a picture of your tank?(just curious)
Are you using something to neutralize clorine and chloramine?
What happens when you add 1ppm of NH3?
 
Wraithen
  • #39
What type of filter do you have?
Does it have substantial surface area for the bacteria to colonize on?
Can I see a picture of your tank?(just curious)
Are you using something to neutralize clorine and chloramine?
What happens when you add 1ppm of NH3?
He's got 2 350 biowheels, uses prime, it takes 2 to 3 days to cycle the ammonia, after a major top off the tank seems to reset to cycle for some reason.
 
shiv234
  • #40
probably his tap water has too much chlorine and he isn't adding enough prime. I think he should buy a chlorine test kit
 

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