Wasn't adding enough ammonia, Fishless cycle

Biagio

Hello, I started my fish tank about 4 or 5 days ago. I am using a fishless cycle with nutafin cycle. My tank is 5.5 gallons and it has a heater, bubbler, live plants and a good filter. When I was testing water I had .3ppm amonia and .10 nitrate today. I did not realize I was supposed to have minimum 2ppm amonia in the tank so today I started to add more food. Does all this mean I have to restart the cycle? I hope it's not to big of a mistake as I am trying to get the cycle done properly but also efficiently.

My total water testings as of today are:
Ammonia: .30ppm
GH: 40
Nitrite: .10ppm
Nitrate: 0
TC: 0
PH: 7.2
KH: 90

Thanks for all the help in advance
Also I have been following all the proper instructions to cycle your tank and the proper instructions for nutrafin cycle. I read somewhere that when you notice new live plants growing in your tank it is ok to add fish? Is this true? Thanks again
 

SM1199

Does all this mean I have to restart the cycle?
Definitely not! You're already taking a step in the right direction as evidenced by the nitrite reading. All you need to do is add more ammonia, or in your case, an ammonia source like food. Beneficial bacteria will adjust their population based on how much ammonia they have available. You have some BB growing already, so just feed them more and the population will grow to accommodate your future stock.
Also I have been following all the proper instructions to cycle your tank and the proper instructions for nutrafin cycle. I read somewhere that when you notice new live plants growing in your tank it is ok to add fish? Is this true? Thanks again
I haven't heard of this before. Your tank is ready to add fish once it's processing ammonia into nitrite and nitrite into nitrate, which will mean you see 0 ammonia/0 nitrite/some nitrate a few hours after dosing ammonia. Logically - live plants will grow regardless of whether the water parameters are suitable for fish (assuming all their biological needs are met), so I don't think it's a solid rule of thumb.
 

Azedenkae

Hello, I started my fish tank about 4 or 5 days ago. I am using a fishless cycle with nutafin cycle. My tank is 5.5 gallons and it has a heater, bubbler, live plants and a good filter. When I was testing water I had .3ppm amonia and .10 nitrate today. I did not realize I was supposed to have minimum 2ppm amonia in the tank so today I started to add more food. Does all this mean I have to restart the cycle? I hope it's not to big of a mistake as I am trying to get the cycle done properly but also efficiently.
No on two accounts. Firstly, you don't need ammonia to be at 2ppm for ammonia-oxidizers to grow. They just need ammonia. But, even if ammonia zeroes out does not mean you starved anything either. Nitrifiers take months before they really start to enter dormancy or something of the sorts.

Somewhere along the line someone (or multiple of them) got confused what dosing 2ppm ammonia was for.

Here's the simple deal. You dose 2ppm ammonia, then wait until both ammonia and nitrite reads zero. That indicates all the ammonia you dosed have been used up by ammonia-oxidizers, and the subsequent nitrite produced has also been used up by nitrite-oxidizers. Cool. Dose 2ppm ammonia again, rinse and repeat until both ammonia and nitrite reads zero 24 hours after dosing.

Tada.

I read somewhere that when you notice new live plants growing in your tank it is ok to add fish? Is this true? Thanks again
Nope. New growth just mean they are using up nitrates and/or other nutrients in the tank. Got nothing to do with adding fish. Your ammonia could be at 10ppm and your plants will grow and your fish added will die. I am kinda curious where you read that now, so I know to avoid them like the plague.
 

Biagio

Thanks for all the great help . So I should just keep adding ammonia/fish food daily until I get the proper readings that my tank is cycled then I can add fish? Please let me know if this is incorrect I am a beginner just trying to do things correctly. My nitrite reading was very faint but it wasn't zero so it appears I'm doing something correct. Lol. Is there any signs that my tanknis almost done the cycle using the readings? Any spikes? Please give me any tips. Thanks again
 

Azedenkae

Thanks for all the great help . So I should just keep adding ammonia/fish food daily until I get the proper readings that my tank is cycled then I can add fish? Please let me know if this is incorrect I am a beginner just trying to do things correctly. My nitrite reading was very faint but it wasn't zero so it appears I'm doing something correct. Lol. Is there any signs that my tanknis almost done the cycle using the readings? Any spikes? Please give me any tips. Thanks again
No that's not what I said. Add ammonia/fish food ONLY when both ammonia and nitrite hit zero.

Generally when the tank is almost done cycling, the timeframe between dosing 2ppm ammonia and ammonia and nitrite zeroing out gets progressively less and less until it hits 24 hours (or less).
 

Biagio

O I see. Sorry for my confusion. So I should keep testing my water until the ammonia and nitrite hit zero then add food?
 

Azedenkae

O I see. Sorry for my confusion. So I should keep testing my water until the ammonia and nitrite hit zero then add food?
Yep. Preferably this is done with dosing ammonia so the ammonia is added to the correct amount right away, but since we don't really know how much ammonia is released by the food, it's not a good idea to keep on adding food each day or whatever, because if ammonia-oxidation occurs effectively, nitrite will just spike to levels where you'd have no idea what's going on.
 

Biagio

That makes sense... il watch my water for the next few days as it drops then add the food. I know this is a stupid question but is it a bad thing if my nitrates spike? What do the nitrates mean? Thanks again
 

Azedenkae

That makes sense... il watch my water for the next few days as it drops then add the food. I know this is a stupid question but is it a bad thing if my nitrates spike? What do the nitrates mean? Thanks again
Nitrate is the end product of the cycle, so it's a good thing to see. Nitrate is not really toxic to fish until it reaches higher levels. It's something you have to eventually think about how to get rid of though, most people just do water changes. Plants and/or algae can help heaps though.
 

Biagio

That makes sense. Are nitrites good? Are those What ammonia turns into then nitrites then into nitrates?
 

Azedenkae

That makes sense. Are nitrites good? Are those What ammonia turns into then nitrites then into nitrates?
It can be a good sign to see during the cycle, to know there is ammonia oxidation happening. But does not necessarily mean it's good at elevated levels regardless.
 

Biagio

Perfect thanks for all the advice. I think I'm on the right track. Hopefully it stays that way!

Hello, I juts started my 5.5 gallon tank 5 days ago and I'm not sure when to do water changes? It has some plants. Also I just got a reading if nitrites today. Thanks
 

CrackerboxPalace

If you are fishless cycling, no need to change the water unless ammonia or nitrite goes over ~4ppm.
 

Biagio

Ye that's what I thought. Thanks for the clarification.
 

JeremyW

In a fishless cycle change the water as soon as you have trouble deciphering the test result.

This happens most often with nitrite. I can't tell the difference between anything above 2ppm.

Always keep your levels down to concentrations that you can reliably measure. Whether that is 4ppm or 2ppm depends on how well you can see the color differences. Otherwise you're working blind.

Also, keep an eye on your pH. If it starts to swing, a water change can help stabilize things.

Waiting until you see plants actively growing works well for easing into a fish-in cycle.

But it is not an indicator that your tank is cycling, and does not mean that your water is necessarily safe for fish. It is not a replacement for water testing.

If you have actively growing plants, and your tests show 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite, then you can safely add an appropriate number of fish to start a fish-in cycle. The growing plants will help deal with excess ammonia and nitrite until your cycle gets established. But it's still a fish-in cycle, and you will still need to test your water frequently, and change it when necessary.

And you should have at least a moderately planted tank with some faster growing plants if you expect it to make much of a difference. A java fern isn't going to cut it.
 

mattgirl

No that's not what I said. Add ammonia/fish food ONLY when both ammonia and nitrite hit zero.

Generally when the tank is almost done cycling, the timeframe between dosing 2ppm ammonia and ammonia and nitrite zeroing out gets progressively less and less until it hits 24 hours (or less).
I have to bring this up. In this case fish food is being used as the ammonia source. It is next to impossible to get 2ppm ammonia and then allow it to drop to zero before adding more. We really need to take each situation into account and adjust our advice on that situation. One size truly does not fit all when cycling a tank.

When fish food is being used as the ammonia source I recommend adding it daily for the first week. After that every third day should keep a constant supply of ammonia in the tank. .
 

Azedenkae

I have to bring this up. In this case fish food is being used as the ammonia source. It is next to impossible to get 2ppm ammonia and then allow it to drop to zero before adding more. We really need to take each situation into account and adjust our advice on that situation. One size truly does not fit all when cycling a tank.
I am well aware. If you follow the progression of all the posts, you'd see why I made that suggestion. But let me break it down for ya.

In the opening post op was concerned with not maintaining 2ppm ammonia.

In post #3 I explained what is the deal with 2ppm, and figured I'd also talk about dosing ammonia there. Because to me that's the only way to cycle and be able to accurately track it.

In post #4 op seemed to be open to dosing ammonia, so naturally in post #5 I followed through and try to get op to dose ammonia instead, because when op asked how to know if one is nearing the end of a cycle, that's the only way to know.

Yes, I was aware op was using fish food. But it's not possible to tell how close to the end of the cycle it is using fish food, so I erred against talking about it at all. But let me explain, I guess, in case you or anyone. So what happens when using fish food. Nitrate can be high then, so would be hard to tell differences. Even if not high, well, we know how easy it is to get accurate nitrate readings (i.e. not). Seeing no ammonia or nitrite can mean... so many things. Can just mean nothing is actually being decomposed, for whatever reason. Can mean the food is being broken down and ammonia is being converted to nitrate (yay, what we want!). Or can mean the food is being consumed by heterotrophs, that are using ammonia for growth and not respiration (boo, not what we want). So yes, I avoided this entirely, to not be confusing.

But then in post #6 it was clear op may not actually be interested in dosing ammonia.

So in post #7 I still tried to stir op away from using fish food by making clear why it is not optimal, but also after that would let whoever was more comfortable cycling with fish food to take over that.

So yeah. Can you see how I was aware op was using fish food, and was not ignoring that? And that I was just trying to steer op away from using fish food and to dose ammonia instead?
 

mattgirl

I am well aware. If you follow the progression of all the posts, you'd see why I made that suggestion. But let me break it down for ya.

In the opening post op was concerned with not maintaining 2ppm ammonia.

In post #3 I explained what is the deal with 2ppm, and figured I'd also talk about dosing ammonia there. Because to me that's the only way to cycle and be able to accurately track it.

In post #4 op seemed to be open to dosing ammonia, so naturally in post #5 I followed through and try to get op to dose ammonia instead, because when op asked how to know if one is nearing the end of a cycle, that's the only way to know.

Yes, I was aware op was using fish food. But it's not possible to tell how close to the end of the cycle it is using fish food, so I erred against talking about it at all. But let me explain, I guess, in case you or anyone. So what happens when using fish food. Nitrate can be high then, so would be hard to tell differences. Even if not high, well, we know how easy it is to get accurate nitrate readings (i.e. not). Seeing no ammonia or nitrite can mean... so many things. Can just mean nothing is actually being decomposed, for whatever reason. Can mean the food is being broken down and ammonia is being converted to nitrate (yay, what we want!). Or can mean the food is being consumed by heterotrophs, that are using ammonia for growth and not respiration (boo, not what we want). So yes, I avoided this entirely, to not be confusing.

But then in post #6 it was clear op may not actually be interested in dosing ammonia.

So in post #7 I still tried to stir op away from using fish food by making clear why it is not optimal, but also after that would let whoever was more comfortable cycling with fish food to take over that.

So yeah. Can you see how I was aware op was using fish food, and was not ignoring that? And that I was just trying to steer op away from using fish food and to dose ammonia instead?
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I really do appreciate it. Hopefully our discussion will help the OP see the difference between different sources of ammonia.

I do understand where you were going with your advice. It seems though in this case liquid ammonia isn't going to be used. I guess what I was pointing out to the OP is the ammonia isn't going to go up to 2ppm when using fish food alone so no need to stress over trying to get it there.

I admit I could be wrong but I have to think using fish food for the ammonia source will grow sufficient bacteria to handle the bio-load of the future fish so no need to change to a different ammonia source if this is the method chosen. The one drawback to using fish food is we can't know exactly how much ammonia is being process using this method so can't judge the amount of bacteria grown.

Once we add fish the fish are producing ammonia mostly based on the amount of food we feed. If we cycle a tank adding the amount of food we will feed the eventual fish I have to think we will have grown enough bacteria? I do know in most cases we do grow more than needed. In some cases much more. Too much bacteria is never a problem though. Grow more than needed and a tank can be fully stocked once the cycle is complete. Grow too little and stocking has to be done very gradually. I would stock very gradually after using fish food for the ammonia source.
 

Biagio

Waiting until you see plants actively growing works well for easing into a fish-in cycle.

But it is not an indicator that your tank is cycling, and does not mean that your water is necessarily safe for fish. It is not a replacement for water testing.

If you have actively growing plants, and your tests show 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite, then you can safely add an appropriate number of fish to start a fish-in cycle. The growing plants will help deal with excess ammonia and nitrite until your cycle gets established. But it's still a fish-in cycle, and you will still need to test your water frequently, and change it when necessary.

And you should have at least a moderately planted tank with some faster growing plants if you expect it to make much of a difference. A java fern isn't going to cut it.
Yes thank you. I am not planning on doing a fish in cycle.
I have to bring this up. In this case fish food is being used as the ammonia source. It is next to impossible to get 2ppm ammonia and then allow it to drop to zero before adding more. We really need to take each situation into account and adjust our advice on that situation. One size truly does not fit all when cycling a tank.

When fish food is being used as the ammonia source I recommend adding it daily for the first week. After that every third day should keep a constant supply of ammonia in the tank. .
Thanks for the tip. This was my origional plan.
I will take into consideration buying some pure ammonia. My local shops don't have it so it would take a few days on Amazon. Would it be OK to start using it part way through my cycle?
Do you suggest i purchase pure ammonia and start using mid cycle?
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I really do appreciate it. Hopefully our discussion will help the OP see the difference between different sources of ammonia.

I do understand where you were going with your advice. It seems though in this case liquid ammonia isn't going to be used. I guess what I was pointing out to the OP is the ammonia isn't going to go up to 2ppm when using fish food alone so no need to stress over trying to get it there.

I admit I could be wrong but I have to think using fish food for the ammonia source will grow sufficient bacteria to handle the bio-load of the future fish so no need to change to a different ammonia source if this is the method chosen. The one drawback to using fish food is we can't know exactly how much ammonia is being process using this method so can't judge the amount of bacteria grown.

Once we add fish the fish are producing ammonia mostly based on the amount of food we feed. If we cycle a tank adding the amount of food we will feed the eventual fish I have to think we will have grown enough bacteria? I do know in most cases we do grow more than needed. In some cases much more. Too much bacteria is never a problem though. Grow more than needed and a tank can be fully stocked once the cycle is complete. Grow too little and stocking has to be done very gradually. I would stock very gradually after using fish food for the ammonia source.
Hello, how would I be able to stock gradually if I were to be using schooling fish like ember tetras? Thanks
 

mattgirl

Yes thank you. I am not planning on doing a fish in cycle.

Thanks for the tip. This was my origional plan.
I will take into consideration buying some pure ammonia. My local shops don't have it so it would take a few days on Amazon. Would it be OK to start using it part way through my cycle?

Do you suggest i purchase pure ammonia and start using mid cycle?

Hello, how would I be able to stock gradually if I were to be using schooling fish like ember tetras? Thanks
Yes, you can switch over to using liquid ammonia any time. Lots of folks get Dr. Tim's Ammonium chloride through Amazon. As Azedenkae points out. You can control the ammonia level much easier when using liquid ammonia.

Should you choose to switch to liquid ammonia start by adding half of the recommended amount. It seems the recommended dose raises the level higher than it should. Getting it higher is normally not a problem but is just a waste of product. Just run you ammonia test 30 minutes or so after adding ammonia so you will know how much it is going to take you get to 2ppm. If it is not quite 2ppm add a bit more.

Should you choose to continue with the fish food as your ammonia source once the cycle is complete you could start with 4 or 5 tetras. If after a week you are still seeing no ammonia or nitrites you can add more. Give it a few days between each addition. If ammonia or nitrites spike keep them down with water changes.

By using liquid ammonia you can grow enough bacteria to assure you have enough to handle the bio-load of your full stock so can add all at the same time.
 

Biagio

I think I'm going to continue using the fish food as it's working for me and a lot of my friends. It should still work out good as I only plan on adding 5 tetras max.
Thanks for all the help.
 

Azedenkae

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I really do appreciate it. Hopefully our discussion will help the OP see the difference between different sources of ammonia.

I do understand where you were going with your advice. It seems though in this case liquid ammonia isn't going to be used. I guess what I was pointing out to the OP is the ammonia isn't going to go up to 2ppm when using fish food alone so no need to stress over trying to get it there.
All good, I could have better stressed the same thing in my post since it seemed like it was not clear.
I admit I could be wrong but I have to think using fish food for the ammonia source will grow sufficient bacteria to handle the bio-load of the future fish so no need to change to a different ammonia source if this is the method chosen. The one drawback to using fish food is we can't know exactly how much ammonia is being process using this method so can't judge the amount of bacteria grown.

Once we add fish the fish are producing ammonia mostly based on the amount of food we feed. If we cycle a tank adding the amount of food we will feed the eventual fish I have to think we will have grown enough bacteria? I do know in most cases we do grow more than needed. In some cases much more. Too much bacteria is never a problem though. Grow more than needed and a tank can be fully stocked once the cycle is complete. Grow too little and stocking has to be done very gradually. I would stock very gradually after using fish food for the ammonia source.
I think there's another drawback of using fish food that is missing here. One of the problems with ghost feeding is knowing when the tank has actually cycled. Because remember, what we want to establish via cycling are the nitrifiers. Other bacteria can be good too (in the long run), breaking down more complex substrates into products that can be uptaken by other organisms or removed from the water.

But when ghostfeeding, there is an issue of not being entirely sure where the nitrogen in the food is ending up - whether the ammonia produced from ammonification is consumed as an energy source (i.e. acting as an electron donor for the electron transport chain) or as a nitrogen source (i.e. for growth, specifically for amino acid biosynthesis). The former is specific to nitrifiers, and is the process that we want because it is a 'renewable' process, i.e. the same amount of microbial cells will just constantly use up the ammonia. The latter process is ubiquitous and occurs for both nitrifiers and other microorganisms. However, use for growth also means the assimilation of other substrates, including carbon.

When dosing straight ammonium chloride, nitrifiers will use some of the ammonia for respiration, and some for growth. Luckily, the nitrifiers that we want to establish are autotrophs, i.e. capable of producing their own organic compounds from inorganic compounds such as carbon dioxide. So they don't really need much else to grow and reproduce, increasing in numbers. Yes they need sulfur, phosphorous, and a host of other chemicals, but these are generally pretty readily available. In contrast, the non-nitrifiers, specifically the heterotrophs, will not be able to grow as they do not have organic compounds readily available to utilize as a carbon source.

When ghost feeding, one instead have the growth of both nitrifiers and the heterotrophic non-nitrifiers (hereon referred to as heterotrophs just for simplicity). Unfortunately, the heterotrophs tend to grow way faster than the nitrifiers, and so will outcompete them. With ghostfeeding and seeing no ammonia even after a prolonged period, it could mean the nitrifiers are at work, or just as likely, if not more so, the heterotrophs are doing all the work.

So is it necessarily a bad thing?

Well if it's sustainable, then no. At the end of the day, what matters is that the environment is made safe for the fish. Theoretically, if the heterotrophs continue to keep on growing and reproducing and consuming the nitrogen in the food and does not have a negative effect on the fish, well great.

Unfortunately this is not the case. Heterotrophic reproduction is not sustainable, chiefly because the population will continue to keep on growing and growing (until it is visible, in fact), and then competition starts to slow down the process as the heterotrophs fight for nutrients. Yes, even with additional nutrients (i.e. feeding, whether by now ghost feeding or actual feeding). Microbial ecology at its finest. As populations grow, they also pose another danger - bacterial blooms that can rapidly deplete water of oxygen.

That's mainly why every time I see a post on Reddit about a bacterial bloom while cycling and people jump in and go 'that's great!'. No. No it's not. It might not necessarily be bad, but it ain't 'great' either.

But wait - one may ask. Don't the nitrifiers consume oxygen too? They are aerobic, right? Yes. But because ammonia directly transfers an electron into the electron transport chain (and eventually to oxygen as the terminal electron acceptor), the amount of oxygen used up to get rid of one molecule of ammonia here is very minute, compared to heterotrophic consumption. That's one of the biggest differences.

Of course, eventually a balance will be established after all the chaos. But waiting for that happen is not only a time-consuming endeavour, but also a game of chance when every tank is different, with different inputs of microorganisms that will compete for the specific environment of the tank.

Though in a sense, this may all sound scarier than it really is. After all, plenty of aquarists cycle with fish food, myself included in the distant past. To be fair, I also get flooded with questions regarding issues with this, so while it is a tried and true process, it is subpar to fishless cycling with dosing ammonium chloride. It's similar to fish-in cycling in a way. Both are methods that can work, but are subpar when there's a much better method that would resolve a lot of headache.

And that's not to mention other issues, like different aquarists adding different amount of foods, different foods having different concentrations of ingredients and so on.

Some aquarists cycle with fish food and boom, their ammonia rises so high that it inhibits nitrification. Yet a bunch of microorganisms involved in ammonification seem to care less. Then it's a matter of water changes and so on. So then they have to add less food and play around with amounts until it 'hits just right'.

I mean to be fair, this is still better than the 'throw a shrimp in there and let it rot' method. Lol.

So yeah, ghost feeding for cycling can work, and sometimes one has no choice. I get that. Same with fish-in cycling.

If anyone is adamant about any other method of cycling - fish-in, or fishless with ghostfeeding or tossing in a shrimp or whatever, sure. They can all work. And if it needs to be the case, fine.

I would still recommend going with a method that is optimized though.
 

mattgirl

I am not a microbiologist. Just an old lady that loves this hobby. I actually recommend both liquid ammonia and fish food when fishless cycling a tank. The liquid to control the level and the fish food to add the extra food the bacteria seems to need to grow as well as it should. Through the years I've been here trying to help I was seeing lots of tanks that had been cycled by adding only liquid ammonia as the ammonia source and then spikes happened once fish were added. This led me to believe something was missing.

This thread goes into why I recommend both PSA: Something I am seeing more and more often, fishless cycling.... | Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle Forum | 477380

I admit I didn't totally understand why it works but thankfully others that know much more than I do helped correct me and explained why what was happening was happening. I am sure you will see where my wording could have been more scientific but I really am not well versed in the science behind it. I just know it works. :)
 

Biagio

Hello, I am using fish food for my fishless cycle. Today I got .40 ammonia .10 nitrite and .5 nitrate. Is this good? Should I let the ammonia go down to zero then test my water again and add food? Thanks
 

jdhef

Do you have any nitrite in you tap water? How long have you been cycling for? What size is your tank?

Generally, I would say you want to shoot for at least an ammonia level of 2ppm. When ammonia drops below 2ppm, bring it back up. Once you have had a nitrite spike and nitrites are back at 0ppm and all 2ppm of ammonia is being processed within 24 hours, you are cycled.

I'm actually not a big fan of cycling with fish food, because it is hard to regulate your ammonia level. You never know how much ammonia the amount of fish food you added will create, and there is a lag time for fish food to actually start decomposing and produce ammonia.

Pure ammonia solves those problems and makes cycling with that method much easier.

But then again, I'm a huge fan of cycling with fish using Tetra SafeStart+, because I'm a big fan of doing things the easist way possible that still gives excellent results.
 

mattgirl

We basically discussed this on your other thread so I know you are going to stick with fish food as your ammonia source. Probably not the best way but I will try to help either way.

Since you are using fish food as your ammonia source I highly recommend you add it every third day. It takes about that long to produce all the ammonia it is going to so you need to keep a fresh supply in there.

I think you mentioned using pellets as your ammonia source. Are you putting them in there whole or are you crushing them? If whole I suspect you have a bunch of them in your tank covered in fungus by now. If that is the case get them out of there.

If using fish food for an ammonia source I recommend flakes finely crushed. If you are going to continue using pellets I recommend you crush them before putting them in there.

You will know your cycle is done when you no longer see any ammonia or nitrites. That will mean you have grown enough bacteria to clear out both. You will only see nitrates.
 

Coradee

Hi Biagio your 3 cycling threads have been merged, members can advise you best if they have all the information in one place
 

Biagio

We basically discussed this on your other thread so I know you are going to stick with fish food as your ammonia source. Probably not the best way but I will try to help either way.

Since you are using fish food as your ammonia source I highly recommend you add it every third day. It takes about that long to produce all the ammonia it is going to so you need to keep a fresh supply in there.

I think you mentioned using pellets as your ammonia source. Are you putting them in there whole or are you crushing them? If whole I suspect you have a bunch of them in your tank covered in fungus by now. If that is the case get them out of there.

If using fish food for an ammonia source I recommend flakes finely crushed. If you are going to continue using pellets I recommend you crush them before putting them in there.

You will know your cycle is done when you no longer see any ammonia or nitrites. That will mean you have grown enough bacteria to clear out both. You will only see nitrates.
Yes I have been crushing the pellets. I will end up using flakes in a few days as I am running out of pellets.
Thanks for the help everyone. So do I need to try and get my ammonia levels up to 2ppm? I might try and order some pure ammonia buts it's going to take a few days.
 

mattgirl

Yes I have been crushing the pellets. I will end up using flakes in a few days as I am running out of pellets.
Thanks for the help everyone. So do I need to try and get my ammonia levels up to 2ppm? I might try and order some pure ammonia buts it's going to take a few days.
It is going to be difficult to get it up to 2ppm with fish food. The amount of bacteria you need to grow depends on the future plans for this tank. Since it is just a 5.5 gallon tank you probably won't be adding enough fish to need to grow enough bacteria to process that much ammonia.

I am going to be perfectly honest and give you my personal opinion. I would continue doing what you are doing. I really think you will be able to grow enough bacteria to handle the future bio-load in this tank. I really don't think you need to grow enough to process 2ppm ammonia. I would switch to flakes though. I would be adding a small pinch of crushed flakes every third day. Just continue doing this until both ammonia and nitrites drop to zero.
 

Biagio

Sounds good. Will be getting some flakes today. I only plan on adding 5 neon green tetras. Thanks
I got some flakes from my lfs. So you suggest I feed them everyday for the first week then every third day after that? Do I have to do something different besides crush them up because I'm switching from pellets to flakes? Thanks
 

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