Water Levels Prior to Cycling

  1. Tjoande Member Member

    I am working on starting up my 72 gallon freshwater tank. I know I must cycle it first and thats where I have my dilemma. I tested my water straight from the tap and got the following readings:

    pH - 7.6
    ammonia - 1.0
    nitrite - 0
    nitrate - 5.0

    Once I fill my tank and let the water work through my filter (with media) will I need to add more ammonia to do a fish-less cycle?

    Thanks for any help or advice.
  2. Airth Member Member

    I've not used pure ammonia when cycling but from what I've seen, most who use that method say to dose ammonia to 4ppm. Someone else can give you more information on this. =)

  3. TexasDomer Fishlore Legend Member

    You still need to dose ammonia. I'd dose to 2-3 ppm daily (not add 2-3 ppm daily, but raise the ammonia to 2-3 ppm daily).
  4. Tjoande Member Member

    Perfect that helps a lot. I am filling the tank and then planning to add ammonia tomorrow and get the cycling process started.

  5. Tjoande Member Member

    So for the last three days I've added ammonia and my reading still says 1.0 ish each day what am I doing wrong?

    Now what I am seeing is my pH is 8.4 and my ammonia level has jumped to 8. Please advise what I need to do to fix the cycling of my tank.…
  6. TexasDomer Fishlore Legend Member

    Do a large water change to get ammonia below 4 ppm.
  7. Tjoande Member Member

    This is the thread and like I said I am doing a huge water change this morning. Thank you again for you help!

  8. CindiL Fishlore Legend Member

    I posted a little of the information from your other thread below.

    For now, do a huge water change and get your ammonia down to 1.0-2.0. I would not dose ammonia daily that will just inhibit the bacteria growth. I've done a lot of research on this lately and the dose and wait is the best way to go. For one, it keeps your nitrites from skyrocketing which then you end up having to do large daily water changes and 2) anything other than smaller amount of ammonia inhibit the bacterial growth in the beginning. I would also not dose to 4.0. I know this is often stated but in helping quite a few people here it only slows things down as that amount of ammonia should be worked up to instead of started out with.

    What water conditioner did you end up buying?

    Oh yeah, you have to use water conditioner because the chlorine and chloramines kill all bacteria including the ones you are hoping to grow! So if you didn't use one, I would do that huge water change, add your water conditioner and test your tank ammonia before adding any in so we know how much is there. If you're not going to add in a bacterial additive, I'd recommend 100% water change which I know is a pain. Might be easier just to dose an additive! :)
    When you add a water conditioner it removes chlorine but it also breaks the chloramine bonds of ammonia and chlorine. It leaves you with ammonia. Test that and depending on where its at you may or may not need to dose the ammonia initially.

    If you use a bacterial additive, I'd go with Tetra Safe Start Plus, Or Seachem Stability, Or Dr. Tim's One and Only. This will make things progress in a couple of weeks instead of 4 weeks and on without one. I'd highly recommend doing this especially because you didn't add in a water conditioner at the beginning.

    If you purchase Tetra Safe Start Plus, make sure to not get the "monthly" version and also wait 24 hours after adding in your water conditioner until adding in the TSS+.

    Whats your ammonia source specifically? Dr. Tim's or other liquid ammonia?
  9. Tjoande Member Member

    I went with liquid ammonia from my hardware store. I will go get TSS+ today then.

    CindiL so once I have done the water change (50%) add the conditioner and wait 24 hours to add the tetra safe start plus and check my levels to determine if I need to add ammonia....is that my understanding?
  10. CindiL Fishlore Legend Member

    Actually do the water change, add the water conditioner and see where your ammonia level is at. Get it to 1.0-2.0 and then 24 hours later you can in the TSS+. You want to measure and get your ammonia where you want it first because TSS+ bacteria is housed in a special ammonium liquid and will give you additional readings of ammonia which will confuse matters.

  11. Tjoande Member Member

    So after the water change and adding the conditioner, my pH lowered to 8.2 but my ammonia level was still at 8. I am afraid that I have ruined my tank :( and the water change was a pain to do. Please advice...
  12. CindiL Fishlore Legend Member

    There is no way your ammonia is still at 8.0 unless you have a lot of chloramines in your tap or you added so much ammonia in the beginning that it wasn't registering on the test. Take a water sample from your tap, add a little dechlorinator to it and test it. Let me know what your ammonia reading is at.

    You haven't ruined anything you have only just started :)

    I'd suggest for a 72g bow front you go buy a water changer! They hook up to your sink and both drain and fill your tank.

    What test kit are you using to test ammonia?
  13. Tjoande Member Member

    I tested the water again straight from the tap and the reading was
    pH - 8.4
    Ammonia - 1.0
    Nitrite - 0
    Nitrate - 5.0

    I have not checked the levels again since the water change and addition of the water conditioner. I am using the API Master Fresh Water Test Kit. I am afraid I am going to have to drain the entire tank :eek:
  14. CindiL Fishlore Legend Member

    Try taking a sample from the tap, add dechlorinator to it and then test it. The reason I suggest adding dechlorinator to it before testing is because if there are a lot of chloramines the "true" ammonia amount will show up after the bond is broken between the chlorine and ammonia in the chloramines. This will give us a better idea what you're up against and if a water change will help.
  15. Tjoande Member Member

    I tested the water from my tank again just to make sure I wasn't crazy. My pH is 8, my ammonia level is between the 4 and 8 on the API test kit which I would assume to be a 6 if my math is correct, and now there are no nitrates at all when they were present in my tap water. I am working on testing my tap water again and using the water conditioner I bought over the weekend. It is also a dechlorinator. What am I looking for when I test the water with the dechlorinator?


    Current tank test kit results

    Here is my tap water test results with water conditioner added.…[​IMG]
  16. CindiL Fishlore Legend Member

    That looks like 0 to me. You're saying it registers as 1.0 for ammonia without the water conditioner? What water conditioner did you buy? I would have told you to buy Seachem Prime or Amquel Plus or any other that says it will detoxify ammonia as well as get rid of chlorine, chloramines and heavy metals.

    I see you have some nitrites starting on your tank, did you add the TSS+ yet? If you want, you can just wait it out with the ammonia where it's at for a week and see if it drops and you get more nitrites. You can add the TSS+ since you already purchased it and we'll see if it helps with that level of ammonia. Whatever you do, don't add more ammonia :). Wait for it to come all the way down to 0 and we'll see where your nitrites are at.

    One way to get a more accurate reading of your ammonia is to dilute the test. Fill half of the ammonia test with the tank water and the other half of the test with bottled or any water without ammonia. Once you have the results multiply by 2.
  17. Tjoande Member Member

    Yes it registers 1.0 without the conditioner. I purchased the API Tap Water Conditioner. It doesn't say that it removes ammonia though which is weird. I have not added the TSS+ mainly because I was worried about the ammonia being so high. Was hoping and praying that with time the ammonia would go down. I didn't notice that the nitrites had become present that gives me a little hope. I am not and will not be adding any more ammonia.

    So I guess the course of action at this point is to wait? Or add the TSS+ and see if it takes hold in the cycle process?
  18. CindiL Fishlore Legend Member

    If you don't want to do another large water change and you don't mind "possibly" buying TSS+ again I'd add it and wait. The fact that you have some nitrites is a good sign and TSS+ should only help that. Add it in and re-test your numbers in a couple of days.
  19. Tjoande Member Member

    I am ok with another purchase of TSS+ but hopefully I am not wasting it tonight. But I will go ahead and add it right now. I purchased the TSS+ start up for tanks ups to 100 gallons...this is the right one? If so just add the whole bottle?
  20. CindiL Fishlore Legend Member

    Yeah, the whole bottle, make sure to shake it well first, it sounds like the right one. I just added the same one to my pond a few days ago.

    I found it MUCH cheaper on amazon btw. I have ordered another bottle to have on hand.