What is the Best Way to End a Fishless Cycle?

eepruls
  • #1
Hi,

I'm nearing the end of my cycle and have read some conflicting finishing steps.

Some say to remove 30-50% of the water and the tank is ready for fish while others say to remove 50-80%, leave it for a day, and test again. The latter seems unnecessary to me since all you'd be doing is removing nitrAtes and if you're not adding ammonia why would there suddenly be ammonia or nitrItes the day later if you reached the end of the cycle?

What is correct? What is the best way to end the cycle?

Thanks fish peeps!
 
Peterpiper
  • #2
HI eepruls,
At the end of the cycle your Nitrate will be high, and the PH will be out of wack ( if you used ammonia to cycle )
AI'm for 90-100% water change, that way you will have a clean start, ie good PH and no nitrates.
Try an do the water change first thing in the morning, and add your fish within 12hrs.
 
eepruls
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Thanks for responding Peterpiper. What is the purpose of waiting after you do the water change? Is it just to allow things to settle down and the temperature to be corrected?
 
Peterpiper
  • #4
Thanks for responding Peterpiper. What is the purpose of waiting after you do the water change? Is it just to allow things to settle down and the temperature to be corrected?

You want to stock your tank ASAP after the water change.. within 12hrs.
This is so the fish will provide ammonia to the bacteria.
You should look at stocking all the fish at this point.
ie, If you only add 5 fish and then add another 5 fish in 2 weeks, you will put your tank into a minI cycle.
REASON- the bacteria will drop down in mass, to the level of food ( ammonia ) that is available, produced by 5 fish.. now if you add another 5 fish, then you have increased the ammonia load by 100%,
yes.. get the temp, ph etc right, and your good to go!

pete
 
capekate
  • #5
You will get conflicting posts on this one. Personally IMO doing a 100% water change is unnecessary. Once you cycle you should not have any ammonia showing anyway.. As far as your PH changing... I would do a water test and check it out yourself and see where it is. If it is where its supposed to be, and has been then you don't have to worry about that. My PH never changed during the cycle process.
After I cycled my 55 and another 29 fishless, I checked the nitrAte levels which would be high around 20+. That is the reason for doing the water change before adding fish. You can try a 50% water change, wait 24 hrs, test the water and see where you are. If the nitrAte is still high, then repeat again. OR... you can do that 50% water change now ahead of the game to get the nitrate down a bit..
Once you get your cycled readings of 0 ammonia, 0 nitrIte, do the other 50%, wait 24 hrs and re test and see if you have them low around 10ish, you should be ready for your fish then. ;D
You are almost there! any day now... ready... set.. go! ;D

~ kate
 
Peterpiper
  • #6
HI capekate,
My comments are based on responses from a commercial agriculturist (seahorses) and the affect of ammonia on ph in fresh water and salt may vary..
In regards to water changes, if you have 20 nitrates and do a 50% WC you would have 10 nitrates.. as nitrates are messured in PPM, They will reduce by % of WC. So why wait 24hrs? to me, you would want to get your bio load/mass into the system to prevent the bacteria reducing due to lack of ammonia?
 
capekate
  • #7
HI Peter,
I can understand the affects of ammonia on PH levels. What most charts show is that at a lower PH level and lower water temps, ammonia is not as toxic as it would be in an environment of a higher PH and higher temps.. At lower PH levels your ammonia will turn to ammonium (NH4) and be less toxic to your fish. What I cannot verify anywhere tho, is the statement that PH levels change in your water due to a change in ammonia levels. ie: Your response that the PH levels will be out of whack due to the ammonia levels in the tank.That is what I was trying to explain.
As far as stocking your tank with a lot of fish after your tank has cycled, your bio load will become high fast and cause a minI cycle til the beneficial bacteria can catch up with the ammonia and waste produced by a lot of fish at once. That is why so many do advise against adding a lot of fish at once. And go with the few a week idea.

~ kate
 
eepruls
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
I did a nitrIte test today and they now read 0ppm. Ammonia is at 0 as well. I did a water change of probably 70% and followed with a nitrAte test. The reading was 5ppm so I think I am good to go!
 
Peterpiper
  • #9
HI Peter,
I can understand the affects of ammonia on PH levels. What most charts show is that at a lower PH level and lower water temps, ammonia is not as toxic as it would be in an environment of a higher PH and higher temps.. At lower PH levels your ammonia will turn to ammonium (NH4) and be less toxic to your fish. What I cannot verify anywhere tho, is the statement that PH levels change in your water due to a change in ammonia levels. ie: Your response that the PH levels will be out of whack due to the ammonia levels in the tank.That is what I was trying to explain.
As far as stocking your tank with a lot of fish after your tank has cycled, your bio load will become high fast and cause a minI cycle til the beneficial bacteria can catch up with the ammonia and waste produced by a lot of fish at once. That is why so many do advise against adding a lot of fish at once. And go with the few a week idea.

~ kate

HI kate,
I agree 100% with what you are saying in regards to the affect of ammonia on PH. It is the cycling process ( when using ammonia ) that puts the ph out of wack, once you have finished your cycle, ammonia and nitrites should be at 0 and nitrates will be very high and the PH is out ( this is on a marine tank and the cycling process may not affect the PH the same in a fresh water tank? I don't know the answer yet.. ) another reason for the water changes, is to reduce and keep the nitrates as low as you can, this helps with the fight with algaes.. and all new tanks will have this fight.
The concept of using ammonia to cycle, is that you end up with more Nitrifying bacteria (Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter respectively) than what is required when the tank is fully stocked.
How long would it take for a uncycled stocked tank to build up ammonia to 5ppm.. 2-3 days? Yet by dosing to 5ppm each day during the cycle, we will have more than enough Nitrifying bacteria to deal with the bio load of a fully stocked tank.
Many seahorse keepers now only cycle their filters ( I can see no reason for this not to work the same for fresh water systems )
The filter is placed in a tub ( we use a 50lt tub for a filter that will go on a 240lt tank ). When using this method, ammonia is added every 12hrs to 5ppm, and the filter is cycled in 14-18 days. And no water change required, your tank starts with 0 nitrates.
 
capekate
  • #10
I did a nitrIte test today and they now read 0ppm. Ammonia is at 0 as well. I did a water change of probably 70% and followed with a nitrAte test. The reading was 5ppm so I think I am good to go!

HI Eepruls.. Congratulations ;D I believe your tank is now cycled and ready for your fishys! yeaaaa.....

Dont forget to start a new thread and let us know what kinds you ended up getting! Good luck.. and happy shopping to ya!

~ kate
 
Peterpiper
  • #11
HI Eepruls,
Did you check the PH before the water change?
 
eepruls
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
The pH was always high, like 7.5. Not sure if it was from the ammonia or a shell I had in there (which I removed). The water coming out of my tap is neutral at 7.

Stewie, my male betta, is now in the tank and loving it.
 
Peterpiper
  • #13
Well done! Time to sit back and enjoy your Betta
 
eepruls
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
I have had more enjoyment watching him over the last few days than I have for more than a year in his old 1/2 gallon bowl. With lots of hiding spaces and room to move around, and a nice bright fluorescent light that make his colours more vibrant, he's just awesome to have! I am so glad I set up my 10 gallon and moved him over. He built his first bubble nest yesterday so I would say he's very happy!
 
Peterpiper
  • #15
You will get what you give.. you have given " him " ( you know he needs a name! ) the best.. and now he is rewarding you for the care and affection that you have given him.
 
eepruls
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
His name is Stewie!
 

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