Help What The Heck Is Going On With My Cycle?

Starflyr3

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UGH!

Every time I think I’m good, THIS happens!

Ive been cycling Rainbow’s tank for weeks. It was fine, 0-0.25(hard to tell)/0/5-10.
I did a 50% water change a few days ago, and the nitrates disappeared, but I figured it was the water change.

Yes, I used prime and stress coat +, plus, my water doesn’t have chlorine/chloramine.

Today, this is Rainbow’s tank (8.2/0.5/0/0):

5080A41A-617F-44F6-9128-DC1B7A52C336.jpeg


This is Ocean’s tank (8.2-8.4/0/0/5):

735E45FB-318D-4BD1-9C63-7056A891F211.jpeg


This is together (black is Rainbow, clear is Ocean

0A9815E1-2B09-4BC9-A7B7-9C3070552FC2.jpeg


This is tap ammonia/ rainbow/ ocean in that order (0/0.5/0)

95899018-44AC-4DAB-9FC5-FDAC517C634C.jpeg


What the HECK?

Same tap water, same conditioner, same food, same test kit, both have 4 moss balls in their tanks.

This keeps happening to Rainbow’s tank. I do NOT understand!

I’m about to do a water change.

Help?!?!?
 

StarGirl15

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What is your tap waters Ph? That looks drastically high (BOTH) for a freshwater tank. I have never seen purple before. What are the decorations in Rainbows tank compared to Oceans?
 
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Starflyr3

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StarGirl15 said:
What is your tap waters Ph? That looks drastically high (BOTH) for a freshwater tank. I have never seen purple before. What are the decorations in Rainbows tank compared to Oceans?

Our tap water is at 8.2, with a kH of 200-400 (18 drops). I tried almond leaves, which didn’t change anything.

I’ve been told stable pH is better than pH swings trying for “ideal”. With such a high pH, though, I’m super vigilant about the ammonia, since almost none will be ammonium, which is why this was making me nuts. I do use Prime with each water change, though.

The other decorations are basically the same. Betta log, silk plants, ceramic fish decorations from Petco, 1 large and 3 small Marimo moss balls in each.

(Please ignore the ammonia; this was taken before we got Ocean, while I was cycling his tank.)

Rainbow on the left (dragons/Dino’s), Ocean on the right (pottery):

D34E57D2-3ABC-4DDC-9EB9-BFF1340557E4.jpeg
 

StarGirl15

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Hmmmm that is crazy! I have no ideas...I'm sorry... I hope someone else chimes in for you!
 

GlennO

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Was there a reason that you did a 50% water change near the end of the cycle? Small tanks can fluctuate rapidly and you may have kick started a minI cycle. Keep an eye on ammonia and use Prime when necessary, it should move forward from here. Some Stability might help move it along if you don’t have any mature media to soak the filter sponge in, but probably not necessary.

Keepers of African Rift Lake Cichlids would love your tap water.
 
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Starflyr3

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GlennO said:
Was there a reason that you did a 50% water change near the end of the cycle? Small tanks can fluctuate rapidly and you may have kick started a minI cycle. Keep an eye on ammonia and use Prime when necessary, it should move forward from here. Some Stability might help move it along if you don’t have any mature media to soak the filter sponge in, but probably not necessary.

Keepers of African Rift Lake Cichlids would love your tap water.
It was fine for awhile; I used TSS, but it doesn’t seem to affect the ammonia; today is the highest it’s been in awhile, and is the reason I did the water change. I added a bit more TSS today.

I did daily 25-50% water changes while doing the fish in cycle with him; I had left it alone (but still doing daily testing) since Thursday, adding prime every other day; I’m never sure if ammonia is 0 or 0.25, so I erred in the side of caution. The filter media is almost 2 months old, plus I have a prefilter sponge too, same age.

Ugh...

I thought it had finished cycling...

Do I need to add an airstone? I un-baffled the filter, thinking maybe it was an oxygen thing, but when I tried an airstone, the bubbles create more current than he can deal with.
 

GlennO

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Just a little water turbulence or a few bubbles would be ample. The length of time that it was cycling and your numbers do suggest that cycling was near finished so I’m not sure what happened. I can only guess that with such a low waste load the bacteria colony is going to be very small and susceptible to changes in water parameters. Daily 25%-50% changes may have been excessive. They might prolong cycling and make it harder for your bacteria to stabilise.
 

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Are you changing the water at the same time, dechlorinating at the same time?
 
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Starflyr3

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GlennO said:
Just a little water turbulence or a few bubbles would be ample. The length of time that it was cycling and your numbers do suggest that cycling was near finished so I’m not sure what happened. I can only guess that with such a low waste load the bacteria colony is going to be very small and susceptible to changes in water parameters. Daily 25%-50% changes may have been excessive. They might prolong cycling and make it harder for your bacteria to stabilise.
He had pretty bad fin rot, and that’s what the vet told me to do.; since the beneficial bacteria are in the filter, it shouldn’t matter, yes?
 
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Starflyr3

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Wraithen said:
Are you changing the water at the same time, dechlorinating at the same time?
I don’t have chlorine or chloramine (or heavy metals/pesticides) in my tap water, as we have a whole house filter, but I still use a water conditioner, yes. I don't have the ability to set water out for 24 hours, so I use a 2 qt pitcher and put the Prime in the first fill of it; enough for the tank (about 1 mL). I try to test/change water around the same time daily (after work).
 

Wraithen

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Starflyr3 said:
I


I don’t have chlorine or chloramine (or heavy metals/pesticides) in my tap water, as we have a whole house filter, but I still use a water conditioner, yes. I don't have the ability to set water out for 24 hours, so I use a 2 qt pitcher and put the Prime in the first fill of it; enough for the tank (about 1 mL). I try to test/change water around the same time daily (after work).
Ok. Are you adding prime at the same time? To both tanks at the same time?
 

GlennO

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Starflyr3 said:
He had pretty bad fin rot, and that’s what the vet told me to do.; since the beneficial bacteria are in the filter, it shouldn’t matter, yes?
That’s the usual (and good) advice for fin rot which is commonly caused by poor water quality in established tanks with high nitrates due to infrequent water changes. That’s not your scenario.

You do need a constant low level of ammonia to feed your bacteria. In established tanks it is generally below detectable levels and is converted quickly to nitrite then nitrate. If ammonia is depleted, the bacteria die off, the nitrogen cycle is disrupted, and the cycle will have to start again, either fully or partly.
 
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Starflyr3

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GlennO said:
That’s the usual (and good) advice for fin rot which is commonly caused by poor water quality in established tanks with high nitrates due to infrequent water changes. That’s not your scenario.

You do need a constant low level of ammonia to feed your bacteria. In established tanks it is generally below detectable levels and is converted quickly to nitrite then nitrate. If ammonia is depleted, the bacteria die off, the nitrogen cycle is disrupted, and the cycle will have to start again, either fully or partly.

Now we’re back to when I came here in May, in a panic, having realized that I had not been taking optimal (or even good) care of him for a year, and he developed fin rot after being taken to show and tell at my daughter’s school. Then the tank started leaking like crazy, and I did need up building a new 10 gal one. That I had to toss together and put him in immediately. I didn’t have established media, so...

But that was several months ago. Should I take some filter media from the other tank that I did a fishless cycle for?

Should I get a nerite snail for him to increase the ammonia demand? I just know I’m on my 2nd apI master kit since May
 

GlennO

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If you have a mature filter that's a great resource. Squeeze some into a container and soak it up with the other sponge. I don't think that you need to increase ammonia output. The quantity of bacteria in the filter will adjust to whatever level is present.
 
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Starflyr3

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GlennO said:
If you have a mature filter that's a great resource. Squeeze some into a container and soak it up with the other sponge. I don't think that you need to increase ammonia output. The quantity of bacteria in the filter will adjust to whatever level is present.

The weird thing is, the fishless cycle tank was set up in June, and Rainbow’s tank has been (properly) set up since early May.

Idk if the tank I set up this month is qualified as “mature”...
 
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Starflyr3

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So... the parameters are the same today,

0.5/0/0, pH 8.2.

I dosed Prime a couple times normal and added a bottle of TSS.

UGH.
 

GlennO

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Starflyr3 said:
The weird thing is, the fishless cycle tank was set up in June, and Rainbow’s tank has been (properly) set up since early May.

Idk if the tank I set up this month is qualified as “mature”...
Well you said it was cycled but if it's only been running for a few weeks I'd be reluctant to disturb it.

I don't have a lot of faith in 'bacteria in a bottle'. I've tried a few brands and only once noticed a quicker than normal cycle. That was with Seachem Stability. Nothing beats media from a well established filter.

I think you just need to keep on doing what you're doing. Assuming that you have adequate filtration you should see the cycle progress soon. Another option would be to install a divider in your existing cycled tank and have both fish in there while you fishless cycle the other. You'd have to be careful to feed them sparingly for a while because your cycled tank is currently operating on the bio-load of one fish.
 
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Starflyr3

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GlennO said:
Well you said it was cycled but if it's only been running for a few weeks I'd be reluctant to disturb it.

I don't have a lot of faith in 'bacteria in a bottle'. I've tried a few brands and only once noticed a quicker than normal cycle. That was with Seachem Stability. Nothing beats media from a well established filter.

I think you just need to keep on doing what you're doing. Assuming that you have adequate filtration you should see the cycle progress soon. Another option would be to install a divider in your existing cycled tank and have both fish in there while you fishless cycle the other. You'd have to be careful to feed them sparingly for a while because your cycled tank is currently operating on the bio-load of one fish.
Sadly, I can’t put them together, as rainbow has myco.
 
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Starflyr3

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Well, TSS helped some.

Rainbow isn’t on <—— of each pair

8.2/0.25/0/10

Ocean (cycled) is on the ——-> side of each pair:

8.2-8.4/0/0/5.

I’m leaving it and adding prime again

3550F642-9D3A-489D-9968-8C0BAFE81CA1.jpeg
 

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