Cycling new tank; how am I doing? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 4 Old 05-26-2011, 10:08 AM Thread Starter
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Question Cycling new tank; how am I doing?

I'm a new member to this forum, but wanted to wait until I had something to talk about to introduce myself!

A few years ago I retired from horseback riding. I recently decided I needed a new hobby, and remembered that many years ago (like 30!) I had an aquarium and enjoyed it very much! So I bought a 36 gallon bowfront aquarium. I have a Penguin 200 filter with a biowheel. The aquarium is set up with gravel and artificial plants.

I'm currently 6 weeks into my fishless cycle. I did not have any seed material, so this tank is starting from scratch! I have the water temperature at 84 degrees and am using 10% ammonia hydroxide from ACE. I have the API freshwater master test kit. The tank has started growing algae, so I've decided to leave the light off all the time. I think everything is going OK, but I decided to see if I'm actually on the right track (i.e., I'm looking for some reassurance!).

Here's where the tank is today:

Ammonia: 2 ppm ( added ammonia yesterday)
Nitrite: 0 ppm
Nitrate: 40 ppm
PH: 6 ppm

I need to point out that the nitrites spiked on May 2nd and were off the chart for about 3 weeks. Then, all of a sudden, on May 20th they were gone. I then tested the Nitrates and they were up to 40 ppm; prior to that I had only tested nitrates once and they were at 5 ppm.

Since 5/20, I've added ammonia 3 times to bring the reading from 1.5 to 2 ppm. It takes a couple of days for the ammonia to drop to 1.5 and the nitrites have remained at 0.

So, I'm guessing at some point in the future, the ammonia will drop to 0?
zippyzebra is offline  
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post #2 of 4 Old 05-26-2011, 12:58 PM
Actually, your cycle is complete. After you have a nitrite spike, and then a sudden drop off of the nitrites and a spike in nitrates, thats the indication that you're done. Dose up to 3 ppm worth of ammonia, wait a day, and test to see if theres any trace of ammonia or nitrites. If you do see a trace of ammonia, wait another day, and don't dose any more ammonia.

Once you do these steps and the ammonia reaches 0, do a 25-50% water change to reduce the number of nitrates in your tank. And after that, you're done and ready for fish!
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post #3 of 4 Old 06-03-2011, 09:24 AM Thread Starter
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I add ammonia on 5/26 to bring it up to 2 PPM; it dropped to 1 PPM on 5/28. I've let it sit for the last 6 days, but the ammonia hasn't dropped below 1 PPM. I added more ammonia today to bring it back up to 2 PPM. Also tested the Nitrates (40 PPM) and Nitrites (0 PPM).

I'm not in any hurry, just wondering if there's something else I should be doing or if I just need to wait it out!?!

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post #4 of 4 Old 06-07-2011, 08:31 AM Thread Starter
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Question How long should it take for the ammonia to drop to 0?

My tank has been cycling fishless for 8 weeks. Everything has gone as expected, the nitrites spiked and then dropped to 0 and the nitrates are at 40 ppm. The ammonia, however, will not drop below 1 ppm. I left it for 6 days and it still read 1 ppm; I added ammonia to bring it to 2 ppm and after a few days, it drops back to 1 ppm, but never lower.

Should I try doing a water change or just leave it alone and wait it out?

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