Fishless cycle not working - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 4 Old 02-03-2009, 11:45 AM Thread Starter
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Fishless cycle not working

I'm trying to start a 60G tank and the local aquarium store sold me this Microbe-Lift Special Blend stuff, apparently live bacteria.

Anyway, I've been following the instructions and putting it in every week and left it with the filter running and water at 78F. It's been 4 weeks and I measured Ammonia, Nitrate, and Nitrites-- they're all zero!

Now I'm kinda bummed out because I have to start all over again. Is there a better way to do this? Was the bacteria DOA, or do you think they died because I didn't aerate the tank (just the filter action).
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post #2 of 4 Old 02-03-2009, 11:55 AM
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go to a hardware store or local grocery store and find PURE ammonia. Introduce into water and continue to introduce until you start getting 0 ammonia readings then add fish before bacteria has nothing to feed on.

Its a delicate thing to balance.
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post #3 of 4 Old 02-03-2009, 12:30 PM
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Another method used by some,, is to cut the toe section from a pair of nylons and place an uncooked shrimp in the nylon with something to weight it down. drop it in the tank and wait until you see nitrates show up on API freshwater master kit. I must disclose that the smell sometimes turns some folks off from this method.
Another method which some don't approve of but I like is with the use of five or six SMALL active tetras such as blood fin, pristellas,or silver tipped. Leave these SMALL fish in the tank for two weeks and feed only once a day SPARINGLY Take a small amount of flake food and cush it in the palm of your hand until it's almost powder. Feed as described a small amount once a day. These are SMALL hardy active fish that will not give rise to lethal levels of ammonia and tank will mature naturally. After two weeks you can purchase another three or four of these tetras which can be kept for they are peaceful or,, traded for possibly other fish. Feed these fish same as before and lethal levels of ammonia won't be an issue. After another ten days perhaps purchase someting different or unique say a gourami or perhaps two or three small cory cats (more can be added later). Leave these fish for ten days with same feeding schedule SMALL amounts, once a day. At the end of the final ten days you should begin weekly water changes of 20 percent using dechlorinator such as PRIME and you should continue with these weekly water changes from now on. If you do as I have described the tank will mature naturally with little or no danger of ammonia becoming damaging or lethal to the fish . Do NOT change the filter during this time. If it gets clogged to the point that water from your filter is slowed down ,,then run some water in a bucket,, add dechlorinator, and remove the filter and swish it around in this water to remove most of the gunk and then stick it back in. The needed bacteria will be in and or on this filter material so you don't want to get rid of it, plenty of time to change filters after the tank has matured or cycled as some call it. Don't vaccum the gravel which should be unnecessary since you are not overfeeding if you feed as described. DON"T add too many fish, too LARGE of fish, or fish that are unsuitable such as Plecos, sharks,or large cichlids. I have used the method I described and it has worked well if directions are followed and patience is observed. Any deviation and all bets are off. The way i have described does not harm the fish as long as they are not overfed or too many are placed in the tank at once. No frequent water changes to control ammonia are needed if it is done properly.

The most important medication in your fish medicine cabinet is.. Clean water.
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post #4 of 4 Old 02-03-2009, 01:02 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Burninator View Post
go to a hardware store or local grocery store and find PURE ammonia. Introduce into water and continue to introduce until you start getting 0 ammonia readings then add fish before bacteria has nothing to feed on.

Its a delicate thing to balance.
Thanks Burninator, I figured it was something stupid like that. I must have misunderstood the advice from the fish store. With the AP test kit now, things should be more obvious.
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