My fishless cycle - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 10 Old 01-12-2010, 12:13 PM Thread Starter
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My fishless cycle

ok so ive been fishless cycling my 20 litre (5gl?) for over a week now, but only added actual ammonia about 5 days ago. anyway i think things are going well? my ammonia levels are dropping at i think a good rate, and nitrite is on the rise now, nitrate seems to be level but this will go up once the nitrite starts to settle?

anyway here are my results, bare in mind that for the first few days readings where off just a liquid ammonia kit and then strips, but from the 7th all readings except hardness are from an api master kit

Date Ammonia General Hardness Carbonate Hardness PH Nitrite N02 Nitrate N03
04/01/2010 0.25? 60 40 6.5-7 0 0
05/01/2010 0.25 60 40 6 0 0
06/01/2010 0.5/0.50? 60 40 6 0 0
07/01/2010 added 3ml ammonia in afternoon
07/01/2010 8.0 + 40 80 unsure 0 0
08/01/2010 8 7.4-7.8 0 0
10/01/2010 4-8? 2 0- 5
11/01 4-8
12/08 1-2 120 40-80 7.4 5 0-5

temp throughout has been around 24c

so once ammonia and nitrite have spiked and im left with nitrate just a large water change and ill be ready to add my fish? im also not sure about the general hardness readings as it seems like a big jump but maybe ive just read the strip wrong.
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post #2 of 10 Old 01-12-2010, 12:27 PM
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When I cycled my 20 gallon I didn't even test for hardness at all. Now keep in mind idk if that was a mistake or not :P but anyway I used the fishless cycle as well and it took me about a month and a half to cycle with pure ammonia in a fresh tank. But yes your looking for the ammonia and nitrite spike which will leave you with nitrates. And then yes a large water change to drop those back down but I wouldn't go ahead with fish right away. After the water change test again. I would probably go ahead and dose a little more ammonia and make sure things continue to stable out and break down well. If you go ahead and add the fish so soon you could probably/possibly start a mini-cycle with the fish.
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post #3 of 10 Old 01-12-2010, 03:23 PM
cool, wish I would have been able to do it this way. I could never find pure ammonia.
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post #4 of 10 Old 01-12-2010, 03:57 PM
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Make sure Ammonia will drop to ZERO before adding anyone. NO2 shouldn't rise past 0.2 and NO3 not past 50 - Being such a very small tank, I can only advise out of experience what ever you plan to stock it with, do it slow and careful- Don't take much at all to flip such a small environment to a good toxic fish bowl

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post #5 of 10 Old 01-12-2010, 08:05 PM
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I bought my ammonia at ace hardware and I'm sure you could get it at similar hardware stores. It's named janitorial strength ammonia. You can ask for that and just make sure it has no additives or extra detergents etc.
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post #6 of 10 Old 01-12-2010, 11:05 PM
I went to ace but the only kind I could find had other stuff in it. Oh well, too late now anyway, for me. I cycled with guppies and then added more fish. Now my not so mini cycle is almost done, I hope.
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post #7 of 10 Old 01-19-2010, 09:26 AM Thread Starter
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well im beggining to think im almost there! my ammonia level went to 0, my nitrite level went to 0 and the nitrate is currently at around 5-10 i think. i added i little bit more ammonia the other night, literally a few drops , and it went to around 0.25. just to keep it "fed" so to speak.

still cant decide want i want to try, i think im gonna go for neons but as guppies are meant to be hardier and im a begginner maybe they'd be a better option, just only having a 20 litre tank may be too small for 2 or 3 guppies?
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post #8 of 10 Old 01-19-2010, 11:01 AM
To be honest, I have lost more guppies than neons in my tank. But the guppies are supposed to be hardier. How long did your cycling take?
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post #9 of 10 Old 01-19-2010, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by rsheets View Post
To be honest, I have lost more guppies than neons in my tank. But the guppies are supposed to be hardier. How long did your cycling take?
well upto now the tank has been set up for about 16 days but it was three days in before i added pure ammonia. so roughly two weeks i guess. although im not sure that the drop in nitrite and ammonia means the cycle is completley finished?...
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post #10 of 10 Old 01-19-2010, 11:40 AM
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When doing a fishless cycle using ammonia, I bump the ammonia up to the level of 3 ppm. I test the tank for both ammonia and nitrite 12 hrs later. If the tank is able to consume 3 ppm ammonia, ( Test zero for both ammonia and nitrites 12 hrs later) the tank is cycled. I wait till I get this zero reading a few days in a row, to be sure. Then a large water change to lower nitates well under 40 ppm, before adding fish.
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