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Is my fishless cycle stalled?

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Is my fishless cycle stalled?
Old 05-12-2013, 10:32 AM   #11
 
Thank you so much for your support, guys! Just an update for someone who is going through the same experience: I did a 95% water change yesterday and upped ammonia to 1 ppm. Today's parameters are: ammonia: 0 (eaten in 10 hours), ph: 6.6 (same as tap), nitrate: 80 (thank goodness), nitrite: off the chart (eww...) I was praying for a miracle, but I guess not yet. Off to the store to buy a python. Took 3 hours last night to do the water change "bucket style". I will definitely post once the nitrites are gone so that people who go through the same thing can compare.
Re: betta: yes, it's the same betta that lived with neons, cherry barbs and long finned tetras in my 10 g tank which is now converted to RCS breedery. I love him very much, he is extremely sweet (except trying to snack on cherries) and did great with all other fish. I am pretty confident he will be okay in a new tank.
Re: plants: I have a bunch of fast growing stem plants for the time being and for the sake of the hatchets I plan to get, but once they are settled, I will try to rescape the scenery a bit with a better quality plants. I am pretty limited due to my med-low light but this is how I want to keep it so no algae.
Wishing luck and patience to everyone fighting the nitrite war. Happy Mother's Day, everyone!
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Old 05-12-2013, 10:42 AM   #12
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When were the nitrates 80ppm? Before or after the 95% water change? I know I test before changes out of curiosity but yours should have dropped from 80 to less than 5 if your tap water is zero.

I think (but am not certain) that 1ppm ammonia oxidized to nitrite and then to nitrate yields 1ppm nitrate. With plants the ratio of added ammonia to end nitrates will not be 1:1 only because a lot of the added ammonia will be consumed by the plants and it never gets to nitrite stage let alone nitrate.

Jeff.
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Old 05-12-2013, 10:58 AM   #13
 
Jeff, the nitrates were 40 ppm last night after 95% WC and 80 ppm this morning after 1 ppm of ammonia was converted, but the thing is, I am somewhat colorblind to the color card and cannot for the love of me differentiate the colors starting from 5 and up. Same with nitrites. So it can be as low as 20 or as high as 100, I don't know. It looked like 80 to me. Anyway, I am doing another great WC as soon as python is here and hopefully will lower both nitrites and nitrates to more acceptable levels. The tap water might have a negligible amount of nitrates, I think. I am not sure. But the tap nitrites are 0, I checked.
Heck, I had my 10 g cycled in TWO weeks with a no plants, no ammonia, one betta, few water changes and no problems ever since; I am looking at this 56 g monster that is nothing but trouble and want to "loan" it to someone until this cycle is over.

Last edited by ukrworld; 05-12-2013 at 11:00 AM..
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Old 05-12-2013, 11:12 AM   #14
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Something is definitely off with your testing results if your tap tests zero. 95% really should have the tank close enough to tap levels that you might not be able to differentiate on the test and you are very unlikely to a have 40ppm increase over night. You might try using a white LED flashlight to compare your colours or just get someone else to read them. I do this occasionally when I am not certain but also usually just trying to decide between two colours, not the whole card.

Are you using the liquid test? Perhaps if you are using the strips the colour representation is weak or if you are using the liquid you aren't shaking the crap out of the bottle #2, that will throw off the results and I think read higher falsely. Eventually not shaking enough will throw off all future tests.

Jeff.
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Old 05-12-2013, 11:30 AM   #15
 
Shook the heck out of both bottle and tube. Used API liquid, and my other established tank tested 0 nitrates, so drops are working good, but it has only cherries which produce tiny waste. I will try the led light, great idea! Can I ask if I should be very concerned about nitrates during the cycle? What does it mean for the cycle? I had a lot of plant debris from melted plants (ammonia overdose), could that affect the nitrates? Oh, they were reading 5 ppm (as best as I could tell) BEFORE WC. I am more and more confused.
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Old 05-12-2013, 11:39 AM   #16
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Nitrates don't mean much until you start adding fish then you should aim to have them as low as possible, under 20ppm anyway. Melted plants will add to the ammonia but not to the level that you have been adding and not directly adding to the nitrates. The melt may have been due to high ammonia but a lot of plants have pretty good tolerance to ammonia, although sustained high levels, not sure.

Jeff.
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Old 05-13-2013, 07:55 AM   #17
 
Update: today my nitrites went down to 0.25 without additional water changes, nitrates hover at 40. I am keeping my fingers crossed and dosing ammonia to 1 ppm daily. I hope it's about to be over.
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Old 05-13-2013, 08:59 AM   #18
 
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HOORAY!!! It sounds like you're moving in the right direction! Ammonia spike, nitrite spike, nitrAte spike. . . then a leveling off. . . keep the ammonia up as you are, and I'm willing to bet that you're *this close* to a cycled tank! Then the FUN part can start!
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Old 05-14-2013, 08:52 AM   #19
 
Finally!

Today the ammonia and nitrite were zero, nitrate between 40 and 80. Normally I would wait another couple of days to stabilize the tank further, but because I have live plants which already suffered from ammonia and hate to keep dosing ammonia even in small quantities, I am going to slowly start introducing fish to the tank (about 1/4 of a planned population to start with). But first, a huge water change to bring the nitrates down.

So in my case, when the cycle stalled, a large water change and keeping ammonia at lower levels seem to have helped to get the cycle going again. I would think that after the nitrites start going up, the ammonia amount you put in should automatically be cut down to half the previous amount, maybe that will keep the cycle from stalling as the nitrifying bacteria is catching up, so as not to overwhelm the little guys with so much food:)

Please guys, if any beginner to planted tanks is going through the same thing, please DO NOT use ammonia in a tank with live plants, no matter how hardy they seem! I almost lost a hardy java fern to this stuff, you want to take the plants out of the water and reintroduce them only after the cycle is done! Plants and ammonia to not mix (why didn't I listen to Byron's wise words? silly me). What you can do is either very heavily plant the tank from the beginning with desired plants or plant however lightly you want, but use a lot of floaters and stem/bunch fast growing plants to absorb the ammonia and add just a few fish there every couple of weeks, no chemicals needed. Then you can slowly replace the bunches and floaters with your dream aquascape.
Good luck to everyone struggling with a cycle and enormous thank you for all your support and advice. I couldn't do it without your help.
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Last edited by ukrworld; 05-14-2013 at 09:03 AM..
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Old 05-14-2013, 10:16 AM   #20
 
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SOOOOO happy for you!!! *dances* Thanks for sharing your journey with us so far. . . please, pretty please, let us watch this tank grow in the future! I can't wait to see what it becomes under your care. :)
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