So around Christmas time I decided that my gift to myself was going to be to start up a fish tank. I had a little 5 gallon tank when I was a little kid, but never had ANY luck keeping anything alive... so I did my RESEARCH this time! :)
I bought the biggest tank I could afford and keep in the space I had available, which unfortunately worked out to be only a 15 gallon. But hey, it's better than 5 right?
Anyway, I bought my tank New Years day and had done enough research to know that I needed to cycle my tank and the idea of little fishies screaming in agony haunted my subconscious, so I chose to get real technical and do the fishless cycle before buying any fish (my husband thinks I am crazy to get so emotional over fish... but I didn't want anything to suffer purely for my convenience/impatience).
I bought a bottle of ammonia (fragrance and suds-free), an API test kit, a bottle of Stability (which I only used for the first week), and planted my aquarium with gravel, 2 plastic plants, 2 live plants, and a large ornament.
-Cycling for 19 days
-Dosing tank to 4ppm ammonia, over time it lowered to 0.5ppm and was dosed back up to 4ppm two days ago (day 17).
-Tests for Nitrites and Nitrates have consistently said ZERO
-only tested for pH once around day 12, it was high at around 8.2
-As of day 16 I have CLOUDY, white water
-I haven't done ANY water changes due to the negligible levels of Nitrates
-My live plants are looking brown on the tips and starting to die.
-I keep my light on for 8-10 hours a day
-I have my heater cranked to 32C (89.6F)
-I have a bubbler
-How long is this fishless cycle thing supposed to take? I don't have any friends with tanks so I have no access to seeding material
-Is a cloudy tank during a fishless cycle a GOOD thing or a BAD thing?
-Should I be doing partial water changes even though I have no nitrites/nitrates, or will that interrupt the cycle at this point?
I'm getting a little exasperated to be living with an empty tank for so long and playing "mad scientist" every day checking my water chemistry. I want to enjoy some pretty fish soon, but I want to do this right.
A little help and encouragement for a blundering novice? Please?