Fishless Cycle (ammo 2.0ppm, nitrite 0ppm, nitrate 20+ppm)
I am in the middle of fishless cycling my 55G, and not sure what exactly is happening. It has been going now for about 6 weeks, and up until recently was going exactly as expected.
I had been adding ammonia up to 5.0ppm, my nitrite started building and then spiked for about a week, it then started to drop, and nitrates started appearing. For about a week now my nitrites have been back at 0, and my nitrates are slowly increasing (last checked they were a little darker than the 20 mark on the API test kit). But my ammonia has not yet gotten to 0 once, it has got down to about 0.25 - 0.5 and I dosed it back up to around 2.0ppm, but its not yet gotten to 0 (and if anything now appears to drop slower than it did). If my nitrite has dissapeared what happens now? am I essentially back at square 1? will my nitrates die off because there is no nitrite for them to feed on?
Its getting a little frustrating as things were going as expected, and I am now not sure how much longer I have to wait before being able to add any fish to the tank. What is happening? and where do I go from here?
Edit: My water is soft and acidic (at least as low as the API kit will go) it has a sand substrate, some driftwood, fake plants and I am using Prime water conditioner, not done any water changes while cycling only topped up with conditioned water as required. Water temp is currently 82F while cycling. 2 HOB filters.
It is normal as a cycle can be in their abnormal way. The fcat oyu don't have nitrites but do have nitrates means that the amount being turned into nitrites is being turned into nitrates just as fast.
The only thing I can think of with the ammonia is you are adding too much. I added 8 drops once a day to my 10 gallon tanks and my ammonia dropped to 0 after 3 weeks on both of them. If i added a little more once in a while then it stayed up a little. You don't need to keep the levels up all day long or increase it back to a certain level. Add the ammonia once or twice a day, no more. I don't have the fishless cycle article memorized but try dose it just up to what is recommended there.
It took my tanks about 2 months to cycle, they are finally done and the few fish I now have are happy and healthy.
I think the main thing that throws me is the 0 nitrite number.
Sounds like I need to look at revising my article. I dosed 8 drops every day and had a different fishless cycle myself. Of course I was experimenting to try different things because I was not in any hurry. Sounds like a decrease in dosing ammonia can lead to a misleading nitrite reading when ammonia is still being read or even visa versa.
Always learning in this hobby. The one thing that stands true is that both ammonia and nitrites need to be zero for a good week before adding fish just to make sure, especially if you are adding delicate fish.
I will have to compile my data and add it to help with those odd situations.
Could you add some more details on how long you dosed what and what your readings did so I can try to incomrporate them?
Is this the article you read?
If it is, could you please show me the parts that were confusing or hard to follow?
FYI - I can't remember where I read about fishless cycling and have read (and heard) more than 1 opinion on how to do it. I think thats the main problem is that there is no set way to carry it out, and there are too many variables to really be able to pin down the process.
Okay, I can see what happened now
Lowering the amount of ammonia you added is not a good thing, IMHO. If you put in less then you will have less bacteria when you add fish. After all, if a fish puts out 4ppm of ammonia a day and your tank is only cycling 2ppm then you may have a spike and an unhappy fish. I am pretty sure that my numbers are high as far dosing needs but better safe than sorry. The amount of waste the fish produces when fed properly won't go down. I am not sure why they would recommend to do so. I do not know how fast the bacteria die off but I would think it wouldn't take long.
My article is definately not gospel but it works for me and I believe a couple others have used it on here. I am sure there are other methods that work.
It sucks, I wish I had someway to seed the tank and get the cycle moved on a little faster.
Seeding your tank can be done in a couple ways.
#1 Get some gravel from and established tank and either add it to your tank or hang it in nylons in the tank.
#2 Get some filter media from an established tank and add it to your filter.
#3 Get some ornaments, caves, plastic plants or anythng that has been in an established tank.
#4 Run a filter sponge in an established tank for 2-4 weeks, as long as possible, then add it to the new tank. Squaeezing it out into the new tank can also spread the bacteria around and get it onto a lot more surfaces including your new filter media. Still run the sponge filter for a little while and when you take it out, squeeze it out really well again to get even more in the tank. I have not heard this for sure but I would bet that squeezing the sponge into the new tnak and kepeing it in the old tank will work also.
All of this will help to seed the bacteria and decrease the amount of time it should take to cycle the tank. It should anyway. No guarantees but in most cases it will work.
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