cycling mistake - fixable?
Oh man, now I finally got my fishless cycle started and it just dawned on me, that I probably misunderstood on how to do it right. :roll:
It said to add a few drops of ammonia every day until you read 4-5. I added 4 drops to my 2.5 gal (it's about 2 gal in reality) and read 1 the next day (api liquid test kit). So I added 12 drops to get to the 4-5 level and I think that wasn't right, correct? I should have added maybe 3 more drops (or even less) and so on each day to get the level slowly up to 4-5? Today I read between 4 and 8 again (about the same I read an hour after I added the 12 drops yesterday), so I didn't add any drops. What should I do now? Check every day and only add more ammonia when the level goes down a little? Or is it all messed up already?
I was also wondering, how much time should be between the adding of ammonia and the reading. Also, should I read first and then add or the other way around?
What you want to do is keep the ammonia at 4-5 (once per day, however many drops) until your ammonia can decrease itself to 0-1ppm in 8-12 hours. When your ammonia reaches 0-1ppm from 4-5ppm in 8-12 hours, you know that enough beneficial bacteria has grown to take care of part of a fish load. Now you need to focus on nitrite's.
Inevitably, since your ammonia is now disappearing, if you tested for nitrites, they'd probably be really high. From now on each day, keep the ammonia level at 1-2ppm. This should take about the same time, possibly slightly less than the ammonia stage. Your nitrites will probably drop quickly, so when you have no ammonia, and no nitrites after previously putting 1-2ppm of ammonia in 12-24hrs before you are almost safe to put fish in.
Then I'd say do a 50-75% water change, and there you go.
Tips for faster cycling:
- Turn your heater to around 82F+
- Add as much Aeration as possible.
Sounds like you are using the API test like me. It goes from 4 to 8ppm and they are almost the same color. If you are closer to 8ppm, it may be to much ammonia to cycle. Not a big deal, a water change will fix that.
On my last fishless cycle, I added enough ammonia to bump it up to 3-4ppm. I did not add any more ammonia till I saw a big drop, down to 1-2ppm. Then I started adding ammonia daily.
I would take a reading before adding ammonia, gave me an idea how much to add, then retest for ammonia 12hrs later, you can add more then if you want. When your test reads zero for ammonia and nitrites 12hrs after bumping ammonia up to 3-4ppm, your tank is cycled! Make sure you get the same zero results two days in a row.
I did a big 80% water change after the cycle. That lowered my nitrates to 20ppm.
Thanks Sj45 and Twistersmom for your responses. Puh, ok, so it wasn't all wrong.
I would say, the reading was closer to 4 then to 8, but I'll just wait with adding more ammonia, until it drops to 3-4. If nothing changes within a few days I'll do a water change. Would that be a plan?
Unfortunately I can't higher the temp., because I have the Marineland Mini heater, which is preset to 78. BTW, one of them (I have 2 aquariums) shows a temp. of about 75/76. If this is not changing, do you think I can send it to Marineland?
I dont know about returning the heater. Are both heaters the same and heating the same size tanks? It could be that one of the tanks is sitting in a warmer part of the house. I believe the the mini heaters are not adjustable, they just warm the water a few degrees.
Yes, they are the same and the tanks are the same size and they sit right next to each other. Could it be, that one of the thermometers is not working well? I have quite cheap ones that you stick in the gravel.
You could always switch the thermometers around, and see if it makes a difference.
My guess it is most likely a faulty heater.
just wanted to give you an update on the cycling.
Today I checked and one tank was finally 0 amm. and 5 nitrite. I added 5 drops amm. (4 drops showed 1-2 last time).
The other tank was about 4 amm. and about 1 nitrite, so I didn't do anything.
So, since I only checked randomly the whole time I am now at the point where I should check daily and add as much drops as I need to keep the amm. at 1-2, until the nitrites are also dropping to 0, right?
For the heater: I returned the one with the low temp. to marineland and I hope they will send me the new one soon. I had to pay to ship it to them, but it was only $2.
Is it the tank with no heater, that is showing the slower results?
I know higher heat is suppose to speed up the cycle process.
But yes, you are correct, you should try to bump the ammonia up to around 3ppm, test 12hrs latter for results.
Sounds like one tank is close to being cycled. Ammonia is already dropping fast, you are at the nitrite spike stage, I have found my tanks to complete their cycle about a week after the nitrite spike.
Good luck with it!
I think you already know this, but if you can bump the ammonia up to the 3 ppm range and get zero ammonia and nitrites 12hrs latter, you tank is cycled.
Oh, ok, I thought, I should add drops to get 1-2 at this point, that's what Sj45 said. So I'll try not to get over 3 or under 1?
The funny thing is, that the tank with no heater is the one that seems to be almost done.
But the tank with heater is the one where I added too much amm. in the beginning and never did a water change to get it down.
So I guess that tells us that adding too much amm. slows down the process more than no heating...
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