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pillar 06-05-2009 03:50 PM

Fishless cycling help

I have a tank that has been fishless cycling for some time now. It seems to be done, as there was a nitrite spike, then the nitrite dropped back to 0. The problem is that throughout this the ammonia has stayed around 2.4 and does not appear to be dropping, even after the nitrite spiked then dropped.

Please help! I am excited to get some fish!

Twistersmom 06-05-2009 04:46 PM

its not finnished cycling, if the ammonia is not going to zero as well as nitrites.
have you been feeding the tank ammonia daily?
try bumping the tank up to 3ppm ammonia. Test 12 hrs latter for ammonia and nitrites.
when the tank can go from 3ppm ammonia and test zero for both ammonia and nitrites 12 hrs latter, the tank is cycled.

pillar 06-05-2009 08:25 PM

Thanks for the tip, I tried this yesterday and it didn't go to 0. It was a lot higher than that before though, so there must be nitrifying bacteria there, they just can't seem to bring the last bit down.

Twistersmom 06-05-2009 08:55 PM

If you can get some filter media from a cycled tank, might help speed things up a bit.

pillar 06-05-2009 09:24 PM

I couldn't get any filter media, but I did add some gravel and an ornament from a tank I have with an undergravel filter.

It was my understanding that once the nitrite spike came and went, that there should be no ammonia left. Is this a misunderstanding? This assumption is what led me to believe that there is some sort of problem.


Twistersmom 06-05-2009 09:35 PM

With my fishless cycles, ammonia did drop to zero faster than the nitrites.
Did you possilble go over 5 ppm of ammonia and stall the cycle? Have you tested your tap water for ammonia?
Also,raising the heat in the tank to the higher 80s or lower 90s is said to help speed things up.

Do you have a test kit for nitrates?

pillar 06-06-2009 04:38 AM

When i first started it went WAY over 5 ppm, but since i had just started I left it to see if it would start to drop, and it did after a couple weeks. Since that it has not been over 5 ppm.

I just tested my tap water and it is ammonia-free.

No, I don't have a nitrate kit but I can get one if it would help significantly.

Twistersmom 06-06-2009 09:12 AM

The nitrate kit will not help it cycle any faster, but it would be good to have. When its time to do the big water change after the tank has cycled, nitrates should be sky high. The big water change is to lower nitrates to below 40 ppm.
I guess just keep adding your ammonia daily. My last fishless cycle took about 6 weeks, even using established media.

pillar 06-07-2009 05:54 AM

I just bought a nitrate kit and tested the levels, and it is only up around 40. Could this mean that I have not been adding enough ammonia? I think I may have been reading the ammonia test kit incorrectly.

Twistersmom 06-07-2009 08:25 AM

at least you know your tank is well on its way with 40 ppm nitrate.
I would guess that you are only a week or two away from having a cycled tank.
How much ammonia do you think you have been adding? Try to hit close to 3ppm ammonia daily, just be careful to not add to much, better to be under than accidently add to much.

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