Need Fishless Cycling Advice
It's been 5 weeks and I think I crashed my cycle. I'm new to fishless, but I've cycled with fish-in (horrible experience watching the goldfish try and survive) and I've cycled with borrowed substrate. I have a cycled 25 gal but I can't use any substrate, etc. because of an outbreak of ICH last month.
So here it is: I set up my 10 gal with all the decorations, gravel, filter, heater. Added tap water w/prime. My tap already has .50ppm of ammonia so I didn't add anything extra. Only adding 2 bettas so I don't need a ton of bacteria.
3 weeks of my ammonia at .50 and then it went to 0. Nitrites immediately started to show and spiked at .50ppm. They went down to .25ppm but then back up to .50ppm. Confused I checked the ammonia. It was back up to .50ppm!
Here's what I think I did: During the nitrite process I continued to add small cups of tap water to keep the ammonia bacteria eating. However, I think my last does of 4c of water didn't have the water conditioner. I think I killed my bacteria with the chlorine from my tap. So here I sit with my ammonia at .50ppm and my nitrites still hanging at .50ppm too. GGGGRRRrrrrrr! Am I starting over??!!!
I'm just a few years old in this hobby and I'd love to hear your guy's expert advice and opinions. I have another 10 gal to cycle after this one and it's just torture.
The easiest solution is to get some floating plants (live). Betta really need plants to browse through, and floating plants are very easy to maintain. With live plants, you basically have no discernable cycle because the plants use the ammonia produced by the fish, and with 1 or 2 Betta this would work fine. Plants would also help your tap water ammonia problem.
Ceratopteris cornuta (Water Sprite) is probably the best floating plant for Betta and gourami fish, but many stem plants allowed to float also work. Brazilian Pennywort is ideal for this as it is moderate light and easy to grow, and looks very attractive floating. You can find out more abouot these plants and see photos in our profiles, just click on the shaded names.
Thanks Byron - I've really been looking into live plants. My pH is high at 8.0 so I've just started the learning process. I'll most certainly tap into this forums informational stickys! This cycling stuff is a drag and I really want to get my bettas out of their bowls and into their permanent homes. Thanks again!
I did some research to add a couple of plants, but I ran into a wall! First, the Water Sprite is illegal in California. Grrr. The Brazilian Pennywort only has a pH threshold of 7.8 and my pH is 8.0. However, I still looked for it, and it looks like I'll have to order it online. Any other suggestions? I really want a planted tank but I've been hesitant due to all the chemistry requirements I'll need to learn. However, a small plant to get me started is just what I need. I'm happy to order the Pennywort because it's perfect for my bettas. I just don't want to kill it before it even gets started. Thanks for any insight!
Have you read byrons 4 part sticky over on the aquarium plants forum?
Here's a link to the forum Aquarium Plants
I sure did. What an awesome series. He had responded to my thread so I wanted to start out with the two plants he reccommended. They seemed really easy and good starters for me. But my pH is so high that I'm not sure of another easy option. Thanks for responding.
Intersting about the Water Sprite. You could probably get it from a plant supplier in the US, they carry it I'm sure.
Hi Browname, I'm certainly no cycling expert! You are correct, an outside ammonia source should be added and plain tap shouldn't work. But I assumed that since my tap already has .50ppm of ammonia in it , then I didn't have to add any outside source. It seemed to do great and all was going along well until I added untreated tap. It was an abnormal process for me, to add conditioner to such a small amount of water, (usually my water changes require a bucket!), so I overlooked it. I had read that the chlorines, etc. kill your beneficial bacteria so I'm just assuming that's why my cycle crashed. I could completely be wrong, and it may have just crashed because I wasn't adding an outside source of ammonia. Now Byron has given me the courage to start some plants. My goal is a planted tank anyway, I just tend to over-research everything and then get nervous that I'll get it all wrong. Thanks to Byron, I'm divin' in!
Thank you Byron - I'm on my way out the door to get some Pennywort! I'll look around for Water Sprite. That was my first choice from the IBC website, but hit a wall with the restriction. I'll see if my local aquarium guy has any leads for me. Thanks for all your help!
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