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Steve1107 10-27-2011 04:32 PM

First step in fish cycle?
Dear Fellow Fish Fans,

Can anyone who's been there say how long it takes, for first step of fish cycle?

Brand new 29 gal tank, external TopFin filter, ( in-tank heater for tank cycling process)

Day1: tap water + Prime
Day3: added Publix household ammonia (no additives and no phophates as far as I can tell)
to bring ammonia level to 4 ppm per test kit
Day4: added used filter cartridge from existing 2.5 gal tank into new tank's filter
Day11: Ammonia 4 ppm (still)
nitrite 0 ppm (still)
pH 7.2
temp 80 degrees F

This is discouraging! The chemistry hasn't budged over a week's time. Our frisky, friendly little Black Moor has so outgrown the 2.5 gal tank. It's getting hard to keep the tank from being overwhelmed by his goldfish chemistry...

Can't wait to move him to new home (and get him a fancy goldfish friend) so he stays happy and healthy!

Have read the terrific sticky about cycling new tanks. Is normal to take this long?

(by the way we do plan to replace the cheap LFS filter...but one thing at a time, you know?)

Atlanta, Georgia

lobibaby 10-27-2011 07:38 PM

hi, have you introduced anything to seed the bacteria? like a bit of media from an established filter, old tank water, or a product like bio spira or seachem's stability? it sounds like you have no bacteria to start with so there is no bacteria to even start the cycle... it has to come from somewhere. if that is the case, which I am guessing it is, I highly recommend seachem's stability, I use it to cycle all my new tanks and they are usually cycled in less than a month.

Nubster 10-27-2011 09:33 PM


Originally Posted by lobibaby (Post 876972)
it sounds like you have no bacteria to start with so there is no bacteria to even start the cycle... it has to come from somewhere.

Not true. I have never added anything other than an ammonia source and I never have a cycling issue. The bacteria is naturally occurring. All you need is ammonia...the bacteria will show up.

As far as the length of time it's taking your tank to cycle Steve...yeah...that's pretty normal. You should expect as long as 6-8 weeks total for the tank to completely cycle. Just keep doing your testing and otherwise, leave it alone. It is frustrating but just part of the game.

Steve1107 10-27-2011 11:43 PM

Thank you for your replies

Yes, twice we put in old tank water from the 2.5 gal tank when doing the every-other/every-third day 25-30% water changes it's needing because of its growing Goldfish inhabitant

We also put in a (newly) used filter cartridge from the 2.5 gal tank

A minor comedown to hear cycling can take so long :(

Still, thanks for letting us know we're doing the right things. Sounds like the next thing to add to the new tank is patience!


Nubster 10-27-2011 11:49 PM

So you have a fish in the cycling tank and the ammonia is 4ppm? You are killing that poor fish. If you are doing a fish in cycle the ammonia shouldnt be over .25ppm. Also, old tank water won't help. The bacteria grows on surfaces, not in the water. You really need to do something about the goldfish. Even if it doesn't die, you are permanently damaging that fish.

jeaninel 10-28-2011 02:24 AM

No, it sounds like he still has the goldfish in the 2.5 gallon while the new tank is fishless cycling.

Steve, you said you put a "newly used" filter cartridge into the new tank's filter to help seed it. How new was it?

Nubster 10-28-2011 06:10 AM


Originally Posted by jeaninel (Post 877271)
No, it sounds like he still has the goldfish in the 2.5 gallon while the new tank is fishless cycling.

Yeah...I re-read it and I think you are right which is

Steve1107 10-29-2011 11:06 AM

Ammonia + nitrite + nitrate??
Thank you again everyone

@Nubstser Thanks for your concern -- agreed that would be a dreadful thing to do to a poor fish, who we have put in the situation where he's totally dependent on us for care and safety! The Black Moor is still in his long-established 2.5 gal tank

Apologies for poor wording, the filter cartridge in the established 2.5 gal tank was ready to be changed, so as soon as it was taken out -- keeping it wet -- it immediately went into the new tank, that's where "fresh" and "used" came from

As an update, today for the first time Nitrite liquid test kit says 0.5 ppm, first sign of bacteria. Yippee!! Ammonia level hasn't changed, tho, still 4 ppm. Nitrate also 0.5 ppm.

So another question, if OK with you all...isn't the Ammonia level supposed to start dropping before Nitrate appears? (Of course, bacteria don't have to follow the message boards!) Anyone know what these levels mean?

Thanks again,

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