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Old 05-05-2013, 03:23 PM   #1
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Help! Need fishless cycling advice for new cichlid tank

Starting new tank, experienced with planted tropical tanks, but am finally moving to cichlids. First time fishless cycling and posted in 'getting started,' but I thought maybe the expertise in this specific forum would be able to help and provide other tips.

I need your help. I have looked over everywhere, but I cannot find the answer to this question (which I would think would be common...but maybe I have a mystery on my hands). If I understand, adding Prime to tap will leave only ammonium for a period of time, and/or may release ammonia after a few days if there is no biological filtration. Also, ammonia is required to fishless cycle a tank, broken down eventually to nitrites and then later to nitrates. Some of what Ive read says ammonium should be processed by same bacteria that break down ammonia in first stage of cycling. Ok, so although I have these constituent parts...here is the rub:

Fishless cycling 46g tank. Setup, good substrate, good filtration, raised temp for optimal bacterial growth, increased aeration for same reason. First, I added my tap water (not doing R/O or DI for reasons), then I let the tank process for almost a day, then I added Prime to treat my water. I let the tank with the Prime just 'process' and run for almost two days. I was also waiting to get some good seed material at this point. I had my Ace ammonia ready, etc, and when I looked to test the water before getting the seed material...my ammonia test was empty! Curses, but I just picked up replacement and the seed material. I grabbed a sample and immediately put seed material in. All other water parameters had previously shown to be right, so now I went to test the ammonia levels with new API test. About 4ppm.

Now this either makes perfect sense (Prime having either ammonia or ammonium in my water from what was in municipal supply and/or ammonia was in tap water in chloramine or other form, etc), or makes no sense (as I had not added any ammonia or food or anything), but as API test does not distinguish ammonia from ammonium...it could be in any form, right?

This is my first 'fishless' cycle, so I have a dilemma stemming from the advice that states to add ammonia when you begin to get to your desired level of 2-4, etc. I have read that ammonium is consumed just like ammonia, and yet I have NOT been able to find anyone mentioning that after treating with Prime, you may have the correct level of ammonia already present: as though it would not be a common occurrence. Nor are there any articles which mention the viability of ammonium alone as an adequate or not source for beginning cycle. I could go and get a test and find my free ammonia, but if 'free' ammonia is not needed in this scenario, why bother? However, if free ammonia IS a necessity, and mine is all ammonium...adding ammonia would either be perfect or maybe with my levels of the two would become too high?
Lastly, I have questioned whether my Prime was an older bottle or if somehow I might have chloramine remaining in my water...as it seems that my API ammonia test might show chloramine. Whether relevant to my problem or not, is would it?

Nuts and bolts of question:

1) Can/does tap water treated with Prime leave levels that API test would read as that high, without anything else?

2) If it does/can, then would that mean that my tank has been 'Primed' (lol) coincidentally to just the right amount for cycling?

3a) If yes, is that b/c it is ammonium and that form is adequate for cycling or why?
3b) If no, why?

4) What action should I take to discern and solve the issue (if any)?

5) I added seed material about 12 hours ago, so under what circumstances would I need to find more and reseed (have I starved my bacteria-buddies)?

6) Should I have reason for concern about chloramine in my water or some other weirdness?

Sorry for the long post, but I just don't know where better to find these answers (and maybe it will help others in the future). Thank you SO much for your advice. Just thought of this, I do have activated carbon filters in...and have had them the whole the time.

-PapaJ
Ph: 7.8
KH: 7 degrees
NH3/4: 4
Temp: 81 degrees
One airstrip, one air bubbler, one airstone, and lowered water level to allow for filter to splash and aerate
Minimal light now but receiving some natural daylight
Ecosure cichlid substrate w/argonite
46g bowfront, intended for mbuna cichlids
Redundant filtration system (Penguin 350s until I can get afford a better primary and will keep Penguin 1 at least as secondary)
I do have activated carbon filters in both
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Old 05-05-2013, 06:47 PM   #2
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Google it
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Old 05-05-2013, 07:38 PM   #3
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Getting it ready just takes some time. I would dose it just the once with prime then add your seeded material after the temp gets up then just give it a few days to work it's magic. You can also add some API stress zyme (bacteria) that stuff works well without seeded material

Sorry if I didn't answer all of your questions but its better that "google it"

Any more just ask I'm sure I can answer it or someone else can give you an actual answer
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Old 05-05-2013, 10:33 PM   #4
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Or just google it
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Old 05-05-2013, 10:38 PM   #5
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this is a forum where people ask questions that knowledgeable people can answer. I'm sure if PapaJ spent all the time to type to type out his problems then hes already tried "googling it"
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Old 05-05-2013, 11:07 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Nathanpopp View Post
Or just google it
If you don't have something useful to say don't say anything at all...please.
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Old 05-05-2013, 11:23 PM   #7
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Or just google it
This kind of people should be banned.
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Old 05-05-2013, 11:28 PM   #8
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Add your seeded material and then feed it with the ace ammonia to 4ppm. Test it with your API kit in 24hrs. Dose it back to 4ppm and test everyday until your filter can remove the entire 4ppm within 24 hrs and nitrites and nitrates are also at acceptable levels, do a water change and treat the water.
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Old 05-05-2013, 11:29 PM   #9
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That's the short condensed answer, there is a complete guide in the getting started forum.
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Old 05-05-2013, 11:49 PM   #10
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This kind of people should be banned.
Alright?
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