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Old 11-27-2013, 03:50 PM   #1
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Newbie question about fishless cycling! Ammonia isn't going down?

Hiya! I'm brand new to this forum. I have a question on fishless cycling, so for those of you who are knowledgeable in this subject... Help?

Today is day 9 of my fishless cycle, and nine days ago I put in my ammonia up to 4ppm. The ammonia still hasn't gone down at all.

I have no seeding material.
I'm using Ace Hardware Janitorial Strength Ammonia.
I'm testing with the API Master Freshwater test kit.
It's a 36 gallon tank- will be freshwater, so no salt in it or whatever.

So... is it normal for it to take this long for the ammonia to go down? Any advice to speed up my cycle?


Thanks!
-Polkadots
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Old 11-27-2013, 04:12 PM   #2
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Yes that's normal as every tank cycles differently. It will all pay off at the end..........
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Old 11-27-2013, 08:01 PM   #3
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Patience is the key in fishless cycling. Every tank takes it's own time, and it can seem as though nothing is happening, but it will happen.

You can, however, speed things up a bit if you add some live plants to the tank now. Rinse them off in tap water first, or soak them in a bucket overnight, which will allow most hitchhikers to get off them and into the bucket. Snails and the like.

You can dip plants to kill snails but right now, you want all the bacteria they have on them normally to get into your tank so I wouldn't dip them now. If you find you get a few snails, and don't want them, remove them as you see them, before they get a chance to reproduce. Snails will also add bacteria and help speed up the establishment of the BB, so having a few in there won't hurt at all.. though high ammonia might just kill them anyway, in which case no worries for you.
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Old 11-27-2013, 08:30 PM   #4
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Adding plants, especially fast growing stem plants or floating plants which will use ammonia and nitrates can aid cycling. But when adding them you do want to do a 1:4 hydrogen peroxide to water mix and soak them 20 minutes. You do want to kill any unwanted hitchhikers as many can easily survive 4ppm of ammonia. IMO it's much better to put clean plants into a new tank. Hitchhikers can be anything from snails and eggs to hydra and other "bugs/worms".
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Old 11-28-2013, 08:36 PM   #5
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I thought about adding live plants but I decided against it. I'm just a beginner- this is my first tank- so I'll just stick with artificial plants for now.
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Old 11-28-2013, 09:08 PM   #6
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Try adding a bacteria culture in a bottle. Many people don't rate them, but I can only speak from experience and I have had many good results.

As I have said in other posts, 4ppm ammonia is a hell of a lot and I would recommend adding much smaller amounts. I believe 1ppm is still too much, but cycle a tank to that amount and yopu will have plenty of beneficial bacteria working in your tank. I always say - remember a tank is never cycled, it is always cycling... it can be 'ready' to add fish, but the cycling of nitrogen is an ongoing thing
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Old 11-30-2013, 04:24 PM   #7
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Thanks. Today is day 12 of my fishless cycle, and the ammonia level is at 4ppm still.
How long did your fishless cycle take?
How long did it take for your ammonia to go down?
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Old 11-30-2013, 05:46 PM   #8
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Why don't you do a small, 20-25% WC but don't dose up ammonia and see if it gets things moving. Something else that will help is turn your heater up to 84-86F. Bacteria grows faster in warmer water so that could be slowing things down also.
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Old 12-01-2013, 08:21 PM   #9
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It's day 13, and this is what I forgot to mention in the first post:

The temperature has remained a steady 82 degrees Fahrenheit the whole time.
I have sand as a substrate (I rinsed it really well- the water is clear)
No live plants because I'm just a beginner- I'd much rather stick with artificial plant
Light stays off
Everything is running- filter, heater, etc.
I added a bit of crushed fish food on the first day.
The water is treated with Prime

The ammonia still is at 4ppm
Nitrites and nitrates are both at zero.
Ph is outstandingly high- 8.2!!! Will that affect anything?

I'm getting worried, but I'll do a pwc tomorrow and see if that'll help.

Thanks guys!
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