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Old 07-17-2006, 07:52 PM   #1
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Cycling with fish taking a long time

A week ago, I put five zebra danios in my 55 gallon as a natural source of ammonia to get the cycle started. Today, I tested the ammonia and nitrites, and here's what I got:

Ammonia: 0.25 ppm
Nitrite: 0.00 ppm

I have been pouring Nitromax bacteria culture over the Biowheels in the filter to jumpstart the process, but it seems to be going slowly. (I was going to get BioSpira, but practically none of the fish stores in my area carry it.) So I was wondering, how high does the ammonia have to rise for the beneficial bacteria to start converting it into nitrite? Is it all right to add another zebra danio at this point?
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Old 07-17-2006, 08:49 PM   #2
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I wouldn't add any more fish. If nitromax doesn't have to be refridgerated it will not contain live bacteria, hence not helping your cycle. Cycling with fish requires lots of water changes and can take several weeks to complete. During a fishless cycle, ammonia can be between 4-6ppm but with fish they would die at that ammonia rate.
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Old 07-17-2006, 09:15 PM   #3
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Thank you for the advice. The Nitromax does have to be refrigerated, but only after you open the bottle for the first time. It was basically sitting on the shelf at the fish store when I bought it. I surely hope it is effective, because I dished out more than 17 dollars for a bottle.
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Old 07-17-2006, 10:55 PM   #4
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I hope so too for your sake. I've never heard any feedback on it at all. Perhaps some other members have tried it. I can't find biospira around me either.
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Old 07-17-2006, 11:43 PM   #5
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.25 ppm sounds about right to me after one week.Adding more fish will not help the cycle happen faster....it will just make your ammonia and nitrite spikes higher.

Also,think of it this way,The more ammonia there is the more bacteria will have to develope to convert it.Same for the nitrites.The lower the number the better imo,for a host of reasons.

The whole process takes around 6 weeks.
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Old 07-18-2006, 12:17 AM   #6
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When doing partial water changes, should I avoid vacuuming the substrate so as to not disturb the beneficial bacteria? How often should I test the water for ammonia and nitrites?
So far, I've been testing the water every other day, but I don't want to run out of testing fluid.
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Old 07-18-2006, 12:23 AM   #7
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Yes avoid gravel vacuuming.With that small of a bioload I would think every other day would be fine....not sure if I would wait any longer then that when cycling with fish.
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Old 07-18-2006, 12:25 AM   #8
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It will take a long time to run out of the testing fluids. My tank has been set up over 2 months and during the (fishless) cycle I tested twice a day most days. I now test every other day. Since you're still cycling I'd recommend testing every day.
Aim to keep your ammonia and nitrites below 0.5ppm.
You're correct on the water changes - don't do a gravel vac yet (but you can sweep the vac over the uppermost layer of the gravel to get the larger pieces of debris).
Don't change your filters until well after the cycle either. You can rinse them in the water you remove from the tank to keep the water flow going well.
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Old 07-19-2006, 12:24 PM   #9
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Doesn't sound like the nitromax did anything at all. Personally I'd add some bio-spira and that tank will cycle in 4 days. I just did one a week ago.
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Old 07-19-2006, 05:08 PM   #10
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Cycling, with or without fish, typically takes 4-6 weeks on average. sometimes 3 weeks, sometimes more than 8.

cycling with fish is definitely more work than a fishless cycle.
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