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Old 08-01-2006, 03:53 PM   #21
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Whew, great ! Are you using the ammonia or the shrimp method ? If you're using ammonia make sure its PURE ammonia (ammonia and water, nothing else) - shake the bottle like crazy. If there's ANY foam do NOT use it. If you're in the states most people use ACE Hardware Janitorial ammonia.

Personally I started with ammonia and once it started to drop and turn to nitrites I switched to a shrimp. After 3 wks of that I got VERY impatient and bought Bio-Spira (which is "good bacteria in a bag", a little difficult to find, a little expensive, but for the impatient worth every ounce of energy and penny spent - assuming you get a good batch). The Bio-Spira finished off the cycle in 4 days so that I could finally add fish.

If you have any questions on how to do the fishless cycle just come back and ask - we're here for ya !
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Old 08-01-2006, 04:41 PM   #22
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I used the pure amonia yesterday, just ammonia and water. When exactly do I know when it's ok to add fish? We're going to add only a few fish at a time, keep checking the water to make sure it's stable, then add more. We have an ammonia and nitrate test kit, what are the healthy levels? I read the article above, but it didn't say exactly what levels are good. Thanks.
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Old 08-01-2006, 05:09 PM   #23
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When ammonia is zero, nitrites are zero, and nitrates are climbing. Remember that during the cycle you will have to keep adding some ammonia to keep the process going. Many people add fish food, so there is something in the tank to decay and add ammonia and other trace elements.

Impatience is it's own punishment, since adding fish too early in the cycle will either kill the fish or cause you to do a LOT more water changes, testing, and will actually slow the cycle down.
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Old 08-01-2006, 06:25 PM   #24
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Alright, these are the first readings I got. I took these before I added fish food to help the cycle.

Temperature: 78*F
PH: 7.2
Ammonia: 1
Nitrite: 20
Nitrate: 0
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Old 08-01-2006, 06:48 PM   #25
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The nitrite reading is strange, what kind of test kit are you using?
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Old 08-02-2006, 12:01 AM   #26
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You might want to test your tap water to see if it shows nitrites. If so, it's going to be hard to know when the cycle is complete.
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Old 08-02-2006, 12:58 AM   #27
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Just to set expectations, a fishless cycle that hasn't used seeding material from an established tank is going to take a few weeks (approx a month). I know its a long time to look at an empty tank, but it beats doing near daily water changes and having fish that are weakened from ammonia and nitrite exposure.

The nitrite reading must be wrong, esp if you only dosed ammonia once.

You want to get the ammonia up to 4ppm for the first dose. Once it goes down to 0 you can either add a shrimp (from the grocery store) to rot or add enough ammonia to get it up to 1 - 2 ppm once a day.

It took me about 5 days before I saw any nitrites. The nitrite spike (where it reached 5ppm) took a good long time and it stayed there longer than I could tolerate (impatience - the enemy of aquariums !). I gave in and used a product called Bio-Spira, which is another option you might want to consider.

Bio-Spira is a refrigerated product that contains the bacteria that converts ammonia to nitrites and nitrites to nitrates. You can do a search on Bio-Spira to see other's experiences with it. I got a good batch and within 4 days of adding it my cycle was finished.

I personally wouldn't use products like "Cycle" that sit on the shelf but some people have found that a product called "Stability" works, even tho its not refrigerated. I don't think there are any scientific studies (I could be wrong) - everything I'm saying here is purely anecdotal and based upon my experience and what I've read in the forum.

Be patient and use this time to really think about your stocking list. You now have plenty of time to make up your mind, change your mind, make up your mind again and then really figure out what you want
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Old 08-02-2006, 04:43 PM   #28
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Thanks everyone. I think I read the nitrite wrong, there's a lot of things that are tested on the strip and I might have put it up to the wrong color. The petshop near me does free testing, so I'll bring a sample over and double check with them. As for the fish, are bigger tetras than the neons ok with angels? Also, I really liked the harlequin rasboras, their size is ok with the angels right?
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Old 08-02-2006, 05:09 PM   #29
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Yes bigger tetras or harlequins will do just fine.
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Old 08-02-2006, 05:37 PM   #30
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Those strips can be wildly inaccurate - go to PetSmart's website and either order the Freshwater Master Test Kit from there, or take a printout to your local store and pick one up for the online price (most stores will match the price).
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