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Old 10-05-2012, 01:38 AM   #1
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10g Tank Cycling: Ammonia not dropping

Iím new to aquarium hobby. I didnít know about the nitrification process when I bought my 10G tank couple months ago. The LFS owner gave a pamphlet about the nitrification process and recommended to start the cycle with 2 feeder fish. First the fish were infected with fungus, and eventually died in 2 weeks. Only when I was reading about the fungus, I came to know about fishless cycle. After the fishes died, I started with fishless cycle (on Sep 9th). This is what I was doing during the cycling process.
  • Heater set to 85 F
  • Dosing about 4ppm of pure ammonia ever other day
  • Testing the water parameters after adding ammonia
  • Adding bacterial supplement (TopFin) during water top-up/change
Nitrite started building up in about 2 weeks, and ammonia was dropping to zero in 24 hrs after dosing 4ppm. When the nitrite reached to 5ppm, I did pwc couple times; this is when I think I made a mistake, I added the dechlorinator only after adding the water to the tank. Since then, ammonia is not dropping; nitrite stays in zero and not raising. Did the bacterial colony get damaged during the water change? What should I do now? Thanks for all your comments and suggestions.
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Old 10-05-2012, 11:44 AM   #2
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I don't think you should use the bacterial supplement. It will create a unstable bio filter. What are you testing the water with?
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Old 10-05-2012, 11:45 AM   #3
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I have not done a fish LESS cycle but the BB in your filter most likely was killed off or mostly killed off by the untreated water you added to the tank so essentially you are probably starting the cycling process over again. I did a fish IN cycle with my 10g & it took 8 wks to complete so be patient as it could take awhile.
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Old 10-05-2012, 12:00 PM   #4
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I'm using API master kit to test the water. If I have to start over the cycling process again, where do I start? Change all of the water, clean the bio filter.... I don't want to make another mistake and get stuck with the cycling process forever. Thanks!
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Old 10-05-2012, 12:09 PM   #5
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Yes, it sounds like the chlorinated water killed off your good bacteria. Always treat your water prior to adding it to your tank (buckets) or dose water conditioner to your tank size prior to filling it up if using a python/water changer. No need to change the water at this point or clean anything as long as the water in there is dechlorinated- if your unsure, add a dose of conditioner. Just make sure you have some ammonia in there (no more than 4ppm) and have some patience because you are basically starting from day 1 right now. Whether the bottled bacteria product was a factor in your tanks quick progress, I dont know but you can add the product again if you want. Hang in there!
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Old 10-05-2012, 01:06 PM   #6
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I'll follow the suggestions, and keep posting the results. Thanks!
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Old 10-06-2012, 11:53 AM   #7
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How long was the water in the tank before you added conditioner? If you add it right away after filling I doubt that's the problem.

Have you checked your PH? PH drops are common in cycling tanks and can stall things if it drops too low (mid-low 6's).

What dechlorinatore are you using? What type of water (tap, well, etc)?

Also be sure your ammonia isn't much higher than 4; if you overdose ammonia it could stall the cycle as well.

At this point I'd just wait it out as Jlk said. If there's no movement in another week or so, try a water change, double-dose dechlorinator (add it to the water first) and only dose ammonia to 2.
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Old 10-06-2012, 03:42 PM   #8
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- I'm using Aqueon water conditioner that came with my basic kit
- I treated my water in less than 5 mins after adding to the tank
- The PH was about 8.2 when tested last week, will test again today and post the results
- I'M using tap water that's treated with chloramine. My tap water contains about 1.0 ppm of ammonia.

Thanks!
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Old 10-08-2012, 12:01 AM   #9
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Today's test results:
Ammonia - 2ppm
Nitrite - 0.0
PH - 8.2
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Old 10-10-2012, 12:35 AM   #10
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Thumbs down

Eventhough many forums (except one) have stated that SafeStart does't work with fishless cycle, due to loosing patient with the cycling process, I added Tetra Safestart couple days ago....tested the parameters again today and nothing has changed!! so I jus' wasted some money.
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Old 10-15-2012, 12:26 AM   #11
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I'm dosing ammonia to 1.0-1.5 ppm daily, and it drops to 0.25-0.5 ppm in 24 hrs. However, nitrite doesn't show any reading, it stays at zero! Does this mean, nitrite > nitrate bacterias have completely established?

Also, do I need to change my filter cartridge after 30 days even during fishless cycling?

Thanks for your response/comments.
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Old 10-15-2012, 12:34 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanblue
I'm dosing ammonia to 1.0-1.5 ppm daily, and it drops to 0.25-0.5 ppm in 24 hrs. However, nitrite doesn't show any reading, it stays at zero! Does this mean, nitrite > nitrate bacterias have completely established?

Also, do I need to change my filter cartridge after 30 days even during fishless cycling?

Thanks for your response/comments.
Not sure about the nitrite not showing up, I've never done a fishless cycle. But as far as filter media you don't need to replace unless it's
Falling apart. If you do buy new media be sure and run the new media with your old media for a couple weeks so the bacteria can seed to the new media. If your media gets nasty looking you can swish it around in a bucket of OLD tank water, never clean it with tap water or it will wipe out our bacteria.
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Old 10-15-2012, 01:25 AM   #13
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No, I don't have plans to change the filter media.... I'm asking about the cartridge that goes before the media. Thanks!
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Old 10-15-2012, 10:48 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanblue
No, I don't have plans to change the filter media.... I'm asking about the cartridge that goes before the media. Thanks!
The cartridges that go in the filter are considered media. I know the boxes say to change the cartridges out every so often, but if you do this you essentially take most of your BB away and end up having to restart the cycling process or sets you back a good bit. There are members here that never changed their cartridges out or a year or longer.
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Old 10-15-2012, 01:02 PM   #15
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Thanks for clarifying, that definitely makes sense. I'll not disturb the filter for now. Thanks!
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Old 10-15-2012, 01:37 PM   #16
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Some filters have a pre filter (my eheim has a blue pad) this can be regularly cleaned without disturbing the biological part of the filter. Infact any purely mechanical filtration can be rinsed to ensure a good flow!
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Old 10-15-2012, 01:42 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanblue
Thanks for clarifying, that definitely makes sense. I'll not disturb the filter for now. Thanks!
Not a problem my LFS recommends changing out cartridges on a regular basis and if I wouldn't have asked about it here I would've wet by there advice and screwed my cycle up. That's what we're here for is to pass on valuable information that LFS's usually don't either know or choose not to pass on to customers.
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Old 10-27-2012, 02:52 PM   #18
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I was dosing the ammonia to about 2ppm on alternate days for the last 2 weeks, Nitrite gets to 0ppm pretty fast, however even after 24Hrs Ammonia doesn't get to zero

Lastly I dosed the tank yesterday morning, and the readings are as follows after 24Hrs:
Ammonia: 0.25
Nitrite: 0.0
Nitrate: 80
Ph: 7.8

Can I do a major water change to reduce the Nitrate, and then add couple small fish? Or should I still wait longer? It's has been more than couple months, so I'm kind of loosing patients

Thanks for your suggestions.
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Old 10-27-2012, 06:08 PM   #19
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Just a suggestion but I would do a comparison test of your tank to some distilled/RO water (which has zero ammonia). Make sure you look at the results outside in natural light. You may actually be closer to zero or reading zero than you realize. I see nothing wrong with doing a big water change and adding a few small fish. Just continue to monitor your numbers.
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Old 10-29-2012, 01:38 AM   #20
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Thanks! i tested distilled water using my API test kit, and the ammonia reads zero, this confirms the test kit is fine. nitrate still reads about 60ppm after couple pwc. Should the Nitrate be brought down close to zero before adding the fish? or is there a safe limit? thanks
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