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Old 01-27-2017, 07:33 PM   #1
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Could I have killed my bacteria??

I've been fishless cycling my tank (fluval spec v) for a few weeks now.

I haven't been very mathematical about it. Meaning I haven't logged my dosage and levels or anything. But I have tested my water almost everyday since I started and I've been paying attention to what everything has been doing.

That said... my ammonia hasn't been going down like it was several days ago. I'm wondering if I could have starved it. How quickly can bacteria die without an ammonia source? I don't believe I've ever let it get to 0ppm. Probably only 1ppm.

Could the cold have killed it? Or put it into hybernation or something? The weather here has been cold lately. I have a heater, but the water started to evaporate and make the tank 68-70.

How easy is BB to kill? And does the cold make it go dormant?

I know I still have SOME beneficial bacteria. I dosed some ammonia last night, and it went down a little bit. I'm just worried that my cycle is stalled.
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Old 01-28-2017, 10:38 AM   #2
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Hi SpencerG:

Thanks for doing a fishless cycle. The temp you noted wouldn't necessary kill the beneficial bacteria, but it would certainly slow down their reproduction. Any chance you could temporarily adjust the heater to bring temps steadily up into the '80s?

If you've kept the ammonia above 0ppm then you haven't starved them. If you can raise the temp a bit, and perhaps add some additional aeration for the time being, your cycle has a good chance of completing.

Are registering any nitrite yet? The ratio of ammonia to nitrite is a good indicator of how vigorous your cycle is, as is the presence of nitrate.

BB are actually pretty resilient to water parameter changes (it's usually chemicals or disturbance of the biomedia that does them in). The problem isn't really killing off all of them, but just enough of them to cause an ammonia spike until they can reestablish the appropriate numbers to process all the ammonia.
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Old 01-28-2017, 09:09 PM   #3
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Hi SpencerG:

Thanks for doing a fishless cycle. The temp you noted wouldn't necessary kill the beneficial bacteria, but it would certainly slow down their reproduction. Any chance you could temporarily adjust the heater to bring temps steadily up into the '80s?

If you've kept the ammonia above 0ppm then you haven't starved them. If you can raise the temp a bit, and perhaps add some additional aeration for the time being, your cycle has a good chance of completing.

Are registering any nitrite yet? The ratio of ammonia to nitrite is a good indicator of how vigorous your cycle is, as is the presence of nitrate.

BB are actually pretty resilient to water parameter changes (it's usually chemicals or disturbance of the biomedia that does them in). The problem isn't really killing off all of them, but just enough of them to cause an ammonia spike until they can reestablish the appropriate numbers to process all the ammonia.
Hey there!

I was able to get my temp back up.

I've actually had nirtites for a while and am slowly accumulating nitrAtes. But the ammonia had just stalled.

Maybe it has to do with disturbing the substrate? I've been adding plants and have been moving a lot of the substrate around in the process. Also have been dosing a tiny bit of Excel.
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Old 01-28-2017, 09:15 PM   #4
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Have you done a pH test recently?
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The (almost) Complete Guide and FAQ to Fishless Cycling
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums...ng-148283.html
Being responsible...fishless cycling defines it, fish-in requires it. Choose wisely.
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Old 01-28-2017, 10:06 PM   #5
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Have you done a pH test recently?
Yes! I believe it was 6.4-ish
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Old 01-28-2017, 10:19 PM   #6
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Yes! I believe it was 6.4-ish


I don't remember the exact math... I want to say nitrification slows around 6 and stops entirely in the mid-upper 5's (going by memory here).

6.4 isn't bad, but water change never hurts. Kind of my rule of thumb any time a cycle seems to stall.
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Old 01-31-2017, 04:47 PM   #7
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Hi spencer g
Some thoughts for you. If your ammonia hasn't gotten to zero yet then you certainly haven't starved your bacteria. Keep in mind that once your tank has cycled, you want your ammonia to be zero, so I don't think you can really starve them unless they go for several days at 0 ppm. As for temperature, I keep a 400 gallon holding tank in my basement for my pond fish during the winter, the temp in there is 60 degrees all winter and the bacteria do fine. I would agree that you probably disturbed them while working in the tank... I would try a little more heat to get the BB growing faster....and like eco23 says.... A water change never hurts anything. I'd change about 25%. Try not to disturb things too much for a few days. Hope this is helpful.. Good luck
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