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Old 02-26-2014, 11:33 AM   #1
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Fishless cycle, day 8, cannot get ammonia to 4ppm

Hi, this is my first tank and I have been trying to get ammonia levels up to 4ppm for about 4 days...they are hovering b/t 0.5 and 1ppm.

Here's my tank info: Freshwater, 10 gallon, no light, fluval glass heater (water temp staying at 83), old Tetra T1 filter, bubble wand and 2 air stones, artificial plants and black sand substrate. I did obtain a piece of used filter from PetsMart and have placed it in with my filter, I used Prime (red bottle) when I added my water and am testing with API Master Kit. The ammonia I used is Austins clear from Tractor Supply. I did an initial test of my tap water and Ammonia, Nitrites & Nitrates were all zero.

First three days ammonia was testing ALL OVER THE PLACE...Day 1 I added 1.5mL of ammonia and tested 30min later (according to some directions I found online)...it was 0.5ppm so I added 2 drops and tested again 30min later it was off the charts 8+ppm, did 50% water change w/ 0.5mL of prime, tested again back down to 0.5ppm then would be too high etc. I finally realized that I should probably wait longer between adding & testing b/c (1) I learned Prime binds ammonia and (2) my filter was not moving water quick enough. Day 4 - So I let it sit over night and ammonia was 0.5ppm. Since then, I have added a few drops at a time and test about 8 hours later. Day 6 - Ammonia was still 0.5ppm; so I thought maybe I am not adding enough so (using a dosing syringe) Day 7 - I added .5mL last night and this morning Day 8 - it is STILL only reading 0.5-1.0ppm.

IT SHOULD BE NOTED that the lack of circulation was due to my filter chamber being over-stuffed until yesterday - along with the USED FILTER behind my CLEAN FILTER, I also crammed in some of those BIO-STARS in front of my filter LOL this was causing the water to just run over-top my filter...as a newbie I didn't notice at first. I have taken the stars out of the filter chamber & am just letting them float and have moved the used filter over to the other chamber. Flow is normal now

SIDENOTE: After testing this morning, since my water level was getting low, I added 1 gallon with Prime so I assume I will need to wait 24-48hrs before testing again.

Before today, the last time I added Prime was during a partial water change on day 2. What in the world am I doing wrong?!
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Old 02-26-2014, 12:13 PM   #2
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Fishless cycle, day 8, cannot get ammonia to 4ppm

Whenever I do a fishless cycle I use an ammonia dosing calculator.

This is the one that I use. http://www.fishforums.net/aquarium-calculator.htm

You ideally want your ammonia level around 4 ppm until nitrites show up then reduce the ammonia to abt 2 ppm until cycled.
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Old 02-26-2014, 12:21 PM   #3
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It doesn't sound too me like you are doing anything wrong - out sounds like your filter is converting ammonia. What are your nitrite and nitrate levels?

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Old 02-26-2014, 01:00 PM   #4
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I think you're right. I think the bacteria from the used filter have had time to get into mine; so I just tossed the used filter & tested; here are my results!!

pH=8.4, Ammo 1-2ppm, Nitrites 0.25ppm (maybe a little less b/c color was more blue than purple but def. not the zero light blue), Nitrates 5ppm (maybe a little less b/c color was more yellow than orange).

Also just a note, I failed to mention that my filter chamber was over-stuffed until yesterday --- along with the used filter behind mine, I also crammed in some of those black stars (bio-filter stone material) which was causing the water to just run over-top my filter...as a newbie I didn't notice at first LOL. So, now the water s/b circulating much better.
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