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Old 02-10-2017, 10:02 AM   #1
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Fishless cycle going nowhere

Hello all,

First timer here who seems to be struggling. I've been attempting to fishless cycle a tank now going on a month --- I have seen no movement in ammonia dissipation (4ppm) and my NI are reading at 0 as well. I tried a partial water change (20% approx 1 week ago) to seemingly no effect. I'm kind of at a loss as to whether I should stay the course or abandon ship and full water change and use something like Prime.

Ammonia used was the Ace brand
Tank is 65gal Arch style
Nothing special with the filter - it's an Aqueon QuietFlow 75 - only the stuff that came in the box running through it now
pH is reading at 7.6 on API Test Kit (hasn't budged).
Temp is hovering between 82.6-82.8F
No live plants - and light only turned on approx 6 hrs/day
Bubble toys bubbling and water does have some mild cloudiness to it.

I don't THINK I've done anything incorrectly (aside from maybe jumping the gun on that 20% water change) but the absolute lack of movement coupled with my complete inexperience leads me here to beg for more experienced thoughts/opinions.

Thank you so much in advance - can't wait to get this thing stocked and fully functional.
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Old 02-10-2017, 11:14 AM   #2
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Hey, PRIME Is an amazing conditioner. But won't help with your fish less cycle. PRIME is very handy once you start water changes, it not only remove chlorine in your tap water but will make the ammonia and nitrites non toxic for a 48 hour period.


Their are deferent ways to do a fish less cycle.

A. Doing what you did using a bottle of PURE ammonia with no additives or anything. How are your nitrAtes ?

B. Using a bottle bacteria such as TETRA SAFE START. Which I highly recommend and have had great results using it cutting cycle time in half. If you do choose to go this way DO NOT do any water changes. And keep testing the water for parameters in tell it is cycled.

C. Which is a safer route which I rather do then PURE ammonia cause you can easily over dose and it takes longer. Just use a pinch of food in the water and wait.

D. Using a shrimp but don't really know much on that one.
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Old 02-10-2017, 11:24 AM   #3
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it would go faster if you can get score some filter media from an established tank. That will help "seed" your tank. I have a local fish store guy I trust, and he gave me a huge gross wad of filter floss and it really helped with my fishless cycle. Also, I only caught a nitrite reading ONCE a few hours after bumping up the ammo one time, but I knew the ammo was disappearing and the nitrates were building up. The warmer the tank is, the more quickly it will go as well. You may want to cover with a towel or something to keep algae from blooming.

good luck!
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Old 02-10-2017, 12:08 PM   #4
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My nitrAtes are at 0 - I hadn't even bothered to test them until just now as I've been waiting on the nitrItes to show up.

So I'm sitting at pH 7.6. Ammonia = 4ppm. NI = 0. NA = 0.

Ammonia has been at that reading since 1st testing - 24 hrs after water conditioner added. I started testing for NI week 2. Never have had anything remotely close to a reading.

This is a month into "cycle". Sourcing filter media from LFS....IDK about that as my LFS is one of the big boxes and I dont have an "in" there with a trusted source.

Should I bump up the heater maybe....closer to 85F?

Thanks again!
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Old 02-10-2017, 12:59 PM   #5
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warmer water couldn't hurt, but not sure it's going to be the difference you need. Maybe someone else can chime in, but in the time it takes to cycle the tank, maybe any potential cooties from the pet store will not be a concern. For instance, velvet needs a live host or dies in 2 weeks (If I remember correctly). Then there is something the guy from a VERY reputable fish store (sells $5,000 fish) told me: all thanks have stuff in them, it's just a matter of healthy fish and good water parameters that keep them at bay. Not sure how true that is. If you are really stalled, I'd like to get my hands on some beneficial bacteria. If you want to buy bacteria in a bottle, they get mixed reviews, also can't hurt, but some say it either works or is "snake oil". I'd probably want to get something from an established fish tank. Check on fb and see if anyone you know has a fish tank, or just ask the fish store for something... Where do you live? Maybe there is a local fish hobby club
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Old 02-10-2017, 05:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Novi811 View Post
Hello all,

First timer here who seems to be struggling. I've been attempting to fishless cycle a tank now going on a month --- I have seen no movement in ammonia dissipation (4ppm) and my NI are reading at 0 as well. I tried a partial water change (20% approx 1 week ago) to seemingly no effect. I'm kind of at a loss as to whether I should stay the course or abandon ship and full water change and use something like Prime.

Ammonia used was the Ace brand
Tank is 65gal Arch style
Nothing special with the filter - it's an Aqueon QuietFlow 75 - only the stuff that came in the box running through it now
pH is reading at 7.6 on API Test Kit (hasn't budged).
Temp is hovering between 82.6-82.8F
No live plants - and light only turned on approx 6 hrs/day
Bubble toys bubbling and water does have some mild cloudiness to it.

I don't THINK I've done anything incorrectly (aside from maybe jumping the gun on that 20% water change) but the absolute lack of movement coupled with my complete inexperience leads me here to beg for more experienced thoughts/opinions.

Thank you so much in advance - can't wait to get this thing stocked and fully functional.
Hi and welcome!
As mentioned, getting filter junk from a healthy, established tank would really speed things along. Other than that, looks like you're doing everything you can. Keep an eye on your ph and make sure you are following the directions on the test kit precisely. Things will move along eventually.
Keep us posted!
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Old 02-10-2017, 11:43 PM   #7
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Thanks all!

I'm just gonna stay the course, see if I can track down some cycled filter media and hope this thing shows signs of life soon as it seems to sound like I'm on the right track.

For reference - is there a definitive way to know that your cycle has stalled (especially if it's never really started)? At what point should I really start to consider doing a mass reset on this thing?
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Old 02-11-2017, 12:21 AM   #8
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not too sure about this: but perhaps starting out at 4ppm with no seeding material is too high? You should also try tiny amounts of crushed fish food, it will help add nutrients to the tank... less sterile of an environment. Don't bother testing anything other than the ammo until you see it start to drop. Just saw that it's a 65 gallon. I haven't cycled anything that large. Wonder if you can get it going on a small scale, in a clean (new?) bucket and then transfer the filter material into the larger tank for the cycle? I hope more experienced people can chime in on that idea, but sometimes it just takes some experimentation.
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Old 02-11-2017, 10:11 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Novi811 View Post
Thanks all!

I'm just gonna stay the course, see if I can track down some cycled filter media and hope this thing shows signs of life soon as it seems to sound like I'm on the right track.

For reference - is there a definitive way to know that your cycle has stalled (especially if it's never really started)? At what point should I really start to consider doing a mass reset on this thing?


A ph crash is a good way to determine a stall, but yours is good at 7.6. That's why I suggested keeping an eye on it. If it gets too low, water changes will add the buffers needed to get things moving along. Without having seeded media to jumpstart things it will take longer, but it will happen. I'd look for a nitrite reading...then you'll know it's happening.
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Old 02-22-2017, 10:23 PM   #10
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Hi all - back with an update. I did end up grabbing a bottle of Fluval Biological Enhancer (no dice on finding established media) and applying that. And lo - it appears I have positive movement. My ammonia has dropped to 0, NI is maxed at 5 and NA was in the 10-20 range (API kit). pH still hanging tight at 7.6.

I did redose ammonia (1tsp of Ace Janitorial as I had read in a guide) and it's now sitting at 1ppm after 24 hrs (higher than I was aniticpating but I dont believe it to be out of line high). I presume this will continue to drop over the course of the next day or so.... the NIs are maxed out and I passed on taking an NA reading this evening.

Am I correct that I'm still trending positively here?

Thanks!
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