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Old 11-15-2013, 11:58 AM   #1
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Following my cycle for beginners.

I know there are alot of beginners out there who are confused when numbers dont seem to be moving and get a little frustrated and probably make hasty decisions. So I decided to start a little thread about my own thought as a first timer. I am going by all the same information that I've read online. Most of the information will be in real time and results are not predetermined. If I make a mistake you will know.

I am doing a fishless cycle using ammonia from Ace.

I started my cycle on 11/9 after setting up my new 29g tank the previous day and filtering for 24 hours. I used Aqueon water conditioner and knew nothing of Prime at that point. I happened to read alot about Prime in the last 9 days and since purchased a bottle for the future. My tank temp is currently a balmy 82degrees and all fake plants and gracel were thoroughly washed with tap water and rinsed. My tank is clear with no cloudiness.

Since Im 8 days into the cycle I will give a quick synopsis of those days.

Day 1:
I already made a rookie mistake by not measuring any tap water parameters except the Ph level which was 8.2 from the tap.
I added 3cc of ammonia from a syringe used to measure medicine. After 20minutes the API water test kit measured exactly 4ppm of ammonia. It was a lucky guess!

Day 2:
Ammonia levels are still at 4ppm and ph is holding steady.

Day 3:
Ammonia levels are still at 4ppm and ph is starting to drop.

Day 4:
Ammonia levels are still at 4ppm while ph is still dropping and now around 7.6. At this point I'm starting to get a little impatient even after all the info Ive read telling be to be patient. I go to my lfs and purchase a bottle of Nite-out II nitrifying bacteria thinking a couple of capfuls will help bacteria growth. I did also add some crushed flakes to the tank.

Day 5:
I excitedly test my water hoping for an ammonia drop but it's still at 4ppm. The ph level is now 7.2.

Day 6:
My ammonia levels are still at 4ppm and ph is holding steady and just figured I wasted $12 on the Nite-out II. I met a parent on my son's soccer team who has an established tank full of Danios and some loaches. I asked them for any filter media but they had just changed the filter and then asked for a bit of substrate. I planned on meeting them the next day.

Day 7:
The ammonia level is still at 4ppm and ph still at 7.2. I met with the people for the substrate. They gave me a 1/2 cup of gravel in a tupperware bowl soaking in their tank water. I immediatley went home and poured it around my filter having high hopes for the next few days.

Day 8:
Here we are today and feeling cursed by the fish gods. My ammonia levels appear ever so slighlty lighter than 4ppm and ph at 7.2. It may be more of my eyes playing tricks on me. Even knowing bacteria needs days to grow I still feel irritable. I lost about 5% of my water due to evaporation and trying to decide whether to add more but dont want to dilute the current ammonia level.

....I will continue this thread daily. I know this is basic stuff but people still need assurance that theyre not the only people there who question themselves.

Any advice that people want to add would also be helpful and appreciated.
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Old 11-15-2013, 01:12 PM   #2
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Old 11-15-2013, 05:42 PM   #3
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I'm about 3 weeks into my cycle.
be patient and keep testing every other day.
I'm not done but it looks like I'm close.
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Old 11-15-2013, 05:43 PM   #4
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Patience is key. It took my most recent tank (which is the first one I ever did with a fishless cycle) 28 days to consume 4 ppm of ammonia. Then, it took 7 days for nitrite to appear. Another 21 days for nitrite to go to zero and nitrates to appear. So, two months in all of looking at an empty tank.
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Old 11-15-2013, 06:46 PM   #5
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2 months! ok. patience patience patience.
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Old 11-16-2013, 01:01 AM   #6
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I am in the process of my first cycle myself, after reading all sorts of things about how its over in a few days maybe weeks I got very discouraged after a few days when nothing happened... I took 17 days for my ammonia to drop and nitrites to rise. Patients is the key
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Old 11-16-2013, 04:16 AM   #7
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Something that might help is getting a filter media bag and putting the gravel that was given to you inside it then storing the bag inside the filter. This will maximize flow as well as aeration to the bacteria. Start testing for nitrites rather than ammonia. It will be easier to see a raise in nitrites rather than an ammonia decrease
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Old 11-16-2013, 08:31 AM   #8
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Day 9:

The ammonia levels are still hovering around 4ppm while Ph is around 7.2. I added about 2 gallons of water with conditioner to replace water due to evaporation. It did not change the ammonia level.
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Old 11-18-2013, 04:11 AM   #9
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How is your aeration in the tank? It might help to add an air stone/bubble strip connected to a pump. Not only will it help the bacteria get more air, but it also helps with the circulation of the water. Also, once the tank is ready for fish, fish love air stones! Mine play in the bubbles and the current they create all the time! And when you are getting impatient, just think if how happy you future fish will be with the finished product!! Good luck!!!
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Old 11-18-2013, 04:33 AM   #10
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Hi guys...first-time cycler here and actually over ten weeks into it! Ammonia levels are finally starting to thin a bit on their own, but I've still only had that pretty light blue test tube telling me zero nitrites. I'm mega confused tho, because with all the extras I've added to the tank(please see my introduction) I'm reading about 40ppm on my nitrates! I'm basically hoping somehow I missed the nitrite phase while I was out of town for three days(yeah, right) and waiting until I can watch my tank get rid of 4ppm ammonia in 24 hours...maybe then I'll be able to add some sweet fishes! :-\
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Old 11-18-2013, 07:38 AM   #11
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Day 10:

I did a pwc to drop ammonia down to 2-3ppm just to see if ammonia was too high.
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Old 11-18-2013, 08:19 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apr28 View Post
Day 10:

I did a pwc to drop ammonia down to 2-3ppm just to see if ammonia was too high.
I did not do WC until I had unreadable nitrite/nitrate.
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Old 11-18-2013, 09:45 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xrP8 View Post
Hi guys...first-time cycler here and actually over ten weeks into it! Ammonia levels are finally starting to thin a bit on their own, but I've still only had that pretty light blue test tube telling me zero nitrites. I'm mega confused tho, because with all the extras I've added to the tank(please see my introduction) I'm reading about 40ppm on my nitrates! I'm basically hoping somehow I missed the nitrite phase while I was out of town for three days(yeah, right) and waiting until I can watch my tank get rid of 4ppm ammonia in 24 hours...maybe then I'll be able to add some sweet fishes! :-\
That sounds reasonable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by apr28 View Post
Day 10:

I did a pwc to drop ammonia down to 2-3ppm just to see if ammonia was too high.
A good choice. 4ppm can sometimes (rarely) cause issues.
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Old 11-18-2013, 03:36 PM   #14
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Hi! I hope all of you are doing well. I'm also a newbie cycling a tank for the first time. I'm doing a fishless cycle.

Like the original poster, I started by adding pure ammonia to the tank. For my bacteria seeding material I used the bottled variety (Stability by SeaChem). I don't recommend using the bottled stuff ever because it sucks. Bad. For about a week my water parameters were stable, reading ammonia at between 4ppm and 8ppm, nitrAtes and nitrites at 0 and pH was hanging in the neutral zone.

Concerned by the high ammonia levels, I added more prime and did lots of water changes. None of this worked, so, I thought maybe I had added too much ammonia in the beginning and decided to do a massive water change, over 90%. Basically, I started the cycle over. Water levels were stable for a couple of weeks (ammonia 4ppm, nitrites & nitrAtes 0, pH ~7.2).

Getting impatient, 2 weeks later, I decided to add some live plants. I definitely recommend this because it sure did speed things up for me! Not only do the plants come covered in really good seed material, but they also will help process the ammonia/nitrogens.

I'm on week 4 or 5 now and Saturday I finally saw a nice big drop in ammonia levels. I went from 4ppm to .25ppm! Nitrites went up to about 1 ppm, and my nitrAtes rose to about 20ppm. I've got snails in there now (pond snails from the plants~maybe problematic later on -I know) so I didn't add another dose of ammonia, I figure they'd make enough waste to feed the bugs. Anyway, moral of the story is to just follow the steps and be patient! I think I'm almost there guys! Woo!!! The end is in sight!!!
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Old 11-19-2013, 11:24 AM   #15
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Day 11:

The ammonia level is now 2-3ppm and going to let it stay there. This drop in ammonia was due to a pwc. This was more of test to see if my API kit was reading correctly.
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Old 11-19-2013, 04:08 PM   #16
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Question on the fishless cycle. It looks like 4ppm of Ammonia is the most popular start up point. Is the 4ppm applied only once until the cycle completes, or do you add it every week? Every day? Can the same rules be applied to a Saltwater tank as well? Or does it work a little differently? Thanks
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Old 11-19-2013, 04:15 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maridia View Post
Question on the fishless cycle. It looks like 4ppm of Ammonia is the most popular start up point. Is the 4ppm applied only once until the cycle completes, or do you add it every week? Every day? Can the same rules be applied to a Saltwater tank as well? Or does it work a little differently? Thanks
You dose the tank to 4 PPM (contention about the process notwithstanding) and then re-dose it back up when it drops to about 1. You'll keep dosing ammonia until the cycle is complete and you're ready to put fish in.

For more info, see this article:

The (almost) Complete Guide and FAQ to Fishless Cycling - Aquarium Advice
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Old 11-20-2013, 04:06 AM   #18
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As other have mentioned - I've also found that dosing up to 4ppm makes things a bit difficult later on, when the nitrite spikes start happening. It might be better to choose a lower number e.g. 2ppm. Then if you really want that much ammonia processing capacity, maybe wait until 2ppm can be processed through both ammonia and nitrite stages, and then increase the amount of ammonia?
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Old 11-20-2013, 09:50 AM   #19
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my cycle ended yesterday. I'm now dealing with low PH. I need to raise it for cichlids.
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Old 11-20-2013, 10:20 AM   #20
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Don't use the prime until after your cycle. I made that mistake but Prime actually messes with the ammonia, so it kinda defeats the purpose!!
to: FrankoQ add a mesh bag of either crushed coral or crushed oyster shell to your filter media. That will raise the pH some, and oyster shell is cheap from almost any feed store!
I want to have cichlids in my 55 (when it finishes cycle) and I will have to raise the pH by quite a bit, those are what I will try first G00d Luck!
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