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Old 02-20-2015, 11:45 PM   #1
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Question Is my fishless cycle cycling?

Hello all, I am new to the hobby and been doing lots of research.

I started fishless cycling a freshwater tank on 1/29. It was a new tank so I just wiped it, cleaned and boiled the gravel, added decorations, and added water with API tap water (thought that Prime was counter productive to what I wanted to accomplish). The tank is a GloFish 10 gallon (kit). I am testing with the Ammonia and 6-in-1 test strips.

I use 10-12 drops of 10% ammonia solution when adding ammonia and I also crush like 5 flakes of food and add them to the tank.

Once I started seeing ammonia going down on week 2, I bumped it back up. By 2/10, the water got yellowish from the tannings on cholla wood I added -even though I soaked them on a separate bowl with tank water- so I did a 50% PWC and added more ammonia. My LFS recommended that I let it drop to zero before adding any more.

On a desperate attempt, I added TetraSafe last Sunday 2/15 and like 10 pieces of gravel from my LFS on a bag directly in front of the filter intake. I have a Java Fern and an Anubias Congensis I got last week as well attached to the cholla wood. The problem is that I thought the ammonia was going down, but it isn't. I thought I read 0.5 last night and it is at 3 today. PH is between 7.8 and 8.4 so don't think that the PH is the cause. Note that in none of the reading have I seen traces of Nitrites or Nitrates; always zero.
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Old 02-21-2015, 11:07 AM   #2
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Here is a link to the water report from the company that provides water to my community: http://www.ouc.com/docs/water-manual...4.pdf?sfvrsn=2 just in case someone can tell me whether I need to add more API Tap Water; or not.
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Old 02-21-2015, 11:07 AM   #3
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Hi chykityta:

What is your current water temperature? Since you're doing a fishless cycle you can bring temp up quite high, around 85 or so; this will help encourage the growth of the nitrifying bacteria.

Does your filter do a good job of agitating and turning over the tank water? I ask because aeration is also a factor in fostering the bacterial growth.

I would do a water change now to see if you can get your ammonia down to about 1ppm. This is enough ammonia to feed the bacteria but not enough to possibly be toxic to them and inhibit their growth.

I would not add any more fish food to the tank at this point. You can control the ammonia level much more accurately by using the pure ammonia to try to get to a steady 1ppm.

If it's possible for you to do so, I would recommend you get a reagent test kit (API makes a really good one) to test your ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and ph. In my experience the dip strips are not very accurate and degrade fairly quickly.

If you can get your ammonia to hover around 1ppm, you could also try adding some Tetra SafeStart to the tank. The folks on the forum would probably tell you that it's the most reliable bacterial additive product available. It seems to contain the right strains of bacteria to start the cycle going.

Good luck, and don't get discouraged!

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Originally Posted by chykityta View Post
Hello all, I am new to the hobby and been doing lots of research.

I started fishless cycling a freshwater tank on 1/29. It was a new tank so I just wiped it, cleaned and boiled the gravel, added decorations, and added water with API tap water (thought that Prime was counter productive to what I wanted to accomplish). The tank is a GloFish 10 gallon (kit). I am testing with the Ammonia and 6-in-1 test strips.

I use 10-12 drops of 10% ammonia solution when adding ammonia and I also crush like 5 flakes of food and add them to the tank.

Once I started seeing ammonia going down on week 2, I bumped it back up. By 2/10, the water got yellowish from the tannings on cholla wood I added -even though I soaked them on a separate bowl with tank water- so I did a 50% PWC and added more ammonia. My LFS recommended that I let it drop to zero before adding any more.

On a desperate attempt, I added TetraSafe last Sunday 2/15 and like 10 pieces of gravel from my LFS on a bag directly in front of the filter intake. I have a Java Fern and an Anubias Congensis I got last week as well attached to the cholla wood. The problem is that I thought the ammonia was going down, but it isn't. I thought I read 0.5 last night and it is at 3 today. PH is between 7.8 and 8.4 so don't think that the PH is the cause. Note that in none of the reading have I seen traces of Nitrites or Nitrates; always zero.
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Old 02-21-2015, 11:40 AM   #4
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Hi Yorg,

I live in FL and didn't think I needed a heater since the water temperature on my apartment ranges from 72 through 80, depending on where my A/C is at, and those are the temperature requirements for the fish I plan on getting.

I have a 10 gallon air pump without the regulator, so the water is being greatly agitated. As far as the filter, it is the one that comes with the kit (Whisper 2-10i or plain 10i). For the first week and a half, the filter was plain; meaning just the filter that comes with the filter. I could see the filter doing its job because at night you could see the bacteria bloom circulating. Now, I have ceramic media in a Deep Blue Professional Nylon Media Bag within the filter and there is flow; just not sure if it flows through all of the ceramic media.

I will be getting the API Master Test Kit today as I am running out of those test strips. I already added 40 mL of SafeStart to my tank on Sunday and 10 mL last night; therefore, I ran out of the little bottle.
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Old 02-21-2015, 11:52 AM   #5
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I meant to add that the current temperature in the apartment is 71 so the tank should have about the same temperature.
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Old 02-21-2015, 07:17 PM   #6
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Now I see why hobbyist say that the initial investment is high because I just spent $30 on a heater I may not use after the Nitrogen Cycle completes. Anyways, no more complaining; the heater is "aclimating" on the tank before turning it on.

I have done a 40% to 50% PWC and have not added ammonia. I bought the Seachem Ammonia Alert but it takes about 4 hours to get to the final value and after 10 minutes it is already marking a very light green/blue so it is around 0.02 to 0.5 PPM. I will let it sit for longer but should I add ammonia, or let it drop to zero before I add any more?
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Old 02-21-2015, 08:54 PM   #7
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Depending on what fish you get, they should be at a constant temp, the fluctuation is probably not good. So with that said, I don't think you wasted your money on a heater.

As for the TSS, I don't think it will harm anything, if it works it will be a benefit to you. One bottle should be more than enough for a 10Gallon.
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Old 02-21-2015, 09:33 PM   #8
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Hi chykityta:

zer0signal is right; you didn't waste the money on the heater. Unless you're planning specifically to keep cold water fish, the heater will help maintain a stable water temperature at all times. Rapid fluctuations of temperature by even a couple of degrees can be stressful to fish, especially in a small tank like yours.

Yes, I would wait until the ammonia registers zero and then redose to try to get it to 1ppm. A short period of time at zero will not starve the bacteria.

Hang in there; you're doing this the right way.

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Originally Posted by chykityta View Post
Now I see why hobbyist say that the initial investment is high because I just spent $30 on a heater I may not use after the Nitrogen Cycle completes. Anyways, no more complaining; the heater is "aclimating" on the tank before turning it on.

I have done a 40% to 50% PWC and have not added ammonia. I bought the Seachem Ammonia Alert but it takes about 4 hours to get to the final value and after 10 minutes it is already marking a very light green/blue so it is around 0.02 to 0.5 PPM. I will let it sit for longer but should I add ammonia, or let it drop to zero before I add any more?
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Old 02-22-2015, 03:21 PM   #9
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I live in Florida too and I totally wouldn't risk going without the heater!
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Old 02-24-2015, 08:17 PM   #10
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After doing some research and getting nowhere with my fish less cycle plus barely anything here, I decided to go fish in cycle. I guess this thread is now over and I will start another one regarding my new cycle, parameters, etc if and when needed. Thank you all anyways!


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