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Old 01-07-2014, 12:21 AM   #1
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Question New to the hobby, learning quickly.

Hi, I'm Spencer.

I'm new to aquariums for the most part. Last summer I volunteered to take a little 12 gallon tank from my Biology teacher who couldn't take care of the fish over the summer. I quickly fell in love with the aquarium, however within the last month I've learned through research that fish are not the effortless, low-maintenance pet that I once thought they were. With research I've also realized that the stock of fish that I initially received wasn't exactly ideal. Nonetheless, I'm learning quickly and am exploring the hobby further with a 36 gallon that I received for Christmas.

Currently I am fishless cycling my 36 gallon tank. I am not sure why fishless cycling gets a rep for being tedious and boring. I find it really neat testing the water, and it gives me a sense of accomplishment to know that I can control the quality of my tank all by myself.

That said, I do have a question about my cycling. I'm wondering if it's possible for my tank to be cycling so fast. Following the "The (almost) Complete Guide and FAQ to Fishless Cycling" here on this website, I started my cycle on the 31st of December. Today (January 6th), I tested my water and not only had the ammonia levels dropped (from 4ppm to 1ppm), but I saw nitrites (5ppm) and even nitrates (5ppm)!! I write down every time I test and what the parameters are, and though I'd tested ammonia several times before, today was the first time I tested the nitrites and nitrates. And there was no gap in between the drops and spikes that I'd read there would be.

Is this normal for the cycle to go so fast? Is it healthy? I'll admit, I was excited, because I suppose seeing these levels so quickly means my tank is getting that much closer to being a home for some new fish.

Can't wait to get more involved in the forum!

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Old 01-07-2014, 12:40 AM   #2
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Welcome to AA!
Sounds like you've been doing your homework...good to hear.
As for the cycling, yes that is fast. Not unheard of, though. I had similar results when I did a fishless cycle with media (a good portion of it) from a filter in an established tank. I believe that was the key for such a rapid cycle.
Did you start from scratch (media wise) or did you have access to some established media?

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Old 01-07-2014, 03:47 PM   #3
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Welcome! Sounds like you have done your homework well! Your cycle may be complete. What are your water levels like? Ammonia and Nitrite should be at 0ppm and your nitrate may vary, but shouldn't be extremely high.
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Old 01-07-2014, 09:00 PM   #4
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Welcome to Aquarium Advice! Thanks for joining us, and enjoy! I am glad your cycle is coming along!
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Old 01-07-2014, 11:20 PM   #5
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Thank you all for the warm welcome! I can already tell I'm going to like it here.

Fresh2o - I began with brand new filter media. I'm using Rite-Size filter padding and ceramic rings in an Aqueon filter that came with my tank kit. I'm thinking maybe the cycle could be going fast due to the water temperature? It's at 88-90, as I read the bacteria prefer warmer temperatures. Other than that, I put a small pinch of fish food at the start of my cycle because I read in the article that nutrients from the food could help the bacteria grow. I can't really think of anything else that could explain it.

GreenLily - I don't believe my cycle is totally complete yet. I tested my water today (having bumped the ammo up to 4ppm yesterday) and got 1ppm ammonia, 5ppm nitrite, and 10ppm nitrate. I then added ammonia to bump my ammo levels to 4ppm again. I believe I am due for a 50-60% water change sometime soon.

Redsea - Thanks for the kind words!
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ammonia, beginner, nitrate, nitrite, spike

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