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Old 04-07-2004, 09:43 AM   #1
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Cycling question....OHHH NOOOO

Hello! I'm new to this site and have a few questions about fishless cycling. I currently have a baby Oscar in a 55 gallon tank which I cycled with Biospira but since no one seems to have this anymore, I have to cycle my 30 gallon by fishless cycle. I have had this tank up and running for about 5 days. I used some filter media and gravel from my established tank and on the first day added enough pure ammonia to get a 0.50 ppm reading. I just checked my water today and here are my readings.....

Ammonia 2.0 (that's up from yesterday)
NitrIte .25 (I had none yesterday)
NitrAte 5.0.

What do I do now, just sit back and wait and keep checking??

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Old 04-07-2004, 09:47 AM   #2
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oops, sorry for the double post When I hit submit I got an error the first time
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Old 04-07-2004, 10:01 AM   #3
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Add the same amount of ammonia you used to get to to .5, and add that amount every day. Eventually the bacteria will eat the ammonia and nitrite as fast as you add it and the readings will be 0 NH3 0 NO2, and 5+ NO3
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Old 04-07-2004, 10:02 AM   #4
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Yep! Keep checking. You're already half the way there due to the filter media and gravel (you can tell since you already have nitrite and nitrate readings ).

When the ammonia level drops, add a tiny bit more. You don't want the bacterial colony to die so gotta keep em fed. Once the ammonia is chowed down completely overnight, and you get no ammonia or nitrite levels, only nitrates, you'll be cycled. I figure in a week or so

And np bout the double post - I'll get rid of the other.
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Old 04-07-2004, 10:03 AM   #5
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So I should keep adding ammonia even though my level is already at 2? Sorry, I'm a little clueless about fishless cycling
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Old 04-07-2004, 10:06 AM   #6
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Personally I only add more when the ammonia level drops. But you can do it the other way; in your case I doubt you'll wind up with too much as you already have nitrifying bacteria eating away at it.
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Old 04-07-2004, 10:07 AM   #7
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You'll want to be sure that you keep adding ammonia, just do it in very small amounts (a drop or two - depends on the strength of the solution). The initial ammonia reading was probably inaccurate as the ammonia might not have had enough time to mix with the water. I would trust the 2.0 reading.

The fact that you are seeing nitrItes is good considering that you put media and gravel from an established tank in the new one.

I would stay the course (test water, adding a drop or two of ammonia) until you get 0 ammonia, 0 nitrItes and have nitrAte readings. Then you can stop adding ammonia and put fish in instead (although I would do a 50% water change before adding the fish). You're pretty close from the look of your readings...

Also, please tell me that the ammonia you used has no soap in it. If you shake the bottle and see more foam/bubbles than you would see in the same amount of water, then you might have to go back to square one. The surfactants will kill your fish...
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Old 04-07-2004, 10:14 AM   #8
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Oh crud

I just shook the bottle and no bubbles and it says clear ammonia on the bottle. Oh, crud, I just read the ingredients...ammonium hydroxide solution, surfactant, opacifier, clarifying agent. AHHH, does that mean I have to start all over?
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Old 04-07-2004, 03:54 PM   #9
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Here's the skinny, a surfactant is basically a detergent. It's added to ammonia to help clean things. The thing is, detergents will probably kill your fish.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I wouldn't risk it.

Maybe somebody else here has some more advice, but I'd empty the tank and wash everything. Wash the gravel and the media too. As long as you rinse them well you can put them into the established tank to get more bacteria on them. But make sure you rinse them good, otherwise you'll be putting the detergent into an established tank.

I've heard of people getting pure ammonia (meaning "no additives") at hardware stores.
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Old 04-07-2004, 03:59 PM   #10
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Not only are you back to square one, but you'll have to rinse & rinse everything in the tank to get rid of the surfactant & other bad stuff. Bummer..

For fishless cycling, you need pure ammonia, wiht nothing added. The cheapo no name brands seems to be the best source.

This article seems to be the "standard" on fishless cycling & is quoted everywhere. You might want to have a look. There is a recipe for when & how much ammonia to add, etc.

http://malawicichlids.com/mw01017.htm
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Old 04-07-2004, 04:31 PM   #11
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Jeez, that was an experience! I got all the water out, and washed everything (using NO soap ). I went to the hardware store and got Ammonia containing no phosphates (I'm assuming THIS one is okay?). My question is, how do I really know if I got all of the surfactant out of the tank??
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Old 04-08-2004, 08:42 AM   #12
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Quote:
how do I really know if I got all of the surfactant out of the tank??
Rinse, rinse, rinse. There's no real way that I know of other than overkill rinsing.

Not sure about the ammonia without phosphates stuff. I only know about the surfactant issue.

If for some reason you end up not using ammonia to cycle your tank, there are other fishless ways. They may take a little longer (or not considering you have an established tank nearby). I keep my 10 gal QT cycled by adding frozen bloodworms or spirulina flakes every now and then.
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Old 04-08-2004, 08:50 AM   #13
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I have used ammonium chloride (pretty sure that's what it is) solution to fishless cycle. It's avaialbe at the LFS, cheap. A little bottle lasts a LONG time. That's what I would use. It says on the bottle how many drops per gallon to raise ammonia levles a certain amount. Fool proof and reliable.
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Old 04-08-2004, 01:07 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jntmom
I went to the hardware store and got Ammonia containing no phosphates (I'm assuming THIS one is okay?).
Just make sure the bottle says 100% pure ammonia or something like that, and nothing else listed on the ingredient list.

Just about anything organic rotting can be your ammonia source (plant, fishfood). For interest, you might like to read Beacious's account of cycling with a piece of raw shrimp elsewhere in this forum.

http://www.aquariumadvice.com/viewtopic.php?t=20532
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Old 04-08-2004, 01:50 PM   #15
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Well I took everything out and washed it. I also got a new filter today (Emp280) so I took one of my biowheels off my 400 and put it on that one. I got pure ammonia (it says it contains no phosphates) so I'm assuming this will work? I added enough to get my 5 reading, so I guess I'm starting all over again
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