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Old 07-19-2021, 02:59 PM   #1
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Fishless cycle-Kind of stuck

I have started fishless cycle 4 weeks ago in 10GL tank. Setup everything, treated water with API stress coat and API stress Zyme and added Dr Tim's Ammonia(4PMM after test). Started testing daily. Ammonia was constant for couple of weeks and started noticing Nitrite during 3 rd week. Was happy! but after almost 2 weeks after detecting Nitrite, its stable at 0.25 PPM(light purple on liquid test) and ammonia does not go down as well. went to the store and bought API quick start (Which says u can add fish instantly(i suppose its a lie), added 10ml) but my ammonia and nitrite are stuck at 4PPm and 0.25 PPM. Cant trace any nitrates yet. Is my cycle stuck? today went out and bought that aqueon pure live bacteria balls and added one to the water.Water temp is maintained at 76-78. what am i doing wrong?

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Old 07-19-2021, 03:50 PM   #2
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You arent doing anything wrong. Every cycle is different and there is no fixed timescale.

The best way to speed up your cycle is to get some media from an established filter and put it in your filter. Perhaps you have a friend who keeps fish? The bottled bacteria might help, might do nothing. I wouldnt say their claims are a lie. They dont actually say it instantly cycles a tank, i dont think they even mention cycle. It just says you can instantly add fish. Which you can. You can also instantly add fish if you dont use these products too if you do a proper fish in cycle.

Raising the temperature might help. 28.5 to 30.5 (83 to 87f) is optimum.

Low pH can slow down the cycle. Whats your pH?
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Old 07-19-2021, 03:58 PM   #3
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You arent doing anything wrong. Every cycle is different and there is no fixed timescale.

The best way to speed up your cycle is to get some media from an established filter and put it in your filter. Perhaps you have a friend who keeps fish? The bottled bacteria might help, might do nothing. I wouldnt say their claims are a lie. They dont actually say it instantly cycles a tank, i dont think they even mention cycle. It just says you can instantly add fish. Which you can. You can also instantly add fish if you dont use these products too if you do a proper fish in cycle.

Raising the temperature might help. 28.5 to 30.5 (83 to 87f) is optimum.

Low pH can slow down the cycle. Whats your pH?
Thanks for your reply. I will increase the temp to 80-82. My PH is around 7.8 and i have not checked that lately. I did some reading and thought PH might fluctuate during a fishless cycle and we dont need to bother! Initially the store person said i can add fish 4-5 hours after setting up my tank and did so..but the tetras died few hours later. I did not what to lose anymore fish so, doing fishless cycling.
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Old 07-19-2021, 04:07 PM   #4
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Thanks for your reply. I will increase the temp to 80-82. My PH is around 7.8 and i have not checked that lately. I did some reading and thought PH might fluctuate during a fishless cycle and we dont need to bother! Initially the store person said i can add fish 4-5 hours after setting up my tank and did so..but the tetras died few hours later. I did not what to lose anymore fish so, doing fishless cycling.
If your pH is above 7 it wont be slowing your cycle. So thats something to cross off what might be happening.

I would add that fish dying in a matter of hours wont be down to an uncycled tank. Ammonia and nitrite won't have risen to dangerous levels in that short a time. High pH/high temperature increases ammonia toxicity, but still, it would need to get up to 2ppm to be immediately life threatening. I dont see that happening in hours. Perhaps the fish where already sick and the stress of the move did it. Perhaps you didnt acclimate properly. Are you sure you dechlorinated the water? Lack of oxygen? Do you have plenty of surface agitation for gas exchange?
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Old 07-19-2021, 04:54 PM   #5
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After getting the fish, i floated the bag, kept it dark, added littlebit of water from tank to bag..did all that. dropped fishfood after sometime. guessing that would have caused ammonia spike. Yes, i did dechlorinate the water. Not sure what is surface agitation for gas exchange means!?
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Old 07-19-2021, 05:00 PM   #6
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Oxygen gets into the water via gas exchange. Gas exchange happens where there is good surface agitation. Either through your filter output, a bubbler or a powerhead. Still water surface will not promote gas exchange and the oxygen levels will drop which is bad and could kill fish quite quickly.
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Old 07-19-2021, 05:18 PM   #7
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Filter running continuously and bubbler too! i guess i will continue to monitor for few more days. It does get frustrating!
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Old 07-19-2021, 11:58 PM   #8
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In MY personal case, I also ended up stuck when cycling my 10 gallon. Box store said water was good, so got 4 guppies, all died within 2 days....
So waited....
And waited...
And waited..
And 3 MORE months later, was still stuck!!
I ended up drip acclimating 2 LARGE mystery snails and then added them to the tank... (had stopped adding any ammonia source for about 6 days prior) and after about a week and a half, they started mating and my water FIANLLY was starting to test right!!!
I waited 2 more weeks to be safe. (And the snail even laid a clutch of eggs.)
And after that. Got 3 fish, and STILL have them!
It worked for me.
But it definitely isnt the same for everybody...
I also have a pretty heavily planted tank.. which is why I waited a good 4ish months before even adding the first group of fish that died.. the plants didnt really show new growth until the snails though!! And now. Everything is great...
Could be worth a try..
But everyone is different, honestly lol.
Best of luck!!!
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Old 07-22-2021, 04:06 PM   #9
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Update: after adding API quick start, i see Nitrates(5PPM) but my Ammonia and Nitrites are still at 4PPm and 0.25 PPM. How come Nitrates are forming without a nitrite spike? and without ammonia going down and nitrite spike, i was not expecting nitrates! What do i do?
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Old 07-22-2021, 04:14 PM   #10
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It doesnt take a lot of ammonia to make a lot of nitrite and nitrate.

So, potentially your ammonia dropped a little, not enough to show in a test. This produced nitrite, some of which went to nitrite. The small amount of nitrite being made, matched the amount going to nitrate so it appears to have held level.

More likely, your test isnt all that accurate. Its a home test kit, not laboratory testing. All sorts of things can throw out a test. Some of the tests arent even tests for what it says it is on the bottle.

While a test might be something to base decisions on, dont expect accuracy from them. They are accurate enough to look after your fish and cycle a tank. Test results wont always make sense though.
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Old 07-22-2021, 04:20 PM   #11
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Thanks!! but you did not tell me what should i do. Wait until Ammonia and Nitrite to go down and then dose a little bit of ammonia again? water change?
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Old 07-22-2021, 04:30 PM   #12
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Test daily, when your ammonia drops below 1ppm, dose it back to 2ppm. When you are able to dose 2ppm and 24 hours later you see 0ppm ammonia and nitrite you are cycled. At this point you should see nitrate steadily rising.

No need to do water changes during a fishless cycle, but personally i do a water change if nitrite goes higher than a test kit can read. But that's just prefence as i like to keep parameters to readable levels. As every 1ppm ammonia goes to 2.7ppm nitrite, nitrite can quickly go higher than a test kit can read when your ammonia to nitrite bacteria is strong, but your nitrite to nitrate bacteria isnt.
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Old 07-23-2021, 01:10 AM   #13
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More side info if helpful

Fishless cycle guide
https://www.aquariumadvice.com/the-a...hless-cycling/


Tips and tricks for your fastest fishless cycle
https://www.aquariumadvice.com/tips-...ishless-cycle/
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Old 07-30-2021, 01:35 PM   #14
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Update 7/30: Its been a week and i dont see a change. I have Ammonia at 2-4 PPM, Nitrite at 0.25 PPM and Nitrate at 5 PPM stuck for the last 1 week. I feel like i should just do a water change and get some starter fish. Advice?
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Old 07-30-2021, 04:03 PM   #15
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Quote:
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Update 7/30: Its been a week and i dont see a change. I have Ammonia at 2-4 PPM, Nitrite at 0.25 PPM and Nitrate at 5 PPM stuck for the last 1 week. I feel like i should just do a water change and get some starter fish. Advice?
100% water change.

Stock lightly. 1 small fish per 10g is a safe level. Might need to adjust numbers depending on tank size and what you plan to stock. I wouldnt recommend a single schooling fish for instance.

Feed lightly. As much as is eaten in 1 minute daily or 2 to 3 minutes every other day while cycling.

Test daily. Your target should be to keep ammonia + nitrite combined below 0.5ppm through water changes. If you see 0.25ppm ammonia + 0.25 nitrite (0.5ppm combined) then a small water change (say 20%). If it gets up to say 0.5ppm ammonia + 0.25ppm (0.75ppm combined) then do a 30% water change. If it gets up even higher, say 0.5ppm ammonia + 0.5ppm nitrite (1ppm combined) then do a 50% water change.

Depending on how heavily you have stocked this might be daily big water changes. Water parameters might get even worse, in which case you might be doing multiple daily water changes to kerp parameters safe.

If you are consistently seeing 0ppm ammonia and nitrite you are cycled for the fish you currently have and can add some more fish. Depending on tank size and stocking this might be a few weeks. Rinse and repeat the testing and water changes controlling ammonia and nitrite, adding a few more fish when you are seeing no ammonia as previously until you are fully stocked.
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Old 07-31-2021, 07:45 PM   #16
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Did a 100% water change. Went to the store and got a guppy. When I checked the water parameters after sometime, ammonia was showing .25-.5ppm. Did a partial water change. Fish survived overnight. Again found ammonia at same levels! Did a water change again. 4 hours later, same amount of ammonia!! Then I just did a test on my tap water. It has .25-.5 ammonia in it. Got 10L fish water and did a partial water change with it.How do I remove ammonia from tap water?? Fish is surviving for now.
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Old 07-31-2021, 08:04 PM   #17
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You can use Prime water conditioner.
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Old 08-01-2021, 02:14 AM   #18
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Something about ammonia and its toxicity.

0.25ppm ammonia is basically 0. Depending on your test 0ppm ammonia might look the same as slight ammonia test. Try testing some bottled water that you know is 0ppm and compare it with your tap water and tank water.

If your tap water is testing positive for ammonia, its probably treated with chloramine rather than chlorine. Chloramine breaks down to chlorine and ammonia once it leaves the tap. In a cycled tank the ammonia will be removed very quickly. The chlorine will be neutralised by your water conditioner. As autumnsky has suggested, using prime as your water conditioner will also detoxify ammonia while your cycle processes it out.

The ammonia you are reading in your test isnt as toxic as you might have been led to believe. Free ammonia is very toxic in even very small amounts. But, your test isnt for free ammonia, it detects total ammonia nitrogen (TAN) which is free ammonia + ammonium. The proportion of free ammonia to ammonium is determined by the waters pH and temperature. The higher the are, the higher the free ammonia is and lower ammonium. At typical aquarium temperatures you need a very high pH before the low levels of TAN you are seeing becomes toxic to fish. Table attached showing TAN toxicity at the level you are seeing. Green is safe, yellow start to take action, red is immediate action needed.

As i have said previously, you want to be trying to keep ammonia + nitrite combined at around 0.5ppm. A little ammonia from your tap might complicate things, but if you change water at the slightest hint of ammonia you will never have enough in there to cycle the tank and will forever be doing daily water changes. Cycling the tank will take weeks at best.

Link to post explaining ammonia toxicity in more detail if you are interested.

https://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums/f12/your-guide-to-ammonia-toxicity-159994.html

Many people have tap water treated with chloramine rather than chlorine and manage to keep fish just fine. As with anyone else, its important to manage ammonia through getting your tank cycled.
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