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Old 11-26-2020, 03:17 PM   #1
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Fishless Cycling Help!

Hi everyone, I got my 29 gallon tank 3 weeks ago, planted it, added a ton of starter bacteria (Fritz) and brought ammonia to 4ppm. My pH is 7.4 and the temp is 80F. I am using a Tidal 55 filter with Matrix Biomedia. I am using the API Freshwater Master Test Kit (not expired).

After about 9-10 days of no change in any parameters I did a partial water change (~30-40%) and brought ammonia back to 2-3ppm (I heard this was a better value). At this point I also started adding Prime and Stability daily. I have well water so no chlorine in my tap water, I just added the Prime because I heard it makes it easier on the bacteria to process the ammonia.

I have tested the water every day and I have not seen any nitrites/nitrates and the ammonia is still exactly where it was. I do have a lot of algae now, and I also started seeing a lot of copapods.

Does anyone have any idea why the cycle hasn't started yet? I think I'm doing everything right and I feel I should see some indication of nitrites forming by now, even if it takes another few weeks to cycle.

Any help is greatly appreciated! Thank you!
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Old 11-26-2020, 06:08 PM   #2
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Optimum temp for fishless cycle is 28c (82.5f). Every cycle is different. Dont expect it to run to a timetable.

Adding bottled bacteria is a bit hit and miss. If not stored and transported in ideal conditions it can kill off the bacteria. At best it can speed up a cycle, at worst it does nothing at all.

A better option to seed your filter to speed up the cycle is to introduce some filter media or a sponge from an established tank. Perhaps you have a friend who keeps fish who could let you have some?
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Old 12-01-2020, 01:35 AM   #3
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I figured out the problem thanks to some people in an IRC chat. It was my ammonia source. I was using FritzZyme fishless fuel, had no change for 3 weeks. I did a water change and replaced that ammonia source with pure Ammonium Hydroxide (Clear Ammonia) from Amazon. The very next day I had 2ppm nitrites and 5ppm nitrates. My ammonia source was bottlenecking my entire cycle!
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Old 12-03-2020, 09:02 AM   #4
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Cycling has not started because it takes time. Adding "stuff" to your tank simply does not work. You can get media from an established tank and place it in yours or simply let the filter cycle on it's own... and it will, by giving it time... providing you are following a true and tried procedure, It's very simple but takes time. There are "basic" procedures for cycling a tank without the use of additives and you can easily find them by doing a search on the net or here. I prefer the fish in cycling but that's another topic. Good luck!
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