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Old 03-04-2021, 03:55 AM   #1
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Help with fishless cycling please

Hi all,

Just a little advice needed please......

Iíve had a tank set up since early January, itís heavily planted and full of snails.

7 days ago I added 4ppm of ammonia, which disappeared in two days, and the nitrite spiked to 2ppm which had disappeared by day 3.

I repeated this and the same thing happened.

Everything Iíve read says that itís cycled when ammonia and nitrite both read 0 after 24 hours. But will this happen if Iím dosing 4ppm, or do I need to drop it to 2ppm?

Thanks!
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Old 03-04-2021, 04:32 AM   #2
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If it drops below 1ppm redose it back to 2ppm. When that converts to 0ppm ammonia + nitrite in 24h your nitrate should also be rising (assuming it isnt being consumed by plants) you are cycled.
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Old 03-04-2021, 04:41 AM   #3
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If it drops below 1ppm redose it back to 2ppm. When that converts to 0ppm ammonia + nitrite in 24h your nitrate should also be rising (assuming it isnt being consumed by plants) you are cycled.
Ok thanks, but wouldnít that negate the fact Iíve been dosing to 4ppm? Iím getting puffers and theyíre very messy, hence why I was dosing at that.

So I shouldnít let ammonia drop to zero as it has been doing? Iím just worried that nitrites will go through the roof if I keep adding ammonia.
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Old 03-04-2021, 04:49 AM   #4
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Its normal to dose to 4ppm as an initial dose to give it a good kick start of fuel. It speeds things up. In reality a normally stocked tank wont be producing anything like 4ppm ammonia in a day, not even 2ppm. If it does you are seriously overstocked.

If you want to have it consuming 4ppm in 24h thats fine, it will take longer to cycle your tank. Its not normal practice. It all depends on the ammount of bioload you want to start with. Personally i only have it cycling out 1ppm ammonia and stock lightly and gradually build it up rather than fully stocking in 1 go.
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Old 03-04-2021, 04:51 AM   #5
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That’s great advice, thanks.

I’ve just rechecked and ammonia and nitrite have both dropped to zero again.

I’ll redose to 2ppm now, and then if it is cycled both should be zero this time tomorrow?

Also, I won’t be able to get the fish until early next week, should I keep topping up until then to keep the cycle going?

Thanks.
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Old 03-04-2021, 04:52 AM   #6
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And yes, if you keep adding ammonia and your nitrite consuming bacteria isnt established yet, it is possible your nitrite will go through the roof. This is part of the cycling process.

Personally, if nitrite goes above readable levels i would do a water change to keep it readable, but this isnt necessary and some will say its detrimental to establishing your cycle. That's just my preference wanting to keep things readable.
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Old 03-04-2021, 04:54 AM   #7
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Your established bacteria will survive quite a long time if it is kept wet and oxygenated. Personally again i would feed ammonia until you are ready to stock fish just to be sure. Make sure whatever you dose is cycled out before adding fish, and do a big water change if your nitrate is high before adding fish also.

Edit. Probably a lower dosage of ammonia until you can stock. Not 2ppm.
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Old 03-04-2021, 05:05 AM   #8
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Your established bacteria will survive quite a long time if it is kept wet and oxygenated. Personally again i would feed ammonia until you are ready to stock fish just to be sure. Make sure whatever you dose is cycled out before adding fish, and do a big water change if your nitrate is high before adding fish also.

Edit. Probably a lower dosage of ammonia until you can stock. Not 2ppm.
Awesome, thanks for all your help 🙏

Iíd just put 2ppm in before I saw your reply, so Iíll wait and see if that goes in 24 hours.

The nitrate hasnít actually been rising too dramatically. Itís at about 60ppm now, I guess because thereís a lot of plants in there they are using some of it up.
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Old 03-04-2021, 05:07 AM   #9
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Personally i only have it cycling out 1ppm ammonia and stock lightly and gradually build it up rather than fully stocking in 1 go.
This isnít really an option for me, as Iím getting pea puffers I need to get them all at once to avoid any territory issues.
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Old 03-04-2021, 05:09 AM   #10
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How many fish in what size tank?
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Old 03-04-2021, 05:11 AM   #11
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Awesome, thanks for all your help

Iíd just put 2ppm in before I saw your reply, so Iíll wait and see if that goes in 24 hours.

The nitrate hasnít actually been rising too dramatically. Itís at about 60ppm now, I guess because thereís a lot of plants in there they are using some of it up.
I would get it down below 10ppm with water changes before adding fish. Typically you want to do enough water changes to keep it below 40ppm when it is stocked. If this means more than 50% change per week you are over stocked.
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Old 03-04-2021, 05:21 AM   #12
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How many fish in what size tank?
6 fish in a 60L.
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