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Old 06-24-2006, 07:09 PM   #1
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Ugh... Reset, Restart!!

2.5 weeks into fishless cycle, wondering why my Ammonia levels haven't budged from the 5 ppm I started with. Also getting no Nitrite spike, not even a HINT of Nitrites... Recheck Ammonia bottle ingredients:

Water, Ammonium Hydroxide and Surfactant.

Search Internet and AA for "Surfactant". Discover its BAD for fishless cycle.

Grrrrr....

2 weeks ago I found this Ammonia "Everclear" in my local Fry's Food and Drug. Did casual "shake test" and got a few big bubbles which burst immediately. Cool, this is what I need. Wrong. Shake the cr*p out of it today and find that it foams if shaken HARD but not if shaken casually.


Guess my new Phython's gonna get a workout sooner than I expected, and I'll wait a bit longer to add some fish.


Note - NO fish were harmed by this NEWB mistake!! 8)


Hopefully this post will spare some other Newb from the same mistake. I did a bit of research about fishless cycling before starting, but missed the part about "Surfactants" in the Ammonia cleaners.


-Don T.
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Old 06-25-2006, 09:57 AM   #2
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Oh, I feel for you ! I think you might want to rinse the tank a few times when you start over (I'm glad you have a Python !!). If you don't want to deal with trying to find the right ammonia you can use the "shrimp method" - its a little ugly and a bit smelly (up close) but I did this when I got worried about the ammonia I had purchased. The shrimp method runs on its own so you don't have to worry about dosing ammonia every day.
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Old 06-25-2006, 10:28 AM   #3
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Well...now you you know.

Quote:
Note - NO fish were harmed by this NEWB mistake!!
Well done!!!

Empty it and do several rinses.Many smaller washes will have a better effect then a few large ones fwiw.
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Old 06-25-2006, 11:44 AM   #4
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a trick i used on my new 55 gal, was to transfer some water from my old tank into the new tank to promote a a faster healthy enviroment.

i know i should have waited a week or so, but the next day, i used my columbian tetras as tester fish (i dont like them as much) they are still alive, and all my other fish were added soon...
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Old 06-25-2006, 12:13 PM   #5
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Water contains very little of the beneficial bacteria. If you want to cycle a tank quicker, get some seeded media from another tank. Either some substrate or some filter media.

So sorry for your difficulties getting your fishless cycle going. Good luck with the starting over.
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Old 06-25-2006, 10:30 PM   #6
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Thanks for the advice guys. I emptied the aquarium and cleaned it very well already. Used several rinses on everything in or used with the tank. (didn't use any soap, just fresh water)

Also dumped the filter media and gravel and replaced them both with new stuff. Water tests are showing good for the restart: pH 7.5, Am 0 Nitrite 0 and Nitrate 0.

I really don't want to do the "shrimp" method because the aquarium is in the recieving/dining area of the house. I.E its one of the first things the neighbors and guests will see upon entering the house. (That and my wife would KILL me... )

I just need to find the good ammonia and be more careful this time. I also need something to "seed" the bacteria again. Not easy to find here.

-Don T.
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Old 06-25-2006, 10:56 PM   #7
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Do you have a Safeway near you? Look in the cleaning section for a bottle of Pacific Brand Crystal Clear Ammonia. It is just ammonia, no detergents or scents. The bottle is 1 Gallon, and has a red and yellow label. That's where I got mine, and cycled my 55G with it, and also used it when I jump-started cycles on my other tanks, to be sure they were cycled before adding fish.
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Old 06-25-2006, 11:34 PM   #8
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Yes, actually I do have a Safeway quite close to me. Matter of fact, I could walk there if I really wanted to... Thanks very much for the tip!!!


Don T.
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Old 06-26-2006, 12:18 AM   #9
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Let me know if you find it there. I was just at Safeway here and they still have it on the shelf, so they should have it there.
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Old 06-26-2006, 07:44 AM   #10
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Just to warn you, I got pure ammonia and I am still having difficulties with my fishless cycle. I am at around 4ppm ammonia and Nitirites have been around .5ppm for the whole 2 weeks. Nitrates have been at a steady 5ppm. I am getting a little frustrated also.
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Old 06-26-2006, 09:39 AM   #11
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Fishless cycling is a test of patience - just hang in there. The nitrite conversion part takes longer than the ammonia conversion part. Altogether it should take about 6 weeks. A LONG time to look at an empty tank but when its finished you'll be able to do your full stocking without having to do countless water changes (as you would have had to do with a "with fish" cycle).
I know how frustrating it is - I actually surrendered and ended up adding Bio-Spira after 4 weeks - I just couldn't take it anymore.
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Old 06-26-2006, 10:01 AM   #12
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I know someone with a fish tank. So I am going to ask today to get the next old filter when she does a filter change or maybe get some gravel to add to my filter. My wife and son are also getting impatient
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Old 06-26-2006, 06:40 PM   #13
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Adding media from a healthy mature tank is an excellent way to give your tank a kick-start. Can also take a little gravel from the same tank and put it in a small nylon sock and put in the bottom of your tank, so the bacteria will get a jump-start on the gravel as well. Just make sure it's a new nylon sock, and not one that's gone through the washer.
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Old 06-26-2006, 10:55 PM   #14
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Well, I couldn't find the stuff at my Safeway... All they seemed to have there was their own generic brand with a lot of surfactants added. I gave it a "casual" shake and it foamed up immediately, so it stayed on the shelf.

Then I looked in a local Ace hardware store that someone on another forum pointed me to. Found Ace's "Janitorial Strength" Ammonia. No ingredients listed but it does say "Contains 10% Ammonium Hydroxide" I shook the cr*p out of this one and no foam, so I bought it.

Can anyone confirm that this Ace Hardware ammonia is good to use?


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Quote:
I know how frustrating it is - I actually surrendered and ended up adding Bio-Spira after 4 weeks - I just couldn't take it anymore.

I tried Bio-Spira last time but it didn't work... but, that could be because I used the wrong ammonia. Also, I'm having a devil of a time finding a local source for Bio-Spira here in Phoenix, AZ. I had to order it online last time and it cost 2x as much to ship it heree overnight as the product itself cost. Plus the dumb UPS company took all day to deliver it and it sat on their truck here in Phoenix for almost 11 hours. (I was tracking it online) That's 11 hours in about 115 degree heat. That probably baked the bacteria to death, but there's no way to know if it would have worked now.


Thanks,

-Don
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Old 06-27-2006, 10:05 AM   #15
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Yes - the ACE hardware janitorial ammonia is what most people use. That's the real deal ! Hope your cycle goes well for you

(and yes, the heat killed your Bio-Spira - its too bad its so hard to find locally - it worked like a charm for me)
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Old 07-04-2006, 05:01 PM   #16
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Hehe, quick update here... my tank is finally showing positive for nitrites!! It took exactly 5 days after seeding it with a live plant I got from the LFS. (I left the water sit for 3 days prior to this seeding after the ugly rinse and restart so 8 days total.)

I almost missed it, and I had to do a double take when I noted the tube had taken on a slight purple tinge... I did a test on a tap water control sample to be sure and yup... positive for Nitrites. (About .25 Nitrite reading) Its a great day today... Independence day, the Space Shuttle is flying again and my cycle is starting. WaaHoo!!

P.S. I am charting the numbers on this tank so I'll know exactly how long the cycle took and I'm logging everything I'm doing with this tank. I'll post the chart and the numbers later in the cycle.
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Old 07-04-2006, 05:29 PM   #17
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Cool, sounds like it's going good. And yes, even the single plant does have beneficial bacteria on it and in the root system, and will jumpstart the process. Good job.
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Old 07-04-2006, 05:48 PM   #18
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I always use plants (from my tanks if possible, or from a local pet store otherwise) and wood/rocks/gravel/used-filter-material from my tanks to jump-start cycling a tank. It makes a huge difference in cycling time, and makes the tank look nicer (well, except perhaps for the used filter material) while you're waiting to add fish.
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