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Old 08-30-2013, 05:10 AM   #1
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would you say my tank is cycled?

27g tank.
Cycling since August 5th. Fishless cycle with ammonia.
When I add 4ppm ammonia, in 24 hours the ammonia is completely gone. The nitrite at first shows high readings of 5ppm but goes to 0ppm after 5 or 6 minutes.
Nitrate is not sky high. 10ppm to 20ppm. Highest nitrate during cycle was maybe 20 or 30ppm a week ago.

Is it done? I'm just confused about the delayed nitrite reading.

Thanks.
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Old 08-30-2013, 07:55 AM   #2
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Not cycled. Your nitrite levels are so high right now the test can no longer read them. If the blue drops turn purple as soon as they hit the water/at bottom of tube before shaking, it's safe to assume they are 5+ppm and you do not need to wait. When nitrite levels are readable, the test will start off blue then gradually turn purple with time. Never works in reverse (purple to blue/grey/pink/white etc).

Your actually stalled right now from the excess nitrite as your nitrates should easily be 160+ppm. Time for 90+% wc (possibly 2-3). Wait half hour and retest nitrite. You want to bring it down to a readable level (1ppm or less). Then dose just 1ppm of ammonia, add a few pinches of fish food to supply phosphate and wait. Please ask if you have questions!
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Old 08-30-2013, 06:30 PM   #3
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Not cycled. Your nitrite levels are so high right now the test can no longer read them. If the blue drops turn purple as soon as they hit the water/at bottom of tube before shaking, it's safe to assume they are 5+ppm and you do not need to wait. When nitrite levels are readable, the test will start off blue then gradually turn purple with time. Never works in reverse (purple to blue/grey/pink/white etc).

Your actually stalled right now from the excess nitrite as your nitrates should easily be 160+ppm. Time for 90+% wc (possibly 2-3). Wait half hour and retest nitrite. You want to bring it down to a readable level (1ppm or less). Then dose just 1ppm of ammonia, add a few pinches of fish food to supply phosphate and wait. Please ask if you have questions!
Thank you for the reply.
Yes the blue drops turn purple as soon as they hit water. Then the water turns purple, then the water goes colourless after 5 minutes.
I have never done a water change yet. Are you sure an extreme 90% water change is needed? I thought a water change of that level is only done at end of cycle.
Also, what is meant by 2-3? And why do I need to add phosphate from fish food?

Thank you for everything.
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Old 08-30-2013, 09:37 PM   #4
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Thank you for the reply.
Yes the blue drops turn purple as soon as they hit water. Then the water turns purple, then the water goes colourless after 5 minutes.
I have never done a water change yet. Are you sure an extreme 90% water change is needed? I thought a water change of that level is only done at end of cycle.
Also, what is meant by 2-3? And why do I need to add phosphate from fish food?

Thank you for everything.
Remember, the fishless guide is just that- a guide. Its not textbook nor does it cover every single scenario or possibility or what to do when things do not go according to plan.

Your nitrite level right now is likely 50-100+ppm. Lets say you change 90%, it will still be 10ppm if they are a 100+ and the test will not be able to read it. If its at 50+ppm, they will still be 5+ .Thus, it may take 2 or more big water changes to bring your nitrites down to a readable level. Simple math. Just make sure you temperature match and properly condition all new water. Wait 5-10mins before turning filters back on, too.

Phosphates are part of the equation in processing nitrite. Most tap water has more than ample supply but adding a few pinches of fish food adds some extra in case this is a factor in slowing your cycle (beyond the nitrites themselves stalling it).

Your other option is to simply stop adding ammonia and wait. Test the tank in a week and see if there is any change. Maybe things will start moving on their own in a week or so but maybe they wont. Hope this helps explain things a bit more!
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Old 08-30-2013, 09:40 PM   #5
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Yes it does help.
Thank you for the reply.

A quick question, how long will nitrite survive without adding ammonia?
I may stop adding ammonia to see how things go. But don't want to kill off nitrite before the cycle finishes.
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Old 08-30-2013, 09:58 PM   #6
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Your nitrite is not going any where right now so no worries about that. After around 10 days, your amm>nitrite bacteria may start to die off a bit but it takes quite a bit longer before they are all gone.
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Old 08-30-2013, 09:59 PM   #7
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Ok thank you.
If you were in my position, would you do water change or wait with no ammonia feeding?
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:04 PM   #8
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Ok thank you.
If you were in my position, would you do water change or wait with no ammonia feeding?
Water change to bring nitrites under control, 1ppm of ammonia once they are and (I know this hard...) just wait. Ignore your tank. Put the tests in a cabinet for 3-4 days. Nothing will starve or die or disappear. Enjoy your weekend and lets see how things look next week.
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Old 08-31-2013, 05:05 AM   #9
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Ok I did 60% water change. 90% is too much work for me lol
Getting old.
I just quickly tested water and nitrites are still showing strong but its not fading after 5 minutes. So I'm hoping this water change was enough to fix issue. I won't touch tank for a few days.
Ammonia was 0ppm and nitrates was 10 to 20 ppm.
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Old 08-31-2013, 10:00 AM   #10
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Do you have a water changer? If not, consider investing in one. Water changes using one are very quick and effortless and well worth the investment!
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Old 08-31-2013, 09:23 PM   #11
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Do you have a water changer? If not, consider investing in one. Water changes using one are very quick and effortless and well worth the investment!
What's a water changer?
I just use gravel vacuum to empty water, in to bucket, and have a few buckets of pre made water that's been waiting for 15 minutes, to pour back into tank.
Its a bit of effort involved. If there's an easier way, id like to know.

Thanks again.

P.S.
I now have pics of the tank in my album to view.
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Old 09-01-2013, 12:49 AM   #12
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Google 'python' or 'aqueon' water changing systems. These are just two brands but there's quite a few others as well. They are hose/gravel vac that attach to your faucet so everything goes down the drain (my case, I run stuff out the back door or into a sump) then you just switch on the water and adjust the temp, add your conditioner for your tank size and refill. Pretty simple and no buckets required (though they are great exercise, lol!)!
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Old 09-01-2013, 02:07 PM   #13
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Hi sea life

It is said that there are two types of friendly bacteria that colonise in our tanks. They are nitrosomonas which are responsible for converting ammonia and nitrobacter which are responsible for converting nitrites.

It would appear that your colony of nitrobacter hasn't expanded enough to deal with the large volumes of nitrites being thrown at them by the nitrosomanos.

I have read that these bacteria take up to 8 hours just to double in numbers. Cycling a tank is a task that requires much patience. The problem is when we fill our tanks up and add our live bacteria they are still trying to establish themselves. They still need food (ammonia) but there are just not enough of them to process a dose of 4ppm of pure ammonia. The other problem is that 1 large dose of ammonia doesn't replicate the doses created by our fish.

I cycled my tank starting with 4 harlequin rasbora. I waited for 1 week to let my bacteria multiply. The small waste produced by these fish was enough to feed my bacteria whilst still colonising. Only when this ammonia is consumed do the second bacteria begin to feed and grow.

You just need to let your bacteria grow until they are efficiently removing the nitrites. Then partial water changes are the only way to bring nitrite levels down and keep them under a damaging level.

If I was doing a fish less cycle using ammonia. I would wait a week then dose very small amounts starting once a day and increasing dose intervals as the weeks go by. Doing this keeps the dose in proportion to your bacteria growth which makes for an efficient cycle.

My ammonia levels were always between 0 and 0.25ppm whilst I was cycling. Then, one day I tested and I finally had nitrates. My fish are in great shape. Even my harlequins!

Sorry for babbling a bit
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Old 09-01-2013, 02:09 PM   #14
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Edit: keep NITRATE levels down by doing partial water changes
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Old 09-01-2013, 06:28 PM   #15
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Thanks for the response guys. Very much appreciated.
Everyday I check my water parameters so excitedly, hoping its all done lol. It never is though....

Here an update:

Ok, 2 days ago, I added 3-4ppm to the tank, then 12 hours later I did 60% water change as 'jlk' suggested. (I already added the ammonia before I was told to water change.)
Before the water change, I did test water and I had 0.5 to 1ppm ammonia (went down a lot in 12 hours), nitrites off scales and gone colorless, nitrate was roughly 10ppm from memory.

Its been 1.5 days since water change. I have not yet added any ammonia, and here a my water specs that I just did:

- PH: 7.6 to 7.8
- Ammonia: (didn't test but will most likely be 0ppm, it always goes to 0ppm quickly)
- Nitrite: 5ppm+ ( but at least it doesn't go colourless now)
- Nitrate: 10ppm

I have not added anything yet. Should I just wait it out for a few days, then add 1ppm ammonia, or do water change, or do something else?

EDIT: Is it also worth buying some Seachem Stability to help speed up cycle?

Thanks guys.
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Old 09-02-2013, 02:43 AM   #16
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I would add very small doses of ammonia still as you don't want to starve the nitrosomonas. Do it every other day though. I have now read it takes nitrobacter more like 15-20 hours to double in numbers.

Read this article http://www.bioconlabs.com/nitribactfacts.html

Just be patient bud. It will happen
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Old 09-02-2013, 03:57 AM   #17
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Just another thought. Are you adding a tap safe conditioner to new tap water when adding. If you are not then the chlorine/chloramine in your tap water could be delaying bacteria growth. Bacteria apparently don't like chlorine and it can take up to 24 hours for this to dissipate.

Test your tap water also or look up in your suppliers website. If I were you I would do no more water changes and let your bacteria start to take control of these toxins. Also bacteria like higher temperatures to multiply in so maybe increase the temp of your aquarium. you are still going to need an ammonia source but not 4ppm.

A cycled tank should be able to handle this BUT adding so much to a tank that hasn't colonised yet is pointless. Our fish dont produce 4ppm ammonia in one go. Sure a fully stabilised tank would chew through this no probs. but our fish are producing constant but small amounts which our bacteria are used to. Their numbers are proportional to the food they receive. This is why even in a fully cycled tank we get ammonia spikes.

When we add more fish, overfeed, fail to remove dead plants and fish. Our bacteria has to catch up on this new load. As it has been used to a certain amount, it takes time to catch up. This is when you need to do water changes to aid the bacteria. But when there are no fish in the tank it doesn't matter. They will catch up in their own time. It's a waiting game.
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Old 09-02-2013, 06:35 PM   #18
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Thanks for the input.
Im letting my tank cycle on its own. I will add 1ppm ammonia every 4 or 5 days from now on.

I will test water parameters later tonight and post results up.

Thanks again.
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Old 09-03-2013, 05:12 AM   #19
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I just tested my water.. everything seems stalled.

Ph: 7.6
Ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrite: 5ppm (doesn't go colorless after 5 minutes)
Nitrate: 5ppm to 10ppm

Not sure what to do. Seems stalled and not moving. I will only add 1ppm ammonia every 5 days. And just wait it out.
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Old 09-03-2013, 04:45 PM   #20
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You will be fine to add fish to your tank when both nitrites and ammonia are 0ppm.

Stop add ammonia, wait nitrites drops to zero, then do a water change, so you can drop your nitrates <15ppm. You should be fine to add fish after this.

I personally cycled a 30 gallon tank with a Betta in 9 days. Ammonia raised to 2ppm first day, nitrites spike the 4-5th day, day 9, nitrate raise and no more ammonia and nitrates. I removed the betta and started to add some fish progressively. I added a cycling product that contains beneficial bacterias and it seems to have worked well.

So you should have this reading:
NH3/NH4 : 0 ppm
NO2: 0 ppm
NO3: < 15ppm
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