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Old 01-19-2022, 10:33 AM   #1
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Smile First fishless cycle experiment!

Hi, I'm new to the aquarium hobby. Recently bought the API master test kit. I'm planning on doing a fishless cycle. After adding API tap dechlorinator, waited for 24hrs and added tetra safe start. After 4 days I have tested the water and these are the results...

PH:7.2-7.6,
Ammonia: 1.0-2.0ppm,
Nitrite: 2.0-5.0ppm,
Nitrates: 40ppm-80ppm...

1st pic#: Did 50% water change after test and tested again. Only nitrates reduced to 20 - 40 ppm. Rest are same.

The question here is, what should I do next to bring Ammonia & Nitrite to a 0 ppm?

3rd pic#: I ordered the API master kit from Amazon. This is how i received it with the torn safety cushion. Is this product damaged?

4th pic#: Test bottle usually comes with a red seal for each bottle. This one is full white. Is this product tempered?


Thanks for your feedback
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Old 01-19-2022, 04:57 PM   #2
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Im not sure you understand a fishless cycle. Fishless cycles require dosing ammonia into the tank. While your test is showing some ammonia, this is likely coming out of your substrate, or possibly your water is treated with chloramine which is ammonia + chlorine chemically bonded. While this ammonia will feed your cycle it wont be adding sufficient ammonia over a long enough period of time to cycle a tank.

A fishless cycle typically takes 6 to 8 weeks. Day 4 is only just starting, and while the ammonia you are seeing is a start, you need a more regular ammonia source in the tank.
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Old 01-19-2022, 04:58 PM   #3
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To cycle a tank you need to grow denitrifying bacteria to consume ammonia and nitrite that your tank produces. The bacteria needs an ammonia source to grow colonies sufficient in size to consume all the ammonia and resultant nitrite and turn it into nitrate which typically you remove through your regular water changes.

A fishless cycle uses an ammonia source to replicate the fish waste that a tank of fish would produce. This ammonia source can be pure ammonia, an aquarium specific ammonium chloride product like Dr Tims Ammonium Chloride, a cocktail shrimp or fish food.

Ill assume we are using an ammonium chloride product.

Set up your tank. Make sure everything is running smoothly. Make sure you have used a water conditioner product with any tap water you have put in your tank. If you have an adjustable heater raise the temperature to 28c/82.5f.

You should have a test kit. Preferably a liquid test kit. It should test for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.

Dose the ammonia chloride to approx 4ppm and start testing daily for ammonia. Once your ammonia drops below 1ppm redose it back to 2ppm. This may take a couple of weeks.

Start to test daily for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Whenever your ammonia drops below 1ppm redose it back to 2ppm.

You should start to see nitrite and possibly nitrate in your daily tests. Over time your nitrite should start to rise and the amount of ammonia should start to drop further. Your ammonia may start to not be detectable in your daily tests. Keep redosing ammonia daily if you see it below 1ppm. Your nitrite may rise off the testing chart. I prefer to keep nitrite within measurable levels so it shouldn’t hurt to do a water change to keep readings on the chart. Remember to add water conditioner whenever you put tap water in the tank. Nitrate should appear in your water test at some point too.

Over time your nitrite should level off and begin to fall in a similar manner to what your ammonia tests did. When you are able to dose ammonia to 2ppm and 24 hours later see 0 ammonia and nitrite you are cycled. At this point you have enough denitrifying bacteria to consume all the ammonia and nitrite of a moderately stocked tank. You may want to continue dosing ammonia for a few days to make sure it continues to consume all the ammonia and nitrite and be sure your cycle has properly established before proceeding.

Your nitrate will likely be very high. Do a big water change to get nitrate down. Preferably below 10ppm. Adjust your temperature to the needs of your fish. Get your fish, acclimate and add to your tank. I would advise stocking lightly to start with and slowly adding fish until fully stocked.

A fishless cycle typically takes 6 to 8 weeks.

A good way to speed up this process would be to put a small amount of filter media from an established filter into your filter, or get a sponge from an established filter and squeeze it into your tank water. Perhaps you have a friend who keeps fish who could let you have some? This will seed your filter with the bacteria you are trying to grow and speed up the process.

Another option is bottled bacteria like Dr Tims One + Only or Tetra Safestart. These products wont instantly cycle a tank as they claim but in a similar manner to adding established filter media they can seed your filter with the bacteria you are trying to grow to establish your cycle. These products are hit and miss as to whether they work at all, but are an option if established filter media isnt obtainable and may speed up the process from several months to several weeks.
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Old 01-25-2022, 08:11 AM   #4
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Smile first fishless cycle experiment!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aiken Drum View Post
Im not sure you understand a fishless cycle. Fishless cycles require dosing ammonia into the tank. While your test is showing some ammonia, this is likely coming out of your substrate, or possibly your water is treated with chloramine which is ammonia + chlorine chemically bonded. While this ammonia will feed your cycle it wont be adding sufficient ammonia over a long enough period of time to cycle a tank.

A fishless cycle typically takes 6 to 8 weeks. Day 4 is only just starting, and while the ammonia you are seeing is a start, you need a more regular ammonia source in the tank.

Hi Aiken,
Thanks for your reply. I'm doing a fishless cycle with fish food flakes. Do I need to buy sperate ammonia for the tank or it will work with fish food too?

thanks!
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Old 01-25-2022, 08:39 AM   #5
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Im not a fan of using fish food as an ammonia source, but anything that adds ammonia into the water will work. Its difficult to judge how much fish food to feed to bring ammonia up the required levels, it tends to go mouldy in the tank. I prefer ammonium chloride but that's personal preference.

In answer to your original query. To get your ammonia and nitrite down takes time. Keep dosing ammonia when it drops in whatever way is your preference. When you are able to dose 2ppm ammonia and 24 hours later see 0 ammonia and nitrite you are cycled. With fish food you need to be able to add enough food daily to feed your imaginary stock level of fish and not see it showing as ammonia or nitrite.
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Old 01-31-2022, 04:54 AM   #6
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Fishless cycle experiment!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aiken Drum View Post
Im not a fan of using fish food as an ammonia source, but anything that adds ammonia into the water will work. Its difficult to judge how much fish food to feed to bring ammonia up the required levels, it tends to go mouldy in the tank. I prefer ammonium chloride but that's personal preference.

In answer to your original query. To get your ammonia and nitrite down takes time. Keep dosing ammonia when it drops in whatever way is your preference. When you are able to dose 2ppm ammonia and 24 hours later see 0 ammonia and nitrite you are cycled. With fish food you need to be able to add enough food daily to feed your imaginary stock level of fish and not see it showing as ammonia or nitrite.
Hi Aiken

These are my tests results for 2 weeks. I cannot figure out what is happening here...
Whether I'm on the right track or no... I really do not know. Thanks!

Day 4 (29 01/2022)
PH: 7.6
AMMONIA: 1.0 - 2.0 PPM
NITRITE: 2.0 - 5.0 PPM
NITRATES: 40 - 80 PPM

Day 5 (20/01/2022)
(50% water change/conditioner/safe start)
PH: 7.6
AMMONIA: 1.0 - 2. 0 PPM
NITRITE: 2.0 PPM
NITRATES: 40 - 80 PPM

Day 7 (22/01/2022)
PH: 7.8 - 8.0
AMMONIA: 4.0 PPM
NITRITE: 2.0 PPM
NITRATES: 40 - 80 PPM

Day 14 (28/01/2022)
High Range PH: 7.4
AMMONIA: 4.0 - 8.0 PPM
NITRITE: 2.0 PPM
NITRATES: 20 - 40 PPM
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Old 01-31-2022, 05:10 AM   #7
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Cant possibly say. We have no idea how much ammonia is going in there with the fish food. Unlike something like ammonium chloride, fish food takes time to decompose into ammonia, you could be putting too much in, or not enough.

All i can say is that at the moment ammonia is too high. Do a 50% water change. Then leave it until your ammonia drops below 1ppm. Then feed as much as you would normally feed a tank full of fish. If your ammonia gets upto the level you are seeing, thats too much food. You dont really want it higher than 2ppm. Leave it until it drops below 1ppm. Then feed as much as you would normally feed a tank full of fish. Etc. When you are feeding daily without seeing ammonia or nitrite in your tests you are cycled.
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Old 01-31-2022, 05:36 AM   #8
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Could i ask if there is a reason for the fishless cycle?

A lot of traffic here are people having trouble cycling tanks, and by far more people have issues with fishless cycles than fish in cycles.
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Old 03-14-2022, 11:32 AM   #9
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Day 52: Fishless cycle

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aiken Drum View Post
Cant possibly say. We have no idea how much ammonia is going in there with the fish food. Unlike something like ammonium chloride, fish food takes time to decompose into ammonia, you could be putting too much in, or not enough.

All i can say is that at the moment ammonia is too high. Do a 50% water change. Then leave it until your ammonia drops below 1ppm. Then feed as much as you would normally feed a tank full of fish. If your ammonia gets upto the level you are seeing, thats too much food. You dont really want it higher than 2ppm. Leave it until it drops below 1ppm. Then feed as much as you would normally feed a tank full of fish. Etc. When you are feeding daily without seeing ammonia or nitrite in your tests you are cycled.
Hi,

Day 19 (02/02/2022) (Added remaining 1/4 bottle of Tetra safe start)
AMMONIA: 4.0 - 8.0 PPM

Day 21 (04/02/2022)
PH: -
AMMONIA: 4.0 - 8.0 PPM
NITRITE: -
NITRATES: -

Day 26 (09/02/2022)
(80% water change)
PH: -
AMMONIA: 4.0 PPM
NITRITE: 0 PPM
NITRATES: 5 - 10 PPM

Day 30 (13/02/2022)
PH:
AMMONIA: 2.0 PPM
NITRITE: PPM
NITRATES: PPM
(added a filter sponge and some media from my neighbours tank)

Day 48 (03/03/2022)
PH: -
AMMONIA: 0 PPM
NITRITE: 0 PPM
NITRATES: 40 PPM

80% WATER CHANGE

Day 49 (05/03/2022)
PH: -
AMMONIA: 0 PPM
NITRITE: PPM
NITRATES: 20- 40 PPM3

Day 52 (08/03/2022)
PH: -
AMMONIA: 0 PPM
NITRITE: 0 PPM
NITRATES: 40 PPM

Now, after all the waiting for 52 days, i discovered that nitrates were already present in my tap water. I'm planning on buying some plants to solve the nitrates issue.

Thanks....
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Old 03-14-2022, 01:04 PM   #10
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Youve been ghost feeding daily throughout?
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Old 03-21-2022, 08:15 AM   #11
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Quote:
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Youve been ghost feeding daily throughout?
Yes, all through.....I'm scared to loose any fish...that's all


I think i'm getting there.....i;m focusing more on the nitrates right now ....bought lucky bamboo, maybe duck weed as floating plants ....let you know.
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Old 03-21-2022, 08:17 AM   #12
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Add your fish, build up stock slowly, keep up with daily testing until you are more confident that your parameters wont spike. The same as you would for a fishless cycle, but in the knowledge that your cycle has established to some degree prior to adding fish.
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Old 03-21-2022, 12:51 PM   #13
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DAY 65 (21/03/2022)
Ammonia: 0 PPM
Nitrites: 0 PPM
Nitrates: 20-40PPM
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Old 03-26-2022, 03:49 PM   #14
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24/03/2022
Finally added the fish to the little tank. White Cloud mountain minnows and Gold minnows. i guess the nitrates will take care of itself after going up and down past few days. Added a few plants like pothos and lucky bamboo. Wish me luck!
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