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Old 07-14-2020, 08:21 AM   #1
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Red face Cycle stalled, what to do next?

Hi all, I'm new to fish keeping and I bought a 28 Gallon (105L) saltwater tank.

I'm really finding it hard to complete a fishless cycle. I started off by 'ghost' feeding the tank every day with food but I think I put way too much in as it wasn't decomposing so I decided to stop that and did a full water change & tank clean.

Then I purchased household ammonia which I miscalculated and put in too much so I did an 80% water change which got the levels up to 5ppm which is what most people seemed to recommend online. It's been 2 months now and the ammonia level is the same with nitrate at 0.5ppm and nitrate 0ppm.

I bought API Quick Start and added that to the tank according to the instructions but that didn't have any effect on any of the levels.

I'm not sure what I should do next, any advice by more experienced members would be appreciated!

Thanks!
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Old 07-14-2020, 09:03 AM   #2
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What is your pH? Low pH can stall a cycle.

5ppm ammonia is a little high. 4ppm would be better, but below 6ppm shouldnt be an issue. You could try a 20% water change to bring it down a little.

What is the temperature? 28c/82.5f is the ideal for growing the beneficial bacteria.

Are you sure you used water conditioner when you filled the tank? Chlorine will kill off the beneficial bacteria.

Also, biological booster like quick start are hit and miss. If they arent stored and transported in temperature controlled conditions the bacteria can be killed off in the bottle and will have no effect. Try a different brand/supplier?

Also, saltwater. I've never done saltwater, but understand it takes longer than freshwater. There might be other things a saltwater person can advise better, or tell you im wrong in a saltwater environment.

Edit: You used household ammonia. Are you 100% sure its pure ammonia? No additives, perfumes etc?
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Old 07-14-2020, 09:35 AM   #3
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Hi, the temperature is at 25C as that's the highest my heater will go.

Yes I definitely used water conditioner - Tetra AquaSafe to be specific.

Interesting to know that about the biological boosters. I also did try SeaChem Stability when I first started and that didn't seem to make a difference either!

The ammonia I used is also pure with no additives etc I was careful about this when I purchased it.

I might try and bring down the Ammonia level as you suggest.
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Old 07-14-2020, 10:30 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Leeoc91 View Post
Interesting to know that about the biological boosters. I also did try SeaChem Stability when I first started and that didn't seem to make a difference either!
.
Personally, I've used Fluval Cycle and Dr Tims One and Only. Mixed results with the Fluval Product, but got there in the end with repeated dosages. Best results with Dr Tims.
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Old 07-15-2020, 07:29 AM   #5
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I'm still far from sold on the bacteria in a bottle, be it snake oil or if it expires on shelves, too much inconsistency for my liking.
At the end of the day, ghost feeding isn't a good way to cycle a system. The pure ammonia or cocktail shrimp methods are better, to which I prefer the shrimp method as it is 'set it and forget it'.
If you dosed the tank to 2 ppm of pure ammonia, the answer here is to wait and watch. Nature will finish the cycle. Patience is key in the hobby. Keep testing and watching. If it goes under 2 ppm ammonia dose again. Then when you dose 2 ppm and it and the nitrite levels are not detectable in 24 hours you're ready for fish. There is an article in the article section that talks about cycling as well.
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Old 07-15-2020, 09:24 AM   #6
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Thanks for the advice. I think my plan of action is to change water to bring the levels down to 2ppm and then wait and hopefully that will do the trick!
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