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Old 09-02-2011, 01:02 PM   #1
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55 gallon fishless cycling

Hello. I've been following this forum and tried doing a fishless cycle myself.
This site gave me a lot information and good advice but I am stuck on my 4th week.

Ive done the 4-5 ppm ammonia cycling without any seed materials.

Weeks 1-3:
I did the 4-5 ppm ammonia and had nitrite levels above test chart. Nitrate levels at around 10ppm (it was like this for the whole week on the 3rd week) Ive noticed that in 24 hours my ammonia went down to 1 ppm but not my nitrites.
I thought it was stalled cause of ph unbalance. So I did the ph test and it was at 5.0 below neutral.
Ive read "the almost complete guide, etc." on this forum that ECO posted about ph levels and it said I should do a pwc if it went below neutral levels. PH was at 5.0 so I did a 50% pwc.

After the pwc I tested the water and ph was 7.0(neutral), ammonia at 1 ppm and nitrite 1.6 Id figured the ph was causing my nitrites not to go down? Nitrates went down to 5.0

Next day I tested everything
ammonia 0.25
nitrite zero
nitrate at 5.0

I was excited about nitrite hitting zero so I ammo to 4 ppm to see if i was almost there.

today did test for everything again.
ammo at 4ppm
nitrite zero
nitrate zero

I did another 50% Pwc and my ammo went down to 0.50
nitrite zero and nitrate zero.

Did I reverse my cycling or is my cycling not cycled at all?

I never had any nitrate spike. The furthest it went was 20 ppm

Please help! Ive waited for 4 weeks and about to lose my patience and thinking about using some comets.
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Old 09-02-2011, 02:46 PM   #2
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Did you check your pH again? The end of a cycle (when no2 drops to zero) is the most common time pH crashes. Nitrification stops entirely around 6, and it can take a few days to get moving again because they've been shocked.

The nitrAtes at zero might be a testing error. The only way they're removed from a tank is through water changes or plants absorbing them.

I think you're just about done..but most likely it's your low alkalinity water and pH fluctuations preventing thing from crossing the finish line. Tossing Comets in is a bad idea...for several reasons. You're this close and already put in this much time, let's get it finished. I'll be happy to help.
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The (almost) Complete Guide and FAQ to Fishless Cycling
https://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums...ng-148283.html
Being responsible...fishless cycling defines it, fish-in requires it. Choose wisely.
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Old 09-02-2011, 03:18 PM   #3
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Hey eco.
Love your guide to fishless cycling.
Ive just tested PH and it is a 6.0

Should I bring it up to 7.0 by pwc?
What are my options here?
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Old 09-02-2011, 03:25 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishnoob
Hey eco.
Love your guide to fishless cycling.
Ive just tested PH and it is a 6.0

Should I bring it up to 7.0 by pwc?
What are my options here?
Yeah, the pH is absolutely the problem. The closer you get to 6 the slower nitrification (conversion of ammo > no2 > no3) occurs, and once you hit 6 it pretty much stops entirely (hence why it seems the cycle completely stalled out).

A massive pwc to restore the pH value of your tap water is the first step...but the way it keeps crashing so low is IMO a sign the water needs buffering (I prefer natural products like crushed coral or aragonite).

Your water is obviously very low in alkalinity, and I've actually seen examples of continuous pH crashes preventing cycles from really finishing.

My water is very soft and I have to permanently run a tiny bag of crushed coral to prevent pH crashes (which has happened before without it). pH crashes are basically a pain in the butt during a cycle...but if it happens once you have fish it's bad news. The key is to find the right amount where it buffers the water and keeps it steady, without dramatically altering the pH of the water. In my 46 gallon I have maybe 4-5 pinches in a mesh bag in the filter, in smaller tanks I have just a couple pinches, and in my Chi I literally only have a few pieces.
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Old 09-02-2011, 03:35 PM   #5
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Oic.
I tested my nitrates also. it came out to be 5.0
If I dont have access to coral what is a good sub for it?
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Old 09-02-2011, 03:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishnoob
Oic.
I tested my nitrates also. it came out to be 5.0
If I dont have access to coral what is a good sub for it?
At this point I'd say lots of water changes. They won't hurt your cycle and will keep replacing the buffers the bacteria are using up which is dropping the pH (as well as the acidic waste they're producing).

If you're unable to get ahold of coral once the tank is stocked, I'd recommend a good water change schedule maybe doing them at least a couple times a week to keep the pH stable for the fish. Like I said, pH crashes + fish = potentially bad news (and floating fish).
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Old 09-02-2011, 03:54 PM   #7
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I ll do the water change.
How about the ammo? do i add them or just do the water changes?
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Old 09-02-2011, 04:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishnoob
I ll do the water change.
How about the ammo? do i add them or just do the water changes?
I'd vote to keep adding the ammo up to 1-2ppm for the next few days. If you see the pH dropping at all it's time for a water change. Once the bacteria wake back up and can constantly keep the ammo and no2 zeroed out within a day of adding it...I'd say you're good to go. It shouldn't take much longer. If you're still seeing pH drops in the span of a few days after a big water change...buffering your water once you have fish is going to look more and more like a necessity.
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https://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums...ng-148283.html
Being responsible...fishless cycling defines it, fish-in requires it. Choose wisely.
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Old 09-02-2011, 04:24 PM   #9
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Great advice!

Thank you so much for all your help eco.
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