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Old 01-09-2009, 03:02 PM   #1
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Cycle taking forever

Hi everyone,
I'm doing a fishless cycle which I started way back on the first of December with pure ammonia, after reading the AA article on the subject. The ammonia started out at about 4.0 ppm. The nitrite went from 0 up to a high of over 5.0, which is the highest number my color chart shows. Then the nitrate started up, and that reading is now way off the chart. Ammonia has gradually gone down to 0.0 (yay, I think!) but the nitrite seems to be stuck at 2.0 for about a week now, not going any lower. Should I start changing the water, or just wait for the nitrite to hit 0? I can be patient, but this is getting to be frustrating!
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Old 01-09-2009, 03:13 PM   #2
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What are you using for your ammonia source?

I assume pure ammonia.

Add a pinch of finely ground up flake food, that might give it a kick.
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Old 01-09-2009, 03:19 PM   #3
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I used pure ammonia. I did put a little food in last week. Would a drop of the pure ammonia again be useful? Should I get the ammonia up over 0.0 again?
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Old 01-09-2009, 05:09 PM   #4
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U need to keep the ammonia source there to feed the already established ammonia-consuming bacteria. The nitrite will come down. It's the slower of the 2 to establish.
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Old 01-09-2009, 07:49 PM   #5
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thank you for doing a fishless cycle!
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Old 01-09-2009, 08:13 PM   #6
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Keep dosing the ammonia, once it's turning over daily you'll have a better idea where you are at. Which also means you have to test daily, mainly ammonia & nitrite. Yes, since there's not fish in there, dose that ammonia back up high.

And much applause for going fishless, I started again at the same time as you.
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Old 01-10-2009, 06:21 PM   #7
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OK, thanks everyone. I boosted the ammonia back up to 0.50 today. Nitrite is still hanging in there at 2.0ppm. Just to make sure I understand:

Whenever the ammonia drops to zero but the nitrite is still not down to zero, I boost the ammonia up again. I'm not done, and no water changing, until both hit zero, then I change water until nitrate is around 10 or so? Right?

And now for more waiting and testing!
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Old 01-10-2009, 07:10 PM   #8
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you got it, except you should boost your ammonai into the 3-5 range, not .5
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Old 01-10-2009, 07:51 PM   #9
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you got it, except you should boost your ammonai into the 3-5 range, not .5
Oh, Ok! I thought I just had to get any amount of ammonia back in there. Won't making it way high again increase the cycle time even more?
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Old 01-10-2009, 07:54 PM   #10
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The bacteria will only stay alive if there's food for them to eat (i.e. ammonia). They're like pets, if you have a lot, and only feed a few, they won't all make it. You want to sustain the entire population
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Old 01-10-2009, 08:03 PM   #11
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The bacteria will only stay alive if there's food for them to eat (i.e. ammonia). They're like pets, if you have a lot, and only feed a few, they won't all make it. You want to sustain the entire population
Love that analogy!
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Old 01-11-2009, 10:19 AM   #12
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My 0.50 ppm ammonia went to zero overnight, so today I hiked it up to over 4.0. Wonder how low that can go overnight!
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Old 01-15-2009, 09:15 AM   #13
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Progress!

My aquarium is now going from over 4.0 ppm ammonia down to zero overnight, and the nitrites are finally dropping a bit (looks like under 2 ppm now). I'm about to boost it up again, can't wait to check it tomorrow!
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Old 01-17-2009, 10:12 PM   #14
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How're things now? I bet you're probably pretty much done cycling at this point.
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Old 01-17-2009, 11:31 PM   #15
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the way i know the cycle works (gathered a lot of info from different sources, so i will refrain from giving any sources atm)

fishless cycle
1. you put in ammonia (5.00 or more)
2. nithifying bacteria #1 turns ammonia into nitrates
-- note, when tank is fully cycled this process takes 4-5 days
3. nithifying bacteria #2 turns nitrates into nitrites
-- note, when tank is fully cycled this process takes up to 12 days

if plants are involved, nitrites nitrates and ammonia are consumed
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Old 01-17-2009, 11:39 PM   #16
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neilanh has a link in his sig, called nitrogen cycle.
that article is a corner-stone piece
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Old 01-18-2009, 07:58 AM   #17
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For the last couple of days the ammonia would drop from 4.0 to 0.0 overnight, and the nitrite stayed at 2.0. So yesterday I boosted the ammonia up even more. This morning it's down to 0.25, and the nitrite has finally gone down to 1.0. Maybe those last few days of dropping all the way to 0.0, it wasn't getting enough ammonia, so up it goes again today!

I do think the end is in sight!!
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Old 01-20-2009, 06:24 PM   #18
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diane,
your ammonia turned into nitrates.
otherwise it could not have dropped to 0 )

next step was that the nitrates turned into nitrites, so your nitrates stayed constant.

from the sound of it, it looks like you're closing in the end of your cycle (full cycle)

adding a few very resistant fish now might be smart (stop using ammonia once you added fish)
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Old 01-21-2009, 01:39 PM   #19
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other way around...

The "cycle" runs from ammonia, to nitrite ( NO2 ), then to nitrates ( NO3 ).

I think plants can use the first and last compounds, but maybe not the nitrites directly. I am not certain.

I don't know why it is called a cycle, it is just a pathway that is part of the ecological "Nitrogen Cycle", I guess...


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diane,
your ammonia turned into nitrates.
otherwise it could not have dropped to 0 )

next step was that the nitrates turned into nitrites, so your nitrates stayed constant.

from the sound of it, it looks like you're closing in the end of your cycle (full cycle)

adding a few very resistant fish now might be smart (stop using ammonia once you added fish)
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Old 01-21-2009, 02:30 PM   #20
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Today's readings (Trying VERY hard to be patient)
Ammonia 0.0
Nitrite 1.0
Nitrates way off the chart high
Should I start to change some water before the nitrites come down to 0?
I do believe I understand the "cycle", I just wish it were faster here! I don't want to add any fish before NH3 and NO2 are at 0.
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