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Old 02-05-2013, 09:25 PM   #1
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Cycling - No Decor, No Substrate

Please forgive me if this has been answered before. I did try to look this up but figured a quick answer would happen if I just ask. Have been cycling a 10 gallon for five weeks. To date, nothing. No nitrate, no nitrite. Ammonia high at every test. 50% WCs once a week. Even after WC, ammonia still present in lesser amount. I test once again in 24 hrs but still no movement. Filter was seeded with filter medium from very established tank and supplemented with foam pre-filter from same tank. A bit of fish food added as prescribed. Not too hot, not too cool. HOB is running and splashing enough. So, I figure that a decor and substrate free tank will struggle with cycling. Any truth? I did add some PFS tonight just to give the tank some new variable. I really wanted this tank to function as a QT or grow-out with no sand, rock or plant. Actually, the PFS does brighten it up. Hoping that it will aid in the cycling? Anyway, I think five weeks is a long time for a cycle to even start.

Your thoughts please.
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:30 PM   #2
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So, there are no fish yet? And you have another tank that is established?
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:38 PM   #3
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So, there are no fish yet? And you have another tank that is established?
No fish. I prefer fishless cycles. Yes, many. I chose filter medium from the oldest most established tank to seed the cycle start. I figure that something caused the BB to die. Maybe that is why nothing will start.
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:58 PM   #4
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Why not just put the filter media in one of your established filters to stay ready for when you need it? Sorry if that's not what you were asking.
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:22 AM   #5
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What are your exact numbers (incl ph) in this tank as well as temp? You are using fish food as your amm source, correct? Exactly how high has your amm level reached?

Too much ammonia and you can actually harm your bb. A tank without substrate will cycle but there's a limit to the surface area bb can colonize- adding lots extra biomedia to filter in addition to adding another filter can help to increase overall surface area available for them to colonize.
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Old 02-08-2013, 08:41 PM   #6
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Why not just put the filter media in one of your established filters to stay ready for when you need it? Sorry if that's not what you were asking.
Sorry about the many days later response. Actually, I want the tank to cycle just like any other. I am just perplexed by the fact that it just doesn't want to start.
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Old 02-08-2013, 08:44 PM   #7
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What are your exact numbers (incl ph) in this tank as well as temp? You are using fish food as your amm source, correct? Exactly how high has your amm level reached?

Too much ammonia and you can actually harm your bb. A tank without substrate will cycle but there's a limit to the surface area bb can colonize- adding lots extra biomedia to filter in addition to adding another filter can help to increase overall surface area available for them to colonize.
I dosed with ammonia so probably overdosed right from the start. I am trying to bring things back into balance. I know that it will get there eventually. Thanks for the input.
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60g - Lot's of endlers and 4 P.Taeniatus Moliwe (and babies)
20g Long - a few endlers and RCS
20g Long - Chilli Rasboras, Scarlet Badis, RCS
29g SA biotope - many SA inhabitants
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Old 02-09-2013, 10:03 AM   #8
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What test kit are you using?

What ammonia are you using? Does it say anything on the bottle about having surfactants, dyes or perfumes?

What's the PH?

I'd try a full water change to restore minerals, etc in the water. Wait an hour and test ammonia. If ammonia is less than 4, leave it be and see if the water change kick-starts something. If it's higher than 4, then you overdosed and that's likely the reason the cycle never started (and keep doing water changes to get it down).

Keep us posted.
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