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Old 06-15-2011, 09:04 PM   #1
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Fishless cycle issues

I have read up for the last few days trying to find a answer to my issues with no lucu, so I figured I would post and see if anyone could help. First I have a 46 gallon bowfront, with a Fluval 205 canister filter and a HOB Penguin 200 filter. I have a compact fluorescent light with 6700k bulb. I do have about a half dozen plants and just regular gravel substrate. I also have an airstone running as well.
I have started the cycle, with ace hardware brand ammonia. I tested for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates from day one. I had the ammonia to 4ppm and both nitrites and nitrates showed 0. I have tested the water straight from my tap and it reads about .25 ppm ammonia, and 0 ppm for nitrites and nitrates.
Its been nearly 2.5 weeks and the ammonia goes from 4 ppm to 0 in 24 hours, but the nitrites are at over 5 ppm and the nitrates are over 160 ppm. I have done a 25% water change and nitrites and nitrates did not change...last nite I did a 50% water change and still no change in nitrites or nitrates. I added ammonia last nite and this evening, the ammonia is gone, but no changes in nitrates or nitrites. I am unsure if the cycled is stalled or not or am I just being impatient?
Another question, I have the setup where I can do pwc and fillups from my water faucet, when I am filling the water back up, do I add the water conditioner before, during or after filling back up? I am using API's tap water conditioner.

Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 06-15-2011, 09:35 PM   #2
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I have done a 25% water change and nitrites and nitrates did not change...
Have you tested the tap water for nitrites and nitrates? The reason I ask is that I live in a farming area and the town water supply (which is sourced from the river) is extremely high in nitrates. I now use RO/DI rain water and it solved a lot of issues.
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Old 06-15-2011, 09:37 PM   #3
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Have you tested the tap water for nitrites and nitrates? The reason I ask is that I live in a farming area and the town water supply (which is sourced from the river) is extremely high in nitrates. I now use RO/DI rain water and it solved a lot of issues.

Yes I did, they read 0 each while ammonia reads about .25 ppm
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Old 06-15-2011, 09:41 PM   #4
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You need to do some water changes to get the nitrite and nitrate down. The nitrite is really what needs to come down the most. Get it under 3ppm. At certain levels (6 or 7ppm?), nitrite will essentially poison the bacteria (nitrobacter) that convert nitrite to nitrate. This is often why cycles stall. Are you using a liquid test kit? I think a few 50% PWC's are in order to get you back on track.

As far as the dechlorinator goes, do it before or as you start filling up the tank. I usually get my temp right before adding Prime, but you can certainly do it before starting the refill.
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Old 06-15-2011, 09:52 PM   #5
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thank you for the info...I was planning on doing at least a 50% tonight, then if that didnt work, another 50% tomorrow. Or should I do them in the same night? I have a API master freshwater test kit...I do salt water tanks, so am not completely new to the hobby, its just been a long time since I have done freshwater, and things have come along ways from 10 years ago.
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Old 06-15-2011, 09:53 PM   #6
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Just do a 50%, test... if the nitrite is still high, do another one. Just keep doing them until you get down to 2-3ppm. And keep an eye on them. With the ammonia being converted that quickly, you're liable to have to do some more until the nitrobacter colony grows some
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Old 06-17-2011, 08:36 PM   #7
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I did a 50% water change, and no changes to nitrites adn nitrates, then did a 75% water change, again no changes....i retested my tap water and it reads 0 for both....not sure what else to do
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Old 06-17-2011, 08:43 PM   #8
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they're either both too high to test, or you're testing incorrectly... if you do a 50% pwc with water reading 0 on both, there's absolutely no way they're not being decresed by 50%.
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Old 06-17-2011, 08:46 PM   #9
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I'd say do another pwc. Your test kit only shows the levels up to a certain point, even if they are much higher. Your levels must have just been really high.
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Old 07-03-2011, 08:54 PM   #10
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Finally Success!!!! After almost 5 weeks my tank cycled...I had to do several water changes because my nitrites were off the charts, but they finally came down. Now after feeding ammonia to 4 ppm after 24 hours both ammonia and nitrites are 0, of course nitrates are very high. So i am going to do another 24 hour with ammonia to make sure all is well then a large pwc, then some fish. Lesson learned is patience is one of the most important part of fishless cycling hehe.
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Old 07-03-2011, 09:35 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by tigerbarb fan View Post
Finally Success!!!! After almost 5 weeks my tank cycled...I had to do several water changes because my nitrites were off the charts, but they finally came down. Now after feeding ammonia to 4 ppm after 24 hours both ammonia and nitrites are 0, of course nitrates are very high. So i am going to do another 24 hour with ammonia to make sure all is well then a large pwc, then some fish. Lesson learned is patience is one of the most important part of fishless cycling hehe.
Wow that's great, congratulations! Make sure you post pics of your fish when you get them! I'm still fishless cycling, on week 3 and no nitrites yet, so I hear you on the patience thing lol Congrats again!
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Old 07-08-2011, 11:11 PM   #12
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well, came home with 12 tiger barbs, a pictus catfish and a plecto today...will post some pictures when my camera is charged up
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Old 07-09-2011, 07:17 AM   #13
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Great! Hope you enjoy your fish!
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