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Old 02-01-2012, 06:29 PM   #1
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Fishless cycling 10 gallon tank, need some advice!

Hello, I have been attempting to fishless cycle my 10 gallon tank. I have the water set to 82 degrees, ace janitorial strength ammonia and my filter going. I also purchased a master test kit. I started on January 5th (31 days ago). I am adding 4 drops of ammonia a day at the same time. My testing shows that my ammonia is very high and I still have yet to see any nitrites at all. I just re-read the guide and I think my issue may be that I have added more than 4 ppm ammonia. Any thoughts or advice? I attached pics of my tank, ammonia bottle and test results.
Thanks!
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Old 02-01-2012, 06:50 PM   #2
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It's hard to tell from the pic but the ammo looks pretty dark to me. Are you adding 4 drops of ammo every day even if the test still reads at 4? You only want to redose ammonia once in 24 hours IF the ammonia falls <2. At a month in though you should be almost done unless the ammonia has been reading that high the whole time, it could have stalled things. This should help with ammonia dosing: Calculator

Have you done any water changes in the 31 days? Are you testing PH? PH crashes can call the cycle. I"m assuming you're using dechlorinator when doing water changes or topping off water, right?

Here's what I'd do: do a 100% water change (try to match the temp of the new water with the tank water; feeling both with your hand is good enough), add dechlorinator to new water before it goes into the tank. Wait 30 minutes and see what the ammonia reads. If it's still high, do another water change. Try to get ammonia to 2 on the test kit; so either do enough water changes to get it down to about 2, or if it's a lot less than 2 add more ammo to get it to 2. Just keeep ammonia at 2 for a few days and let's see what happens.
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Old 02-01-2012, 09:05 PM   #3
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Thanks. I'm going to do a water change and try to get the ammonia down to 2ppm. I will also test ph. What is a good ph to shoot for? I have been using dechlorinator, also added stresszyme for the heck of it.
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Old 02-01-2012, 10:41 PM   #4
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Ok after full water change ammonia is down to 1ppm. Going to try and get it up to 2.
Ph is reading the highest my kit will test for, 7.6, so I'm thinking it's actually higher. Should I get some coral?
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Old 02-01-2012, 11:42 PM   #5
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Ok after full water change ammonia is down to 1ppm. Going to try and get it up to 2.
Ph is reading the highest my kit will test for, 7.6, so I'm thinking it's actually higher. Should I get some coral?
Do you have a high-range ph test? API makes one that tests from 7.4 to 8.8. Im sure your ph is fine & most fish will adapt to range of phs as long as they stay stable, so dont worry! Coral is not a good idea- coral will only raise your ph.
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Old 02-02-2012, 06:33 PM   #6
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Ok ammonia is somewhere between 2-4 ppm... Water is 82 degrees. Should I add a very small amount of fish food flakes for phosphate?
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Old 02-02-2012, 06:41 PM   #7
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A pinch or two of finely crushed fish food is fine to add.
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Old 02-03-2012, 01:03 AM   #8
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You don't want to "shot" for any pH value. You want to learn to live with what ever comes out of your faucet, because attempting to play with your pH levels is notoriously difficult and can lead to a sudden pH crash that could kill the fish.

What sort of filter do you have. The water level looks pretty low and I'm thinking the water might not be getting throug the filter properly.

And once you get ammonia to 4ppm, don't add any more ammonia until the level drops. It should start dropping in about 2 to 3 weeks from the time you started.
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Old 02-03-2012, 01:49 AM   #9
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Just finished a fishless cycle myself...used ammonia&a small amount of crushed fish food..don't let your ammo get over 5ppm&when the nitrites begin to climb stop dosing the ammo..all the while your nitrates should continue to climb as well,when both ammo&nitrites are at 0ppm your cycle will be complete..do a 90%pwc to remove as much of the nitrates as possible,retest within a few hours to make sure the nitrates are within an exceptable range..I applaud your efforts in attempting a fishless cycle...your patience will be rewarded
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Old 02-03-2012, 01:37 PM   #10
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Just finished a fishless cycle myself...used ammonia&a small amount of crushed fish food..don't let your ammo get over 5ppm&when the nitrites begin to climb stop dosing the ammo..all the while your nitrates should continue to climb as well,when both ammo&nitrites are at 0ppm your cycle will be complete..do a 90%pwc to remove as much of the nitrates as possible,retest within a few hours to make sure the nitrates are within an exceptable range..I applaud your efforts in attempting a fishless cycle...your patience will be rewarded
I thought the general rule was to keep feeding those ammonia BB. when it drops down, dose it back up to 4ppm. water changes to keep the Nitrites from getting too high. which way is the right way??
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Old 02-03-2012, 02:03 PM   #11
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I thought the general rule was to keep feeding those ammonia BB. when it drops down, dose it back up to 4ppm. water changes to keep the Nitrites from getting too high. which way is the right way??
I do not think theres a 'right' way of doing fishless cycles and there are a variety of ways of accomplishing them. My experience doing fishless cycle, I have always dosed the ammonia back up to keep the bb fed with the sole intention of developing a massive biological filter. Now, I have let the amm dosing go for as long as 3 days before redosing without any issues but never any longer. A good example is my qt tank- because I use it frequently for a variety of reasons, I keep it cycled via amm dosing to 4ppm. Do I do this every single day? No, I forget about it frequently & it will go for a couple of days with no amm & I have never had an issue keeping it cycled. Sometimes, fishless cycles require a bit of experimentation because we can not account for every variable of one's specific water chemistry. I dont know if this answers your question but basically, there really isnt a 'right' or 'wrong' method of accomplishing fishless cycles.
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Old 02-03-2012, 02:11 PM   #12
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thanks! it makes sense to me! can't wait until I get to add me some fish!!
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Old 02-03-2012, 09:44 PM   #13
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I have the water level 2 inches below my filters release spout to let the water splash and make bubbles because I read somewhere that this helps? The hang on side filter works by drawing the water into the empty bin until it overflows through the filtered bin then out the spout right? Everything looks ok how do I tell if it isn't working properly?
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Old 02-03-2012, 11:24 PM   #14
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Once you've started your colony of the bacteria that converts ammonia to nitrites, you have to keep feeding that bacteria with some ammonia so that it doesn't die off while you wait for the nitrite to nitrate bacteria starts to grow.
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Old 02-05-2012, 09:16 PM   #15
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Just tested tonight and I have nitrites all of a sudden! Reading between 2 and 5 ppm.. I have trouble reading the color accurately. So I added just tiny bit of ground up fish food flakes and dosed the ammonia back up to 3. Anything else that I should be doing?
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Old 02-05-2012, 09:28 PM   #16
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I have to apologise..I didn't mention that I seeded my tank with some filter media from my 75g...my bad folks...
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Old 02-05-2012, 11:25 PM   #17
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Just tested tonight and I have nitrites all of a sudden! Reading between 2 and 5 ppm.. I have trouble reading the color accurately. So I added just tiny bit of ground up fish food flakes and dosed the ammonia back up to 3. Anything else that I should be doing?
It sounds like your right on track! Just make sure you keep an eye on your ph (check daily)- ph changes can cause a cycle to slow or crash.
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Old 02-06-2012, 12:00 AM   #18
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Here's the strange thing.. When I did the ph test it shows the highest reading color-wise, but when I try to do the high range ph test the water color turns red which isn't on my chart at all.. So I have no idea how to get an accurate reading
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Old 02-06-2012, 09:54 AM   #19
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Is there a chance you added an extra drop when you tested the high range ph? It sounds like your reading @8.2. The chart shows a brown color but it actually reads more of a reddish color. This is fine!
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Old 02-08-2012, 06:53 PM   #20
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Today's test shows
ammonia at almost 0
Nitrites at 0
Nitrates between 20 and 40!!

Should I dose ammonia back up to 3 and see if it's gone in 24 hours? If that works am I done and ready for fish? I think I will also need a pwc to get nitrates below 20 correct?
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