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Old 03-22-2012, 12:17 PM   #1
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HELP! My first fishless cycle - I don't think it's going too well!

I have recently purchased a 5 gallon Fluval Chi for my desk at my office, in hopes of housing a beta or maybe a couple of guppies. After purchasing, I started reading about the importance of cycling your tank before adding fish. The kit came with Nutrafin Cycle and some water conditioner. I know Cycle isn't exactly popular among fish experts, but I am relatively new to the hobby and decided to use some in my cycling process. I started the process 7 weeks ago, and used pure ammonia to get the cycle going. I've managed to get the ammonia levels down to zero, with a sky high Nitrite level. There are also Nitrates present. I've been sitting on a Nitrite level off my test strip chart (above 10 ppm) for 3 or 4 weeks now. I took to the internet to find out if this was normal. Although I understand the Nitrite portion can last a while, there were several sites that recommended doing a partial water change to get the Nitrites to a readable level. After consideration, I decided to do a 50% water change last week, which temporarily lowered the Nitrite level to about 8 ppm. Within a day, it was right back up to above 10 ppm. So this week I've done two partial water changes and again, it seems to have temporarily lowered the Nitrite level for a few hours only. (by the way, I have been adding ammonia to feed the bacteria, and the levels are dropping overnight).

I am really not sure what to do here...do I keep waiting it out, do more water changes, cut bait and start over?

Also, there is a strong "mineral" smell to the water, and a whitish yellow crust that has formed in the corners of the tank, as well as on the airline tubing, etc. Any idea what it is, and how I should deal with it?

I know this is a long post, but any help would be appreciated - again, I am no doubt a newbie to the hobby, and even more green on the fishless cycling!
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Old 03-22-2012, 12:52 PM   #2
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So the ammonia is dropping to 0 overnight leaving you with a lot of nitrite? I would do a 50% water change and try to get the nitrite into a readable range. Add in another small pinch of crushed fish food. Then I would skip the ammonia dosing for one day. Also, test the Ph. What is the temperature of the water? Oh, and welcome to AA. 7 weeks is quite a while, but I'd say you're doing fine with your cycle. I'm guessing you didn't have any filter media from an established tank.
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Old 03-22-2012, 01:34 PM   #3
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Thanks for the response. No I didn't have any established filter media. Just the Cycle product.
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Old 03-22-2012, 01:42 PM   #4
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yep - I agree with laser - what is your PH? do a large water change and get your nitrites down to something readable - maybe 2? also while you are at it go ahead and test your tap water for ph as well. set out a bowl of water - let it sit overnight and then test the PH. let us know what you have.

make sure when you do your water changes that you are temp matching your water and of course conditioning it.
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Old 03-22-2012, 01:43 PM   #5
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I wouldn't use cycle, cycling products are very unreliable and cam cause crashes later on. I would keep doing water changes to keep nitrites readable and invest in a liquid test kit because strips are less reliable than the cycle products. Here's a link to a page here on AA with several helpful articles:
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums...es-154837.html
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Old 03-22-2012, 03:13 PM   #6
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My aquarium water pH is about 7.4. I will do a partial water change and try testing the pH for the tap water tonight and post the results tomorrow. In the meantime, any more advice is appreciated! Thanks!
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Old 03-22-2012, 07:58 PM   #7
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You're doing well! My guess is that the cycle stalled due to high nitrite. The nitrite phase takes about 3 weeks on average but if it's too high consistently it may stall things a bit. Do some water changes to get the nitrite readable on the shart, <3 is good; it may take a few 100% water changes. Since it's only a 5 gal tank you can dose ammonia to 2 instead of 4; this may help things along as well. Don't be surprised if nitrites go high again, that's normal, just keep monitoring levels and hopefully they'll 0 out sooon. I have a Betta in a Chi and he seems really happy in there.
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Old 03-23-2012, 11:29 AM   #8
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Ok, so I did like a 80% water change yesterday, and here are my results this morning:

Nitrite - 4 ppm
Nitrate - 10-15 ppm
pH - 7.0-7.2
Ammonia - .25 ppm - I dosed up to 3 ppm yesterday

Now that the Nitrite is readable, should I still do another PWC today, or just continue dosing ammonia and wait?

Thanks for the help so far, by the way
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Old 03-23-2012, 11:31 AM   #9
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Oh, also, not sure if anyone read the part in the original post about the yellowish residue forming around the edges and on the airline tubing etc.,

Is this normal - should I clean it off, or leave it for now?
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Old 03-23-2012, 11:50 AM   #10
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That could maybe be from the cycle product...? I'm not sure honestly
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Old 03-23-2012, 12:12 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bangarang View Post
Ok, so I did like a 80% water change yesterday, and here are my results this morning:

Nitrite - 4 ppm
Nitrate - 10-15 ppm
pH - 7.0-7.2
Ammonia - .25 ppm - I dosed up to 3 ppm yesterday

Now that the Nitrite is readable, should I still do another PWC today, or just continue dosing ammonia and wait?

Thanks for the help so far, by the way
looks like your ph is dropping again. keep a close eye on it. if it drops anymore I would do another water change. you can do another water change if you want. I am curious what your tap PH is. this will help. you said earlier that your tank PH was 7.4 right?
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Old 03-23-2012, 04:30 PM   #12
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Just tested my tap water pH - it's about 7.0
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Old 03-23-2012, 05:08 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paytertot View Post
I wouldn't use cycle, cycling products are very unreliable and cam cause crashes later on. I would keep doing water changes to keep nitrites readable and invest in a liquid test kit because strips are less reliable than the cycle products. Here's a link to a page here on AA with several helpful articles:
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums...es-154837.html
I would say most cycling products but I have had Great Results with Stability from SeaChem. I would not (My own opinion and experience now) cycle a Tank without it. I had a situation where I had to Transfer Tanks, due to a leak and establish a another tank quickly due to some aggressive behavior. But at this point in the cycle she should keep doing water changes and continue the old fashion way
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Old 03-23-2012, 07:36 PM   #14
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Is it a whitish slimy substance? It's normal, I had it on my tank when cycling, you can leave it or rub it off.
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Old 03-26-2012, 12:29 PM   #15
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Quick update - I checked my numbers again this morning...nitrite went back up to 10 ppm. I did another 90% water change...down to 3(ish)ppm.

It seems that the nitrite keeps spiking...is there any way to keep it at a somewhat readable level...or do I just keep doing PWC's? Will dosing more/less ammonia help?
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Old 03-26-2012, 12:35 PM   #16
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Also...I may have access to some filter media from an established tank...should I consider that at this point, or is it too late in the process?
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Old 03-27-2012, 06:45 PM   #17
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I have a 120 gallon aquarium, L shape type, i started the cycle with ammonia 4 weeks ago and my amonia is at zero now.
The nitrite level is maxed out to 1 red..
ph is 8.2
nitrates are also maxed out
i got the ammonia off ebay at a cost of 1.80
the tank seems to be doing ok i used 2 cap fulls of the ammonia it peaked then dropped to 0%

27/03/2012
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Old 03-27-2012, 06:50 PM   #18
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i'm really new to all this but reading about it helped me alot, the only prob i see is my aquarium is salt water and to keep doing water changes is very costly.
so if your new i would always stick to a fishless cycle or use live rock to start it, never start a salt water cycle with fish its wasted salt and hard earned cash
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Old 03-27-2012, 06:52 PM   #19
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dont think its to late to add filter media as i was adding rubble to my sump to speed things up, although the ammonia done the trick.
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Old 06-15-2012, 04:05 PM   #20
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I would really like to start a community tanl in a 5 gallon Chi with a Betta and 3 neon tetras, but my fish supplier looked at me like I was a murderer. I read on a lot of posts about having community tanks with Bettas. Should I go a little larger and have 3 guppies? I plan on plants....
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