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Am I just being impatient? ;)

Discussion in 'Cycle your Tank' started by JMatt, Nov 15, 2017.

  1. JMatt

    JMatt New Member

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    My 90 gal corner tank has been up and running for about 2.5 weeks now, and the water has been slightly cloudy for about a week. Based on all of the cycling info I've read (and it's been a lot!), is my tank right where is should be? Do I just have to wait for the nitrogen cycle to complete itself? I'm getting impatient, and want to add fish!!
    Here are the details:
    I'm cycling with no fish and no live plants, with the intent to establish a cichlid tank (have had great success in the past)
    Medium sized river rocks used for gravel
    Running a Eheim Pro3 canister filter with a spray bar, 3 chambers of biological substrate, and a filter pad
    Also running an Aqueon Circulation Pump 950
    Used Seachem Prime to condition the tap water, and Fritz-Zyme Turbo Start
    Added the recommended amounts of Cichlid Lake Salt and buffer (both from Seachem)
    Temp is currently 82 degrees (300w heater)
    Ph is 7.8
    Water is very hard
    Ammonia is 0ppm
    Nitrite is between .25ppm - .50ppm (has been like this for about a week now)
    Nitrate is 0ppm

     

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    #1 JMatt, Nov 15, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017
  2. essjay

    essjay Member

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  3. JMatt

    JMatt New Member

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    Thanks Essjay! When I first set up the tank, I did add 2 small fish to cycle the tank (and the bacteria/enzymes) and I had an ammonia spike (which unfortunately killed the fish), and it was confirmed by bringing a sample into my local aquarium shop/expert, using an API Freshwater Master Test Kit, which I also purchased and use, testing daily. I'm now trying to cycle it without fish, the ammonia level is now 0ppm, and the nitrite level is between .25ppm-.50ppm...why would I now need to add more ammonia when obviously the nitrogen cycle has already begun, or so I thought, given the presence of nitrites?
     
    #3 JMatt, Nov 15, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017
  4. essjay

    essjay Member

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    The idea behind cycling is that you have to grow enough ammonia and nitrite eating bacteria to remove all the ammonia made by a tank full of fish and the nitrite made from that ammonia. You do this by adding enough ammonia to get a reading of 3 ppm, then waiting until the ammonia level has dropped, then add another 3 ppm ammonia. Then you need to wait until the nitrite levels starts to fall with occasional addition of a 1 ppm dose of ammonia to keep the ammonia eating bacteria fed. Once nitrite falls to zero, the tank is tested by the addition of another 3ppm ammonia - and only if that clears through to zero ammonia and zero nitrite in 24 hours is the tank cycled.
    The link I gave you explains the process fully, and says that it normally takes 5 or 6 additions of ammonia to complete the cycle.


    A lot of the bottled bacteria products contain ammonia to start the cycle, but more needs to be added during the cycle.
    And a lot of bottled bacteria products contain the right species of ammonia eaters but the wrong species of nitrite eaters. The one you used is not one that is known to contain the right nitrite eaters, and your test results seem to confirm this - ammonia has dropped but not nitrite.

    The best way forward would be to buy some ammonia and follow the instructions in that link. If you can't find any ammonia that does not contain perfume or detergent in a shop, look on Ebay or Amazon.
     
  5. JMatt

    JMatt New Member

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    Thanks, and again, rest assure I have scoured the internet and I have read everything I can get my hands on regarding cycling a tank, with or without fish, including the link you shared. Again, already having gone thru a huge ammonia spike, (tested super high at around 6.6ppm, be it from the fish and/or bacteria I assume), I do now have detectable levels of nitrites (.25-.50ppm) but ammonia levels are 0ppm. What levels of nitrites are needed before the nitrates start showing up, and the nitrites start decreasing? I'm thinking I'm right where I should be on the cycle, but need to be more patient...and what're your thoughts on the cloudy water conditions?
     
  6. essjay

    essjay Member

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    It is not a question of what level of nitrite is needed, it is a question of growing some nitrite eaters to turn nitrite into nitrate.
    Unless you add more ammonia as described in that link, you will not know if you have grown enough bacteria of both types to deal with the ammonia made by a tankful of fish - and you need to feed small amounts of ammonia to the ammonia eaters while waiting for the nitrite eaters to grow.

    Cloudy water is common in newly set up tanks. There are many species of bacteria in our tap water. Once the chlorine/chloramine is removed by the dechlorinator they can begin to multiply. Some species of bacteria live floating in the water and feed off organic chemicals in the water - and there are plenty of these in our tap water. These bacteria multiply very rapidly, unlike the ammonia and nitrite eaters, and because they are in the water column rather than bound to surfaces (like the ammonia and nitrite eaters are) we can see them as a cloudiness. It is called a bacterial bloom. At some point they will use up all their food supply and die but that point is impossible to predict because there are so many variables involved.
     
  7. JMatt

    JMatt New Member

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  8. JMatt

    JMatt New Member

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    Awesome, thanks! I'm thinking: instead of adding more chemicals, perhaps add a couple fish and let nature take its course, with close monitoring of course. Your thoughts?
     
  9. essjay

    essjay Member

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    Adding fish to an uncycled tank is not a good idea. It is frowned upon in this forum. Since there is a perfectly good way to cycle a tank without fish, there is no reason to expose any fish to harm.
     
  10. JMatt

    JMatt New Member

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    Understood! So is using feeder fish for some species also frowned upon?
     
  11. essjay

    essjay Member

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    Yes it is. There are very few fish that have to be fed on feeder fish. With all others, a different food should be used.
     

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