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Can Fluval Stratum stall a fishless cycle?

Discussion in 'Cycle your Tank' started by kathymatsushita, Oct 29, 2017.

  1. kathymatsushita

    kathymatsushita New Member

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    I have a new Spec III (2.5 gallon) tank that I intend to keep shrimp in. It has Fluval Shrimp/Plant Stratum in it and is planted (jungle val and Montecarlo). I also have put several pieces of filter material & biomedia from an established tank in its filter section. I have, for about 11 days now, been trying to fishless cycle it, and nothing is happening. I always have a reading of around 2.0 ammonia and zero nitrites.

    I've successfully cycled a 5-gallon Spec V tank, in about 6 days (using Dr. Tim's & Ace Hardware ammonia, and some filter material from an established tank), which was also planted but had a different soil in it (some Japanese brand of planted tank soil). And, as an experiment, I just started (about 3 days ago) fishless cycling my bare-bottom, unplanted 5-gallon quarantine tank with ammonia, some Stress-Zyme, and 2 small pieces of filter material from my established 20-gallon tank --- in three days, I already have a reading of 0.25 ammonia and 2.0 nitrites --- my plan for that was to, perhaps, once it is cycled, take the filter material from that and transfer it to the un-cycled Spec III.

    I have read that Fluval Stratum often brings your pH down too low, which can stall a cycle. So, I've been measuring the pH with the API test kit. All I ever get on that is a light blue (like a sky blue) reading --- it has no greenish tinge at all in it, which is what the low pH readings seem to have, yet it is not the deeper blue that the higher pH readings seem to have on the card. (I've tested both my tap water and my water in the cycled 5-gallon tank, and both tests show the same light, sky-blue color, so I'm assuming my pH is okay.)

    Since my bare-bottom quarantine tank seems to be cycling quickly, the only thing I can think of is that maybe it's the Fluval Stratum in my un-cycling tank that is the problem, even though my pH seems okay? Should I (1) remove the Fluval Stratum (though I really don't want to remove the planting), try to cycle it bare-bottom, and once it's cycled, put the Stratum back in? or (2) once the bare-bottom QT cycles, put its filter media in my Spec III? OR....maybe I should just wait it out and see if my Spec III will ever cycle as it is?

    I might just be too impatient, but I just can't figure out what the difference is in trying to cycle this new tank....

    Does anyone have a similar experience, or any ideas for me?

     
    #1 kathymatsushita, Oct 29, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2017
  2. SeanTrollope

    SeanTrollope Member

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    Okay right I do believe that it will have no negative effects on the cycle or the rest of the tank do that matter.

    If I was you u would just be patient. Sometimes a cycle can take 2 months. Just let it run it's course. I understand the excitement but take things slowly. All good things take time.

    Sent from my SM-G570F using Tapatalk
     
  3. kathymatsushita

    kathymatsushita New Member

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    That's what I've figured....PATIENCE, PATIENCE, PATIENCE!!! (Hope it doesn't take two months, though!) It's just that it's so different from my previous two cycling experiences, that it had me puzzled and wondering... Thanks.
     
  4. SeanTrollope

    SeanTrollope Member

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    It shouldn't take that long but it can happen.

    Sent from my SM-G570F using Tapatalk
     
  5. kathymatsushita

    kathymatsushita New Member

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    Well, that certainly makes me feel better! Thanks.
     
  6. kathymatsushita

    kathymatsushita New Member

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    UPDATE: It’s now the 16th day of trying to cycle this Spec III tank. I have some good news to report --- as of 10/28 (12th day) the ammonia is starting (slowly) to drop from the 2.0 it’s been for a long, long time! It went from 1.5 (1 day) to 1.0 (3 days) to .0.50 (1 day, with nitrites at 0.25). I then dosed the ammonia back up to 3 ppm yesterday, and today (11/1) it’s already down to 1.0!!! (My nitrites are at 0.25 today and nitrates at 20.)

    Maybe I’m getting closer!!!

    As a side note, my bare-bottomed empty 5-gallon quarantine tank got down to 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites yesterday, after only 6 days of cycling. Redosed it to 4 ppm yesterday, and today it’s at 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and 40 nitrates. I took a small dirty foam sponge from that tank just now, and added it to my Spec III. Maybe it will help.

    PATIENCE is key, I am learning!!!
     
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  7. SeanTrollope

    SeanTrollope Member

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    Great news.

    Sent from my SM-G570F using Tapatalk
     
  8. kathymatsushita

    kathymatsushita New Member

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    It's Nov. 3rd, 2 days after my previous post, and my Spec III is officially cycled! Today was at the first day it FINALLY showed 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and 80 nitrates! I dosed it to 3ppm today, just to make sure; tomorrow, if it still shows 0 ammonia and 0 nitrites, then I'll know it's done!

    Thanks, all, for encouraging me to just be patient.
     
  9. Gruntle

    Gruntle Member

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    Awesome news. Don't forget to do a massive water change before adding fish, which will bring your nitrates back to a safe level.
     

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