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Fishless Cycle Help!

Discussion in 'Cycle your Tank' started by LindaIsmail, Jun 15, 2016.

  1. LindaIsmail

    LindaIsmail New Member

    Jun 15, 2016
    Likes Received:
    Hi All,

    So I'm new to the forum, but I have been doing a lot of research to learn how to start/cycle my tank and have been following the information I found to help me in cycling my 50gal Tank. I have not detected any nitrite, nitrate levels, and call me crazy but I feel my ammonia was going down, and it no longer is and I'm really not sure as to how to proceed! I think I may have ruined it [​IMG] And if so, I don't know how to fix it.

    I recently bought a 50g brand new tank.
    Filter: Penn-Plax Cascade 1000 Canister Filter (for upto 100gal), 265GPH 
    Thermometer: Aquatop GH-300W Aquarium Glass Submersible Heater, 300-Watt 
    AirPump: Tetra 77855 Whisper Air Pump (for 100gal)

    1. As per the info, I did the full tank setup, rocks/plants/etc
    2. Added my airpump and it's turned up high. My temperature sits at around 28C.
    3. My filter has carbon packs (the black stones), those biorings for bacteria growth, regular sponges (black ones and white ones)
    4. I went to a specialized fish store in town and they took a sponge from their http://www.fishlore.com/Profiles-Goldfish.htm filter, they squeezed it into a bag, and that's my seeding material.
    5. I also added 1 1.5-2" http://www.fishlore.com/fishforum/content/147-marimo-moss-ball.html to my tank.
    6. I bought pure ammonia, to make sure I shook the beejeezzzus out of it and it was like water (no bubbles etc), the bottle also says it's pure ammonia, no fragrances, etc. etc.
    7. I added a pinch of fish food to my tank.
    8. Filled up the tank and added dechlorinator Nutrafin AQUAPLUS (tap water conditioner) as per the specifications.
    9. I also added Nutrafin CYCLE - The fish store manager told me it was necessary, and it wasn't until later on that I read some information, that it sort of contraindicated that so I'm not sure if that is my problem?
    10. I started everything and the tank ran.

    Ammonia Levels:

    June 3 - Tank Started, added ammonia to 1ppm. Then 2hrs later added ammonia to 4-5ppm. Added some fish food too.

    Starting Levels: pH 7.4-7.6, Ammonia 0ppm, Nitrite 0ppm, Nitrate 5ppm.

    June 4 - 4ppm
    June 5 - 4ppm
    June 6 - 2ppm (Added 1.5ml Ammonia = ~0.25ppm) I was afraid the ammonia would drop to 0.
    June 7 - 2ppm (Added 1ml Ammonia)
    June 8 - 2ppm (Added 1.5ml Ammonia)
    June 8 Levels: pH 8.0, Ammonia 2ppm, Nitrite 0ppm, Nitrate 5ppm. ( I feel like things stopped here, perhaps because my pH is too high? )
    June 9 - 2ppm (Added some fish food)
    June 10 - 2ppm (At this point I thought things had stopped so I did a 20% waterchange)

    For the water change, I emptied 20% water with a clean rinsed container, then I stopped the filter and closed its valves.

    I tested the current left over water: Nitrite 0ppm still. pH 8.2.

    I added 20% water from the tap using a brand new hose, and I also added Nutrafin AQUAPLUS tap water conditioner as per specifications. This time I didn't add Nutrafin CYCLE. I waited about 30mins for the water conditioner to do its thing (afraid of killing my bacterias) THEN I started my filter again and resumed running the tank.

    I added 5ml ammonia = ~1.2ppm

    June 11 - 2ppm (Added more fish food)
    June 12 - 2ppm
    June 13 - 2ppm ( I accidently added 25mL Nutrafin CYCLE thinking it was AQUAPLUS tap water conditioner )
    June 14 - 2ppm

    June 14 Levels: Ammonia 2ppm, Nitrite 0ppm, Nitrate 5ppm, pH 8-8.2 (See Image)
    June 15: Same as June 14
    So that's where I am at, I haven't added ammonia, I'm waiting for it to drop to 0.5ppm or 0.25ppm so at least I know it's working... pH hasn't changed, ammonia hasn't changed, nitrite hasn't changed, nitrate hasn't changed!!!

    But I don't know how to proceed. So my questions are:

    Did I ruin my cycle by using nutrafin CYCLE? 
    Should I do a 75% water change because of it and start over or a bigger %[​IMG]?
    Did I make any other mistakes along the way?
    What are your suggestions and how should I proceed?

    Any guidance greatly appreciated!!

  2. WesleytheBetta

    WesleytheBetta Mostly New Member

    Jun 8, 2016
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    [​IMG]  I applaud your details and interest in the health of your tank!  As far as cycling goes, you are still in the very early stages.  From how I read your post, I understood it that you added the untreated water directly to your tank.  If you have live plants/fish in the future you will want to add only treated water to your tank because the chlorine can cause serious problems and even death for smaller, more sensitive creatures.  That doesn't answer your question but I would want someone to tell me.  I am interested to hear advice from someone more experienced with cycling.  I hope they can answer all of your questions!  Looking forward to pics of your setup [​IMG]
  3. LindaIsmail

    LindaIsmail New Member

    Jun 15, 2016
    Likes Received:
    Hi Wesley! Yes I did add untreated water to my tank, then it was treated with dechlorinator. But the tank is fishless and plantless (except for a moss ball) as I am still in the cycling process, which I am performing without fish so as to not have any casualties :)
  4. Gruntle

    Gruntle Member

    Nov 26, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Okay, step 1. Stop adding ammonia for a while. You seem to be adding a bit of ammonia quite frequently and for a fishless cycle it skews the results so you're not sure what is going on. Same goes for fish food, which will rot and create ammonia, but it also creates waste in the tank that's not necessary. If you have ammonia, you don't need fish food.
    Step 2. Do you have the API master kit (or another liquid test kit) for testing ammonia, nitrites and nitrates? If you are, you have to shake the living daylights out of the second bottle of nitrate tester, the reagent is a powder that settles out of the liquid quickly, leading to incorrect readings.
    With the current level of ammonia (2ppm) you should be able to see the process start. Your ammonia will drop, your nitrites will rise (eventually) and then they'll start to drop (eventually), and your nitrate will rise. It can take up to 5 weeks for this process, so patience is a virtue. The best news is you don't have fish in the tank suffering through the cycle, so well done there.
    Keep posting your results and we'll see what help we can provide.

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