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New to the Forum. Questions regarding tank cycling

Discussion in 'Cycle your Tank' started by miss.ferby, Nov 19, 2017.

  1. miss.ferby

    miss.ferby New Member

    Nov 19, 2017
    Likes Received:
    Hello everyone,
    I am new to the site, and I am eager to learn. I have questions regarding tank cycling and I think I should start from the beginning.
    I have a 5 gallon tank that I used to house a Betta in, Fred. Fred was with me for years and was really healthy until about 3 weeks ago. He started acting strangely and I could not figure out what was going on. It wasn't until it was too late that I realized that the ammonia level was off the charts! When I did the first test the Ammonia was 8.0 PPM, and the nitrates read at around 20-40, the PH was about 7.2, and the Nitrites were 0-.25... I was irresponsible. I failed to do a water change to Fred's tank for maybe 3 weeks... and when I did the water change I over siphoned, and took out 75-80 percent. So I know, that was really dumb! Unfortunately Fred passed and it is my fault, I was neglectful.
    In any case I am trying to learn from that awful experience!!
    In the 5 gallon I have nothing but gravel and the few ornaments Fred had. There is nothing in there but I am having trouble with the water cycling. For the last 2 weeks I have been doing weekly 25% water changes and adding Stability, Prime, Beneficial Bacteria to the water as directed on each of the bottles and just when it seems like the ammonia levels finally drop even a little bit, it spikes. As an example, this past week, I checked the levels on Tuesday, the levels were PH 6, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 5-10, and Ammonia 1-2. It finally started dropping, so in order to help with the Ammonia and the Nitrate I did a 25% water change, added all the chemicals, went about my business. Today I checked the levels again and the ammonia was at 4 and the nitrate was still between 5 and 10.
    My dad has been helping me, he has 2 huge tanks with African Cichlids and he did the fish less cycling with great results.
    I have a feeling that I am doing something wrong... I don't know if I am supposed to be doing water changes while the tank is cycling, but my biggest worry is to put a fish in there and when I have to do the water changes like you would normally do, all the stagnant ammonia sitting under the gravel gets kicked up and kills the fish.
    Please help! Thank you...

  2. fluttermoth

    fluttermoth The current Mrs Treguard ;)
    Staff Member Moderator Global Moderator

    Sep 6, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Please stop adding all those things to your tank; you don't need them, either for a cycle, or when you have fish.

    The only think you need to add to a tank for a fishless cycle is ammonia. You also need to stop doing water changes; the cycle will go better without them; you only need to do water changes if you're doing a fish-in cycle (which we never recommend here).

    Large water changes shouldn't be harmful; many of us regularly do water changes of 75 or 80% on our tanks.

    There won't be 'stagnant ammonia' under the gravel if you're doing your water changes properly; and by that I mean using a gravel cleaner to remove the water and stirring the gravel around to remove the dirt.

    If your dad has healthy tanks, you can take a little bit of media from one of his filters, and put it into your tank's filter; that will kickstart your cycle.

    The best advice I can give you is; put some of your dad's filter media into your filter. Leave the tank alone; no adding chemicals, no water changes, just daily testing and see if it sorts itself out after that.

    Of course, we'll always be here to help you, if things don't start improving :)

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