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24 days into fishless cycle. NOTHING but ammonia!

Discussion in 'Cycle your Tank' started by Rockfish35, Feb 16, 2019.

  1. Rockfish35

    Rockfish35 New Member

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    hey all

    far from a newbie here

    but new to the forum :yahoo:


    I've been having a frustrating issue with my newly set up aquarium and with 20+ years in the hobby i'm looking to bend someone else's ear on here to get some input

    first a bit of info about the tank:

    72 gallon bow from (reef ready)

    wet/dry filtration

    tunze ATO

    and a med/lg media reactor with nothing but fresh activated carbon in it running

    when i first set up the tank(got it used) i cleaned everything well with hot tap water

    cleaned and water tested the aquarium to make sure it didn't explode (it didn't lol)

    set everything up, got everything running, made sure their were no leaks of any kind

    waited a full 24 hours for the tank to run in a bit

    added ace hardware 10% ammonia (scentless of course)

    i get a constant 3-4 PPM reading without adding any additional ammonia

    PH 7.8 ( a little high but for cycling it's fine right now)

    NO nitrite
    NO nitrate

    HAVE NOT CLEANED, TOUCHED, OR PERFORMED ANY TYPE OF WATER CHANGE!


    AND NO CHANGE in anything for the past 24 days now

    i was def thinking i would be seeing some nitrite conversion by now

    borrowed a hand full of bio balls from my GF's 75 and used an entire LG bottle of TSS

    and this is still where we sit

    should i just wait it out or am i missing something?

    i've been doing this for a long time and have never encountered such a slow or should i even say stalled process

    ANY advice would be amazing and thank you for listening to me rant! lol
     

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    #1 Rockfish35, Feb 16, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2019
  2. eaglesaquarium

    eaglesaquarium Life, Liberty & Pursuit of the perfect fish tank
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    Hmmm... this is an interesting one.



    A few questions:

    • What's the gH and kH of your water? Adding a bit of buffer can help... a calcium carbonate or even sodium bicarbonate could potentially give a boost to the process as the bacteria require inorganic carbon to grow and process ammonia.
    • What's the temp? A little higher helps to promote bacterial growth, even if you plan to have it lower when you have fish.
    • What's the oxygen level in the tank? Is there much surface agitation? I see you are running a wet/dry filter... so the oxygen levels should be good... but figured I'd ask.
    • What's your source water for the tank? This is where the initial bacteria would be coming from...


    Adding some bioballs should have inoculated it a bit... and the same goes with the TSS - though if that was improperly handled (got too hot or too cold in transit) it would be next to useless.




    Next steps recommendation:
    • Boost the temp a bit,
    • Add a bit of buffer with carbonate in it
    • Borrow a bit more filter media from another tank... as much as 25% can be taken from the old filter without a problem...
    • Maybe... add some MULM to the tank from an old tank... you know, those nasty brown bits under your gravel or the bottom of your filter. That stuff will be chock full of bacteria of all kinds and might help mature up the tank overall a bit quicker than just the cycling procedure.

    That's about all I can come up with. (Most of it you probably already know, but figured I'd mention it anyway as it might help others that stumble across this, even if they aren't members here but just google searching.)
     
  3. Rockfish35

    Rockfish35 New Member

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    thanks for the reply

    gh and kh are within normal range

    temp is 76-78 degrees


    and i have an air pump with and 18" bubble wall for surface agitation as well as the wet dry drip plays moving the water through it so the O2 is all good


    source water is NYC tap water that's being dechlorinated


    ive done 10 tanks this same way in the past and have never hit a brick wall like this


    i'm stumped

    could it be the bio balls are making it take a bit longer being as how between the tank and the filter media it's a truly MASSIVE amount of surface area to develop on?

    should i just sit on it and wait or should i give it another week or two and then drain it and start with some danios??

    no idea
     
  4. Lajos_Detari

    Lajos_Detari Fish Fanatic

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    Hi,

    I've some suggestions here.

    Probably you might want to read this article on how to create optimum conditions for nitrifying bacteria to grow.

    http://www.bioconlabs.com/nitribactfacts.html

    Did you mention that the tank was a reef ready tank?
    If yes, could it be something left behind from the reef that hinder the growth of the nitrifying bacteria?
    Did you reuse any filters, filter media, etc from your reef tank that need to be properly rinsed?

    All the best!
     
  5. Lajos_Detari

    Lajos_Detari Fish Fanatic

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    Also, take note that plants are good in absorbing ammonia rather than nitrate based on researchs.
    You might want to increase the ammonia level. (just a suggestion, I'm not sure whether that made any sense).
     
  6. eaglesaquarium

    eaglesaquarium Life, Liberty & Pursuit of the perfect fish tank
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    I wouldn't increase the ammonia level... Too high and you are encouraging the wrong bacteria... and could potentially harm the plants. The plants are only good at absorbing ammonia at low concentrations... it has to do with the connection between ammonia and ammonium. The plants use only ammonium, whereas ammonia harms them. At higher levels there's more ammonia which can burn them.
     
  7. Rockfish35

    Rockfish35 New Member

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    tomorrow will be a month

    no conversion of any kind

    2-3ppm ammonia

    nitrite 0

    nitrate 0

    temp 74 (gonna be a fancy double tailed goldfish tank)

    kh and gh are acceptable

    ph is a bit high at 7.8


    should just drain the darn thing until i get rid of the ammonia and throw a few dominos in there?

    is this a lost cause?
     
  8. eaglesaquarium

    eaglesaquarium Life, Liberty & Pursuit of the perfect fish tank
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    I don't think its a lost cause.


    But, I would suggest that a water change can't be bad. You've got nothing to lose.
     
  9. Rockfish35

    Rockfish35 New Member

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    Water change and go with a fish in cycle or just stay the course??
     
  10. eaglesaquarium

    eaglesaquarium Life, Liberty & Pursuit of the perfect fish tank
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    I can't recommend a fish in cycle.

    But, that's your call. You've got to make that decision.


    I was thinking maybe a 50% water change to lower the ammonia a bit without removing it entirely and seeing if that helps kickstart things.
     
  11. Rockfish35

    Rockfish35 New Member

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    changed 40% of the water

    adjusted PH

    ammonia is now 2.0 PPM

    dechlorinated water


    lets see what happens
     
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  12. Rockfish35

    Rockfish35 New Member

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    if i had hair on my head, i'd be pulling it out now

    gonna give it another week and then drain it and start again

    next week would make it 5.5 weeks

    long enough to see some kind of ammonia conversion

    there has been nothing but ammonia


    SMH
     
  13. eaglesaquarium

    eaglesaquarium Life, Liberty & Pursuit of the perfect fish tank
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    Weird.


    Definitely should have some motion by now. Nitrite test showing nothing? Nitrate?
     
  14. Rockfish35

    Rockfish35 New Member

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    ammonia

    no nitrite

    no nitrate at all

    no conversion of any kind


    no apparent reason behind it either
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. eaglesaquarium

    eaglesaquarium Life, Liberty & Pursuit of the perfect fish tank
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    Sorry. I'm stumped at this point as well.
     

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